USS Duncan (DDR - 874)

" Galloping Ghost of the Korean Coast ".

Duncan Sea Stories!

Sea Story 1 - {Contributor: Ron Lemasters}

This story from Ron was run in the October 1990 issue of 'The Tin Can Sailor' and was forwarded to me by former crewmember Ken Thompson. Many thanks to Ken for sending and to Ron for writing it.

She Waits, Lost in a Sea of Uselessness

Editors Note: Ron Lemasters spent 13 months on USS Duncan during 1967 - 68. This story results from a return visit to the ship in the late 80's long after it's decommission -ing. Here are his recollections.

SAN DIEGO -- She sits there alone in the midst of others just like her, wallowing in her own uselessness. Discarded after 24 years of faithful service for newer and sleeker models, she is doomed to spend the rest of her days clinging to others who share her plight to keep from going adrift.

No, "She" isn't a discarded, drunken divorcee. "She's not a fallen woman of any sort. "She" is the USS Duncan (DDR 874). Her final resting place is Pier 12 in the Mole Pier section of the US Naval Station here. Duncan joined the "Mothball Fleet" in 1969, the victim of cost conscious bureaucrats seeking to cut the "fat" from the military budget. "Old" ships were a favorite target.

"Razor Blades. She'll be cut up for razor blades." The words cut deeply at the thought of the cutting torch being laid to this fighting ship. The bearer of this grim pronouncement was Lt. Benny Gomes, security officer for the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, and he held out little hope for a reprieve. "It takes too much money to keep 'em here," said Gomes, a 22 year Navy veteran. "We'll end up selling them for little more than what it takes to move 'em out of here."

Commissioned in 1945 as the third destroyer to bare the name of Commander Silas Duncan, the 874 saw action in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Between conflicts, she took her turn on routine patrol in the Western Pacific and plied the narrow waters between mainland China and Taiwan on the Taiwan Patrol.

A major overhaul in 1960 added eight years to her life and got her into the Vietnam conflict, where she performed with honor on "Operation Sea Dragon," "Operation Market Time," and "Operation Deck House IV." In between calls to those impressively titled operations, Duncan also took her regular turn on "Yankee Station" and other lonely patrols in the Tonkin Gulf. She endeared herself to an Air Force pilot in the Spring of '67 by fishing him out of the gulf only 20 minutes after he had bailed out of his crippled fighter.

But all that is history now. So are her port calls in such popular sailor spots as Sasebo and Yokosuka, Hong Kong, Subic Bay and Pearl Harbor. The crew, some 275 officers and enlisted men, has long since departed Duncan. There are no more personal stories, justa as there is no longer a USS Duncan on the Navy's roster of ships of the line. Only memories remain, memories that have spread to all 50 states by the thousands of sailors who have called Duncan home.

It's probably best that they can't see her now, tied to another just like her, guns silent, powerful steam turbines dismantled, all reminders of human life long since removed. It is almost like encountering a childhood sweetheart, only to discover she is no longer the sweet young thing you remembered, but a ponderous overweight victim of too much TV, too many pizzas and too many kids.

Sailors commonly refer to their ship as "she" and are ready to go to "battle stations" with anyone who insults her. The hardships of naval service, long months at sea and away from home and family, the strange ways of foreign ports, the cruelty of the elements, the rigors of shipboard routine, are faded by time and the sailor recalls only the good times.

A walk forward on the port side brings the memories rushing back. Here is where the crew skylarked in the chow line that snaked its way into a forward hatch and down to the mess deck. The fantail, a favorite gathering spot for sailors at sea, and the site of many a Sunday afternoon "cookout" as the Duncan steamed her lonely vigil on "Yankee Station" in the Tonkin Gulf, is deserted.

Up on the bridge, the same eerie silence prevails where intense activity once was the rule. Never again will the sounds of command at sea be heard on Duncan's bridge. Never again will the cry "counter battery" be heard, as it was one spring day in 1967. Duncan was plying the coastal waters north of the DMZ in pursuit of "waterborne logistics craft," which she promptly blew out of the water with her five--inch guns. This activity attracted the fire of a nearby shore battery and resulted in Duncan being hit. The battle scar, all of a foot long and a half-inch deep, is barely visible on the port side of the deckhouose.

Duncan's crew will not soon forget Christmas Eve, 1967. Assigned to planeguarding chores with the aircraft carrier Bennington in mid December, Duncan was diverted from that activity to assume surveillance of the Russian trawler Sarychev. This task kept Duncan as sea until December 29, and Christmas Eve was spent bobbing around dead in the water nine miles outside San Francisco Bay. Highlight of that night was the serenading of the Sarychev with Christmas carols.

All that is past now. The Duncan's only movement is with the tide, her only function that of occupying space at Pier 12 until her final call. But she has done the job she was built to do. She's steamed the high seas in defense of freedom, spread good will throughout the world; taken many a young sailor into ports he'd only dreamed of, and given that many more a wealth of "sea stories" to tell children and grandchildren. Some will be true, others based on fact, and still others only repetitions and adaptations of other stories told by other sailors in other places. Meanwhile, Duncan stands by, awaiting another call to combat; a call that likely won't come.

Ronald R. Lemasters 1304 E. Royerton Rd. 500 N. Muncie, IN 47303

Sea Story 2 - {Contributor: Capt. Paul Van Leunen}

The following recollections of Duncan service come in the form of a letter from former Duncan skipper Capt. Paul Van Leunen to later Duncan skipper, Commander S.W. Birch, Jr. in October of 1967. The letter included memories of the explosion onboard Duncan recounted in a seperate page on this website. Many thanks to Bill Maslak for providing this letter.

Recollections of Duncan command

Editors Note: The recollections included here are excerpts from the above mentioned letter, not the full letter in it's entirety.

Dear Commander Birch,

Thank you for your very nice letter written in September and for the wonderful picture of the new DUNCAN and the two beautiful ashtrays which recently arrived in good shape. I will always treasure them and hope some day that I may meet you.

I had DUNCAN when she was just a year and a quarter old, from July 1946 to March 1948. When I reported, she was alongside a tender in San Diego getting new superheater tubes in one boiler as someone on the bridge or below had been a bit careless. We had a crew of 165 which in three weeks shrank to 90. In order to move out to the bouy, the Div Com (all his ships were in that state!) sent the proper engineering ratings over from his other 3 DDR's (we had seperate divisions of DDR's in those days) so that we could move.

On my first below decks inspection I discovered that the sound gear was inoperative because the packing gland around the projector shaft had leaked (and was still leaking) and had grounded on the gold-plated slip ring assembly, for the sound head. We had two (2) sonar strikers aboard, and not rated sonarmenl. I hot footed it over to the Type Commander after receiving no reply to a dispatch saying my ASW capability was zero. Their reply was that since it would require docking, we could wait until we went to the shipyard in several months. So we did. I put the Chief EM in charge of the sound gear.

My crew of 90 and a similar number on the other ships was sufficient to steam one ship at the bouy to give the rest power for living. During August, 32 of the crew were found with V.D. (I lectured & the PhM lectured and a continuing educational program resulted in no V.D. the last 3 months I was aboard with a crew of 225.) During September 1946, each ship in the nest got to sea once for 8 hours using men from the other ships! We steamed as a Division to Mare Island, on watch and watch, the Naval District furnishing enough men to get us there, and then my XO, since we were the DIvision Flag, had the task of making assignments to ship the "shore-duty" sailors back to San Diego, and we went through yard overhaul with our 90. My XO for the yard overhaul, then Ltjg...(now a Captain on duty in Washington), was also the Gunnery Officer as he was the only officer with any gunnery experience. The Division was orginally outfitted with 3-bladed props which shook the ship at about 20 knots at our resonnant period, and since this was a nice cruising speed well liked by the Div Com.

I couldn't abide the shaking as I tried to sleep on the way up to Mare Island. I had read of the new 4-bladed Nacob design props, so requested them in the yard, suffering a day of tests with a real skeleton crew while the shipyard made justifying vibration tests in deep water. The other three skippers thought I was daffy, but I got 4-bladed props and DUNCAN was smooth as glass except at 15 knots, but since the power there was lower than at 20, she shook hardly at all. So for the rest of my tour, until the overhaul after I left, the other 3 shook like leaves, and the Div Com, riding smoothly at 20, heard no complaints from the others! One night in the Yellow Sea, TUCKER had to complain he couldn't steam at 20 knots because his steam pipes were moving a foot and requested hight or lower speed in the shallow water. We were not bothered. The other three also always had radar antenna trouble which I ascribed to the vibrations.

They ran us ragged after we left the yard, and the ship gradually became trained and cleaner. We were always shorthanded and I never did have more than 235 aboard. When we left Mare Island they filled us up to about 220, 34 of whom were CPO's! We underwent training that way, and before leaving on a fleet exercise to Hawaii and back for a month in early 1947 (first fleet exercise since WWII) I went over to the Type Commander's Personnel Officer (now a Captain also) and said that I had 34 Chiefs and I only wanted my allotment of 12. He started to hem and haw about not having any seamen or firemen, and I said I demanded nothing in return, I just wanted him to take 22 CPO's. Well, he did, and I had 34 happy CPOs - 12 happy as they were picked to stay, and 22 happy to get off. We manned #1 mount with engineers during gunnery exercises and 1 - 40mm mount too, with deck gun captains.

I could go on with more stories as we were always picked for picket duty because our radar always worked or so seemed to be up when others weren't. Had one 3rd class ET for a year and no electronics officer. A fleet subg above the layer couldn't get away from us hour after hour. The stories are mostly happy, only the explosion was a scare. No one was held at fault thank the Lord. DesPac Staff inspected all DDR's in port the day after the accident and found 75% of them with acetylene below decks - new orders resulted.

Good luck skipper, and if you ever get to Seattle, I am in the phone book and will give you the tour of your life. My best to all in your Wardroom - I know they recognize Vietnam as completely necessary to our national well-being and if they don't understand it now, they will when they are older. I'll trade places with any of them if they'd have me back. Smooth sailing.

Most sincerely,

Paul Van Luenen
Capt. USN (Ret.)

Sea Story 3 - {Contributor: Tom Lathrop}

The following recollections of Duncan service come in the form of a letter from former Duncan crewmember Tom Lathrop to the webmaster of this site. The letter included memories of the refueling collision between Duncan and the carrier Essex recounted in a seperate page on this website. Many thanks to Tom for providing this letter.

Recollections of Duncan

Editors Note: The recollections included here are excerpts from the above mentioned letter, not the full letter in it's entirety.

As I told you the logbook gives no reference to the events in the Formosa Straits because our Government denied we had sent recon planes over Red China which is why we were there; an early introduction to policy truth versus reality.

While we were in the Straits, one of the other cans in our Division (the Tucker maybe) lost some crew overboard. In this regard the Duncan led a charmed life. In two Korean tours Duncan lost no crew to any causes while just abou t every ship we operated closely with was hit by enemy or friendly fire (premature burst overhead) or lost overboard. In one instance when we went up the Sonjin River up north to shell a fuel dump the minesweeper Thompson, which was only a few hundred yards behind us, was hit fourteen times by shore fire. By chance I worked with a Thompson crewmember just before I retired, who was aboard at that time.

