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Remembering Turret 2


If you are near San Pedro tomorrow, stop by the museum ship USS Iowa where they will be having their annual Turret 2 Remembrance ceremony.

One of the worst peacetime accidents in modern Naval history, the turret explosion occurred in the Number Two 16-inch gun turret on 19 April 1989, claiming 47 lives. 


Michael Shannon Justice, Seaman (SN), Matewan, WV
Edward J. Kimble, Seaman (SN), Ft. Stockton, TX
Richard E. Lawrence, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Springfield, OH
Richard John Lewis, Fire Controlman, Seaman Apprentice (FCSA), Northville, MI
Jose Luis Martinez Jr., Seaman Apprentice (SA), Hidalgo, TX
Todd Christopher McMullen, Boatswains Mate 3rd class (BM3), Manheim, PA
Todd Edward Miller, Seaman Recruit (SR), Ligonier, PA
Robert Kenneth Morrison, Legalman 1st class (LN1), Jacksonville, FL
Otis Levance Moses, Seaman (SN), Bridgeport, CN
Darin Andrew Ogden, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Shelbyville, IN
Ricky Ronald Peterson, Seaman (SN), Houston, MN
Mathew Ray Price, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Burnside, PA
Harold Earl Romine Jr., Seaman Recruit (SR), Brandenton, FL
Geoffrey Scott Schelin, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GMG3), Costa Mesa, CA
Heath Eugene Stillwagon, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Connellsville, PA
Todd Thomas Tatham, Seaman Recruit (SR), Wolcott, NY
Jack Ernest Thompson, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Greeneville, TN
Stephen J. Welden, Gunners Mate 2nd class (GM2), Yukon, OK
James Darrell White, Gunners Mate 3rd class (GM3), Norwalk, CA
Rodney Maurice White, Seaman Recruit (SR), Louisville, KY
Michael Robert Williams, Boatswains Mate 2nd class (BM2), South Shore, KY
John Rodney Young, Seaman (SN), Rockhill, SC
Reginald Owen Ziegler, Senior Chief Gunners Mate (GMCS), Port Gibson, NY

A dream no more

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO's Via Shipspotting

Irish Warship L.É. AISLING, 2006 armed with Bofors L70 40mm & 20mm GAMBO’s Via Shipspotting

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Btw.

Named after a style of visionary dream poem, the former Irish Navy’s Emer-class 1,000-ton offshore patrol vessel LÉ Aisling (P23) will be put up for auction at the Carrigaline Court Hotel on March 23rd where Cork auctioneer Dominic Daly will seek to obtain the best price for the State for the ship.

One of four Irish Naval Services ships to be built at Verolme Cork Dockyard (and the last greyhull to leave that yard), LÉ Aisling commissioned in 1980 and was stricken last June after over 35 years of service.

Armed with a single 40mm Bofors L70, a couple of 20mm GAMBO cannon and some 7.62mm GPMGs, Aisling made a name for herself in a running battle with the Spanish fishing trawler Sonia (330-tons) in 1984, firing 600~ rounds in warning shots while the Spanish vessel attempted repeatedly to ram. Sonia later sank after Aisling broke contact.

The same year she captured the trawler Marita Ann, sailing with 160 guns (including some stolen M2 Brownings via National Guard armories) and 71,000 rounds of ammo aboard rumored to have been sent to the IRA by connections of Whitey Bulger.

She also responded to the Air India Flight 182 disaster and others lost at sea.

The 214-foot Aisling reportedly put in 628,856 nautical miles in her 35 years and thought was given to making her a museum ship, though that has apparently fallen through.

She is the last of her class in Ireland.

Class leader LÉ Emer (P21) commissioned into the Nigerian Navy as a training ship and renamed NNS Prosperity in 2015 after a Nigerian businessman’s scheme to use her as a personal yacht fell through. Sister LÉ Aoife (P22) was donated to Malta in 2015 to help that country pluck migrant refugees from the Med. The half-sister and prototype to the Emer-class, the one-off Deirdre (P20), was stricken in 2003 and, after a career as a yacht, was scrapped in Florida in 2014.

Somewhere, Mr. Clark is disappointed

This may surprise you, but as a kid, I was a huge Tom Clancy junkie. No, really. I really dug Clear and Present Danger in 1989, when I was just a high school freshman, and thought the international man of mystery, CIA direct action guy and former NSWG type “John Clark” was about as good as it got without going full-on Mack Bolan.

When the film came out in 1994 (which didn’t do it justice) actor Willem Dafoe played Clark, which I thought was a good choice, and when Clark got boots on the ground in the film in Colombia with that snazzy OA-93 5.56mm pistol, I thought the weapon was a great fit.

That OA-93, though.

That OA-93, though.

