USS Noxubee AOG56

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My Early Noxubee Story

By Jim Claughton

Officer designators, in WWII, were D for Deck & E for engineering. Having an engineering degree, I was commissioned "Ensign E" at Annapolis, one of two Reserve Midshipman schools for engineers, my first assignment was in engineering aboard a light cruiser.

After release from active duty, for five years I worked as an engineer for the local regional electric utility & actively participated in Reserve AcDuTra in engineering assignments. However, the Navy changed officer designators from letter to numeric and I became 1105- General Line. Upon recall, I reported to Noxubee on January 4, 1951 & was told that all engineering billets were filled and that would be assigned Supply & Communications. On January 5, Noxubee began two weeks of refresher training and as CIC Officer, my middle name became "Un-Sat". After spending a lot of time "correcting deficiencies", in early February, Noxubee sailed for Casablanca with cargo. Upon arrival, and after waiting our turn, we Mediterranean moored at the fueling pier. Activity was normal until the first night of unloading cargo when a real "blow" occurred which caused the ship to yaw - two double 6" lines parted - Capt. and XO were ashore - C. V. Wells and I were on board - my station was on the fantail where we managed to disconnect the fueling lines, haul in the remnanents of the hawers and get the ship underway to the outer anchorage. Writing the log was also my chore. the log was my chore.

Diverted to Naples to continue off-loading and some R & R, we finally sailed for Norfolk when after a week or more, we encountered a real Hurricane. The mast shrouds and stays were subjected to immense strain and one of the shrouds parted. As luck would have it, at the same time, the drum on the warping winch on the forecastle came off and wildly rolled about. XO Wilkes, with help, did an admirable job securing the drum albeit in his skivvies. After eating dry stores for several days and standing double watches, (travel along the catwalk was impossible), not knowing where we were and maneuvering the ship to accommodate the seas and favor the mast with the broken shroud, the weather finally abated.

My first two months of return to active duty was certainly not uneventful.