The events concerning the Train incident are somewhat muddled since they get caught up in folklore. We routinely attempted to slow down transport of war material by trains along the Korean east coast. This was attractive since the topography of the peninsula often forced road and rail traffic to either travel along the coast or come to the coast at the location of intersecting north/south valleys. We would shoot up bridges and rail lines one day and the enterprising Koreans would throw up a temporary repair and run a train through that night. We spotted one of these trains one night and fired off some star shells to illuminate the scene and gave chase while trying to hit it with five inch shells. At it's first opportunity the train ran into a tunnel and refused to come out (why not?). Whether we were able to seal the tunnel or not, I am not sure. I'm sure we tried but we probably couldn't tell if we did or not. Anyway, it makes a good story and it did appear in the Navy Times and other media around that time. Tom Lathrop

Sea Story 4 - {Contributor: Glenn Travis}

The following recollection of Duncan service comes in the form of an excerpt from an article by former Duncan crewmember Glenn Travis. The the complete article was published on the web at the "Nova Gaming Review web site (URL) under the title: "And Now For Something Completely Different."

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: The recollection included here is an excerpt from the above mentioned article, not the full article in it's entirety.

By GlennTravis

First, just a brief introduction; I am fifty-one (well as of July 10) and I spent eight years in the Navy back in the late sixties and early seventies. During that time, I spent a brief time on a Destroyer Escort waiting for my orders to Navy Nuclear Power School, mostly doing carrier plane-guard duty. After Nuke School, I served on three subs. I have also taken flying lessons and have soloed, thanks to my able flight instructor, Walt Chapman.

Let me share one of my fondest memories with you. It was back in ought and 67, and I was stationed on the USS Duncan, DDR 874, which was a W.W.II vintage Radar Picket Ship. Now, once a carrier gets up to launching speed, and those babies are fast, it will not be able to stop for miles, hence the need for plane-guards. It was our job to try and find the pilot if he ended up in the water; mostly you would be lucky to find an arm or head.

I was doing my required 'new junior guy in M Division' mess cook stint. As a mess cook, I really did not cook, we were the bottle washer, scrub the deck kinda guys. The hours were long, but we were off the watch-bill, so when we got off work, the time was all ours, (that is to say we were off from around 7 PM to 4 am). I would go up and sit on the forward gun turret to watch and listen to what was going on.

Up there on the bow of the ship, the only thing you can hear is the wind and the waves hitting the ship's cutwater. The sky is clear, black, and you can see stars out to forever. When we were on plane-guard duty, things were a bit different. A 'bird farm' (which after I got on subs were known as targets) would be about a mile away. She would have her "night lights" on, which in and of itself was a grand sight. The silence would be broken by the roar of a fighter being launched, or one landing. Man it was something beautiful to behold.

Sea Story 5 - {Contributor: Patrick M. McKenna }

The following recollection of Duncan service was related to the Duncan online crew email list by former Duncan crewmember Patrick M. McKenna.

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: Lighter moments aboard ship were not always well thought of as evidenced in this true occurance.

By Patrick M. McKenna, FT3 (1952 thru 1955

Just a funny ancedote to add to the collection. In 1952 we were tied up in a nest in Sasebo Japan loading supplies. The crew as usual went on the beach and as you know we were not allowed overnight liberty since Japan was still occupied.

The next morning as all four destroyers were to leave port for Korea we were all blown away by a stunt that some crew members had pulled. We were tied up next to the USS Brinkley Bass DD 887. Aslo in the nest was the Stickel and the Isabel.

It appears that someone, probably with a snoot full of Nippon beer, got a water taxie to tie up to the stern of the Brinkly Bass. They had with them a can of haze grey paint and some brushes and proceeded to paint over the the letter "B" on both first and last names of the ship. Thus when she put to sea the next morning she steamed out proudly as the USS Rinkley Ass.

The crew of the Bass was blamed for this and received restrictions on their next visit. I don't know who did but I have suspicions and I don't think that it was Bass crew members.

Sea Story 6 - {Contributor: Bernard Drury }

The following recollection of Duncan service was related to the Duncan online crew email list by former Duncan crewmember Bernard Drury.

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of events onboard Duncan relate events during the last few months of the war.

By Bernard Drury,
Recognition Asst Gunnery Officer
(Oct. 1945 thru Jun.1946

I was a Recognition Asst Gunnery Officer on the Duncan DD 874. After Destroyer school at Norfolk, VA., I joined her in Shanghai Oct. '45. In November 1945, Duncan was assigned to control ship traffic in and out of harbor at Myako, Shima and Amami Shimain where Japanese troops were loaded onto transports under control of the US Army.

Our crew had rotation to visit ashore. At times I was in charge of the Shore Patrol. At Amami Shima we we picked up a Japanese suicide boat. Captain P. D. Williams had it converted to a Captain's gig. This craft was about a bit longer and wider than the ship's boats. Hollow in the front where explosives were to be placed and powered in the rear by a small engine.

By the time we arrived in Pearl Harbor May '46 we had to get rid of the suicide boat (it disappeared one night) and a Jeep which we had acquired on of the islands. There were no cruise books from this period. The war had just ended. Those with enough discharge points were thiking only on going home. Because of the 12 destroyers that were sunk and 57 DDs damaged at Okinawa, all on this replacement ship (Duncan) were overjoyed the war had ended.

DDR 874 would have been on the picket line at Okinawa if the war had not ended or would been ready for the invation of Kyushu, Japan which was planned for October 1945. Just considering that I was 22 years old in 1945 and the youngest crew member was just18, that would make them at least72 years of age now. Perhaps there are not many of them left to contact. I was discharged from the Duncan in San Diego in June, 1946. Anyone there during this time?

Sea Story 7 - {Contributor: David R. Birch }

The following Duncan memory was related to the Duncan webmaster by David Birch, son of former Duncan skipper Stanley W. Birch, Jr.

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of events onboard Duncan relate events during the last few months of the war.

I have seen a lot of things on the Duncan, but no one ever mentions the cat we had on board 1965-66 when we went into the yards in Long Beach for the FRAM job. I don't know if you ever knew the whole story.

One of the machinists in the aft engine room brought a pup on board. He was so small his eyes weren't open yet. Just as his eyes were starting to open he go nosey and fell off the upper deck in the engine room and was killed.

One night Capt. Thornhill showed up in the engine room with a ball of kicking mud. He told us it was a replacement for the pup. After a complete wash job it was that cat. The cat was given to a yard worker in Long Beach with his promise to give it a good home.

Sea Story 8 - {Contributor: Brian Blair }

The following Duncan memory was related to the Duncan webmaster by Brian Blair, former USS Lexington (CVA 16) crew member.

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the learly 60's.

By Brian Blair

While stationed aboard the USS Lexington in the early 60's I had the great pleasure of renewing a close friendship with former Duncan crewman MR3 David H. Hall, R Division.

David was from Bloomington, IL. His parents moved to Santa Ana, CA, in the late 50's. We met and became close friends through high school. Dave joined the navy in 1960 and (as I recall) was stationed on the Duncan for most of his enlistment. While I was aboard the USS Lexington (CVA-16), Dave and I pulled liberty together in Yokosuka, Japan, in 1962.

I recall that he took me to a couple of bars which catered to destroyer crews and introduced me to some of his buddies. After spotting my Lexington shoulder patch, the first comment I usually heard was a complaint that the price of booze always went up when the "bird farms" were in port! Dave always referred affectionately to his ship as the "Dirty Duncan" or simply the "Dirty D". ( I talked to a former chief from the Duncan the other day, and he referred to her as the "Drunken Duncan".)

We remained great friends after we each married. Each of us named a son for the other. Dave returned to Illinois to work as an engineer on the railroad and we visited on vacations. Dave died in his sleep on 1/18/80, from a blood clot.

Image dhhall61

Posed photo in the engine room at Dave's watch station. (Note the gauges all read zero). On the back is written, "Dave- Dec. 1961, Yokosuka, Japan.

Image dhhall62

Photo taken on deck. On the back is written, "Dave- Jan. 1962 Subic Bay, Phillipine Islands, loading ammo"

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's early years.

My deceased father Edwin Marvin McGinty, served aboard Duncan from 1947 - 1950. He was one of the severely injured from the 1948 shipfitter's shop explosion that rocked the ship and killed one crew member. I recall him saying that he was thrown across the room from his bunk when the explosion took place and added that the fatally wounded crew member was the "nicest guy on the ship".

Edward G. McGinty

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's early years.

I arrived on the Duncan while it was in WesPac in September 1953 by highline from one of the AOs and got off in Pearl Harbor when it was on its way back to WesPac in August 1955.

My primary duty was Movie Officer and trying to find "Singing in the Rain" and Northwest Passage" for Captain Lawrence. And as a reward I was promoted to Lt(jg). I assume they subsequently demoted me back to ensign in the reserves.

I worked for W. W. O'Dell Engineering Officer who liked the "Digger O'Dell" nickname and Gerald Hecht, a pharmacist by profession, assigned as Propulsion Assistant. I remember Joe Sissom. We called him Sam much to his consternation. He was homesick for the DQ's (Dairy Queen) of Texas and didn't know how California got along without them.

While I was on board we cruised Korea and went to Ullsan Man but I don't remember the "Galloping Ghost of the Korean Coast" appellation. I always thought that we were "The Drunken Duncan" with apologies to Silas.

Ensign David E. Cummings, USNR

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's mid 1950's period.

Myself, I was onboard from early 1955 to early 1957 and made two Wespac cruises and was oil and water king for a lot of that time. I left the ship as a BT3.

I remember that on the cruise of 56-57 we lost the aft spring bearing, in the after fire room, on the starboard shaft due to water in the lube oil. We stopped and locked the shaft and drug the shaft for some few days until the MM's could hand scrape and install a replacement bearing, which, fortunately, we had on board. We had to run the port shaft at increased RPM to overcome the drag of the starboard shaft. The point being we almost missed visiting Brisbane Australia.

Our (scuddle butt, I can't prove it) Des/Div included the first American warships to visit Brisbane since the end of WW2. It was great liberty. I completed 22 years in the navy, retiring in 1974 as a BTCS.

Don summit

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I arrived aboard the Duncan in August 1963, and was discharged July 27, 1964 in San Diego, Ca. My rating was BT3 and I was assigned to the Forward Fireroom. Ben Cockran was my 1st Class petty officer. Chief Bowes was our Chief of BT's.

Most of the crew was from the South and with myself being a San Franciscan, I soon learned to be a southerner. By the time that I left the ship I had developed a rather heavy southern drawl. In order to survive, I had to read western books and learn to play Hona Futu(Japanese Cards).

In 1963 Duncan's Captain was M. E. Sopier, CDR.; the Executive officer was W. K. Sharpe LCDR. Whenever there was an announcement over the ship, the Exec.would say "Now on the Duncan.........". We could be 3000 miles out at sea, alone, and he still would say " Now on the Duncan". It's funny how you start thinking about the times when you were aboard ship, the friends you've met, and the good and bad times you had, mostly good memories.

