Autobiography

Page 5

Returning to sea in September 1948, I joined the Atlantic Fleet Destroyer Radar Picket USS DYESS (DDR-880). CDR John Harlee was the Commanding Officer. I served as First Lieutenant, Gunnery Officer, Operations Officer, Communications Officer, Navigator, and Executive Officer during two deployments to the Mediterranean Sea. The DYESS made a cruise in the Davis Straits to above the Arctic Circle to find out how the ship performed in an Arctic environment. Sailors chipping ice on topside did more damage to gauges, valves and instruments than the ice did. CDR W.E. Wallace relieved CDR Harlee as Commanding Officer and I (as a LT) relieved LCDR Henrick Heine as Executive Officer. During our next trip to the Mediterranean the DYESS put in to Suda Bay, Crete. As XO, I made the first trip ashore to make arrangements for CDR WALLACE to make his duty call on the mayor of the city. The mayor said that there was an outdoor banquet scheduled for the evening, and that all calls were to be considered made and returned by attending the banquet. CDR Wallace and I, along with the DYESS' department heads attended the banquet. The main course for the meal was goat meat that tasted good with a lot of spices. As a great honor, the mayor offered the goat eyes to Bill Wallace who said that this honor should be shared, so he gave me one of the eyes. I came up with a little speech, that said such an honor should really go to the mayor --- Bill quickly agreed, and the mayor ate the goat eyes with gusto.

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Lieutenant Hanson, Executive Officer, USS Dyess

I had a different kind of an experience when the DYESS put in at Izmir, Turkey. Izmir is located at the end of a long neck of water at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. The harbor was very dirty, as all kinds of trash, garbage and sewage were dumped into the water. CDR Bill Wallace and I were going ashore to be at the Mayor's banquet, dressed in White Service. The only place we could land, was bow on to the sea wall. CDR Wallace stepped over the bow to the seawall, but then the boat engineer let his engine die, so when I tried to step on the seawall, the boat was moving away from the seawall --- I went kerplunk into the filthy water. When I came up sputtering, I grabbed my hat and climbed into our boat, my comment to the boat crew was "If anyone says a word or cracks a smile, he won't see any liberty for at least a month". Shortage of fresh water or not, my shower consisted of three wash downs. Even with the three wash downs and freshly laundered clothes from the skin out, I didn't feel really clean until the next morning, after I had a chance to forget about the incident.

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Destroyer Radar Picket USS DYESS (DDR-880)

With two trips to the Med. we saw a good many places there or sent liberty parties to these places: Lisbon, Gibraltar, Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo, Villefranche, Golf Juan, Marseilles, French Riviera, Oran, Pisa, Leghorn, Rome, Naples, Mt. Vesuvius, La Spezin, Pompeii, Syracuse, Isle Of Rhodes, Catania, Venice, Augusta, Palermo, Messina, Tarominia, Malta, Trieste, Athens, Piraeus, Istanbul, Izmir, Cyprus, Famagusta, Sfax, Salamis, Beirut, Tunis, Bizerte, Algiers, Suda Bay, Sardinia, Tripoli, Casablanca, Anzio, Genoa, and some more I don't remember.

Detached from the DYESS, I next had duty in the office of the Naval Inspector of Ordnance, Silver Springs, Maryland at the Applied Physics Laboratory of Johns Hopkins University as Terrier, Tartar and Tabs Missile Project and Training Officer.

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Destroyer escort USS McCOY REYNOLDS (DE-440)

In May 1954, I relieved LCDR Carrol Turner as Commanding officer of the escort vessel, USS McCOY REYNOLDS (DE-440) in Hong Kong, BCC and made a tour as Trust patrol vessel in the Marianas Islands. On one of the islands that we visited there was a Jesuit Priest who advised us not to give any of the natives any clothing as they would wear it until it fell off --- which was quite unsanitary. We should give them paint for their canoes. The men and women wore leafs which lasted only a few days, so their leafs were renewed frequently. All the natives were nude from the waist up. I heard an expression generated in the crew's quarters -"nibbins, nubbins, knobs, whoopers, droopers, super droopers and ‘oh my god’".

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A naval officer proud of his first command

During our visit to Yap I learned about the big round stones with the hole in the center. The stones were Yap money , but no one seemed to pay any attention to them. I found out that the stones changed ownership, but no one ever moved the stones. The purpose of the hole in the center was to ease the movement of the stone to a new location by inserting a pole in the hole and then rolling the stone on edge to a new location. Over time, the natives decided moving the stone was not necessary, as the owner knew where it was.

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Large stone money from the Pacific island of Yap

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