Monday, January 06, 2014

The Night Russian Invaded Lakehurst, New Jersey

One of these ships in the J.K. TAUSSIG.**

From July 10, 1963 to early-mid August, about a month,  I was stationed at the Charleston Naval Yards.  One day my orders came in  without notice I  was to leave immediately.  I was to report to the USS J.K. TAUSSIG docked at Lakehurst, New Jersey, immediately.  I was given a commercial plane ticket to Philadelphia and  a bus ticket from Philadelphia to Lakehurst.  

When I arrived at the Philadelphia airport  I realized that the airport was five or more miles from downtown Philadelphia where the bus station was.  I had very little money.  My fare to get to the bus station cost me almost all my money.  I only had pocket change left, less than a dollar.

But I got there!  To the gate of NAS Lakehurst, New Jersey.    At the gate was a two story building which housed security,  brig, SP Barracks, and so on*.  The duty officer and duty PO was also there.

I got out of the bus, and carried the duffle bag into the building as the bus pulled off.  I gave the Chief behind the counter  my orders.  He looked them over and laughed.  He turned around to the Duty Officer and showed him my orders.  The Officer smiled and shook his head.

I asked what was wrong.  One of them  me  there was one minor problem.  I was assigned  to the ship USS J.K. TAUSSIG but it wasn't there.  In fact, there were no ships there.  They had no dock.  They were 15 miles inland.


It was after dark.  They tried making a few phone calls to get some kind of clarification but people who made those kind of decisions  work from 9 to 5.  They had the duty driver carry me to the Main Enlisted Barracks .  I was assigned a bunk in large room.   It was a big bay of double bunks.   I had no idea where in the room it was, being led to it by flashlight.

In the middle of the night I had a dream.  The dream was in the barracks I slept in when I was in Charleston only a day earlier.  We were being attacked.  The dream took my present sitting and added  Russian planes flying between building shooting all life.  I ran out of the building (in my dream) and saw a Russian plane headed straight towards me with guns rat-tat-tat.  I ran in and shut to door to figure what to do next (in my dream)...  then two men in casual clothes walked in.  Obliviously, they were out drinking.  They were helpful and bringing me back to reality and helping me find my bunk.... even if they helped me with a smirk on their face, the bottom line they were helpful.

That morning in the chow hall I saw the same two men.   They were sitting a few tables over and  were talking and looking at me.  And occasionally the y would share with another friend, tell a  friend and then they both looked over at me.... embarrassing.   But, I just had to live with that.

However,  I stayed on and became friends with the two .  About 3 months later I rode with them as far as North Carolina, on my way home to pick up my car.

*I know so much about the Security Building by the main gate because I was assigned  with Security for a few  I was assigned there as their clean-up man.  Up on the second level was sleeping quarters for the single SPs and the head security officer, a Commander by the name of Fisher.    The sleeping quarters were several rooms.  There were enough rooms to go around that I had my own bedroom.   Also, I wandered around for that period and did what I wanted, nobody cared what I did as long as there were no mess.

** Interesting, when I  Googled to get a picture of the U.S.S. TAUSSIG this was among the pictures to representing the ship and was surprised to see this picture in the picture of the search.  I was surprised because I took this picture of this distant cousin at a Hunter Reunion in Blairsville, Georgia, about six years ago.  I used this picture in one of my "Small World" articles.  At the reunion he and I were talking and we realized we were both on the U.S.S. NEWPORT NEWS at the same time.  He was a Marine and I was with the helicopter crew.  I'm sure, in that blog, I mentioned the oddity of me being assigned to the TAUSSIG docked at Lakehurst, New Jersey, 15 miles inland.

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