What Course to Make Good 1SD?



That’s Balch with USS Yorktown at Midway.

“What Course to Make Good 1SD?”

Will I ever forget that “interrogative (query)”?  It was early 1965 and I was a young Seaman standing my first bridge watch as the USS Porterfield (DD-682) departed San Diego for local ops.

But that’s not the question from the Officer of the Deck (OOD) I heard that day as the phone talker between the Bridge and the Combat Information Center (CIC) . What I heard was “Ask Combat:  yadayada – yadaompah –nyatnyat?”  Embarrassed to admit I had no idea what the OOD said, I talked into the Sound Powered Phone and said “Combat Bridge: blahblahblay –yadayaday—yada?”

The OOD again: “That’s not what I said!  — Ask Combat: … nyatnyat – yadayada – yadaompah?”

Even more embarrassed, and intimidated beyond belief and still not able to understand, I again opened the mike and blurted out “Combat bridge: nyatnyat – yadayada – yadaompah?”

The OOD again:That’s not what I said!  — “. But this time he picked up the handset and said – “Combat Bridge – what course to make good 1SD?” 1SD being the designation of the outermost navigation buoy encountered  when entering or leaving San Diego harbor. The OOD was asking how to steer the ship successfully out of the harbor. (Was he messing with my head a bit?)

Jargon – it’s important!  Details – they’re important!


Now these many years later it’s my turn for the “interrogative:”

“What Course to Make Good 1SD?”

We have the 41’st annual reunion of the USS Balch/USS Porterfield coming up in mid September 2016 … and yes it will be in San Diego. So I am asking all you sailors of those two fine ships – families – friends – those just getting out of the cold … “set your course to 1SD”  Only this time that navigation buoy will mark our return once more, and the arrival will be a runway, parking lot or a train station – not a pier.

At the last reunion in Denver I was surrounded by a bunch of mean looking old salts carrying rubber hoses, swabs and coffee cups and was told in no uncertain terms that I was to be the OOD for the upcoming 41’st reunion. 

Well I was just a lowly enlisted guy and had no experience conning a ship, let alone a ship reunion.  For all I knew my job was to swindle a bunch of drunken sailors out of their paycheck (but those rubber hoses still bothered me a bit).

So the first thing I did was find someone a whole lot smarter than me and turn him loose as Quartermaster.

So I quickly found this guy Rob Wallace in San Diego who has been doing this reunion thing for over 20 years and has organized over 700 military (mostly Navy) over that time in San Diego. Rob and I have e-mailed back and forth and did this talker thing several times, me being Bridge and Rob being Combat. Anyway Rob is putting together what I think will be a fantastic and very enjoyable reunion package for us.

The details are still in work, and Diana and I will be traveling to 1SD (San Diego) mid January to check out and pick one of three hotels that Rob has identified.  Following that, I think we will be ready to publish the schedule and details – probably February would be my estimate.

I know some of you have not been to San Diego in many years, and others like myself called it home after our Navy life. But remember this:

All of us have San Diego Navy roots.



Don Johnson – December 2015


3 responses to “What Course to Make Good 1SD?

  1. holiday in at thebay on bayside was a great motel when we were in san diego other navy reunions were held there when we were there. uss providence reunion in sept.great restaurant. nice rooms and great bar area
    call if you need more info 218-847- 6017 paul thunstrom porterfield 1961-65

  2. Ron Vander Griend

    That beats getting kicked off the bridge because I did not have a clue of what they were saying and steering the ship obviously very erratic.

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