Because of our ability to operate in a stealthy mode, we had been selected to try a bold venture, we were to slip into the Black Sea and join up with a Russian task force "undetected."
We played hide and seek games throughout the day and into the darkness of the night. A little past midnight the Russian task force was found. I don't know if it was by luck or if it was planned, but the Russians were in a long line taking on fuel from a support ship by the over the stern method. One could only guess that the bridges and the CICs of the Russkie ships were busy keeping station and either did not notice or chose to ignore one additional ship among the others. This bold venture was about to become a little more bold.
The skipper had us fall into last place in the line of ships to be fueled. We were in the darkened ship mode and slowly made our way up to the support ship. As the last Russkie ship pulled away, we made our approach.
A Russian speaking crewman was on hand to handle the radio traffic. As expected, the support ship asked how much fuel we would need. "Just a token amount," was our reply. We continued making our approach, the yards between us and the support ship closing every second. I don't know about anyone else, but my heart was pounding and the ol' adrenaline was pumping.
When we were even with the support ship, the radio hailed us again - "What ship are you?"
"United States Battle Cruiser Biddle," we replied in perfect Russian.
The radio went silent -- then all hell broke loose. Gongs, whistles, lights all seemed to go off at once on board the Russkie ships, as they scattered in every direction away from us.
We the changed course and came alongside the support ship. Our skipper and the Russian skipper exchanged pleasantries as we slowly slipped away into the darkness - unmolested, unfueled and pleased with ourselves.
Despite our victory over the Soviet Navy, it was not until we steamed past Izmir, Turkey and headed for the open sea that I felt a little more comfy, and ready for an old familiar port - I'd had enough excitement for one week.