U S S McKEAN
DATE: March 28, 1999
TO: ALL CREW MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS
FROM: Bob Hancock, Reunion Coordinator
2002 Chuli Nene
Tallahassee, FL 32301-5826
As I have mentioned to many of you, a visit will be made May 2 to Baton Rouge for the purpose of making arrangements on the hotel, places to eat, attraction which may be of interest, and to make arrangements for a visit to the USS Kidd DD 681. It is very necessary that I receive from you, at this point, your intentions as to whether you will attend the reunion. If you do, then we need also to know the number of persons in your party and the number of nights you plan to stay in the hotel, I will making our pitch for accommodations based on the number of rooms we will occupy. From the vast number of brochures I've received, the hotel rates will range from $65.00 to $90.00 per night, plus 12% tax. There was one for $198.00 but I don’t plan to visit that one! There is a form at the bottom of this document asking for various information. PLEASE print and complete it and return within seven (7) days if at all possible to the reunion coordinator at the address above. It would be real nice to sit at the "bargaining table" and say that we will need from 50 to 80 rooms, maybe up to 105 rooms!
It should be noted that the production, printing and distribution of SCUTTLEBUTT and the compiling of the master roster of McKean shipmates reflect the work of Donna Gardner, daughter of Don Hudnall TM 2/C (1949-1942). Thank you Donna!
This is the final reunion pitch for this issue of the SCUTTLEBUTT. How long has it been since you went on "Liberty" with a shipmate? When was the last time you enjoyed a "Beach Party" with your shipmates? How many "stories" (or maybe you prefer the word "vents") have you told your family and friends while wishing an old shipmate ot two was present so he could verify your tall tales? NOW IS THE TIME! We may never have an opportunity to visit with everybody again. The McKean was a GALLANT LADY who always took care of her crew, even in Harm's Way. Sailors aboard other Navy vessel envied her crew. She was Beautiful! She was Superb! She was Powerful! She was Awesome! She was the USS McKean DD 784/DDR 784! And, best of all, SHE WAS OURS!!!
A young man joined the U.S. navy in World War II for all the right reasons. Eventually, he was assigned to a PC in the Med Sea. Transferred to the 784 as a plank owner in June 1945, he toured the Pacific, left the 784 in Pearl Harbor and returned to the States, courtesy of the Battleship USS Texas which was almost as big as the white hat's heart. Who was that Signalman First Class whose "Welcome Home" was surely larger than had he been on a "tin can"?
Speaking of a Plank Owner, a battleship, and a Signalman, who was that blonde-haired (with ringlets) third class skivvy-waver who added the expletives "gu-zoon-height" and "Mull-house-an" to the McKean's workstation vocabulary?
Part 1. Who was the first McKean officer named to an "All American" team while in college?
Part 2. Who was the first crew member named as all All American while in college?
Don Hood went scuba diving (he said he was ordered to) under the McKean---she was tied up alongside a dock at this time, of course. Have you heard this story about what he found on the floor of the harbor beneath the McKean?
Part 1.During her tour of duty in the Pacific Theater of Operations, what was the McKean's announced top speed? But what was it, really?
Part 2. How did the top speed of the fastest aircraft carrier afloat compare to the McKean's (unofficial) top speed?
What was probably the least desired duty assignment on the McKean? (Probably would be the same on all destroyers). Keep in mind that this job could be also listed in the five most important jobs on a destroyer (Now let's be serious--it was not using steel wool or a wire brush on the screws while underway!)
In late September or early October, 1945, the McKean was in Pearl Harbor along with many, many surface vessels, including those of her division/squadron. An event took place that day that captured the attention of EVERY ship in the harbor, plus nearby shore installations. What happened to cause the alarm? Clue: believe me, it was serious, very serious!!
Anybody who was above other anybodies had two or three keys while serving aboard the McKean. It mattered not whether those keys opened locks on the ship -- man, you had the KEYS! Those little jewels sparkled and tinkled every time the ship rolled or pitched as they hung from a belt loop or a button hole or whatever. BUT what was the really and truly Super Dooper identifier of the MISTER ANYBODY? (Clue: brass was preferred of the two kinds available.)
