USS Nitro (AE-23) and USS JP Kennedy (DD-850) Incident

One of the more interesting times at sea for the USS Nitro (AE-23) involved a run-in with the USS Joseph P. Kennedy (DD-850) in 1970. At the 2001 Charleston, SC., USS Nitro Association reunion, Jeff Marlow (YN3, 69-71) produced photos he had taken at the time while on board Nitro. The pictures below are copies of those photos:

There are entries on the Cruise Stories for USS Nitro (AE-2/AE-23) Association page which tell of the incident from the JP Kennedy side. Any former JPK or Nitro crew members wishing to add their remembrances to those already shown, please feel free to send them to:

Nitro/JP Kennedy Incident Pictures

Photos provided by Jeff Marlow of Wilmington, NC

JP Kennedy starboard sideKennedy starting turn

Left - Kennedy coming along side for UNREP with Nitro, starboard side

Kennedy starts port turn - Right

Kennedy crosses bowFlank speed

Left - Kennedy continues turn in front of Nitro.

Flank speed ordered (notice change in smoke) -Right

Kennedy continues onCollision

Left - Kennedy crosses Nitro bow

Nitro about to impact - Right

Kennedy clearing bowClear of Nitro

Left -JP Kennedy clearing Nitro bow, portside

Kennedy clear of Nitro - Right

Damage assessmentFantail damage

Left -JP Kennedy comes back around to Nitro's starboard side for damage assessment

Kennedy fantail damage - Right

Rememberances from YN3 Jeff Marlow

Rather than meet us (course and speed), they attempted to pull up alongside as though they were coming to a fast food drive in! As I was on the port wing as phone talker/lookout, I had my trusty Yashica Electro 35 camera and became a photojournalist for the day. As the Collision Alarm was clanging, I was cranking off frames. I recall an old salt of a Chief announcing that we were going to collide long before it was obvious to anyone else. Not sure which Chief it was. As the JPK, Jr hit Flank speed, she blew her tubes. I recall that I got a mouthful of sulphur and soot! The rest is pretty evident.

Many months later, I was either at a bar or an airport gate and ran into a crew member of the JPK, Jr. As he had the ships ribbon on his jumper, I couldn't help but comment on the incident. He laughed and said, "Did you see the fantail phonetalker?" He then told me of how the bridge was barking at him to do "something" and upon closer inspection of the photographs, I could see that the "something" was to attempt to fend off the NITRO with a life ring!! If you blow up the one frame, you actually can see the sailor leaning over for the life ring. I recently learned that this was LaChance who has since passed away. Braver man than I, Gungadin!

YN3 Jeff Marlow
1969 - 1971

Editor's note: The quotes around the word something, in the paragraph above, were added. The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850) organization has requested permission to put these pictures on their web site and permission has been granted. They are also going to be showing some of the damage assessment photos that were taken aboard the JPK, Jr. just after the incident and we will be given copies of those pictures to put on this web page. The JPK, Jr. is now a museum ship at Battleship Cove in Fall River, MA. For further informaion on (DD-850), please go to: - the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. web site.

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Page created: 08/08/2001 Updated: 3/6/2006
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