by Brion Boyles

May be an image of vehicle

.This is a picture of a rack of “Spruance”-class Destroyers (Destroyers are lovingly referred to as “Tin Cans”, in Navy parlance), probably mid-’80’s, and probably San Diego…

I remember the first night I walked the piers at 32nd Street Naval Base, San Diego… A cold, drizzly night, December 1978.

I was 18, fresh out of Quartermaster School, and had arrived just before dark, with a few hours to kill waiting for a bus to take me to the airport to catch my own ship in Japan…After a few beers at the Enlisted Club, I thought I’d go stroll around a bit…

The Destroyer berths were a mere 50 yards away, alight and jammed with dozens of nested Spru-Cans… Like hulking, sleek leopards, they almost seemed to have breath, quietly hissing steam …Each with its close-set pair of red eyes of the Aircraft Warning Lights glowing at the mast-tops, far above in the night…

Then, “Ding-ding…ding-ding!”…four bells cracked out into the cold and the drowsy beasts all shouted at once: “TAPS! TAPS! Lights out…Maintain silence about the decks…The smoking lamp is out in all berthing spaces…Taps.”…

and then went to sleep…

It was mesmerizing…

They’re all gone now…

USS Spruance (DD-963) - Wikipedia

USS Spruance DD-963


2 thoughts on ““Spru-Cans”

  1. Doc Scholl says:

    I remember my day reporting aboard my first ship. She was a beautiful Patrol Gunboat birthed at 32 Street in San Dog. I spent almost 8 months on her before she was decommed and I was sent to one beautiful lady, USS Elliot, a sprucan, brand new and ready to rumble. She too is gone now like most of the others but while I was there she was the best ride any sailor could ask for.


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