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USS Anzio CG-68
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Ðề tài: USS Anzio CG-68

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    USS Anzio CG-68

    USS Anzio

    Ekclalenquen …Ekclalenquen, a monotone voice played back from a tape recorder transmitted through out a battle ship, which no one knows what it meant, because it was not existed in any dictionary! However, a group of 150 engineers and scientists plus 100 sailors and Naval Officers onboard a guided missile cruiser knew exactly what to do! That was the mysterious sound to remind and to order everyone to muster the ship and manned their stations before a nuclear explosion simulation began. A guided missile cruiser was on the international water 50 miles off the Virginia Beach in the summer of 1993 and undergone an Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) trial.

    The world technology has been revolutionized, well let’s make a long story short, when in 1948 the scientists from AT&T Bell Labs of the United States of America performed, experimented and observed a phenomenon of a signal was produced with output power greater than input power! That was exciting everyone in the field of energy! Sure enough, which was the invention of the transistor, and indeed, it was the greatest invention in the 20th century! Since then the transistor has propelled huge changes on the world’s modern technology in many fields. Need not to ask how huge contributions the transistor’s invention has modernize human comforts and convenient in today’s life. Just look around and ones could find tons of answers. However, there always is a dark side in any good thing that is, the modernized technology sometime also defeats the wills of the creators themself! Let’s leave the imagination of the ones who want to question the achievements of the transistor to oneself. One thing no doubts about is that, the scientist community has pushed the performances of the transistor to the ultimate limit through military development projects. It’s simply because this body has been backing by its government with the most money and resources to carry out advanced technology developments. From these military research and development projects, sophisticated and modernized equipment have emerged to private sectors and benefit consumers all over the world.

    The invention of the transistor has propelled the defense technology to a higher and efficient performance, and because of this, the transistor characteristic has helped to empowered the weapon strength in all branches from sea-based to land-based and airborne systems. When mention the United States defense capabilities, one has to acknowledge the US Navy power. This includes surface ships and their electronics warfare.

    However, the rising of sophisticated electronic warfare still have to bow the destruction power of the nuke. Under a nuclear weapon explosion, beside human and structures damaged by blast and thermo radiation in its vicinity, electrical and electronics equipment distanced away also being disabled and “dead” as a roasted duck! Therefore, what’s good to build highly sophisticated weapon system that cannot stand up and fight when under influence of a nuke?

    A brief explanation of the products and their destructive power from a nuclear weapon explosion is worth to mention here as a guideline for this writing. A nuclear bomb explosion will produce lethal blast, thermo radiation, lethal Gamma rays, Beta rays and X - rays as well as others. The first two are the direct effects and the rest are the indirect effects. Among these radiation, Gamma rays are the most deadly. Gamma ray has very short wavelength, travel with the speed of light and it will penetrate through all materials except heavy lead. With high speed and short wavelength, Gamma ray will knock out DNA structure changing materials properties. In the case of human, the destruction of DNA causing dead and or retarded.

    Gamma rays also interact with the earth permanent magnetic field and produce EMP. EMP when ride on electrical/electronic cables will induce electrical energy (voltage and current). This electrical energy magnitude will raise proportional to the length of the cable and couple into unshielded electronics to disable their intended functions.
    Therefore, to survive the fighting ability of the USS Navy ships under nuclear explosion influence, their shipboard equipment need to be harden against EMP interference.
    That was the reason why a guided missile cruiser was on the international water off the Virginia Beach in the summer of 1993! The works of nuclear hardening Navy shipboard electronics equipment were conducted by scientists and engineers of the EMP Branch at the Naval Surface Warfare Center at White Oak, Maryland and hundreds of other scientists and engineers all over the country.

