Stories from the crew

Raymond Zbylut, BTFA/FN Aboard the Corry 1972-1973

I am a new member to the Corry Association, member 335, was a BTFA/FN while aboard the USS CORRY, DD-817 1972-1973 I have a keen memory of those days, and the best crew ever, so all the names come straight out of sheer memory, as I never got a cruise book much to my regret. Shipmates, feel free to e-mail me

Lt Brown Chief Engineer
Lt Jg RAINEY B Division

Fwd Fireroom:

BT1 Silvia
BT2 Weatherwax
BT3 Shupp
BT3 Pritchard
BT3 Cole
BT3 Joe LeMay
BTFN Reiber
BTFN Leman
BTFN Reid Sharding
BTFN Barnes
BT3 Don Cole After Fireroom

Aft Fireroom:

BT1 Brown
BT2 Calvin U. Coward
BT3 James Saul
BT3 Richy Smith
BT3 Chuck Young
BT3 James Bollinger
BTFN Chuck Day
BTFN Michael Dwain Kirby
BTFN Eldridge Gross
BTFN Raymond Zbylut
BTFN Robert Shaeffer
BTFN Pleasants
BTFN Gruber
BTFA Milton

BT1 Sweat
BT2 Fortney

Lt. Jg Gunther Deck Division

Note: Lt Jg Rainey, Lt Jg Moss, and Lt Jg Gunther were all Ensigns while in Vietnam, and were promoted to Lt.Jg shortly thereafter, same with many of the Enlisted Men who were BTFA's, BTFN's, and Petty Officers of various pay grades were later promoted a grade higher after fleet-wide testing and promotion boards met.

Honorary BT-Snipe: HM2 Bettis

Honorary BT-Snipe: FN John Bohmart
Although he was assigned to A-Gang, whenever we had all Four Boilers lit off, (two FWD, and two AFT,) Bohmart would be temporarily assigned to B-3 (After Fireroom,) to stand the Burner Watch with us. ( See Memories #5.)

Ships Barber: Ships Serviceman Tapia

Clearest Memory: We were sitting topside on the dash Deck, one fine clear evening enroute to Singapore, about 15 minutes into the evening movie; (Either: “Count Yoga, Vampire,” or “Blackula,” when we heard a 'shoosh' sound under us, and a gentle slowing down, finally we stopped and listed about 20 degrees to Port. We hit a Sea-Mound. BT-2 Underwood, and BT-1 Stretch were Scuba Divers, and donned their gear to inspect same. We lit off all four boilers, and had the power to break free after several hours. SUBIC BAY DRY-DOCK 30 Days! You bet we were a happy crew!!!

Other Memories; 1: The Corry had a Soda Machine located between the After Fireroom and After Engine Room, Price 5 CENTS. It was of the type in which a 5 or 6 ounce paper cup was dispensed, and filled with flavored soda syrup, such as Coca Cola, mixed with water. The most used term regarding the purchase of soda: “I buy, you fly.” Remember, an E-1's paycheck BEFORE taxes was $269.00/month at the time.

2: The second port we steamed into after departing Norfolk, (the first being Colon, Panama,) enroute to Vietnam, was Manzinillo, Mexico, our Evaporators for distilling Potable Water were on high priority to distill feed water for the boilers, and we became quite low on potable water to take showers, then it was; 'NO SHOWERS,' the Destroyer we were tied next to allowed our crew to take showers, however, soon they too started getting low and secured the water to their showers as well. BT3 James Saul being intelligent, simply went down to B-3, (After Fireroom,) and drew a couple pails of feed water from our tanks, and went from Fireroom “Black Gang” grungy, to the cleanest Snipe aboard! “WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT??? Luckily, however, I was amongst the last to get a shower in on the other ship...BUT....since we all took “Navy Showers,” when aboard ship, I only got as far as soaping up, before the fresh water was secured, then they switched over to “salt water showers.”

3: Okay, we gotta speak of Colon, Panama, although I was young, none the less I did enjoy a beer just as most Sailors do, and that evening I walked to the Zone/Base Club/Bar, and what do you know; they actually ran out of Beer! Mixed Drinks and Shots soon became very popular for those who missed out on what little beer they had I never had a mixed drink in my life, and knew nothing about the contents of ANY mixed drink, and all I could think of was a Martini, after watching James Bond, 007, (Shaken, Not Stirred.) First Sip, 'THIS SUCKS!' I worked as a busboy& dishwasher at a Bar&Grill when I was 13-14 years of age, and recall someone ordering a Whiskey Sour,, and quickly ordered a second drink, I do recall it was a lot better than the Martini, yet definitely could not compare to a cold beer, especially in the Hot & Humid Canal Zone. As a side note, as we transited the Panama Canal, the Fireroom Temperature was 160 Degrees, and of course we worked four and eight on Watch, and then eight hours daywork, (if you had the 0400-0800 watch, so a 16 hour workday in 160 degrees, made one question if being a BT was a SANE decision!

