Transferring with the USS Catamount (LSD-17) during rough seas, WEST PAC ’62 or ’64

Great photographs of the Calvert and the USS Catamount (LSD-17) in rough seas.

Steve Straka (MM2, “A” Division, 1962-1965) provided these photographs of the Calvert from his personal collection and the photos were taken either during the 1962 or 1964 WEST PAC deployment. Thanks also go to Wasey Broussard for providing the name of the Catamount and correction that this encounter at sea was not likely a refueling, but instead likely a transfer drill.

Click on a picture to open a full resolution copy in a new window.

Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0228 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0231 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0232 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0233 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0234 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0235 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0236 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0237 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0238 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0239 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0240 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0241 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0242 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0244 Straka_APA-32_Rough-Refueling_PICT0245

20 thoughts on “Transferring with the USS Catamount (LSD-17) during rough seas, WEST PAC ’62 or ’64

  1. Wasey Broussard

    That ship we were transferring with was the USS Catamount LSD-17. Not sure if it was fuel we were transferring, because she was not a tanker. May have been a practice drill.

    1. Web Master

      Thanks Wasey! I really appreciate the information on the CATAMOUNT, and the correction on the transfer. Making the corrections and additional information available to the original post now.

  2. Charlie V.

    I was on the Calvert as a 19 year old Marine in early 64 during Operation Backpack. I used to have pictures that looked just like these. I remember refueling in rough seas but I thought it was a tanker or maybe Oiler is proper, Not an LSD. I have great memories of the Calvert. We were in very high seas and to this day I always tell friends that I know what it’s like to look up and the ocean. I never felt in danger and in the end we were fine. I went from Japan to Taiwan on the Calvert and returned on the LSD Fort Marion in calm seas.

  3. Web Master

    A search turned up the following information on Operation Backpack:

    Wikipedia: Operation “Backpack,” was a joint American-Taiwanese practice amphibious assault which took place at Che Cheng, Taiwan, in the late-February (1964) to early-March (1964) timeframe.

    Beatrice Daily Sun (March 11, 1964): Operation Backpack was a coordinated U.S. – Nationalist Chinese amphibious exercise conducted off the coast of Taiwan. Backpack was an exercise to test the amphibious capabilities and readiness of the forces of the Seventh Fleet and the Nationalist Chinese Navy. Prior to the assault, aircraft of the Seventh Fleet “softened” the beach defense. In addition, support ships conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises and the area surrounding the beachhead was cleared of obstructions and mines. “Backpack” was similar to exercises conducted periodically of the Seventh Fleet with SEATO and other allied nations in the Far East to improve proficiency in coordinated amphibious warfare operations and to maintain working relationships with allied nations.

    1. Charlie V.

      That is essentially the way I remember it. I went to Taiwan on the Calvert and returned on the
      LSD Fort Marion (LSD 22 I think) to Japan. Of the four ships I was on during my tour I remember the Calvert as being the most historic because of all the campaigns it had taken part in during WWII and Korea.

  4. Pingback: Operation Backpack – WEST PAC ’64 | USS Calvert (APA-32)

  5. John Walker

    I got on the Calvert in San Diego and climbed down the cargo nets in Okinawa, 28 days later mid 1965.

  6. E, Miracle

    I was on the Fort Marion during Operation Backpack. Had to drive a 2 1/2 ton truck off and onto a landing craft. Turned the truck around ON the landing craft. Took about 45b minutes.

    1. Charlie V.

      We may have been on the Fort Marion together. I was part of a gaurd company at Ping Tung South Airbase in 64 and we were the last Marines out of Tiawan because things still needed to be guarded during the breakdown. The last few nights we slept under the stars in sleeping bags because even the tents were gone. There were only a handful on Marines on the Fort Marion which must have been one of the last ships to leave for Yokusuka. We didn’t have any duty on the ship and I remember a trio of sailors who played guitar and sang at night on deck. They were very good and we enjoyed listening to them.

      Sorry, I know this site is about the Calvert but it kind of runs together. By the way for all you sailors who always reminded us Marines that we were just a small part of the Navy I’d like to say thanks. I am so proud to have been part of the greatest navy ever to sail the high seas. Sailors and Marines were and we remain a great team.

  7. Charles Roberts

    I was on the USS Catamount during this time period and was a QM. I was assigned to the helm during these drills. I served aboard during 1962-1965.

    1. Ron Williams

      Mr. Roberta – did you know a Patrick Ryan, he was also on this ship during the same time period. Am working with him in filing a va claim.

  8. John walker

    I got aboard the Calvert in San Diego in July of 1965 and climbed down the cargo nets in Okinawa in August.


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