The USS Stark Incident

| May 16, 2017 | 71 Comments

A port quarter view of the guided missile frigate USS STARK (FFG-31) listing to port after being struck by an Iraqi-launched Exocet missile.

Riflemusket reminds us that May 17th marks the 30th anniversary of the USS Stark incident.

An errant Iraqi pilot launched two Exocet anti-ship missiles at the USS Stark, both missiles struck their target, but only one exploded. The resulting damage killed 37 sailors and wounded 21 others, while the fires aboard the ship burned all night.

Captain Glenn R. Brindel saved his ship, but he was punished for not defending the ship against the attack and he was allowed to retire. At first, the Iraqis claimed that they had executed the pilot, but after the last was against Saddam Hussein, it was disclosed that the pilot was still alive.

In 2011, the US and Iraqi government signed an agreement which required the Iraqi government to establish a fund of $400 million to compensate prisoners of war and hostages in the first Gulf War, and those killed or injured in the 1987 attack on Stark.

But every year, members of the Stark’s crew gather on May 17th to remember the event so that we never forget;

SN Doran H. Bolduc, Lacey, WA

RMSA Dexter D. Grissett, Macon, GA

FCCS Robert L. Shippee, Adams Center, NY

BM1 Braddi O. Brown, Calera, AL

FC3 William R. Hansen, Reading, MA

SMSA Jeffrey C. Sibley, Metairie, LA

FC3 Jeffrey L. Calkins, Richfield Springs, NY

GMG3 Daniel Homicki, Elizabeth, NJ

OS3 Lee Stephens, Pemberton, OH

SN Mark R. Caouette, Fitchburg, MA

OSSN Kenneth D. Janusik, Jr., Clearwater, FL

TM2 James R. Stevens, Visalia, CA

SN John A. Ciletta, Jr., Brigantine, NJ

OS1 Steven E. Kendall, Honolulu, HI

ET3 Martin J. Supple, North Olmsted, OH

SR Brian M. Clinefelter, San Bernardino, CA

EMCS Stephen Kiser, Elkhart, IN

FC1 Gregory L. Tweady, Champaign, IL

OS3 Antonio A. Daniels, Greeleyville, SC

SM1 Ronnie G. Lockett, Bessemer, AL

ET3 Kelly R. Quick, Linden, MI

ET3 Christopher DeAngelis, Dumont, NJ

GMM1 Thomas J. MacMullen, Darby, PA

SN Vincent L. Ulmer, Bay Minette, AL

IC3 James S. Dunlap, Osceola Mills, PA

EW3 Charles T. Moller, Columbus, GA

EW3 Joseph P. Watson, Ferndale, MI

STGSN Steven T. Erwin, Troy, MI

DS1 Randy E. Pierce, Choctaw, OK

ET3 Wayne R. Weaver, II, New Bethlehem, PA

RM2 Jerry Boyd Farr, Charleston, SC

SA Jeffrei L. Phelps, Locust Grove, VA

OSSN Terrance Weldon, Coram, NY

QMCS Vernon T. Foster, Jacksonville, FL

GM3 James Plonsky, Van Nuys, CA

IC2 Lloyd A. Wilson, Summerville, SC

SMSN Earl P. Ryals, Boca Raton, FL

Category: We Remember

Comments (71)

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  1. Commissar says:

    I am not sure the Captain really did anything wrong. It does not appear that he knew he was under attack and when he did his weapon systems were out due to the missile strike.

    The account indicates there was a miscommunication between the Captain and the operations crew.

    It is completely ridiculous that Reagan blamed Iran for this.

    • OldManchu says:

      Wow what a dick!

    • MAC(SW) (RET) says:

      You apparently have zero clue what you’re talking about and have VERY limited knowledge of the incident itself or the official findings of the investigation that followed.

      Being an FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry Class (2 different ships) veteran I am very familiar with this incident and the investigation.

      On a personal level, a shipmate of mine that I served with on my first ship, USS Curts (FFG-38) was aboard STARK during the attack as well as another shipmate that was a SAR swimmer aboard the USS Waddell and participated in the rescue & recovery effort.

