1983 -- FN Pino
As told by Chief Selectee Watts:
I was onboard during this tragic accident. FN Pino, full blooded Pueblo Indian from either New Mexico or Arizona (I don't recall), and myself worked in the Wardroom during our mess cooking days. Not sure the exact date, but it was either Feb or Mar 1983.On the day of the USS TOWERS steam explosion in Number 1 Fireroom (The Red Devils), the off going port and straboard watch was just hitting their racks just shortly after lunch chow was securing, when suddenly the General Quarters Alarm sounded. Of course we on our way to TEAM SPIRIT '83, a lot of people just thought it was a drill. However, the forward passageway was full of steam and we had to exit through the First Division scuttle.
Once arriving on the Signal bridge, we learned that there was a steam explosion in #1 Fire Room and three people were injured, FN Pino being in direct line with the steam leak he received fatal injuries. FN Pino was rushed to the wardroom battle dressing station for treatment, which we learned his burns were fatal. He was shortly there after heloed off the ship to finally reach the Nagasaki Burn Center, Japan, where Captain Hancock and Cdr McCarthy stayed at his bed side continuously.
The TOWERS pulled into port at Sasebo, Japan for repairs and Team Spirit was cancelled for the ship. Due to FN Pino's incident, the crew decided to raise money through donations to have his mother fly round trip to Nagasaki
to be with her son, everyone was excited that we not only raised enough money for his mother to come, but his sister as well with room and board. Unfortunately, FN Pino had died approximately 0900, with his mother snf sister
arriving to the hospital approximatly 90 minutes later. We had a memorial service for FN Pino, along with our Ensign flying at half mast, while inport Sasebo, Japan.
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