USS Whitehurst Logo by: Pat Stephens, Webmaster DESA


 Poetry Related to USS Whitehurst and Her Duties

  Written at various times by various Whitehurst sailors

  If you have a Whitehurst related poem, please send it to Site Author E-mail for inclusion on this page.

Buried at Sea

This poem lifted from an old issue of DESA News. It was written by Raymond E. Plumb in may 1984 and dedicated to:
Bill Breeding Cox and all the men who died with him on the USS Whitehurst.

This story is about a Destroyer Escort built on the West Coast in 1943. The crew came from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago, Ill. The little ship was nearly destroyed by a squadron of Japanese planes off the coast of Japan (Okinawa) in April 1945 but she came back swinging.

The war was on, they needed help!
"DEs" were born with pride,
They replaced the big "tin cans"
With convoys at their sides.

A "lilly" bomber makes a run
Gliding in like a breeze
Across our bow to drop the bomb
That missed our "LSTs".

My blood ran cold but I had faith
In the gunner next to me.
With deadly aim Bill squeezed it off
And the bomber hit the sea.

Live on, these proud and fearless men
And men they were you see
To live and fight another day
For Little Bill and me.

Here they come, out of the sun
Like a swarm of angry bees!
Came those screaming Kamikaze
Spilling blood into the sea.

Coming in from everywhere,
The sun, the clouds, and sea
Strafed the deck and dropped the bomb
On Little Bill and Me.

The decks were cut with gaping holes,
Look through them to the sky,
Thankful that so many lived
For those that had to die.

These men are not forgotten.
They still live in you and me.
Fought and died for Freedom,
This was their destiny.

Our ship came up like thunder
The ocean tried her soul.
We were sent to sink the sub
That sank the "Eversole".

We came upon the tragedy
to lend a hand someway.
Our sonar spoted a submarine
Six thousand yards away.

We sank sub, that's history,
But let us shed some light
On the men who thank their lucky stars
The Whitehurst was there that night.

Paramount made a movie
With pride and honor to bestow
On our little ship, The Whitehurst
Called "The Enemy Below".

She grew old and weary
And was put to sleep with grace.
The Pacific Ocean was her home
And now her final resting place.
Raymond E. Plumb May 1984


The poem was written New Year's Day 1951, by Lt Gillman and Ens. Harlan,

and entered in the ships log of that date.

It has long been a tradition with both the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard the the first mid-watch log entry of the new year be unusual.

United States Ship Whitehurst (DE634)
Date Monday 1 January 1951

00 to 04
The watch is set on this rusty old barge.
It's the first of January and the rats are at large.
Moored starboard side to the number 5 pier,
While the crew all dream of girls, liberty, and beer.
At berth fourteen, well secured to the dock,
With six inch manila run through the chock.
Located in an area not known to be new
At Pearl Harbor Naval Base on Island Oahu.
SOPA the boss, who should not be in bed
Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet, it is said.
Thought the ship it is condition Baker,
And boiler number one is the old steam maker.
We are receiving fresh water from the shore.
Our evaps are not working for us anymore.
Mighty warships of the Pacific Fleet are here,
Yard and district craft, so we have nothing to fear.
The ship has welcomed the glad new year
Without much noise and even less cheer.
The Captain and Exec are in bed snoozing
But McClintock and Alsover are still out boozing.
The whole crew is aboard, they are silent and glum.
Their pockets are empty, payday hasn't come.
The Chief Engineer returned before two.
Without his boilers, he didn't know what to do.
He said he was sober as he grinned into space,
Then took a step forward and fell on his face.
Zero-two-twelve, flying saucers in the west,
The Damage Control Officer will know what is best.
Chemical alarm or repair number two,
The men he has trained won't know what to do.
Send a man up the mast armed with an OBA
To watch for the little men who are here to stay.
The paymaster came aboard at zero-two--thirty.
His eyes were bloodshot and clothes were all dirty.
Asked where he'd been and what he had done,
He replied, "I don't know, but I must have had fun.
C.J. Gillman....................................D. Harlan
LTJG USNR.........................................Ens. USNR
004-08 Moored as before.


On December 24, 1953, Whitehurst was on a Search and Rescue mission at Agrihan Island in the West Pacific. Radarman Gene Paquette with help from several old "what's-his-names" wrote the following poem after the search
parties went ashore.

Christmas on the Whitehurst

Over the ocean, over the sea,
That's where you'll find the Whitehurst on Christmas Eve.

Now it's Christmas and all is calm.
But the Whitehurst is still raging on.

The crew is full of Christmas joys.
As the Whitehurst sails with its boys.

Sailing on Christmas isn't so bad.
But on the Whitehurst, Jarheads we had.

So on we go to Agrihan,
And on the Whitehurst no one gives a damn.

So it's Christmas and all isn't well.
So on the Whitehurst we fight the swell.

So bring on the whiskey, bring on the gin.
Maybe the Whitehurst will bring the flyers in.



By Gary W. Hendrickson RD3

Written near the end of Whitehurst's Viet Nam patrols, 1962.


We are all a part of the Whitehurst crew

In the year of our Lord nineteen sixty-two.

Our families and loved ones we see no more;

We're stuck on this ship D.E. six thirty-four.


Now many of us, in times not far past,

Have played our roles in a far different cast.

From each walk of life her crew is made up;

The call to her steel many lives did disrupt.


She wears a proud name, as in days of yore

Her guns blazed hot in the second world war.

With men and might she fought all but the Nazi,

Til her career was near ended by a Jap Kamikaze.


Her remains were sent to the Pearl Harbor yard,

To return her again to the sea lane guard.

