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Sea Story by Robert G. Yerkes (RD3)

Tour of Duty Oct 23, 1954 - Dec  1, 1956



I reported to Charleston, SC where the Conway was in the yards. Since my sea bag did not make it there with me and all I had was dress blues I spent my first week on liberty. We left Charleston on 24 Nov 1954 for Norfolk where we stayed until Jan 1955. In January, we departed for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. On the way, we stopped in Havana where I, as a raw recruit, spent my first liberty on foreign soil. The only thing I remember of that experience was being picked up by Shore Patrol as, it seems, I was found walking down the street with a shot glass in one hand and a quart of rum in the other. Other than that, it was a nice liberty town.

We spent April 8-10 in Palm Beach, Florida. While getting underway, one line was left tied up causing the ship to swing around, take out a marker buoy and run aground. We bent the shaft and ended up in Baltimore for yard work. We got the word that a destroyer had broken down in Boston and we were going to the Med.  May 18 we arrived in Lisbon, Portugal. On May 18th we docked in Lisbon, Portugal. My family had no idea where I was in all that time. I'm not sure how long we spent in the Med but remember that on our way home I received orders to report to Class "A" Radar School in Norfolk. I graduated from there and made RD3 next test time.

After that, we went to St. Thomas where, while target practicing with a tug pulling a sled. Fire Control locked on the tug and accidentally started firing at the boat. Whereupon, the tug captain broke off the excercise and returned to port.

The thrill of my life came when I was high lined from the Conway to our sister ship (USS Cony DD508) to evaluate their performance coming into port.

From Aug 10-13 (1956) we were in NYC where I was supposed to have duty weekend. Prior to entering port, we were operating with a sub. The captain told the radar gang that anyone spotting the sub's periscope would get liberty. I spotted it and got the promised liberty.

When we returned to Norfolk, I received orders for shore duty. I was sent to Newport, RI where I spent 17 months guarding 21 boys in the brig.

On my way to duty I met my wife who after 42 years is still my mate. We've had 4 children who've given us 9 grandchildren. Following 26 ½ years working as a mailman, we've retired in Florida.

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