USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Whatever Happened to
Radarman Wally "Pete" Shelton?

Wally Shelton, 2012

Here’s the story of “Oldwhatshisname” “Wally” Shelton RD2 living in far northern Calif. I joined the Naval Reserves in 1953 and in the fall of 1955 I joined the Navy where I spent two years stationed at Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Whitehurst DE634. We were on sea patrol of the Caroline Islands, Marianas up past Iwo Jima to Japan. Went to Brisbane, Australia for R&R and goodwill. In the summer of 1957 I was discharged at Treasure Island and back to citizen life. Back to setting chokers for a logging company, then along came a job with the U.S. Geological Survey (WRD) operating a pick and shovel.                                       

A note:

  After discharge from the service in 1957, I brought a 1954 4-door Chevrolet sedan, my sister while learning to drive, ran this vehicle through a fence. Later I gave her this vehicle.

In November of 1957 I was called to the U.S. Geological District office in Sacramento, CA and began my career in USGS as a Hydro-Tech. In the summer of 1959 I transferred to Redding Field Office. In the fall I entered Shasta College, studying Civil Engineering.

January 1960 married in Reno, NV and continued to work for USGS and attended Shasta College. June of 1960, I quit Shasta College and returned full-time to the USGS. Family life made it too difficult to do both. During the summer of 1960 we brought a house.    In 1963, we divorced.

From 1959 to my transfer back to Sacramento in 1964 I worked for the USGS and weekends for a brother as a mechanic on two log trucks.

On my move back to Sacramento (1964) I stayed with an Uncle. Bless his Big Ole Pea Picking Heart, because I did not have a pot or window to throw anything out of. I left Anderson CA., April 1964 with a 1952 Chevy pickup, dishwasher, twin bed and my clothes.                                                                                    

 1964 to 1968 under excellent USGS mentorship I was taught the in's and out's of the USGS Water Resources and was in charge of constructing many stream flow-gaging stations throughout the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range (Lake Isabelle to Susanville, San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys).

October 5, 1965 I was “DUMB” enough to remarry. In 1966 we bought an old 1930's two-story house in South Sacramento. Many memories in this old house are still with me - some good and some not so good. No children. Wife passed away, May 1984.

1968 - 1974 I continued gaining experience under the excellent mentorship of he Sacramento District Office of USGS. During the summer of 1974 the Redding Field Office chief position became available and someone in the District thought I qualified for this job. November 1974 I transferred back to Redding as the Field Office Chief.

1974 - 1991 I lead the Redding Field Office with a four-person crew in many facets of work the Geological Survey (WRD) performed throughout Northeastern California -Chico on the south, Coast Range on the west, Oregon Border on the north and Nevada border on the east. This period was a very enjoyable time in my career of 34 years with the USGS.

I retired in May 1991, and continued to work for another brother as mechanic on his eight log trucks out of Douglas City, CA. This mechanic job, as a weekend job, began in summer 1982 and ended in summer 2003. During these 21 years, I mechaniced and drove log truck from 1995 to 2003, under the excellent mentorship of Bud Lee (Sittin-in- Bull), Tommy Reid (Tommy 2) and bro. Lee (Keno), a great experience.

Played retiree on through summer 2003 to July 2004, when Matheson Postal Inc. hired me to drive van type mail truck out of Redding Post Office, five days a week. I continued to work for Matheson Postal Inc. off and on until spring of 2011. I resigned due to health problems. The 7 1/2 years with them were wonderful work years as they are outstanding people.

 Brings this story to summer 2013 at 76 year of age, driving a water truck for a logging company.


About 1990 I reacquainted with a lady I had known during my High School years, and  are very good friends today. During these years we have been many places in the United States of America and the world. Honolulu, Hawaii,  Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Ship Cruises, we've been through the Panama Canal, Mexican Rivera, Florida and Bahamas, Alaska, tour of Prudhoe Bay, Antarctica via New York, Cape Town, South Africa, and Santiago Chile (this cruise an exceptional/outstanding one),

Quebec, Canada to Fort Lauderdale, Florida with stops along the East Coast, this right after hurricane “Katrina”. Some cruises with family and some by ourselves. 

May 2004 flew to Seoul Korea with a buddy who landed at Inchon Harbor with General Douglas MacArthur May 15, 1951. This was a wonderful trip to be with a person whom talks the talk and walks the walk. Went to the DMZ, what an eerie place.

During these years, my daughter, 1st marriage, blessed me with two granddaughters and in turn, three great grand children (2 girls and 1 boy).

Son took up the gay life early in his life.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wally "Pete"

Note:  Wally was very active in the Whitehurst Reunion efforts.  He attended regularly.  In 2008, at his own expense, he printed and distributed books on the Whitehurst's 1957 Cruise to the West Pacific.
He and Pat Phillips hosted the 2010 Whitehurst Reunion in Reno, NV.
We are saddened to report that in early 2015 he lost his life in a tragic auto accident.                                                         max crow webmaster

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