Sent to us by Richard Scheeder


After being reassigned from Trathen to the DesRon 19 staff I would frequently transfer to the other squadron ships to observe Quarterly exercises or perform some required inspection. Generally I would Hi –line to a tanker and wait for the ship I was to board. When she came alongside the tanker I would Hi-line from the tanker to the receiving ship. There were always some fun and games with the victim in the Hi-line chair. Especially first timers were given a ride to remember. Up, down, back and forth-- some times to music. On occasion some would have their feet dipped.


During the WestPac deployment I was aboard the USS Small waiting for a chance to get back to Turner Joy the Flagship. It was very rough. and early in the morning when the two ships approached. However the CO of the Small felt it was too rough to attempt a Hi-line. There was an island a few hours away and the decision was made to try to get in the lee of the island and try a Hi-line in that area. When we got in the lee of the island it was better –but only slightly. The concern was that the crew controlling the hi-line would not be able to maintain their footing with the sea washing the main deck.


A line was fired between the Small and Turner Joy and I went to the Hi-line station on Small. When the Hi-line was passed it was obvious there was at least some difficulty maintaining control. The CO of Small came to the Hi-line station and said it was my call to go ahead or abort. He said he would support any decision I made. I really needed to get back to Turner Joy for some other commitments that were upcoming. There was no bravery involved in this decision. It was based solely on a FEAR of NOT getting back to Turner Joy.


The chair came over and I set my butt down and secured the safety strap. With a sharp jerk I was airborne suspended from the hi-line. Things were going well until I neared the Turner Joy. Suddenly the line slacked and the chair dropped toward the sea. Either the ships were having trouble keeping station or the hi-line crew had a problem or both. The line became so slack that the chair headed into the side of the Turner Joy and drifted aft. I extended my feet to try to fend off of the hull.  I became afraid that I would drop into the sea and be dragged along the side of the ship into the propellers. I decided that I would abandon the chair and take my chances in the water away from the Hi-line. It was actually a bad decision but resulted in a unique event. As I flipped the safety strap open the Hi-line tightened with a snap and raised me back to deck level. At that same time my body was ejected from the chair in sling shot fashion. I flew through the air over the life line—to be caught in the arms of the Turner Joy’s Chief Bosun—just like a mother holds a baby. I looked up and thanked him profusely.


Turner Joy’s Co called me to the Bridge. He told me I had best never do that again. I told him that on Small Capt. Weare was the boss, On the Turner Joy I knew he (Capt Coe) was the boss. I declared that anywhere in between I was the boss.