My name is George Johnson. I served on the Mckean from Feb. 1964 untill November 1966 as a GMM3 ( gunners mate missil tech.) From Feb 1964 until about MAY OF 1965 we were in drydock in Long Beach undergoing major overhaul. (FRAM II CONVERSION) to include the addition of the ASROC MISSIL LAUNCHER AND CONTROL ROOM AND MAGAZINE.
In 1965 after completion of our shipyard overhaul, we were patrolling off the coast of either Washington State or Oregan. This mission was an anti-submarine patrol as Russian Submarines were in the area. On one occasion, BATTLESTATIONS was sounded and after a few moments at full speed, we hit something in the water, ripping open the bow of the ship and literally destroying the sonar dome, which was suspended several feet under the bow. We took on quite alot of water before damage control secured the forward part of the ship. We were several hundred miles from San Francisco when this occured, and since our forward steering was rendered inoperable due to the collision and because of the massive damage to the forward part of the MCKEAN, beneath the water line, we were required to immediately leave the area and proceed to the shipyard in Sanfrancisco. We literally steamed BACKWARDS for two days until we entered the shipyard in `Frisco".
The drydock that we entered was immediately secured with no one allowed to go underneath the ship. I was able to sneak under the McKean and see the massive damage first hand. I questioned the radiomen as well as the sonarmen about the incident and was told in every case that they were not allowed to discuss it!! The official story at the time was that we rammed a whale !! Question..... why were the individuals I questioned not allowed to discuss " ramming a whale" ??? Secondly, I do not possess a PHD in MARINE BIOLOGY, but I was not aware that certain species of whales were tough enough to cause this kind of damage to a NAVAL SHIP upon impact!! Perhaps something escapes me. My conclusion is this: We were on anti-submarine patrol at the time of the incident, there were Russian submarines operating in our area and I believe we rammed a Russian Sub, probably sinking it. I` ve never heard any official conclusion. Maybe this was the SECOND RUSSIAN SUB that the MIGHTY MAC had sunk. If so , then the score is MIGHTY MAC ... 2, RUSSIA....0 !!!! PLEASE get this information out to the MCKEAN CREWS LIST. I welcome all response GEORGE JOHNSON