John Pelleriti

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

Hello I'm Ralph Holland and I served on the Duncan from 65-68. I was a sonar tech, and left powder-man in Mt. 52.

Capt Birch, Chief Culp, and R. L Johnson and a few other people had a reel to reel tape of Voice Com. and exploding rounds, when we engaged North Vietnamese shore batteries. I'm looking for a copy of it. Over the years I lost my copy, and would really like to find another.

The tape is pretty good because it was when we lost com. between the bridge and the gun mounts while we were under fire. R.L. Johnson used our underwater telephone to record the exploding rounds, the sound of our guns returning fire. and some of the confusion on the communication. links. It would be something to share if it can be found.

Ralph Holland

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I've thought about it enough so I thought I would share a recollection on board Duncan in 1967-1968, prior to dad's change of command.

My NJROTC class from Pt. Loma High School went aboard for a day off of SOCAL while gunnery ops were going to be conducted. A towed a sleeve was to be the target. I was on the bridge and asked the OOD (LCDR Kelly) if I could get some training at the helm.

I remember the helmsman telling me what I was to do, and I tried very hard to steer a straight course. Unfortunately for those down below I over-corrected a few too many times and Duncan started rocking - which took a while to recover from.

It was even more difficult when the gunnery exercise started and the forward batteries started firing. I was grateful for the cotton the helmsman supplied for my ears - I don't think that I have ever heard anything quite as loud - even when living under the flight deck on the Kitty Hawk, or while on board the LPHs and LHAs I was on.

David R. Birch

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I have seen alot of things on the Duncan, but no one ever mentions the cat we had on board 1965 - 66 when we went into the yards in Long Beach for the FRAM job. I don't know if you ever knew the whole story.

One of the machinists in the aft engine room brought a pup on board. He was so small his eyes weren't open yet, Just as his eyes were starting to open he got nosey and fell off the upper deck in the engine room and was killed.

One night Capt. Thornhill showed up in the engine room with a ball of kicking mud. He told us it was a replacement for the pup. After a complete wash job it was that cat. The cat was given to a yard worker in Long Beach with his promise to give it a good home.

Jim Hall

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I recall a cat during my time aboard, 1960 - 63. It was picked up in Yokosuka and stowed away as we made our way across the Pacific. As a matter of fact it was in heat for half the way and roamed the ship looking for action. Capt Thornhill had it hidden in the DRT in CIC when we entered San Diego harbor. Funny looking creature, without a tail.

Peter Buenz

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I have been enjoying the stories about the cat on board. Those bob-tailed cats sure were odd looking. That part of the Duncan's history was after my day, but I do remember Skoshi (not sure of the spelling) the dog. Skoshi's picture is in the cruise yearbook that I have loaned to Peter Murray to scan onto the website.

He was picked up in Japan sometime between 53-56 while I was onboard, and was kept in the engineering division. I remember him running around the machine shop where the lathe was. One fellow in particular took care of Skoshi -- I think he had an Italian name, maybe Marelli. If I had the book I could look it up & try to figure it out.

Does anyone remember else the little dog?

Jack Golden

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

The Quartermaster we buried at sea was named Bob Stout. I remember my buddy Doc O'Leary (a first class Corpsman) telling me about the old navy rituals:

1) a projectile was tied between the legs to make it sink.
2) a half dollar was placed in the mouth (to pay the way across the River Styx.
3) and in the olden times, the last stich in the canvas bag went through the nose to make sure he was dead.
Bob was a friend of mine, he died ashore - fell from the stairs and hit his head on a jukebox. His family requested he be buried at sea. We took him out off Yokosuka and seven of us gave him a 21 gun salute. He was tilted off the port side of the ship in blue water on a beautiful day.

Bill Blasdell

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I remember the event vividly, I believe it was in January of 1963. It was a bitterly cold sunny winter day and it was rougher than hell. If I remember right, we had the 7th Fleet Band on board.

I knew Bob pretty good too, he used to do navigation right next to me and I would be on the helm. He used to tell me where we were all the time. I had to stand underway watches for the first 3 months on board even though I transferred from the Deck Div. to the Supply div. after 3 weeks.

I didn't care, it was fun most of the time because when you were in the Pilot House, you were in on everything that was going on, Hell i was only 19 years old and right out High School, it was just a big adventure to me.

Bob Stout was a Quartermaster, and not a Signalman.

Ronald Boaz

Another Recollection of Duncan Service

Editors Note: This recollection of a former Duncan crewman is from the 60's.

I can vouch for the info from Blasdell. . I was aboard from 1961 to 1963. Came to the Duncan while she was in FRAM at Long Beach. She was a pitiful sight when I got there. When we left for Japan she was beautiful.

I also was a friend of Bob Stout. We used to go on liberty together. Another thing I know for a fact was that he had it in his papers that if he died on active duty he requested that he be buried at sea. Of course his parents were contacted and they respected his wishes. God rest his soul.

This is my first e-mail to all of the crew. I'm glad to be back aboard the Duncan. We only have a short time to recall all of our memories, some good, some like the one above, let's share them with each other. Anybody hear from Ltjg Spencer. I have a photo of him holding an empty can of beer.

Jack L. Zydonik, RD3 (61-63)

Recollections – "The Duncan and Early Vietnam"

Tex Blasdell

I vividly remember the Duncan standing off VietNam during the November 1, 1963 revolution in which Diem was killed. I can't remember who the Gun Boss was at the time, maybe Dale Meyerkord was still aboard. I was the director pointer and Chip Hanback was the trainer, ( I would joke about feeling like I was in a cartoon stuck between  Chip and Dale) .George Parker was the radar operator in the back. We were on Condition Two a long time and everybody was a little nervous about what might happen. As far as we were concerned, nothing much did.

Ron Boaz

I remember that Saigon trip, I spent a mid watch in the Fire Control Director trying to stay awake sitting in that saddle seat. I don't remember why I stood watch in there, I guess they were short watch standers as I was a Storekeeper. I remember that we spent 18 days at sea and it was 130 degrees on the surface of the water and the BTs said it was 146 under their fresh air blower in the fire room. When we got back to Yoko, there was about 3 feet of snow on the pier.

Jim Mead

I also show that the Duncan departed Subic Bay, darken ship at 2000 hours, 24 January 1962 to escort an Aircraft Carrier loaded with Army Choppers and Advisors to Vietnam. The skipper opened the sealed envelopment at 0001 hours and read our orders.  We were to proceed to the waters off North Vietnam.  We arrived in Vietnam waters 26 January 1962 and departed later that day to return to Alongapo, Subic Bay, Philippines.  We were early warning and were on or about 300 miles north of the main task force in the area of the Gulf of Tonkin.  I guess I am not supposed to talk about this, because it was top secret, and you will not find in the Navy records showing the Duncan earning a Vietnam Service Medal for that period of time.  We played a big role in the increase of American Military Advisors going into Nam.  I remember being told by the XO that if we were spotted, we had three minutes to get the warning off to the main task force before we would be blown out of the water.  Well we are still here so you can see that our mission was a success.

Pete Rector

I do remember the Departure from Subic. They held the brow for me, I hand delivered our movement report to the comm.- center. If you remember the LPH left two hours before us, loaded with the choppers, escorted by two of the ships in our squadron. Then we left with the bird farm ready to do battle with anyone that objected to the helo's coming into the area. The movement report was classified secret. When we returned to Olongopo, Stars and Stripes had the whole story who, what, when, and where. So much for secrecy.

Jim Mead

I remember we were all on one hour standby, and Freddie (Bear), Herman Herr and I went into town to one of the bars, and we would get a list of every one in the bar and only one of us would take the names back to the quarterdeck so report our where abouts.  All the Bar girls told us we were going to Viet Nam.  As you say, so much for secrecy. 

Recollections – "The Duncan Poem" – Pride in Service!

Jim Mead

I don't know if any of you kept the poem about the DUNCAN,
but this was in my DUNCAN log from the period 58-62.

It's down in San Diego and the far East,
The DUNCAN is the spot.
Where we are doomed to serve out time,
On a ship that God forgot.

Down with the wind and the waves,
Down where a man flees blue.
Right in the middle of nowhere,
About a thousand miles from you.

We sweat, we freeze, we shiver,
It's more than a guy can stand.
We arn't exactly convicts,
Just defenders of our land.

We are the sailors in the service,
Just earning our measly pay.
Guarding people with millions
For just three dollars a day.

Living with our memories,
Thinking of our pals.
Hoping that while we're away,
Theywon't marry our gals.

Only some know that we are living,
The rest don't give a damn.
Just doing a stinking job,
For our good old Uncle Sam.

The time we spend in uniform,
Is the part of life we missed.
Man don't let them draft you,
And for God's-sake don't re-enlist.

But when we pass the pearly gates
You'll hear St. Peter Yell....
"Pass by you DUNCAN SAILORS,
You've served your time in hell.


Peter Murray

The tone and tenor of the poem was certainly felt by many during our youth...but today, for me at least it rings with a semi-off key tone that strikes me as slightly discordant.  I guess that comes from a maturing attitude that comes with the aging process; that and the tendancy for us to highlight the positive memories, and deminish the negative.

Dennis J. English

Thanks for sharing the poem.  I don't recall ever hearing or seeing it.

Speaking for myself, I joined the Navy because I didn't think I was college material, I couldn't get a decent job with my military draft hanging over my head until age 22, my family was poor so even trade school was out of the question.  I decided I would make a lifetime career in the Navy.  A lot of things went into the formula before I decided to get out after 4 years, but that's not important now.

I've always been proud of my service to my country.  I still get choked up when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, and I'm trying to teach my grandson why we respect the flag.  I've always been grateful to those who serve, and make a point of shaking the hand of servicemen I bump into here deep in the midwest.

I have a close friend who was in the Navy during the same period (Whidbey Island, Coral Sea with an A3D SQDN), and often people would ask us how we remember so many things from our Navy service.  My answer has always been that it was probably the most exciting, educational, challenging, adventurous 4 years of my life, and it's hard to forget that.  When I was serving I felt it was my duty as well as a possible career.  I never believed it was up to someone else, and I believe my country doesn't owe me one damned thing for those 4 years.  Someone may have a different perspective on all this, but that's mine.

When I reported aboard Duncan I was still an SN, and the BM2 in charge of working parties that day assigned a fellow named Brewer BMSN and me to chip the paint with pneumatic chippers in the void under the ram room.  I worked in there for 2 days (Brewer had to finish the job, poor guy.) before being shipped off to the MK5 attack director school.  We worked in that void for two days without hearing protection, etc, and my hearing became impaired (tinnitus) because of it.  But I always figured I gave a hell of a lot less than those who gave their life or got maimed.  Oh yeah, life is rarely perfect.

Jim Mead

You know, I agree with you, and I found a Memo in my log that said "This poem was printed in the Navy Times some time in 1959..."  I look at my 24 years in the Navy and I enjoyed it, the Navy was very good to me, and I would do it again.  As a young sailor, I did look at things differently than I do today and I am proud to have served at all my duty stations and been a part of history.  The Duncan is more precious to me because it was my "first" ship and it was a tin can. 