    After years of design and development, the second-generation Electromagnetic Pulse Radio-frequency Environment Simulator for Ships (EMPRESS II) was built for use in total ship EMP Trial. EMPRESS II was a large and tall column town shaped structure built on a barge; it was designed with huge ring of RLC network connected in series. These huge capacitors charged to a designed power level, and the network then “shorted circuit” causing extreme high electrical energy stored on the network abruptly discharged to simulate the EMP wave as produced by nuclear weapon explosion. Meanwhile, the guided missile cruiser circling the EMPRESS II barge in a pre-determine radius, and its shipboard equipment exposed to and showered by the EMP wave. Measurements were made to determine shipboard equipment nuclear survivability and the ability of the ship to fight after a full-scale level EMP was zapped.

    To capture the EMP wave penetrated and coupled onto shipboard equipment, the EMP Branch scientists and engineer have developed a computer data processing system. Using current probes to detect EMP pulses (frequency, bandwidth and amplitudes) coupled onto shipboard cables and sends them back to the computer processing system through fiber optic cables for analysis.

    After leaving Martin Marietta in 1987, I joined the Naval Surface Warfare Center at White Oak, Maryland and later became an EMP/EMI engineer of the EMP Branch. Among the other 149 scientists and engineers I was a member of the EMP Trial team onboard a guided missile cruiser named: USS Anzio CG-68.

    On May 1944, the Allies troops landed on the Anzio beach of Italy and defeated the German army to clear the road to Rome. USS Anzio (CG-68) is a Ticonderoga-class cruiser guided missile cruiser of the United States Navy, named after the battle of Anzio beach. Its keel laid down on August 21, 1989; launched on November 2, 1990; and commissioned on May 2, 1992.

    Prior to the full-scale level EMP Trial onboard the USS Anzio, scientists and engineers from the EMP Branch spent years to test, analyze, and fix EMI/EMP susceptibility level for shipboard equipment. EMP Branch engineers have built homemade EMP Pulsers with frequency ranging from 2MHz to 10MHz used for localize EMP tests. These pulsers were built with RLC elements (Resistor, Inductor and Capacitor). After fully charged, the pulser then shorted circuit causing the electrical energy to burst. The bursting electrical energy travel on a RC circuit parallel to the inductor plane will ring and produce electromagnetic pulse (EMP). With these homemade pulsers, EMP Branch engineers have travel all over the US Navy shipyards to inject EMP current onto electrical cables and measure their EMP susceptibility. Beside these small pulsers, US Navy and the Naval Surface Warfare Center have built a smaller version of the EMPRESS I simulator at Solomons Maryland. EMPRESS I was half of the amplitude of EMPRESS II and used to radiate the frigate class of ship USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) and other electronic systems to conduct EMP test. These small scale level EMP test results used to analyze and fix EMP interference problems, and then implemented on the USS Anzio. With all of the EMI/EMP implementation onboard USS Anzio, the ship was ready for the full-scale EMP level test and used as a baseline for US Navy fleets.

    A day in the summer of 1993, after check in a hotel on Virginia Beach I drove my family around town then to the beach, and there we went, we dumped ourselves into the Atlantic Ocean. The water was cold and choppy. I shook the water off, came up and sat down on the beach. My wife ran around on the beach like a chicken to guard the kids from going too far in the water. My eyes were on them too, but those bikinis on the beach kept distract me and I turned. About an hour later, the kids exhausted and we left the beach. On the way back to the hotel I dashed around and pinned down a few fishing piers in the area. I love fishing. The afternoon about to vanish, I brought my family to a seafood restaurant, after dinner my family drove back home. I shuffle my small military bag filled with personal stuffs to search for my employee badge, and off I drove to Norfolk Naval Base. I got a kick and smiled whenever I mentioned the name Norfolk! Somehow, the clause “Nor Fak, Virginia” kept sticking into my brain! Maybe because Virginia is labeled as “a state for lovers”! If you don’t believe then some day you enter Virginia border line you will see a sign with a little bird say “Virginia Welcome You” and under that sign is a clause “Virginia is for lovers”. But don’t ask where “Nor Fak, Virginia” is? Because they will accidentally show you how to get to a town named “Fair Fak, Virginia!”
    I parked at Norfolk Naval Base parking lot. The base filled with aircraft carriers, submarines and surface ships. I walked by the aircraft carrier USS America CV-66 and felt like I was an ant! It was so huge and shadowed all over me. The first time I witnessed and acknowledged the fighting power of the US Navy when looking at row by row of submarines and surface combatant ships.

