Journal Entry  -  September 27, 1999  -  Day 16

Monday Morning Position Report
8:00 a.m., Mountain Daylight Time

23 Degrees, 28 Minutes North, just North of the Tropic of Cancer, at 23 Degrees, 26.3 Minutes North Latitude, which will bring the USS New Jersey into the Tropics.


111 Degrees, 55 Minutes West

Days Run:

56.6 Nautical Miles


4.72 Knots (Average)  running at reduced speed due to a fixed ETA of October 16 at the Panama Canal.

Total Run This Leg:  706 Nautical Miles
Total Average Speed:  5.33 Knots
Hours / Days This Leg:  132.5 Hours, 5.52 Days
Distance To Go This Leg:  2,241.8 Nautical Miles
Estimated Time Of Arrival:  October 16
Present Course:  141 Degrees Southeasterly to Cabo San Lucas
Winds:  Northwest and Brisk at 20 Knots
Seas & Swells:  Combined at 7 Feet from the Northwest
Barometric Pressure:  1012 Millibars
Air Temperature:  68 Degrees
Visibility:  More than 10 Miles
Skies:  Cloudy, Partial Sun
Sea Floor:  The depths vary dramatically in this area beneath USS New Jersey, from 1,060 and 1600 Fathoms surrounding her, to 2,277 Fathoms ahead; or, from 6,360 Feet to 9,600 Feet surrounding, to 13,662 Feet ahead.

Position:  USS New Jersey is now 51 Nautical Miles South of Isla Santa Margarita, which lies between Bahia Magdalena and Bahia Almejas in Baja California, Mexico.  The island has a small fishing village called Puerto Alcatraz (Pelican), and a small Mexican naval base known as Puerto Cortes.

Time:  Captain Ogaard directed that Sea Victory's clocks be advanced one hour at 2:00 a.m. this morning to account for the change in the Time Zone.  (Each 15-degrees of longitude equals one hour in time.)

"It's Kind Of A Sentimental Thing ..."

John Andrew Cleland, 56, Sea Victory's Chief Engineer, now in his 22nd year with Crowley Marine Services Inc., spent 1966-67 in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force's 38th Air Rescue Squadron, making sure the unit's choppers could perform their missions - crash rescue, medivac operations, and air crew recovery.

Of the USS New Jersey trip, he said: "I wanted to do this because it's a little bit of history," Cleland admitted, revealing his attraction for the vintage battleship, and her role in shaping the nation's story for the past 57 years.

"As a Navy veteran and military history buff, the idea of taking one of the world's greatest capital ships on its Final Voyage is kind of a sentimental thing," he said.  There's not much glory and so forth in towboating, unless you happen to be in some horrible disaster and get on CNN, and I don't want that to happen, but this could have something of note, and that makes a good story."

Cleland was born in Columbus, Indiana, and now calls Port Aransas, Texas his home, a barrier island on the Gulf coast, a really nice place, he thinks.  "I lived in Florida many years," he said.  "I like the palm trees, like the beach, the warmth.  Indiana's nice, the summer and fall are fine, but the winter was just terrible," he said laughing.  "I tried to live in Seattle, but I just could not take the climate at all."

Before his Air Force Vietnam service, Cleland, a 17-year old in Indiana, joined the U.S. Navy in 1960 for a "period of minority," known then as the "kiddie crews."  By joining before 18, an enlistee could get four year's service credit and out at 21.

"The Navy was okay," he said.  "The best deal there was the year on that cruiser, the USS Springfield, a light cruiser built in 1943, the flagship for the Sixth Fleet in the Mediterranean.  I was an 'airdale,' a helicopter guy," Cleland explained, "mechanic and later Chief.  I still have a picture of that ship at home."

He left the Navy in March, 1964, wandered around the West coast for awhile, then found himself back in Indiana that December, walking down the street, warming his hands in his pockets, and passing an Air Force recruiting station.

"I just glanced in," he described, "and they had these big cups of coffee, doughnuts.  They saw me looking at them, and boy ... and I said no, no, no, I'm not going in there.  The recruiter said - you don't have to join, just come in and have some coffee, so I did.  Eventually, I asked them: Can you send me somewhere warm?  Sure, they said ... ever been to Vietnam?  No, I said, is it warm there?  It sure is, they said.

He joined, and in November, 1965 ended up in sunny Southeast Asia, where he served until August, 1967.  He returned to the states, worked in various occupations, including tugs and railroads, and in 1974 got hired in a New Orleans bar for a tow job, which led to working boats on the inter-coastal waterway, which runs from Boston to Brownsville, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico.

He joined Crowley in 1977, and has seen many changes since those days.  "It's a good outfit to work with," he says, "unlike a lot of others. There's plenty of shore-side support, there's always back-up, you're not out there dealing with things on your own."

The Chief Engineer says the safety and security of the vessel is the primary responsibility, and the overall goal is to get the customer's cargo there on time because that's the promise, and that's what they've paid for.  He says there's a lot to keep track of on the tugboat, but he's keeping her running, and that's his goal.

"These vessels are serviceable," he adds.   "They're good towboats, but they're labor-intensive, and I got spoiled being on the same boat, the Invader class, for six years with the same guys back-to-back. W e got that thing cooking good, so as we didn't have to do much to her."

Sea Victory has been "cooking" now for three weeks straight, and the Panama Canal is just Southeast down there, about 2,241 miles more, where she'll get a little breather, along with the Chief Engineer.

Submitted by Bob Wernet onboard the Sea Victory.


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