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WestPac Fifty Nine

Posted Thursday, December 13, 2012, at 9:08 PM

D D Seven Eighty Two,
Rowan was her name,
Born and Served America True,
All ships, are not the same.
WestPac Fifty Nine
By Arley Steinhour 121312

I went to sea, in fifty-nine,
Off to see the East, out West,
The pond was big, Pacific fine,
Where West finds Eastern best.

Beside an Island, called Midway,
Japan, first Port-of-Call,
San Diego to Yokosuka, Storms play,
Four storms, like a brick wall.

Arriving in Yokosuka bay,
Seventh Fleet gave us a call,
The only way to be dry that day,
Was Dry-docking one and all.

Four Tin-Cans in squadron,
Sinking, three-fast, one-slow,
Tied to pier, would be a problem,
Into Dry-dock, safe way to go.

Out, went ocean, pumped away all,
We sat, tied there, low and dry,
Dry-dock as deep as we were tall,
We weren't much to catch the eye.

Destroyers, from a fight won't hide,
Until, in Dry-dock wallows,
Like Jonah, we were deep inside,
If dock a barn, we'd be Barn Swallows.

A week it took, to zip us up,
The leaks all put to shame,
Tied to pier, like four whipped pup,
Scrubbing down, we reclaimed our name.

Once back to sea, without a hitch,
leaving port, ever so proud,
Served quite well, till weather twitched,
Cat-Five plus, Typhoon, sang Loud.

Taking Green Water, over the Bridge,
Below the swale, we fought back to air,
Crowning waves, found flights fine edge,
No 'roller-coaster,' could ever compare.

Square to the waves, no problem,
Submerge, then float, again,
At an angle, more suicide dumb,
Roll, too far, capsized, death reign.

We slid down wave into the swale,
Laying hard to Starboard side,
Climbing, rolled hard to Port, like whale,
Fifty-six degrees, we should have died.

Typewriter, ripped from hold-down bolts,
Went flying right past my face,
Papers, books, and cups, like frisky colts,
Flew around, all over the place.

My legs, wrapped tightly around desk legs,
Kept me from flying with Super-man's flair,
Ya-da-da, keep it short, story begs,
Off to Subic Bay, for some more fine repair.

When it was done, we'd been through hell,
Mount fifty-one torn loose,
Port Forty swung like a great church bell,
""Sinking"" again, not front page news.

Close, to Philippines this time,
Subic Bay provided a waiting dock,
Re-welded, re-bolted, just fine,
Off to China went our flock.

Hong Kong, was great, even though almost broke,
The rest of the 'cruise' going fine,
Our last tour of service, Taiwan, Nationalist China,
Where, again, we almost crossed deaths line.

Red China shelling Quemoy island,
Shooting over our head,
Twas not a place to buy land,
Nor, try to sleep in bed.

Admittedly, there was a thrill,
Sixteen inch shells flying by,
Good thing we weren't sitting still,
Hate to be hit by one, in the eye.

About five days into mission,
On a blustery, choppy sea night,
A wave they now call Rogue, came on,
Smacked us Starboard side, just right.

Awaken with a start, new found navy art,
All I saw, was dark liquid fly by,
Adrenalin coursing all bodies parts,
Off to General Quarters we did fly.

Starboard sea-wall caved in,
Vent ducts no longer a flu,
Looking like ship made out of tin,
Off, to the Philippines and more glue.

Someone decided, six months was enough,
Once fixed, orders came, 'head for home,'
Tin-cans, were much fun, simple and rough,
Mighty warriors, for Red, White, and Blue.


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Amazing story, Arley. Thanks.

-- Posted by Benevolus on Fri, Dec 14, 2012, at 11:44 AM

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