(Note:In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis, Mount McKinley served as flagship for ComPhibLant and ComPhibGru 4.)
By ABCNEWS - Saturday, Oct. 27, 1962 was the most dangerous day of what may have been the most dangerous week in American history.
"Bad news kept streaming in during the day," said Ted Sorensen, a member of President John F. Kennedy's crisis team. "The worst news was that our U2 high flying reconnaissance plane for Cuba had been shot down."
Gen. Maxwell Taylor and the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged an all-out attack on Cuba, but Kennedy resisted the pressure.
No one in the Cabinet Room knew that, at the same time, U.S. destroyers were playing a perilous cat and mouse game with a Soviet submarine, Sub B-59, heading towards Cuba.
Documents released today by the National Security Archive confirm that late that Saturday afternoon, the USS Beale and the USS Cony lobbed 10 concussive grenades at Sub B-59. The American crew was unaware of the Soviet's secret payload.
"It felt like you were sitting in an empty barrel and somebody's constantly beating it with a stick," said Vadim Orlov, an intelligence officer aboard Sub B-59.
The American crew was unaware that the Soviet sub was carrying nuclear weapons.
"I don't think we even speculated that they were nuclear armed because our ships were not," said Capt. John Peterson, who was deck officer on the USS Beale.
Grenades Almost Triggered Nuclear Strike
The grenades were designed to scare the sub to surface. Instead, they almost triggered a nuclear strike. As Orlov recounts, his commander, Valentine Savitsky, lost his composure.
"The situation was becoming so difficult that Commander Savitzky was extremely stressed out and at one point decided to assemble the nuclear torpedo," Orlov told ABCNEWS. "When that order was given, we realized that if the nuclear weapons were used it would have meant death for every one of us."
And death for maybe millions more. U.S. war plans called for a nuclear response to any nuclear strike and official documents also released today reveal that the Pentagon already had depth charges on Guantanamo that were ready to be armed with nuclear warheads.
"Both sides would have gone up that nuclear ladder of escalation very quickly and very soon there would be nothing left," said Sorensen.
Cooler heads prevailed and the nuclear torpedo was disarmed. "Commander Savitsky just calmed down," said Orlov.
That gave President Kennedy time to send his brother, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, to Russian Ambassador Anatoly Dobrinyn with a secret deal for Khrushchev: If Soviet missiles were removed from Cuba, U.S. missiles would later be removed from Turkey.
Sunday morning, Radio Moscow reported that Khrushchev would dismantle the missiles. And President Kennedy went to church.
There were no landings in Cuba that October, but Amphibious AGC's have participated in all aspects of landings around the world throughout troubled times. We've found written details about one such landing in World War II in the pacific where AGC's directed the fighter planes involved. Read about a CIC (Combat Information Center) Operation in an AGC during the landings at Iwo Jima.... the story mentions the Eldorado and the Auburn, two of our sister ships.
For the Month October in History ..
10/01/1934 - Adolph Hitler expands German army & navy & creates an air force, violating Treaty of Versailles
10/01/1963 - USS Mt McKinley AGC-7 - In October 1962, during the Cuban Missile crisis, Mount McKinley served as flagship for ComPhibLant and ComPhibGru 4. Following the Cuban quarantine, she sailed for the Mediterranean 10 January 1963 to act as command flagship for the Amphibious Strike Force. Arriving back in Norfolk 2 August 1963, she entered Portsmouth Navy Shipyard for a FRAM 11 overhaul, extending from September to January 1964.
10/09/1958 - Israeli navy inaugrates it's 1st submarine
10/11/1573 - Battle of South Seas - Dutch rebels beat Spanish navy
10/12/1775 - US Navy forms
10/12/1942 - US navy defeats Japanese in WW II Battle of Cape Esperance
10/13/1987 - 1st military use of trained dolphins (US Navy in Persian Gulf)
10/14/1944 - USS Mt McKinley AGC-7 - She arrived off Peleliu 15 September with ComPhibGru 5 directing the landing of the lst Marine Division. She moved to nearby Ngesebus Island on 28 September to provide shore bombardment coordination. Mount McKinley left the area 14 October after Peleliu and the other main islands of the chain were secure. After a stop at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea, the navy ship sailed to San Pedro Bay, Leyte Gulf, for the assault on Leyte and Ormoc. While in San Pedro Bay, the force was under constant air attack, but the AGC was not hit.
10/19/1944 - Navy says black women can join WAVES
10/21/1797 - US Navy frigate Constitution, Old Ironsides, launched in Boston
10/27/1775 - US Navy forms
10/27/1922 - 1st commemoration of Navy Day
10/27/1953 - USS Mt McKinley AGC-7 - Mount McKinley sailed from Yokosuka and entered Mare Island Naval Shipyard 3 August 1951 for an extensive overhaul. Mount McKinley departed for WesPac, 6 March 1952, returning to the States 30 January 1953. While in Mare Island Navy Shipyard, a helicopter deck was installed on the fantail. AGC-7 sailed again, 27 October 1953, for her third tour of duty in the Korean war area, arriving Yokosuka 16 November. From then until her departure for the States 30 July 1954, she was involved in fleet and amphibious exercises off Japan, Korea, and Taiwan returning to the States on 18 August.
10/30/1775 - 1st navy in US forms
Famous Birthdays October ..