      Please make a better effort to educate yourself before making ridiculous & uninformed comments – it’s an insult to those that paid the ultimate price.

      • Mick says:

        Well said, Chief.

        He was in here last week trying to lecture us on U.S. Naval Aviation.

        Now he’s back and wants to provide us with a period of instruction on U.S. Navy Surface Warfare operations.

        • Commissar says:

          I was not lecturing on US naval aviation.

          I was lecturing you dipshits on claiming the pilot deserved to be courtmartialed.

          He did not deserve to be court martialed. And those that WERE experts that chimed in were not so sure he deserved to be court martialed and one who had experience with that particular aircraft and mission did not think he did deserve to be court martialed.

          I do not know that the fuck is up with you fucksticks but you are fine with someone claiming the pilot deserved to be court martialed even though the person has no expertise. But suddenly I say the pilot did not deserve to be courtmartialed then suddenly you get your panties in a wad that that I am no expert.

          Fuck you. The standard of expertise should be higher for the asshat claiming the pilot should have been courtmartialed.

          And I did have expertise with the crux of the issue, which was the compromise of collection systems and who had responsibility to destroy them (NOT THE PILOT!)

          I travelled in and out of the US carrying collection systems as part of my job in the service.

          • MAC(SW) (RET) says:

            Nice, I had a few “shipmates” that had courier cards as well and would escort mag tapes to and fro. Fitting job for a couple of dudes that were E-3’s and not trusted to do anything of substance shipboard.

            Just sayin’……

            • timactual says:

              A mag tape is a collection system? Interesting nomenclature.

            • Commissar says:

              timeactual recognizes the difference between a collection system (and the nature of work that would lead someone to be transporting one) and a mag tape.

            • desert says:

              Sure strange, not one officer in that list of victims? Where in hell were they? All on lifeboats?

              • MAC(SW) (RET) says:

                Well……the location(s) of the two missile hits weren’t:

                #1 – Not directly near any spaces that were manned by officers

                #2 – The spaces that were EVENTUALLY affected (mainly CIC)were able to be evacuated once the environment became to unbearable to continue operations

                #3 – The first hit occurred at 2109 which means that most of the crew, officer or enlisted, that weren’t actually on watch were in their respective berthing compartments (CC1,CC2 or CC3), Chief’s Mess/Berthing or Officers berthing with the XO having his own stateroom which was far enough aft that it wasn’t directly affected as well as the CO’s stateroom which was located directly under the bridge on the starboard side of the ship which wasn’t directly affected from either missile at the time of impact

          • OldManchu says:

            “I travelled in and out of the US carrying collection systems as part of my job in the service.”

            Slow Clap….

          • Ex-PH2 says:

            Navy ships do not have PILOTS, Lars, you incredible moron.

            You blew your entire argument right out the window with that asinine remark.

            • timactual says:

              I think he was replying to the comment by Mick

              “He was in here last week trying to lecture us on U.S. Naval Aviation.”

              Hence Commissar’s remark;

              ” And I did have expertise with the crux of the issue, which was the compromise of collection systems and who had responsibility to destroy them (NOT THE PILOT!)”

              The subject seems to be a previous thread, not the Stark.

            • Ex-PH2 says:

              I’m not so sure about that, timactual. Sometimes, the idiot gets lost in his own tangled web.

          • Mick says:

            Ah yes, Commissar.

            When all else fails, you can always fall back and resort to childishly petulant profanity. That always goes a long way towards convincing others to see things from your perspective.

            It’s also yet another exemplary demonstration of those ‘superior’ communications skills that you supposedly picked up during that highfalutin UC Berkeley education that you’re always bragging about around here.

            Yessiree, I can certainly see that that was time and money well spent.

            • Commissar says:

              I stand by what I said.

              The standard of expertise and the standard of proof should be higher for the guy arm-chair disparaging the in combat (or emergency) actions of others.

