USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

The Whitehurst Funnies


June, 2002.  This page is intended to become a collection of short, funny, stories told by Whitehurst veterans.   Being recollections from half century or more ago, they may have changed somewhat from the original "happening".  Times,  places, and people involved may no longer be 100% accurate but they are still funny and merit a place in this written record.  .  If you have a story to add, please e-mail it to me.     Site Author   max crow.


The "Unpopular Officer" Contributed by Danny Sprague RD2

Danny Sprague, 2011

We were in Pusan and Lee Bright was making the mail runs in the whale boat.
the Unpopular Officer was going along for other duties. As he climbed down the ladder, he slipped and fell between the ship and the whale boat.  Lee pulled him out of the water.  The next day Lee was in the barber's chair and the barber said "I hear you pulled the
LT so and so
from the the water yesterday". Lee answered, "Yes and I pulled three turds out before I found him",  Just as he was making this statement  LT so and so walked in behind Lee.  You can imagine his embarassment.


Dirty Laundry Stories: Contributed by Clyde Fry, Laundryman


Clyde Fry 2002

Clyde Fry 1956

I had three years, two days and six hours service time.  Most of it on the USS
Silverstein DE-534.  Had about eight months on USS Whitehurst DE-634.
There are three people aboard a DE that you don't want to get mad at you.  The Paymaster, the Cook, and, of course, the Laundryman.Your laundry went to the wrong division?  I'm sorry.  Youlost some clothes?  Sorry.  You need something pressed for inspection?  Wow, I did a lot of that.  Lol
Did I press the Khakis for the officers and chiefs?  Oh yes.  When one of them (now this is true) would give me or the laundry crew a bad time, there was a place behind the clothes dryer that I could reach and grab some fiberglass insulation which happened to be the same color as the khakis.  Put a little bit in the crotch, some in the armpits, and let's not forget the neck.  Press them, and fold them real nice.  Would only do this to one set for that person.  Then the rest of the week we would watch him.  When he started to itch, we knew we had him.  Lots of fun watching that person.  Sometimes it was two people.  Boy did I have fun!
Remember the salt water showers?  Laundry always had fresh water, like the galley. I would have a sponge bath.  It was always hot down there and very crowded, very little room to turn around.  Did not find much change but did make a buck or two when someone needed dress whites for inspection.
Remember big Joe Woodard, from the movie, "The Enemy Below"?  He was one of my crew members when I was there.  A great guy.  Met him in Houston about 4 or 5 years ago.

Max I know there are more stories but I don't remember them now.  It's been 51 years


The Seasick Snipe: Contributed by Tim Dorgan SM2 in Late Period

We had a Engineering fellow that was suffered from chronic motion

sickness.  Darned if I can remember his name and he was a nice guy.  He would spend most of the first day at sea in the head or hanging on the rail chumming for fish. I talked to him and he said he preferred the rail because the fresh air helped some. He said crackers only helped a little but he drank lots of water to keep from getting dehydrated. 

One day an officer came out on deck and yelled at him to get off that lifeline on which he had a death grip.  I'm sure the Officer was thinking of his safety in case he slipped or something.  

The Engineer turned to the officer and said "Sir, this isn't a lifeline, it's a heaving line." With that he turned and let go another volley.

The Reservist Helmsman: Contributor: Tim Dorgan SM2  Served Aboard Whitehurst in late Period.

During the "Reserve Training Period", I was the Special Sea Detail Helmsman, and was called to take the helm during replenishment, when entering or leaving port, and at anytime steering was difficult, such as during quartering seas or wind.

 We were near the end of a two week training period, and were entering Puget Sound, off the Washington coast where ground swells always make steering difficult.  To make matters worse, there was a strong wind off the port quarter.  As a result, I was called out of the rack at about 0300.  (I had the 0400-0800 watch anyway so didn't miss much sleep.)  I dressed as quickly as possible and headed up to the pilot house.  Just as I stepped in, I heard the Officer of the Deck shout down the voice tube, "Helmsman what are you doing thirty degrees off course?"  The response from the beleaguered helmsman was, "Coming back from forty-five Sir!"

After I stopped laughing, I requested permission to take the helm, much to the relief of the young reservist who was steering


Too Many Bells: Contributor: Ross Flanders FT1  served aboard in the mid 50s

One of the skippers I served under handled the ship pretty well at sea, but got a bit nervous when confronted with objects that didn't move. Piers and docks, for instance.  I was on the helm coming into Seattle and the engine order and wheel changes were coming at a rapid rate, to the point that the Quartermaster who was supposed to log the orders gave up.  Throwing his pencil down, he said  "Aw (expletive deleted) it!".  After he quit logging there were probably as many more orders as before.  The story I heard was that before the skipper left the bridge, he called the engine room and told the Chief of the watch, "You can secure the engines now Chief."  To which, I'm told, the chief replied, "Can't do it Captain.  I've got 113 bells to answer yet!"

