Under a Tonkin Gulf Moon

Under a Tonkin Gulf Moon

BY Dale Byhre

‘Under a Tonkin Gulf Moon’

This is my completed painting depicting US Navy ships on Yankee Station during the Vietnam War. It shows elements of Task Force 77 steaming under a full moon and broken sky in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Represented are four classes of ships commonly deployed during that time, including a vintage Essex class carrier, a Leahy class guided missile ‘frigate,’ a Forrest Sherman class destroyer and a Fram II modified Gearing class destroyer.

You will soon be able to visit my website atwww.marineartbydale.com for information regarding ordering or email me at byhres@telus.net


USS Warrington DD-843

USS Warrington DD-843

On 15 July, USS Warrington DD-843 put into port at Danang briefly and then headed for the coast of North Vietnam to participate in Operation “Linebacker.” On 16 July, she relieved Hamner (DD-718) of “Linebacker” duty and began her primary blockade and interdiction mission—the destruction of North Vietnamese small craft and observation of communist Chinese merchant shipping. The following morning, while operating in company with Hull(DD-945) and Robison (DDG-12), Warrington came under the rapid and heavy fire of enemy shore batteries; but she took prompt evasive action and avoided damage.

Struck by an underwater explosion

That same afternoon, however, luck abandoned her. At 1316, two underwater explosions close aboard her port side rocked the destroyer.[1] She suffered severe damage in her after fireroom, after engine room, and in the main control room. Her crew rose to the occasion, and their efforts enabled her to retire from the area at 10 knots. Hull maneuvered alongside to transfer repair personnel, pumps, and shoring equipment to Warrington to address continuing flooding. Before returning to her station , Hull also transferred feedwater to help maintain boiler operation, along with several movies for the slow trip. Later, the damage forced her to shut down her propulsion plant and ask Robison for a tow.

Through the night of 17 and 18 July, her crew struggled against flooding caused by ruptured fuel oil and freshwater tanks, but she remained afloat the next morning when Robison turned her over to Reclaimer (ARS-42) for the first leg of the trip to Subic Bay. Tawakoni (ATF-114) took over from Reclaimer on the 20th and towed Warrington safely into Subic Bay on the 24th. Throughout the six-day voyage, Warrington’s ship’s company worked magnificently to keep their ship afloat. Around 1 December 1972, the Navy announced that Warrington had struck two American Mark 36 mines after finding fragments of a specific fuse on the ship. At the time, officials speculated that the mines had been jettisoned from an aircraft, but apparently, the location had not recorded to warn ships of the location.[3] According to the account of a retired chief mineman, who worked at Naval Magazine Subic Bay converting Mk 82 bombs to Mk 36 mines during that time period, the ship disregarded warning messages and entered a known area where aircraft jettisoned bombs and mines.

Unfit for further Naval service

For a month after her arrival, Warrington received the special attention of the ship repair facility at Subic Bay to improve her habitability and ensure watertight integrity. However, at the end of August, a board of inspection and survey found her to be unfit for further naval service. Accordingly, on 30 September 1972, Warrington was decommissioned at Subic Bay, and her name was struck from the Navy list. On 24 April 1973, she was sold to the Taiwan Navy for cannibalization and scrapping.


Why do older people move so slow???


Why do old people move so slow?

I am fully prepared to get blasted from both the young and the old that read this post. But as I pass another milestone in less than a month, the question has bothered me a bit and I have sought to find an answer.  Perhaps it has puzzled you as well?

You see it every day in all walks of life. Driving down the highway, a line of cars will suddenly appear in front of you for no particular reason. You were cruising along at traffic speed (which typically is about 15 miles above the speed limit) and you find yourself punching for the breaks, perhaps with a small curse on your lips. Its a two lane winding road and there doesn’t seem to be any escape from this slowly moving mobile impediment to progress. Finally, the road in front of you dips…

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Wishful Drinkin’

Wishful Drinkin’

By Garland Davis

I took a little literary license and rewrote Waylon Jennings’ Drinkin’ and Dreamin’. I call it Wishful Drinkin’.

