Gary W. Hendrickson RD3
Gary W. Hendrickson
near the end of Whitehurst's Viet Nam patrols.
are all a part of the Whitehurst crew
the year of our Lord nineteen sixty-two.
families and loved ones we see no more;
stuck on this ship D.E. six thirty-four.
many of us, in times not far past,
played our roles in a far different cast.
each walk of life her crew is made up;
call to her steel many lives did disrupt.
wears a proud name, as in days of yore
guns blazed hot in the second world war.
men and might she fought all but the Nazi,
her career was near ended by a Jap Kamikaze.
remains were sent to the Pearl Harbor yard,
return her again to the sea lane guard.
her lines were changed to a slight degree,
was ready to fight, as any could see.
illustrious future would not be her fate,
new menial task a proud ship would hate.
it was determined that what she deserved
to carry a crew of green boot reserves.
would spend one weekend of every four
to learn but listening to lore.
for two weeks a year, cross the blue Pacific,
were men of the Navy and really terrific.
one dismal day on an October morn,
the United States Navy we really were born.
sea bag and farewell we departed Seattle,
Whitehurst would fight a new kind of battle.
the days to come across the vast sea,
would live, laugh and fight on this tragic D.E.
of the compass where once she did dwell,
were becoming a new kind of hell.
traditions were here, to some of us strange,
hated the Bo‘sun pipe with its piercing range.
master-at-arms with his badge and a scowl
everyone cowed, we all thought him quite foul.
was pride in this ship, the crew had spunk;
running Bate we called a Philippine junk.
they were la the same spot as we,
they kept her afloat was a great mystery.
that sorry craft from a different state,
from her were a bitter pill to take.
she flew the flag of COMCORTRON SEVEN,
to her we sailed a small piece of heaven.
that I have said points out what was good,
hope I have not been misunderstood.
knows I would be the last to say
that happened was quite okay.
Take me not wrong with this sentimental patter
we chose to look we found plenty the matter.
this ship of ours we cursed and swore,
were the time one could take little more.
swabbies felt in the back of their mind,
the officers must be entirely blind.
the gold braid too, I feel almost certain,
a hell of a time, 'hind the wardroom curtain.
the radar shack t'was a crew of nine,
were so bald you could see their head shine.
radiomen and yeomen too,
a part of the operations crew.
gunners mates, justly proud of their fame,
their targets with unerring aim.
a plane flew over with a long red sock,
round from our guns brought it down like a rock.
Bo’sun mates with their lines and their swabs,
the image of true Navy gobs.
of their work gave then reason to gloat,
all knew ours was the toughest afloat.
in the hole near the bowels of the sea,
fought their battles without referee.
the ponderous engines and valves galore,
could blame them if they fought hard ashore.
had their problems no one could deny,
had more than the division - supply.
keep such a crew and a good ship ready,
of their work must be turned over steady.
question that was asked by most of us,
"What circumstances created this fuss?"
we are united, half way round the earth,
the ship, the sea and all men’s worth.
this day and age with a ship this old,
our movements cannot be too bold.
the job is here for this tired old steel,
again slice the seas on her weary keel.
job will be done but we'll all have in mind,
not long from now this will all be behind.
each will remember forevermore
days that were spent on six thirty-four.