USS Duncan (DDR - 874)

" Galloping Ghost of the Korean Coast"

The Early Years, Documents

" 1953 Westpac Cruise" - An Illustrated Narrative

Image 53pg1_pix1 My story begns on a chilly, damp
evening in the dead of night; midnight to be exact, in the midst of tiny fingers of fog creeping down the pier. It is the type of night in which parents clutch their children with a gasp of apprehension and OOD's sleepily write midwatch logs.

Here I lie, held to the clammy wetness of the dock with my lines, which have so often seen the brightest ports of the Far East, slack, as if they too, understood the transformation that is slowly taking place. I am a mere hulk of my former self, gutted by the merciless flames of acetylene, and beaten ruthlessly by the relentless pounding of air hammers. The neverending scrape of the cutting chisels has marred, seemingly forever, my beautiful complexion. All of my deadly voices are removed; the magnificant 40mm mounts, whose sisters sang the rapid Dance of Death for the members of the Kamikaze tribe, have vanished into the mysterious depths of a place my people call Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, leavingImage 53pg1_pix2 in their stead gaping holes, scars, to remind me of what used to be. Even my eyes are gone, those dependable sets of electronic eyes, and in their place a mass of confusing tangled cables dangle endlessly awaiting extrraction, while others, the more fortunate, patiently abide the stagnant period until they're again put into active use to guide me through the darkness of night and terror of storm.

Image 53pg1_pix3Here I lie, held to the clammy wetnessof the dock with my lines, which have so often seen the brightest ports of the Far East, slack, as if they too, understood the transformation that is slowly taking place. I am a mere hulk of my former self, gutted by the merciless flames of acetylene, and beaten ruthlessly by the relentless pounding of air hammers. The neverending scrape of the cutting chisels has marred, seemingly forever, my beautiful complexion. All of my deadly voices are removed; the magnificant 40mm mounts, whose sisters sang the rapid Dance of Death for the members of the Kamikaze tribe, have vanished Image 53pg2_pix1into the mysterious depths of a place my people call Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, leaving in their stead gaping holes . . . scars, to remind me of what used to be. Even my eyes are gone . . . those dependable sets of electronic eyes, and in their place a mass of confusing tangled cables dangle endlessly awaiting extrraction, while others, the more fortunate, patiently abide the stagnant period until they will again be put into active use to guide me through the darkness of night and terror of storm.

Image 53pg2_pix3The powerful heart I once possessed has been stripped to a mere cover; the veins for my life-giving supply of steam have been torn out of me, leaving me unable to move the mighty muscles which, before this, made it easy for me to outrun any of my sisters. It is even a problem for me to keep warm, though these overalled, metal - headed creatures have provided me with an artery of scalding, rampaging steam. Completing my humiliation, I find that these creatures (whom my people call "Yard Workmen") have strung all sorts of peculiar netlike contraptions over my entire skeleton, continually snarling the feet of my poor unknowing charges, and giving me the appearance of a middle-aged woman caught in the grasp of an electric hair-curler. I speak of "charges" and of "my people" (it is a good thing, though some men would not agree with me, that we of the fairer sex have a habit of listening whenever a lot of talk goes on. . .you hear the most interesting things) . . . they call each other "Captain," "Sir," "Executive Officer," "Departments," and "Crew," but to me they are all my lovers - The Duncaneers. Who else but a people with a deep affection would take such tender care of me? Even though most of them speak of strange places like the "barracks" and of things like the "barracks watches," they are yet willing to stay with me at night when Ifeel lost and all alone, ensuring my fears of burning are groundless,Image 53pg2_pix2 by standing what they call "firewatches. "Even in the daytime, too there are some of them that stay with me instead of going on "liberty" (as they call it). There are some who say that these are the bad ones among my acquaintances, but I like them best of all . . . I will always know that there will be a few.