              Saying that the EP-3E pilot did not deserve to be awarded the DFC and should have been courtmartialed for essentially being a coward by not executing a water landing was an extraordinary thing to say and the expectation of expertise for someone saying that should be MUCH higher than for the guy defending the pilot.

              Members of this board had the ass-backwards and gave those criticizing the pilot a pass while attacking my lack of expertise.

              That is fucking bullshit. And I stand by my “Fuck you” to anyone that thinks that how it should be.

              The same goes for the Chief Clark incident. Claiming that Chief Clark was a liar and embellisher based completely on someone personal opinion without any evidence whatsoever was bullshit.

              It should not matter what my expertise is in pushing back on that. Fortunately others say it for the bullshit it was. All the available evidence backed Chief Clark’s story. The crew logs, the statement of the other surviving crew member, the Navy investigation, and the circumstances of the attack.

              Saying Chief Clark was a liar should take extraordinary expertise and at SOME evidence.

              I was ridiculed and attacked relentlessly for arguing that Mike Webb was a former ranger and that calling him out for stolen valor was bullshit. Particularly since it seemed to be due to a lack of understanding between the differences between Ranger School (and Ranger Tab) and Ranger Regiment (and the scrolls) and who “earned” the title “Ranger” or “former-Ranger”.

              And I RARELY bring up my UC Berkeley eduction. It is almost always OTHERS that bring it up. Usually just to disparage the school or try to use the fact that I went there as evidence that I am “brainwashed”.

              I actually would before if people stopped mentioning it because it is just a lazy way for them to try to discredit me because they have a dipshit ignorant view of the institution and know that a large percentage of this board share that same dipshit view.

      • OldManchu says:

        “Please make a better effort to educate yourself before making ridiculous & uninformed comments “…….

        He’s a liberal. It’s against their rules to do as you have suggested.

        • rgr769 says:

          He is way beyond “liberal.” He is a proud “progressive,” which is code for crypto-commie. He actually believes all the BS his Peoples’ Republic of Berzerkeley perfessors have use to indoctrinate him.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        As Mick pointed out above, your firsthand expertise only counts if you agree with Lars.

        As for myself, I was but a very young child at the time, but I remember my Grandpa (WWII Navy vet who saw the proverbial elephant in both oceans) being quite pissed over the incident, saying that better captains have been shitcanned for less.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        You forget, MAC(SW)Ret that LARS TAYLOR thinks he knows more about everything than everyone else because he was an ossfier or something, and he assumes, quite incorrectly, that no one else has his supposedly, allegedly from him, level of education. That means he knows more about naval operations and regs and all that goes with that than YOU do, hence his idiotic responses, e.g.:
        LARS TAYLOR: I was not lecturing on US naval aviation.
        I was lecturing you dipshits on claiming the pilot deserved to be courtmartialed.

        He knows everything about everything, even if he never has had even one second’s worth of logged experience with it.

      • Sporkmaster says:

        Do you know where I can find a copy of the investigation? I do not know anything about the history of this event. I am just curious as why and how that the Navy determined that there was gross negligence on the part of the command staff.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Obviously, we can count on LARS TAYLOR to say exactly the wrong thing, as he so clearly shows us here.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      Here’s the official investigation on the attack:

      http://www.jag.navy.mil/library/investigations/USS%20STARK%20BASIC.pdf

      55 pages… please read it before you make another comment about this.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Babbles McButthead aka Lars Taylor, DO YOU TRY to be that big of a babbling Grade AAAA 24K IDIOT or does it come to you naturally?

    • Commissar says:

      When I say thing like

      “I am not sure….”

      And “It does not appear”….

      It means I AM NOT SURE!

      So, fine. The Captain was wrong. I was only basing my concern off the very brief explanation of the incident I read which did not make it clear the Captain had failed to act given the information he had at the time.

      • MAC(SW) (RET) says:

        In this case, it “appears” that your brief look at Wiki-whatever was the main problem leading to the “I am not sure”.