4: We had Shipmates with a few “colorful names:” Lt. Brown, SN Green, SN Blue, SN Black, and SN White. I picked up on this right away, and I kid you not, I recall this at least 10 times a year, starting with the very day I went aboard the Corry. In fact, SN White still owes me $5.00!

5: “WHY DIDN'T I THINK OF THAT???? Number 2; FN John Bohmart, Although he was assigned to A-Gang, whenever we had all Four Boilers lit off, (two FWD, and two AFT,) Bohmart would temporarily be assigned to B-3 (After Fireroom,) to stand the Burner Watch with us, and always on my watch. Of course the Fireroom temperatures are well over 120 Degrees, and at times much higher, such as while in Panama, 160 Degrees. When Bohmart stood watch with us, I would be on one set of Burners, and he on the opposite boiler on burners, literally back to back, using his head, he came well prepared for the heat by filling 2, two quart cans with ICE TEA, and plenty of ICE! We passed those cans back & forth for the entire 4 hour watch, and remained a heck of a lot cooler than we would otherwise be with both boilers lit off bringing the Fireroom temperatures nearly to 130-140 Degrees.

6: Failure to Communicate: At the Beginning of the Voyage, I was a BTFA, and for my permanent day-work duties, BTFA Kirby and I were charged with maintaining the cleanliness of “Pump Row,” which included the daily washing down of ALL equipment and machinery on Pump Row, whether or not it still sparkled from the previous days cleaning, one day BT2 Coward summoned me to come to the Top Watch Platform, there he asked me in a slight Southern Accent; “What do you Like?” I thought to myself, “what kind of question is this?” I asked him to repeat the question as perhaps I misunderstood it due to the noise of the machinery. “What do you Like?” he once again asked. Man, I thought this was one weird question to ask, and I truly didn't know how to respond, and so I said the following: “What do you mean what do I like, I like a lot of things!” Coward then cracked a small smile, and shook his head in disbelief. “No, I don't care what you like, I want to know what you LACK, what work have you left to do over in Pump Row!” I, still not up to speed with his accent, which was quite different than what I was used to being from the Midwest, that I misinterpreted a perfectly clear word, as what I heard was in a slight Southern drawl. I got up to speed quite rapidly with that one and only lesson in accents.

Speaking of Pump Row: Kirby and I were ordered by BT2 Coward to paint all the Pumps and machinery on Pump Row to make “pump row,” shine. We went and picked up the various paints we required, RED, BLUE, WHITE, SILVER, and BLACK, and commenced making our assigned work space “shine as if brand spanking new!” Kirby was quite meticulous, slow, and precise as he painted his equipment, for Kirby's pace in life was a bit laid back, whereas mine was CHARGE! I was excited as the stained insulation, lagging, and cylinders were transformed into seemingly brand new equipment with each stroke of my brush, I was beaming with pride, and just knew our boss, BT2 Coward would be proud. After an hour or so he came over to inspect our progress, when he came to my equipment his face changed into one of intense rage, then a thundering tone of voice that one would expect only to hear emanating from Linda Blair's mouth as she lay in bed in the movie; “THE EXCORSIST,” I heard; “YOU'RE GONNA BE BURNING!” Whoa, what the hell is this all about? I noticed just moments before he became possessed, he was looking straight down into the bilge where the pump I was just painting was bolted to. Kirby came over, and told me that he had never seen Coward display such intense anger, next, Kirby looked at what Coward had seen, I had dripped a small amount of red and silver paint into the bilge. I still didn't 'get it,' I mean those bilges were filled with black stains everywhere, and had copious amounts of NSFO, (Navy Special Fuel Oil,) throughout, and we all know NSFO is akin to Bunker C Fuel, and thick as tar when not heated above 180 degrees, so the paint was easily wiped clear with a rag, as the oil acted as a barrier to anything spilled down in the bilge, but still, this is the Military, and I was a sailor in the United States Navy, and a mere E-2 at that! Days, then weeks, passed without any repercussions from BT2 Coward, the dripped paint of course had been wiped clean off the bilge within moments after discovery, who knows, perhaps Petty Officer Coward felt he overreacted and let it go, perhaps he reconsidered after discovering I had wiped it so clean the Virgin herself could give birth there, or maybe he just plain ass forgot about it and I should thank my lucky stars. Anyway, I had a lot of respect for Coward, and learned quite a bit about boilers and Marine Engineering from him.