Did you hear the story about the deckhand who volunteered to change the light bulbs atop the mast while the ship was underway in the midst of a typhoon? He was lashed to the mast at sea and given a Section 8 as soon as the ship returned to port. He may have been a cousin to the fellow who volunteered to drive a wheelbarrow while keeping the bottomside up. By the way, neither served aboard the McKean.
Every Signalman Striker longed for the day when he no longer was the low man on the signal bridge. Why? Because he would not have to crawl out on the yardarms to replace the halyards or untangle a flag or to capture a loose halyard.
EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA
The McKean made her motion picture debut in the movie, "MIDWAY". About 20 minutes into the film, a destroyer appears in the background as she moves across the screen. At that point, slow your VCR to single frame as you see the number 4 appear on the hull, then comes the 8 followed by the 7 and there you have 784! How about them apples?? (Sorry, the editor wrote down all the above information, but, alas, four days later he couldn't (and still can't) remember who gave him the story. Please! Somebody help the ole man out!!
How may US Navy warships have been commissioned with the name "McKean"? The answer is "Two". The first McKean was the DD-90, followed by the APD-5, and then cane DD-784. She was also reclassified DDR-784 and later reclassified DD-784.
Some shipmates' comments:
"It will take a pack of wild horses to keep me away from this reunion. I am really looking forward
to it!" -- Earl E. Moore, GM 2/C 6/47-6/52
"Thanks you very much for sending me the notice of the McKean reunion in September of this year. At present, I'm very much afraid that my wife and I will be unable to make it, but would appreciate being retained on your mailing list in case our schedule for this fall changes." -- former Gunnery Officer Thomas J. Bush, Jr., CDR,USN (ret)
"AHOY! Bob Hancock and the McKean Reunion Group. Hallelujah! We're finally on our way!!" -- Bob (Toke) Tokayczyk, 49-1.
"If God is willing, I am very anxious to come to a McKean reunion that I've waited for about 10 years now. Seeing reunions listed in the TIN CAN SAILORS newspaper for the Rowan, Gurke, and Henderson made me hope that someday the McKean would appear."-- Allan R. Reinhold 6/47-2/48
"Question: If I have picture and photos, and the ship's newspaper published in the 45-50 era, am I permitted to bring them to the reunion? If the crews learn you failed to bring all your stuff, a Captain's Mast will be convened to determine whether you go to bed without your supper or you will be dispatched home to get the stuff and return to the reunion. -- that's the feeling of John D. Price QM 3/ C 50-52.
Finally, George Johnson has been scratching his head and racking his brain about all the stuff/events he remembers that took place on his watch. He also has a plan to become literate without having a computer…he tried to explain the procedure over the telephone but I can't seem to understand those under and over bites along with the silly bites, much less as to how they relate to the Hertz Rent-A-Car business. But the funniest part is that you have to hold a mouse in your hand when the computer is turned on. The "little lady" said, "Forget it! We are not going to have even one mouse in the house! Period!!"
Excerpts from "The Weekly Bugle" Volume I, 16 December 1945:
MAN YOUR BATTLE STATIONS:
It was a tense moment! Them Mighty Mac was going into
action with the enemy for the first time! Gun crews were
manned and the tenseness of the situation was reflected in
their drawn faces. "All hands, wear your battle helmets." The
hue and cry was shouted over the bullhorn. The crew raced
around like madmen. An enemy mine had been sighted! The
water churned as if lashed by a large serpent as the slugs from
the 20's spit in. shells, and more shells, spouted from the guns.
And then, as silently as it had appeared, the evil thing sank
Beneath the waters, technically the winner!
DD 784 * DDR 784
ATTN: Reunion Coordinator
Please check those applicable:
Keep me on the mailing list.
Remove me from the mailing lit.
_______ Number of persons in my party
_______ Number of nights I plan to spend at hotel.
Name tag information:
Name: _________________________________________ (Robert Hancock)
Name to print on tag: ______________________________ (Bob)
Rank: __________________________________________(Signalman 3/C,Plank Owner)
Years of service:__________________________________ (1945-1946)
(The name tag information will help complete our master roster whether you attend or not)
Sample name tag:
USS McKean DD 784/DDR 784 Bob Hancock Signalman 3/C Plank Owner 1945-1946 First Reunion September 25-28, 1999 Baton Rouge, LA
DD 784/DDR 784
September 25-28, 1999
Baton Rouge, LA