History of ATR-7  -  Page 25

    Towing jobs were scarce in Brazil. Most of ATR-7's days were spent moored next to a small tanker at the dock and the time passed slowly with the usual humdrum routine. The U.S. Navy turned over to the Brazilian Navy two nearly new destroyers excorts. The destroyer escorts were renamed the BOCAINA (formerly DE-174) and BERTIOGA (formerly DE-175). In the course of the changeover, the Brazilians were instructed on operation of the ships and finally they were ready for sea trials with their all Brazilian crews.
     ATR-7 was assigned the job of towing a target for gunnery practice one day. She reached the exercise area and spent the afternoon runing up and down the course while the Brazilians began their gunnery practice. Before returning to port, ATR-7 had to make a final run in darkness for a night firing exercise. She sailed on course and all was set, when the Brazilian ship opened fire with 20 mm guns blazing and lines of red tracers filled the air.
    At the time, YN2 was not on watch, so after the evening meal, he stretched out on the boat deck under the cradle of the motor launch. Space between the launch keel and the steel deck was only a few inches. When the red tracers came through the air across the water from the DE, they made straight for ATR-7. The space between the motor launch keel and deck suddenly widened to three feet, YN2 thought. He heard shouting on the bridge and quickly crawled behind the big steel smokestack for cover, although the thin steel plate of the stack offered very little real protection.


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