The USS Cushing (DD-985) was "the sound shit makes when it hits the fan." That was my introduction to this Spruance-class destroyer when I was on board for workups off of the coast of San Diego. It was like any other boat, and my helicopter detachment was along for the ride while the crew went through drills and training.

There were some good things about the ship. It had pretty decent water fountains that didn't taste like salt in the hanger area. The crew was pretty cool, and we got along well with them. The down side was that it had the usual sewage problems in the bathrooms in berthing, where they'd have to close it off for days and we got to smell the effluence while we slept.

The strange thing for me was when I just happened across a YouTube video about the USS Cushing. It had been retired from the fleet, and was the last Spruance class in operation. The video was several other ships firing live missiles at the Cushing. I watched several hit the old girl and couldn't help but feel nostalgic. It took a while before she gave up and sank to act as an artificial reef. Still, it seemed to be a rather cold way to send off a ship that was home to thousands of sailors over its 25+ year history.

Iron Noder 2017

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