Peter Murray

My first night on the Duncan was quite different from what the great portion of my time on her turned out to be.  I reported aboard late at night…almost 0000 hours, on a late November night in 1966..  The BMC had the Quarterdeck watch, took my records to log me in...and after a quick glance at them, looked up at me and said, "Fresh meat for 1st Division, and a college puke to boot!"  I was escorted to the forward sleeping quarters, given a bunk and I passed out.

Some time a few hours later I was rudely awakened by being pulled from the rack, and was thrown across the compartment. I had been set up and that was only the beginnng of a six week period that wasn't much fun.  Thank the good Lord that Capt. Birch overruled the XO and approved RD1 Greg Wooding's request that I be transferred to OI Div as a non-rated radarman striker.  My outlook on shipboard life, and my feelings about the Duncan did a 180 degree turn around after that.

I came to really treasure my days on her.  I loved how she looked, the way she cut through the water, and those glorious nights when the algae in the salt water would glow florscent bluish green; those starfilled nights in the south pacific sleeping on my mattress under the aft 0-3 level air blower.

Standing watch on the bridge, particularly on the helm was always a thrill...I just never got over the fact that I was actually steering that beautiful haze gray ship. I still dream of my days on Duncan, be they not so detailed as in my younger years.  She too, was my first ship in the Navy...and a me "The Real Navy!"

Ron Lemasters

Peter, you left out the best part. You used to stop past ship's office on almost a daily basis to inquire whether I needed a YN/PN striker, and XO (LDCR Kelley) kept insisting that you remain on the deck force a while longer. I'm glad Greg Wooding came to your rescue.

That was an interesting bunch up there under Chief Adamski. I recall Roy McMinn, Steve Hayes, Ron Halbrecht. Was there an RD named Donnie Lalonde as well? I stood watch up there one night with someone engaged in some minor ECM. He had a nice Nikon camera to photograph the radar scope and a tape recorder (Sony, I think) to record sound transmissions. Can't recall his name and I can't find my cruise book.

My first night on DUNCAN wasn't as hazardous as yours, but it was interesting. I had come down from Taipei (DUNCAN was on patrol in the Straits and finally made port in Kaohsiung). It was close to midnight when about six of us finally made it out in the bum boat to DUNCAN. ETI Nelson T. Dyer  was OOD and had me escorted to ship's office (I was PN3 at the time), where YN3 Ron Detter was sleeping on the desktop. He cleared off another desk for me, and I finally got a bunk the next day or so in M&B compartment, right next to the hatch to a space that was used primarily for an all-night crap game. Bunks were scarce, and one opened up because one of the Welch twins (Pat, I think) took sick and was transferred off. I stayed there the entire 13 months I was aboard.

Ron Boaz

It is so good to hear that someone out there shares my sentiments. I joined because I thought it was exciting and I would get to see places in the world that I would probably never get to otherwise. My family was also poor and I had cousins that were Sailors and Marines and I had Uncles that were in WWII and I wanted to make them all proud of me.

I played many sports in High School and was in great physical shape and worked in a used car lot in High School as a detailer and I was used to hard work and I figured that there was'nt much that the Navy could throw at me that I could'nt handle. I heard so many of my shipmates whine about the hard work and lousy food and I laughed to myself and thought that they were really wimps. I enjoyed my time in the Navy and thought it was a great adventure.

So I say "right-on" Dennis just don't look at me when the Flag is marched by because you will most likely see a tear running down my cheek.

Recollections – 'Magoo' and other colorful Duncan characters!

Ron Lemasters

There was a laundryman on DUNCAN in 67-68 named Carmel McGough (pronounced Magoo). He had 12 years in and was threatrened by the XO that, if he didn't pass the test for SH3, he would be discharged. He made third, took his reenlistment money over on the beach in San Diego and came back the next day broke. He was still there in '67, working in the laundry. He wasn't very bright - had a GCT in the teens - but he was one of those guys who was a little afraid to get back out into the world.

Ron Boaz

McGough. He was a little heavy with kight colored hair, balding, a very obnoxious personality and not very intelligent. This guy was in the Deck Force and was in there when I got off the ship at San Diego in Aug. of 64. He was not a young fellow either but had been in the Navy a long time and was still a Seamen. We used to call him "Magoo" but he would get angry and yell that his name was pronounced "Magow," as in "cow". He was a maniac, he threatened me one day with a battle lantern.

I know he was not a Laundryman at that time because I was in the Supply Div. when I got off the ship. I also spent a brief time in the 1st Div. (3 weeks) until I was offered a job as a Storekeeper striker by Supply Officer Stephen Bradley and Chief Storkeeper MacDonald and he was in there when I came on board. A new rule came out shortly before I left the ship that after the third failing of an advancement test after a minimum number of years in (I don't remember how long that was) you would be discharged and every one was saying that would be tragic because we all believed that he was not mentally competent to live by himself on the outside. I tried for a long time to make friends with him but he was totally unpredictable.

I find it hard to believe that he got into the Supply Div., they must have been very desparate as every Deck Force member was trying to get into the Supply Div. because they thought it was an easy job. There is a remote possibility that we are talking about a different fellow, but I don't think so. And you are right, it is hard to believe that someone would do such a long tour of duty on just one ship.

What do you guys think, are we talking about the same guy?

Tex Blasdell

Hey guys, isn' t it funny. I served on the Duncan for about three years with a couple of hundred really outstanding sailors (and sadly can't remember the names of a few) but just about everybody remembers Magoo. I thought he was a deck ape. He hung out on the fantail a lot, so I know the sonarmen saw a bit of him when they were back there with the BT winch.

Mike Eckard

I remember "Magoo" well.  He used to sit in the aft head on the stool with a F*$# book and a can of chicken wings.  He'd sit there for hours reading and eating.  When he made PO3 all he wanted to do was put someone on report. He hated it when anyone called him "Magoo" and would yell his name at them.

Pete Rector

If he was still aboard in 67-68 time frame he was on the Duncan a loooooong time. He had 3 hashmarks, and worked in the laundry. Talked to him one day and he said had no desire to be a petty officer because he didn't want a higher position. He said he was happy doing what he did and no one bothered him.

In Taiwan we had a party at the beach and someone bet him a five he wouldn't eat one of the live eels the guy had in a tank. He inhaled the whole thing. Then the money started hitting the table, cannot remember the total but I want to say around a hundred dollars to eat the other three or four that were in the tank. He wolfed all of them, collected the money then went behind the shack and brought them all back up. He wasn't a dummy! A hundred bucks in 61 was a lot of money for a sailor.

In 63-64 I think he pulled a knife on someone that was giving him major problems in the berthing compartment. Believe both parties got slapped down but there was no major punishment because of no threat being made. It was purported to be self protection.

Thom Springer

He did eat eels and live goldfish.  One day when on liberty at the military country club outside of Kaoshong I remember seeing him downing a beer and then eating a live gold fish.

Jim Mead

Just a little of my personal log for December 1, 1961. We were in Kaohsiung and it reads as follows: "I was supposed to have shore patrol today but Mr. Burns, Ltjg (SC) took me off so I could go to the ships party.  It was a dead party (until) McGough swallowed two eels and a fish ALIVE!!  I then went to town to the Kings bar, and on to the EM club and back to the ship." I remember that the XO put McGough on medical restriction to the ship and had Doc O'Leary check on him every 3 or 4 hours to make sure the eels and fish did not poison him.  So that was the date. 

Jack Zydonik

Okay, I have been reading about this eel-eating guy. His name was MaGoo, spelled McGough. He was a very touchy guy. In other words, GOOSEY. I remember standing in the mess line and somone would goose him, then all hell would break loose. Sort of think he was a BM/SA, I can remember the hash marks he had were two. He was a rather large man. As far as the eating of live eel's, that is a fact. I was there but do not remember where it was. How could a person forget that. As a matter of fact when they came back up, everything I had also came back up. This could have been the guy that decked  the HK National.

Robert Ellis

If this guy McGough is the same fella, he was one of a bunch of us forward during our departure from Okinawa during Typhoon Karen. He broke his arm.  Big sorta guy, with a difficult personality.  There were about 6 to 10 of us forward when green water went over the bridge.  Jim Scarlata, myself McGough and I don't remember the officer, were all scattered about when the bridge made a change of course and didn't notify the "deck gang"!

Ron Halbreich

McGough was a ships serviceman whose primary job was in the ships laundry.  He had a combat infantrymans badge, which meant was under fire in the Army. Supposedly he had suffered some degree of shell shock. I do remember, on his days off, he would pack a thermos of coffee and some sandwiches and a bunch of Louis L Amour books. He would then go into the head for the rest of the day, sitting on a comode, reading, eating and drinking coffee.

John Brooks

If you will check out the web page that has to do with crossing the equator ( there is a picture of McGough going through the process of becoming a shell back. Click on the picture of a sailor in head and arm stocks (Chief Delander RMCS) the second picture is of the Royal Baby (who I think is Sellars BT3) and the third picture is of McGough crawling around on the fantail. 

Dave Morgan

If you didn't care for someone in front of him in the chow line …all you had to do was goose him in the ribs and he would beat the hell out of them. Saw times when you would go to the door of the laundry and holler at Magoo and he would bounce off the walls like a tennis ball.

Ken Hicks

Just wondering if McGough was the same guy that fell asleep on deck and was  sun burn so bad that he had blusters.  This guy did work in the laundry.

Joe Gregory

MaGoo went back home to the Islands.

John Brooks

Does anyone remember a radarman striker that was the messenger of the watch while we were in Yokosuka that wrote in the log during a mid watch that the visibility was zero?

The next morning the Captain was unhappy that he was not informed during the night that the fog ahd rolled in.  Upon checking with the OD and being informed that the weather had been clear all night the radar striker was called before the Captain to explain his notation in the log book.  The striker replied that it was DARK and therefore zero visibility.

From that day on his nickname was ZERO.

Ron Boaz

How well I remember Herman Herr, the barber without any hair. A real nice fellow, but at the time I knew him, he seemed to have a problem with drinking.

He would go ashore and get drunk almost every night and when he would return to the ship, he would be angry with himself for getting that way and he would wad up his liberty card and throw it into the big trash can we had under the ladder over the Armory. The next morning, with a terrible hangover, he would fish the liberty card out of that trash can. I felt kind of sorry for him. A good guy and a good barber, thanks for the info on him. I always wondered what happened to him.

Dennis English

I remember his nickname was "Happy."  I thought he was a great guy on board, but didn't liberty with him.  Did you know he served in the Marine Corps before joining the Navy?

Jim Mead

Yes, he was in the Marines and he had eight years in service with his Navy time included, when I left the Duncan to come back to the States for discharge.  He at that time was a Seaman Apprentice with two hash marks, (SHSA) in the barbershop. I met him in 1963 on the coast of Washington State, he was a SHC in charge of the NavEx at the communications station. He retired and went to the Philippines with his wife to live.  Don't know where, but he is probably still there.

When I saw him at Pacific Beach Naval Station, just south of the Quinault Indian Reservation in Washington, I was really supprised that he finally made Chief and had survived the Navy as a career person.  We called him "Happy Herr" and he loved oriental women.  He married a Japenese woman, got divorced and then married a Philippina lady.  I went to his house on the base, and he had been recording all the football and basketball games because he was going to open a Bar with his wife and show American sports.

