1957-1958 CRUISE PHOTOS
USS RANGER CVA 61
. I reported aboard in Dec 1957 directly from "A" school. I was a GFAN (Aviation Guided Missileman Airman. The V5 Division was a part of the Air Department. The division included Aviation Ordinancemen (AO's), Aviation Fire Control Technicians (AQ's), and Aviation Guided Missilemen (GF's). In 1958 a reorganization took place and the AQ's were assigned to V-6 Division and the rest us were assigned to the Gunnery Department. The GF's were assigned to GM Division. A bunch of Airedales assigned to the Gunnery Department had a pretty rough time for awhile. In November 1958 two enlisted men, one an AQ and one a GF nearly sank the Ranger off the coast of California. She had just finished yard work at Hunter's Point Shipyard in San Francisco. First day at sea after taking on ammo during the day these two guys, about midnight, broke into a black powder magazine. I believe the space was on the 6th deck just below the forward special weapon storage. They made a spark and 300 pounds of black powder went off. The only hatch they had closed was the scuttle hatch on the second deck. The blast blew out all of the surrounding compartments, ballast, fuel oil, everything flooded into the space. The ship shook so hard the bridge thought we had a collision, so the collision alarm was sounded (at midnight). Then GQ was sounded. It was hours before the two men were reported missing. There was a real big investigation, Navy CID, FBI everybody! My first daughter was born in November 1958 and I was home on Emergency Leave at this time. They interviewed everybody in the division about the two guys. Never found out what they were doing in that magazine. But I lost two good friends that night. Don't know if you had ever heard the story or not.