ASW Accuracy:

		Bob Simler FTG2, told me this story that occurred before I came aboard the
	Fred T. Berry. I’ve never the less retold it many times, embellishing it every time.
	It seems that the ship was on maneuvers with the USS Skate, a new nuclear attack
	submarine. The Fred T. Berry was making ASW attacks on the Skate which consisted of
	going over the Skate and making simulated depth charge attacks. These attacks consisted
	of a torpedo man (Willie Tuggle) standing on the fantail and throwing a hand grenade
	over the stern when told to by the sonar men. After each attack the Skate was to report
	the destroyer’s accuracy. This was done over the underwater telephone (Gertrude). The
	Skate consistently reported “the last shot was 200yds off our port side” or “300yds off
	our starboard side”. This began to “piss off “the Fred T’s sonar men as they all believed
	that we had been much closer. 

           
		There was a break in the action as both ships quit for the noon meal. One of
	the sonar men was complaining about this to Willie while they were eating. Soon after
	the meal break was over the action restarted. On the next attack it seems that Willie
	wrapped toilet paper around the hand grenades activating lever before deploying it as
	instructed. This had the effect of allowing the grenade to sink much further before
	the toilet paper dissolved and thus delayed the explosion of the grenade. 

		Shortly the USS Skate surfaced after getting clearance over Gertrude. The Skate
	sent a message via light that the last run had damaged their radio antennae and were
	demanding to know why! The Captain of the Fred T. sent the following: “How far off 
	your port or starboard side was that last shot”?

           I don’t know if this story is true, but I’ve always hoped it was!

 

				David Fickle FTG2 58-60