Larry Wiley


Larry Wiley HM-2  1968-1969 - - Submitted 2/4/11

There were a few memories. On our return from WEST PAC in 1968, we did a rescue at sea after a call for help for a US Navy sailor who had broken his back in high seas on board an oiler heading west. It was a night transfer of our Dr. Grabowski to the oiler in rough seas in the USS Estes rescue boat. I was a corpsman in the life boat. The doctor boarded the oiler, and we in the life boat went back to the USS Estes. The next day we sailed along side of the oiler and did a high line transfer. The injured sailor had to come over in a Stokes stretcher. He then went home with us to San Diego for further treatment.

Another memory was when the USS Estes left Japan headed to Korea. As I recall it was a short trip. In that time the Medical Department had to give the required Gama Gobulin shots to the whole crew, including the Admiral and his staff, officers, and Marines. This was an all night operation immunizing over 700 men. The Medical Department of 8 men was certainly tired of all those butts and the crew not looking forward to the shots.

On our way home from Subic Bay in August/September,1969, after unloading all our munitions and whatever else had to stay in WEST PAC due to the war coming to an end for the USS Estes, the ship developed a vibration. Later it was learned that the last set of bearings in the bulkhead holding the screw shaft were worn out and sea water was flooding in the lower aft part of the ship. The men down there had to use greased rags or whatever to ease the bouncing of the shaft and keep sea water from flooding the ship. Lots of pumps were used to evacuate the water. The fear was that the shaft could in time vibrate or shake itself to break off, leaving us helpless at sea with massive flooding. The ride coming home was noisy, and our shaky and vibrating ship created tenseness for all of the crew. Those officers and sailors in engineering did a remarkable job to keep the ship in one piece and get us home. Many prayers were answered.

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