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I feel not a person but an instrument of destiny.-- Charles DeGaulle
Collision at Kwajalein8261 Reads
Immediately after the Battle of Kwajalein, the sailors aboard the USS Washington received orders to fuel the destroyers. After fueling the destroyers, dusk turned into the blackest of nights. Tired and battle-weary, I began to look for a place to sleep on the main deck but was unable to because several sailors were putting away the fueling gear. Finally, I had to resort to my own bunk over #4 machinery space. The temperature was about 110 degrees causing me to fall asleep fast.
Unknown to the USS Washington, the USS Indiana was told to take a fueling position and proceeded to do so in the black of the night with no running lights. While the Washington was sailing at 22 knots, the Indiana cut in front of the bow of the Washington! The Officers of the Washington deck suddenly spotted her and gave the Washington the orders- "full speed astern"- to back up the ship. The Washington hit the Indiana in mid-ship, crawling up onto the deck of the Indiana with our bow sliding all the way aft to the right. This resulted in knocking off the fire control directer off of the Indiana's #3 turret with a hard right rudder and then we slid back into the sea.
Note: by Francis E. Tellier, EM 3/C - E Div.
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