Three years later I departed my third, and last Command, NAVSTAKEFLAVIC Iceland, and was being Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Navy after my enlistment was over, was now back in Philadelphia, and the very day I was Honorably Discharged I went to the PX and bought a 12 pack of San Miquel, and went straight to his On Base Home, and there we swapped sea stories and told each other of what we had been up to since the Corry went to the Reserve Fleet three years previously, and I, along with 75% of the Corry Crew were transferred to various ships, and Commands throughout the Atlantic Fleet.

The Twenty Dollar Debt, and the Dangers of Being a bit too Cocky:
The Corry had a long voyage on it's way to Norfolk VA, after our Vietnam Adventure, and only a very small percentage of us had saved any real money to bank, (except John Bohmart, he was the TOP LOAN SHARK of the CORRY, when money was not tight, it was $5.00 for $6.00, when tight, it was $5.00 for $7.00, and at times higher, Bohmart went home a “rich man,) after all we were in Subic Bay, off & on, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and we all know those towns require money!!! I had lent BTFN Kirby $20.00 in Subic many months early on in the voyage in Subic, and although such a sum may not seem like much to those of us living in the 21st Century, it was over 10% of our after tax paycheck for a solid month! I did not need it back right away, so Kirby asked me if I could wait until the voyage ended, to which I agreed. Our ship survived Vietnam, a Hurricane or two, out of sight high/low water levels in the boiler, and now only a few remaining hours before we would see the shoreline of the East Coast as we sailed the clear blue waters of Chesapeake Bay toward our Home Port of Norfolk, Virginia, and many of us gathered on the Fantail to reflect on where we had been, pine over our Olongapo Sweethearts, and stare over the stern anticipating seeing family and friends when we arrive, and it was a Pay-Day too.

Kirby was on the fantail, leaning over the stern lifeline daydreaming about how he would spend his latest paycheck, he was truly in a good mood this day, a sailor with a fat bet he was happy. I received my pay, and as all the others, we walk down the port side of the weather deck, and onto the fantail after receiving our cash, (Uncle Sam didn't pay us in checks in those days it was ALL CASH! ) Kirby saw me standing there as I too regarded the sheer blueness of the sea in this geographical area, he then waved me on over to the stern, still leaning over the lifeline. He knew I was cool with waiting until the voyage was over to repay me, and it already had been six months, I of course would never ask a shipmate to re-pay me while overseas, not unless I was totally broke and in a great port, anyway Kirby feeling like a millionaire, and knowing that before this day was up, he would be on an airplane heading to rural Missouri to enjoy some of that Sweet-Ass Ozark Moonshine for the next for 30 days while on leave. Kirby was “FEELING ALL RIGHT!”

Like I said, Kirby had a big grin of satisfaction all over his face, and decided he would pay me back the $20.00, and with that extra fat wallet this payday as we all allowed our earnings to be kept “on the books,” until we arrived, Kirby had an excess of $800.00 in his wallet, so when I say he had a fat wallet, he literally HAD A FAT WALLET! $800.00 Dollars to we sailors is a lot of Cash, and it went a long-long way back in 1973, and now it was Kirby's time to be a bit cocky, to show off a bit flashing his fortune to me. He, still leaning over the life-line, opens his wallet using his right thumb and index finger on one side, and his left thumb and index finger on the other side, so his hands would not block the showing off of his treasure, next. While still using the same Thumb/Finger grip on one side of the wallet, he lets go of the other side and once again using a thumb & finger starts pulling out a twenty for me, and it is quite the show, he was silently conveying the message to me; “here is your paltry twenty dollars you Yankee pot licker, a rich man like me is only touching it with one finger and a thumb as it's so small and unworthy of my full attention.” His grin grew so big as he was withdrawing the twenty, that I was reminded of the 'Joker,' from the Batman series. My eyes were steady on his antics, when, suddenly, the wallet slipped from his fingers, and into the sea, sinking out of sight in a split second. He froze immediately, literally in shock! BTFN Eldrige Gross, who was our pal and who also worked in B3 After Fireroom, came over, and immediately told him to ask the Capt to swing the ship around. He circled the area four, five, maybe six times, however that heavy laden wallet suck like a rock. I gotta say, Eldrige Gross had a bigger heart than I would had ever guessed under that rugged, and often rough demeanor, and immedietly lent Kirby 50 Percent of all he had in his payday wallet, and I knew gross had nearly a thousand, Gross simply knew Kirby had to get home, and both men shared a common bond, Moonshine, fast cars, and a Southern Heritage that held good men help other good men in bad times. RJZ

Brancato Yeoman 2nd Class

Hi My Name is John Brancato Yeoman 2nd class Retired. Severed aboard the Uss Corry 56-58. Was the Yeoman aboard and assistant to the Captain.
Looking for any of the guys from the softball team. Had great times in Greece . I forgot most of the names of the guys. But we had a Great time. Those were the
Good Old Days. Hope to hear from somebody.

