USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Assault with Batteries
By: Arnold Pettijohn BT1
as told to Max Crow, Webmaster
circa 1955    Arnold Pettijohn    recent 

Chester Fletcher 28 Sept. 2013

 I was lying in my rack trying to sleep one night while Chester Fletcher MM2 & WWII Army vet, and someone else were making a lot of noise shouting their points as they engaged in a Cribbage Game shortly before lights out.  They were sitting on some Damage Control timbers that were stored at the base of the footlockers, beneath the bunks in the Engineering sleeping compartment.  I told them to quieten down  or I'd club them with a big 3 cell flashlight.  Emphasizing my point, I swung the flashlight toward Fletcher.  Well the head of the flash light came off.  It appeared to me as if in  slow motion, the head and each of the three batteries struck Fletcher in quick succession.  Chester Fletcher, who was one of the largest men in the engineering division, jumped up with a glare in his eyes like he was going to kill me.  My playful act had instantly become a serious offense. I swallowed hard as the lump in my throat grew to egg size. I squeaked out a fast "I'm sorry, Chester." He bent over and picked up the batteries off the floor, rolled them around in his hand a few seconds, which seemed like years, then placed them in my sweaty palms. He looked me squarely in the eye, gave me a quick wink, then went back to the cribbage game. I retrieved the head and put the flashlight back together, then went to bed. It was a little quieter after that, or maybe I learned to tolerate noise a little better. I guess my apology sounded sincere (and scared, after all, I was only a 17 year old kid) and I sure am glad he accepted it and that I am alive and able to tell this story to Max Crow. Chester is a gentle man (and forgiving) and I look forward to his Christmas card every year from Scapoose, Oregon, when he signs "Your old shipmate." Thank you, Chester.

Note: Chester Fletcher embarked on his final voyage 12-26-13              mc

 WWII Era | Korea War & '50s | Viet Nam & 60s |  Reunions | All Links Page | Search & Rescue
Memorial | Poetry  | Enemy Below | Taps List | Photos/Armament | History | Crews Index | Home