We had just assumed the 4-8 am watch in the engine room and were still trying to get woke up when the collision alarm started going off. It went off for some time and we didn’t get any instruction from the bridge to reverse engines or even slow down and started thinking it must be a mistake. We sure hoped so, being about ten feet below the water line, expecting any minute to see the bow of a super tanker or something come slicing through the hull. About that time our division officer and Senior Chief (LtJG Lovas & MMCS Gable) came running down the ladder with very concerned looks on their faces. They hadn’t been there long when the announcement came over the 1MC to “Brace for shock”. We grabbed ahold of anything solid, preferably near the escape ladders, and waited. Nothing happened. No maneuvering orders, nothing. After what seemed like an eternity but in reality was only a minute or so the announcement to stand down came. We heard later that someone on the bridge had accidentally activated the alarm.
I’d still like to know who was polishing brass up on the bridge that night.