Brancato Yeoman 2nd Class.

Richard Shuey (RD2, 1/67-9/69)

Hello Shipmate -

My name is Richard Shuey (RD2, 1/67-9/69), soon to be a member of the Association. I'll have to develop some of my memories since details have become blurred in the mists of time. However, at this time I'd like to share some of the more distinctive 'brain photos' that have been with me (in no particular order) since leaving the Corry. However -

The most special memory isn't numbered below. It is the memory of the honor that was mine to help defend my country against Communism. Where this action occurred is insignificant. I'd do it again, anywhere. I have never, ever been bothered by retractors of the Vietnamese conflict; why we were there is because that's where the threat was, and we did our best to keep it there and away from America.

Richard Shuey (RD2, 1/67-9/69)

1. Ensign Landman reporting to the Signal Bridge to observe a sea-bat. Twice. It was awesome.

2. Sitting on the fantail watching a most beautiful rainbow created by the spray of our propellers. The end of the rainbow came to rest in the fully loaded garbage cans being dumped in our wake.

3. Patrolling off Cuba(?) when two small missile boats came darting out of a harbor and zig-zagged directly towards us. We went to GQ, though we knew these boats needed to stay on steady course in order to effectively fire. They went DIW less than a mile from us, and we just looked at each other.

4. Again off Cuba, picked up refugees from 1 or 2 overloaded tiny boats and took them to the Land of the Free.

5. Going through the Panama Canal. Watching black water flow from out of our sides as we flushed with the fresh water of the lake.

6. In the Pacific on the way to Viet Nam: We took our shirts off at every opportunity just to piss-off LCDR Todd, the chubbiest little XO ever.

7. Swim-call! Jumping off of the 02 level into the vivid, sunlit waters of the Tonkin Gulf, then ducking and swimming under the breadth of the Corry, while shipmates in rafts patrolled the swim area to discourage poisonous snakes.

8. Enduring Typhoon Faye, sitting in front of an SPS-10 Radar repeater because I was one of the chosen few who did not get terribly sea sick.

9. Learning to sleep undisturbed directly under the aft dual 5"-38 mount during fire missions.

10. Captain Snodgrass, exasperated at our inability to hit the flying target drone, left the Bridge and returned with a carbine. He went out to the starboard signal bridge and shot it just to show us that it could be done.

My dreams are always in black and white.

Except for my Corry dreams.

They are so colorful, bright and vivid they sometimes awaken me.

God's Best to Each and All,
Richard (shuefly) Shuey

Joe Veres

From: []
Sent: Thursday, February 26, 2009 1:42 PM
Subject: "MABEL" the dog

I served on the Corry 5/56-4/58. Was surprised to read Marie McKeithan's e-mail about "Mabel". I was on watch the cold-rainy night she was chased down the pier by a shipyard bully dog. I have told the story many times about the high seas in the north Atlantic and how mabel would get between the laundry bags laying in the center passageway to sleep. She also loved to steal a white hat during the movie on the fantail and hide it in the after 5inch mount. The MAA would then put them into the lucky bag. Seems I remember more about her then I do my shipmates,
which is a shame. Does anyone know what happened to her?.................Joe Veres, Ocala Fl.

Jim Bettis (HM3 - 1971 to July of 1973)

Hi, I sent this story in originally to your predecessor, but he passed away before it got into the shi@tampabay.rr.comp's history. My name is Jim Bettis. I was an HM3; one of two Hospital Corpsmen assigned to Independent Duty aboard the Corry from 1971 through July of 1973. During all that time we rarely stayed in port for very long. The incident I am about to report ocurred during our North Atlantic Cruise. I'm not sure which year it was, but it ocurred on Thanksgiving day.

Prior to the cruise, our Supply Officer; Lt Byrd, asked me to take a look at their below decks storage space. They stored flour and dried goods there. The space reaked of mildew. The dried goods that were stored there absorbed that scent, even though they were perfectly edible. Mr. Byrd wanted me to condemn the subsistence so that they could get credit for it and buy fresh replacements before we pulled out to sea.