    I was looking for the USS Anzio CG-68. There she was with a bunch of other guided missile cruisers.

    It was about 6pm; I joined with others and stepped on a long ladder leading to the USS Anzio main quarterdeck. Normally, Anzio equipped for about three hundred seamen and officers for a full staff, but for the next two weeks, only about 100 seamen and weapon officers remained onboard to help the EMP Trial team. After checked in to my living space, which was a small double bunker, mine was in the bottom; I mustered to the hangar deck with other team members to get detail instructions and rules while living onboard the USS Anzio for two weeks. The rules were restricted with no tolerance, because Anzio was equipped with live and deadly ammunitions, which, with an accident it could smoke the whole battle ship!

    All of the administration businesses were done, the sun almost set on Virginia Beach. A small ceremony was performed at the quarterdeck to secure the flags, and release the duty officers at the guard station. All Navy seamen from bottom up with black shoe, white pants, white shirt, black tie, and white cap stand side by side with hands tied in the back, and line up all around the USS Anzio. The seamen steering at, who knows what, to salute their homeport, and the USS Anzio CG-68 slowly leaving its dock.
    At dusk, the USS Anzio CG-68 rendezvoused with EMPRESS II barge 50 miles off shoreline. A group of EMPRESS II operators rode on a small commercial boat to the barge. All of the preparation on the EMPRESS II and the computer data processing center onboard the Anzio were checked out before the next morning. I looked at the dark, cold and lonely ocean for the last time and came in to my bunker. The first night I slept on a guided missile cruiser at sea. The sound of sea waves, the propellers engine and a TV screen kept flicking with beautiful women flirting in a bar began fading away slowly. I lay down on a squeezed bunker and knowing that I had two brand new weeks ahead of me to dance in this guided missile cruiser!

    The next morning and every working day thereafter, from dawn to dusk, the Ekclalenquen sound radiated from a tape player came to stop, a count down began: Power charging, all personnel had to muster the ship and manned their station, … ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one,… pulse ready, stand by … and then a huge sound burst from the EMPRESS II. After the EMP bursted, a sound from the same tape player came back and said: Pulse clear. This noticed the end of one test cycle and it meant the deck was clear for testers to come out to re-probes their test points for the next pulse. This routine kept repeated every 30 minutes until a day of testing over.

    All personnel forced to muster the ship in order to protect them from being affected by EMP and high power radar radiation. EMP wave could result human into Leukemia cancer if expose to it, and high power radar radiation could “fried” human. By the way, operation ranges of all radar such as SPY-1 are some thing just “for your eyes only”; it’s not some thing that people could mention on public means. And radars were not designed to detect under water targets as mentioned by some papers!

    Every morning when the sun rises from the horizon, a cool breeze blown on the quarterdeck, 150 scientists, engineers and the ship crews woke up. The sea was dark and calm, and Anzio kept circle the stay put EMPRESS II barge as if a mouse kept watching a cat but never get any closer than it had to. All radars onboard USS Anzio were up and running, series of high power energy swept through empty air without any response back. But they were there to watch, like a hawk watching for a fish surfaced up from the dark ocean. After the sound of pulse clear and before the Ekclalenquen sound, two PHALANX Close-In Weapon System CIWS (pronounced cee-wis) guns, one on each side the USS Anzio started rumbling with a deadly squishing gear rotated the guns left then right. To make sure if these CIWS still perform its intended duty after taking a full dose of EMP level treatment, a helicopter was daggling in the eyes of the AN/SLQ-32 electronics warfare (referred to as slicks 32). Like a mad tigers after receiving order from the slicks 32, the CIWS guns roared, turned left then turned right, and spiting out thousands of bullets per minute to shoot down the daring foe try to approach the their ship. The horrible sounds of the CIWS guns scared me to watch them in motion. It was like the Terminator Robocop in action! But it was far faster. Unfortunately, the CIWS guns were not loaded with real ammo, and the helicopter dashed back to its landing pad. CIWS were not the only weapons tested onboard ship but there were also other deadly system like VLS launchers, torpedo-firing tubes, SPY-1 radars, sonar sensor system and hundreds of other electronic equipment onboard. Every tester managed their pre-assigned system and responsible to probe, capture, and transmit all EMP signals back to the data processing computer, which included series of Unix servers housed in a secured trailer stationed at the aft ship, with hundreds of fiber optics cables branched out all over from up on the ship mast to the ship engines rooms. Tester only have 20 minutes to change all their probes, scan the barcode on each probe and its assigned fiber optic channel number. Some testers ran around like a “dead chicken” with a hand-held walkie-talkie to communicate with the data processing center to ensure all their channels are clear for data capture! 30 minutes of preparation for each pulse cycle was not tolerated. And all test points had to captured that why they ran like a “dead chicken”!