Verse 1:

My shipmates looking for a way out

I’m looking for a way back in

I’ve been wasting my time, standing in line

What civvy street is all about


Verse 2:

All I’ve got is a world that I don’t like

And girlfriends that don’t understand

So tonight, in a bar, I’ll go aboard my ship

And sail off for a fairer land



Drinkin’ and dreamin’, Knowing Damn well I won’t go

I’ll Never see Hong Kong again, or ol’ Olongapo

But here at this table, I’ll just put it out of my mind

Drink til I’m sailing just half a world out of my mind


Verse 3:

This suit and this tie, they just don’t fit me

Like thirteen buttons do

Some were born to be tied to the land

My kind was just born to be free


Verse 4:

When I look toward the horizon

How I can feel it again

The shore has me but my true heart and soul

Are in the sea riding the wind


epeat Chorus


Patriots’ Day

Patriots’ Day

Today is Patriots Day in the USA.

Patriot’s Day commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, which were fought near Boston in 1775. Patriot’s Day is annually held on the third Monday of April.

For veterans, I would say that every day is Patriots Day!


Asia Sailors and a Marmont Pool Party

Asia Sailors and a Marmont Pool Party

By Cort Willoughby as told to Garland Davis

Some recent events in a couple of Facebook groups brought to mind an event that happened in Subic. Basically, it ended up with some member of the groups being told, “If you don’t like what we are doing here, get the fuck out and shut up. It reminded me of a story of USS Parsons and a Captain who shall remain nameless.

Obviously, Subic was part of the story. We had a group of rooms at the Marmont for the week or whatever amount of time it was. This was back when the Marmont was new. The incoming C.O. of the Ammunition Depot was staying there with his family. We mostly spent our time in the Barrio at Traveler’s Inn, the Marmot pool, or at Marilyn’s in Subic City. The Captain and his family barely tolerated us.

Well, his teenaged son would sneak away and meet some of the younger guys at Traveler’s for a drink and to meet with the girls. One night we were having a pretty wild pool party and some participants were involved with getting underwater blow jobs. The Captain’s kid got an underwater hummer and went to the family’s room a bit tipsy.

The Ammo Depot C.O. wasn’t there but his wife came down and began chastising one of our shipmates, who shall also remain nameless. The wife’s rant ended with a loud, “God will get you for this!”

Our shipmate responded with, “Yea God. Fuck you!”

That statement was heard round Subic Bay where all Asia Sailors congregate and, especially, in the Parson C.O.’s Cabin the next morning when the incoming C.O. of the Ammo Depot paid a visit to our Captain.




Posted on Facebook by Danny Fowler

Most of you I’m sure don’t remember what happened on this day 49 years ago, but as a former member of VQ-1 I certainly do. It happened before my watch, but it was a tragedy nonetheless and should never be forgotten.

If you never saw our aircraft, our informal call sign was Peter Rabbit, and we had either the Black Bat and Lightning Bolt (because of our association with the Black Bat Squadron) on the tail or the infamous Playboy Bunny.

So today as you go about your busy lives, please take a moment and think of these brave 31 souls who gave their all for our freedom. The politicians won’t, they didn’t then during the Pueblo incident and they won’t now.

The full story is below…

At 07:00 local time of Tuesday, 15 April 1969, an EC-121M of the U.S. Navy’s Fleet Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron One (VQ-1) took off from NAS Atsugi, Japan, on an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance mission. The aircraft, Bureau number 135749 bore the tail code “PR-21” and used the radio call sign Deep Sea 129. Aboard were 8 officers and 23 enlisted men under the command of LCDR James Overstreet. Nine of the crew, including one marine NCO, were Naval Security Group cryptologic technicians (CTs) and linguists in Russian and Korean.

These missions, while nominally under the command of Seventh Fleet and CINCPAC, were controlled operationally by the Naval Security Group detachment at NSF Kamiseya, Japan, under the direction of the National Security Agency.

Very soon after arrival over the Sea of Japan (East Sea of Korea), at 10:35, North Korea reacted to the presence of the EC-121, but not in a way that would jeopardize the mission. At 12:34 local time, roughly six hours into the mission, the Army Security Agency and radars in Korea detected the takeoff of two North Korean Air Force MiG-21s from East Tongchong-ni near Wonsan and tracked them, assuming that they were responding in some fashion to the mission of Deep Sea 129. In the meantime the EC-121 filed a scheduled activity report by radio on time at 13:00 and did not indicate anything out of the ordinary, but this was the last message sent from the plane. Twenty-two minutes later the radars lost the picture of the MiGs and did not reacquire it until 13:37, where they were closing with Deep Sea 129 for a probable intercept.

