Thursday, February 21, 2008

Origin of the Name

Navy Warships have a secondary mission, or at least they used to, back in the Cold War. The mission was called "Naval Gunfire Support", or "NGFS." That is using the guns on a warship to act as artillery support for the Marines ashore. The Navy used to train at doing NGFS at the gunnery range at Vieques, until the Navy was forced to close the range. The only USN ships in the Atlantic Fleet that never made a visit to Vieques were those without guns or airplanes.

The Navy also did procedures training, where data lines would be hooked up to a van alongside the pier. The crews in the Combat Information Center and in Gun Plot would then run drills, receiving radio and radar inputs from the instructors running the simulation in the van. Other than not rolling as the ship turned and not shuddering as the guns fired, the simulations were pretty much what one would see when shooting for real.

Except, that is, for the targets that were called in. Besides the standard ones of "trucks/troops/tanks in open", one of the goofy targets used was "babies in open." It was just sick humor, and the shells called for, unsurprisingly, would be Willy Peter, also known as White Phosphorous. Which is nasty stuff (look it up).

That's the reason for the name of this blog.

The majority of the posts will be a look back to the Cold War Navy.


Bustednuckles said...

Learn something every day if ya pay attention, so that's where it came from,.

Starsplash said...

I do miss those Iowa Class Battle ships. Got a chance to tour the Missouri when it was in Bremerton.

virgil xenophon said...

Was an I-Corps FAC (O-2) and took the I-Corps NGLO along for quite a few fire msns near the DMZ in 67/68 where he would call the fall of shot. Had the honor of working a fire msn with the last 3-ship rocket LST gaggle in the Navy inventory before they were retired shortly thereafter as well as a few with the Iowa and even NJ plus assorted DDs and CL/CAs(?) (Of course I was only the taxi driver. :) )

Comrade Misfit said...

"Only the taxi driver"..... not hardly. Slow FACs had large ones.

Only quibble: Iowa wasn't reactivated for Vietnam. Only New Jersey was.

virgil xenophon said...

The quibble? Must be senility kicking in as @age 72 I slowly fossilize :) (couldn't consult old log-books which were lost in Hurricane Katrina) or the hallucinatory effects of my daily intake of "mass quantities" of my fave retirement drink: "Haitian Rhum" Barbancourt 5-Star. :)

(Sorry--I'm usually a stickler for memory really MUST be could have put me on the witness stand and I would have SWORN that I had worked the Iowa as well.. :) )