USS Saratoga Decklog.


There are 2911 entries in 122 pages and you are on page number 17

Decklog by Byron N. Estes on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 11:39 This was my response to Mr.Harry Stolberg.
I'll do my best to relate to you the events of that morning as I know them. About 0200 of 1/23/61 they sounded the fire alarm and said there was a fire in # 2 boiler space and declared that this was NOT a drill. By time I got dressed and out of the berthing space the passageway was already filled with smoke. I need to say here that I was assigned to repair 5 for fire duty. We had the equipment and training to fight just this kind of fire. However, repair 5 locker was located right outside the door leading to # 2 boiler space, we could not get to it because of the smoke & heat. The air group people were getting the planes off the ship as fast as they could and I, and anyone else not directly involved with fighting the fire, was ordered to the hangerbays to assist in pushing the planes onto the elevators. Now to what I know about the seven men that we lost. First, the young man Cusick BT-3. As you know there was an escape trunk in the control room. I was told that he was the last one into the escape trunk and he got almost to the top and got overcome by smoke and fell all the way back down. then there was the young man that died in the switchroom one deck up from the mach. level. I was told he had only been aboard a matter of days. I also heard they listened to his screams as he died from the heat. There was an escape hatch in the corner of the switchroom but he didn't know it was there. ( WHY was this kid on watch by himself ?? ) Then there was the Chief that died fighting the fire. He is the only one I personally saw as they were bringing him out of the boiler space. Terrible... As for the four officers that died I can only tell you what I was told and that was that they had turned off the P.A.system
in their rooms so they wouldn't be disturbed. By the time they knew what was happening the smoke was to much. Now for the reason I asked if the Navy had ever given an official reason for the fire. I got an E-mail from a gentleman who replied to my post and he said he had heard a gasket had been improperly installed on one of the F.O. strainers causing the oil to spray on the hot machinery. ???? As I have said, I was the only person to take care of Boiler Supply. There was a chief in charge but I seldom saw him. Just a matter of days or maybe weeks ( the time line is fuzzy ) before the fire I was given a NEW type of gaskets for the F.O. strainers and told to issue them in the future. In my opinion they were pure lead. To myself I questioned the composition of these gaskets knowing the heat they would be subjected to. Now are you ready for this ?? One day after the fire a couple of officers I had never seen before or since came to me and CONFISCATED all the remaining gaskets. This is why I have always felt the fire was the result of gasket failure and NOT human error. Of course this is just MY opinion. Hope this has shed some light on the event. Thanks for serving...... Byron ( Ronnie ) Estes

Decklog by Richard Osburn on Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 20:21 This is an e-mail I sent to Byron Estes on 5-3-2012 concerning the fire in #2MMR.
I served aboard Saratoga from Oct. '61 until Feb. '64. All my time was spent in #2MMR as a BT3/BT2. The boilermen in that space related to me the reason the fire started. (I don't know if the navy released an official reason.)
The fire started when a BT shifted fuel oil strainers. The prior watch had shifted and cleaned strainers, which was standard operating procedure. But the fellow who had cleaned the strainers failed to pressurize and check for leaks the strainer he had just cleaned.
You have to know that the fuel oil supply pressure was 1000 psi, (yes, that's one thousand!) so when the BT shifted over to a clean strainer he was sprayed with 138 degrees hot oil coming out from under an incorrectly installed cap gasket. His first instinct was to run, and that's what he did. Then his brain told him to go back and shift the fuel strainer back to the good side (the side he had just shifted from). But, before he could get back to the strainers, all the oil that had been spraying onto #2MMR ship's service turbo generator (which was less than ten feet away) exploded.
That side of the space was instantly engulfed in flames, along with the fellows in that area. My memory of the events following is a bit fuzzy. But I do remember being told that the EM in the switch board one deck up, right over the generator, was unable to escape and was killed from heat. All the ladders in the space were aluminum, as were the deck plates, and they quickly melted, so there was no way for firefighters to enter into the machinery space. The men that escaped the space did so by going up through the escape trunk that opened directly off the control booth. And one man was killed when he fell from near the top ladder rungs to the bottom of the trunk.
Hope this helps.
Richard "Ozzie" Osburn BTCM Ret.

Decklog by Billy Shafer on Wednesday, May 09, 2012 at 14:31 I heard that the MMR 2 fire was caused by a broken fuel line. I was on cold iron watch down there in 1968 Philly ship yards.Sure had some bad feelings about the space.

