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A Reminiscence by Ken Kuzenski

Augmented by Contributions from Fellow Voyagers

29 June 1953:
We departed Norfolk for Gitmo, and then for Korea. I stood my first underway watch aboard as OOD, 1800-2000.
4 July: We arrived in Panama to begin transit of the Canal.
13 July: We arrived in San Diego.
21-23 July: We were at Pearl Harbor. I became navigator, replaced the Executive Officer Lt. Frank "Get-off-your-Duff" Northrup.
26 July: We refueled at Midway amongst the gooney birds.
27 July: a memorable and most unusual day. We crossed the International Date Line, going from 26 July to 28 July, and the Korean Truce was signed on the 27th of July - truly signed and noted as an historic fact - on a day that did not exist !!
3 August: Arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, after several days of detouring to avoid typhoon weather.
10 August: Joined Task Force 77. The hard, busy work of running with the carriers made OOD watches hectic.
16 August: Detached from TF77 temporarily in order to take our doctor to an emergency patient on a tanker about 100 miles away. We steamed at 34+ knots into a fairly heavy sea.
1-3 September: at Kobe
5 September: Arrived in Sasebo.
9 September: The officers beat the chiefs 9 to 7 at softball.
20 September: Second division officer and torpedo officer were added to my navigator duties. The leading chief was Chief Sayers, and how he loved those torpedoes ! Our Commodore also loved torpedo practices, drills, and making torpedo runs on other ships. On 31 October, for example, we fired and lost two torpedoes.
21 September to 16 October: We operated with TF77
24 November until 1 December. We again operated with TF77. We spent Thanksgiving (26 November) at sea and in bad weather.
6 December: I was promoted to LTJG.
10 December:

We were enroute to Hong Kong, beginning the journey home.

Enroute south, there was an incident that I remember with a number of chuckles. One day at sea, we had a General Quarters drill. I was the OOD at the time of the drill; I also was the GQ OOD. Weather was hot, and we generally wore tropical shirts and shorts as the uniform.

Since I was already on the bridge, I had no opportunity to change into a long-sleeve shirt and long pants for the drill. Other people usually did so, because the XO would raise hell if collars and sleeves weren't buttoned, and if pants cuffs weren't tucked into one's socks.

I was on the starboard wing of the bridge, and I heard the XO on the other wing of the bridge. Even though he was yelling into the wind, the men on the forecastle could hear him clearly. After berating some people in general, he concluded with the statement that he had better see the bottom of every pants tucked into socks, or someone would be in trouble.

The perverse streak (or perhaps it was a larger part of me) took over. I dropped my khaki shorts and neatly tucked their bottoms into my socks. I stood there in my underwear looking through my binoculars over the windscreen of the bridge.

Then the moment I had sort of anticipated happened. The XO came over to the starboard wing of the bridge and saw me there in my underwear, with my pants tucked neatly into my socks. He turned the color of red beets. For a split second, I thought he might explode.

But as he came closer - and I readied myself for life as I knew it to end - he glanced toward the aft part of the bridge - the signal bridge. He froze for a moment, then smiled slightly and said nothing. It took only a quick glance behind me to explain his sudden change in demeanor. On the signal bridge were both the Captain and Commodore, standing together and laughing at what I had done, and at how silly I looked.

Sheepishly, I pulled up my shorts while the XO retreated to the port wing of the bridge. Incidentally, the XO never said a word to me about the matter. But I do know that the casual acceptance of this by the Captain and Commodore spared me, for which I will always be grateful.

Sunday, 20 December: We crossed the equator with appropriate ceremonies.
Ceremonial 'sacrificials' Gene Ferguson, Rich Tinker and Stan Seaman, 'barely' standing, waiting for their shellbacks, and for a good cool shower.
Click on the picture for a larger view.
21-26 December: Singapore.
29 December to January 1954: At Colombo, Ceylon (nka Sri Lanka). I "welcomed" in the new year as shore patrol officer. A substantial part of that time was spent trying to pacify a couple of stuffed-shirt drunken 'old Limeys'. They were among community leaders and other hosts of a reception dance, and they were insistent that all the shore patrol were drunk and unable to do their duty. The shore patrol were the sober ones. There were no incidents whatever.
6 January 1954: We refueled in Aden.
9-10 January: Transited the Suez Canal.
14-17 January: Naples.
18-21 January: Cannes.
23-24 January: Gibraltar.
25-27 January: Lisbon.
6 February 1954:

We arrived at the CE Piers, Norfolk, at 1000.

Home again, after 222 days circling the planet !

Editor's Note: This page was originally a verbatim extract from "Reminisce With Me: One Year, Seven Months, 16 Days Aboard USS Robinson DD562", by Kenneth Kuzenski of McCool, Mississippi. If you were on that cruise of circumnavigation, or have access to stories, notes or pictures by someone who was, you are invited to share such materials with us for inclusion in this page. See Home page for e-mail address.

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