"We've Got A Swimming Pool!"
Bluejackets Can Swim On Board USS Searcher, A Yard "Customer", When On Picket Patrol
don't doff our white hats to a ship of the fleet or even any commercial
liner ---for we've got a swimming pool"
"We are proud of our swimming
pool ," a member of the ship's crew told the "News" staff
reporter, "especially because we made it ourselves on the deck, just
aft of Hold No. One, which is covered over permanently. We welded
side plates onto the combing behind the hold and now we have a pool.
Of course, we can't dive into it because it's only four feet deep, but it
sure beats swimming in the ocean and worrying all the time about sharks,
manatees and stingarees."
launched in January 1945. Until the end of the war, she served on
the North Atlantic convoy route, running the gauntlet of German U-Boats
many times, but without suffering damage or loss of life."
In 1947, he explained, Searcher served one year as a trans-Atlantic cargo carrier for the Grace Lines. Her conversion to a picket ship began in 1954, and she was commissioned April 2, 1955. Now she is one of eight East Coast radar picket ships assigned to duties in the Contiguous Radar Coverage System of the United States. When on picket patrol several hundred miles off the East Coast, operational control is exercised by the 26th North American Air Defense Region (SAGE).
Bronze Star Holder
In the Captain's cabin, the reporter met and talked with Searcher's Commanding Officer, LCDR Richard T. Bailey, USN, who holds the Bronze Star for his work as Commanding Officer of USS Mergansor (AMS-26) during the Korean War and truce patrol. Since then he has been on the staff of ComInFlot One, completed General Line School at Monterey, and served as Mine Warfare Counter Measures Officer for Commander Hawaiian Sea Frontier.
| "The mission of USS
Searcher", Commander Bailey explained, "is to detect all
aircraft flying across the Atlantic Ocean and inbound to the United
States. When detected, these aircraft are reported via an
elaborate communications network to a SAGE sector headquarters, where
the data are processed into a computer.
Rough Weather Operations
"The data are then displayed and the reported aircraft evaluated as friendly or unknown. Searcher and her sister ships operate throughout the worst North Atlantic weather, thus ensuring that this continent's aircraft detection range is extended many hundreds of miles to sea."
This increased warning provides an extra margin vitally needed to maximize the country's defenses and to launch a retaliatory blow in the event of enemy attack.
Offensive and Defensive Roles
"Searcher is also fully capable," her Commanding Officer concluded, "of controlling Air Force Fighters in strikes against enemy planes hours before they could reach the coast line. With this ability, she can fill both an offensive and defensive role in the defense of our country."
Before taking command of Searcher on March 11th of this year, Commander Bailey was Executive Officer of another familiar shipyard "customer", USS McGowan (DD-678). He is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, Class of 1949, and now lives in North Kingstown, RI with his wife, son and two daughters.
This News article was taken from the Boston
Naval Shipyard News, April 22, 1960.
Newspaper article submitted by Gerry Dietz
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