Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA


"Square that Hat Sailor!"

By Bill Lambdin as told to Max Crow


Ltjg Bill Lambdin, Korea, 1951


Although I served on PT Boats during WWII, I was a newly commissioned Ensign in 1950 when Whitehurst was recommissioned, at the outbreak of the war in Korea. My first assignment was to serve as Treasurer of the Officers Mess .  Each officer contributed $45 per month, which they complained about, but I managed to "feed them  well".  The Officer's cook, Archie Oliphant, and  Stewards, Lawrence Ponder, and  William Paige, reported to me.

The ship was tied to the pier, supplying power to the city of Pusan, Korea. The
Commanding Officer, LCDR Malcom Evans had issued "Uniform of the Day" dress  code that included "Squared White Hats" for sailors working "topside", i.e. on the open decks. "Squared" means approximately three quarters of an inch above and parallel to the eyebrows.  The squared hat is likely to fall off when leaning forward.

One warm summer day, I'd included "Homemade Ice Cream" on the officer's menu. Steward, Lawrence Ponder had to freeze it in old fashioned, hand cranked, freezer. Of course when he leaned over to turn the crank, his hat fell off.  To avoid this, Ponder put it on the back of his head and went about his task, turning the crank.  As fate would have it, CO Evans saw him from the bridge. The chain of command is followed both up and down, in the US Navy, so the CO called me about the squared hat violation.  My explanation, that the hat was constantly falling off, while the man cranked the ice cream freezer, was not a satisfactory excuse. "Tell him to keep his hat squared!"  We solved the
problem by having Steward, William Paige hold the hat on Ponders head, squared of course, during the remainder of the cranking process. CO Evans did not object.

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