USS Frank E. Evans
We will accept personal photos of the USS Frank E. Evans (in just about any format, but gif or jpg are preferred) as an attachment to email. Photos can be scanned at most commercial mail or copier stores.
Through the dark cold and the empty
Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998
Interested to read some of the stories of the "Frank E". I served onboard the carrier Melbourne during that cruise and have found the stories to revive some memories of the night. Regards to those wet ones we pulled out.
Philip J Whitton ( ex Sick Bay Medic)
Date: Fri, 03 Apr 1998 09:10:25 +1000
Subject: Re: Frank E Evans
I will think over your request for memories: some are still a little disturbing however I'll try to get time to note some of the events before and after . I have found that some persons appreciation of factual events are sometimes skewed to support their own recollections or what they would like to believe. Much is the case with journalists. Some of the captions in photos are often incorrect as with some of the later books published on the Melbourne. There is a Melbourne Association group here and I have forwarded the Evans printed home page and the letters to the Secretary. A motion was put at the last meeting for a memorial wall to be built, but some concern was expressed as to the most appropriate location. As the accident was off Viet Nam, a more appropriate plaque is being considered in the Memorial Wall at the Fleet Base in Sydney.
As most of the records of the accident are ( almost ) public I understand that your Govt have released the records however the Aust Govt have had a 30 yr ban which will expire next year ; should make interesting reading as a lot of the outcome decisions were politically motivated.
Date: Tue, 07 Apr 1998 15:22:33 +1000
Subject: Re: Frank E Evans
Ive had a bit of time and put pen to paper, well, finger to keyboard anyway. I will send the notes as an attachment on a Word file. If they dont translate let me know what format you would like to have them. It is OK to include the notes in the homepage. I also have a set of photos that I will try to scan into an attachment as well but that will take some extra time . Most of the phots taken at that time are slide mounted so I will need to get them printed. Regards Philip.
"HANDS TO COLLISIONS STATIONS"
Rapid orders and lots of yelling awoke me.
The ship shook, trembled and rose briefly, throwing me out of my bunk. I had come off the Last Watch at midnight and settled into my bunk: the top bunk of three in the mess deck midships on the starboard side.
Other orders came to close watertight doors and hatches. There were a few split heads from having hatches dropped suddenly.
I made my way to the flight deck to my emergency station: the firstaid station just inside the island. On coming onto the deck the scene was surreal: on the port side was a bow section sticking out like a submarine: "that's a strange place for the numbers 754 " I thought then I realised that the bows were sinking ..gone: another part of a ship was floating down the starboard side but there was only half of it there. There were a lot of crew on the quarterdeck and lots of liferafts and boats in the water. Some of the Melbourne's crew were climbing over or securing the stern section and helping the survivors aboard to the quarterdeck. Clearing casualties from the flight deck as they were being brought in by the choppers to either the café or the sick bay became my next job. From there I went to the sick bay through the main deck: The café was full of survivors looking stunned and shocked. There were lots of blokes around: the canteen was open: plenty of smokes being handed out: lots of tea and coffee. The sick bay was crowded with medical staff from most of the fleet. The sickbay was on the same deck as the hangar so the forrard lift was bringing the casualties down from the flight deck through the hatchway straight into the bay. A call was made for blood donors to fall in and we started to take blood for ready use crossmatching. (This was before current knowledge of blood borne disease) One survivor was badly burned with only his underpants (boxer shorts) on. He had apparently covered his face with his hands so the only parts not burned were the palms of his hands, his face and his shorts. After smothering him in the Pyropax gel (which looked like squashed caterpillars: all green goo) he was settled down cutting up dressing packs. Another casualty was the lookout from the bridge who was blown up onto the flight deck. I think he had a broken leg.
I took a call on the phone from the galley asking how many meals were required: a usual procedure when we had bed patients. I cannot recall my exact words but we had a post appendectomy patient already there.
A tall man was brought in with blood over him, he was treated and I was then told to escort him to the bridge and the Captain. I realised that he was the Captain of the Evans. He appeared in a shocked way although not badly injured.
A body had been brought aboard by sea boat. As he was in a wire stretcher covered by a blanket, it was a little difficult getting the stretcher up the ladder to the bathroom assigned as the mortuary. I think the Padre saw him there before he was flown to the USS Kearsarge at about 1100 Hrs.
Sometime during the morning we were stood down and the clean up commenced. As some of the large dressing kits that had been opened were holding morphine we had to check the stock. All other opened dressings and bandages were ditched. By early afternoon all patients were medivaced off and I was able to have a look at the damaged bow. I took some photos from inside the bow and the damage to the hull of the forrard heads. I was told of a sailor who was on the head at the time of the collision being blown off by a waterspout. We had a Chinese boot maker on the forecastle who was rescued trying to jump over the quarterdeck. He had run to the other end in panic.
