Comments  from Mike Johnston  

Hello- I was cruising the net on a dark and stormy night in January and came across a reference to Nasty class PTF. I was even more intrigued to see a picture of the Norwegian torpedo boat Skrei. As a midshipman at the Naval Academy in the summer of 1969, I had the good fortune to serve aboard the Skrei on a foreign exchange cruise. The Norwegians sent two Norwegian midshipmen to serve on US ships and we sent two of ours to serve on theirs. Our days were spent "showing the flag" in the beautiful fjords north of Tromso. We would then come in each evening and attempt to survive the extraordinary hospitality of the Norwegians. 

It was up bright and early the next morning, shaking off the celebrations of the night before and heading out for another day. The Norwegians were professionals and masters of fast boat tactics. They were also realists. Sharing a border with Russia during the cold war, they were resigned to the fact that with their relatively small navy they could only delay the Russians if they ever decided to attack. But they were committed to providing NATO as much time as possible time to strike back and they trained tirelessly. The commanding officer of the Skrei, Arve Lothe, was an outstanding guy; a masterful shiphandler and a great skipper. He taught me how to handle her and even let me attempt a docking. Because of her powerful diesels, her slowest sustained speed on one engine was about 10 knots. I am approaching the dock and I notice that Arve was getting a little nervous, moving around a bit. We get closer, still ahead on one engine and he is getting even more agitated. I of course have had a little shiphandling by this time but not much. Finally, I back the outboard engine 2/3, nudge the inboard engine ahead a bit and end up resting about 12 inches from the "quay" - a perfect result. He had the patience and control of a great teacher. 

I have no doubt that he would have stepped in before anything bad happened but he didn't say a word until we were tied up. And then he said, "Great job!" It was a terrific feeling. The result may have been perfect but, on reflection, I don't remember him letting me dock her again... 

Thanks for the memories! 

Mike Johnston