Decklog by bob durkiewicz on Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 20:46 was on sar 1961-1962

Decklog by bob durkiewicz on Tuesday, May 08, 2012 at 12:03 was on 196/1962

Decklog by Richard Kaminsky on Sunday, May 06, 2012 at 16:09 Served OE Division 1962-65.
Looking for friends, Ed Mally and Ray Cook
New York

Decklog by Bob McDermott on Friday, May 04, 2012 at 20:53 I was on the SARA from May 73 to Nov 76. Did the 74 -75 Med Cruise and the 76 Bi-centenial cruise to the Med. Great times! Served in Air Operations and AIMD. Went back to the reserves in 85, served with HSL-94 and VP-66 in Willow Grove Pa and retired in 2004. Great times from beginning to end!

Decklog by Harry Stolberg on Friday, May 04, 2012 at 00:27 was on the Sara from 1969 to 1973 in "B" Division. Hey Byron, I heard many stories of the ghost of 2MMR. You were there when it happened. What Happened? email me at
New York

Decklog by Byron N. Estes on Thursday, May 03, 2012 at 17:53 I was on board in 60 & 61. Was there when #2 boiler burned. We lost 7 good men that day. Doe's anyone know if the Navy ever give their official reason for the fire. I would sure be interested in hearing it. I worked in B Div. Supply while aboard. If anyone has the info I asked for please E-Mail me @ Thank you...

Decklog by Pat Hughes on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 at 17:08 For those you who wanted to know the longitude of the equator crossing on the trip back to Mayport in 1973, it was 106.32.00 E
None Given

Decklog by Pr2 Ron Jones on Wednesday, May 02, 2012 at 14:38 I served aboard the Saratoga for Desert Storm with VF 103. I worked in the PR shop and did my TAD time in the Chiefs mess...Would really like to hear from anyone that remembers me. You can reach me at

Decklog by Greg rodriguez on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 20:58 I was a PH on the Sara from 1978 - 1980.
first down in the lab, then in CVIC.
If you remember me drop me a line.

Decklog by Kerry Mills-Weishampel on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 11:02 My father Philip Mills served as a CPO on the Saratoga 60. He retired around 1965 or so. He passed away from Liver Cancer Oct 7th 1974. I was only 6 when he died. I'd love to hear from anyone who knew him.

Decklog by Dwain R Smallwood on Sunday, April 22, 2012 at 22:54 Served from 1958 to 1962 in R Div. DC2 when I got out in June 1962

Decklog by Galen Young AMS2 on Friday, April 20, 2012 at 12:36 I humbly apologize for misspelling the name of S/1C Swift Hogue who was KIA aboard CV-3 Feb. 1945.

Decklog by Joe mitchell on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 17:33 served on board Sara from 1992-1995 as a corspman.decommisned her at mayport fl
North Carolina

Decklog by Galen Young AMS2 on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:55 After 39 years of marraige to the same woman I found out her relative SWIFT HOUGE S/1C was killed in Feb. 1945 during the Jap. attack against Sara CV3.God love these men!

Decklog by John Kukta on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 12:08 hey,Piacun,Do you mean Snider,BM1?I was Aircrewman and my boss was Mickey Moran,VAH-9 Paraloft on the Port quarter.He hung out with us and even got to ride in our Plane,A3D. Also Hilton,I forgot what div. your dad was and i'll try to get a pic.

Decklog by jack groshans on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 20:39 Served on the SARA along with 2 other ships in 10 years...72-82. I will say that todays navy and I would not get along...too politically incorrect. But being as sea was fun...would do it again. My wife and I are looking forward to 1st reunion ever....anyone can contact me at

Decklog by paul g. hobbs bm3 on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 at 13:14 paul hobbs passed april,18,2012
New Jersey

Decklog by royyoung on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 13:00 Iwas in the aux space in the 60's came aboard in 65 my e-mail is I was the one who got injuried on the feed pump mishap

Decklog by young roy on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:44 I did my time on the saratoga in the 60's made their water enjoyed it;

Decklog by Billy Shafer on Friday, April 13, 2012 at 18:09 Jim I was home on a thirty day leave. Picked up a good looking date. Next morning shore patrol showed up. Escorted me to the airport. Delta gave me a first class seat. Because I was going to war. Never did understand how they found me.

Decklog by Gregory Rapier on Thursday, April 12, 2012 at 02:56 My Father served abourd the Saratoga 1943 to 1945 his name was Joesph L Rapier if anyone remembers him my mail is God Bless all of you that served.

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