Making wake starboard is Tactical Radio Voice Call "MUSTANG" or Coral Maru as we who sailed aboard affectionately called her. My duty began as a crew member in May 1967 at the San Francisco Naval Shipyard, CA, while she was in dry dock undergoing hull repairs. Home port was NAS Alameda, CA, across the bay from San Francisco where the ship was adopted as San Francisco's Own. As a ship's company sailor in the Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department (AIMD) I lived aboard and worked in the avionics shops on active duty until October 1969.
While in the shipyard, major hull and systems repairs and upgrades required sea trials to prove the ship can perform at the level needed. Preparation for deployment included a series of aircraft evaluations. Air Department flight deck crew training prepares men for their dangerous jobs ensuring operational readiness. The Engineering Department below deck crew maintain all shipboard systems needed for this floating city airfield. When the air wing, crew and the ship achieved an adequate level of fleet readiness, we were certified ready to deploy for combat operations.
I was aboard for her 6th and 7th WESPAC deployments participating in her 3rd and 4th Vietnam Combat Cruises in the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea, also the Sea of Japan off the coast of North Korea; campaign awards starboard.
Carrier Air Wing Fifteen (CVW 15) was aboard during both these crusies. After the Tet Offensive in February 1968, we steamed from warm tropical waters to frigid mid-winter weather in the Sea of Japan operating off the coast of North Korea in support of the United States response to the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) crisis.
The information on this site relates to my time served aboard Ageless Warrior USS CORAL SEA – as she was Older & Bolder so too am I.
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