        Reading and conveying incomplete information is one thing but drawing a conclusion based only off of said incomplete/topical/suspect information is really reckless and stupid to boot. Couple that with ZERO first-hand knowledge of anything remotely to do with the Navy and the ships we sail, the equipment we operate and the way we operate it – you run the risk of looking REALLY stupid. Mission accomplished!

        Go ahead and read the official report Mr. Commissar – I’d bet that you’d still have no real clue about what really happened. Are you familiar with general Navy shipboard jargon, lingo & acronyms? Are you at all familiar with the FFG-7 class of ships other than what you can find on Wiki, NAVSOURCE and possibly Jane’s Defense??

        Have you ever been trained to operate a surface search radar system? Do you know the role & responsibility of the TAO underway? (Do you even know what the TAO is?)

        Are you at all familiar with surface ship combat systems, RADAR or Anti-Air Warfare? Didn’t think so.

        I think I already know the answer to all of these questions I’ve asked but, I’d still LOVE to hear your “thoughts”.

        Also, what led you to believe that the CO wasn’t at fault – directly or indirectly? LOVE to hear your non-educated answer to that!

        • Commissar says:

          Yep, it was the Wiki entry.

          And I do not think “I am not sure the Captain really did anything wrong” is a “conclusion”. It is an expression of uncertainty and doubt about the information or circumstances.

          And when someone who had more information and expertise pushed back (you in this case); I accepted they expertise and information and acknowledged that I was wrong and that the captain had screwed up.

          The fact that you guys are spinning this into some “liberal” poodledick affront to the common decency of the community is bullshit.

          I made a statement of doubt. Made it clear I was uncertain. When someone with more information told me I was wrong I accepted that I was wrong.

          WTF IS THE PROBLEM?

          • RGR 4-78 says:

            If you had doubt, you should have used a question mark. Using a period implied you were making a statement that the Captain was not guilty.
            At least that is how it came across to me.

          • 2/17 Air Cav says:

            “Yep, it was the Wiki entry.” Well, at least you learned something at Berkeley. It was wrong but you did learn something.

            • Commissar says:

              Given the recent post history we are literally the only two people posting right now.

              And we seem to be pointlessly arguing since neither of us is ever particularly swayed by what the other has to say.

              So let’s call it a night. We will likely have time to argue again another day.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Since YOUR only intent was to do another round of attention-whoring, Piuperdink a/k/a LARS TAYLOR, you’ve completely destroyed the purpose of this particular post, which was an in memoriam for the crew members of the Stark.

        Instead of saying something appropriate to the occasion, you completely derailed it to focus attention ON YOU, the epitome of the Social Moron.

        You haven’t got a decent bone in your worthless body. Now fuck off and die.

        • Commissar says:

          Bullshit. I was not attention whoring. My post was pretty damn short and mildly worded.

          Just that some of you lose your collective shit whenever I post. Flood my posts with a bunch of bullshit and then when that I am an attention whore.

          It is ridiculous.

          I don’t pay much attention to your posts.

          Why the Fuck do you pay so much attention to mine?

          • OldManchu says:

            “I don’t pay much attention to your posts.”

            Yet here you are replying again. Saying one thing and doing the opposite.

            • Commissar says:

              I did not say I pay “zero”attention.

              However, there is a difference between replying to a post she specifically directs at me (often using my name), and her seeking out and replying to every one of my posts she can find regardless of what I said about whatever topic.

              So, I don’t pay much attention to Ex-Ph2 posts. Usually not even when she posts to me which is seemingly constantly.

            • Ex-PH2 says:

              Ego trip, Old Manchu. He was a visibly weak ego, in addition to incorrectly stating that I use his actual name “often”. That is completely incorrect. I usually refer to him as the Piuperdink.

          • 2/17 Air Cav says:

            “Why the Fuck do you pay so much attention to mine?” For the same reason I do, probably: for sheer sport. You’re the gift that keeps on giving, Lars, and if you are left alone for a comment or two, you think that’s an endorsement of your screwed-up view of things and you get greedy. So, you must be stopped early and often.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Lars is trying to qualify his assertions of fact per the advice he received yesterday. Good boy, Lars. It won’t last but it’s nice that you tried.