The communications that this activity generated within the National Security network was monitored by the EC-121’s parent unit, VQ-1, which at 13:44 sent Deep Sea 129 a “Condition 3” alert by radio, indicating it might be under attack. LCDR Overstreet acknowledged the warning and complied with procedures to abort the mission and return to base. Approaching from the northeastern coast at supersonic speed, the MiGs easily overtook the EC-121, who could do little with their “warning.” The MiGs were armed with 23 mm cannons and AA-2 Atoll missiles; the EC-121 was unarmed and without a fighter escort. At 13:47 the radar tracks of the MiGs merged with that of Deep Sea 129, which disappeared from the radar picture two minutes later.

The MiGs had blown the EC-121 out of the sky, and while the details of the incident have never been released to the public, it is assumed that an air-to-air missile was used as the North Korean press mentioned that a “single shot” downed the aircraft.

Image may contain: airplane, sky, cloud and outdoor

Image may contain: airplane, sky and outdoor

Image may contain: airplane and sky


My Shredded Wheat Heiress

My Shredded Wheat Heiress

By Cort Willoughby

As told to and embellished by Garland Davis

I was a newly minted Third Class Petty Officer on a flight to somewhere. A very pretty girl parked her lovely posterior in the seat beside me. As it turns out, she was related to the cereal folks in that famous Michigan city. I believe she told me that her Grandpappy had invented those straw bales they call Shredded Wheat.

I was on a roll, Mr. Smooth. I had a Westpac under my belt and had a fairly good idea of my goal in this budding relationship. This was, of course, before the days of burning bras and the advent of g-strings that did duty as Muff Covers. I was clicking and knew what the future might offer if I played the game right. I could tell that she was impressed with me and my suavity. I could tell I was making a positive impression.

I was deep into explaining the purpose of the thirteen buttons and the rapidity with which I could unbutton them when I caught her eyes directed to the vicinity of my crotch. In other words, she was indicating that she was more than a little interested in “Ole Luthor.” Holy shit, Little Eva! Signs that my future was assured. Looking good to give her a chance to meet and shake hands with him. A situation that any Fleet Sailor yearns for.

We had just finished the in-flight meal and were getting along just famously. That is when tragedy struck. My gut doesn’t play well with cucumbers. The salad was riddled with them. Not thinking I ate them. Cucumbers cause my digestive system to produce a noxious, eye burning, singe the hairs in your nose, a gas that will curl your fuckin’ hair. I mean it could surpass the odor of a thousand camels with the drizzlin’ shits.

Sure ‘nuff, my guts were percolating worse than Granny’s old coffee pot. We were getting around to trading addresses or making wedding plans or something. My guts were roaring. I was sure everyone could hear them. I had to park my ass on an in-flight shitter, Right Fuckin’ Now. A heaving swell from my throat to my asshole told me to move. Sweat popped out. Tryin’ to be slick and not let on, I said, “Be Right Back” and lunged to an upright position at the same time some asswipe dropped the overhead bin right on my gourd.

I couldn’t hold it. Blast, Blast, Blast my asshole went. Sure ‘nuff, my asshole is eye level to her face. As desperately as I try, I cannot stop it from belching out the noxious odor. I heard her gasp and gag, all in the same breath. I made a beeline for the head. My asshole must have caught a snag and busted open. Row after row of people are turning green, gagging, and coughing as I clamor down the aisle toward relief.

I remained in the head until after the plane landed and all the passengers had deplaned. The Flight Attendants never checked on me. Hell, they wouldn’t even look at me as I made my walkout. I am sure they were planning on “gas freeing” the aircraft before its next flight.

I never saw my Battle Creek, true love, again.


Torpedoman First Class Henry Breault

Torpedoman First Class Henry Breault

The Only Enlisted Submariner Ever To Be Awarded The Medal Of Honor Locked Himself Inside A Sinking Submarine

For those who sail beneath the surface of the sea, there are few greater fears than permanently descending to the depths alive. The movies would play this horror scene out time and time again as you watched the sailors press their faces to the ceiling of a room slowly filling with water.

