USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA


By Gary W. Hendrickson RD3

Gary W. Hendrickson

Written near the end of Whitehurst's Viet Nam patrols.

We are all a part of the Whitehurst crew
In the year of our Lord nineteen sixty-two.
Our families and loved ones we see no more;
We're stuck on this ship D.E. six thirty-four.

  Now many of us, in times not far past,
Have played our roles in a far different cast.
From each walk of life her crew is made up;

The call to her steel many lives did disrupt.

  She wears a proud name, as in days of yore
Her guns blazed hot in the second world war.
With men and might she fought all but the Nazi,
Til her career was near ended by a Jap Kamikaze.

  Her remains were sent to the Pearl Harbor yard,
To return her again to the sea lane guard.
Though her lines were changed to a slight degree,
She was ready to fight, as any could see.

  An illustrious future would not be her fate,
Her new menial task a proud ship would hate.
or it was determined that what she deserved
Was to carry a crew of green boot reserves.

  Each would spend one weekend of every four
Attempting to learn but listening to lore.
And for two weeks a year, cross the blue Pacific,
We were men of the Navy and really terrific.

  Then one dismal day on an October morn,
To the United States Navy we really were born.
With sea bag and farewell we departed Seattle,
The Whitehurst would fight a new kind of battle.

  In the days to come across the vast sea,
We would live, laugh and fight on this tragic D.E.
Points of the compass where once she did dwell,
Fast were becoming a new kind of hell.

  All traditions were here, to some of us strange,
We hated the Bo‘sun pipe with its piercing range.
The master-at-arms with his badge and a scowl
Had everyone cowed, we all thought him quite foul.

  There was pride in this ship, the crew had spunk;
Our running Bate we called a Philippine junk.
Although they were la the same spot as we,
How they kept her afloat was a great mystery.

  How that sorry craft from a different state,
Orders from her were a bitter pill to take.
Though she flew the flag of COMCORTRON SEVEN,
Next to her we sailed a small piece of heaven.

  Most that I have said points out what was good,
I hope I have not been misunderstood.
God knows I would be the last to say
Everything that happened was quite okay.

  Take me not wrong with this sentimental patter.
When we chose to look we found plenty the matter.
At this ship of ours we cursed and swore,
Many were the time one could take little more.

  Some swabbies felt in the back of their mind,
That the officers must be entirely blind.
And the gold braid too, I feel almost certain,
Had a hell of a time, 'hind the wardroom curtain.

  In the radar shack t'was a crew of nine,
Three were so bald you could see their head shine.
Signalmen, radiomen and yeomen too,
All a part of the operations crew.

  The gunners mates, justly proud of their fame,
Blasted their targets with unerring aim.
Once a plane flew over with a long red sock,
A round from our guns brought it down like a rock.

  The Bo’sun mates with their lines and their swabs,
Created the image of true Navy gobs.
Fruits of their work gave then reason to gloat,
We all knew ours was the toughest afloat.

  Down in the hole near the bowels of the sea,
Snipes fought their battles without referee.
'Gainst the ponderous engines and valves galore,
Who could blame them if they fought hard ashore.

  Each had their problems no one could deny,
None had more than the division - supply.
To keep such a crew and a good ship ready,
All of their work must be turned over steady.

  The question that was asked by most of us,
Was, "What circumstances created this fuss?"
Here we are united, half way round the earth,
Testing the ship, the sea and all men’s worth.

  In this day and age with a ship this old,
Surely our movements cannot be too bold.
Yet the job is here for this tired old steel,
To again slice the seas on her weary keel.

  The job will be done but we'll all have in mind,
That not long from now this will all be behind.
But each will remember forevermore
The days that were spent on six thirty-four.  


Gary W. Hendrickson
Radarman 3rd WHR-A

March 1962  


 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