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    Re: Stadimeter
    From: Peter Hollings
    Date: 2012 May 24, 09:19 -0700

    I was highligned from the USS Diamond Head (an ammo ship) to the USS Boston (heavy cruiser)in the Gulf of Tonkin in the summer of 1967. It was quite an experience as the sea swells are amplified as they reflect off the two ships hulls and I was riding over all that activity. Some further trivia: There is a Bernoulli Effect that tends to pull the sterns of the two ships together; thus, the two ships actually have to carry a little bit of helm as if they were pointing toward each other's bow. The messenger line which Byron mentions is used to pull successively larger lines across. This works up to a line of about 2" in diameter. The actual cargo, whether it be pallets of ammo, food, etc. in cargo nets, a person (wearing a lifejacket) riding in a chair, or a hose (about 6" in diameter)to deliver fuel is suspended on pulleys from this 2" line. For reasons of safety, all the lines are handled by hand (as opposed to an electric winch which might fail). My recollection is there might be 50 or more personnel straining on the overhead 2" line, alternately pulling in line as the ships closed on each other, or releasing it as the ships moved apart. A second crew was required to pull the cargo across. This was an all hands operation, i.e., there were no off-watch people sleeping, etc. To maintain maximum combat readiness, we re-armed or refueled nearly every day. This was quite a hardship for the crew because for the rest of the time watches ran on a port and starboard basis and off-watch time was a precious opportunity to sleep.

    The navigation officer's courses that I took were at Dam Neck, VA. As I recall, there were a series of courses: rules of the road, piloting, celestial, etc., and the entire series took about a month.

    Peter Hollings
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