Richard Gillet

I would never let Herr cut my hair sober.  He seemed to rock as if the ship was underway unless he had something under his belt.

Jack Zydonik

I remember a guy, Swanner, who kept a bucket between his legs while giving range and bearing to targets. Took the bucket out to the deck and dumped his teeth over the side. Also,anyone remember the time that Doc operated on a guy to remove a Tatoo. We stood in the door way gawking at him while he cut it off.

Dennis English

Steve Kearney and I became good friends.  Steve was Duncan's Corpsman Striker while I was aboard, and because of that I became friends with Doc O'Leary. 

He was quite a guy with that gravelly voice.  I was told he spent a lot of time with the Marines in Korea and WWII with very serious wounds as a result.  He had a big heart, but could really rip butt when he wanted to.  Anyone else help keep him out of trouble just before he got his retirement?  Doc would go ashore, get drunk, pass out at the bar, wake up, and do it all again! 

Well, he had lost his ID card a couple times (or had it taken off his person during one of his passed out periods), and was told if it happened again he would wind up missing his retirement target date.  I can't remember if it was because of a brig time threat or whatever, but it was considered real.  Some of us began taking turns going ashore to watch over him.  I went a couple times with him in Yokosuka.  He liked the Black Rose a lot.

Jim Mead

Doc O'Leary was from Spokane, and I am too.  The Disbursing pay office window was just across the door to sick bay.  Doc and I would talk a lot about his career. He did get banged up (to put it mildly).  I went ashore with him several times and he could sure put the drinks away.  Doc was always helpful to me, and would give you what ever you needed.  He had a Big Heart.


Pete Rector

He stayed in Japan after he retired selling insurance for National Travelers Life. Bought a policy from him that I still have.


Recollections – Duncan's beer and hotdog run!

John Brooks

Does anyone remember the american beer and hot-dogs that we transported from Yokosuka to Singapore for the diplomats to have for the July 4, 1963 celebration.  The captain had an armed guard posted to guard the beer during the transit. I am still not sure that it all arrived safely.

Pete Rector

Remember it well, We made a high speed transit to Singapore so the ambassador could have an American fourth of July, Hot Dogs and Beer. As a reward for bringing it down, deserving sailors E5 and up were invited to the party. It was a really nice show. The lawn was covered with canvas tarps and white coated waiters served drinks. Chief Holder and myself were guests at the party and we had a pretty good time. There is a picture of ET2 Taylor(?) yours truly and a lady in the cruise book towards the back (caption under the picture says "Man! This drink like to set me free." The picture is reversed because the rating badges are on the right arm. I'll see if I have a picture around somewhere and post it if I can find it.

Ron Boaz

Yes, I remember the Beer we took to Singapore. I was the "Jack-O-The-Dust" Provisions Storekeeper at the time. I don't remember the hot dogs or the guards, but I do remember how friendly everyone suddenly became towards me and I knew that it wasn't my looks or personality.


Recollections – Aboard the Duncan: Standby for heavy rolls!

Dennis English

We were at White Beach, Okinawa, and the 'Gater' Navy pulled out before we did.  I can't remember which carrier we were with, but we pulled out of Okinawa to avoid the typhoon.  It had flattened Guam, and was headed our way.  Our group went into the Taiwan Strait to use the shadow of Taiwan as a shield.  It was the first time I had ever seen 3 carriers at sea in the same area.  It was also the first time I had ever seen a carrier take water over the bow.  The swells were huge.  The guys in CIC said the Chinese radars were going nuts because of all the Navy in the Strait.

Pete Rector

Her name was Karen. She was categorized as a super typhoon, and flattened the island of Guam. We emergency sortied from Buckner Bay with 12-foot swells in the harbor. If you remember the cans were nested at the pier and we were rubbing the paint off the sides of them because of the swells.

The carrier was the USS Kitty Hawk on her first westpac. The Admiral figured the typhoon would turn and head into China or turn out to sea but they weren't sure, so the only thing to do was to head toward the typhoon and then when it turned, we would go the other way.

It had some of the biggest waves I've ever seen. When the Duncan dropped into the trough, all you could see was water everywhere, with a bit of sky at the top of the waves. Then the bow would bite the next wave and the old girl would shudder until we hit the top of the wave. There you could see for miles, the Kitty Hawk was taking green water over the flight deck and when her bow came up you could see daylight between the keel and the water. An "E" ride for sure. Now, I'd be scared to death.

The first night out while on watch in comm, we heard the carrier ask how the small boys were riding, and LCDR Mollison (OPS) for COMDESRON 9 answered that the small boys were riding fine. Almost immediately, the Mansfield came up and said they were changing course, they were taking 50 plus degree rolls and their maximum was 55 or 56.

Then all night we pitched and rolled big time because of the course changes. In communications, we had an operating position break the steel straps holding it to the bulkhead. The operator sitting at that position cleared the chair without touching it. I yelled grab the receivers, and he said you grab em!

Dennis English

I remember seeing those carriers rock n roll, and like you said we'd go up and down, but the swell period was great enough to keep us out of trouble. Yes, I remember putting some kind of rig on the boat davits, and that rig was suppose to hold the module in order to bring it out of the water.

I remember one night we took a 48-degree roll according to scuttlebutt, and the Mansfield reportedly took a 59-degree roll and came back.  When you hear this stuff 2nd or 3rd hand all you could do is listen, but we certainly did a lot of rolling around at times.  The typhoon track was white east of 135 degrees, but it looked pretty good.

Jim Mead

I also remember the typhoon. I have told this story to many sailors over the years and they all said it never happened.  It is and was the only time in my 24 years in the Navy that I sat in the Disbursing Office with a life jacket on.  It was the worst ride of my life, and I remember the skipper getting on the 1MC and saying that we just took a 48-degree roll.

Sailors have told me that no Destroyer could take that kind of a roll, but we did also.  I was in Taipei a few years later, and you could see the watermarks on buildings that were 15 feet high, and we were told it was from Typhoon Karen.  How well I remember her.  Never thought we would make it through the night.  I have never been sea sick, but boy was I sick of the sea after going through Miss Karen.


Tex Blasdell

I also remember that storm. I was a petty officer when I came on the Duncan and  that was one of the few times I was called on to man the helm on the Duncan. ( I had a lot of time as helmsman as a seaman on the Ingersioll.) During that storm on the Duncan, we took a 50 degree roll. I can remember we brought the flying bridge lookouts inside becase we were getting water over Mount 52. It was a scary night.

Jack Zydonik

Scuttlebutt had it that a 50+deg. roll was taken the night. I happened to be in the process of making a fresh pot of coffee for the watch in CIC. As I was taking the pot with the old stuff down to the galley we rocked and rolled and the coffee pot went flying, spilling the coffee down my chest. Had to get the doc out of bed to wrap me up with salve and gauze.

Dennis English

Remember in heavy seas, the mess cooks would bring the food in those serving containers down the ladder from the galley to the mess line, and once in a while someone wouldn't be able to hang on to a container of soup during a 3G rise in a swell?  The whole thing would go on the mess line deck, and a big cheer would go up from the guys in line!  Boy, am I glad I did my mess cooking at Flt Sonar School!

And who can forget in heavy seas holding onto our trays on the mess deck with one hand acting as 'stable element' on the tray while the other handled the food.

Recollections – Crossing the line on Duncan – Shellbacks and Polywogs!

Pete Rector

Tex, I think we crossed the first time together, we had it kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly better than the second time folks. If I remember the poly wogs outnumbered the shell backs significantly. The number 30-40 seems like all the shell backs there were. The first of us thru, "hard cases" were told to clean up and get in line with the other shell backs.

  The second time around there were only about 50-60 pollywogs if my memory serves me right and they did not even get to revolt. I believe we had them all either tied up on top radar two or locked down in a compartment. The captain came on the 1mc and requested we not take anybody that was vital to sea detail.

  The Commodore voluntarily said he would stay in his stateroom until the ceremony started. We had one of the officers that did Crypto locked up inside the space. Seems these upstarts were going to do harm to this old boy and others. We couldn't allow that to happen.


Tex Blasdell

You are right Pete. Remember we had a bunch of midshipmen come aboard that summer (1964) and they made up most of the pollywogs. We had a fairly successful "revolt" in 1963 because of the number of pollywogs. I scanned some of the booklet we had when we crossed and my summons. I will send them to Peter this week. I found some neat stuff, including 1 foot of the "homeward bound" pennant and a piece of paper that said Welcome to the USS Duncan with everything else written in Japanese. Do any of you remember having some Japanese aboard? The only viisitor I can remember was the American ambassador we saved when his sailboat got stranded in the South China Sea.

Pete Rector

They came to Comm after me, about ten of them. We convinced them that no horseplay was allowed because of the equipment. As small as I am they believed me and left, all but one.

An RM cannot remember his name got in front of the last midshipman and stuck his head out of comm to see what was out there and then I grabbed the midshipman put him on the deck. We trussed him up right nicely, put a sign on his back reflecting this be what happens to wogs when they mess with shellbacks. We then put him in the passageway outside comm for the roving shellbacks to pickup and put on top of radar 2.

Jack Zydonik

Crossing the line, July 6,1963, USS Duncan headed for Singapore. I am holding my shellback certificate in my hand. It is the large one 14 X 10 1/2. Davey Jones was portrayed by = G.R. Toler Neptunus Rex was portrayed by= G.R.Corbin. Signed by His Servant=CDR. Soser!

I remember the day before, that there was a PO2 cook with a mustache. He was really proud of it for it was almost a handle bar. He was not a big guy but a little rotund. A bunch of us went to his bunk while he slept and attempted to shave off half of the muzzie. He put up a struggle but I can't recall if we succeeded or not.

Also a PO2 BM, a tall skinney guy,with blonde hair, was making a tallywacker about a week before we went over. He was stuffing it with rags and would hang it over the side of the ship to let the water pack it all in nice and tight. The damn thing looked like a baseball bat. I asked him what the hell that was and all he did was look at me and smile. Needless to say I found out what it was for.

The thing that always bothered me was where the heck did they hide all the garbage that we had to crawl thru.  The brush burns on ones knees and the headache from the firehoses was a cake walk compared to the BEATING some of us took. The barber deal was not to chic either.

All in all it was pure hell. I would not have missed it for the world. After all it is a once in a lifetime experience. I guess I would have had to reup to be on the other end of the action. I seem to recall JD Gordon RD3  took a really good beating. We made it to Singapore. I recall we were supposed to go to Australia but had to turn around to stand for another ship in the squadron that broke down.

Recollections – My Duncan Timeline!

Glenn Schmidt FT2 (60-62)

This is the log I kept while I was on the Duncan from Oct. 19, 60 to Sept. 15, 62.

October, 1960

Oct 19   I reported aboard at the U.S. Navel Shipyard, Long Beach, CA. as a FTLSN. The FRAM II had begun.  The ship had some of the deck housing and 3" guns removed.
June 1961

June 16  Completed FRAM II.  Started operating out of Long Beach.

