The Persian Gulf War
Recalling the Gulf War
By QM1 James Card, USS Vreeland 89-91
Recalling the Gulf War events of Vreeland's career can be sketchy but I might be able to give you some insight as to her general
mission during that time period. We sailed out of Mayport, Florida on our way to the Persian Gulf earlierthan what we expected
due to the fact they wanted the Battle Group on station and the timeline for the initial missile attack was moved up. We didn't
quite make it there on time to say the least.
As I recall, no sooner were we clear of the Straits of Gibraltar the line shaft bearing went out and we were towed to Cagliari,
Sardinia by the USS Hawse FFG-53. After effecting repairs we were again, underway at best speed, heading for the Persian
I remember the Egyptian Pilot who navigated us through the Suez Canal. He was a big, smelly man, who once turned towards
the Captain, CDR Randy Brown, and told him he was thirsty and wanted a Coke. I thought that was
pretty funny. "Captain, get me a Coke."
We arrived on station in the Gulf and began our primary mission. Mine hunting. You see, the ship was, as we all know, equipped
with a SH-2 Sea Sprite. This Sea Sprite was equipped with a device called the "Magic Lantern" The Magic Lantern could x-ray
through the surface of the water and send images back to a monitor in Combat Information Center onboard the ship. With a
GPS onboard, the helo was able to locate, to within a few yards, the exact position of hostile mines.
USS VREELAND FF-1068 was credited for finding 20 mines during her Gulf tour.
When the ship finally did receive Mine Danger Areainformation we plotted it on the chart. After doing so Iwent back and
re-plotted VREELAND's position in relation to these the day prior to, which was also the day the TRIPOLI and PRINCETON
were damaged by mines, only to find out we were but onlya few hundred yards from the locations which these shipswere
damaged. Pretty lucky if
you ask me.
Minesweepers were also busy clearing a swept channel for safe passage to the Kuwaiti coastline.Once this was achieved,
VREELAND escorted naval ships, such as the WISCONSIN, in and out of the designated MDA. We found ourselves
anchoring off the coast of, pardon the spelling, Faylaka Island, this was the island that was 7 miles NE of Kuwait. I remember
looking through the big
eyes at the burning oil fields and how the smoke burned your eyes. Oil slicks would roll in and out from our position with the
tide. A few of us tossed Quarters over the side and onto the slick to see how long they would float before they slipped beneath
It was a mess. It would rain and with it came the soot, which would leave a black film on the skin of the ship. If we were not at
this anchorage we would be in a sea echelon box 40 miles east of Kuwait. There, standing on the Bridge wing, I could feel the
percussion against my chest of the 16" guns from the Battleships conducting NGFS.
Some things we, as a crew, went through I will never forget. Eventually, as the war ended, we were sent to the Red Sea to
conduct boarding operations until we were detached and sent home.