Now Man all unrep Stations
The only unrep party that I ever was involved with, was a weapons onloading.. this was just before being ordered into the Gulf of Tonkin during the chaos that was taking place in Vietnam. President Diem, the puppet President of South Vietnam, was assassinated in November, 1963, and Hannah and her crew were called into the area near what later became known as "Dixie Station", in case war broke out. This was the same time that President Kennedy was sadly and regretfully assassinated in Dallas, Texas. A very dark time for all of us.
I remember one ship, a Stores ship, who's name now goes forgotten, came along side to send up groceries. I could tell this ship was a 'tite' ship - crew wise - anyway, from the sign they had up on the superstructure.. a sign that read, "You might whip our potatoes but you can't beat our meat" . If you served on this 'mystery' ship, please send Email and tell me it's name. Thanks!!!
Addendum: Recently, your Yeoman discovered the name of the above Supply Ship due to a former shipmate who served aboard our "Mystery" ship, who read the above statement about the banner. It appears that the Mystery Ship was the USS ALUDRA AF-55. James Hultman of Vineland, NJ sent me the following: "Jake, good to hear from you... by the way, the ship with the Banner, stating "You might whip our potatoes but you can't beat our meat" was on none other than the USS Aludra AF-55. It was my first ship!"
Jim Hultman has shared some of his own Oral History on our Oral History Site. Read about "Water for Men and Machine".
Jerry "Red" Harris also served in ALUDRA and wanted leave his own comments on the Banner...
Jake, I know this is an old entry on the website but I saw your site and it brought back good memories. I was a BM3 on the Aludra from '64-'67. I made 4 cruises to West Pac, Yankee station, Market Time and all the ports in Viet Nam.
I ran the port side #2 unrep station. That would be the farthest one forward. We got a kick out of our banner and displayed it proudly until the day we unrep'd the Big E in 1965. She had a very senior four stripe chaplain on board and when he saw our banner he went ballistic and had Com Seventh Fleet send over an order to remove the sign. No sense of humor I guess.
From that day on we didn't display it when we unrep'd the big command ships.
The Hancock was one of our better customers. Your unrep crews made it easy to transfer cargo quickly and allowed us to set several transfer records which kept our Captain happy which translated to good liberty in WestPac. Hope this email finds you in good health. Thanks for the memories, I really enjoyed your web site.
Jerry "Red" Harris, BM3,
* This story is also featured in our Oral History Section here.
The Following Shipmates sent Email about the Banner and the USS ALUDRA AF-55:
- James Hultman - Hultman72@msn.com
- Jerry "Red" Harris - Email Private
Thanks, for the updatea! -
I'd like to say a few things about these men working these unrep work parties. They were hard working, dedicated men.. They were often put in harms way, and when you work under such dangerous conditions, you develop a courage that is par with combat soldiers and Marines. These guys proved their 'stuff' while working these at-sea unrep work details.
Little is ever said about them, nor is there praise given them, but let me be perhaps the 1st to say it publically and sincerely, I am aware of it, and through these pages, I have hopes of bringing the truth to light about you hard working men in these divisions.
The same goes for those working refueling and weapons onloading operations. Some of the most dangerous work done in the Navy is done by such as you!
I remember working through the night hunking 1000 pound bombs and this was no easy task, yet you men did this time after time after time, during the Vietnam nightmare. Let us not forget you for your hard work, sweat and often thankless jobs. Not here, sailor! Jake remembers! I tip my White hat to you, boys!
If it weren't for these sailors, we wouldn't have enjoyed the great taste of 'Hancock Steak' or enjoy those powdered eggs, milk and spuds. Good going guys! Fair winds to you always! ~
Man all Starboard Refueling Stations