Steven L. Baldwin SFM3
Middletown, CT

Served aboard the USS Mississinewa AO144.

June 9, 2003
During the summer break from high school in 1963 several of us did the Lakes.  A few weeks after getting back 3 of us did a cruise on the USS Pearle (forgive me if it's misspelled.  If I remember correctly her slogan was "Knowledge For Sea power".  We sailed her from Providence to Quebec, hitting the storm of storms on the way back.  The last image I have of her was leaving to go home and to my senior year of high school.  She had so much rigging down on the main and 01 you'd be hard pressed to know there was a ship under there.

After graduation in June, 1964 I went active and met the Missy in her home port, Naples.  She was home for nearly 2 years, with the exception of my last few months aboard the USS Cadmus.  The reason I found your sight was I was talking with an ex sailor about the Missy and wondered if she was still with us.  I had heard she was lengthened several years ago from the 656' I remember her at.  She was a grand ol' gal.

Do you have any information on the USS Atka?  She was an icebreaker in Boston when Missy was in dry dock for the winter of '64 to '65.  She was called out on a rescue, hung too tight to port after clearing the breakwater and got hung on the rocks waiting for high tide.  This all happened just as she was doing battle flank across the harbor, complete with bells and whistles to say "Look at us, the hero's".

While she was waiting for high tide the North Star humbly and quietly steamed out and past her to do the rescue.  A few months later we were in Newport taking on provisions, getting ready to stop at Charleston to take on munitions and head for Gitmo for our shakedown.  While in Newport we were in a pub called the Venetian Room for the beverage of choice when in came sailors from the Atka.  They ordered their drinks, and then one of the boys from the Missy called over the bar keep.  When asked what he'd like he replied "I'll have an Atka, on the rocks".  I understand from a civilian friend in Newport the Venetian Room was closed for the next three months for "remodeling".  How is it we remember the good times best?

Note on Atka:
Southwind was transferred to the Soviets on 23 March 1945.  Our Soviet allies renamed her Kapitan Belusov.  She served in the Soviet Navy until 1950 when she was returned to the US Navy.  The Navy renamed her Atka, and she once again changed hands in 1966 when the Navy transferred all remaining Navy icebreakers to the Coast Guard.  The Coast Guard renamed her Southwind on 18 January 1967.  She remained in service until 1976, when she was decommissioned and sold.
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