USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Skimmers vs. Sewerpipes*
By: Gary Hanson, former DK2, USNR, USS Douglas A. Munro DE-422

Gary Hanson DK2 1958 and as he appeared at his Retirement

Note: The following story was related by Gary Hanson in e-mail to Mary Hudson, the communicator for Walton DE-361 veterans, and completed in a second e-note to me after I asked his permission to post the story on the USS Whitehurst Web site. All of the ships mentioned served in the same Escort Division, CORTRON-11, home ported in Pearl Harbor.
The story is so well written, so interesting, and so downright funny, it must be published.
The two incidents mentioned in the story happened in the course of Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) exercises.  Although humorous, it is factual.  Max Crow, Webmaster

*Surface Ships vs. Submarines

Dear MS Hudson, 

Congratulations on your continuing efforts to keep the legacy of our old Destroyer Escorts alive.  No, I was not a member of the Silverstein crew, but I did serve from 1957 to 1960 aboard USS Douglas A. Munro (DE-422), alongside of her in Pearl Harbor.  Along with USS McGinty, USS Whitehurst, USS Walton and USS Edmonds we were Escort Squadron Eleven (CortRon 11).

As I have a couple of times in the past, I would like to send to our sister-crew aboard Silverstein a message of THANKS for the Silverstein's outstandingly courageous act in 1958 of ramming and sinking the dastardly submarine that slammed a torpedo into the Munro's port side at the forward engine room. The torpedoing occurred about 14 miles northwest of the channel leading into Pearl Harbor and nearly sent us to Davy Jones's Locker.   

The amazing show of BROTHERHOOD and fearless determination displayed by USS Silverstein on that day, weeks later, in seeking out the very submarine that put a "fish" into the "guts" of the Munro and put our crew (as the Navy Hymn says) "In peril on the sea", was remarkable and astounding!  (And as I understand it, this happened within a mile of where that "sewer-pipe" torpedoed us. 

Of course the US Navy saw the loss of the USS STICKLEBACK (SS-415) in a somewhat different light...      No sense of humor in ComSubPac. what-so-ever......! 

SOMEONE must have seen at least the IRONY of it though, as many years later I discovered that the following photo was made the "cover photo" for at least ONE edition of the US Navy Damage Control Manual.

USS Silverstein DE-534  shortly after the collision.  The DE's CO is holding position
with the bow plugging the hole to reduce the water flow into the submarine.

Gary Hanson, former DK2, USNR,  USS DOUGLAS A. MUNRO (DE-422)

                                     USS Douglas A. Munro DE-422


The "Rest of the Story" was in Gary's reply to my request for permission
to publish the story on the Whitehurst site.


Hi Max! 
No, my  little story of  "skimmers" vs. "sewer-pipes"  is not posted on the web anywhere to my knowledge. I did write the story up for "Tin Can Sailors" a few years ago, but that's about it.
Please feel free to link it wherever you wish.
     That sunny day off of Oahu when the Stickleback gave us a new underwater porthole is pretty much etched in my memory. My GQ station aboard Munro was up in the quad 40mm gun director tub aft of the stack.This was going to be fun, watching those Mk 14 "steamers" pass under our keel and get recovered by the "torpedo retriever" boats.  It was a "spectator day" for us right up to the moment that "torp" started to "porpoise"...  We were doing about 3 knots, simulating a slow freighter when that one came in. Couldn't get out of the way, even at "all ahead flank"...    It hit, slammed into the engine room, and WRIGGLED back out of the hole and dove for the bottom.   The hole was about a foot below the waterline on the port side.  In addition to the usual hole-plugging and pumping ploys, it was decided to  pump sea water into a void on the starboard side to put a list on us and raise our new "porthole" either clear of the water or at least decrease the pressure.  We remained at GQ and pumped for a couple of hours with no noticeable list. The Captain secured the stewards from GQ to go down and change out of dungarees and into whites, and start fixing dinner for the wardroom.  One of the Filipino steward's mates dropped down the scuttle into the Supply/Operations berthing compartment into 3 feet of water and bunker "C" fuel oil!  The "counter-flooding" was not properly done and we'd been pumping seawater into a FULL fuel bunker.  And you remember where the fuel bunkers "vented" on DE's, right?  Yep..,,,. the below-decks berthing compartments.  Our steward came flying back topside. I'm told that there were only about three or four brown spots on the decks where he touched down on the way to the bridge. Upon arrival he started yelling to the captain to "Stop the pumping! The ship is flooded with oil !  It's EVERYWHERE!"
Once the captain got him to calm down and switch to English from Tagalog* things proceeded better.   We went back to Pearl for bales of rags and barrels of de-emulsifier and then back out about 25 miles to sea to pump out the S and O compartments and clean the ship. Supply and Ops folks slept topside for three nights before we were allowed to go below and salvage what we could from our oil-flooded foot lockers.. Then we were marched up to Clothing and Small Stores for a near-complete new sea bag. We "Salty WestPac Sailors" all looked like fresh-caught BOOTS! 

*Tagalog is an assortment of very basic phrases used by Filipinos to communicate in English.  mc 

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