Welcome to the U.S.S. Kilauea Webpage

Click here to read about Capt. McGonagle's Medal of Honor

Dedicated to the memory of Captain William L. McGonagle (1925-1999)
Kilauea's First Commanding Officer

My name is David Jackson and I was in the U.S. Navy from 1967 to 1971. I was assigned to the Kilauea right out of boot camp in November of 1967. During pre-commissioning detail I attended Quartermaster "A" school in New Port Rhode Island.

Rick Morrison and I, along with some other Kilauea crew members, were then assigned temporary duty on the U.S.S. Allagash (AO-97) and made a NATO cruise to the North Atlantic where we visited some European cities. We stopped in Hamburg Germany, South Hampton UK and a six hour stay in Campbelltown Scotland.

On our return trip to the States we had two incidents. We were sailing as part of a NATO unit that included the aircraft carrier Essex, several destroyers and a submarine. One morning we received a radio message from the Essex asking if we had seen any sign of the submarine. We later learned that the U.S.S. Scorpion (SSN 589) had mysteriously disappeared. [ Story ]

Another incident occurred while we were at gunnery practice on the Allagash. The U.S.S. Essex (CV-9) had launched a "Willie Fudd" towing a target sleeve for our gunners to shoot. After the tow plane had left to return to the carrier to refuel and to replace the target sleeve, we received a radio message that an aircraft was down. We assumed it was the "Willie Fudd" but found out later that a Russian Bison bomber had been circling the Essex and had caught its wing in the water. It cart-wheeled several times, killing all on board. The Essex lowered boats to retrieve the remains that they then handed over to a Russian destroyer that was operating in the same area.

After returning to the States, Rick and I went to the Kilauea which was now in the Boston Naval Shipyard. On August 10, 1968 the U.S.S. Kilauea (AE-26) was placed in commission and officially turned over to the United States Navy.

After a few more months in the Boston Naval Shipyard we departed for the west coast, Concord California, our home port. We proceeded to Guantanamo Naval Base (Gitmo) in Cuba where we conducted gunnery practice and other shipboard training. After leaving Cuba we headed for the Panama Canal. After passing through the Canal, the captain decided to make a run south of the equator around the Galapagos Islands. That's where we were initiated into the realm of Neptunus Rex and became Shellbacks.

Looking more like pirates than navy sailors (thanks to the Royal Barber during the Shellback initiation) we headed for Acapulco, Mexico where a fun time was had by all!

Leaving Acapulco we headed for our new home port of Concord California, just a short trip up the Sacramento River from San Francisco.

From there the adventure begins...

If you were stationed on the Kilauea or know of someone who was, email me David Jackson (QM2)
Created on: March 6, 2002