I made an inventory of the affected subsistence items and submitted samples along with the inventory to the Preventive Medicine Unit in Norfolk. The response wasn't favorable. They came back with the decision that the foodstuffs were "fit for human consumption".

Thus, when we pulled out of Norfolk that November, we carried the same supply of mildew-flavored dry goods. I don't recall all that included, but I do remember that it involved the flour, noodles and the eggs.

A week out of Norfolk, we ran out of fresh milk. About that time the crew noticed that while the pancakes looked good, they tasted moldy. Likewise with the eggs. I can testify to this because I lost 15lbs on that 30-day cruise. You could take one bite and that's about it. You just couldn't eat any more. The taste was nauseating. Mind you, I'm talking about the bulk of the crew, not the Chiefs or the Officers, who had their own separate storage spaces and food supplies and were totally indifferent to our complaints.

Ok. Let me regress for a second. The Corry, in the time I was aboard, had a history of a Phantom Shitter. Someone, I never learned who, kept shitting in the Captain's urinal on the bridge. He was never caught and the crew loved it. Naturally, the Captain was infuriated and I'm sure had the culprit been caught, he would've served a severe penalty and been made an example of.

As we neared the Arctic Circle and high seas, the morale of the crew was very low. Nobody could eat and everyone was hungry. The cooks served beef stew throughout the cruise because it was the only thing we could eat that didn't reak of mildew. Beef stew gets real old, really fast...

The incident occurred on Thanksgiving of 1971, I think. I was walking down the main passageway with Tony Tenaglia, one of our signalmen. We passed the main crew's galley and then the tiny Officer's Galley heading towards the Forecastle. We stopped at the Wardroom and looked into the Officer's Galley. Low and behold, there sat a steaming turkey loaf! All by itself, unprotected, unguarded and highly vulnerable.

I looked up at the ladder leading to the bridge, and down to the ladder leading to the Mess decks. Nobody. The hatch leading to the main deck was closed and secured. I remember looking at Tony and saying "Tony, let's steal it!" To which Tony replied "Doc' you're fu**king nuts!" We both knew what would happen if I got caught doing that.

I swore Tony to secrecy, telling him he couldn't tell ANYONE and then peeked into the Wardroom to see all the officers sitting at the Wardroom table, apparently waiting for their Thanksgiving dinner. I looked around. Nobody... the coast was clear.

I told Tony to keep watch while I ran back down the main passageway to Sick Bay. I opened the door and grabbed a sterile towel. I returned to the Wardroom Galley and all was still clear.

I crawled under the opening between the Galley window and the Wardroom so as not to be seen and reached up and snatched the hot turkey. I wrapped it in the sterile towel and just as I did, I caught movement in the midship's passageway to my right. It was one of the Supply Clerks passing by! He saw me as he passed but continue on down the ladder to the Mess Decks. I was startled but not deterred. I'd already passed the point of no return.

I scurried under the Wardroom window and out into the Main passageway. Tony took off up the ladder to the bridge as I ran down to Sick Bay. I had difficulty unlocking the door because my hands were shaking so badly.

Once inside, I opened the small refrigerator we used to store refrigerated medication and stuffed it inside. It took a bit of doing, since the turkey loaf was so damned long! But, I crammed it in there and closed the door. Sick Bay permeated with the smell of fresh-cooked turkey and I was very concerned that they'd be able to follow the smell directly to Sick Bay.

At the time of the incident, my Chief Corpsman was HMC O'Laughlin. Chief O'Laughlin was the type who would've turned me in just to get his brownie points from the Captain. So, to hide the smell, I poured half a bottle of Isopropyl Alchohol on the deck. Scratch the smell of turkey.

I'd never done anything like that before; stealing the Officer's meal. But, it just seemed justifiable to me since the crew was miserable and the Officer's and Chief's turned a blind eye to our misery. It just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I was visibly shaking and had to restrain myself.

I left Sick Bay and headed back up the Main passageway. When I reached the Officer's Wardroom there was a lot of commotion. The Phillipino Messman was explaining to the Captain that he had just taken the turkey out of the oven and had gone to take a smoke break. When he returned, it was gone! The Officers were outraged. I heard one of them saying they were going to search the entire ship! There was a lot of profanity from a group of so-called gentlemen...

I passed by and out the hatch and headed up to OX Division compartment, which was located behind mount 51. My bunk was the top of three and I climbed up and tried to calm down. I was very nervous.

A few minutes later, the door burst open and Jack Hebert, another signalman rushed in laughing and congratulating me. I was furious. Tony had blabbed about the theft when he got up to the signal bridge. I told Jack he couldn't tell anyone, or I'd get hung out to dry! He swore to keep my secret and left.

