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Milton (Marty) Brown BT3
Joseph (Joe) Fischer BT3
Kenneth (Kenny) Grubb BT2
Eugene (Gene) Ware BT2

The above sailors perished during an on-board fire in the Tonkin Gulf off Vietnam on Friday, May 23 1969 at 2152 hours.


Panel 24 - Vietnam Memorial Wall

photo by Donald L. Heili (BT3)

Written by: Don Heili, BT3

Steaming across the Pacific and its waters so blue,
Heading for the Gulf of Tonkin in May of 1969 to give support to ground troops.
Working and sweating in the boiler rooms we worked as a close-knit crew,
Always below decks with no daylight to aid in assigned chores we did do.
A dungeon to many, but a place of friendship for others,
We all toiled and strained and became closer than brothers.
The tubes in the boilers in the front boiler room did rupture and split,
So the boilers in the aft room did steam this ship because no way could we quit.
Working 12 hours on and 6 hours off we all did do,
We did this constantly due to the shortage of crew.
We staffed the aft room with the BT's from both boiler rooms,
Using our talents of each we did share to get the tubes plugged and come topside for air.
Then after a short rest and a smoke or two it was off the aft room, which became the room of doom.
Late one day when struggling to keep both boilers at full steam,
A fuel line did rupture, an explosion so quick no time for a scream.
Four brothers of the boiler rooms did expire that day,
Four of the finest Boiler Tech's, they perished at sea.

The explosion so fierce they didn't know what was coming,
The fires so hot and fierce like angry drums a drumming.
Quickly the fires were doused when General Quarters was piped,
Our little city on the sea, USS King DLG 10, all crew came together to aid their brothers in strife.
The aftermath of pain lingered with many who knew,
That this day we now were short of four of our finest crew.
No way to steam forward this ship just bobbed in the waters.
Dead in the water, the King was in distress and drifting at sea.
Dead in the water seemed a cruel terminology to describe our situation,
Because four lives of our finest had been shortened in the seas of a far away location.
Repairs were hastily made to boiler #2 by many boiler tech’s and a machinist or two,
Then it was slowly off to Subic Bay, Phillipines for this fine ship, the U.S.S. King, with its innards so tore,
This coffin of four into to the piers of a foreign shore.


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