My poor sense of time tells me that it was in the month of August, in the year of 1952, that I came here, yet I feel that it can hardly be that long. Why, only a while ago, I was complaining of losing my No. 1 and No. 2 boyfriends, the Commanders R.H. Smith, and F.R. Hoeppner. Now I have two new ones, Commander R.E. Lawrence, and Lieutenant Commander J.M. Ashley, Jr. My voice has been replaced by a tutor of a new school, one who believes, obviously, that a voice should be powerful; he has given me vocal cords made of the finest material know, parts of which are called "3/50's and hedgehogs (of all things!). They have lifted my face by adding a pair of deckhouses, and have given me a beautiful tiara in the form of a new mast, with sparkling antennae to match. Not only that, but my complexion is back to normal (though some awfully hard work by my ever faithful ones). Why, I even look better than my sister, the USS Brinkley Bass. It makes me think that there were only a few like me around.

Now they try to tell me that it is March of the year 1953…hummmph!! Maybe so, but it doesn't feel like it, believe me. It's a great relief to know that those "yardbirds" have finally fixed up my face. It seems as though they tried to apologize for being so rough by making me more beautiful than ever, and you can imagine how Image 53pg3_pix2wonderful it is to have my swiftness returned to me; to be able to feel the heat coursing through my veins, to know that once again I can hold up my head among the rest of my seagoing family. Speaking of the sea, it is my understanding that soon I will again be given a chance to compete against the old witch in what they call the trial run. I hope that I will be able to convince her that I am the better woman. Goodness!! The time is here!! And, now it has gone. Pardon me for boasting a bit, but there will be not even the slightest trouble between us in the future and, you know, I've not had that lonesome feeling for quite a while. All of my people are returning to me, and they are this minute bringing all of the necessary things for my use in the future …those silver and bronze tidbits that everyone else calls ammunition.

Image 53pg3_pix1I can't understand why everyone seems to have the idea that this is such an important time …most have been through it before …yet, with all of the new people I have, there is bound to be an attitude of expectancy. I feel almost as though I were to play an important role in this Korean War everybody talks about. Who knows, perhaps I will … I do wish that they would hurry and get me out of here, though, for it is awfully uncomfortable just sitting here and waiting for something to happen when you have no idea what it will be. After all, it is not every day that a girl gets the chance to show off her new face, and I want everyone to see me now and compare me with the way I was before.

Image 53pg3_pix3The sea …again I am outward bound, and the old witch is doing her best to make all of us feel uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, some of them feel very ill, the poor darlings …hmm …there is the sight that I was waiting to see … as I've often said, "Flattery will get you nowhere," but this Cape is different. There is nothing like putting the old places behind you and looking forward to many more. From what I hear as everyone goes about his work, I will be in San Diego four full weeks, and then to WestPac inside of only two more weeks. Wonder how Mary Soo is getting along? Haven't seen her in ages…but I will find out in the not-too-distant future, I imagine.

Image 53pg4_pix2These creatures here in San Diego are quite different from the ones that mutilated me in Bremerton. Why, they seldom bother me at all, except to give me a chance to show off, but they are picking on my people something fierce. I should be ashamed of myself for helping them the way I do, but I like the sound of that alarm …and it never fails to make somebody yell "General Quarters" at the top of his lungs. I heard "R.E."( You know, the one that everyone calls "Captain") say just the other day that the crew was shaping up into an efficient machine, with the help of the U.T.E. I think he's right too. There will be nothing to this "Battle Problem" that everyone talks about. They will take it in a breeze …See, I told you so. And now I feet that it is about time for me to take leave of the United States for a while. I'm still vain at heart and I want some of these other countries to have a glance at my "New Look."

Image 53pg4_pix1It has been two days since Point Loma disappeared over the horizon and, along with it, all of the symbols of my lovers' infidelities …all of what they call "wives," "children," and "sweethearts" and those peculiar specimens called "creditors" are behind. It's a bit sad, too, for there is a definite feeling of wanting to stay behind from some of them …but what can I do? …After all, I can only go where I am told, and do as I am ordered. So, I Image 53pg4_pix3am headed west in a straight line, with all eyes alert. I've been told {as if I couldn't remember from year to year), that there is a wonderful place called Pearl Harbor, with the bluest of water for me to rest in, the prettiest of women to tempt the young bloods, the juiciest pineapples, and the loudest shirts that ever existed. The man said that I should take some of these younger "boots" over for a look so that they can call themselves sailors and be worthy of the name. Very few cases of anybody being sick now, for most of them have gotten used to the idea of being out --- what do they call them? ---Oh, yes, "sea legs." At any rate, they seem to have gotten them, and are showing themselves to be ready for almost anything.

