USS Surfbird History/Sea Stories Typhoon Page

A special History/Sea Stories page that deals with just Typhoons and and weather related stories.

Typhoon Of '65

by Darrell Singleton

We rode out a typhoon once. We were in Taiwan and had just hit the beach when the SP's were running down the streets of Kaohsiung in their jeeps yelling at everyone on their bullhorns to return to ship. The Kitty Hawk was there along with her group. We went back and got under way (had to pick up the range) and that night the Surfbird took rolls that she never took before or probably since. They were in radio contact with the Kitty Hawk and the rumor around was that they were not sure we could roll any harder over and stay upright. Waves broke way over the flying bridge. I was standing man over board on the 01 level overlooking the fantail. I would look around the aft stack and have to look down to see the flying bridge. What made me start looking was sea water running down the 01 level into my boots as we started up the face of the waves.

They secured all topside watches and I went to the wheel house and spent the rest of the watch hanging onto the wheel. As I stood helm and there was about 3 inches of water in the wheel house all the time. Eakes was BM of the watch and we rocked and rolled. The screws got more air time going through the tops of the waves and falling down the back side of them than she did in dry dock. I saw guys seasick that night that never got seasick. I don't know how big the waves actually were but they were way taller than the flying bridge and they scared everybody who was man enough to admit fear. The rest were just scared.

After watch you had to go down through CIC and through engineering compartment, up through the mess deck, through the head and showers into the degaussing shack, then run around the wire reel to the seaman's quarters booby hatch to get into the seaman's quarters. You had to wait until it rolled to starboard and the deck was out of the water to get in. You would undog all but one or two dogs then when it rolled to the starboard undo the remaining one and climb in. The ladder into the seaman's compartment would be vertical or more when it rolled to starboard. You would be hanging from the dogs as you tried to dog the door back down. I slept in the top bunk at the bottom of the ladder. We were wet all night and had to tie ourselves in the rack to keep from being thrown out onto the floor. Talk about being tired. The next day the water was like glass and dolphins ran the bow. The only time I ever saw that ocean flat.

There were storms that year:

Japan 1965 6 8 Cycl.Hurr.Typh 25/07/99 E.Asia Asia 19650046 Natural 26 40 40 US Gov:OFDA # US GOV:OFDA: Typhoon Jean; South; Figs; 65/08/06 # PRIV:RFF: Tropical Cyclone; 26 Kill; Aug 1965 

Japan 1965 10 9 Cycl.Hurr.Typh 25/07/99 E.Asia Asia 19650055 Natural 60 730 730 US Gov:OFDA " # US GOV:OFDA: Ty Shirley; Shikoku, Honshu; 65/09/10; 60 Kill; 730 Inj # PRIV:RFF: Sept 1965; Tropical Cyclone; Rep Deaths: Max: 60; Min: 39 "

Japan 1965 18 9 Flood 25/07/99 E.Asia Asia 19650056 Natural 114 "3,000,000" "3,000,000" "90,000,000" US Gov:OFDA # US GOV:OFDA: South; K$-Dam: 90000; 65/09/18; Figs # PRIV:RFF: Sept 1965; 114 Kill 

Japan 1966 28 6 Cycl.Hurr.Typh 10/08/99 E.Asia Asia 19660052 Natural 44 80 80 US Gov:OFDA # US GOV:OFDA: Typhoon Kit; Honshu # PRIV:RFF: June 1966; Tropical Cyclone; Rep Deaths: Max: 66; Min: 44

Japan 1966 17 9 Cycl.Hurr.Typh 10/08/99 E.Asia Asia 19660065 Natural 314 41 "13,764" "13,805" "7,900,000" Govern:IDNDR Yes # US GOV:OFDA: Typhoons Alice & Cora; Ryukyu Islands; K$-Dam: 7900 # GOVERN:IDNDR: Publicatio For Nĝof Dead # PRIV:RFF: Sept 1966; Tropical Cyclone

Alot of green sailors.

Typhoon Of '58

by Wes Chapman

Some time in 1958, we were at White Beach, Okinawa on an independent  assignment and as we were leaving, we recieved a storm warning on a Typhoon headed for Okinawa..We weighed anchor and left out of there and the storm ran us into Taiwan. We took shelter in a small protected bay, I can't recall the name, to ride out the storm..We anchored late in the evening and put out a 3 point moor, both bower anchors and a stern anchor.  

During the night the storm worsened and the ground swells in the cove were getting bigger and bigger. The Capt. decided to get underway and ride it out at sea. We retrieved the stern anchor and Starboard Bower. We started to heave around on the Port Anchor and the chain parted...at the 30 fathom link.. we finally got out of  there and ran for Keelung and rode the rest of the storm out there..We went  back several days later to find our Port anchor, but the anchor buoy had wash away and us divers went down and searched for several days and never found it..

We went went back to Keelung and the Capt. told me he wasn't going back to Sasebo with only one anchor and I better get off my A... and find one. I went to the nearby Taiwan Navy Base and talked with the supply officer, He escorted me to a yard that had Anchors and chain piled up everywhere, and told me to pick out what I needed.

They loaded the anchor and 30 fathoms of chain on a truck and carried it down to the pier, we connected our chain to it and pushed the anchor off the pier and we retrieved it..When it came time to pay the bill, the Cost??? One (1) case of Pall Mall cigarettes...Sea Stores at that... The Capt. was tickled pink, and he told me he didn't know whether to kiss me or court martial me..But me being a Boatswains Mate, I told him I'd take the court martial.

Anyway.. we went back to Sasebo with both of our Anchors and I don't think any of the Brass at ServRon 3 or anyone else for that matter ever knew anything about the whole incident. OH, and by the way..I didn't get court martialed...I got a letter of commendation in stead...I just thought I'd better clear that up..:o)

Typhoon X Of '45

by Ed Fournier

I was one of the plank owners on the Bird, in 1945 we were in typhoon X off the Philippines and took several 90 degree rolls taking seawater in the air intakes in the stacks which of course came out of the vents in the compartments like a shower head and soaked bedding and everything else. When we went back into the Olongapo (?) base it was totally gone wiped right off the island along with all supplies. Good thing I hadn't seen a movie like the Poseidon (?) that trip , I think I would have opted for shore duty.

Typhoon Of '68

by  Gary (Timmy) Timmerman

I am not sure if it was 68 or 69 when a large typhoon struck Japan. The bird was going to ride it out in port. We received a distress call that the Epping Forest a sweep tender was taking on water and they feared she would sink. The bird was dispatched to retrieve survivors. In route we were notified that they had opened their well deck loosing a couple of small boats but releasing the water that was sinking their ship. We turned around and headed back. I agree with the other person who admitted his fear. The waves were so large that we would climb one wave and dive into the next. When we crested a wave the screws would come out of the water and you could hear them pick up speed. When they made contact with the water the whole ship would shudder. We took a roll that was violent enough that it broke the bunks loose in the chiefs quarters. One of the chiefs was in his bunk and got trapped under the bunk while it slid from side to side in the compartment. He survived the ordeal with both his body and his ego bruised. Just before we reached port it was discovered that the degausing range which was being nearly completely submerged each time the ship rolled to port was breaking loose from its shackles. A group of us were sent to tend a line attached to the poor soul who had to reattach the shackles.