USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster, DESA

Lew Cowden's Memories of
Weather in the China Sea and West Pacific.
Lew Cowden was a Refrigeration Machinist Mate
and Whitehurst Plank owner.  He wrote the letter
below in July, 2013


       I enjoyed your DVD, Heavy Seas, of ships in bad weather,* I sort of  relived my days on the Whitehurst.  They ranged from days in the China sea when the ocean was smooth as glass to days when the sea was like you showed.


The China Sea days were blistering hot with no wind whatsoever and the sea was flat and looked like a mirror. Every now and then a flying fish would break the surface and leave a trail of V like little waves behind it.

There was a Hatch in the forward deck which opened into the chief’s quarters and they made a canvas air scoop to give them air. We all had heat rash. On watch on the evaporators, in the after fire room, I stood the watch in front of the vent  duct to try and keep cool.   

       We were in Halsey’s typhoon. Perhaps we were not in the worst part of it but it seemed no worse than others we had been in. Maybe we were used to them after nearly two years out there. I think Syd Calish wrote about it on your web site. Storm_by Syd Calish We had been through several by then. We used to sit in the machine shop and watch the inclinometer on the forward bulkhead.

 I personally saw 59 degrees. I don’t know if the needle had momentum and read higher than the actual roll or not.  The first Lt. Nance told us in a lecture  that the ship could roll 89 degrees and
still right itself. We never rolled quite that far.

     Thanks again Max, I hope you enjoyed the 4th of July .


note: The Clinometers on Whitehurst were  primitive metal arrows
hanging on a bulkhead near the centerline of the ship. Each arrow swung freely from a pivot at the "feather" end, over a degree indicator mounted below the point.  There was also one in the Pilot House and perhaps other places.  These did not actually record the degrees of the roll.  Someone had to be observing it to know how far the ship rolled.    mc

*Lew is referring to a DVD of Ships in Heavy Seas which was
distributed at the 2013 reunion of Whitehurst WWII veterans.

 WWII Era | Korea War & '50s | Viet Nam & 60s |  Reunions | All Links Page | Search & Rescue
Memorial | Poetry  | Enemy Below | Taps List | Photos/Armament | History | Crews Index | Home