Image 53pg5_pix1Now that I have gotten to the place, I find that Aloha Land hasn't changed too much in the last year or so. There is still the same amount of teeming traffic (reminding most of the boys of home), and an abundance of fresh milk (they're still persistent in liking the stuff, but I'll stick with my oil. After all, everyone to his own taste), and all hands are taking an ample supply of the pineapple juice available, not to mention some other types heard Image 53pg5_pix2someone muttering the other day about something to do with "photographs," whatever they might be …seems he thought that Pearl Harbor would cost him a fortune buying and developing "film" …I don't understand, but if it makes everybody happy, why worry over some strange words? …As long as there is no ill feeling, it makes me feel elated … but there'll be some unhappy spirits around the time I leave here, which will be son …this business of leaving places behind me is becoming a habit …The island of Oahu (Pearl Harbor to the uninformed) has long since disappeared, and there is another taking its place just off my port box …Midway, they call it, and it seems that it is noted for its "Gooney Birds" …hope that none of them fly my way …had an awful lot of trouble in the past with birds …

Image 53pg5_pix3Sunny Midway, and these silly people are actually swimming in this water …mmm …if they had to spend as much time in it as I, there would be none of this rushing to get wet …but not all of them are so thoughtless …some of them are seeing to it that I get an ample supply of fuel to take us onward (it's much easier here than at sea …no accidents here), and we are almost ready to go … good thing, too, before some of them get a bad case of sunburn …the California Chamber of Commerce should see this place …ah, now my brain has indicated that I should go Northwest …could it be that someone desires for me to move into Yokosuka? …Should do so, now as I always have before …

Image 53pg6_pix1My 5000-mile trip is over, and I lie here in Yokosuka Harbor, while my Duncaneers are busy changing the U.S. Dollar into Mickey Mouse Military Payment Certificate, and I hear that it has really buffaloed a lot of them …but after a few days many of them are coming back talking about all sorts of odd places …"Green Eyes," "Club Denen," "Casbah," raving for hours about the "E.M. Club" and "Mama-san's" …all of which confuses me someImage 53pg6_pix2thing terrible …but there are others I hear them speak of which make me feel sorry for those that do not have any opportunity to see them …places like Mount Fujiyama, the hot springs oat Atami, Tokyo, the Buddha's, and the shrines at Kamakura, along with the sacred bridges that the Japanese hold in such high esteem …but it isn't really necessary to travel far throughout this country to see items which would interest anyone …just the other day I overheard one of the "boots" telling the "Sheriff" (as I call the Master-at-arms) how he had discovered the city of Yokosuka, with its shopping districts, where the practice of bargaining runs rampant …he said he had also toured the Navy Base, with the immense dry-docks and ship-building and repair facilities …

Image 53pg6_pix3There is much to be gained from the Oriental, if one will take into consideration that the Japanese has always had one of the most adaptable minds that the world has ever known …add to this the wisdom of centuries and you have the ingredients for many a profitable experience, mentally as well as financially. The only thing that I have heard that would lower any newcomers' opinions of Japan is the fact that those to which most people are accustomed …in Japan, as most Far Eastern countries, I hear that families either live in wealth as nobility, or in poverty, on the same level with the peons of Mexico…

You would really be surprised at the strange words that I have heard lately. I cannot even begin to imagine what they might mean …like "sukoshi," "taku-san," "chotto mate," and "dai jobe" …as I hear them, time aft4er time, they confuse me all the more…one I have heard used more than all is "Baby-san" …I wonder what it means? … This bunch never fails to amaze me with its versatility …only two days have I been here, and they have seen and done so much . . .

