Go Back Report # 1140


Winter of 1979          

Tuscaloosa is the ninth ship of the twenty ship Newport tank landing ship class, which replaced the traditional bow door design LST. Two derrick arms support a thirty-ton, 112-foot bow ramp for the unloading of tanks and other vehicles ashore, additionally, amphibious vehicles can be launched from the tank deck via the ship's stern gate and the ship's flight deck can accommodate most Navy helicopter types.     

All highlighting and notes on the text of the E-mail are by me. –CF-         

LST-1187 Tuscaloosa

With thanks to: http://www.navsource.org/archives/10/16/161187.htm

Hello Carl,

       I recently saw a program about USOs in which you were interviewed [Deep Sea UFOs - History Channel.-CF-]. This is the first time I'd ever seen mention of the phenomenon in the media and it showed me I'm not so alone in my experiences.

Here's my story,

       I served as a Seaman and later Boatswain's Mate aboard USS Tuscaloosa LST 1187 for 4 years, from 1976-1980. If memory serves correctly it was winter of 1979 and the ship was cruising solo in the South China Sea at about 17 knots, our typical cruising speed.

       I was the Boatswain's Mate of the Watch and it was the mid-watch about 2:30 AM. The sea was like a sheet of glass and there was only starlight. The lookout stationed up on the signal bridge called down and said he saw something glowing in the water ahead of the ship. It being the time it was and nothing else going on, the OOD [Officer of the Deck.], JOD [Junior Officer of the Deck] and myself all put on the binos [Binoculars-CF-] for a look.

       We all saw it and kind of looked at each other in amazement. There was what turned out to be five, large, long, vitamin shaped objects [dimensions given below would make them vitamin “capsules”.-CF-], lined up in a directly opposing course which would take them straight under the length of our keel.

       They were approximately 100 feet long and 40 feet across with about 20 yards between them. They glowed the typical bright, bioluminescent green and at first we thought it was some kind of marine life but as the first one passed beneath the stem1 of the ship we lost power, steerage, the gyro and compass went wacky AND the chronometers and wristwatches stopped! This prompted the OOD to have the messenger fetch the Captain whose cabin was steps away.

       By the time the skipper got on the bridge the front portion of the first object was below the bridge and we were hanging over the side for a look. The captain gave the helmsman orders but the wheel would not respond and the guys in the engine room could not explain why we'd lost power.

       There was no pulsing or shape changes or any appendages nor fins. Just sleek, silent glowing lozenge shapes moving effortlessly directly below our hull in the opposite direction.

       Somehow the ship just kept gliding slowly over the top of them and we just stared at them as they passed below while we all voiced our opinions as to what the heck it was....

       On the bridge beside myself was the skipper, OOD, JOD, helmsman, EOT2 operator, man on the skunk board3, messenger, and a Quarter Master. I don't recall if the guys on the helm or EOT got a chance to see but for sure the CO [Commanding Officer], XO [Executive Officer], OOD, JOD, the two lookouts, at least one signalman, the QM [Quarter Master] and myself all got a very good look.

       There was no more then 25 people awake at that hour aboard the ship and probably no more then 10 or so who saw what we saw.

       It seemed to take several minutes for us to pass over them and they were wide enough and deep enough that they could be seen from both sides of the ship. The skipper was fairly calm and we were entranced by them and the spinning compass and gyro and stopped clocks. The XO wanted to go to GQ [General Quarters] but the skipper for whatever reason, said no and we just watched them pass. The lookouts both had an excellent view and when the lookout on the stern reported the last one had just gone past, the power came up, compass and gyro spun back to true and watches and clocks were running again...

       The skipper gathered us up in a huddle and asked that we not talk about what had happened.

       The Quarter Master asked the captain how he should make his log entry and they went into the QM shack for a powwow which I was not privy to, nor was I able to read the log later.

       I don't recall any later conversations with any of the other witnesses or anybody mentioning their watches being a little slow either.... [Note: The watches referred to here would be wrist watches, and not a ship function.-CF-]         

       I've told this story a few times over the years but never to anyone who has heard one like it before.         

I'd swear on a stack of bibles or whatever you've got that this is the truth as I recall it.      


XXXX  XXXXXXX [Name deleted by me.-CF-]                                                                            

This Reference: E-Mail to me (Carl Feindt) dated July 12, 2008          

Note 1 Stem = Cutwater, Prow, etc. The very tip of the front end. Example: Stem to Stern.

Note 2 EOT = Engine Order Telegraph (Speed Control)        

Note 3 Skunk Board, is another bridge watch station:

            Watch-stander wearing sound powered phones in contact with Combat Information Center (CIC), Communications and Fore and Aft lookouts, marking various surface and aerial contacts as required on a lighted board for all to see.           

UFOCAT PRN – NONE           

South China Sea

South China Sea          Latitude 10-00 N, Longitude 113-00 E (D-M)



Ship’s History for this period

From Subic Bay, Tuscaloosa proceeded to Okinawa and, upon arrival there, was ordered to make best possible speed for the Gulf of Thailand. Four days later, when nearly at her destination, she was ordered to turn back. The evacuation of the area had been completed and her services were no longer needed. Thereafter the LST continued routine operations during this WestPac deployment before returning to the west coast of the United States on 17 November 1975. She conducted another deployment to the western Pacific during the period 29 March to 17 November 1977 and spent the period 3 February to 10 December 1978 in regular overhaul at San Diego. Tuscaloosa continued to operate with the Pacific Fleet into 1979.

The USS Tuscaloosa was decommissioned 18 February 1994 and transferred to the Venezuelan Navy.

Reference: http://www.mrfa.org/lst_1187.htm          

NOTE: In the last e-mail I received, the witness said:

The official history of the Tuscaloosa from the Navy site (above) makes it sound like she was no longer in service after 1979 but I served aboard until May of '80 and know for a fact she was still working the Pacific well into the 80's.       


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