August 23, 20196 CommentsMaking WavesCG 62, CG 67, DD 964, LHA 1, Making Waves, Memories, Musings, navigation, navy, navy family, Navy Tiger, Nintendo, Sea stories, Tiger Cruise, Tiger Cruises, us navy, USS Chancellorsville, USS Paul F. Foster, USS Shiloh, USS Tarawa
Oneof the true joys of returning from sea from a long deployment is to have aloved one join you on a short transit home to see what Dad, Mom, Aunt or Uncledoes in the Navy. This post will be co-written by me and the NHF director of Events,Mr. Sam Hall, whose “Dadmiral” is Rear Admiral Garry Hall, USN (Ret.).
You are watching: What is a tiger cruise navy
A“Tiger” is almost always a family member who is invited by a Sailor to sailwith them from the final port of call on a long deployment to homeport. TheNavy describes the purpose of a Tiger Cruise officially in the following way:
“The occasional embarkation of family members of naval personnel isintended to contribute to good morale and instill in servicemembers asense of pride in the Navy and their ships. It also enhances publicunderstanding of the Navy and increases community awareness.”
“Operation Tiger Cruise is the unclassified code name for a veryspecial guest cruise program that includes two or more consecutivedays underway. The primary purpose of a Tiger Cruise is forservicemembers to acquaint their family members with their ship andtheir shipboard duties.”
SamHall will jump in shortly to represent the Tiger perspective, but I wanted toshare how great it was to have my step-father join me on four different Tigercruises aboard the USS Paul F. Foster (DD 964)—twice—and once each onthe USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) and USS Shiloh (CG 67).
Mystep-father Capt. Joseph E. Gould, USN (Ret.), was a USNA grad (class of ’43,but graduated in June of ’42) and was a Diesel submariner (WWII), SurfaceWarrior (Korea) and Naval Intelligence (Vietnam) officer. He had five afloatcommands in his nearly 30-year career and knew a thing or two about mybusiness. As a Navigator, he joined me for shooting morning and evening stars,actually shooting stars and reducing them to determine our position. These arenot easy skills to master and imagine my intimidation that he did this 8 yearsafter retirement. He added to my misery, I mean, professional development, whenhe encouraged me to obtain a 1000 (10 AM) sun line each morning so we couldobtain a running fix from a local apparent noon calculation. At lunch in thewardroom, a young Sailor entered and presented to the Captain our twelveo’clock reports… “Sir the Officer of the Deck sends his respects and reportsthe approaching hour of 1200. All chronometers have been wound and compared andwe have position fixes from a sunline/local apparent noon, SATNAV, Loran andOmega.” “Very well”, said Capt. Lee Kaiss. Our Commodore, Capt. John J. Gelke, wasa Kings Point mariner of great navigational and engineering accomplishment aswell. Together they were apoplectic thatour Nav-team was so accomplished, forward leaning and on top of the game. “Wow,Petty Officer Gallup (the leading Quartermaster) is really raising the barthese days, isn’t he?” opined the Old Man. The Commodore jumped into theconversation and brought the credit where it belonged—to my stepfather. This iswhen the Commodore metaphorically became my step-dad’s “bestie” and they shotstars together for the final four days of our deployment. My Quartermasters wereelated as the small and always nearly empty chart room was jammed with twoCaptains, a Lieutenant, and the occasional Junior Officer needing some PersonnelQualification Standard signed off in what was supposed to be a chill andretiring ride home in an empty chartroom.
Thank you, Admiral—Sam here. As a young Navy kid, I never really knew that much about my dad’s work. His time on shore duty felt like he was at any other job with long hours a mom or dad might’ve had. My family and I said farewell and welcomed him back many times on different piers and hangars or he’d surprise me and my siblings and break us out of school, but I never really knew what his life was like on the boat. In late July of 1998, my perception of all of that changed as a young Tiger with my older brother, Garry. We met my dad in Pearl Harbor as the USS Tarawa (LHA 1), the Eagle of the Sea, returned from the Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf, and different ports of Africa and the Pacific. I was lucky that year—I just made the age cut of 8 years old merely a month before the cruise.
As a kid, one of my favorite memories was meeting Main Propulsion Assistant Lt. Cdr. Ronnie Harris. Lt. Cdr. Harris ran the 5000m with the USA Olympic team and was roommates with “The Admiral” himself, David Robinson, at the Naval Academy. To this day, Ronnie is one of the funniest people I’ve met and would have me, my brother, Dad, and plenty of other Tigers red in the face with laughter. When there was some downtime, my brother, myself, a few other Tigers and LTs would cram in Lieutenant Commander Harris’ quarters and play one of our favorite video games at
the time, Star Fox 64, on his Nintendo. He showed no mercy for me and my brother—the XO’s kids(!)—and kicked our butts. I would bug him constantly for a rematch. Hanging out with that awesome crew was some of the most fun I had, especially when I could eat my weight in ice cream in their wardroom. Looking back, knowing the quality of people Dad was at sea with would bring a lot of comfort back home.
Twenty-one years later, there’s still so much from that Tiger Cruise that I carry with me. I still feel giddy as I tell friends and colleagues of the rumble and boom of an M242 firing off into the distance with eyes fixed on the glow of tracers turning into splashes. The sound of ocean waves lapping into the immense well deck is still vivid in my mind. As a little guy then, I didn’t shoot much, but being on the Marine’s indoor range might’ve put a little hair on my chest. Whether it was sharing lunch with the crew and other Tigers or watching the awe-inspiring skill and tact of flight ops, I loved being on the flight deck most of all.
Inall honesty, being a Navy kid was tough at times. When a parent is on adeployment, it can feel like a lifetime. But being a lucky, young Tiger sailinghome with Dad, seeing what he did day-to-day, and meeting the amazing men andwomen he served with—Those are memories I wouldn’t trade for the world.
Back to over to you, Sonny—
I have many moreTiger memories. One of my executive officer’s, Bob Williams, son Robbie was awhirling dirvish of activitiy and rowdiness—and went on to become CommandingOfficer of Seal Team 3. Then-LieutenantBill Keating’s Uncle John Ahern “tigered” with us many times and had his ownseat in the Goat Locker (Chief Petty Officers’ Mess) complete with his owncoffee mug. Then-Lieutenant Paul Schultz’ father, Paul Sr., came aboard withhis Korean-War vintage DBF Dolphins (Diesel Boats Forever) and the best arrayof off-color sea stories ever told on a sailing vessel of any era.
What are your Tigercruise memories either as a Tiger or host of a Tiger? What activities were mostmemorable? How did you or your parents fund the trip in tight budgetsituations? What did you learn about your Sailor Dad or Mom that you didn’tknow before? How had your young son or daughter matured over the previous sixto eight months that surprised you?
Wherever I find a Navy family, the Tiger cruise always comesup in conversation. Let’s start one now!