Image 53pg7_pix2Image 53pg7_pix3Today, which is CENSORED, I've been told to "Go South, old girl" and have already put many a mile behind on the trip to Sasebo …you know where it is …down on the Southern coast of Kyushu …see there, just ahead, don't you recognize any of that coastline? …But wait a few minutes …now we're passing the hill that so many of the boys who made last year's trip know …I forget what they call it just now …hmm …looks like the bunks are going to get a rest today as everyone is hanging out their mattresses and blanket …could be a number of them get wet if somebody is not very careful …this city has the wettest climate that I've seen …reminds me of Florida a bit …speaking of one of the great 48, do you realize that this is the __the day that I've been away, and that I have already heard some of the gripers say that they aren't satisfied …that all of them want to go home …it just goes to show you that you can't please everyone …no matter how hard you try…but nevertheless, these tailors and shoe repairmen that come out are trying …the tailors are stitching and mending, getting those white uniforms, that all of the boys hate, ready for liberty …just so the rain and mud can turn them into a mess …more business for the cleaners …wonder if these businessmen have an in with the weather bureau here? … Yet all the weather here isn't rainy, not by a long shot…there are a lot of days that the Duncaneers are able to make a liberty and come back with the whites in decent shape …I've heard that Sasebo is a peculiar mixture of the old and the new, as far as the methods of construction are concerned … the ancient ways of tediously building everything by hand turn out Image 53pg8_pix1some surprisingly Image 53pg7_pix4modern architecture …seems that this is the place where all of the spare Yen (speaking now of the Japanese Money) is finding its way into the pockets of the merchant with the chinaware, lanterns, or something …the "boots" never fail to be amazed at finding on one hand a modern street, turning the corner, and finding something out of an Oriental-type Gulliver's Travels …do you know that I have actually heard that women work as laborers over here" …some of those self-styled glamour girls from the states should be here and take a close look at what could have been … I was talking about streets a few minutes ago … I wonder how long the memory of "Richsha Corner" will last with the Duncaneers? I know several will remember those rides to Fleet Landing about Midnight …after hearing some of their stories, I wonder if 42nd and Broadway isn't safer…

Image 53pg8_pix2Peculiar how time can pass so fast when there is pleasure in the air: if you look real hard, you can see "that mountain" in back of us … it is now the 17th of May and this morning, over a cup of coffee,they were having back by Mt. 33, I heard Max, (my nickname for the Gunnery Officer) telling Quay, Velategui and Billington their eyes would have to mighty sharp where I'm going …it appears that I am going to a place called KOSONG, and my old friend WONSAN was mentioned in the bargain …be nice (?) to see him again …I'm better equipped to argue with him this year, I think …maybe I can talk a little bit louder than he can …we'll see.

Image 53pg8_pix3Once again I was right …partially
I've been raising all sorts of hob with those "visitors" around Kosong…"vehicles" and "bunkers" I heard Nickerson say they were, I think …don't know what he means, but I do know that Granddad Korea hasn't been too far away from me lately …even Image 53pg8_pix4got close enough for some of the boys to take pictures …pictures …that means newspapers, and I understand I got my name in one of them …to quote "USS DUNCAN struck enemy position near the East coast city of Kosong" …nice to know the folks back home can hear of me. I wish the "old man" would let me rest for a while …he never seems to want to stay in any one place for any amount of time …just now, he's told me that I'm on my way to see my trouble-making friend Wonsan. Well bring him on …as I said before, I'm ready to argue with him, and I know all my equipment is ready, as are the Duncaneers…

Image 53pg9_pix1Image 53pg9_pix2Yes, look there … the coastline, coming around my starboard side …there is no great deal of room for me to move in this place … too much shallow water, and too many of those blasted little islands around …I think that I'll manage, though …it certainly hurts me the way that none (well, almost none) of my boys are able to get out into this sunshine …seems there is a danger of someone getting hurt by my old archenemy's pals yelling at me …at any rate, the only persons that the Captain is allowing on deck are those needed for topside watches …seems to me I saw a few of the engineers up for a look-see …that proves that you can't keep a bunch of good men down …and they are good men …matter of fact, after a few days of uneventful running back and forth, somebody upstairs decided that it was time for me to drink again, and that is where I am; outside the main harbor, with my "snipes" and "deck apes" seeing to it that I get enough …don't know what I'd do without 'em Image 53pg9_pix3…seems that everybody that couldn't sneak up for a breath of well-deserved fresh air is up now …oh, I see …the man has called for all of them …replenishment, or something …this is the operation that is always fun to watch …I come in real close to one of those clumsy sea-freighters that carries all of those groceries; then my deck apes (with the help of the line throwing gun used by the Gunners) put all sorts of lines and pulleys across the gap between us and first thing you know comes all sorts of stuff to me …hat was the second time this has happened and the Duncaneers are saying they are glad it's over, and I'm going back into the harbor, so they'll be able to get in some rack time …but I don't like pushing my luck …call it feminine intuition if you want, but I feel that there is something amiss …something is going to happen this time …mark my words!

