MEMORIES

From Electrical Officer Russ Koss(63-65)

I was aboard Jamestown from pre-commissioning detail until about Aug. 65. I was the Electrical Officer, then MPA, as well as one of the OOD's. I have a few funny stories I remember, in fact, most of the ones I remember are humorout.

CDR Kaplan was our first CO. He was a bright competent man who loved to party when it was liberty time. I had the in port OOD watch in Key West after we returned from GTMO shakedown. The SP had him loaded in the back of their pickup truck(he was "asleep"). They wanted me to verify that he really was our Captain. Guess they were not used to his style.

Another is when 3 Cuban gunboats circled us. I was the underway OOD(again, on our way back from GTMO shakedown). It was a Sunday, as I recall, and everyone, including the Captain, was subathing. I spotted the 3 high speed contacts on the bridge radar, called the Captain, and we sounded GQ as a precaution. Capt. Kaplan was on the bridge in a terry cloth robe, swimsuit, and a Thompson strapped around his neck. We were sending a radio message via the red telephone to CNO to tell them of our being surrounded, when halfway through the message, all power went down. Generators did not kick in, nor did battery power. As the boats circled, with guns and cameras pointed at us, CNO had sent out a P2V from GTMO to cover us. He was armed to the teeth, rockets, bombs, showing for good effect. Then, we got power bakc, and communicated with everyone, and soon a squadron of Phantoms from Boca Chica arrived. They made a few passes, kicked in afterburners over the gunboats, and singed a few boats. Still, after the boats were ordering us to follow them, the F4's then started straffing runs, maybe half mile from the boats, and walked the straffing closer each pass. Finally, the gunboats broke it off. It was tense, but we had set Repel Boarders, and we were going to not let anyone aboard. Your security spaces were locked down, and we were ready to scuttle the ship if necessary. Fortunately, as I said, they quit. I don't remember the exact dates, but probably sometime around early 1963. CO was CDR Kaplan, XO was LCDR Kahlgren, your security group CO was CDR Joe Mitchell. I was frendly with a lot of the officers and men, remember also Lt. Ted Richards, Lt. Tom Pender and Lt. Wortman.
,br>We made some interesting passages through both the Panama and Suez canals, and did some station keeping off Havana, as well as Alexandria when Kruschev visited the Egyptians.

Ross Koss
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