USS Enterprise.

On April 28, 1983, USS Enterprise arrived in San Francisco after an eight-month deployment.
The aircraft carrier came up short, however, running aground a few thousand feet from its berth.
Some 3,000 family members watched as Enterprise’s 4,500 sailors tried to dislodge it.

Homecoming for a naval vessel is a huge deal. After months at sea, the ship’s crew don their sharpest uniforms and stand on deck to catch a glimpse of their loved ones before they dock and are finally reunited.

Homecomings were an even bigger deal in the days before email, phones, and video calls were more common aboard ships. Imagine, then, the frustration felt by sailors and family members alike when a ship ran aground right before it docked. That was the situation for the crew and family of the USS Enterprise in 1983.

Launched in 1960, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), was America’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. A technological marvel for the time, she served with distinction during the Vietnam War and survived a catastrophic fire in 1969 that killed 27 sailors and injured 314 more.

USS Enterprise sails under the Golden Gate Bridge as it returns from an eight-month deployment in April 1983.

In 1982, Enterprise made her 10th WESTPAC deployment. The ship sailed an eight-month tour before returning to San Francisco in April 1983.

The carrier sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge at dawn. Enterprise was steered into port by a civilian pilot, but was turned back over to the hands of a Navy pilot before she ran aground.

At about 9:30 a.m. on April 28, the 90,000-ton ship missed the edge of a 400-yard wide, 40-foot deep ship channel while maneuvering through the morning overcast and wind. Enterprise was stuck on a sandbar just 1,000 yards from her berthing.

4,500 sailors and 3,000 family members could now just see each other, but were still far from being reunited. “It was a real drag, being so close and yet so far,” recalled Capt. Jack McAuley, “We couldn’t do anything but sit around and grin and bear it.”

—U.S. Naval Institute (@NavalInstitute) April 28, 2022

The ship’s skipper, Capt. Robert J. Kelly, sprung the crew into action to dislodge the carrier. In an effort to shift the ship’s center of balance, the crew assembled on the port side of the flight deck. Nine military and civilian tug boats joined the effort to free Enterprise.

After …read more

Source:: Business Insider

      

39 years ago, a US Navy aircraft carrier ran aground as thousands of sailors’ families watched

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *