U.S.S. McKean Sea Stories

Torpedo Testing 1951

One day while steaming off the coast of California. The McKean was conducting torpedo runs with one of our submarines. We were to fire a torpedo and the sub would track it and tell us how accurate our shot was. The torpedo had a dummy head on it and at the end of it's run the head would inflate with air and float so we could recover it. We fired the torpedo and as soon as it hit the water it breached into the air and dove straight down and we lost sight of it. We had two motor whale boats and one of them had the engine torn down for repairs. The captain ordered the other one away to search for the torpedo. There was three of us on the whale boat,the coxswain, a seaman and myself. I was the signalman with a hand held signal light. We searched for about an hour and then the engine died on our boat. We were adrift without power. The captain thought it would be too dangerous to bring the ship alongside us because the seas were too rough. So they radeoed san deigo to send another destroyer to assist us. About three hours later the Frank Knox appeared, lowered their whale boat, they came over, threw us a line and towed us back to our ship. In all, we were adrift without power in rough seas for about six hours; wet, cold, and very glad to be back aboard. The ships doctor gave each of us a shot of brandy, ordered us to take a hot shower and hit the sack. After comforting us capt. Captain Weatherwax expressed his demise over loosing one of the Navies very expensive torpedoes. This all took place sometime in mid 1951 John D. Price QM3