USS William H. Standley DLG/CG-32 Association

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Visit - 1987  

In 1987, during the Iran/Iraq War, as we were conducting one of about 25 Earnest Will escort operations (escorting tankers up to Kuwaitt) we had learned we were to receive Admiral Crowe, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on board for a short visit. We were transiting through a suspected mine field and about 30 minutes prior to the Chairman's helo landing we got indications of a probable small boat attack! We informed the Chairman's helo of the "hot" situation and advised he may want to cancel his visit. The helo transmitted back the Chairmans message, "I'm coming in anyway". Due to the tense situation, the CO and XO were both in CIC when his helo landed. So here is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs standing in the helo hanger and he asked a 3rd class petty officer he found in the hanger if he knew where the Captain was? The 3rd class replied, "The Captain?, oh, I think he works in Combat". The 3rd class escorted Adm Crowe to CIC, he walked in, went straight to the SWC and ask for his helo in 5 minutes. He was pissed. He talked to some of the enlisted men but never spoke a single word to the CO, XO or any officer. Then he flew off. And the moral of the story is no matter hot the hot war environment gets, never forget your military etiquette!

ISC(SW) Stephen A. Foster, 30 August 1998
(Ship's Intelligence Specialist, 1986-1990)


I seem to remember the visit of the CJSCS to WHS in 1987 a bit differently than ISC Foster does. I'm not sure who's visit ISC Foster is thinking about, but I can assure you that no VIP was slighted in any way during my tenure as Commanding Officer. First of all, the Chairman came aboard as we sat at anchor at Sitrah Anchorage in Bahrain. He came by small boat from another ship he had also visited. He was accompanied by his EA, RADM Joe Strasser, who later became our Battle Group Commander. ADM Crowe was met by me (CO), the XO, and our Command Master Chief. ADM Crowe toured the ship and spoke to many crewmembers throughout the ship. I recall one young fireman who wanted his picture taken with the Chairman, but his camera was out of film. The chairman was about to enter one of the firerooms and told the young fireman to go and get some film and he would pose with him upon departing the space. The fireman ran off to the ship's store, bought some film, and met us as we departed the fireroom. As he said that he would, ADM Crowe posed for a picture with this very excited young man. ADM Crowe then came to the wardroom and addressed all of the assembled officers and chiefs. We exchanged plaques as I recall, and his CJCS plaque was hung in the crews mess. After a very pleasant visit, the Admiral left the ship, as scheduled. A few days after he left the ship I received a very nice personal letter from him, on his personal CJCS stationary, thanking us for the visit and remarking that WHS was one of the cleanest ships he had ever been aboard. I still have that letter in my personal files.

s/Capt. John McHenry, USN(RET), 24 December 1998
Commanding Officer, 3 Dec 1986 to 9 Nov 1988