Sunday, September 20, 2009

USS Frank E Evans DD754 Video

Those of you who have been visiting me for awhile know the story of my ship and her sinking and the loss of the 74 young men. One of the people in the Evans association has a cousin to was at our Milwaukee reunion and made a video from interviews with two Australian sailors who were aboard the HMAS Melbourne that night and were decorated for valor in their efforts to save our guys and with some of the survivors. There will be a DVD coming out, soon, but this is a snippet of what the video will be like.

Also, there is a book out about the sinking. The book, Unsinkable Sailors, came out a couple of months ago. Look it up and read it.

Understand, these survivors have PTSD. They wake up at night feeling like they are falling out of their racks. Some cannot stand to be in cold water and some wake up from hearing the sounds of men screaming. All feel survivor guilt and wonder why they are still here.

My bff from Chicago, Chuck, was at the Australia reunion this year. He served with me and was not part of the incident. He is, however, a deacon in the Catholic Church and works in a jail and prison ministry, which mostly means that he listens to the inmates. He is an awesome listener and as such the men of Australia talked for hours with him. One guy is having nightmares and was crying to Chuck because he only saved two men. He said there were many more in the water but he couldn’t get back to them. They either drowned from being sucked down by the suction of the front half going down, or from hypothermia from the cold water or from shark attack. He is a decorated hero, too, but he cares nothing about the medals. He morns the ones he couldn’t get to. Aren’t you glad and proud that there are men like these guys walking among us? The Navies of the world are full of men of courage like these guys. I am just proud that I got to be associated with them in some small way.

Anyways, this is the video:



Lest we forget…

12 comments:

Daffy said...

Fab tribute Coffey.

Check out my blog - I've bestowed an award to you!

LL said...

I have no idea why they wouldn't be added to those who died as part of the Viet Nam War. I know of people who died in accidents aboard ship at Yankee Station whose names made it.

RIP - the sailors of DD754.

Coffeypot said...

Daffy, thanks! I'll be there soon.

LL, the reason is because they were outside Yankee Station and about 50 miles over the line that was considered a combat zone and not involved in actual combat, but on a multi country exercise. Those boys were warriors. They should have their place.

The video was a little wrong about when they were sent to work with the Melboune. They were one the gunline when told to join the jount taskforce, and if the collision hadn't happen, they would have been back on the gunline two days later. From their last gun support position, my survivor friends were talking about the dings in the bulkhead from small (???)arms fire from shore. That's how close they were in their fire support.

Thanks for the comment, old salt.

Kanani said...

You might want to share this article that I wrote called From Soldier to Yogi. Eric Walrabenstein, a former US Army Infantryman is kick starting the pilot program for a new, free, soon-to-be-distributed-to-the-home stress reduction program.

dana said...

I'm reading this to Joe while he sits "way over there" and we're going to view the video together. You're a man's man for sure and a woman's man to be proud of.

Coffeypot said...

Dana, thank you, but I don't know where that came from. I wasn't involved with the incident, I just served - period. Nothing manly or heroic about that. But I know many who do deserve those monikers. But not me.

JAK said...

My father, Retired USN Captain George Kain, was stationed aboard the USS Frank E. Evans just after the Korean War. After seeing this video, this is what he stated in regards to such:

"As a Naval officer I served onboard the USS Frank E. Evans DD754 in 1957 and 1958 and sailed as one of her crew some 100,000 miles in the Pacific on a WESTPAC deployment. I'm familiar with the Coral Sea near Australia and plane guard duty with Aircraft carriers which can be dangerous. Nevertheless, this was a horrible mistake eleven years later in 1969 that should never have happened.

I will keep this video as a reminder of how lucky I was."

SpottedAl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SpottedAl said...

June 3, 1969 will be remembered forever. I was working the graveyard shift at Naval Communications Station San Miguel, P.I. One of my duties that night was to ensure a constant and reliable secure multichannel teletype communication system with the HMAS Melbourne. During a slack period I was chatting with the Tech Controller on the Ship while directing them to change frequencies and what not. He was typing a message on the "orderwire" but suddenly the teletype fell silent in mid sentence. I waited a couple of minutes and noted the secure equipment sync light come on. He began a new message saying "Blimey Mate, I think we just ran over one of your tin can's" ... The rest is history, but I will always remember that night. Al Jensen RM1 technical controller

Lauren Spray said...

My name is Lauren Spray and my husband, John Raymond Spray, was one of the 74 sailors lost at sea. I will never forget that day as long as I live. I had just turned 21 and we were about to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary. It seems a lifetime ago. I was at the Frank E Evans reunion in Long Beach and was fortunate to meet some of the survivors who knew my husband and some of the men from the Melbourne and had the opportunity to thank them for their efforts in rescuing and saving so many lives. They had a beautiful ceremony and it was very comforting.

Coffeypot said...

Mrs Spray, thank you for your comment. I hope you will be able to attend other reunions. We will be in Waterloo IA this year and in TX next year. Also, please contact Louise Esola, a lady who is writing a book on the families of the 74. She would love to interview you for the book. Her email is louise.esola@yahoo.com.

Steve Willis said...

I went to a 10 week Gyrocompass school at Great Lakes with Linden Orpurt. He was a very nice guy who took some of his classmates (myself included) on a tour of Chicago. I remember hearing about DD754 when I was stationed on DD780 out of Norfolk. All we got was a story about what had happened, but there were no names associated with the 74. A while later I saw Linden Orpurt's name as being one of the 74; it was a really sad day for me.