Lieutenant Commander Carlton W. Canaday

OIC - USS King AAW Modernization, 30 April 1974 to July 1976

LCDR C. W. Canaday


LCDR Canady entered the Navy in 1961. His duty stations included billets as Deck Officer and Gunnery Officer aboard the USS PINE ISLAND (AV-12) and Nuclear Weapons Officer and Assistant CIC Officer aboard the USS OKLAHOMA CITY (CLG-5). His next duty was as a River Patrol Operations Officer in Vietnam.

After attending eight months ashore attending Destroyer School as well as various engineering schools, LCDR Canaday reported to the USS HARRY E. YARNELL (DLG-17) as the Engineering Officer.

After a tour of duty at the Bureau of Naval Personnel as the Educational Program Manager, LCDR Canaday reported aboard the USS KING (DLG-10) as the Engineering Officer.

Upon decommissioning of the USS KING for AAW Modernization in 1974, LCDR Canaday remained with the KING as the OIC of the Modernization Detail.

LCDR Canaday then reported to the USS MIDWAY (CV-41) as the Damage Control Assistant. After that duty station, he served as a Navy Planner at the Field Command Defense Nuclear Agency until his retirement in 1983.

USS KING AAW Modernization from the perspective of Carlton Canaday

The USS King (DLG-10) was the last of its class of ten ships to be modernized. The delay for the King was because it was used as a test platform for the gattling gun anti-missile system. All nine of the King’s sister ships went through modernization at either Bath Iron Works in Maine or the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. I was the Engineering Officer on the King and all of us thought we would be going to one of those locations. When we left San Diego for the East Coast we didn’t know where we would end up because the contract had not been let by the time we departed San Diego. When we got to Norfolk we were told to turn around and go to New Orleans. Boland Marine Manufacturing Company had been awarded the contract. At that time the Chair of the Appropriations Committee was the congressman from the first congressional district in Louisiana which included New Orleans. Also, the president of Boland Marine was a personal friend of his. You may draw your own conclusions.

Boland Marine usually worked on Mississippi tug boats and were known for the quality of their marine valves. They had never done anything the size and complexity that the King contract called for. Their “yard” was on the industrial canal opposite the turning basin and was not more that three hundred yards long and less than 100 yards wide. I knew there would be problems as soon as I saw the place. The contract was for 13 months at 32 million dollars. At the end of the first month I reported to CINCLANTFLT that we were one month into the contract but were probably a month behind schedule. The NAVSHIPS office in New Orleans oversaw the contract with Boland Marine. My job was to observe and report to the fleet commander how things were progressing. For this I had ten senior enlisted personal and one supply corps officer. Each week the NAVSHIPS personnel had a progress meeting with Boland Marine that I sat in on. After about four months a question was asked, the individual who was in charge of the project for Boland Marine said he couldn’t answer the question because he hadn’t read that far into the contract as yet. As time progressed I became more and more unpopular with Boland Marine as well as the NAVSHIPS people. My monthly reports were becoming more and more detailed about the problems and delays but instead of investigating CINCLANTFLT had me send my reports through the New Orleans NAVSHIPS Office.

Toward the end of my tenure (which was 27 months), the Prospective Commanding Officer for the King arrived. The first day on location he did not speak to me. The next day he sat down with me and told me that he was warned not to pay any attention to me because I was an alarmist and exaggerated problems. He told me that after one day of observing the work that Boland Marine was doing he thought I had been reserved in my reporting. I was detached in July 1976 and the contract had grown to over 60 million dollars at that time.

Sometime in the mid 1980s, after I had retired in 1983, I received a visit from MMCS John Agnew. He was one of the ten senior enlisted personnel on the Modernization Detail. John provided some follow up information for me. He said that the prospective CO that I had met died mysteriously a few months after I had left. Then after about the 31st or 32nd month of the modernization the Navy came in and towed the King to Philadelphia and spent about six months correcting and finishing the work of modernization.

I would not wish my experience on anyone. As I look back on it there were things that I could have done differently in solving problems but I doubt anything could have solved the problem with Boland Marine.

Carlton Canaday, July, 2007