U.S.S. ALTAIR AKS-32
Charlie Tull Bad Weather Mishaps
I was a RD3 in the spring of 1968 onboard Altair headed for Naples. I was on the bridge
about to go to chow in very heavy seas off Cape Hatteras. The bridge area was very crowded
because of the foul weather. As I made my way to go below I moved between the Helm and the
binnacle and caught my foot in a fluid line and at the same time we fell off a rather steep
30-40 foot wave and I ended up doing a flip and landed on my back on the deck in front of
the “old man”. I was in a lot of pain. We did not have a doctor on board but a Chief Corpsman,
Chief Ferguson (I think). They put me in that chicken wire stretcher and carried me to sickbay.
The Chief said he thought I had 4 or 5 broken bones and commenced to put a very large and
heavy cast on my leg, toe to hip (I found out later his first leg cast). We were only two
days out of Norfolk with another 10 or 12 days to go to get to Naples. The next day the
Engineering Officer had a cabinet fall on his foot that had broken away from a bulkhead
in the same storm. He came hobbling into sick bay and the Chief told him he was OK,
nothing wrong and take a couple of pain pills. We finally get to Naples and they send me
and the Engineering Officer to NAS Naples for x-rays, the engineering officer came back
to sickbay everyday complaining about his foot and the Chief kept telling him he was fine.
It took several cutting blades to get my cast off, after x-raying both of us, I had no
broken bones in any part of my body let alone my leg and the Engineering officer had 5
broken bones in his foot. On our cruise over to Naples I won the Best Skater Award, no
port and starboard duty.
All the Best,