DD 984 (Spruance class)
DOL now has an associate webmaster handling all pages and E-mails concerning the Spruance class. His name is Mark Roberts
March 20, 2005
I was attached to HS-12, which was part of the airwing embarked in USS Midway (CV-41). Anyway, during Desert Storm, I was detached to the USS Leftwich. I was an Aircrewman/Rescue Swimmer.
While flying combat missions from the Leftwich, we conducted three major combat rescues, deployed SEALS into combat operations, captured the primary Iraqi oil export terminal, captured an island (the first peice of Kuwati soil liberated and the only territory liberated/captured by the Navy), Chased down and captured 4 Iraqi secret police members at the end of the war, and discovered and destroyed several floating mines.
We also participated in the SAR mission for the AC-130 that was shot down. We found the wreckage, but no survivors, a few hundred yards from the beach, and came under fire.
We were also on the ship when a seaman on the 'bowchair' (my name for it....) discovered a mine directly in the path of the ship, and gave the warning. The ship violently turned, nearly laying down on her side (and nearly losing our helicopter off the side!!). We watched the mine float down the side of the ship. The seaman was sumarily awarded the Navy Commendation Medal.
Anyway, the pilots and aircrew of HS-12 were amongst the most highly decorated veterans of Desert Storm. And we flew every combat mission we participated in from the deck of the USS Leftwich.
I have a number of pictures of the ship, and of the operations we conducted. I am attaching one, as I think it is highly unique: 2 SH-3H Seaking helicopters on the flight deck of the USS Leftwich. I do not know of any other time when two Seakings operated from ANY destroyer at the same time.
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