More Pictures


USS Patterson DD-392

Initiation into the Shellbacks
(crossing the equator)

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From the collection of Robert Austin Coburn, Sr.

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On crossing the equator for the first time, "polliwogs" (those who had
never crossed it before) were initiated by "shellbacks" (those who had).   Intended as a friendly ritual of sea, initiations often got out of hand
and could become violent brawls, with hard feelings lasting a lifetime. Excerpt from Dad's diary "20 Sep. Crossed Equator at 1:30 pm Initation into Shell back pretty tough."

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Experiment, at squadron commander's request, to launch a tethered weather balloon while underway (perhaps for radio antenna?)  Deck Division head Jenning and Joe E. Bruman (far right) visible.  Identification by : Joe R. Bruman, Asst. CIC Officer

From the collection of Robert Austin Coburn, Sr.

Rescue at Sea

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From the collection of Robert Austin Coburn, Sr.
The following is from the Destroyers Online page for the Patterson.
Jerry Krim ex-AM3c
, a USS Belleau Wood CVL-24 crew member
who was rescued by the USS Patterson after the Belleau Wood was Kamikazed, believes this picture could have been the rescue of a
badly burned Belleau Wood sailor.

Jerry and Executive Officer Childs are trying to identify a
Belleau Wood seaman who tried so hard to keep a badly injured
sailor alive in the water as the Patterson maneuvered to pick them up.

Can you help identify that heroic young seaman?

Rescue at Sea
Rescue at sea was never easy.  Many men were in critical condition, covered with oil.  If adrift in the water for days, as in the case of the USS Indianapolis survivors, skin separated from muscle and rescue could cause grave injury if a sailor was not handled carefully. Well intended ships could run down the men they were trying to rescue.

The Japanese usually refused rescue, but not always.  Sometimes those who refused rescue were shot, to end it quickly.  Others were left to the sea.  

On a lighter note, when a carrier was at general quarters, planes that wouldn't catapult were manually pushed into the sea.  The destroyer or other vessel who rescued the pilot would later trade him back to the carrier for ice cream.

*     *     *

A tip on surviving shipwreck from the 1943 Bluejackets' Manual
published by the United States Naval Academy.

Do not eat the liver or meat of sharks, skates, or rays unless you
have plenty of water.  They are salty and will make you thirsty.

Transfer at Sea.

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"LTJG Schroder in the breeches-buoy.  Transfer underway was always a hairy operation, requiring very careful steering to keep the connecting cable at proper tension.  This may have been a training exercise."  Identification by : Joe R. Bruman, Asst. CIC Officer

From the collection of Robert Austin Coburn, Sr.


Burial at Sea

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From the collection of Robert Austin Coburn, Sr.

Identification of this burial was contributed by Jerry Krim ex-AM3c who was rescued by the USS Patterson October 30, 1944 after his ship, the USS Belleau Wood CVL-24, was badly damaged by a Kamikaze, killing 92 shipmates.  Jerry wrote that the photo is the burial of two Belleau Wood shipmates who died the night of October 30 and were buried off the stern of the Patterson the next day.  A Patterson crewmember, James P. McAlarney (now deceased), who he accidently met in 1946 in Jerry's hometown of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, gave him the photo and told him it was two of the 13 seamen from the Belleau Wood that were picked up.

Burial at Sea
The dead were wrapped in fabric mattress, weighted with 45 pound five
inch projectiles so they would sink without difficulty, and turned over
to the sea from a ship's fantail..  What is incomprehensible is that some
of the sailors who prepared the dead for burial were only 16; even more incomprehensible is the fact that many of the dead were only the same.



Commentaries on this page and others are those of the webmaster for the Bagley Class Destroyers located on Destroyers Online , Ms. Catherine Driessen.






This page was last updated on 06/30/03

Copyright 1997,1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003  Robert Coburn   All Rights Reserved