But for one such man, that was the fate he chose for himself when he voluntarily locked himself inside a sinking submarine descending to the bottom. For his actions that day, Henry Breault would become the first and only Submariner ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Torpedoman First Class Henry Breault was born in Connecticut at the turn of the century in 1900. Born to be a sailor, Breault would enlist in the British Royal Navy at the age of 16 to serve in World War 1 before America joined the fray.

Over the next four years, he would learn the art of seamanship and naval tradition from those who have historically done it best. After his tour with the Royal Navy, Breault joined the United States Navy in 1921.

And while the years in between the World Wars were a comparatively peaceful time for America, the United States Navy was frequently sent into forward areas as the nation was increasingly becoming a world power.

As such, the scene for this heroic action would take place not in a war zone, but right outside of the Panama Canal in October of 1923.

For Henry Breault was a crew member of the submarine USS 0-5 when his ship was part of a column of submarines heading for the canal. It was at this moment that a ship carrying bananas would help this man earn the Medal of Honor. Literally, a ship carrying bananas.

The steamship US Abangarez which was under the control of the United Fruit Company made a series of navigational errors and struck the USS 0-5 directly in the side opening up a hole of ten feet or more allowing water to gush inside.

Slashing through one of main ballast tanks, the 0-5 rolled to port and then to starboard before beginning its descent to the bottom.

But as fortune would have it, they weren’t exactly sailing over the Mariana Trench. For it was but 42 feet of water that separated the surface from the bottom, but that was plenty to send a man to Davy Jones’ Locker if need be.

With the USS 0-5 sinking fast, Breault actually found himself in the fortunate position of having a relatively easy escape when the call to abandon ship was given. Working in the torpedo room, he quickly worked his way up to the main deck and was prepared to jump to safety when he realized a fellow crewmate had been sleeping below just before the collision.

With open and safe sea just a short distance away, he looked at safety and then looked back at a sinking submarine descending to the bottom and he chose the sinking submarine.

Heading back down the ladders to retrieve his crewmate, he caught up with the then much awake Chief Brown who was unaware of the order to abandon ship. They attempted together to make their exit, but the rising water impeded any attempt.

Wading through the water on board, they made their way to the torpedo room, and Breault latched the door shut just before the ship’s battery exploded. They were undeniably trapped underwater, and any attempt at rescue would have to come from above.

Henry Breault (center) receives the Medal of Honor from President Calvin Coolidge

Thanks to the shallow depth, rescue and salvage efforts were able to begin immediately. While that might have been of little comfort to Breault and Brown who didn’t know their current depth, it gave hope to the Naval forces converging on the scene.

Approximately 4 to 5 hours later, salvage crews were banging on the hull under the hopes of hearing signs of life when Breault responded with metal pings of his own. Time was of the essence and the only manner in which they could be rescued in this day and age would be to lift the entire submarine from the bottom.

In another stroke of luck, some of the heaviest floating machinery around was near the Canal. One of the largest crane barges in the world, the Ajax, was in the region and quickly made way to the site. It took multiple attempts with many broken cables, but the USS 0-5 was eventually lifted.

With a great sigh of relief and much applause, after 31 hours trapped under the sea, the torpedo room hatch had been opened and emerged one Chief Brown and a future Medal of Honor recipient Torpedoman First Class Henry Breault.

Henry Breault just after receiving his Medal of Honor, 8 March 1924 (Wikipedia / Public Domain)

Henry Breault just after receiving his Medal of Honor, 8 March 1924

It remains to be seen what causes some men to flee and others to run towards the sound of danger. But for a sailor with the opportunity at survival to knowingly risk entombment at the bottom of the ocean is a gallant feat worthy of the highest honor.

Much of the world will merely watch these scenes play out in the movies and cringe as the water reaches the ceiling and the sunken sailors gasp their last breath. But for Henry Breault, he knew that very well could have been the permanent end of his watch.

Breault was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1924 by President Calvin Coolidge. He would go on to serve 20 years in the Navy before falling ill and succumbing to a heart condition on December 5th, 1941.

Having died just two days before Pearl Harbor, one can’t help but think that the man who joined a foreign Navy so that he could fight would have been ready. And if need be, we know for a fact he would lock himself in a sinking submarine to save a brother in arms.