|October, 28, 1976. 2 days out from San Diego onboard the USS Racine LST 1191 on a “Westpac”. I and about 10 other crew members, observed a strange triangle object reported directly behind the ship by the port and starboard lookouts. We were on the midnight rotating watch, 12 to 4 am. I was on the stern of the ship equipped with sound powered headphones to report on any lights or objects, otherwise known as “contacts”, to the bridge. While on watch on the stern, I observed that there were no ships, contacts or lights of any kind as expected, as the Racine was sailing alone and not in a convoy. After a while, I heard the port and starboard lookouts talking on the phones. “It looks like a Christmas tree”. I then observed a large yellow/orange triangle object directly behind the ship.
It appeared to be hovering just above the water about a mile or less away, while maintaining a fixed distance from the ship. While this was happening, I heard a lot of chattering on the phones and then someone said “Shut-up”. After a few minutes, the object appeared to get smaller and smaller as if it sped directly away until it disappeared. When I rotated watch to the bridge on the helm, I saw a radar operator come out of the Combat Information Center. I asked him what was that all about and he said, “There was nothing on radar”. There was no longer any talk about what had happened. The next day, I saluted an Officer I knew in passing. I believe this was a really likeable and friendly Officer. I asked him what that was that we all saw while on watch last night. He became angry and said, “You didn’t see anything and that’s the last I want to hear about it”. As far as I can remember, no crew members ever talked about this incident again
LST-1191USS Racine was the thirteenth of twenty Newport-class tank landing ships of the United States Navy which replaced the traditional bow door-design tank landing ships. The second ship named after the city in Wisconsin, the ship was constructed by National Steel and Shipbuilding Company of San Diego, California.
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