U.S.S. McKean Sea Stories

Blowing up Mines

One day while steaming in close to shore (Korea), the lookout spotted something round floating on the surface. We went in for a closer look and it appeared to be a floating mine. The captain asked if we had a sharp shooter aboard. They broak out an M-1 rifle and gave it to this man and he shot the mine three times. The bullets just glanced off the mine without effect. He then ordered a 20-MM to be used. The mine was hit and the 20-MM blew a hole in the top of it. It then sank and the water pressure set it off like a depth charge. By this time the lookouts had six mines spotted at the same time. The captain then ordered a 40-MM to be used at a closer range, so we got closer and shot the mine with this 40-MM and it went off like all hell cut loose. We were so close to it, pieces of it came down all over the ship. I ran and picked up a large piece (about the size of a half dollar) and the captain ordered me to turn it over to him. They sent it away to the government lab for testing. So I searched hard for another piece and found one a little smaller. I still have it today as a reminder of that time. We blew up four of the mines before darkness set in and we had to leave the area for safety. This was the first instance of mine warefare in Korea. We ended up destroying eight mines all togeather. QM3 John D. Price