A Sea Story, by Mike Eckard

I remember vividly the incident related by Robert Brazauskas.

My GQ station was in the ECM equipment shack above the DASH hanger. We were standing outside the door, talking to the two gunners mates who were manning the two aft .50 caliber machine guns, while cruising around looking for survivors. The Berkeley was behind us. Suddenly we saw air bursts and splashes in the water around the Berkeley. We jumped back inside and closed the door. As I remember we made three passes between the island and the mainland, firing at batteries on both sides. There were several secondary explosions due to our gun fire. I also remember that it was too shallow to turn around between the island and the mainland so we would swing out to sea, turn around, and then run back through. I believe we shot nearly 300 rounds during this skirmish. I heard the our Captain had been a gunnery officer on a cruiser during Korea, and that this was the first time he had seen action since then. I also understood that COMDESRON13 had to order us out of there. Of course I was only a lowly SA so I can’t say for sure exactly what happened. Just what I saw and heard. I had only been the Navy since August of 1965 (boot camp).

I went on two more cruises aboard the USS Duncan DDR-874 before leaving the Navy in 1969 at the end of my four year hitch.

Three cruises in four years. Between Northern SAR, GFS along SVN, and operation Sea Dragon, I saw a lot more action than I ever bargained for, but I wouldn’t trade those years on Tin Cans for anything.

Mike Eckard

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