Saturday, June 02, 2012

Forty-three Years Today - Lest We Forget...

Forty three years ago today (and tomorrow – it’s 2 June here but 3 June in the South China Sea – but we use the US dates as the honored day) America lost 74 of her young men to an accident in the South China Sea…just outside the area known as the combat zone.

The USS Frank E Evans DD754 had been on the gun-line providing fire support for the ground troops two miles away and accompanying a Marine Transport ship. As scheduled, she broke away and headed South to join her squadron and meet up with a group of ships for a SEATO (Southeast Asian Treaty Organization) operation, comprising of Australia, Great Britain, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States, for collective defense against aggression in southeastern Asia and the southwestern Pacific.

Just after 3:00 a.m. the Evans was ordered to go to plane guard 500 yards off the stern of the HMAS Melbourne. Due to several unusual events culminated with the Evans making a turn to starboard (right) instead of to the port (left) and putting her on a collision course with the carrier. At the last minute, rudders were turned by both ships and resulted with the HMAS Melbourne striking the USS Frank E Evans amidships…right between the two stacks. It tore the Evans in half and the forward half rolled over and sank in three minutes carrying 74 souls with her. Only a very few hands were able to escape.

The Australian seamen and airmen were above brave and heroic that night. Some went into the water from the flight deck and others were sent out in lifeboats to pull our guys from the sea. They are my friends now and they suffer, just as the survivors suffer, form PTSD.

They were all combat veterans but because they were 50 miles outside the combat zone, they will not put their names on The Wall. They were due to go back on the gun line a few days later, but that doesn’t count. For 20 years we have been working on correcting this travesty.

The names are, by rank and city of record:

ENS Alan Herbert Armstrong – Seattle, WA

SN James Robert Baker – Weirton, WV

YN3 Andrew James Botto – Stockton, CA

RD3 Thomas Belue Box – Athens, AL

ET3 James Franklin Bradley – Syracuse, NY

ENS Robert George Brandon – Paramount, CA

SA Harris Melvin Brown – Detroit, MI

BT2 William Daniel Brown II – Westminster, CA

HMC Charles William Cannington – Atlanta, GA

RD2 Christopher John Carlson – Ojai, CA

SN Michael Kale Clawson – Yellowstone, MT

SN Danny Victor Clute – San Jose, CA

YN3 James Richard Cmelya – Stevens Point, WI

ETN3 Larry Wayne Cool – Clifftop, WV

SN Patrick Michael Corcoran – Philadelphia, PA

SA Joe Eddy Craig – Sacramento, CA

ETR3 James Wilburn Davis – Springfield, MO

SA Leon Larry Deal – San Francisco, CA

SN James Fred Dykes III – Lancaster, OH

SA Raymond Joseph Earley – Mahanoy City, PA

GMG3 Steven Frank Espinosa – Bishop, CA

SA Stephen Don Fagan – Huntingdon, PA

SA William Donald Fields – Sacramento, CA

SA Alan Carl Flummer – Fort Lewis, WA

SA Henry Kenneth Frye – San Pedro, CA

SN Francis Joseph Garcia – San Francisco, CA

STG3 Melvin Hollman Gardner Jr. – Sothern Pines, NC

SA Donald Eugene Gearhart – Lewiston, PA

BM3 Patrick Gene Glennon – Fessenden, ND

SA Kenneth Wayne Glines – Independence, MO

SA Joe Luis Gonzales – Clovis, NM

STG3 Larry Allan Gracely – Lima, OH

SA Devere Ray Grissom Jr. – Covina, CA

SA Steven Allen Guyer – St. Joseph, MO

RD3 Terry Lee Henderson – Westfield, NY

EMC Edward Phillip Hess – Youngstown, OH

RD2 Garry Bradbury Hodgson – Beatrice, NE

SA Dennis Ralph Johnston – Anderson, IN

SA James William Kerr – Glendale, CA

BMC Willie Lee King – Thomaston, GA

RDC George Joseph Laliberte’ – Hazel Park, MI

RM2 Raymond Patrick Lebrun – St. Louis, MO

RD1 Eugene Francis Lehman – St. Paul, MN

SA Isaac Lyons Jr. – Los Angeles, CA

SA Douglas Roy Meister – Redford, MI

SA Andrew Martin Melendrez – Whittier, CA

SN Frederick Conrad Messier – Providence, RI

SA Timothy Lynn Miler – Lansing, MI

ENS John Townsend Norton Jr. – Brooklyn, NY

ENS Gregory Koichi Ogawa – San Mateo, CA

SA Anthony Michael Orlikowski – Milwaukee, WI

IC2 Linden Russell Orpurt – Chicago, IL

LTJG Dwight Scott Pattee – Holladay, UT

SA Craig Allen Pennell – Castiac, CA

SA Jerome Pickett – Chicago, IL

YN2 Earl Fredrick Preston Jr. – Gladstone, NJ

BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr. – Queens, NY

RD2 Victor Thomas Rikall – Butler, PA

BM2 Gary Loren Sage – Niobrara, NE

RD3 Gregory Allen Sage – Niobrara, NE

SA Kelly Jo Sage – Niobrara, NE

SA John Alan Sauvey – Marblehead, OH

BTFN Robert James Searle – Great Falls, MT

FA Gerald Wayne Smith – Bridgeview, IL

SN Thurston mond Spray – Borger, TX

LTJG Jon Kenneth Stever – Altadena, CA

SA Thomas Fred Tallon – Newport, KY

RD2 Ronald Arthur Thibodeau – La Habra, CA

RD3 Jon Wayne Thomas – Elkhorn, WI

SA John Thomas Tolar – Manhattan Beach, CA

QM3 Gary Joseph Vigue – Farmington, NH

RD3 Con Wesley Warnock – Pineland, TX

SA Henry Dennis West III – Bowman, SC

Hero’s All!

During the honor ceremony each year we stand at the stanza:

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Excerpt from ‘For The Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon.

We end it with Lest We Forget…


Paxford said...

Lest we forget


Momma Fargo said...

A very nice post, Coffey! Heroes to us all!

CI-Roller Dude said...

They're still on patrol...

Janie Junebug said...



Anonymous said...

I will remember.

~~bug hugs~~, my dear.


Not So Simply Single said...

Thanks for remembering.

Bowing my head in a prayer.

God help us all!

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