A memorial service was held on the flight deck later that afternoon which was very emotional for a lot of the crew. I still have some trouble when I hear the Last Post. The scene was very still, almost like Samual Taylor Coldridges "painted ships on a painted sea". The fleet stationary with the stern of the Evans along side the Larrson
Sometime after we proceeded slowly toward Singapore dockyards for repair.
The Admiral ordered a second issue as a means of settling the crew although I am still unsure as to the benefits other than helping some sleep. My Commander directed all the staff to return to the sickbay after dinner where we had some extra issue in the fridge. Not much was said but a few cans were emptied. Next morning I woke the Commander from under the bottom bunk where he had gone to sleep.
We were in dock for a few weeks having new plates welded on and then a slow trip back to Sydney. I posted off the Melbourne when she went into dry dock but rejoined in '71.
One of my memories of rejoining was the unease in going below deck and requested a berth on the outer deck, which was adjacent to the seaboat. The main deck through delta section had been buckled which made using a polishing machine on the deck a handful. I stayed on the Melbourne for another trip during the evacuation of Darwin after cyclone Tracy flattened the city Christmas 1974.
Some of the terms will need translation. I hope the reader will understand.
In May 1969 HMAS Melbourne entered Subic Bay Naval Base as part of the lead up exercises that were to commence shortly. I had joined her following a refit and it was my first sea posting on joining the Navy I was 19 and a Sick Berth Attendant ( SBA). Subic Bay we were told was a dangerous place with a curfew. "whats a curfew" we asked. "Anything the shore patrol on the bridge can see is OK, anything else is off limits"
As we stepped ashore we were challenged by a very deep voice" Where are you off to Aussie"? I turned and looked for the voice. In my face was a belt buckle. The rest of the speaker was above it. Now this was the first koori I had seen that spoke with an American accent and mate, he was BIG. Well he soon told us the ways of the world and off for a few beers we went. Anybody who has sampled the local San Miguel brew will remember the powerful headache compounded by the humidity and then the gutache. I think the dock people moved the Melbourne downwind of the Kearsage the next morning.
From Subic we sailed down to Manilla to assemble for the exercise. The USO club proved a popular place with the dance requiring an agility or you would end up with broken ankles. In our group was an Australian sailor who was born in Idaho but whose family had moved to Australia a few years before he joined the Navy.
Now when George was the Bosun's Mate and broadcast over the loudspeaker there were some puzzled looks on the Ships Company (crew), Anyway George and a few mates met some US sailors in Manilla and after the usual sightseeing we ended up in some bar swapping stories and eventually pieces of uniform.
By the end of the leave (liberty) we were all on the wharf. all navies and every state of undress and mixed uniforms. The liberty boat skippers got fed up trying to identify their passengers and it was not till next morning that some of the crews were returned to their correct ships. I still have Frank Evillano's white belt and shirt with Airantisubsquadron 21, a winged arrow blue patch and three green stripes are on the sleeves. I think he was on the USS Keasage
Dated: Wednesday, December 30, 1998 3:46 PM
Subject: USS. Evans (DD-754)
I am sending you 2 photos of USS Evans DD-754. The first is of the USS Evans DD-754 (outboard) tied up at Midway Island 1954.I am unsure of the name of the inboard ship as only 2 digits of the number are visible. The second one is taking on mail at sea. This photo was taken in 1954. The Captain's name was Commander John Dawson Chase .
More To Come,
From: Rolf A. Buchner at email@example.com
Dated: Tues, 27 Apr 1999, 21:03:00 -0400
I am enclosing 2 pictures for the USS Frank E. Evans (DDD-754) page. These are pictures from the memorial site for the ship. One is a picture of the memorial plaque only. The second picture is the memorial plaque including the magnolia tree that was planted with the plaque. At the time of the service the tree was not in bloom.
From: Rolf A. Buchner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: USS Frank E. Evans Reunion Pictures
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 1999 19:29:52 -0400
I am enclosing some pictures from the USS Frank E. Evans DD-754 reunion and the Sage brothers memorial rededication in Niobrara, Nebraska.
There is a picture of the stone given by the USS Frank E. Evans to the town of Niobrara and has a picture of the 3 Sage brothers.
There is a picture of the Sage brothers memorial site in downtown Niobrara. The big plaque in the background was moved from its old location this past memorial weekend. The old site is no longer in town as the town itself has moved 3 times due to rising water levels.
There is a close up of the text on the original memorial to the Sage brothers.
There is a picture of Roy Peters presenting a plaque to the Mayor Leland Henke of Niobrara, Nebraska and is a picture of Roy Peters presenting a plaque to Eunice Sage, the mother of the lost Sage brothers.
From: Jimmie O. Johnson at Tinsmith@netins.net
Just a note to go with this, I am sending you a copy of the Memorial Program, the news clipping, part 1 and part 2, from the Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan newspaper, and a couple of the Postal covers (cover 1 and cover 2) that were sold there. Since I can't put this on your web site, you might post my thank you letter and copies of this stuff on your web site so that all can read it.
Jimmie O. Johnson
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