Image 53pg10_pix1Image 53pg10_pix2This blockade duty has a weird habit of going nice and peaceful until you least expect it, and then literally blowing up in your face …hope those little Red devils are having a day off if they pick this one to play footsies…wish I were able to take the day off …nothing like the 26th of May for that …just finished talking to Wonsan's little brother Hodo Pando …and it's 1646, the sun is almost down, and the boys lining up for supper …mmm …listen to those comments on that sliced bologna and cheese …For Pete's Sake!!! What's that splash behind me over there to the right coming from? . . . And there's another to my left!! That monster is actually shooting at me!!!

Oh, COUNTERBATTERY, eh? …Well, I'll show him who's boss … only twenty seconds since that first splash, and I've already begun to tell him about it …seems like there's an awful lot of people in the after handling room …even a few cooks and a baker or two …hope those guys don't have any cakes in the oven, 'cause they will go flat sure as …really showing the Red devils a sample of power now, they're so well dug in there's not much chance I'll do much damage (though I did hear Liver tell one of the guys there was a direct hit in the area of a gunflash, and anywhere from 50 -75 hits as close as 25 yards …near misses, no less), but all in all I've done pretty well …seems like my premonition was right … something happened, o.k. …Those little critters can shoot? Didn't hurt me much, just scratch up my face a bit, and broke the strands of one of my ears … but the E.T.'s can have it fixed in nothing flat …real efficient, those guys …just overheard the mount captains' reports of expenditures …mn …hundred some odd rounds …not bad …and look at that burst pattern!! Velategui's back there in 53 really put out a few of that bunch …well, it's almost time for me to take up my night patrol, so I'd best slip back into that place … the only thing that I like about these night patrols is that they're over so quickly …see what I mean?…that ends my Wonsan duty too!

Image 53pg11_pix1I was always tought that it was impolite to talk about money to a stranger like yourself, but when I took this bunch away from Wonsan a few days ago, all I could hear was how happy they were over the "tax-free zone" ...seemsI just left in time to keep them from having to give Washington something called "Income Tax." They're all happy over that, and the fact that I'm headed back to Sasebo, where they no doubt are going to get caught up on their Japanese ethics. I mean things like taking off their shoes before entering the homes, sitting on the floor (it is a floor…the decks are on a ship only); most of them have already learned, in a short time, how to sleep there …smart people, these boys.

Image 53pg11_pix2Image 53pg11_pix3After spending a very pleasant time in Sasebo and Yokosuka, and making the Formosan patrol (mostly by myself, running various patterns overlapping my Northern sister's route), I find myself steaming into the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong, and everyone is in a holiday mood …this city, "The Pearl of the Orient," has been described in detail to the "boots" by the ones who made the trip last year and to the last man, they are all agog with anticipation… the talk about all the beautiful white Russian women swarming over the town has made them feel this place could be another Utopia… and by the sea stories I've heard from last year, I wouldn't say they were wrong …anyway, here I am again suffering under the attack of those darned little boats; "Bumboat Bay" I call it …but it is one of the prettiest harbors that I ever go to , I think …it's deep enough so that any of my sea family can get in without having to worry over scraping their tender bottoms on the floor of the bay, and as far as the city itself is concerned, at first glance it's more modern than those of Japan …at least Sasebo and Yokosuka …there are a host of decent restaurants serving all kinds of food, and the cocktail lounges are magnificent …many times the two are combined, under the quaint heading of "Cabaret." The scenic lights in and near Hong Kong have been thoroughly discussed by all, and not a one failed to mention that white tower that attracts all of the "shutterbugs" …mmnn …