Shortly thereafter, the Officers conducted a search of the entire ship. A note was placed on the Officer's Wardroom by crew, cordially inviting the Officer's to dine with the crew on the messdecks for our Thanksgiving meal of Grog, or whatever... That didn't go over to well with the Officers. I heard that the XO; LCDR Hunt climbed down the ladder into the boiler room and found one of the BT's eating a sandwich. When the XO asked him what he was eating, he replied "Turkey" thinking it was funny. LCDR Hunt didn't find it humorous.

They searched the entire ship that day without success. To my suprise, they didn't ask me to open up Sick Bay. Lucky for me. Later that night, I returned to Sick Bay and cut the turkey into quarters. I gave one quarter to the Signalmen to act as hush money and keep them quiet. Another quarter went to CIC, to the Radar gang. I had to make sure they'd keep quiet about it too.

During the remainder of the cruise, an Officer was stationed on the messdecks during our meals. I guess they thought we'd have the audacity to eat their turkey in plain view. Morale shot sky high and I heard numerous shipmates crack jokes about it during the meals just to annoy the Officer who was watching us.

One day while I was eating my grog, I sat with Michael Hayes, one of our Radiomen who was the editor of the ship's newspaper. Mike kept saying "God, I wish I knew who stole that turkey"... You'll never know how much I wanted to step forward and claim credit. Instead, I invited Mike up to Sick Bay for a coke. I kept coke in the fridge. Mike sat down and I leaned over to open the fridge. I had to reach around the turkey to get one. I made sure to open the door nice and wide. I closed it and handed the coke to Mike when he asked what that was. I told him, the turkey. He was shocked. He never suspected I was the one who had stolen it.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed. I thought for sure that I would've been one of the prime suspects. I did some pretty crazy stuff when I was aboard the Corry. But, suffice to say, I kept my crow. Mike said he wanted to write a story about it.

He went to the Captain and the Captain said he would have to review the story so it wouldn't appear that he condoned what ocurred. Quite frankly, I saw the Captain laughing about it when he was talking with the messman that night. Mike wrote the story and the Captain reviewed it. It was published and read by the entire crew.

I consider the Phantom Turkey Thief episode to be one of my highlights of my Naval Career. I'm fairly sure that only a handful of the crew really knew who took that turkey. And to that supply clerk who passed by the galley that fateful night, thank you for not squealing.

The Officer's ate ham that night. WE didn't have ham. But, our grog went down a whole lot better...

Scott J McCombs - Son of Charles McCombs (1946)

I enjoy reading your web pages, my father (Charles McCombs)was an original member of the Cory crew in Jan 46, he passed away 5 years ago this June. I was reading the story from John L. Setzer and it reminded me of stories my dad used to tell me of when he was in Texas with the ship. How it was the oddest thing to see their ship as it was heading out. Said it looked the ship was sailing on the land as the channel was narrow and from a distance you could not see the water. Also told me about going to Gitmo in the same time frame as mister Setzer mentions so I imagine it was the same cruise. My dad’s placard from the commissioning still hangs on the wall in his “work room” and another picture of the ship hangs in my mom’s den. That ship meant a lot to him and he talked of it often, so reading your site every once in a while helps me feel like he is still here, thanks for that.

P.S. if Mr. Setzer has pictures I would like to see them to see if my dad could be in one.

Scott J McCombs
Sr. Eng Spec.
GCS Inc.
7640 Omnitech Place
Victor, NY 14564
ph: 585-742-9133
fax: 585-742-1914

Jerry Jackson YNCS (Retired 9/1974)

Well I have a few minutes at home today and decided to visit your webpage again. I have such tremendous memories of my short tour of duty on board USS CORRY stationed Norfolk, Va. I will only cite a small sample of my fond memories, but everyone I met on board were true shipmates and friends. I wish I had taken pictures and wrote a diary so I could remember their names but being a young fellow at 32 years of age other things seemed more important at the time.

I went on board CORRY at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on 11/15/1967 when she was undergoing changes. I had just completed a year's tour in-country Vietnam with COMUSMACV. I was a fairly new YNC who had little if no experience as a personnel man. When I reported aboard at the Corry personnel office in a building at the shipyard, there was a PN1 running the show; can't remember his name. But, I was informed right away that he would be getting transferred and I would have the whole ball. Wow, did I need to learn personnel matters quickly.

Well it worked out all right and I managed to learn but the XO on board didn't really think I was qualified enough and he kept getting in my way of personnel matters when we moved back aboard ship. Finally I asked him to stay out of the ship's office as he seemed to frighten my younger three strikers. He agreed and things went well.