    5pm marked the end of a pulsing day, the USS Anzio steering away from the EMPRESS II barge, wondering around while the data processing computer kept cranking the numbers and saved into disks, I exhausted as a “dead chicken”. A day from dawn to dusk ran around in tight spaces, through bulkhead doors, up and down to the VLS magazines and those sonar sensors. When the night fallen I lie down on the tiny bunker and felt crumbling pieces by pieces.

    Next morning when the sun rising, the sound of Ekclalenquen…Ekclalenquen came up again. Some sailors got sick of it and burst out … “fuck it, Ekclalenquen…Ekclalenquen kept ringing in my head all night long, could not sleep”. But off the deck, they have to craw into tiny spaces to help me snapped current probes onto cables and scan their barcodes!
    For the whole week, USS Anzio did not return to shore for refuel. One night, the sea was calm, the sky was clear and USS Anzio was cruising in the middle of nowhere, then far from the horizon, there was a huge gasoline tanker approaching Anzio. On the dark sea, the two ships rendezvoused and cruising parallel side by side like two beautiful swans were courting. They cruised at the same speed and kept at a constant distance in between. The gasoline tanker strung out lines of light bubs, with different color of red, white, and blue like colors in the USA flag, from front to back along the side. Two ships under preparation for an off shore gas fueling operation. I watched and witnessed a colorful and exciting operation. At one point, the sailors from the tanker using a flare gun to shoot a line with a ball tied at one end over and to the Anzio deck. After that, the fuel cable slowly crawling through the air channel between the two ships and it inserted into Anzio fueling hole. The operation began while the two ships kept cruise side by side in a large circle. A flare shot up in the air to signal that Anzio was filled, and on the other side sailors started pulling back the fuel cable while the lines of color light bubs still lit. The two ships separated, the tanker cruised away and the courtship came to the end. Anzio kept circling in the open sea through out the night and felt happy! It was a magnificent operation that I ever seen before!

    Russia communist government and its regime were “struggling to die” after President R. Reagan asked “Mr. Mikhail Gorbachev tear down this wall” on June 1987. In late 1989 and early 1990, Russian declared “dead” to the communist regime and dismantles the Berlin Wall for good. And now, in 1993, out in the international water, there was a small Russian battle ship approaching Anzio wondering and curiosity to find out what we were doing? They got close enough to wave hands to Anzio and sailed away. A few months later, US Navy bought one frigate class of ship from Russia Navy and anchored it at Solomons just to look inside and see what technologies have been used in that battle ship. Their computer designed with magnetics memory cores all over! We opened up and saw lot of magnet donuts liked shaped strung together in a mesh. And no one interested to go any further to explore this ship.

    Every work day morning Anzio rendezvous with EMPRESS II and resume the test for two weeks.