    • W2 says:

      CIWS is your friend. It should always be loaded and in ready mode. That was not the case here. The CO is ultimately responsible for the ship so if the ship was not able to defend itself then the CO rightfully should take it on the chin.

      • W2 says:

        Loaded and in ready mode when you’re in a theatre in which there is potential for the ship to take defensive action.

        • MK75Gunner says:

          Exactly…

        • MAC(SW) (RET) says:

          CIWS was loaded and was in stand-by. Should have been in at least Air Ready Mode. At the time of the incident, the CIWS mount had a previously known electronic casualty that prevented it from operating in ANY mode (even Air Auto) unless the system was in Battleshort.

          For those of you who don’t know what “Battleshort” is: During combat (or non-combat emergencies) electronic/mechanical systems can be put in a bypass mode known as “Battleshort”. Battleshort mode can be used for a myriad of different reasons but is usually used when an electronic system has experienced a casualty (example: loss of cooling water, and without said cooling water the console will overheat) but due to the impending or current emergency is required to remain online despite the possibility of the electronic equipment being severely damaged by keeping it running. The ONLY person shipboard that can authorize a system, sub-system or peripheral to be place into Battleshort is the Commanding Officer.

          In Stark’s case, CIWS was only able to operated in Battleshort mode due to that pre-existing wiring problem and the mount wasn’t in Battleshort at the time of the incident.

          Another thing, there was nobody manning the CIWS Remote Control Panel (RCP) in CIC when the first missile hit.

      • MAC(SW) (RET) says:

        Absolutely correct.

        The CO of my first ship USS Curts (FFG-38), CDR Glen Montgomery, was awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Persian Gulf War. Curts was directly responsible for sinking (2) Iraqi Minelayers, blowing up 12 free floating contact mines, capturing 86 EPW’s and liberating Qurah Island which turned out to be the first piece of Kuwaiti soil liberated from Iraq post invasion.

        A year later that same CO (everybody LOVED him) was relieved of command for running aground while pulling in to Lamut, Malaysia. He was on the bridge for Sea & Anchor detail at the time but a harbor pilot was in command giving helm orders and ended up giving an incorrect one that led to the ship running soft-aground.

        Bottom line – even though CDR Montgomery wasn’t in control of the ship at the time of the grounding, he was still held accountable because of his position and relieved of command.

        So, for people that think that the Commanding Officer of the Stark was wrongly relieved of command………

        He and his XO both got off light considering they were both headed for court-martial but in the end ONLY received some NJP and a nasty little letter in their records and were allowed to unceremoniously exit stage left without further punishment except having to live with the knowledge that their complacency led to the deaths of 37 of their shipmates…..

        • W2 says:

          Sheriff, all good points and we can all argue the “shoulda, coulda, woulda” all day long. I lost sight of the reason for the lost. 37 brace souls lost their lives. Fair winds and following seas shipmates.

  2. MustangCryppie says:

    Rest in peace, shipmates.

  3. Sparks says:

    Rest well Sailors. God be with your families.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    Rest in Peace, shipmates.

  5. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Rest In Peace, Fallen Warriors.

  6. IDC SARC says:

    30 years….fukk. I remember when she finally came back to Mayport Harbor.

    RIP

  7. DefendUSA says:

    That’s right. Say. their. names.

    Back in the day, our Lab sent the team that performed the autopsies. The magnitude of it all still haunts them. Hopefully, those left behind have found some semblance of peace.

    We remember.

  8. Atkron says:

    Anyone here ever read the Dan Lenson novels (David Poyer), such as the Med and the Circle?

    You want some good insight how a ship operates from an enlisted and officer points of view; find a copy, and read them all.

    Rest easy and peacefully Shipmates.

  9. Fish says:

    Is there somewhere to find a list of who was assigned to Stark at the time of the attack? I think one of my HS classmates was a BM on Stark during that timeframe. I was in GE and remember seeing his picture in S&S standing mine watch.

  10. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace.

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