U.S.S. California
DLGN-36 / CGN-36
The Golden Grizzly
In The Beginning, Memories of a Plank Owner

California Memories:
Pictures from the early days

All former California crewmen are invited to E-mail Me scanned photographs of the CALIFORNIA or about her crew.

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September 22, 1971. With a "near miss" of the champagne bottle by First Lady Mrs. Richard M. Nixon, the California is launched. Launching
The Plankowner Crew mans the rails during the Commissioning Ceremony on February 16, 1974 Man the Rails Gang Plank
Theresa, still my bride, stands next to the ship's bell on February 16, 1974. The bell was cast in 1919 for the Battleship California BB-44. Today, the bell rests in a memorial in Capital Park in Sacramento, California. Click Here to see. Ship's Bell
The California at Norfolk, Va. Naval Base at the time of her commissioning. DLGN36 at pier
Task Force Bravo The USS California, USS Nimitz, and USS South Carolina steam in formation at flank speed for this picture. Task Force Bravo
The Navy's second nuclear carrier task force was assembled for the Commissioning of USS NIMITZ (CVAN68) in Norfolk VA. USS CALIFORNIA (CGN36) and USS SOUTH CAROLINA (CGN37) are shown tied-up across from NIMITZ with USS RAY (SSN653) moored at the end of the pier. President Gerald Ford honored the Navy and its nuclear shipbuilding efforts by his participation in the ceremony. Task Force
USS NIMITZ makes a high speed turn!
(Sorry, this is as large as this picture can be made)
Underway personnel "High Line" transfer between the California and Forrest Sherman DD 931. Highline
Returning to the California anchored off the coast of Saint Thomas in the Virgin Islands at sunset in June of 1975. The "Dress Ship" lights are lighting the way for our 40' utility boat. Dress Ship
It doesn't matter if you try to hold the camera level with the deck or with the horizon, you can still tell that the ship is rolling! Ship rolling Ship rolling
The deck gets a continous sea water bath Deck awash
Flight Quarters for Mail Call and to exchange movies.
Being part of a Carrier Task Force had its advantages!
Flight Quarters
Missile Away! Missile Launch Missile Away!
One of our two 40 foot Utility Boats moored to the Starboard yardarm while the California is anchored out in the harbor. Changing the light bulb at the end of the yardarm while it was extended was an experience if the ship was rolling. Just walking out and climbing down the rope ladder was also an experience. Yardarm
The motor whaleboat is manned and underway. Whaleboat Underway
"Shift Colors, Underway" We got comfortable working aloft, often starting to rig the "dress ship" lighting while the ship was still entering a harbor. Although I never did get comfortable changing the "aircraft warning lights" at the very top of the mast. Shift Colors
In the middle of the night, on the final night of a 7 month Med Cruise, a ghostly voice announced throughout the ship that "You Are Sailing Into The Left Hand Of The Devil!" Entering and Leaving Norfolk, Va. ships must travel through a corner of the "Bermuda Triangle." Everyone who heard the "voice" tried to find the prankster, although we never did. Come day break, this was the sea that awaited us! Warm Gulf Stream waters on a Cold February morning? Or "something" else? Devil's Sea
The California enters her Home Waters on my final voyage before being discharged. Following tradition, I roll my "white cap" like a frisbee and toss it out into the sea. Hat Toss

The following pictures were Contributed by: Tony Diller
Capt. Smith G Division MK86 Radar Shellback
Shellback Shellback Wet Ride

Pages from the 1981 Indian Ocean Cruise Book
Contributed by: Bill Simmons

The following pictures were contributed by EM1(SW) Wayne L. Wagner, Jr. stationed aboard the California between 11/88 and 6/91.
Missile Launch
Missile Launch
USS California Gun Fires
5" 54 Gun Fires
Looking Aft
Looking Aft
Deck Awash
Deck Awash

This 1997 picture of the California in Seward, Alaska was contributed by Dennis M. Fuerst In Alaska

This 1997 picture of the California at the Seward/Suneel coal loading facility in Seward, Alaska was contributed by Patrick Callahan In Alaska

Contributed by: Brad Smosna
Here are a couple of shots I took when we visited Adak. Interesting was that in the first attmept to get there, the winds were so strong we couldn't moor even with the tug-- we called it off and went out for another night. Came back in the next day and moored successfully.

Walking towards us is Woerman..XO. QMC Laverty is the chief talking at the cernter pelorus facing us.

Bridgewing during unrep...the CO is Poulson. The chief with the binocs is the HMC?

Bridgewing during the same unrep.

Radar....the business end of the ship.

Fantail "smoker", from around the world 1981 Indian Ocean cruise. You know everyone wanted to go home the quick way (western route). But we had to "take the long way home". Remember that song? Contributed by Richard Fairfull Smoker

This 1981 picture of the entire California and Virginia Classes of nuclear powered cruisers was contributed by Bill Damick
Back Row (L-R) Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas
Front Row (L-R) California, South Carolina, Virginia
All 6 states

The following pictures were contributed by Gene Bales

Contributed by: Joe Moyer
Replenishment Operations off the coast of California.
Picture at left shows RM1 Joe Moyer.
Picture at right shows ISC Healy, Rm1 Kevin Shaffer, RM1 Joe Moyer

First Live Missile Launch Nov. 76
Photo Contributed By: HODUSMAN@aol.com
Live Missile Launch

The following pictures were contributed by James Cornell

Click Here for More Pictures on Page 2

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