Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886725681
From: John Giacoletti <>
Subject: View of Scotland
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 1998 19:41:21 -0500
I don't know how long you have been on the list, but if you have ben
there for any time, you will know that John and I have had a series of
Probably we have a different view of Scotland...
I was in the US Navy during the cold war period of the early 1960's. The
hydrographic survey ship I was assigned to had a compliment of about 350
men. We were monitoring the Sovient nuculear tests at Novoya Zemblya in
the Barents Sea.
We were followed by Soviet subs that would surface suddenly 30-50 yards off
our bow, destroyers and minesweepers that winnowed the waste that was
tossed into the sea. Jets harrassed us in low fly bys. Every crewman wore
a little back radiation register on his dog tag chain. We were monitored
during certain periods every 45 minutes by geiger counters. Eight of the
crew couldn't handle it and had to be off loaded in Norway and flown to
Spain for general discharges.
At the termination of the mission, we were on course back to Dumfermline.
Our ship caught fire in the North Sea at night. The bosun piped General
Quarters and we were aghast not to hear "This is a drill, This is a drill."
The fire was for real and the ship was filled with thick black smoke.
There was absolute quiet and no panic as we heaved out of our bunks, jumped
in our trousers and shoes and headed for our assigned fire stations.
I have never been so afraid. You could not breathe for the smoke. The
steel plates were buckling from the heat. It took nearly an hour to put
out the fires from a generator that was near an air handler and a little
longer for the smoke to clear before an all clear was sounded and we were
released from our battle stations. I was a radarman, assigned to the 4th
deck of the superstructure. I went out on deck.
I saw the coast of Scotland. There were lines of fishing boats heading to
sea from Aberdeen. You could see the curve of the harbor and the dim
twinkling of city lights. I felt peace and reassurance. I have loved
Scotland since that time. That is my view of Scotland and it is the one
that matters to me.