Imagine buying a brand new car. Now imagine crashing it just mome

Running Aground in New York Harbor

Memory from: Rear Admiral Allan B. Roby

Setting the Scene

Imagine buying a brand new car. Now imagine crashing it just moments after driving it off of the lot of the dealership. Not a pleasant thought, is it? Rear Admiral Allan B. Roby, the KIDD's first commander, remembers a nerve-wracking moment that he experienced in New York harbor.

The Recollection

After commissioning the KIDD in the New York Naval Yard at Brooklyn, April 23, 1943, I took her across the bay to the ammunition loading depot where we took aboard powder and shells to fill the ammunition lockers. On our way back to the Navy Yard four hours later, I observed that the harbor pilot who had come aboard was in an intoxicated condition and that I would have to assume responsibility for my own navigation. Observing three large ships ahead, I determined to go to the starboard. Upon approaching, one of my officers noted that the ships were actually LSTs (Landing Ship–Tank) and drew only ten (10) feet of water and were apparently navigating in an area much too shallow for the KIDD to traverse. I immediately ordered left rudder, but our speed was too slow to change course necessary to avoid running aground on the bar. I signaled to the engineroom, “Ahead two.” Here I was aboard a brand new ship with a brand new crew in the fireroom and the engineroom and I really didn’t know what to expect. It would certainly be a pity after only four hours to run this beautiful new ship aground. But almost immediately after the signal to the engineroom was sent, the ship’s engines responded with the necessary speed to turn left as necessary to avoid the bar.

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