USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

 Whitehurst DE-634 and Brannon DE-446 Track Russian Sub

By: William J. Russonello

I served as AIDE to The Commandant Thirteenth Naval District (RADM Wm. Ferrell and CAPT Harmer when he replace RADM Ferrell as Commandant) for about a year.

During this year a Russian submarine was detected moving slowly up the west coast and then stationary (submerged) off the Straights of Juan de Fuca.  When it was realized that we should really find out what that sub was doing, there were no active ships closer than San Diego. Capt. Harmer said, "Hell I have two really good DEs at Pier 91.  Let Whitehurst and Brannon keep an eye on them."  He called the Pentagon and within a short time, was authorized to send both ships out to keep an eye on the Russian sub.  Both COs were called by phone at about 1500 hours and both ship were provisioned and set sail at about 1800 hrs with about 80% of their reserve crews.  I seem to remember that they stayed on station over the Russian Sub for about 3 days until relieved by Active Navy ship.  To my knowledge the "local emergency activation" of reserve warships, had never happened before nor since.
William J. Russonello LT. USNR (at the time of the event)

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