Kronenberg's Leg by Tim Dorgan

Tim Dorgan 1962

Tim Dorgan, Recent

Frank Kronenberg was a 1st Class Signalman when the Whitehurst deployed to West-Pac in 1961 & 1962. He was an OK guy except when it came to buying his own cigarettes. He also liked to remind us non-rated personnel that he was far better than we were. But, he was our leader after Chief Dougherty. 

When we departed Japan in July of 1962 the Whitehurst looked great and had just been painted while we were in Hong Kong, except for the Signal Bridge and Flying Bridge. On the way back to Pearl we hit some pretty nasty weather and took a long salt bath. This brought out all the flaws in the paint on the two bridges, so after we steamed east of Midway and the weather had greatly improved one of more of our leaders decided that the two bridges needed painting. Before we got to Pearl we had all the bulkheads painted and they looked great, the decks however were another story. 

We arrived in Pearl Harbor and as we had been home ported there all hands were looking forward to Liberty. PO 1 Kronenberg took obvious pleasure in advising the Quartermaster and Signalman strikers that we would not be going on liberty until the decks on the Bridge and Signal Bridge were painted. There were four of us that didn't have watch, myself, Rodger Clement, Lee Bridges and Stewart Bowler. So when the Ensign was shifted we started on the Bridge, Rodger and I took the Signal Bridge. I started painting from the Port Flagbag forward and Rodger started on the Starboard side. We had one five gallon can of paint and one single gallon can that I was using.  

I was just up to the Pilot House hatch when Kronenberg came flying into the Pilot House. I think he had left his cigarettes in the Signal desk, he was in his white liberty uniform all spiffy looking. I said; "You can't come this way the deck is all wet paint!" He whirled around and headed for the Starboard hatch, I yelled again because that side was wet paint also. He turned to look at me and at the same time he steeped out of the hatch and right square into Rodgers five gallon can of Deck Grey paint. It was a sight to behold. Frank was livid! Rodger and I were trying our best to keep from falling over laughing. Kronenberg took off his left shoe and sock folded up his, now Deck Grey, trouser leg and went down below. It took Rodger and me over an hour to finish painting, mostly because we kept laughing instead of painting...... Tim Dorgan

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