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PM3 Henry Warren Tucker
1919 - 1942

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our ship was named in honor of  PM3 Henry Warren Tucker of York, Alabama, USNR. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for heroism during the Battle of the Coral Sea, 7 May 1942.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker was called to active duty in July, 1941, and reported to the Naval Hospital at Pensacola, Florida.

On 15 January 1942, Tucker reported aboard the tanker USS Neosho (AO-23) for duty. The Neosho had survived the Pearl Harbor attack despite being berthed on "Battleship Row."

During the opening phase of the Battle of the Coral Sea, Japanese naval forces launched an all-out aerial attack on what they believed was the main U.S. battle force. What the Japanese found instead was the Neosho and destroyer USS Sims (DD-409) waiting at a refueling rendezvous.

Facing a 60-plane attack, the fate of the two American ships was never in doubt. The Sims exploded and sank immediately with a loss of almost the entire crew. Despite its cargo of burning aviation gas and fuel oil. the Neosho managed to remain afloat for awhile.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For his actions during the sinking of the Neosho, Tucker was awarded the Navy Cross. The citation reads as follows:

"For extraordinary heroism and distinguished service in the line of  his professionalism following the attack on the USS Neosho by enemy Japanese aerial forces on 7 May 1942.

"With complete disregard for his own life, Tucker swam between the various life rafts carrying tannic acid in his hands to treat the burns of the injured men.

"He hazarded the dangers of exposure and exhaustion to continue his task, helping the injured to boats but refusing a place for himself.

"Tucker was subsequently reported as missing in action and it is believed he lost his life in his loyal and courageous devotion to duty.

His valorous actions enhance and sustain the finest traditions of the United States Naval Service."

U.S. Department of the Navy
(1942)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories - 4

 

Memories – 1    Memories – 2    Memories – 3     Memories - 4

 

Doug Faber

E-mail:  dougfaber@san.rr.com

I arrived on board from Subic via several other ships in 1972. As an ICFN I would soon learn that keeping the captains phone working was top priority. The IC shop was a small, smoky, hot little room that was shared with the guys who targeted the gun mounts. Cruising along the coast of Viet Nam was an experience I will never forget.

The captain stopped the ship one day and we drifted closer to shore than I had hoped. I wasn't sure what we were doing, just drifting, and hoped no one would try and shoot at us. One hot day I asked someone why we couldn't drop over the side for a swim, figuring that we could always get back on board if the call came to hit a target. My question was answered when the person I asked told me to look in the water and count the sea shakes. We never did get to swim and I never asked again after viewing all the snakes.

I did get a souvenir though. My appendix ruptured after leaving Subic from an R&R. One night I was in some pretty bad pain, and had an ice bag the corpsman gave  to put on my side. I'm not sure why I did not try to switch places with the guy on the lower rack, since I was on the top, but that night the bag stopper came out and it woke the two people below me. Hey! you can't hit a guy in pain I yelled. A helo finally took me off after two days of misery, and I went to Saigon for surgery. Took some pictures and saw a little of the country while trying to get back the ship. I took quite a few pictures for the cruise book which I still have. Discovered I had a twin on board who everyone thought was me. (George Clemens) He was a quartermaster and one of his duties was to wind the clocks in various compartments.

I would stop in the engine room to check a sound powered phone, and someone would ask me to set the clock. Not trying to be rude, but looking somewhat puzzled, I would let them know my job did not include clocks. I later learned that George would get dirty looks if he refused to troubleshoot the phones. So neither of us had ever met until I was told of this person who looked like me. Funny thing is we became good friends, but I see his whereabouts are unknown.

The Tucker was a small ship, but being able to meet and know quite a few of the crew was what I liked about serving aboard her. I always thought she would sit beside the rest of the ships at the south end of 32nd ST. Now they are all gone, but the memories.

Best wishes to all who served aboard the Henry W Tucker.

****

Lee A. Dunn

E-mail:  leeadunn@hotmail.com

I came to the Tucker right out of radar school in the fall of 1958.  At that time, the Henry W. was homeported in Long Beach, CA.  After a few training trips up and down the coast of California, we headed for a WestPac cruise to Japan and the Far East.  It was a great adventure for a young dude from Georgia who had never been away from home.  I still have some great memories of the places we visited and the people we met.  Later, sometime around 1960 when I was an RD3, I got transferred over to the USS Leonard F. Mason DD852, just before we got homeported to Yokosuka, Japan.  

