How & when we won our first "E"


I was an FT3 at the time, and we were on a Med cruise during July 1st to Oct. 22nd 1957. I worked the Range Finder on top of the Pilot house for the Main Battery Guns. We had shooting exercises, shooting at the drone in competition with the Greene, Dyess and Furse. We were in 2nd place after 6 shots and of course the Greene was in first place. They had won the "E" 4 years in a row and were pretty cocky about it.


On the last run the Dyess hit 8 ft in front of the drone, the Furse hit 17 ft behind the drone, the Greene hit 3 ft behind the drone, nearly assuring her of their 5th Award in 5 years.


We were last to shoot. Chief Carberry said to me, "Bill, we need to get inside 3 ft of the drone and must be forward of it, not behind it. It's on your shoulders Bill". Well, my God, talk about pressure, I really didn't need that pep talk at that time, anyway, the drone came in Port to Starboard. I locked on it at a range of 347 yds out. I pressed the firing trigger and held my breath. We got a direct hit, knocking the drone out of the sky. The exact date was 8th July 1957. During that cruise we were operating with the 6th fleet and visited ports, in Lisbon Portugal, Athens Greece, Palma-Majorica, Spain, Cannes, France, Suda Bay, Crete, Gibraltor and Corfu, Greece.


While at Gibraltor BC, The Commanding Officer of the 6th Fleet boarded the USS Bordelon and presented us with the "Battle Efficiency Award" for outstanding performance in battle readiness. We had won the Award and ended the USS Greene DDR 711's reign. The FT & Gunnery crews were very proud of that accomplishment.


Bill Thornley FT2