Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Nashviller Son-In-Law Has Unique Perspective: Veteran Aboard Prat

Chief Warrant Officer William Carter had the unique experience of serving aboard the Nashville after she was sold to Chile and re-named Admiral Prat. His father-in-law served about the Nashville. Nashvillers, their families, friends and fans of the ship should find these comments comforting.


As a CTI1(NAC) I served in Prat while on Unitas XVII (1976) as an "adviser" for communications and operations. As a Spanish linguist I served on many of the allied ships during UNITAS XVII and XVIII.
I was berthed in the Chief's Mess and made many friends during my two weeks in Prat. My late
Father-in-Law served in Nashville for part of WW II as a Chief Petty Officer. When I mentioned this to several of the Chiefs, they put together a "care package" for my then Father-in-Law. I reported aboard shortly after daybreak while in port in Talcahuano, Chile.
My introduction to the ship was very abrupt and very impressive. As soon as I stepped aboard, the ships band began playing our National Anthem, followed by the Chilean National Anthem. After this I was shown a brass plaque, set in the deck which gave the history of the kamikaze strike which killed and wounded so many of her crew. BTW, I never saw any crewman step on the plaque, they always walked around it!
Among the exercises was a surface gun shoot in which the Prat fired all her 6" and 5" guns. For someone raised in the modern Navy in which each destroyer or cruiser only has one or at most two 5" gun mounts, you can't imagine just how neat this was to experience! BTW, she was mainly made of stainless steel and was in superb shape. She hit 32 knots during one speed trial while I was serving in her! That was most impressive as her design speed was 32.5 knots!
Most of the ships I served aboard during my 27 years in the Navy are all scrapped. The Nashville/Prat is also gone. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever!


William (Bill) Carter
Chief Warrant Officer, U.S.N.(Ret)

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