The trouble started before the boat even left the dock. Specifically, someone forgot to raise the anchor up all the way, and as they backed out ever so slowly, they dragged the anchor along the moored deck of her sister ship. Picture an anchor scraping along railings, lifeboats and thousands of dollars' worth of war s**t like a coked up toddler in a candy store. Picture the looks on the faces of the newbie sailors as they watched it happen a) on their first day on the job and b) on the way to meet the freaking president.
"Holy s**t we damaged our anchor."
The captain of the Porter, Wilfred Walter, issued a quick apology, looked at his watch and realized he really needed to meet up with the USS Iowa for their escort mission. So he said, "Wellllp. Catch you later, dude!" and left, leaving the U.S. Navy with the mess. But hey, beginners' nerves, right? How much worse could things get from there?
Much. Much worse.
#4. Nearly Blew Up the President's Boat With a Depth Charge ...
Twenty-four hours after the anchor-scrape incident, the Porter meekly took its place alongside the rest of the convoy, no doubt with her metaphorical head hanging and her shame glasses on. The journey across the Atlantic would take eight days, and the ships would pass through U-boat-infested waters during wartime, so it was critical that the boats keep up with training and maneuvers on the journey. For example, in a real-live battle situation, if a submarine got too close, it was the destroyer's job to drop depth charges (just huge bombs that sink down and blow up next to the submerged sub). So, one of the drills that the Porter was tasked with was sending out fake depth charges for practice.
You can tell where this train wreck is heading, can't you?
"We wrote 'void' on the side, so it should be dead. Bombs are like checks, right?"
Yes, the geniuses on the Willie Dee never got around to disarming their anti-submarine weapons. And on November 12, a live depth charge just fell off the deck. Fell. As in it kind of rolled off, into the ocean, within killing distance of the president of the United States. And it exploded. And that was when s**t got real.