I was a witness to the Quartermaster's action, a man we called Mac.  I can't be sure of the part about the Chief.  If true, it was the old Chief who had 25+ years in.  I can't remember his name.


Present Arms Salute:  Source: Bill Mayberry CSSN  Served aboard in '52 & '53

Background.  In boot camp there was some training on the "Manual of Arms".  Recruits had to learn a little bit about how to hold a rifle when marching, or standing, and how to salute while carrying a rifle.  There are specific salutes when marching and standing.  A properly trained sentry, when standing, salutes a lower ranking officer by standing at attention with the rifle butt on the ground and holding it upright with his right hand, the left hand, open and palm in, arm bends at the elbow and left hand touches the rifle.  He salutes a higher ranking officer with the Present Arms salute.  In this salute the rifle is held in front in a vertical position.  The rifle is always brought from one position to another in a series of prescribed, crisp moves.

While we were in dry dock at the Pearl Harbor Navy Yard.  In-port watches always consisted of a Petty Officer at the Quarterdeck who reported to the Officer of the Deck.  The PO had an unrated enlisted man to serve as his messenger and one or more sentries who carried a 30 caliber carbine rifle, which in the navy is called a "piece".  While in dry dock one of the sentries was stationed ashore at the end of the brow (gangway).  When Bill Mayberry was standing sentry duty one day, he saw Captain Jones approaching his position from some distance down the pier. Although he had never executed a rifle salute out side boot camp training routines, he quickly unslung the little carbine from his shoulder, and came to attention with the butt of the rifle near his right foot, the Order Arms position, and waited until Captain Jones was a step or two away. Then he made the 2 quick, crisp, moves to bring the piece to the  Present Arms position and held it there, steady as a rock.  Captain Jones was startled by the sudden movement, and almost flabbergasted.  He stood smiling at Bill a moment as if not quite realizing he was being saluted.  He then  returned the salute and proceeded across the brow to receive hand salutes from the PO of the watch and his messenger.

Bill Mayberry may hold the distinction of being the only Whitehurst sentry ever to honor his CO with the Present Arms Salute.  That was something most sailors promptly forgot after graduating boot camp...........................  Max Crow 

Seven Bells: Contributor: Al Crawford QMCM U.S.N. Ret Served aboard 1950-1951

The Whitehurst was tied up to Pier 4 in Pusan, Korea and we were generating electricity into the South Korea power companys lines 24 hours a day. The crew was bored out of our minds. Liberty in Pusan was a one time deal, then self-restriction applied.
  Many things were done, and have been recorded before, about how we were desperate to do things to occupy our time.
  Well, sad to say, one day I had an idea for a little fun.  It came to me like a bolt out of the blue, and I played it exactly as the thought came to me.
  As a Quartermaster one of our jobs was to strike the bells to announce the time of day at 12:00 noon or 1200 Navy time.  At 1200 we were to ring eight bells.  The bells would start over again ringing one at 1230, two at 1300 etc, until the maximum of eight bells would br rung at 1600 or 4p.m.  This sequence was repeated every four hours.  In port we only rang the bells to announce noon.
  I grabbed a QM accomplice, and told him of my plan.  I needed his cooperation to pull it off.  The bells are sounded in series of two, ding- ding, pause, ding- ding, etc.
We rang the bells over the 1MC which is the ship's General Announcing system, and can be heard in every part of the ship.  On the face of the 1Mc are three switches.
One for all parts of the ship except the engine room and wardroom (officer's country),
then one for the engineering spaces and the third for the wardroom.
  I told my partner in crime, that I wanted him to turn off the wardroom switch after the 7th bell, and he had to be quick. We QMs keep exact time on board ship, receiving a daily time tick from radio NSS, Washington, DC.  So with watch in hand we stood by the 1MC and at exactly 1200 with the three switches in the ON position, I started ringing bells, ding-ding, ding-ding, ding-ding, ding-(the wardroom switch was switched OFF) ding. That meant that everyone aboard ship had heard eight bells, except for the captain, the XO,  and all the officers in  the wardroom where they only heard seven.
Well, the captain and all the officers are seated in the wardroom being served their noon meal. In a matter of seconds the phone in the pilot house rings.   I picked it up and said, "Bridge aye, Crawford speaking."  "Who rang the bells at 1200.?" said a junior officer.  "I did sir," was my reply.  "Well why did you only strike seven bells," asked in a convicting way.  "I'm sorry sir, but I rang eight bells."  "Well we definitely heard only seven in the wardroom," he said.  "I don't really know how that could be sir, perhaps you could check with the OOD on the Quarterdeck to see if he heard only seven," I told him.
  I later checked myself with the OOD, who told me he had a call from the wardroom, and he told them he had heard eight bells.
 Now, can you imagine the conversation in the wardroom.  Ringing of the bells at noon is so routine, that no one really pays any attention to them, and for sure does not bother  to count them.  You hear the bells you know it is 1200, and that is it.
  Now, what got the officers attention had to be that lone seventh bell.  As long as the bells were  going ding-ding they could eat and talk, but with that seventh bell only going ding - - their ears perked up, and "where in the hell is the eight bell."
  When the OOD confirmed that there were eight bells rung, I'm sure there were some undecided officers eating their lunch.  Some I'm sure were certain they had heard only seven, while others said perhaps they had been talking and were not paying close attention to the bells, and there well might have been eight.
 This is the first time I have confessed this incident, and if any officers who read this remember and want to comment, shoot!

