My name is John Anderson.
I served on the USS Fred T. Berry from 1967-1969. I enjoyed reading what was said about our time as a telemetry ship for the Polaris subs by Frank Wilson of the Royal Navy (See Frank’s story, HMS Resolution British Nuclear Sub also Peter Berry’s story, Berry collides with British Nuclear Sub). Frank stated that the first A-3 Polaris was launched from the HMS. Resolution on Feb. 15, 1969. The year was in fact 1968. The Fred T. Berry was at Port Canaveral from Jan 4, 1968 - March 6, 1968. The reason I remember the dates is I put them in the book "Adventures in Partnership- the Story of Polaris" .The book was given to me by the head Librarian at my high school when she found out we just got back from Florida. I put the names of the ships and the dates in the front so I would never forget that time. On 15 February 1968, HMS Resolution (S22), the lead ship of her class became the first British vessel to fire a Polaris, (from Wikipedia).
We took the place of Observation Island (EAG -154). They set sail a few days after we arrived; their crewman told me they were going on a cruise for R&R. All they did was go in and out of port everyday with the boomers.
We were the telemetry ship for the U.S.S. Ethan Allen (SSBN-608), the U.S.S. Sam Houston (SSBN-609) and the H.M.S. Resolution. I was on mess cook duty at the time and agree with the remark about of a good time most everyone had. We had the use of the EAG-154's snack shack while we were in port and also frequented Cocoa Beach's establishments.
While at Port Canaveral many of my dreams came true. I saw a total of 10 rockets launched; 6 Polaris A-3s , the 1st Apollo capsule since the tragedy a year before involving the loss of Grissom (I met him the day I went active), White and Chaffee, the last Surveyor soft landing craft sent to the moon, an orbiting Geophysical satellite and a spy satellite. I was especially happy to see the Surveyor launch because I made the thrusters for them when I was 16. My father got me a summer job where he helped to make parts for the Saturn Rocket, parts for Apollo and Surveyor. I had a GREAT TIME at Port Canaveral and Cape Kennedy seeing family members that lived in Florida and meeting people from NASA.
When we got back to Newport I put in for 21 days leave from April 1 – 21, I was asked ‘why 21 days”, I said 1day for every year old I was. I returned to the ship in Charlestown Shipyards Drydock (Boston). It was undergoing repairs to the sonar dome and other things.
Best Wishes, John Anderson MM3