USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Tragedy in Korea
By LTJG William "Bill" Lambdin

Bill Lambdin 1951

In 1951, while Whitehurst was supplying power to the Pusan, South Korea electrical grid, a Medical Officer, LCDR, came on board the ship to do a cleanliness check or whatever. He inspected the Whitehurst, and then wanted to go to the Wiseman DE-667, a sister, power supplying ship like the Whitehurst. It was about 40 miles north of Pusan, and I, being the boarding officer, was assigned to ride shotgun in the jeep. I checked a Thompson Sub Machine Gun from the ship's armory for the task. SO3 Richard McCranie was the driver. We proceeded to the Wiseman and the doctor made his inspection. On the way back to the Whitehurst, there was a blockage in the road. Tragically,  little Korean girl about, 4 years old. had run out in front of an army truck and was killed instantly. There were about 50 Koreans that were very upset, rightly so, and they started to come toward the Army truck and our jeep. They had clubs and other forms of weapons. The army driver was having trouble getting his truck started so the doctor told me to fire a few rounds over their heads to warn them off. I did this, and they slowed their advance. After several tense moments, the driver of the truck was finally able to get his truck started and of course we were on his fantail very quickly.

I have wondered thousands of times if I'd have had the guts to fire into a bunch of civilians, men, women and children. Thank God, we were able to get out of there before I had to make that decision.  Thank God we avoided a second tragedy!


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