Eric Chase's memory of April 19th, 1989 is largely a blur. On that day, he was aboard the USS Iowa, a World War 2 era battleship, equipped with some of the world's biggest cannons, capable of leveling a city block with a single hit.
April 19th, 1989 was the day when one of the 16 inch guns aboard the ship malfunctioned and caused a huge internal explosion that claimed the lives of 47 sailors and caused a huge fire on the ship.
Eric Chase was one of the responders who ventured into the turret to recover bodies, or, well, in this case, parts of bodies. In this episode of Here Be Monsters, Eric describes his experience inside the turret, putting organic material into garbage bags, wading through the destruction. He describes how it awakened a contradiction between his sense of duty and his sense of dissatisfaction with the Naval chain of command and policy. Needless to say, if you're offended by descriptions of dead bodies, then you should not listen to this episode.
Right now, on the HBM website, you can find probably-never-before-released photos of Eric and the USS Iowa's turret explosion. You can also watch archival footage from the congressional inquiries that challenge the Navy's initial claim that the explosion was caused by an allegedly gay sailor named Clayton Hartwig's suicide attack. And about how congress determined that the Navy had actually been the ones at fault. All that, and more at HBMpodcast.com
This episode was produced by Alex Kime, A writer and sound engineer based in Chicago. He also produced Fugitives of the Blue Laguna, which aired on Here Be Monsters earlier this season. www.hbmpodcast.com/podcast/hbm032-…the-blue-laguna
Jeff Emtman is HBM's Lead Producer and Bethany Denton is HBM's Story Editor
Music on the show from
Phantom Fauna phantomfauna.bandcamp.com/
Swamp Dog swampdog.bandcamp.com/
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