Image 53pg12_pix1Here comes the Royal Navy launch with the Boarding Officer …always sharp, those English …they conduct a routine boarding call as if it were the King's birthday, or some other important state function …now, as Mayes and his First Division crew finish tying me up to the mooring buoy, the R.N. launch is alongside…the officer is aboard, and will be gone in a few moments, leaving the Duncaneers at the mercy of those vulture-like merchants …there he goes, carrying himself with all the ceremony that only the British have …and here they come …screaming as they climb out of those junky boats, crying, pleading, doing anything to be the first aboard …the OOD has his hands full this A.M. …good thing he has all the extra help …would be no means of keeping the gangway under control if it weren't for those fire hoses …the others, with their night sticks, keep them from slipping over my sides like a bunch of locusts…this hot weather doesn't bother these people, they just put up their awnings, lay out their goods, and they're in business …it wouldn't surprise me if I were to be rechristened USS MARKETPLACE … well, it's near dark, now, and the roar of "Special price for you Joe" has subsided a bit … by this time tomorrow, not even Jane Russell will be able to borrow ten bucks from the entire crew, for they're loaded with all sorts of stuff …boots, cashmere coats, wood carvings, Image 53pg12_pix2and Image 53pg12_pix3what-have-you; they've run the gauntlet from jewelry to furniture, and by the time they get back from liberty there won't be a Hong Kong Dollar left. Everybody gets a different opinionof this place, because of the fact the city gives such a variety of impressions ...the Star Ferry to Kowloon, the modern buildings in downtown Victoria, the shops, bazaars, river people; mix all of these together and you have Hong Kong at its best …but I have heard that it will give you a touch of nervousness after dark, when even the shadows seem sinister …Mary Soo and her girls have fixed up my complexion in short order, and a good thing, for it is time for me to leave.

Image 53pg13_pix1On my way again, with everyone taking special care of their duties, back to the Formosan patrol …which didn't take too long …and now to the place that will give the Dunaneers a second look at the Chinese people …no, not Shanghai, unfortunately, but to Kaoshiung, and the people that were led there by Chiang Kai Shek to escape the Reds …From what I hear, I will stay here just long enough to give the Duncaneers a chance to see the people at close range.

Image 53pg13_pix2Time has really passed by now, and it is the month of August, and I'm on my way to meet a number of my big brothers and one of my English cousins, the HMS Ocean …be the first time I've seen one of his type …wonder if he has a cockney accent? Yes, this Korean West coast duty is real soft, and there are people like Brunty and Buzby taking real advantage of it …not to mention a few others …but they deserve to rest, for theirs is the worst job around … you hear all this talk about salty spray, and heaving decks, and wind in your hair, but most of that comes usually, from a guy whose job keeps him inside, or somebody who's never been to sea (Armchair Admirals, I call em), but it's the deck force that gets it all …the backbone of the Navy.

Image 53pg13_pix3Now I seem to be taking care of those clumsy big brothers of mine that lack my speed and maneuverability …not to mention those underwater ears… they're further handicapped by not having the people to take care of those ears like mine… Noyes, Huntsman, Bill Moore and all the rest… and if it wasn't for those eyes of mine being kept in such good shape by guys like Cammuse, McIntire, Cadman, and Brown, I'd have absolutely no reason to tell the big so-and-sos to stay out of my way; a job that's taken care of by Lemler, and his pals on the bridge… Holloman has a fine bunch up there Image 53pg13_pix4that lets me know what the big boys are doing… those big monsters have the strangest way of running under aliases, T.F.77, T.F.92.1.1, T.F.95… it's really confusing, so I merely holler "hey you"… makes some of them mad, but so what… mmn… that English cousin of mine has just called and wants my baby over there to take one of his pilots… something about a real bad smashup during a landing… what's that? INCHON? Why, that's about eighty miles away from here, and will really take some speed… if it's going to do this boy any good… to take him into the hospital… Operation Ambulance, no less… there's the edge of the coast now, and they're sent out an LCM to take the pilot… good thing, 'cause my baby is no litter…whaleboats aren't designed for that type of work…

