April 19 , 1989


Heavy smoke pours from Turret Two following an internal explosion on 19 April 1989.


My friend Ricky was in there when this photo was taken. The following is from Wiki.

1989 turret explosion


During a gunnery exercise, at 0955 on 19 April 1989, an explosion ripped through the Number Two 16-inch (410 mm) gun turret, killing 47 crewmen. A gunner’s mate in the powder magazine room quickly flooded the No. 2 powder magazine, likely preventing catastrophic damage to the ship. At first, Naval Investigative Service (N.I.S., later renamed Naval Criminal Investigative Service or NCIS) investigators theorized that one of the dead crewmen, Clayton Hartwig, had detonated an explosive device in a suicide attempt after the end of an alleged affair with another sailor. To support this claim, naval officials pointed to several different factors, including Hartwig’s life insurance policy, which named Kendall Truitt as the sole beneficiary in the event of his death, the presence of unexplained materials inside Turret II, and his mental state, which was alleged to be unstable.

Although the Navy was satisfied with the investigation and its results, others were unconvinced, and in October 1991, amid increasing criticism, Congress forced the Navy to reopen the investigation. This second investigation, handled by independent investigators, was hampered by the fact that most of the original debris from Iowa had been cleaned up or otherwise disposed of by the Navy before and after the first investigation, but it did uncover evidence pointing to an accidental powder explosion rather than an intentional act of sabotage.

I had partied with Ricky, his sister, and one of his friends, just 3 weeks before this happened. We had a wonderful time watching Eddie Murphy and playing cards or some board game. Talking and laughing.

Little did we know.

But apparently he had a premonition.

They found all his friends senior photos laid out on the floor in the house he rented. He had seen everyone on his last trip home. If I remember correctly, they even found his class ring there when he wore it all the time.

He left it behind this time.

He was a ‘take this one home to meet Momma’ kind of warm, kind, gentle, friendly soul. He worked at the local grocery store and ALWAYS had a smile on his face.

Ricky and 46 other young men died that day.

May they all RIP.

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