Vietnam War Crew Stories


Joe Kuhar – The Walker Incident

The most interesting experience I ever – I had while I was in the Navy happened in this last year that I was on this USS Taylor. We left Yokosuka, Japan and we were going around the northern tip of Japan, down the Sea of Japan and right after we made the turn to go south on the Sea of Japan, we were only maybe like 200 miles from Vladivostok, Russia, and there was a aircraft carrier and eight destroyers operating together and one day on the horizon from – this looked like an old junker of a ship… Read More.


Jim O’Neill – Cumshaw

At the University of Virginia, from which I graduated in 1965, I was taught Mr. Jefferson’s principle that a gentleman does not lie, cheat or steal. This was a black and white definition. When I arrived on USS Taylor (DD 468) in 1965, I discovered a lot of shades of gray with regard to the third one of these requirements. As a newly-arrived Ensign on the Taylor in Pearl Harbor, I was informed that we had just installed a new scuttlebutt in the After Engine Room. Read More.


Eric Hilton – The Missing Bell

I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but it was sometime between 1968 and 1969, if my memory serves me correctly. It used to be the duty of the cooks (or boatswain mates) to shine the bell, which everyone bitched about as it was always green or crusted from salt water….I just remember someone mentioning (perhaps after we got under way back to the gun line that the bell was missing). Read More.


Bob Cashin – An Errant Grenade

I believe this happened during the 1968 deployment. We were anchored close to the beach on the gunline on one of those hot, sunny Vietnam days with very little breeze. Captain Taylor was sitting in his Sea Chair on the starboard bridge wing, shirtless as was his custom, looking at clipboards. I was there, as was a sailor whose job it was to lob concussion grenades overboard at irregular intervals to discourage enemy swimmers intent on attaching limpet mines to our hull. Read More.


Bob Cashin – Mortar Attack

One day during the 1967 Vietnam deployment, I had the mid-day watch on the bridge, having just qualified for “OOD Underway”. We were standing off very close to shore, bow towards the beach, waiting for a shore bombardment assignment. Below, the Wardroom was having its first lunch seating. I noticed splashes in the water some distance off the port bow. Having lived by the ocean all my life, my first thought was fish jumping. Read More.


John Campbell – My First Ship

It was in February of 1965. I was a new Seaman and had just flunked the diving tank test at Sub School in Groton, Connecticut. I guess my assignment detailer figured the appropriate punishment for this unforgivable act was to give me orders to one of the oldest and most undesirable ships in the Navy – USS Taylor (DD 468), a Fletcher Class destroyer home ported in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – the pineapple fleet. Read More.


Jim O’Neill – The Ship’s Band

In previous editions of The Tin Can Sailor I have read some very interesting accounts of personal experiences during underway replenishment (unrep) operations. I thought that I should add mine to this collection. During USS Taylor (DD 468) 1967 deployment to WESTPAC I stood watch as OOD during Condition IV (independent steaming) and condition II (Modified General Quarters for gunfire support) and as JOOD during condition III (Wartime Cruising). My memory of these times is not perfect but it seems like we were always replenishing something; either fuel, ammunition or stores – sometimes all at once. Read More.