After moving back aboard CORRY a new CO came on board named Cornelius Snodgrass. I remember him well. I remember him wanting me on the bridge all the time he was on the bridge and he wanting me to man the sound powered phones there. I also remember him throwing all his Navy manuals (Navy Regs, etc.) out of his cabin wanting them updated ASAP. I was impressed with him--he was going to be a competent captain.

Well we went to GTMO for shakedown and we passed everything quite well thanks to his leadership. I remember one time we were backing out of GTMO in a narrow stream and he had to maneuver the vessel out from in between a couple of others, get into the stream and back out to the main channel. He went to the open deck above the bridge where secondary engine order-telegraph (EOT) was also located, taking both me with my sound power phones and the sailor manning this EOT. He relayed engines orders to the sailor and rudder orders to the copper tubing, with me replying back to him the rudder orders to confirm from below decks.

What an experience. It was like we were on a pin head and could see everything and Captain Snodgrass' maneuvers were the best I had ever seen. He had come to us from a wooden hull minesweeper and I remember one time when he first took CORRY to sea from Norfolk which was before GTMO that he learned it took more feet to slow and stop a destroyer than a minesweeper, but that's another story that only a select few know about, but I'm sure remember.

I served on USS CORRY from 11/15/1967 to 9/6/1968 and returned to in-country Vietnam with various units including the Navy Seawolf Helicopter Unit.

Jerry Jackson
YNCS (Retired 9/1974)
Submitted 12/17/2005

I received this as e-mail from Gemmy Brown, I do remember the alligator he captured and the Mardi Gras but guess I had too much of that strong coffee to remember the flag incident, Jerry.

Jerry ,

You and I served together in the Corry during my tour !949-1951. I was 1st Lt and Assistant Gunnery Officer under Lcdr Duffy and Lcdr Lamb. Cdr Mandelkorn was skipper and Lcdr McMurray was Exec.

I understand Jim sent you the Corry ball team photo I sent to him. I plan to dig out some more photos for you. Do you remember the alligator mascot I acquired in the Everglades during our Port Everglades visit. I turned it .. loose in Duffy's stateroom. We gave it to the "Survival exhibit" at Pensacola NAS after a few days. Do you also - remember that Corry set the shore bombardment record at Culebra in 1951 with a perfect score? Those were fun days. We also visited New Orleans at Mardi Gras. I had the 0400-0800 watch going upriver and flew a Confederate flag from the yardarm and wore a Confederate cap until the skipper came on deck and "suggested" that the fun was over since it was now daylight. He put up with a lot from me.
Coleman T Brown Jr.

John L. Setzer (1946)

My name is John L. Setzer - I was an original member of the crew when it was formed at NOB, Norfolk, in the fall of 1945. We trained there, went by train about 31 January 1946 to Orange, TX; commissioned her at Orange; sailed to Galveston, TX, and drydocked; left Galveston on shakedown in latter part of March 1946, headed to Gtmo, Cuba. Returned to Charleston, SC, about 1st July and then to Norfolk about 15 July where I shortly afterwards left her. I was a Seaman 2c. I returned home to Hickory, NC. I have about one dozen pictures of crewmembers if anyone is interested.




G. W. Kelly GM3 (1961 - 1963)


I was stationed on the Corry in early 1961 through late 1963. It was the greatest experience of my life and I have never forgotten it. Was anyone there at that time? When I first came on board, the ship had a mascot, a cocker spaniel named "Mabel" Corry (with the ok of the Navy) who actually went to sea with us and had made a Med cruise too. As she got older and a little shaky, one of the crew took her home to his parents and she lived out her Naval career as a land pup. The Captain at that time was Harold W. Hiller who I had the opportunity to visit in New York many years after I was discharged. We had a great time talking about our experiences, sliding into an LSD while refueling at sea, the hurricane we rode out near Honduras and the Cuban missile crisis. The Corry was one of the first ships sent to Cuba then as we had been escorting a sub down to Florida and we were right there when the crisis broke open. I remember we were short about 25% of our crew. Our sister ship, The Charles P. Cecil tracked a Russian sub for a month finally forcing it to surface. The Captain sent up "may we assist you" flags and the story made Time Magazine. Would love to hear from anyone who remembers me. Thanks for a great website!
GW Kelly GM3,

Robert M. Pohl (1961 - 1966)

My name is Robert Pohl. I was a Sonarman stationed aboard USS Corry from October 1961 to June 1966. I am writing about several adventures that occurred while I was aboard. These are by no means all the stories that happened, but as it was a long time ago the following are the ones I remember.