October 1961

Oct  3 Left  Long Beach, CA. for WESTPAC. To be Home Ported at Yokouska, Japan.
Oct  9 Arrived Hawaii.
Oct 11 Left Hawaii.
Oct  14 Arrived Midway to refuel.
Oct  21 Arrived Yokouska.
Oct  27 Left Yokouska for Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

November 1961

Nov 1 Arrived Kaohsiung.
Nov 6 Left Kaohsiung for Formosa Patrol.
Nov 12 Arrived Kaohsiung.
Nov 20 Left Kaohsiung for Formosa Patrol.
Nov 26 Arrived Kaohsiung.

December 1961

Dec 2 Left Kaohsiung for Yoko.
Dec 6 Arrived Yoko.
Dec 11 Left Yoko for plane guard.  Got down to 20 degrees North.
Dec 23 Arrived Yoko.

January 1962

Jan  2 Left Yoko for Subic Bay.
Jan  7 Arrived Subic Bay.
Jan  13 Left Subic Bay for Carrier Ops.
Jan  21 Arrived Subic Bay.
Jan  24 Left Subic Bay on secret mission.
Jan  27 Arrived Subic Bay
Jan  31 Left Subic Bay for Yokosuka.

February 1962

Feb 14 Arrived Yokosuka.

March 1962

Mar 3 Left Yokosuka for Carrier Ops with Coral Sea.
Mar 7 Arrived Yokosuka as carrier had trouble.
Mar 27 Left Yokosuka for Trials.
Mar 31 Arrived Yokosuka.

April 1962

Apr 1 to Apr 14 I left the ship on 13 days leave. I believe the ship went to sea and rode out a bad typhoon during that time.

Apr 2 Left Yokosuka for Kobe. During transit we had plane guard duty and conducted maneuvers.

May 1962

May 9 Arrived Kobe. (Dennis Remember our Liberty in Nara & Osaka?)*
May 13 Left Kobe with Carrier for Hong Kong.
May 27 Arrived Hong Kong.

June 1962

June 5 Left Hong Kong.
June 7 Arrived Yokosuka.
June 21 Left Yokosuka.
June 25 Arrived Hong Kong for Station Ship.

July 1962

July 23 Left Hong Kong.
July 26 Arrived Yokosuka. (We went to sea for a day or two for shoots and also moved to dry-dock so ship would be protected from a typhoon that was in the area.)

On Sept 15,62 I was transfered to the USS Leonard F. Mason DD852.

Dennis English

* Glenn,

I certainly do remember the Kobe trip.  Actually, we docked at Kure, which is between Kobe and Hiroshima.  We put into Beppu with the Ranger for a couple days of R & R.  Remember Monkey Island, and all those oranges lying around?  Don't forget the all the sulfur baths outside with the fences around them.  Then the morning we were suppose to depart for Kure, Ranger had a fire in one of her engineering spaces (Just a few weeks ago I met a sailor off Ranger who was on it at the time!).  We were held in Beppu by Ranger until just after noon if memory serves me.

  The Duncan ran like hell through a lot of those Inland Sea of Japan islands close by to get to Kure.  It was weird to rush by all that Terra Firma so fast.  We were the first American warship to port in Kure in 10 years.  There was supposed to be a big welcoming committee there to meet us from the locals.  We were hours late, and no one to meet us.  Scuttlebutt had it that they were very unhappy with us in Kure, and  had caused them to loose face.  I remember Kure as an unfriendly place.  (I also understand it was the home of the Japanese Imperial Navy during the war)

Osaka was the place to be.  Remember the old castle?  I spent an entire day there.  Another day I was eating and having a few beers in a local saki shop, when momma-san introduced me to a Japanese businessman.  He joined me, and with momma-san interpreting for us (I was learning Japanese, arigato, but it was still not that good yet.)  All of a sudden the atmosphere chilled when he said he didn't like Americans.

  There's more, but to make a long story short, he didn't know I was an American, I was the first American he had ever met, and I turned his whole attitude around about America.  We had a ball the rest of the night.  He took me to a big pro sumo match in Osaka somewhere, and then took me home for some home cooking.  He had to wake his wife up to cook, and I knew enough about Japanese to know she wasn't too happy about it, but she did an excellent job.  I took a taxi back to the train station late that night.  So he likes us now, and she hates us.


Joe Sissom

Golly, what memories!

But you may hve to revise that "1st USN vessel in Kure in 10 yrs", as Duncan may have been the last one also.

In the Fall of '55 as I recall, we made the same fast trip thru Shimonosecki with the rest of DesDiv 52, dodging ferries, sampans, etc. I recall having the deck thru at least part of it and I think we were at Special Sea & Anchor detail all the way.  Again, memory says we had been to Kure as a replacement liberty port for someplace else which i can't recall and we went thru Shimonosecki enroute Sasebo.

Seeing Hank Mustin's name in the beautiful msg regarding Captain Smith's funeral reminded me that he came aboard right after graduation from the Small Boat and Barge School, and had his first underway watch as an officer as my JOOD.  I guess it is amazing he ever recovered from that!!!

Keep the good stuff flowing.

Recollections of Duncan Service: A Plankowner Weighs In!

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's mid 1940's period.

Harold W. Turbeville

Hello shipmates of way back when. I recently came across the Duncan web site and saw your recollections. Brought back a lot of memories. I put the Duncan in commission in Orange Texas in Feb 1945. I was the ripe old age of nineteen and a third class petty officer.

Prior to that i was on the uss Corry DD463. We were sunk at Normandy on the morning of 6 June 1944. After a brief stint at school in Philly I was sent to the Duncan. Many of the things and places that you mentioned came back very vividly to me.

When the cease fire came about we were headed to Okanawa to take up station and that was certainly good news to us. As you mentioned, I remember the visit into Shanghai and into Amami Shima. I remember getting the suicide boat and converting it into the captains barge. As I remember, it had a old chevy engine with no reverse, but it really hauled butt.

When we got back to Pearl Harbor on the way back to the states I got transferred to another destroyer, the USS Turner headed back Bikini Atoll in support of the A Bomb tests. So I didn"t get back to San Diego untill late August of 1946. The rest of the story is that I stayed in the Navy and retired in 1965 as a Senior Chief Fire Contolman. I have a lot of fond memories, my first ship was the USS Corry and my last ship was the USS Charles F. Adams DDG 2. In between was USS Duncan among others.

Recollections of Duncan Service: The Stolen Octopus!

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's Early 1950's period.

Leland Hewgley

I remember the octopus on board very well.

There are four pictures in the 1952 Cruise book. The first two pictures indicate "The armed boat crew leaves the ship" and the other two pictures show Commander Hoeppner and other holding the octopus titled "and return with trophies which soon found their way to the galley."

It is my understanding that the motor launch had carried the armed crew to the shore to act as spotters. On returning to the ship the motor launch crew notices plastic jugs in the water. Being sailors they wanted to know what the plastic jugs were doing in the water. They found the jugs to be tied to twine which went down to a clay pot. The clay pot was being used by fishermen to catch the octopus.

The motor launch crew "robbed" some of the clay pots and returned the octopus to the ship. One of the pictures show Commander Hoeppner holding one of the Octopus and others holding the other octopus.

Rico (sic) one of the Officers mess cook's prepared the octopus and served them on the Officer's mess. There wasn't enough octopus to go around to the crew. I never heard how the Officers enjoyed the catch of the day, However, since Commander Hoeppner has now joined the Duncaneers, maybe he will give us a detail report of the meal.

Fred Hoeppner (XO)

Thanks for bringing up the OCTOPUS OPERATION.  It brought back some old memories.  Here is my version.  It changes with age, you know.

We had been steaming along the coast looking for errant trains and/or indians  when while pretty close to the beach the lookout reported some strange objects in the water close aboard.  As XO/Navigator I took a look and they appeared to look like crab pot buoys to me (I'm out of Seattle).  I called the Captains attention to them, and he CDR "Snuffy" Smith, pronounced them to be lobster pot buoys (he was from Brooklyn, NY).  So the the cylindrical wooden buoys were lobster pot buoys!  As we both started to salviate at our common thought I marked the location on the chart and he agreed with my thoughts that we would return ASAP the next foggy day.

Came the day - could hardly see the jackstaff.  We slipped in, sighted the bouys and launched the whaleboat.  Skipper took the ship out a bit and hove-to.  I had a full boat's crew and carried a handheld radio.   We eased toward the pots and began to heave in. The first one came slowly in to view, but the object at the end of the buoy line was a large clay pot not the type we had expected.  We heaved it aboard anyway and dropped it in the bow section.  I was looking for the next buoy when I became aware that the bowhook and one crew were climbing out of the boat and sitting on the gunnel and the engineer was scrambling into the after compartment.  With eyes the size of dinner plates, the bowhook (speechless) pointed  to the pot. Already half out of the pot was an octopus apparently headed for the nearest sailor.  With no great enthusiasm the next pot was pulled and this fellow also seemed to have a yen for american sailors.

While we were engaged with keeping disengaged from the octopus(i) the fog had lifted a bit and we could see the beach where a group of women were repairing a section of RR track .  They spotted us about the same time and started to holler for some nearby soldiers who came on the run and began firing on us. Being lovers not heroes, the concensus in the boat seem to be that it was time to conclude our fishing expedition and head for home. About this time some little splashes of water began to head our way and when one hit the gunnel I figured that it was time to call in the artillery to relieve the pressure.  So I called the Captain and requested a couple of 5" rounds on the beach to cool things down a bit.  This and some snappy zigzag maneuvers with the engine laying down a smokescreen (the engr had the RPMs redlined) got us safely back to the ship.

The Duncan never looked better as she loomed out of the fog, but strangely she was carrying a stbd list. Then we could see the reason.  Nearly all hands were on the stbd side to see our return.  Well, we got hooked aboard ok and the Captain came down to meet us.  He then called me aside and said, "You and your crew look real pale, so report to the sickbay."  "Yes sir, on the way."  We reported as ordered and were met by the Chief and handed a nice glass of Old Mathuselum. "Compliments of the Captain, he said you looked like you needed some medicine to return the color to your faces."

We would have liked to have gotten enough octopus to feed the the entire crew, but as you can see our fishing time was cut short.  The problem of what to do with the with the octopus we had was solved when  steward RICO came forward and said he knew how to fix and cook them.  And, they were good, albeit a bit tough.

  On in the lower middle picture you will see myself on the left, Captain Smith at the head of the table and Rico serving the octopus.  Incidentally, Rico was my steward years later in Markab.

Recollections of Duncan Service: Duncan's Movie Friends

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's Early 50's to Late 60's period.

Joe Sissom

Subic was a "Homeport away from home" far too often during the deployments of '54-5. The amenities that were actually under construction that many of you enjoyed during later years were non-existant.... the O-Club was a very temporary affair, but during the '54 cruise (I think) they were filming "The Huks" while we were there and the cast regular visitors, including a really handsome blonde, Mona Freeman (As I recall). On a dare from senior officers (jg's) to the junior ensign (me), I went over to their table and asked her to dance, which she graciously accepted, then asking me to join them.

