Off the Coast of Guam
"I was in the "snake pit" on the USS Okinawa when I heard a frantic "Man Overboard, Man Overboard!!! Five Souls in the water!!! I do not remember hearing a crash, just the man overboard [announcement]. I grabbed my camera and headed for the starboard side catwalk. I got there and waited for the boats to be lowered in the water. It was a relatively long wait. We all kept screaming for someone to jump into the water to get them. Since we were on the flight deck, we expected someone to jump from the hanger deck, but they waited for the divers. [Finally] the boat was lowered into the water and they started picking people up."
"I literally ran up five decks and from the front to the rear of the ship. People still hadn't finished coming up for air. Gunny O was the last one. I was on the catwalk for at least a minute when I saw him pop up, face down. He was face down in the water for a LONG time before waking up. The [rescue] boat was brought back to the starboard elevator to be picked up."
"From back to front (aft to forward for you Salts), we see Maj. Wally Creel, who suffered a broken arm, leg, and several broken ribs. Then we see GySgt O'Halloran. The last one being pulled over the side of the boat is either Cpl. Leo Beery or Cpl. Kevin Doering. I don't remember which one this is, as one of them climbed a rope and the other got a ride in the boat. Doering is already on [one of the pages] for the year of 1979."
"In this photo (right), you can see one of our birds, as well as a rescue boat, continuing to check out the crash site. Note the oil and fuel slick on the water. Efforts like this continue until it is obvious that no others will be, or can be, found."
The USS Okinawa -
Here is the Okinawa in dock. Some CH-53s are on the aft deck, CH-46s and a lone Huey on the fore deck. I don't know who this is walking back to board the ship, but it is evident that he had a "good" time. Note that all he has left is his skivvies!