Edited by Martha Jette
Story by David Labrum
In the early 80’s, I was stationed aboard the USS Guam (LPH-9). This was an amphibious assault ship built in the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard in 1962. Named after the Battle of Guam, the ship was commission in January 1965.
It was also considered an Iwo Jima-class ship that was built and designed with the capacity to operate up to 20 helicopters, which could carry up to 1,800 marines to shore. The LPH in its title stood for Landing Platform, Helicopter.
The standard practice at that time was to anchor off the coast at Moorhead City in North Carolina to onload the Marines and all of their gear before getting underway for a cruise. It was common for a few sailors to fish off the fan tail. In ‘nautical terms,’ a fan tail is the part of the ship that is furthest aft of its main deck and is where sailors can congregate to relax and talk. It has also been referred to as the ‘back porch.’
Anyway in order to do some fishing, the sailors needed to muster up whatever chow they could find from the mess deck so they could use it as bait. On one occasion, we sailed into a school of sharks and decided that they would serve the purpose.
Of course, we had to gut them on the deck and throw the pieces overboard. These attracted even more sharks that were ready and willing to bite. This event would not have been noteworthy except for the fact that the ship was a flat-bottomed Amphib.
We were just a few hundred yards off the beach, so we could see people swimming and sunning themselves on the shore. It also became quite obvious that they could see what we were doing too!
To see pictures of this, go to: http://images.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search;_ylt=AwrTcdWVnvJSKXwAkNAPxQt.;_ylu=X3oDMTBsOXB2YTRjBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkAw–?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-newnet-looksafe_ds_trans&va=shark+fishing+on+the+USS+Guam&hspart=newnet&hsimp=yhs-looksafe_ds_trans