When I first went aboard the Bordelon in March or April of 1956, I was a designated striker, just out of
I believe the Busy Bee was assigned to radar picket duty off the coast of
On the second day I had to take the temperature readings in the forward reefers area of the bow, about three or four decks below. The smell of partially-eaten, rotting fruit, thrown into the moisture-laden angle irons was overpowering, added to my already queasy stomach. I barely finished my rounds and returned to the engine room only to bring up the contents of my stomach ---- not once ---- but numerous times ---- to the point where I was so weak that I was relieved of my duties and carried out, up the ladder in a wire basket stretcher, to my bunk in the berthing space just forward of after steering. There I remained, being fed oranges and saltines by sympathetic unknown shipmates, until Friday when we returned to
While the Bordelon was coming up the river to our pier, I was on the fantail, getting my first breathe of fresh air in three days. There I met another young fireman apprentice who admitted that he too had been deathly ill for the last three days. His name was Wilbert Dennis Dickman from
Dickie, as I called him, and I corresponded for a while and then we just lost touch with each other. Over forty or forty-five years later, just a few years ago, I checked the internet and found his telephone number. He was still in
I had waited too long and missed out on the chance to reminisce with an old friend by just a few months.
Thanks to guys like you I have been able to get in contact with a few old shipmates and I have even visited another Gearing-class destroyer, the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, which is part of a naval display of vessels a few miles away in
Rudy Sanda - 1956