Re: [IWAR] HISTORY Cuba had 100 Sov nucs in '62

From: Tony Dacres (aa8eiat_private)
Date: Mon May 04 1998 - 14:29:22 PDT

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    This September, the first crew reunion of USS Sellers (DDG-11) will take
    place in Charleston, SC.
    I was a Missile Fire Control petty officer on board the Sellers during the
    Cuban Blockade. The first time we stopped an inbound freighter 'possibly'
    carrying missiles, I had a good view from the excape scuttle over aft
    steering, my watch station. I was sticking my head out of the scuttle
    watching at 'deck' level.
    At first the ship failed to heed the flashing signal lamp order to stop.
    Then, in a very insightful move, the Captain ordered the forward 5 inch gun
    mount to target the bridge of the other ship. After the turret had moved, a
    search lamp was switched on, showing in plain sight of the other ship, the
    barrel pointing in no uncertain terms at the ship's bridge. Shortly
    thereafter, the other ship's exterior lights came on and she slowed to a
    halt. The inspection revealed no untoward cargo.
    I have wondered just what we would have done HAD there been nukes aboard
    her. There WERE nukes aboard the SELLERS, now and then, in the form of
    anti-submarine rockets, in addition to a complement of TARTAR
    surface-to-air missles and a pair of 5 inch gun.
    My job, under battle conditions, placed me in the computer room at exactly
    the Sellers' center of gravity. On each side were fuel tanks and machinery.
    Above was a crew compartment. I was amidships and behind at least three
    shut and locked down hatches, before having a chance to get outside. With
    the fuel tanks so close, a 'hit' amidships would have unhappy consequences
    for the four of us in Missile Plot!
    The fact was that field commanders in the Cuban Army were reported, several
    years ago in news and documentaries, to have authority to target in-bound
    ships such as the Sellers, had an attack or landing been attempted. We
    could have diappeared in a flash had we gotten too close to a trigger-happy
    or frightened Lieutenant.
    We stayed in Cuba, at Gitmo, for several months after the Blockade ended.
    We were doing research with the ship's weapons in the setting extant had
    such a action taking place. Viewing the Sellers as part of a landing task
    force was sobering, more so after we learned the truth recently.
    Tony Dacres
    former FTM2
    Seller Association Newsletter Editor

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