The most memorable Sea story from the 1990s on board the Virginia had to be the day we tried to take the ship to the Mcdonalds Drive-through at the Norfolk Naval Base. We were tied up at pier 10 outboard of the USS Bainbridge CGN-25, and the newest Aegis Cruiser at the time, the Thomas S. Gates, was tied up behind our ship. Maneuvering was being set and both steam plants just got the order to warm up propeller shafts alternating port and starboard. After about a minute of this, I was down in #2 plant and could here the #1 plant (starboard) shaft spinning very fast. Then the ship started lurching forward, way harder than a tugboat pushes the ship. I started up to the main deck to check things out and all heck broke loose, literally. some of the lines connecting us to the Bainbridge snapped and lurched the ship even harder, now I heard a couple of garbled ship announcements about "staying clear of parting lines". when I got to the main deck I saw the ship still tied to the Bainbridge, but moving! about this time the bridge and the throttleman in #1 plant had figured out that the engine order telegraph was not energized and stopped the shaft. As the shaft wound down it began to indicate over 100 rpm on the engine order telegraph.
The momentum created by this was way too strong and the ship headed for the pier wall. I still remember the shocked look in the eyes of the 20 or so sailors using the long row of phone booths at pier 10 , as they scattered for their lives wide eyed. We were looking down the bow at them and straight at the base Mcdonalds Drive-through. Then the motion abruptly stopped and all the sonar dome alarms lit up. Now we though well that's over, when the ship began moving rapidly the other way. The spring in the remaining lines was sending us at the Thomas S. Gates now. We slid our stern under their bow and we could touch their anchor chain from our fantail. Then we quickly cast off our lines and left for a week in the VACAPES. Meanwhile the Bainbridge was operating in casualty control mode, all of the ships power lines had been ripped loose and the shore steam riser tore off and was whipping around the pier (I heard it damaged several of the cars on the pier in particular the CO's from the Bainbridge). When we pulled back into Norfolk a week later the Navy decide to tie us at pier 10 again. The Bainbridge was still there and when we tossed our lines over they threw them all back. Eventually, they let us tie up but they we still quite upset. I don't know If Mcdonalds could have gotten our order in time for us to leave any way.
MM1(SW) Jamie LePage