Abbot 1957-1958

John Alford, a chief petty officer aboard Abbot on the late 1950s, used a 16mm camera with color film to record the 1958 Mediterranean cruise and a large NATO exercise.

The NATO footage is apparently of Operation Strikeback in September 1957. This was a massive exercise involving more than 200 warships and 650 aircraft from six nations, a show of international force to the Soviet Union.

“The NATO exercise had the largest concentrations of ships since World War II,” John wrote in a letter. “You will see a helicopter bringing Ensign George Mullen aboard.”

“An aircraft came over several times while were were at anchor at Annapolis prior to the Med deployment,” he said. “I got some slow motion shots, too.”

Several of John’s other Cold War stories are posted in the Memories section.

The film is not in chronological order, so footage of the aircraft carriers Saratoga and Intrepid taken during the NATO exercise are mixed with Mediterranean scenes. All of the film was shot aboard Abbot or during an Abbot port-of-call.


This video copy of the 16mm original color film was made in 2010. We have edited some 30 minutes of raw footage to a little less than nine minutes, balanced the color and improved the contrast in several scenes.

The still photos at the bottom of this page were taken from the master video and were individually color balanced as much as possible. Scratches on the original film were not removed.


USS Abbot 1957-1958
alford1.jpgAbbot at sea alford2.jpgAbbot at sea alford3.jpgBarcelona, Spain alford4.jpgCannes, France
alford5.jpgCannes, France alford6.jpgCannes, France alford7.jpgBarcelona, Spain alford8.jpgBarcelona, Spain
alford9.jpgBarcelona, Spain alford10.jpgMontserrat, Spain alford11.jpgBarcelona, Spain alford12.jpgAbbot at sea
alford13.jpgAbbot at sea alford14.jpgDestroyer tender Cascade (AD-16)
Possibly Newport, R.I.
alford15.jpgSaratoga (CV 60) alford16.jpgSaratoga (CV 60)
alford17.jpgJohn Alford in London alford18.jpgKingston, Jamaica alford19.jpgKingston, Jamaica alford20.jpgKingston, Jamaica
About the video formats

Abbot videos are offered in several formats; your web browser will automatically pick the best for your device.

The formats are MP4, M4V (iTunes/iPhone/iPad/iPod), WEBM, OGG and MOV (Quicktime).

For best results, use the most recent web browser available for your device. Macs, PC’s and tablets are the best way to view the films, but they will also play with lower picture quality on smart phones. If you have a slow Internet connection, please allow plenty of time for a video to download before trying to play it, otherwise the playback will unexpectedly stop and start as data is downloaded.

The videos have been tested on these web browsers: Firefox version 29.0, Mac and Windows 7; Safari 7.0.1 Mac, Windows 7 and iPhone iOS 7; Google Chrome 31.0.1650.63, Mac; and Internet Explorer 10, Windows 7. Newer versions of each of these browsers should also work.