Emergency Back Full




We were patrolling off the coast of New York City for 30 days, checking all incoming and outgoing aircraft.


The SS United States was heading out to sea at night and we were going ahead one third. I had the lee helm; we were on a collision course with the SS United States. We were steaming north and about one hundred yards from her when the OOD ordered all engines emergency back full and the helm hard to starboard.


I rang up all back full from ahead one third. Main control in the engine room called the bridge and asked what was happening and why back full from ahead one third. The sound power phone talker said emergency back full.


All hell must have taken place in the engine room because you could feel the screws backing down, all the way up to the bridge. Later the chief on watch in the engine room said it was the first time he ever had an emergency back full from ahead. I don't think the SS United States ever knew how close she was to being rammed.


Bill Madden