USS ESTES AGC-12
1954-1955 Far East Cruise Book submitted by William D. Boyd
Submitted by Carol Gentes for George Brown
USS Estes S-1 Div - Spring 1954
Submitted by Hal Bogin
Estes during the '54 Vietnam Evacuation
Submitted by Vernon Drewa
Vernon Drewa, RM1 - - 53-54 - Submitted 12/16/05
My boss on the Estes was LCDR Preble. Other than Capt. Jack McCain (Sen John McCain's father), Preble was the best officer under whom I worked.
As you might know, Eniwetok was a busy place. The Estes stood off Eniwetok most times. Though when Romeo was scheduled, we were deployed 30mi distant. As you may know, the circumference of Romeo was mined. I don't recall the exact distance, but was more than 10mi. This in order to hopefully prevent "tidal wave" from traversing the pacific. I was in charge of Crytograpic Maintenance/Repair for Naval shipboard communicaitons. I flew on occasion from the Estes to the Bairoko, then to various "barges" anchored off small Islands.
These were in place for helicopter landings to pick up and deposit civilian contractors, military and scientists. I was aboard the Curtiss on occasion, as well as Parry Island. I recall a number of the TE's (ratings) men on the island. It was a sweat box for them. Their primary mission was teletype communication's. Most communication, intelligence and electronic technicians had Top Secret. Some had Top Secret "Queen" clearance badges. I have mine in a shadow box with other Naval memorabilia.
I took several trips with groups to Japtan Island. Few played softball, other's drank beer while other's roamed the island. I recall vividly the beached Japanese transport that was rusting away on one side of Japtan island. For other recreation, I took 8-10 men swimming. One, a 1st Class Radioman, by the name of Leo Tracy got the idea of making money. His idea was to use "grappling hooks" to drop into the open "mouth" of "Killer Clams." Don't recall that being a bilogical term! These clams were huge, most the size of a number 2 washtub. If one happened to be "snorkling" and put his foot into a clam that was open. He would most likely drown before getting help. We had one such occurance during our stay.
On Eniwetok, at the end of the island where garbage was dumped was a feeding area for sharks. At times, when a feeding frenzy took place, we were able to check out M-1's, fire a few rounds into the melee. Which caused a more fervent feeding frenzy to occur.
I was fortunate in that 95% of my duties involved being in air conditioned spaces. The military photographer's had the coolest location aboard the Estes. The developing/processing center was one deck below the main communication's room. This very large room was one deck below the main deck. Can't relate to the heat as "time heals all". Know however, that it was very hot for most. Particularly those assigned to the Boat pools and who lived on the island.
Submitted by Mike Kerrigan
Mike Kerrigan ET2 1953-1955 - - Submitted 12/28/06
My name is Mike Kerrigan and I was aboard the Estes from 1953 to 1956. I was an ET2 when I left the ship and a seaman when I first came aboard in San Diego. The interesting Operation Castle filled most of my early experience with electronic detonation of a thermo nuclear device. (come to think of it not many can say that even now) I watched the first one topside and after that I went below until it had been detonated. I still get hackles on my neck when I hear, nine, eight, seven, etc.
I remember the first time we went to General Quarters for real, I vividly remember being the first Americans in a place called Vietnam up the river to Saigon. I still remember that gal that exercised on the balcony of the Hotel Saigon every morning until one day her husband looked out and saw all the guys from the Estes watching her and that ended quickly. I remember ordering Steak and bon frit in the restaurants. The exchanging of dollars for piastres in the opium dens. They had the highest exchange rates. The girls working off the taxes the French had levied against their family homes were memories that last a long time.
The trips to Korea during Christmas time and running back to Japan after the appropriate amount of time to get the tax deductions are other things I still remember. Going to the Phillipines to pick up the Flag but on the way we ran into a typhoon and the flag decided to meet us in Saigon after they flew in. We had to fight our way across the Pacific during the typhoon. The waves were as high as the 05 deck where we had a small room for the radar systems.
Even in my 70's now I still can remember a lot of what went on if
anyone needs a referral I can still be reached at email@example.com
Submitted by Mike Kerrigan
Mike Kerrigan ET2 1953-1955 - - Submitted 1/1/07
I am now 71 years of age and my mind is not as sharp now as when I served on board the Estes. I served on the Estes from 1953 where I boarded her in San Diego to my departure in December of 1955 so I could be assigned to a ship in San Diego until the time of my discharge from the Navy in May of 1956.
The best plans didn't work out as I thought they would because my transfer from the Estes wasn't to shore duty but to an LSMR leaving for the Far East and they needed a senior ET. I was now an ET2 and joined the USS White River on its way to Eniwetok. All my great memories are still from the Estes as I was only 17 when I first came on board and not yet 21 when I was to be discharged. If anyone needs to find out about what happened while I was there then just send me an email and I will answer it within 24 hours. Oh the memories that creep back into my mind when I think about those days.
Mike Kerrigan ET2
Moore, Howard T, RM-C - - 1951-1959 - - Submitted 7/23/08
There is an extensive section for
U.S.S. ESTES and the Proving Grounds.
Moore, Howard T, RM-C - - 1951-1959 - - Submitted 7/4/08
I have found a few interesting items in my fathers items.
3 slides from the voyage to Enewetok, and Howard T. Moore, Radioman Chief USS ESTES personal hand written log book of travels and ports.
According to the log...In Dec 48 he was transferred from USS Crescent to 'shore duty' at AEC Ceder Ridge facility and spent most time there, more deeply involved in the planning and strategy stages while ESTES was being refit at Hunters Point. He continued to report to Cedar Ridge for around 2 years as best I can tell.ie:
His log lists all movement in an' in' & 'out' format for most of his career
It is a small brown flip style notebook and they are line-item listed for EVERY movement.
With warm regards on this Independence Day.
Send any photos of the Estes, or life and times while aboard.
We prefer digital images, but can accept original photographs or documents. Originals will be returned unless you indicate otherwise. We will make our best efforts in returning things safely, since we use public carriers to return items, i.e. US Postal Service, we cannot guarantee safe returns. We would feel more comfortable if you had items scanned into digital images.
For details on how to send photos or info - Click on a Ship
Continue to 1955
Back to 1953
Return to History in Photos Index
Return to USS Estes Association Home