Haze Gray and Underway

USS Badger FF-1071 finished refueling, doing break away maneuver
from USS Sacramento AOE-1 also refueling USS Kitty Hawk CVA-63
Photo 16 March, 1978 courtesy of Mike Green

In 1976 I joined the Navy and served at sea aboard the frigate Badger in the western Pacific from 1977 until 1980.
The USS Badger was 438 feet of steel and aluminum who's rolls in heavy seas were a constant reminder of how small we were in a vast ocean.
During my time aboard, we made two WESPAC tours of the Orient, Middle East and Africa from our home port in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Ports of call:

  • Yokosuka, Japan
  • Chinhae, Korea
  • Subic Bay, Philippines
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • Pattaya Beach, Thailand
  • Mombasa, Kenya
  • Reunion Island
  • Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Midway Island
  • Apra Harbor, Guam
  • My job title was Machinists Mate. I worked in the engine room and generator compartments as an operator and mechanic.
    There were always two constants wherever I worked - hot and noisy. The upside to this was we were seldom visited by the "brass".
    Every group aboard the ship has a nickname and we were no exception.   They called us "snipes" and we were usually easy to spot because we were the sweaty, dirty ones in the chow line.

    All the bitching aside - my time in the Navy was probably the most influential period in my life. The intense workload and bonding among my shipmates was unlike anything I'd experienced before or since.   You learn that almost anything is possible once you get past the fear of trying.

    I recall the Badger was relatively new the first time I crossed her gangplank in 1977.
    She served on the front lines as a "stick" of diplomacy for 20 years before being decommissioned in 1992.  She also saved countless lives rescuing Vietnamese refugees known as "boat people" who were escaping from the communists.

    Badger's service took her from the shipyards of California, where she was built, across the Pacific to Hawaii, the Orient, Middle East, Africa and all points in between.

    In 1998 she was sunk in two miles of water northwest of the Hawaiian island of Kauai as part of a training exercise called RIMPAC98.
    A better fate than the cutting torches of the scrap yards I suppose, yet somehow, like losing an old friend.

    Badger leaving Pappa Hotel (Pearl Harbor)
    (L to R) Me, Dave Talbot and Tony Coarse in Aux 1

    USS BADGER FF-1071
    Click for more detail

    USS BADGER FF-1071 Top down view
    Click for more detail


    USS Badger official website

    Navsource USS Badger page

    Subic Bay Remembered...

    This page last modified 1-24-15