It is my sad duty to report the passing of a former USS Frank Knox shipmate. John W. “Bud” Swenson, of Cottage Grove, Oregon, served onboard the Knox in the early 1950’s, during the Korean “conflict”. Bud Swenson was born April 9, 1929, in Hooker, Oklahoma. After leaving the Navy, he moved to Cottage Grove, Oregon where he met and married Lois “Maxine” Aubrey. She had 3 children already, and together they had 2 more. Bud worked for the post office and he and Maxine had many adventures together in the Oregon woods, lakes and streams. Together they hunted, fished, square danced, and raised a blended family when blended families were not the norm. Their children were truly fortunate to have them.
They were both active in the community, especially in the VFW and VFW Auxiliary.
Maxine left us on 13 March 1996 and Bud sailed into heaven on 13 February 2008. We knew them better as Mom and Dad.
It has been along time since that night...I was the 1st Class Navy Corpsman aboard the fleet going tug, USS Tawasa ATF 92. The night HMAS Melbourne collided with the USS Frank E Evans. We arrived on rescue station a/o 300 hours, things were hectic to say the least, we found no survivors since the fwd part of Evans sank leaving the aft intact. Morning, we came along side Evans, being directed by COMSERPAC because of the kind of boat we were, we initiated salvage operations and evaluated possible surface tow to Subic Bay. We were the only vessel on site that actually went aboard the aft still afloat. After several hours, our salvage boys gave the go ahead, and, we towed the aft of Evans to Subic Bay. We placed a flag on her stern, she was still in commission! The fleet exercise group on the scene of the tragedy laid honors the day of our taking Evans to Subic with Melbourne and the rest of the boats firing salutes and those manning the rails.
I have the actual pictures of that morning after that most tragic day. We understood later that Evan's Corpsman was the one that closed the hatch past sick bay that saved the aft, I don't know if that is true....one thing I want to share with your shipmates, I went over to see if there was anything important to bring back with the rest of Evans, one thing I notice that has plagued me to this day was the boots lined up on the starboard side......the Chief had used Navy training in Abandon Ship Techniques...we never knew if those guys survived.
You can contact me at....email: firstname.lastname@example.org or (760) 807-3137. I never thought there were guys left to talk to since we never saw the shipmates that were not left on the aft of Evans, we never knew what happened to the survivors....
Dave Herndon HM1 USN
I hope this is the right email address and if not you may be able to help me with my letter below.
My name is Wayne Baldwin and i was an Engineering Mechanic on board the Melbourne in 1969 when we collided with the Evans. I was awarded the Queens Commendation for rescuing several of the Evans Crew which i would have done without any award.
I made some very good friends from the Evans but unfortunately have lost all letters and contact. One persons name, and this a long shot, is John.???? John had written to me quite often over the years since that morning and it would be terrific if he or any other member of the crew remembers me at all.
In the meantime i with all the remaining crew the very best for the future
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