Image 53pg14_pix1Image 53pg14_pix2Out of Yokosuka again, and the Duncaneers are amazed by the fact that I'll have them home in two months and sixteen days… that's right, it is September, now, and in the chart house there is all sorts of activity going on as the rendezvous point with T.F. 77 is plotted in…why, I don't know where they are… and …there! It wasn't so hard getting into that ring of sisters of mine, was it, Mr. Robinson? A lot of tactical operation going on here with Operation Rake, that homing exercise, and Warning Magenta every two minutes… now I have to get down to the South Coast and fool around with those sluefooted auxiliaries… really makes me laugh to see them try wartime maneuvers… I think that I'm going to drop into Sasebo about October 1st for a short visit before I return to T.F. 77 for the last time this year… the impatience is beginning to show, now that the end is so near, yet so far…

Here I am, running around in circles, taking care of these big brothers of mine for the last time this year… the days seem to be dragging their feet… the old story of the "watched pot" is partially true… maybe it never boils, but the people waiting for the contents certainly do.

Image 53pg14_pix3Image 53pg14_pix4Well, at last that's over… and a small amount of the griping ha stopped as a result… I'm just about ready to kick up my heels and leave… the boys are all taking their last fond (?) look at the land of the Cherry Blossom… the geisha, the ricksha, the Acadama, and are ready to turn their footsteps to he land of the Atom bomb, the hotdog stand, and Good Humor Man… they will be well pleased when they wake up and find that I've pulled a swifty on them and am on my way… you can tell that many have been more homesick than they would admit, and I don't necessarily mean the "boots," either… if you could've heard them talk about what they intend to do on their first liberty in the States, how their sons are so-o-o big, what teams are ahead, parents, and sweethearts…

One thing, I'm not feeling that way…never pay any attention to that sort of thing… What?… Then why am I kicking my heels up to 31 knots?…surely you don't think I'm rushing to get home! All I'm trying to do is make the Duncaneers happy… then, too, there was something about a full power run into Pearl Harbor… twice by Barbers Point, in and out of Pearl, and now I am on the last leg of the trip home… I may have been trying to hand you a collection of the old stuff when I told you I was in no hurry, but I'm serious about this: I'll never feel at home anywhere, for I know that sometime, somewhere, I'll always be in sue… LOOK THERE!!! That's San Clemente Island where I did all the shore bombardment for the U.T.E… A real pretty sight, disappearing over the horizon like that… mmn, about six A.M., isn't it?

Image 53pg15_pix1Point Loma ought to be over the edge up forward any minute… uh-huh, right on schedule… notice how everyone was out of their racks this morning?…the Sheriff didn't even bother to check for late sleepers…too bad, 'cause I am sure he could have gotten Donahue… Oh well, I guess he had that first cool sip of milk over at Green's this evening on his mind… many cases of channel fever this A.M. Image 53pg15_pix2made everything amazingly on time… even breakfast… that Vines is sure slow at times… I imagine that everyone will be called to quarters soon, for my callsign flags just went up and I'm passing Ballast Point… the boss here in San Diego just told me to use Broadway Pier… ought to make this bunch happy to be in the middle of town… taking that south turn like Ben Hur and his chariot… I'm almost there and, Bless me!!! All sorts of hotels in here… even the Dixie!

Image 53pg15_pix3Now they're just easing me into the pier. Imagine, after six months I'm home. It will be a pleasure to rest for a while, and I know the boys are going to (ha! I couldn't slow them down long enough to say "payday")… there it is! The first line over…I'm here, and everything is pure confusion as the leave party takes off, but I'm not confused about one thing: as I watch them go, I know that I will be proud always to say that these are the Duncaneers.

Duncan Main Page.

(Click on link above to return to the site main page.)

Free Guestbook
My Guestbook

Created: Tuesday, June 10, 2003
Last update: Tuesday, July 18, 1997

©Copyright 2003 USS Duncan DDR 874 Crew & Reunion Association The information you receive on-line from this site is protected by the copyright laws of the United States. The copyright laws prohibit any copying, redistributing,
retransmitting, or repurposing of any copyright-protected material.