From: Hooley, Kevin R CAPT CO CID Corry Station
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 17:06
25 years ago today (19 April 1989) I was underway in USS Iowa for fleet exercises in the Caribbean. It was a beautiful morning. Standing above and aft the bridge I readied myself for the firing of Turret Two’s 16 inch guns. A moment later, the beauty of the day was lost as the turret suffered a horrific explosion and fire that killed 47 of our shipmates. The takeaways of that day once again illustrate the absolute wonder of our Navy, specifically our Sailors, and the criticality of the job you do.
The 47 Sailors who died that day are Navy heroes we must always remember with great pride. While time eases pain, it should never erase the memory. These brave and wonderful Sailors were in the turret because duty called. They were in that turret to certify the ship ready for deployment. They were making the ship combat ready. They were at their watch stations
doing their jobs with inspiration, pride, and dedication. They were Sailors, on duty, in the defense of our great nation.
The crew was absolutely phenomenal. The all hands response highlighted by the firefighting and damage control teams was brave, tireless, and saved the ship. The ship was at General Quarters most of the day – it was a long, and it was hard. Through it all, these Sailors did what Sailors have done in our Navy for time eternal. They stepped up and bravely did the job they were trained to do. Their pride, heart, and determination were absolutely incredible – they were not going to let that explosion take any more of their shipmates or their ship. Later, and throughout the night, they removed our fallen shipmates from the remains of the turret, and they did so with style, grace, compassion, and respect.
As we always discuss, and as the USS Iowa incident clearly shows, our training mission is a solemn and sacred trust of utmost importance. Rock solid job skill training set the conditions that allowed the crew to save their ship and shipmates. Core value and Sailor development training sustained them throughout the day and night, sustained them in their darkest hour. This is why we always maintain a balance; we teach job skills, and we teach life skills. We teach duty and we teach honor. We empower the brain and inspire the soul.
Let us always remember our brave and fallen shipmates on Iowa, and let me thank you for the great job you do every day that develops Sailors such as them. Continue to lead. Continue to inspire. Continue to instill our core values. Continue to develop the quality Sailors our heritage demands and our nation deserves. Always remember your awesome responsibility. We are the Sailor’s last stop before duty before deployment, before combat, before life. We owe them our very best, nothing less, and you always deliver. Thank you. Please convey this note with my respects to all hands.
With my very best regards, respects, and eternal gratitude for the job you all do exceptionally well.
CO CAPT Kevin Hooley enlisted in 1972 and after 10 years as a CTR (a real Morse Code kind of guy), he was commissioned via the LDO program (1982). To recap his spectacular career, his sea duty (PCS and DIRSUP) and shore duty assignments included:
– USS ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) (on last deployment)
– USS HANCOCK (CV 19) (decommissioned)
– USS ORISKANY (CVA 34) (decommissioned)
– USS MIDWAY (CV 41) (decommissioned)
– USS RANGER (CVA 61) (decommissioned)
– USS OKLAHOMA CITY (CG 5 (hull number 5, really Kevin??)(decommissioned)
– USS WORDEN (CG 18) (decommissioned)
– USS REEVES (CG 24) (decommissioned)
– USS JOUETT (DLG 29) (decommissioned)
– USS STERETT (CG 31) (decommissioned)
– USS BAINBRIDGE (CGN 25) (decommissioned)
– USS IOWA (BB 61) (decommissioned)
– USS PARCHE (SSN 683) (decommissioned)
– USS SARGO (SSN 583) (decommissioned)
– USS POLLACK (SSN 603) (decommissioned)
– Naval Communications Training Center, Pensacola, FL
– U.S. NAVCOMMSTA, Philippines
– U.S. NAVSECGRUACT Clark AB, Philippines
– U.S. NAVSECGRUACT Misawa Japan
– NAVSECGRUACT Northwest, VA
– NAVSECGRUACT Fort Meade, MD
– SPAWAR Washington DC
– SPECWAR, Coronado, CA
– U.S. NAVSECGRUACT Bad Aibling (Commanding Officer) (decommissioned)
– CINCLANTFLT (now Fleet Forces Command)
– U.S. Naval Forces, Central Command/U.S. FIFTH Fleet
– Center for Cryptology/Center for Information Dominance (Commanding Officer)
– CNO Strategic Studies Group, Newport, RI
– Naval Network Warfare Command, Norfolk, VA
– Navy Cyber Forces Command, Virginia Beach, VA