Subject: Incident in New York

Written: 25 July 1996

By: Paul E. Coggins


I just received the “Now Hear This” and I certainly enjoy reading what’s going on with the old shipmates.  I’m enclosing a check to help pay the postage and other expenses to produce the great newsletter.

I will not get to make the reunion as I have had a bad year.  I will be completing chemo treatments in September and hopefully will be cleared of most of the cancer.  It has been a rough year.

I have an incident that happened aboard the Savannah while tied up in New York.  I think it was on a Sunday morning.  We had just received the SC 1 scout planes aboard sometime before that.  The airdales wanted to put one on the starboard catapult.  Flight Quarters was sounded and the plane handlers went to their stations.  We lifted the plane and set it on the saddle on the catapult, and supposedly the V-Div. personnel secured it down.  We secured and I had gone forward to after head.  One of the seamen came running in and said “Boats that plane just fell over the side.”  When the mechanic turned the engine over the vibration flipped it over.

Immediately a crowd gathered around to see what had happened.  Our Boatswain Ozzie Ahlwardt immediately took over.  A group of officers gathered giving suggestions.  Ozzie told them if they would clear the fantail we’d get the plane aboard.  After doing a lot of jerry-rigging and a lot of patience, the plane was up righted and we hoisted it aboard.

I wanted to write about this to see if Ozzie remembers.  Ozzie taught me a lot about being a Boatswain Mate.  I was in his division from seaman recruit to Boatswain Mate 1, until he made Warrant.  This is just one of the exciting times in the good old 5th Div.  Thanks a lot Ozzie.

Paul E. Coggins