Our memories of the USS Saginaw

These are stories about the USS Saginaw as told by those who served.
If you wish to contribute, please E-mail your story to me, and please specify the date, and if possible the deployment.

Kevin Seal - The Great Saginaw Robbery, 1992
    No Story page can be complete without including the story of the Great Saginaw Robbery. It seems that late one night in early 1992, a former Junior officer returned to the Sag while she was moored at pier 13 south and decided to rob the dispersing office. He walked up the brow, requested permission to board and was granted permission. He then took the Petty Officer of the watch's weapon, threw the 1MC mike over the side and pulled the phone outta the bulkhead. He then tracked down sounding and security and tied him up in the tank deck. Then it was a short trip up to officer's country where the DISBO just happened to be sleeping because he had duty that night. The .45 cal. weapon from the quarterdeck was used to make theDISBO open the safe in the dispersing office and appr. 30,000 dollars was taken. The robber then left the ship via the quarterdeck and met a waiting car in the parking lot. The driver of this car was also a former member of the Sag. He was an enlistedman who reported on board during the 1989-90 med deployment. At the time both sailors were still on active duty and it was rumored that they were involved in some type of drug scandle. Of course the names will not be mentioned in this story.I can't remember if they were ever convicted.
Ken Bradburry - Change of Command, 1986
    I remember once when Cmd Bugarin first took command and the HT's had yet to adjust the Capt's chair for the shorter Cmd Bugarin, so when we started to roll off of Morehead City, Cmd Bugarin could do nothing but spin in the chair, cause his feet couldn't touch the foot bar and his arms couldn't reach the ensign bar above. Cmd Bugarin was one of the best Capt's I had ever served under. I caught up with him last year, I talked with him on the very day he was retiring from the Navy. Great Guy.
Robert Durfee - 1980 to 1984
    Life on the Sag. had a lot of up and downs like when BM2 Dunn dropped the anchor nearly hitting the Bay Bridge Tunnel while we were making 10 to 12 knots or when we anchored for the first day at the north end of Beirut and saw a dog fight between two jets sending us to G.Q.
    There was also the time when the bow doors broke open in high seas and they had us out there to secure them. lots of fun
    It seemed like every time we spent some time in Little Creek the first day back to sea alway brought out a fire in the number one engine room as part of the at sea fire party with those red hats we came to exspect it. Well I could go on. It's good to see that there is a home page for the Sag.
Bill Langer - 1982
    Something to add to the ships history is the fact that the ship was the first to land in Lebanon and that later the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Sergeant major of the Marine Corps visited us after we delivered or human cargo in Europe.
Brian Neuman - MARG 1972
    My name is Brian Neuman and I live in Seattle,WA. I believe I was on the first Med float that 1188 particpated in. I was a Corporal with Co. A, 2nd Amtrac Bn stationed at Court House Bay, Camp LeJune, North Carolina. We boarded the 1188 in twilight in Febuary of 1972 for a 6 month deployment to the Med. I remember the ship being brand new and the crew, along with the small contingent of Marines cleaning our quarters and the tank deck where our tracks were stored, relentlessly. I guess what is kind of unigue is the fact, that our tractors were P-5's, most of which had seen service in Vietnam. We were the last operational P-5 unit to operate in the Med and on the USS Saginaw 1188. Just this week I had lunch with a shipmate that was in my unit, we hadn't seen each other since I left the service in 72, 29 years ago. I gave him a pristine 1188 blue cap and the offical Navy photo of the ship that I purchased on board so many years ago. Most of the dents around the ramp and tank deck were put there by my unit since the P-5's had all steel tracks and at 32 tons were very awkard and hard to steer. The ships crew and the Marines on board actually got along fairly well, since we were one platoon, along with a mortar sguad. This is my memory of the 1188.
M.(Augie) Pabon - MARG '72
    We arrived at Genoa, Italy to resupply ship's store. For those who never been there, imagine a narrow channel leading to the docks, merchant vessels docked on both sides. We got in just fine,the problem was getting out. What I don't recall is taking on a pilot. As it was a bright sunny day, manuevering orders were being given from the signal deck. Departure began in reverse to reach an area to turn around. Gradually turning using the bow thruster and with engines in reverse, we barely missed toppling the mast of a merchant vessel. That wasn't our only problem, with engines still in reverse, the screws began kicking up sludge onto a nearby roadway. We were running aground, so the order for all engines ahead full was given and now what we had in front of was the superstructure of that same merchant vessel. Never in my life had I seen merchant sailors with such happy feet as we plowed into the superstructure with the derrick arm pushing the ladder leading to the upper deck right thru the bulkhead. We left our P.R. officer behind to take care of business, as we were on a time schedule.
Kent Broome - Snowy Beach '71
    Enjoyed Augies story of the "Mud the Streets". I was on the helm that day with Capt. Brown. One time we took on Marines in Moorehead City and headed up to Maine to do this gig called Operation Snowy Beach. Big amphibious landing exercise and colder than hell. The wind chill factor was -46 degrees F. At the conclusion of this big landing, the Marines were coming back to the ship and the seas start to kick up. The ship is at anchor and starts to pitch. The stern gate starts rising and falling and the track vehicles are having a devil of a time getting on the ramp and inside. The small boats were having a hard time getting the lifting hooks in as the seas were up to about 10-15 feet. We finally get underway and for the next day or so, we're in 40-50 ft seas. The track vehicles broke loose in the vehicle bay and we had to throw shoring timbers between them to stop them from hammering back and forth. All the Sea Bee vehicles griped down on the deck were literally distroyed. The poor Marines in the forward birthing areas were so sick. A main beam in the compartment next to the ships store cracked in half. I was on the helm when we took a 40 degree roll and I didn't think she was coming back up. Merkel's eyes were like saucers! I had a duty belt on and was tied to the helm. Needless to say, we were all glad when the seas calmed down and we steamed safetly back into Little Creek. Merkel, Crosby, Hadley, Helms, Pabon, Haney, you guys remember that one?

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