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
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.
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
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.
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--
to see some of you in Charleston,
SC at the 2004
reunion. If you have a chance, drop me a line at
YNC Robert A. Litts
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,
and James lives in Ft. Walton
Beach, FL 32547.
YNC Bob Litts
EN3 MacAlester, Donald S.
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,
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
Memories – 1 Memories – 2 Memories – 3 Memories - 4