Sea Stories

USS  Walke DD 723 

Richard Williamson MRFN/MR2  2 February 54 to 24 May 1957



I went on board the Walke, February 2, 1954.   About three months later I was put on mess duty. This is my 1st experience with mess duty since I joined the Navy.   I was assigned to the chief’s quarters. Omer Bouressa GMC (53-59) was in charge of the chief’s quarters for this time period. I had one day of training on my new duty station. The biggest part of the duty was to make sure the chiefs had enough to eat.

In the morning for breakfast the chief could order what he wants: bacon, ham, eggs, toast, pancakes or food off the crew’s chow line.   For lunch and dinner I had to go out to the crew’s chow line, get the food and bring it to the chief’s dinning room.

 The chiefs sat at a long table.   I would set the food on the end of the table and they would pass it down. This one Machinists Mate chief ( I forgot his name) always sat back on the last seat against the bulkhead (wall)


Now the rest of my story:


Day one: after serving 6 chiefs and no problem, in comes this Machinists Mate chief (MMC), He shouted: “I’ll have ham, 2 eggs & toast.” 

            After eating and on his way out he said” You don’t have to cut the ham so thin, like you are paying for it”.


Lunch: 10 chiefs at the table, MMC in his favorite spot.   When the bowl of potatoes got to him, even with more than enough potatoes in it, he said” go get a new dish of potatoes, these are cold.

He did this with ever dish of food pasted to him     Most of the chiefs said:  Please and Thank you, but not this MMC


     Dinner: The same thing, MMC in corner seat, “go get this, this is cold” 4-5 trips for food for him.


Day two: No complaints from any of the chiefs except for the MMC. He comes in:  ordered “Ham, not cut so thin, eggs and toast.   

I cut the ham thicker, fried the eggs and got the toast ready and took it to him. As he went out he said” Don’t have to leave the ham so thick that it is cold in the center”


Lunch and dinner went the same as yesterday. MMC: “go get this, need more chicken” even if five pieces on the dish. I would have to make at least three or four trip per meal just to please him


Day three: MMC Louis Flaidan & this MMC came in at the same time.


Chief Flaidan said” I will have 2 eggs, ham and toast, Please.   The  MMC in his loud voice said,” Ham, eggs and toast”    So I went about getting the food ready.


On one plate I had eggs, ham and toast, all done just right,   on the other plate I had cold ham, very light toast and almost raw eggs.  Chief Flaidan got the plate of food, done just right and the MMC got the un- done plate of food.   As Flaidan walked out he said: Thank You.  But when the  MMC  walked out, he threw the plate and said” you can at least warm it up”


Lunch and dinner, the same as yesterday, GO, Go, Go, this is cold, not a good piece left, what ever


Day four. Chief Louis Flaidan & MMC came in together again. Chief Flaidan said” I will have 2 eggs, ham and toast, Please.   The  MMC in his loud voice said,” Ham , eggs and toast and heat it up this time.   So I went about getting the food ready.

 On one plate I had eggs, ham and toast all done just right,  on the other plate I had burned ham, burned  toast and very hard eggs.  Flaidan got the good plate and the MMC got the burned plate of food.

          As Flaidan walked out he said Thank You. But when the MMC walked out, he threw the plate and said” you didn’t have to burn.”


At lunch the MMC sat in his same old spot, but when the plate of meat got to him, he took the last piece and said: WILL YOU PLEASE GO GET MORE MEAT and when I handed it to him he said Thank You  For the rest of my time in the chiefs quarters , he always said: Please and Thank You , no more running to get food just for him, unless the dish was empty.


Just before I got off mess duty   Omer Bouressa GMC (53-59)  who was in charge of the chiefs quarters asked me” What did you do to get the MMC  to say:   Please and Thank You”  I told Bouressa.  “ I  got through to the  MMC,  through his stomach.  I told him about the 1st four days on mess duty



Richard Williamson MR2 54-57


Korean War Stories By DougStarr

It was March 1951. The temperature was dropping, and it was snowing heavily. The

destroyer Walke (DD-723) was in siege conditions in Wonsan Harbor, North Korea.

We were short of stores—destroyers carry enough stores for 30 days—and a refrigerator ship

had arrived to replenish us. The reefer dropped anchor (!), and Walke and another destroyer went

alongside and began transferring stores. Walke was on the reefer’s starboard side and between

the reefer and the shore.

During the evolution, we came under fire from the beach. After all, a reefer and two

destroyers made a tempting target. Unfortunately, the Koreans were not very good shots. They

came close, but did not hit us. We continued to transfer stores.

Even so, the reefer sailors got nervous and shouted at us to cast off. The other destroyer left,

but we refused, so the reefer deck crew chopped our lines with an ax and stood out to sea to

await calmer times.

After our return fire silenced the beach guns, the reefer returned. The fresh oranges they had

for us were still on deck, frozen solid, and they transferred them to us.

In our anger, we broke open the crates and threw frozen oranges at the reefer crew. Frozen

oranges are like rocks, but they hurt and they shatter when they hit a steel deck.

In October 1950, I, a Sonarman 2/c was assigned to Walke at the Destroyer Base in San Diego,

California, preparatory to going into harm’s way during the Korean War.

I was assigned with a Lieutenant, a Chief Radioman, and a Radioman 2/c to the 11th Naval

District Headquarters to update all of the ship’s manuals, particularly the radio manuals, used in

the daily operation of the ship.

During the five years since World War II had ended, the manuals had been updated, of

course, but with corrections and additions in red ink, according to regulations.

Our assignment was to write over in black ink the red ink corrections and additions. Nobody

had thought of it during those post-war years, but in the war zone at night, ships go dark after

sundown. No white lights. On the bridge, the only lights are dim red because red light does not

carry far. The enemy cannot spot the ship.

But, at night, it is impossible to read red ink under a red light.

We spent three weeks re-inking in black ink those red-ink corrections and additions.

In 1951 the military instituted combat pay: $50 a month, a fortune to the lower ranks. To

qualify, you had to be in combat five consecutive days. So, every fourth day, Walke left the

combat zone for 24 hours at sea, breaking the five-consecutive-day requirement and negating

combat pay.

Douglas Perret Starr

Sonarman 2/c 50–51 

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