Grounding of the Southwind
by RM2 Ralph Breschini (July 1967 to July 1968)
25,000 miles from home the ship hit a pinnacle and started taking on water .......
SOUTHWIND departed the Coast Guard Yard, Baltimore, Maryland for "Operation Deep Freeze 68" on 16 November, 1968 with CAPT S. R. Dolber, Commanding Officer. The radio gang of "NMBT" Southwind‘s international call sign] was: ENS Hipkiss, Communications Officer; RMC Roesing, RM-in-Charge; RM1 Wedge; RM1 Ritchie; RM2 Breschini; RM2 Alberly; RM3 Banke; RM3 Dolazal; and one other RM3 whose name escapes me at this time.
I had an additional duty, Postal Clerk, with a fully commissioned post office on board.
SOUTHWIND was loaded with tons of food, 3.2 beer for "Happy Hour," a ship‘s store full of smokes, goodies and movies for many hours of good entertainment. What else could one need for a cruise to the bottom of the world?
Our first stop was the Naval Weapons Station in Yorktown, Virginia where cargo and ammunition were loaded aboard. Then, on to Craney Island in the Elizabeth River for fuel to the tune of 420,700 gallons, with an additional 11,858 gallons of JP-5 fuel. One more stop at Norfolk, where two HU-2B Navy helicopters were flown aboard and made ready for sea in the hangar on the flight deck.