From: Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Hey, U235, as can be seen in my avatar photo, good old CV-66 was my first, and only ship as well. 89 - 93 with the air wing in AIMD. God Bless the USA!
I was air department ship’s crew 79-82 and 85-89. Transferred near the beginning of the 89 Med cruise in Rota, just after the explosion in the forward JP-5 pump room. Lost two fellow AB's in the fire. Ironically, I had just walked past the trunk hatch on the forward mess deck 5 minutes earlier. The explosion shot flames from the 8th deck up to the 03 level. Slept in the hanger bay for 3 days until the berthing was repair and power returned. They initially thought the hull was breached due to seawater leaking in, but it turned out to be a ruptured seawater main. Sadly, it wasn't uncommon to lose one or more crew members on deployments back then. Much improved now, but still dangerous environment. Later when onto tours with USS Eisenhower and USS Kearsarge. Got to preform duties as AV-8 Harrier launch officer on the latter which was a hoot. I hear those F-35's practically launch and land vertically by themselves.
If I remember correctly, that pump room explosion was the second day out. My very first time at sea and quite an eye opening experience! Being SeaOpDet in AIMD, my berthing was on the 01 level and my shop was on the 02 level, including the forward mezzanine in the hanger bay. We slept on the mezzanine for those couple of days.
It sounds like we were shipmates for about 2 weeks before Rota.
"Good times will set you free" - Jimmy Buffett
"They need more rum punch" - Me
Artwork by The Amazing Dixie