General Quarters Anyone? Contributed by Al Crawford QMCM U.S.N. Ret.

I can't recall where this happened, but most likely when the Whitehurst was tied up to Pier 4 in Pusan, Korea; when passing time was our major endeavor.

  This particular day was a monotonous repeat of many days before, when crew members were desperate to find something worthwhile to do between 'turn to' at 0800 (8:00am) and 'knock off ship's work' at 1600 (4:00pm).  

  Late in the afternoon we were rousted by the clanging of the General Quarters alarm, and simultaneously the 1MC announcing, "This is a drill, this is a drill,  All hands man your battle stations."  The crew respond and I as a Quartermaster headed for my station on the bridge.  We followed the usual routine, rolled down and buttoned our shirt sleeves, tucked our trousers into our socks, put on a pot helmet and lifejacket, and stood by our stations.  As each station throughout the ship reported "manned and ready" the XO kept a sharp eye on his stop watch. When all stations had reported, the XO reported to the CO that the ship was manned and ready.  The captain asked for the time, and when given by the XO, he was not at all happy.  It had taken the crew longer that expected to man the ship.  We secured from general quarters.

  Within a short time, the announcement to knock off ship's work was passed.  I then got my soap and with only a towel around my middle headed for the shower.  I was enjoying my shower, covered with soap, when voila, the crew was called to general quarters a second time.  This was totally unexpected, and had never happened before on the Whitehurst.  When the crew failed to achieve the desired time, we would usually have a repeat a day or two later, but never within a matter of minutes.  

  To say I was angry would be an understatement. Covered with soap, I had to exit the shower, wipe of soap with my towel, as I ran below decks to get into my shoes, shirt and trousers, and then haul ass for the bridge. After the first GQ, an announcement was made that the time was unsatisfactory, but we never expected the second GQ that followed so quickly.

  The crew must have felt we were going to go to GQ until we got it right, because they ran their legs off, and the captain was satisfied, as he once again secured us from GQ.

  At this point, my anger had not abated one bit as I headed back to my compartment. As I walked down the inside passageway, I passed the ship's store at the midship passageway.  And there on the bulkhead opposite, my eyes caught sight of a round red GQ alarm.  This alarm was for use by the in port watch if it was necessary to sound GQ.  I don't ever remember it ever having been used -- until this day!

  I glanced around and saw no one behind me, nor ahead of me. For a few seconds I was alone, then my anger welled up inside me and I reached over, pulled out the lever, moved it to the on position, and locked it in place.  Clang, clang, went the alarm, you know the routine by now.  A Boatswain hearing the alarm jumped on the 1MC and made the routine announcement, and all hands, including me, ran for the third time to our GQ stations.

You want to talk about comedy?  Well, this was it.  I was one of the first on the bridge, because I was the only one on the ship that knew there was going to be a GQ drill.  The captain and XO arrived, I don't remember who was first.  But one said to the other, "I see you decided to try again."  The other said, "I didn't sound GQ, I thought you did!"  There were blank stares, and some odd looks, as heads were busy trying to figure who sounded GQ.  I'm standing there very smug, being the only one who knew, and I was, for sure, not talking!

  When the GQ alarm is sounded, the handle is held in the on position for a time, and then released.  With me locking the alarm in the midships passageway, it would not stop until unlocked.  Someone therefore had to note that alarm condition, shut it off, and give this information to the CO.  So they knew where the alarm was sounded from but, never did they know who set the alarm off.

  My rational was,  you two turkeys sent me running twice, I owe you one, and I made them run.  It made me feel better.

  They say confession is good for the soul, and now I feel much better!

  As you know sailors take GQ very seriously, and they race to their stations.  How would I have felt if one of my shipmates fell down a ladder and got seriously hurt or even killed because of my action?  What I did was not funny in many ways, it was STUPID! 

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