DD 805 (Gearing class)
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Subject: USS Chevalier DD 805
My father, Orville Steven Ethier, served on radar picket duty aboard USS Chevalier DD 805 in the Korean war. He was a Chief machinist. They made him a Chief when he went active after having been made inactive in the reserves after WWII.
Orv was in the Saint Paul Reserve unit sent to man WARD DD 139 in 1941. He was aboard as a machinist in the black gang when WARD fired the first American shots of WWII and sank a Japanese sub (which was rediscovered in 2002). He remained in the crew for the duration of WARD's existence, through its refitting as APD 16 and its scuttling after an aircraft attack on December 7, 1944 in Ormoc Bay.
Dad was instrumental in bringing the first-shot gun from the Smithsonian to Saint Paul for the Minnesota Centennial in 1958. The gun remains here in a place of honor on the Capitol Mall, alongside the Veterans Service Building.
Dad died April 20, 2004 in post-op from heart-valve- replacement surgery. He was honored by resolution in the Minnesota State Senate.
ORVILLE S. ETHIER
Born October 1, 1921, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Joined the United States Naval Reserve in October 1938. Military locations and stations were: World War II Ė USS Ward DD 139 (APD 16), January 1941-December, 1944; USNAS, Mayport, Florida; Korea, USS Chevalier (DDR 805), September 1950-October 1951. Served with the 7th Fleet. Discharged in October 1951 with the rank of Chief Machinist Mate. Participated in Pacific Campaigns including action at Pearl Harbor, consolidation of the Southern Solomon Islands, Bougainville Operation, Cape Glouster Occupation, Western New Guinea Operations and Leyte and Ormoc Bay Landings. Memorable experiences: USS Ward DD 139 firing first shot of US participation in World War II at Pearl Harbor, sinking the Japanese two-man submarine; sinking of the USS Ward three years later, on December 7, 1944, in Ormoc Bay, Philippines. Awarded the Navy Unit Commendation. Wife, Patricia Cavanagh; two sons, Steven Francis and Philip James and two grandchildren, Amada and Elizabeth. Civilian employment, steamfitter Senior Heating and Piping Inspector, City of St. Paul. Ethier retired July 1, 1980.
Poem written by Orville S. Ethier, F2/C while on board the USS Ward DD 139 after the attack on Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941
We, your far off Navy sons, Know of your worries and your fears We realize we are the ones For whom you prayed throughout the years. We only hope and also pray Your prayers are not in vain, And on some not too distant day We will sail home to you again.
Poem written by Orville S. Ethier, MM1/C, December 1943, while on board the USS Ward APD 16, in Purvis Bay next to Tulagi, across the channel from Guadalcanal
The APDs Anchored in a moonlit bay Awaiting further orders, Side by side, at ease they lay, The fast transport destroyers. Veterans of our global war, They carry fighting Yanks. Their troops are first to reach the shore And face the yellow ranks. Together with the LCIís And the chubby LSTís, They bask beneath the southern skies And sail the tropic seas. Whenever thereís an isle to take, The APDs are ready. But Admiral, for heavenís sake, Donít make their work so steady.
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