Though her lines were changed to a slight degree,

She was ready to fight, as any could see.


An illustrious future would not be her fate,

Her new menial task a proud ship would hate.

For it was determined that what she deserved

Was to carry a crew of green boot reserves.


Each would spend one weekend of every four

Attempting to learn but listening to lore.

And for two weeks a year, cross the blue Pacific,

We were men of the Navy and really terrific.


Then one dismal day on an October morn,

To the United States Navy we really were born.

With sea bag and farewell we departed Seattle,

The Whitehurst would fight a new kind of battle.


In the days to come across the vast sea,

We would live, laugh and fight on this tragic D.E.

Points of the compass where once she did dwell,

Fast were becoming a new kind of hell.


All traditions were here, to some of us strange,

We hated the Bo‘sun pipe with its piercing range.

The master-at-arms with his badge and a scowl

Had everyone cowed, we all thought him quite foul.


There was pride in this ship, the crew had spunk;

Our running Bate we called a Philippine junk.

Although they were la the same spot as we,

How they kept her afloat was a great mystery.


How that sorry craft from a different state,

Orders from her were a bitter pill to take.

Though she flew the flag of COMCORTRON SEVEN,

Next to her we sailed a small piece of heaven.


Most that I have said points out what was good,

I hope I have not been misunderstood.

God knows I would be the last to say

Everything that happened was quite okay.


Take me not wrong with this sentimental patter,

When we chose to look we found plenty the matter.

At this ship of ours we cursed and swore,

Many were the time one could take little more.


Some swabbies felt in the back of their mind,

That the officers must be entirely blind.

And the gold braid too, I feel almost certain,

Had a hell of a time, 'hind the wardroom curtain.


In the radar shack t'was a crew of nine,

Three were so bald you could see their head shine.

Signalmen, radiomen and yeomen too,

All a part of the operations crew.


The gunners mates, justly proud of their fame,

Blasted their targets with unerring aim.

Once a plane flew over with a long red sock,

A round from our guns brought it down like a rock.


The Bo’sun mates with their lines and their swabs,

Created the image of true Navy gobs.

Fruits of their work gave then reason to gloat,

We all knew ours was the toughest afloat.


Down in the hole near the bowels of the sea,

Snipes fought their battles without referee.

'Gainst the ponderous engines and valves galore,

Who could blame them if they fought hard ashore.


Each had their problems no one could deny,

None had more than the division - supply.

To keep such a crew and a good ship ready,

All of their work must be turned over steady.


The question that was asked by most of us,

Was, "What circumstances created this fuss?"

Here we are united, half way round the earth,

Testing the ship, the sea and all men’s worth.


In this day and age with a ship this old,

Surely our movements cannot be too bold.

Yet the job is here for this tired old steel,

To again slice the seas on her weary keel.


The job will be done but we'll all have in mind,

That not long from now this will all be behind.

But each will remember forevermore

The days that were spent on six thirty-four.  

Gary W. Hendrickson Radarman 3rd WHR-A March 1962


Written by an unknown author, probably after the 1960 call up for Viet Nam Patrol

Out to sea went the reserve ship Whitehurst

With a run down hull ready to burst

It bounced along the ocean with a lotta pride

A lotta men got sea sick and wished they had died

The ship was just on a one year cruise

And when at sea the men the men missed their booze

Out at sea the ship had lotta drills

But at home the men had a lotta bills.


The End

If you can supply  any details on the author of this poem such as name, rate, please send them to

Max Crow Site Author  

The following poem alludes to historical facts that pertain specifically to the

USS Whitehurst.  The sentiments pertain to all of America's war veterans.


The Heroes of Whitehurst

They were just kids in forty two, in the eyes of dads and mothers.

Much too young to leave their homes, and go to war like others.

But they were heroes, big already, in the eyes of younger siblings.

Brave men, strong of heart, with courage to fight the battles, willing.


They were young men ripe for training in the eyes of Uncle Sam.

With bodies to be muscled, and minds with facts to cram.

They were simply canon fodder in the eyes of basic trainers,

Who's job it was to take the lot and turn them into sailors.


They graduated boot camp, in their own eyes men,

Sailors ready to brave the storm, to fight the foe and win.

But they came aboard as raw recruits, in the eyes of captain and crew.

Then the  old salts set to work, to prove them sailors true.


They got their sea legs quickly, while sailing west to war.

They manned their battle stations 'til it seemed their bones were sore.

For Whitehurst was an escort, with other ships to guard.

Not there to protect herself, but first protect her wards.


In time of war, young men grow fast, and so by forty four,

these "canon fodder" raw recruits, were sailors fit for war.

They had faced the foe's attackers, from the air and from the deep.

They had fought his planes and sank his sub, with hardly time to sleep.


On April twelve of forty five, the final fiery hell,

Attacked by three Kamikazes, but only two were felled.

Through radar shack and helm house, came the flaming, flying horrors.

And in that blast, forty-two good men, gave all of their tomorrows.


They were still just kids in forty-five, in the eyes of dads and mothers.

Should never have had to leave their homes, and go to war like others.

But they were heroes, bigger than life, in the eyes of younger siblings.

Brave men, strong of heart who'd shown,  they had the guts and they were willing.


They came back home, true heroes, in the eyes of all the nation.

They'd given the best of body and heart, for the hope of generations.

But in their eyes, they were just men, who did what they had to do.

They fought the fight they had to fight, for themselves, for me and you.


To those of us too young to go, in our eyes they're heroes still.

We owe them much, for all they gave, and of course we always will.

Our admiration and gratitude will ever be the due,

of these brave men who fought the fight, who did what they had to do.
Written by Max Crow, Memorial Day, 2001




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