Belize, British Honduras, November 1, 1961 to November 5, 1961:

I was one of the working parties that was sent to cover the fifth floor of the hospital with tarpaulins. The roof of the hospital was blown off by Hurricane Hattie. There was an English gentleman who was bringing the tarps to the hospital by car. This unfortunate chap had 144 cases of Whitehorse Scotch which washed up on his front lawn during the storm. Every time he made a trip, the trunk was also full of Scotch. There was more than the working party could drink. Being good sailors, thinking of their shipmates, every night when the whaleboat made a trip to the beach, the front compartment was opened, life jackets removed and loaded to the brim with Scotch. It was smuggled aboard during the night and hidden in empty 3” canisters, 01 Level Aft. When we got underway on the fifth of November at 0600 most of the crew was running around with mess-deck cups full of Scotch. It took 5 to 6 hours to sober up enough people to relieve the sea detail. The officers searched the ship thoroughly, but nary a bottle was found. The last quart was consumed on the midwatch at Christmas Eve in Norfolk.

Gaeta, Italy March 11, 1962 to March 14, 1962:

During the 1962 Med Cruise, when you went on Liberty, you had to sign out on the Quarterdeck, and sign in when you got back. There was not any “overnight” and everyone had to be back by midnight. I had Shore Patrol one night and there were two personnel unaccounted for. We stayed over until 0200 looking for them. They were found in their racks. SO2 Lockhart and ET2 Nunes did not want to wait for the Whaleboat as we were anchored out, so they stole a boat and rowed out to the ship and came aboard over the fantail. At 1600, the ASW Officer had Ed Lockhart backed against the bulkhead questioning him as to how he came back aboard. Ed swore he came back on the whaleboat. There was so much racket I got out of my bunk and want into the Sonar shack. There sitting on the deck was the anchor from the rowboat. I immediately opened the hatch to Lower Sound and threw the anchor down. After that I did not give it a thought. Two weeks later we had a Lower Sound inspection. I sent SN Stillman to clean Lower Sound. He did a good job and not only cleaned the anchor but all around it. The ASW Officer and I stood at the top of the hatch as CDR Hiller inspected the space. He yelled up and asked what an anchor was doing in Lower Sound. The ASW Office turned white and almost passed out. I told the Captain we streamed the anchor after we had to splice the BT cable to make sure it would hold. He bought it. Nunes had hidden the oars in a cable run in the INTAC room.

I am not sure where this happened, but I had the Duty Petty Officer of the Watch. We were anchored out and the Whaleboat had made it’s last run to the beach. One sailor came across the Quarterdeck and had two whiskey bottles in his white pants. The OOD was a pretty good guy and said to the sailor “when I turn my back I want to hear two splashes.“ The sailor sad “Yessir” and when the OOD turned around he threw both of his shoes over and beat it down the deck in stocking feet with the two bottles. I had a real tough time trying not to laugh.

Early September 1962:

We arrived in Norfolk in early September 1962. My division slept in the compartment below the messdeck. In the storeroom below that compartment was where all our cartons of ship’s whiskey were stored. The ship posted a MAA on the messdeck, the scullery, the top of the ladder and down the port side to the brow. As the cartons were passed up from the storeroom, my division men sliced around the top of their own cartons, lifted off the tops and removed five bottles. They put the bottles in their lockers and walked off the ship with empty cases.

August 31, 1963 to September 1963:

Arrived San Juan, Puerto Rico. We were only allowed base liberty due to a Dengue Fever outbreak. The base was enclosed with a chain link fence which, of course, the Dengue mosquitos could get through.

April 12, 1963:

We attempted to fly two DASH (Drone Antisubmarine Helicopter). Both took off, turned over and crashed into the water. Returned to NORVA and loaded another one. On the 14th we attempted to film the DASH launch. This one flew but no one knew where it went. It took off and kept on going. The word aboard was “a DASH a day in the Chesapeake Bay.” An unknown someone flew a kite from the DASH deck and when the Captain saw it, there was hell to pay. He never found out who it was. Tee hee.

January 20, 1965:

Arrive Port Canaveral, FL. Our mission was to be a safety observer for a submarine launching a Polaris Missile. The submariners had a club on the pier where we tied up. First the Captain sent the Division Officers to get everyone out of the club. Then he sent the Department Heads. He did not succeed until he sent the XO. They had a Roaring 20’s Night Club there and that is where we spent liberty. We did not get to stay too long as the ASW Officer asked a girl in a red spangled dress to dance. She got really snotty and said “I don’t dance with sailors.” He decked her and we evacuated the club because they called the police.

Your Shipmate, Robert M. Pohl

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