10/03/1789 - Francis Hoyt Gregory, Rear Admiral (Union Navy), died in 1866
10/13/1808 - Henry Haywood Bell, Commander (Union Navy), died in 1868
10/13/1810 - James Shedden Palmer, Commander (Union Navy), died in 1867
10/19/1901 - Arleigh A Burke, Colo, admiral (WW II, Solomon Islands, Navy Cross)
10/31/1345 - Ferdinand I, the wise one, king of Portugal (built navy)
Famous Deaths for October ..
There are no deaths matching "navy" in the archives for the month October
This is a message I received several years ago from one of our members concerning the fate of the McKinley.
"Subj: Re: Mt McKinley Date: 09/04/2002 7:13:43 PM Eastern Daylight Time From: (withheld) To: Bill Ellis Sent via email
I'm sorry I took so long to get back to you. My point of contact was out of town on vacation. My friend referred me to Ken Alt of Naval Ships in Bremerton, Washington. Ken tells me the records reflect the USS Mt. McKinley AGC-7/LCC-7 was sold in 1977 to a Scrap Metal company in Terminal Island, California. Unfortunately the ship has long since been reclaimed for root metal products! Wish I could have been able to tell you she was still alive and kicking and provided a location to view her, but alas.....
Attention on Deck for the Captains - Hand Salute
Attention on Deck for the Captains! - Hand Salute!
Graham, William M. (NG)
1 May 1944 - 20 January 1945
Gamet, Wayne Neal :RADM
20 January 1945 - 9 August 1946
Riddle, Frederick Leavenworth
9 August1946 - 2 June 1947
Ware, William Lynch
2 June 1947 - 16 October 1948
Sugnet, Lee Ferrand
16 October 1948 - 17 December 1949
Printup, Carter Alston
17 December 1949 - 18 July 1951
Chappell, Lucius Henry
18 July 1951 - 26 January 1952
Beasley, Charles Black :RADM
26 January 1952 - 25 July 1952
Norgaard, Rollo Niel :RADM
25 July 1952 - 7 April 1953
Hardin, James Thomas
7 April 1953 - 1 April 1954
1 April 1954 - 25 November 1955
Renken, Henry Algernon :RADM
25 November 1955 - 28 September 1956
Fleck, Thomas Martin
28 September 1956 - 30 October 1957
Blouin, Francis Joseph :VADM
30 October 1957 - 30 December 1958
Pittard, George Franklin :RADM
30 December 1958 - 23 December 1959
Kelly Jr., Monroe
23 December 1959 - 17 November 1960
Lauerman, Henry Conrad
17 November 1960 - 18 January 1962
Schwab Jr., Ernest Louis
18 January 1962 - March 1963
Flynn, Russell Francis
1963 - March 1964
Tuttle Jr., Louis K.
March 1964 - June 1965
Thornhill Jr., Henry Ehrman (Tim)
June 1965 - 17 August 1966
Bowling, Roland Alfred
17 August 1966 - 31 January 1968
Poorman, Herbert R.
31 January 1968 - 1969
Grause, Jerome E.
1969 - 26 March 1970
United States Ship Mount McKinley AGC-7 was the design class of ship that all of the AGC's were designed after. All were named after mountains. To see a complete list of all of the AGC ships related and almost identical to the Mt McKinley, both in looks and mission, just use our drop down menu at the top right of the page and click on 'Links'. Many of the sailors from their crews are members of our association and brothers in that we have so much in common.
What was to become the USS Mount McKinley AGC-7 was laid down, 31 July 1943, as Cyclone, a Maritime Commission type (C2-S-AJ1) hull at North Carolina Shipbuilding Co. Wilmington, N.C.
Launched, 27 September 1943
Acquired by the Navy, 27 December 1943
Converted at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Philadelphia, PA., to an Amphibious Force Command Ship (AGC)
Commissioned, USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7), 1 May 1944, CAPT. W. M. Graham in command.
Decommissioned: March 26,1970
A Presidential Memorial Certificate (PMC) is an engraved paper certificate, signed by The President of The United States, to honor the memory of honorably discharged deceased veterans.
WWII Vets living or deceased are also eligible to be listed in theWWII Registry
VA Adds Chat Feature to Online Application for Health Benefits
WASHINGTON – Veterans will find it easier and faster to apply for their health care benefits now that the Department of Veterans Affairs has enhanced and streamlined its online Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits.
This revised online application now features a chat function which will allow Veterans to receive live assistance while they are filling out the form. Additional enhancements to the process include simplification of questions relating to military service in Southeast Asia during the Gulf and in the Vietnam wars. Several additional minor enhancements make the application easier and faster for Veterans to complete.
Veterans may also contact VA at 1 (877) 222-8387 (VETS), visit the VA health eligibility Web site at https://www.va.gov/healtheligibility or apply for health care benefits at any VA medical center at https://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/home.asp with the help of a VA health care eligibility specialist.
USS Mt McKinley Association would like to introduce you to the Honor Flight Network. Honor Flight Network recognizes American veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by inviting you to fly to Washington, DC to see YOUR memorial at no cost. Top priority (for which we are currently accepting application only) is given to WW II and terminally ill veterans from all wars. Honor Flight will be expanded to include Korean and Vietnam veterans. For Honor Flight to achieve this goal, guardians fly with the veterans on every flight providing assistance and helping veterans have a safe, memorable and rewarding experience. For what you and your comrades have given to us, please consider this a small token of appreciation from all of us. For further information, please Download and mail the Honor Flight Veteran Application Here.
This site is automatically updated via database - 10/21/18 22:37:48 Mountain Time