During a visit to Hong Kong, we found the crew of "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" and there is at least one shot in the film where I am relatively sure the Duncan appears in the harbor, identified primarily by the SPS-8.

Leland Hewgley

I was watching and old movie, early 50's, on television this past week and realized that the actress playing one of the parts had been named the USS Duncan's sweetheart in 1954. She met the ship upon our return to San Diego after the 1954 Far East Cruise.

One of the deck crew knew her or someone that worked in the movie industry. I have reviewed the 1954 Cruise Book and I believe it was W. H. Geisert, Jr., First Division Deck Force that made the invitation and was instrumental in her coming aboard. You may remember him because he just about always had a fiery red beard. Don't hold me to his name. She was Lizabeth Scott.

Ron Lemasters

She wasn't necessarily the DUNCAN sweetheart, but there was a little red-haired girl (apologies to Charlie Brown) who used to come down to Long Beach when DUNCAN was in the shipyard (1968). She would scoop up LTJG Dave Eyre in a convertible and haul him away for the weekend.

I saw her in May of 1969 in the celebrity parade prior to the Indianapolis 500-mile race. She was Kathy Garver from the TV sit com "Family Affair." Dave had left DUNCAN by that time, having volunteered for Swift Boats. She spoke of awaiting his return so they could be married. I assume that has, in fact, happened.

Harry Layne

Thanks for the information. There is a picture of Lizabeth Scott in the 1951-52 cruise book.

The connection for Ms. Scott, I believe, was Larry T. Hampe Jr., a yeoman whose parents was friends with her. That fellow Geisert certainly did have a read beard and was photographed with Ms. Scott.

Dennis English

OK, here we go. We (Duncan) were suppose to be in the movie, "No Man Is An Island." For some reason Duncan couldn't do the job, and another can got the glory.

Also, Grande Island was used to simulate Guam for the movie. There were some old gun batteries on the sea side of the island that were used in the movie I mentioned, and some of us in the sonar gang found them as we explored the island. Lawrence Jones (Jonesy) wanted his picture taken on top of one of the guns. (These were big guns, maybe 10-14"?) Jonsey climbed on top, we took his picture, and then he discovered the rusty gun had been covered with graphite to make them look new. Jonesy had his whites pretty well covered with the stuff.

Jim Mead

I was stationed on Guam during the time the movie was made. The reason the movie "No Man Is An Island" was filmed in the Philippines is the story is about an RM2 who was one of the last men left on Guam when the Japanese invaded the island and took it into their possession.

The Guamanians thought he had some "Top Secret" information so they hid him in different homes on the island. When the Japanese would find out that a family hid him, they killed the family, yet the Guamanians continued to hide him.

Later after the US took back the island, it came out that the RM2 did not have any "Top Secret" information, as he had originally said, that would compromise the US, so they swore that if he ever returned to Guam they would kill him. As the story goes, the filming was made in the Philippines using Philippine nationals and not Guamanians. So he was in the Philippines at the time of the filming, never having touched the island since he left it during WWII.

Recollections of Duncan Service: Mount 53 Crooked Antenna: The Rest of the Story!

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's Mid 60's period.

Pete Rector

As you know the Radiomen used to take the whip and wire antenna's down for maintenance. sand them down, repaint them, clean the insulators and repaint the antenna bases. There was one we never took down or painted, that was the one on top of mount 52. In Believe it was in 1964 after coming back to the states the question came up "why haven't we taken that antenna down to clean and repaint?"

After kicking around all the we don't know why's, it was apparent there was not an answer to the question. We decided let's do it. On top of mount 52 we went, disconnected the truss/guy wires, pulled the bolts out of the antenna butt and proceeded to remove the antenna. Much to our surprise, instead of weighing approx 56 pounds like the other ones it was closer to 200 or so pounds.

When the butt cleared the top of the insulator it shot out from our grip landed cross wise on both gun barrels, bounced off and landed on the deck. The safety line stopped it from going over the side. When we checked the antenna it had a really nasty curve in it, kinda like an "S" almost.

We hurriedly took it to the tender's pipe shop and cumshawed them into straightening the antenna. Well almost straight anyway. Fortunately, once the twenty or so personnel (lines to the bridge wings etc) finally got the antenna back on top of the insulator we were able to align it so that if you were on the bridge looking forward the antenna looked straight. From alongside, you could see a wee little bend in the antenna.

So in case any of you ever saw the crooked antenna and wondered, as Paul Harvey would say "Now you know the rest of the story."

John Brooks

Pete I remember the incident. However it happened in Yokosuka when we were alongside the USS Dixie. This happened in late 62 or early 63 and I still have a picture of that poor bent antenna.

Recollections of Duncan Service: Travels Around Subic Bay!

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's Early 60's period.

Tex Blasdell

Subic Bay seemed like our 2nd home port, we spent a bunch of time there. It was usually miserably hot there all year long and cold San Miguel beer was essential for survival.

In one of the bars (The "Shangrala" according to Thom Springer) was a fantastic drummer who would play on walls, tables, beer bottles and everything. I can remember one of our XO's carving an overnight pass on a table for several non-rated men once. There was one movie theatre in town, a library on base, and not much else but jeepneys and bars. They did have a bowling alley where they had an unusual game called "duck pins" that used small balls and you got three rolls.

One summer about two dozen of us went up to Baguio on a bus. It was very cool up in the mountains. We all stayed in a big cabin and in the morning Dick Gillette went out for firewood for the fireplace and got himself locked out. He stood out in the cold in his skivvies cussing us out for about 15 minutes until I got sorry for him because he was from my hometown. Nobody wanted to get out from under the covers.

Dick and I went on a pony ride through the jungle. Baguio was a beautiful place but to get there we passed over some of the territory where the Bataan death march took place, and also passed that volcano that later closed Clark AFB.

On the way up we stopped at a small store and could only find gin and apple juice. An unusual combination. Gunner Hemsley got his head busted open in a fight on the way back and we stopped at Clark AFB where a bunch of us got arrested for going into a restricted hanger. Chief Coffee got us all out with a colorful tongue lashing.

Pete Rector

Tex, I was on that trip. Signalman(?) Miller and Radioman Johnson(?) also got into a fight. Seems one was abusing his horse (pony) and the others didn't think a horse should be prodded with a whiskey bottle to make it giddy up. I think Miller kinda got poked severely in the eye on the last day and if I remember correctly, the bus made a beeline to Clark Air Base to get him treated.

I was in the back of the bus trying to maintain some semblance of order and it was the chief or somebody else up front trying to maintain order. Miller and Johnson were still trying to get over my frail body to hurt each other the whole trip to Clark.

When we approached the base gate we were directed to keep quiet. Things went well till we passed thru then they went back to hell in a handcart. You're right the air police didn't take kindly to us climbing on their airplanes and checking out the cockpits. Weren't there some machine guns directed in our direction?

Richard Gillet

I also so remember the horses, Tex. Your feet would drag the ground. Our guide "Johnny pointed out the gold mine to us. We also bought bananas and threw them at the guys on the water buffalo carts on the way down the mountain. The mountain was so curvey that you could see the tail lights of your own bus as you made the turns.

I also remember standing out there on that porch in my skivies. All I was trying to do was get firewood so everyone could get warm. They let me darn near freeze to death. I also remember the great breakfast at the gold course. They wouldn't let you set your coffee cup down without them filling it back up.

At Clark AFB they didn't like guys walking out on the tarmack to look at the planes did they Tex.

Dennis English

I didn't make the Baguio trip. Maybe I was waterskiing. But another story told to me by some who did make it was about Lawarence Jones (Jonesy).

Jonesy was into photography, and had purchased about $1,000 worth of photographic equipment during our stop in Hong Kong. He had a Nikon F, an expensive Canon, and a 1,000 mm zoom lense he was real proud of.

He would carry this stuff like a bandolier. He had more dang camera equipment hanging on him than anyone I ever knew. Jonesy was kind of short, so it looked that much weirder.

I was told he was a little tipsy when the bus stopped at Clark, and he went heading for the flight line. By the time he got to the "ready" hanger (with all that photographic equipment) a couple jeeps with machine guns mounted on them pulled up to stop him from doing whatever it looked like they thought he was doing. As I recall, they took his film and let him go after an officer verified his status.

Ron Boaz

The Jones you are talking about I think was also called "Bone" because he wore his hair cut real short and some of the guys made fun of his forehead, which they thought was quite prominent. Actually there was nothing abnormal about his head at all.

I think he also helped to put together our Cruise Book along with Yoneda. I remember him as a real nice guy with a dry sense of humor. I think he was a college graduate. We had a good number of enlisted on board with a college degree, if I remember correctly

Jack Zydonik

Speaking of tasty treats, I remember going in town to a pub/restaurant and picking up a menu. On the cover was the most beautiful Hamburger you ever laid eyes on.

Along with a couple of San Miguels I ordered two of those beauties. with Lettuce, Tomato and, Mayo. They came to the table and the aroma was out of this world, just lovely. However they tasted like @#$%. Never did eat them. It had to be monkey meat. So we just filled up on Beer. Really can't mess that up.

I remember the little bits of ice that would form in the beer when they were opened. They really kept them cold.

Jeff Sciba

Once when we were pulling R and R in Subic Bay, A bunch of us went into Olongapo to our favorite bar. We made the mistake of going before we ate chow that morning.

Around 1300 hrs, a street vendor came in with some great smelling Bar-B-Que that was still cooking on his little push cart. To make a long story short, we bought and ate everything that he was cooking on that little cart. The bar maids were also eating as fast as we were. When we got through, I ask the little bar maid that was sitting next to me what it was. She explained to us that it was what we Americans call dog. Needless to say, it came up as fast as it went down. I never ate anything except what was served on the Duncan after that.

Jim Mead

I remember we were coming from Olongapo to the ship, and outside the main gate we were hungry and got a scour of meat, and after we had more than half of it down, we found out it was monkey meat. That was fun. I thought it tasted a little tangy.

I also remember the Bennie Boys, you had to look at the girls Adams apple, it they had one, it was a Bennie Boy, if not the coast was clear, of course if they wore white socks.

And those Jeeps all painted. Fred, Happy Herr and I were late coming back to the base and the driver was going really fast, we came around a corner and right in the middle of the road was a Water Buffalo. We just missed it, but went into the ditch. Loads of fun down there.

Ron Boaz

I think one of the few Navy approved restaurants ("A" rated) was a placecalled Papaguyos. We used to go there for the best chili, the only chili I was aware of in the Far East. They would have those Flamenco dance floor shows that we thought were boring. We were really there for the chili.

Remember walking over the bridge on the way into town and taking off your rings and watches? Subic was the only place I ever paid anyone to take my Shore Patrol duty, I paid someone $10.00 to stand in for me one rainey night. $10.00 was a lot of money for a sailor back then.

David Birch

Ron - in 1988 Papagayos was still there - still the best food in Olongapo, monkey meat vendors were still on the street corners and the pickpockets hard at work.

Best place on the base was at the Binictican golf course - the 19th hole, the best hot cheese lumpia I've ever had - and 10 dollars could buy a whole bunch of San Miguel

Ron Lemasters

My "fondest" recollection of Shore Patrol in Subic was Thanksgiving Eve '68 (I had transferred to PRAIRIE by then). It was the night the citymarket burned to the ground.