 

While on the Mason, a strange think happened that still has me puzzled.  Sometime in 1961, we were steaming along in company with the USS Rupertus DD851, somewhere near the Philippines.  I have forgotten some of the details, but I remember that a bunch of Stewards on the Rupertus got upset about their bad treatment from the officers, and took over the ship.  We got the report that the ship was taken over on the voice radios in CIC.  It was a mutiny, and it lasted for 3 or 4 days to a week.  The Mason just followed the Rupertus around to see what would happen.  Eventually, the ship's crew regained control, and the Rupertus and the Mason immediately steamed back to Yokosuka.  On our arrival, Navy Intelligence swarmed over the Rupertus and swore the crew to secrecy.  Later, I asked some of the Rupertus crewmembers for some details of what happened-- but I could never get any of them to talk.  One radarman I knew said that he would tell me someday-- but that they had been sworn to secrecy and to talk would be a court marshal offense. 

 

I never did get any of the details of this historic mutiny, and I think that the Navy just hushed this one up.  It would make a great story for a book or a movie-- but I doubt that the real story will ever get out unless someone in the crew of the Rupertus-- someone who knew the details-- decides to tell all. 

 

Years later, I told a friend who had commanded an east coast destroyer about the Rupertus mutiny.  He became very offended and said that I was mistaken, and that event never happened.  In addition, he said that I shouldn't spread such stories since it tended to discredit the Navy.  I missed something in that analysis-- but the term "brainwash" came to mind.  It takes all types-- 

 

Hope to see some of you in Charleston, SC at the 2004 reunion.  If you have a chance, drop me a line at

leeadunn@hotmail.com

****

 YNC Robert A. Litts

Email:  littsmole@aol.com

I served aboard the USS Henry W. Tucker (DDR-857) from 1953 to 1959 in the ship's office as a YN3/YN2.  During my tour of duty aboard I had three of my brothers come aboard, Gerry F. Litts from1959-1961; Donald D. Litts from1958-1961 and James F. Litts from1961-1964.  Gerald is now deceased.  We all had a wonderful time aboard and we get together and reminise our great times.  I was honored to be aboard when the Tucker crossed the equator, I was a Polliwog at that time and was punished in the name of Neptune Rex.  It was a great time we all had.  I left the Tucker in 1959 to attend YN"B" school in San Diego, from there I immediately went aboard the USS PRICHETT (DD-561) as Staff Yeoman, from there I left the west coast and went to the Pentagon for 3 years, then was sent to a fighter squadron aboard the USS SHANGRI-LA (CVA-38).  After riding the Shang for 3 years I was transferred to overseas shore duty in Aruba, Netherlands Antilles.  I was lucky to spend 3 years in a tropical paradise.  It ended in 1969 when I had to retire after22 years service.  I now reside in Brentwood, Missouri, 8786 E. Lawn Avenue 63144.  My Brother Don lives in Latham, IL 62543 and James lives in Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32547.   

 

YNC Bob Litts

****

EN3 MacAlester, Donald S.

Email: dsmacalester@charter.net

 

 

Following  Boot Camp at San Diego NTC and Machinist Mates School at the Great Lakes NTC, I joined the Tucker crew in San Diego in October 1948. Shortly thereafter, our DDR Flotilla (Duncan 874, Tucker 875, Rogers 876 and Perkins 877) steamed to our assigned China station at Tsingtao (now known as Qingdao).Thereafter, we made periodic “mail runs” to Shanghai and Okinawa then back to Tsingtao. From time to time we made R&R visits to Formosa (Taiwan), Shanghai, Hong Kong and Manila. In October 1949, we were deployed to Shanghai to evacuate US citizens who were in harms way from the approaching communist forces. We were anchored on the Huanpu River along with numerous multinational naval ships. On the night of our abrupt departure, the sky lit up with 5" star shells from the communist forces. Al ships in the stream fired up emergency steam and departed without delay. Thereafter we steamed to Okinawa and disembarked our evacuees. Sometime in late 1950 I transferred tom the USS Dixie AD-14 with stationing in Sasabo, Japan in support of our destroyer fleet during the Korean “conflict”. I was discharged in March 1952 following my “Truman” one year extension. I currently live in Monterey Park, California where I am a retired County Probation and Parole Officer. Needless to say , one of my all time favorite movies is “The San Pebbles”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memories – 1    Memories – 2    Memories – 3     Memories - 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

USS Henry W. Tucker
DD 875