    One day, while the test was going on, a few engineers and scientists selected to go fishing in a small boat lowed down from Anzio. They brought back a huge shark from the fishing trip! The cooks onboard USS Anzio cut the shark into small pieces and barbequed them. That evening, every one lined up and got a piece of the barbequed shark. It was delicious! After the barbequed shark, everyone onboard ship were treated with a “quarterdeck jump”. I meant we all went jumping and swimming from the Anzio quarterdeck! Sound awesome huh! Well, that was what happened, everyone who wanted to participate lined up. At the quarterdeck, two by two holding their hands together and one, two, three jump to the water! I did not know exactly the height from main quarterdeck to the water, but I did jump to the water too, only once! I held hand with the other guy and when I reached the water, I almost lost my breath! And I afraid of height! So, one time was more than enough for me! One thing was while we jumped and swam, there was a small rescue boat circling in the area with sailors holding guns to guard us from … shark bite! I mean, really, if anyone got bite by shark I wonder with those guns on hand what the sailors could do. Shoot into the water to kill the shark? Well, think about it for a moment. Bullets enter water will scatter and bounced.

    Among the 150 engineers and scientists were four young ladies. They all participated. Among four young ladies there was one dressed up in a one-piece bikini, I meant very tiny bikini. She has shown every single line of her body in front of hundreds of naked eyes staring at her! They were men, and they were away from home for a long time. Well, they got one blast of checking out and yelling out loud from far away. At night, I came to check out my system in the pilot house and the CIC room, she was there flirting with those commanders as those ladies I saw on TV screen on the first night onboard the Anzio. I knew where she came from but I felt ashamed to name it. It must be other ways for one to advance their career ladder!

    Talking about swimming, one time I was onboard the frigate USS Oliver Hazard Perry (FFG-7) for a week of testing shipboard equipment. The water system onboard FFG-7 broke! And we were told to do Navy shower if needed. It was the first time I heard about Navy shower. What it was is you just turn on water to wet your body then shut the water off. Do all clean on your body by hand or whatever means then turn on the water to wash it away. Do not let the water running continuously. That is how Navy shower about and how water is prestige onboard ship in case the fresh water generator broke.

    There were late afternoons, after turned in all data collected and prepared test points for the next day, I stood at the aft ship and looked far out in the ocean, while Anzio slowly cruising leaving a long trail of sea foams behind it. The sea was calm, winds blown cool air passing my face; I looked around and saw few people using Navy cell phones to call home from the hangar deck. Back then cell phones were rarely available and costly, so the Navy allowed test team members to use its cell phones to contact their family. I was there alone on the aft ship. Nothing but water around; nothing to do except looking at the water and tracking the sun setting; nothing to worry about and my mind emptied, just like the feelings I have when fishing in a small boat out in the Chesapeake Bay. But it was beautiful to witness the sun setting slowly on the horizon! Once in a while a school of dolphins racing with the USS Anzio and splashing on the surface then dive down into the dark blue ocean, leaving no trace. Out there, even huge Navy battle ship like USS Anzio still becomes tiny and fragile. The sun set; it’s getting cold, I returned to my bunker wondered how these sailors could stay out here for six months straight!

    At the end of second week every test points were probed, all data captured and saved into disk. All shipboard equipment onboard the USS Anzio were up and running with full doses of EMP level! This meant USS Anzio and its shipboard equipment were nuclear hardening to survive full-scale EMP level interference, and it became the baseline for US Navy ships.

    It cost about 60 million dollars to build EMPRESS II. Right after the full-level EMP Trial on USS Anzio the EMPRESS II structure was dismantled. It was used only once! However, USS Anzio CG-68 and EMPRESS II have gone into history. Today, nuclear requirements are no longer needed by Department of Defense, and nuclear weapons uses are banned by international community.

    USS Anzio came back to Norfolk Naval base. I gather all of my belongings. There was one thing; beside my employee badge I had a second Navy badge which I wore while onboard the USS Anzio CG-68. Based on my government employee record, the badge wrote my ranking: Lieutenant Commander. I left the ship, kept the badge and grinned when remembered the sailors looked at my badge, raised their hand and saluted me in military way! I walked away smiled and said to myself “what the heck, but why bother!” I never joined the service of any branch. And USS Anzio was the battle ship I ate and slept in there the longest.

    Ðồng Sa Băng

    thay đổi nội dung bởi: DongSaBang, ngày 12/15/2013 lúc 08:15 AM

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