Manufactured by Washington-based Olympic Arms, the OA-93 was one of the first reliable AR-pattern pistols that didn’t have a huge buffer tube. It was a trendsetter

Well ladies and germs, after generations in the AR-15 and 1911 business, Olympia, Washington-based Olympic Arms announced last week they will be closing their doors next month.

“After more than 40 years of business, it is with great sorrow that we announce that February 28th, 2017 will be the last day of operation for Olympic Arms, Inc,” noted the company on social media.

The sad run down over in my column at

Museum ships don’t age well

Constructed of steel by the lowest bidder, warships have a finite lifespan, especially when semi-preserved as museum ships.

In Florida, Palm Beach County Commissioners voted to use $1 million in funds to jump-start a project to sink the Balao-class submarine USS Clamagore (SS-343) about a mile off the coast of Juno Beach. She is the only known surviving example of a GUPPY type submarine

According to the Sun Sentinel, the WWII submarine has been at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum near Charleston, S.C. since 1981 and needs a $6 million refirb to keep her there, and annual upkeep of $250,000. Turning her into a reef is cheaper.

In South Korea, the Gearing-class destroyer ex-USS William R. Rush (DD-714), transferred in 1978 under the terms of the Security Assistance Program as ROKS Kang Won (DD-922), arrived at Busan Dadaepo port for dismantling last month after 16 years as a pier-side museum ship.


Rush, soon to be recycled.

This leaves Eversole, Everett Larson, Sarsfield, Rogers, Orleck, and J. P. Kennedy of that class still afloat.

Meanwhile, in Bremerton, the museum ship USS Turner Joy (DD-951) is set to get an $800,000 spruce up in dry dock. A Forrest Sherman-class destroyer decommissioned in 1982, Turner Joy gave a lot of hard service in Vietnam and can use the TLC. (Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)

(Photo: Meegan M. Reid / Kitsap Sun)

The final ride of the Illustrious

Britain’s last “Harrier Carrier” ex-HMS Illustrious (R06), the fifth warship and second flattop to bear the name in the Royal Navy since 1789, had been courted by three different cities in the UK for use as a floating museum ship in the past couple years. Alas, that was not to be.

She was the oldest ship in the Royal Navy’s active fleet when she was paid off 28 August 2014 after 32 years’ service and will not be replaced until HMS Queen Elizabeth is formally commissioned in May 2017.

The only operational aircraft carrier in the British fleet, she lost her fixed wing air arm when the MoD retired the Harrier fleet in 2006 and served as an LPH after that, only operating helicopters. The last of the 1980- era Invincible-class of 20,000-ton harrier-carriers, she was to be kept as a museum ship but that fell through and the Crown sold her to the Turks for £2 million.

“Rusty Lusty” left Portsmouth for the breakers this week following a career spanning 900,000 miles.


Godspeed, Col. Glenn

149 combat missions in WWII and Korea, splashed  3 MiGs, picked up 6 DFCs and 18 Air Medals. Also did some space stuff.

149 combat missions in WWII and Korea, splashed 3 MiGs, picked up 6 DFCs and 18 Air Medals. Also did some space stuff.

He wasn’t sure whether the flaming debris was the rocket pack or the heat shield breaking up. “Fortunately,” he told an interviewer,“ it was the rocket pack – or I wouldn’t be answering these questions.”

Holy milsurp crap, Batman

A couple months back, one of the largest military surplus outfits since Bannermans shut its doors– SAMCO, leaving a huge cache or rare and hard to find guns, ammo and gear up for grabs. How large? Well the auction inventory ran 475 pages.

While some of their impossible to find vintage ammo in exotic calibers made it to Old West Scrounger such as .303 Kynoch loads, 30-06 Iranian marked with the Shah’s headstamp, and Dog Bone boxed .45 ACP, other items have gone round the world.

The thing is, the reason why a lot of the crap was left over at SAMCO, left to rust away and molder, was that it was just junk. The truth was, in a lot of cases they had already sold the good stuff.

Case in point, Precise Shooter bought a lot of 55 SAMCO Spanish Mausers, and when they got them found they were largely unshootable with bad wood, mismatched parts, cockeyed sights, terrible headspacing, etc.

Here is an image:

Many handguards seem to not match the rifles on which they were installed, and were crudely jammed into the rifles, resulting in bent and sometimes broken metal housing...

Many handguards seem to not match the rifles on which they were installed, and were crudely jammed into the rifles, resulting in bent and sometimes broken metal housing…

From PS:

All in all, of the 20 7x57mm Mausers and 35 7.62NATO Mausers that I bought, only one 7×57 and two 7.62 rifles did not have some disabling defect which would make it possible for me to sell it – and most had more than one problem (for instance, both dangling rear sights and incorrect headspace were present in almost every 7.62 rifle).

Read more of the horrors here, and be warned about any milsurp that suddenly comes on the market in the coming months!

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