It was 'way out at the edge of town and a bunch of the liberty party got stranded on the other side of the fire. There was almost no water available to fight the fire (pumper trucks came from the air station at Cubi Point, but the "creek" was dry.

We stayed at the Armed Services Police station at the bridge all night, mustering in the guys who managed to get back. Philippine Constabulary Rangers were posted around the market and the buildings that faced it on four sides, and you could hear sporadic automatic weapons fire as they drew down on the Huks and others who ventured down out of the province hills to loot (the same guys who forced us to put our watches and rings in our pockets as we came across the bridge).

Another memory was the last liberty boat of the night going back to the ships anchored out. The SP had to wait for the last boat along with thelate-arriving liberty party. Usually it was PRAIRIE's Mike boat, and thewell was filled with drunk, sick sailors. I learned quickly to stay upin back with the coxswain.

Ron Lemasters

My first recollection of Grande Island was also my first encounter with a slot machine. We went over for R&R and I was with YN3 Ron Detter, whowas playing the nickel machine. He ran out of nickels and went to get more. He asked me to keep the machine occupied. I had two nickels and the second one I dropped in hit a $7.50 jackpot just as Detter returned. He was more than a little ticked, but I bought him off with a Singapore Sling. We spent the afternoon climbing around on the big guns up on the cliff overlooking the Pacific.

My last recollection was more painful. A bunch of us from PRAIRIE were over there playing softball. In trying to move from first to third on a bloop single I had to slide. As I recall, that was the exact moment I realized Grande was basically a coral atoll. I had a huge, painful strawberry for about 3 months.

I recall another Olongapo bar, the Kangaroo Club. I was on SP and an aussie destroyer was in port. The Aussies decided the Kangaroo Club was the place for them, but the New Jersey came in off the gun line and when those GMs heard about it, they decided to liberate the Kangaroo Club.

Our three holding cells were 'way beyond capacity that night. I was glad I was helping on the clerical end that night.

Peter Murray

Sounds like a real case of....."Tie me kangaroo down, sport! Tie me kangaroo down! Hehehe!

Anyone else favor the Cherry Bar....the upstairs haunt at the left end of the main drag? Tied a few on there, for sure!

Richard Gillet

I went on liberty in Subic. As I was walking down the street I passed by the Red Cross building. I saw a good looking woman and a man sitting on the front steps letting the world pass by. I couldn't resist it. I went up and introduce my self. The woman (Anita) (she was a nurse) and I went inside to visit. The Man was Dr. Nester Bosco. He go a phone call and kept saying no I don't have any, I don't have any. After he got off the phone I asked him what was up. He said there was a bad accident in Manilla and they needed Type AB blood and no one had any. I told him he did have some and he said no I don't. I again told him he did and he started to get mad.

He asked where did he have some? I told him right up my arm. He then asked if I would donate. I told him yes and he had me lay on the blood letting table. I was really trying to impress the Anita. After they took the blood I acted big and brave (actually stupid), I jumped straight off the table. They told me no you need to stay laying down. I stood for about 15 or so seconds and my knees buckled. They helped me back up on the table and I was glad to rest a few minutes.

I guess Anita felt sorry for me, We went out everytime we stayed in Subic. That is until she started talking marriage. I got scared and ran.

I also remember going with Frisco Charlie to Universal Tailors. If you want to go back I still have their card. I also remember going to Baguio City. I remember waking up early in the morning and nobody would get up and get firewood for the fire. All they would do is poke their eyes out from under the covers, because it was so cold (yeah, Tex you too). I got up went out the backdoor where the firewood was stacked. As I went out the door, it closed and locked behind me. Nobody would get up and let me in and I believe the temperature was in the 30's. If it had not been for the security guard letting me in, I think I would still be outside looking in. I remember eating at the restaurant on the golf course and every time you drank any coffee they would fill it up faster then you could set it down. I also remember mixing gin and orange juice together and also throwing the bananas at the water buffalo. My gosh that has been over 40 years ago.

Recollections of Duncan Service: Instructions in Proper Protocol!

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's Late 50's period.

Cliff Savage 57 - 59

If my memory serves me right, it was 1959 and we were getting prepared to get underway. The ship had been in Hawaii since the 16th of January on a special project and was headed for WestPac in early April.

One of my jobs, as an ET, was to stow the TV antenna and its cable that ran from atop the bridge down to the mess deck. As I was doing my appointed duty, BTC Berumen, the Chief Master at Arms ( made BTC in '38), was coming through the forward passageway onto the Starboard side, main deck. When he stepped onto the deck, he was confronted by a young Ensign who had recently reported aboard right out of the Naval Academy.

The Ensign told the chief to pick up a cover that had been hastily thrown over a "Handy Billy" pump. The chief replied, " I'll take care of it, sir." At this point, the Ensign then said, " No, I want you to do it." Standing his ground, the old chief reiterated, "I'll take care of it, sir."

LCDR Brand W. Drew, the Exec., was a "Mustang" officer who had come up through the ranks. He quickly appeared upon the scene, asked the Ensign to please accompany him into the wardroom, and instructed the Chief to carry on.

Still stowing the TV cable, I could hear what went on through an open porthole in the officer's wardroom. The Exec sternly instructed the Ensign, " Don't you ever let me hear you telling a Chief what to do again! All you have to do is tell them what you would like to have done and that's it. They'll take care of it!  The Chiefs make the ship run and don't ever forget it!" Of course, the new Ensign was somewhat embarrassed by being thoroughly dressed down by the Exec, and beat a hasty retreat when excused.

After that day, I never observed the Ensign telling a CPO what to do again. Over my many years I always believed that was the best advice in proper protocol that a new Ensign ever got.

David Birch

My father told me the story of another young ensign, fresh out of engineering school, assigned as the engineering officer.

It seems that as soon as he went down below to the engine room, he met up with the chief, then promptly told him that "I am the new engineering officer, and this is how we will run the engine room."

At this point the chief said aye aye sir, and left the engine room. He refused to go back to the engine room until the ensign apologized, the CO, being a wise individual, instructed the ensign on the necessity of the apology, and once rendered, the chief went back to work.

Leland Hewgley

I guess that this could be considered a non-commission training a commissioned officer.

The Commandor of the division moved his staff to the Duncan for a few weeks along with his staff.  Late one afternoon his Staff Assistant, a Lt.  rushed into the radio room, and begin to run all of the radiomen down.

There were several radiomen along with others standing around drinking coffee and listening to music on one of the receivers.

Since I was in charge of the watch I tried to understand what he was talking about and to help him.  About this time I was getting MAD about his comments.   He was very concerned about a message being routed to the Commandor for action.  I handed him the message board, he could not find any message that had the Commandor for action. Then he said it was a classified message, and I gave him the classified message  board and he finally found a message routed to the Commandor for action.

I said let me tell you something,  when a classified message comes in, we notify the communication officer if we are at sea or the OD in port.  It is then their responsibility to have the message decoded, type it up, and route it to all action personnel and any other personnel that they see.   "So don't come chewing my ass out for what some G... D... officer did."

The crew that was standing around got very quite until the Staff Assistant left like a duck out of the water.   They then told me to go and pack my bags because I would be transferred off as soon as possible.   I never did hear any further comment from anyone.

Theresa M. Drew (Daughter of former Duncan XO Brand W. Drew)

My dad, Brand W. Drew, was on the Duncan in the fifties.  He passed away in 1994, and I would love to hear from anyone who remembers him or anything about him. I was born later in his life, in 1969, and am currently a a teacher here in Honolulu. I would like to work on a book about my dad someday.

Denis McSweeney

I was aboard the Duncan with your Dad and just before one of our cruises to the Far East, he was transferred from the Duncan to shore duty at Subic Bay. Later, during our cruise, the Duncan steamed into Subic and we all hit the beach for liberty.  Well, we had Cinderella liberty expiring at midnight and some (many) of us did not make it back to the ship on time and were written-up by the Marines at the gate.

  The next day, as many of us were on deck, here comes LtCdr. Brand W. Drew aboard the Duncan with a large hand full of report slips.  He saluted, came aboard, had a chat with the Captain, laughed, tore up all the slips and threw them overboard.

He was a good man who knew all the angles of Navy life, and was fair and loyal to his crew.

Jim Mead

Going through my Log (diary), on February 19, 1959, it reads:

"Almost lost Shannon overboard, he went the complete length from the ladder going up to the 01 deck where the Supply Office (& Disbursing Office) is, (directly under the 8 ft. radar) to the to the snaking at the end of the fantail. The wave was large enough to come up and over the main deck.

The Boatswain mate of the watch on the bridge passed the word "All hands stand clear of the main deck while changing course." The swells were high. The First Class Boatswain mate was standing on the 01 level next to me and also an Ensign (I do not have their name in my log). The Boat's yelled at Shannon to hang on to the snaking tight, and The Ensign yelled "sailor, get up this ladder now, that is an order." When Shannon stood up and started to run for the ladder, a big wage hit him and the three of us watched in horror as the wave swept him into one of the large stangent, off of the Mt. 53 turret, back to another stangent and finally to the snaking where the Ensign is flown while in port.

The BM1 ripped into the Ensign using some very explicit saying "you never contradict an order that I give, ever!! You almost had a man killed because you thought you knew more than I do!!" Well, needless to say, the Ensign was also dressed down by the XO.

This is the same Ensign who lost his M1 rifle when we went to the rifle range two days earlier. We were in the waters of Hawaii when this happened. I think the BM1 was Kirpatrick. We had the Kirkpatrick brothers on board at that time.

I learned from BM1 Kirpatrick how to be careful when going ashore. This was my very first cruise with the Navy, so Pearl Harbor was my first liberty port. Kirpatrick took me aside and said "Mead, when you go into the bars in town, when the girls come up to you, see if they have an Adams apple, if they do, they are not women." Saved me a lot of trouble and embarrassment

Recollections of Duncan Service: Collision during a Duncan Change of Command!

Editors Note: This recollection is from Duncan's FRAM2 period in March 1961.

Capt. W. Bruce Althoff

I have no photos of my change of command, but do have a story to tell.

Since Duncan was undergoing FRAM 2, the entire superstructure of the ship was in the process of replacement, and the shipyard had filled every available space with their machinery, water and steam hoses, power cables and so forth. So we formed up the ship's company, dressed smartly, in an empty shipyard parking lot and commenced the change of command ceremony.

I began to read my orders when a messenger came running from the ship. He made his report to the Exec (Ed Messere), who passed on to me the news that a destroyer sideswiped Duncan on her approach to her berth forward of us. I paused a moment in my reading my orders and asked the messenger if Duncan was sinking? He said, "No," so I resumed the ceremony and I believe I then became the only naval officer to have a collision while ashore taking command of the ship!

The FRAM 2 was completed in June 1961. In September, Duncan was designated flagship of COMDESRON NINE and in October 1961 she became homeported in Yokosuka, Japan as a permanent member of the 7th Fleet.

We were a close-knit group with many of the families joining us in Japan. The officers and men were great and I was a very proud skipper.

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