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VFW Magazine May 2017 : Page 37

The Guided Missile Frigate USS Stark lists to the port side a er being hit by two missiles from an Iraqi aircra on May 17, 1987. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE PHOTO ‘DEEP TROUBLE’ According to the official report of the attack, “each missile injected approximately 300 pounds of propellant into the berthing complex.” The report also stated that the first missile, which was faulty, “was more damaging than the second missile [...] because it injected burning propellant further inside the ship.” Mark Wasnock, who at the time was a gas turbine systems technician 3rd class, also was on the Stark when both missiles hit. Wasnock said he was awake when the first missile hit the ship’s port side. In a VA claim letter written in 2011, Wasnock, now a retired senior chief, wrote about his experience onboard the Stark, that day. He shared the letter with VFW magazine. He wrote that Hull Maintenance Technician 3rd Class Mike Romanetto wanted him to watch a movie with him that evening. “He very well may have been responsible for saving my life that night because instead of potentially being asleep in my rack, which immediately flooded from the initial damage, I was now several spaces aft of where the two missiles struck,” Wasnock wrote. Immediate fire damage from the missile caused damage in enlisted berthing areas, the ship’s barber shop, gyro room and the bridge wing on the port side, according to the report. “(After the first missile hit,) I was about to open the door of my stateroom when I heard (the general quarters alarm) and then the following words (broadcasted through the 1MC, or ship’s PA system): Inbound missile; port side; all hands brace for shock,” Conklin said. “Those words did not sink into my head at first, but when I opened my stateroom door — the fact that smoke was from my chest to the ceiling and smoke came billowing into my stateroom — it sunk in right away.” He said that as he was making his way down the passage way to the ship’s engineering spaces, he suddenly ran into a bulkhead. “(That) is when the second missile hit,” Conklin said. “It made the ship move sideways several feet... I became a pin-ball running down the passage way. That’s when I realized we were in deep, deep trouble.” The official report stated that “the second missile’s warhead detonated just inside the ship and vented some of its thermal energy back out through the exterior of the ship.” In his claim letter, Wasnock wrote that he ran to the ship’s engine room, which “started filling with this thick, black heavy acid-tasting smoke. The smoke was thick, and it became over-whelming and unbearable. I had to evacuate the space, so I reported to Central Control Station (CCS).” Wasnock wrote: “This period of time was extremely criti-cal in the saving of the ship and preventing further loss of life. The ship had to maintain steerageway and power to aid in the damage control efforts in preventing [the] Stark from capsiz-ing or sinking.” Wasnock stated he reported to CCS, where Gas Turbine Systems Technician 1st Class Randy Engram was standing duty as the engineering officer of the watch. “Randy ordered me back in the engine room and said to use THE FALLEN ON MAY 17, 1987 SN Doran H. Bolduc BM1 Braddi O. Brown FC3 Jeffrey L. Calkins SN Mark R. Caouette SN John A. Ciletta Jr. SR Brian M. Clinefelter OS3 Antonio A. Daniels ET2 Christopher DeAngelis IC3 James S. Dunlap STGSN Steven T. Erwin RM2 Jerry Boyd Farr QMCS Vernon T. Foster RMSA Dexter D. Grissett FC3 William R. Hansen GMG3 Daniel Homicki OSSN Kenneth D. Janusik Jr. OS1 Steven E. Kendall EMCS Stephen Kiser SM1 Ronnie G. Lockett GMM1 Thomas J. MacMullen EW3 Charles T. Moller SA Jeffrei L. Phelps DS1 Randy E. Pierce GMG3 James Plonsky ET3 Kelly R. Quick SMSN Earl P. Ryals FCCS Robert L. Shippee SMSA Jeffrey C. Sibley OS3 Lee Stephens TM2 James R. Stevens ET3 Martin J. Supple FC1 Gregory L. Tweady SN Vincent L. Ulmer EW3 Joseph P. Watson ET3 Wayne R. Weaver OSSN Terrance Weldon IC2 Lloyd A. Wilson MAY 2017 • WWW.VFW.ORG • 37

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