Tributes & Stories


My First Class Cruise

By Gary D. Knight '70

My First Class cruise was to WESPAC (I wanted to see a bit of the Vietnam War before it was over). While I was deployed out there in the Summer of '69, the USS Charles E. Evans, on manuevers one night with a fleet of allied ships turned suddenly into the path of an Australian aircraft carrier and was cut in half. The forward part of the Evans sank with almost all hands. I visited the stern of the Evans in drydock at Subic Bay Naval Shipyard.

One lunch at the Subic Bay Officers Club I was approached by a Ltjg whose name tag I recognized as the OOD of the Evans on that fateful night and who was confined to base awaiting his courtmartial. This officer proceeded to berate me over the length of my sideburns. I waited for the JG to finish. When he had, I politely, but firmly and loudly said, "I would direct your attention, sir, to Z-Gram umpty ump (a bulletin from CNO Admiral Zumwalt on sideburns) to the effect that my sideburns are totally within Navy regulations. Furthermore, SIR, I would kindly remind you that there are more things to being a good Naval officer than worrying about the length of a man's sideburns!" I beat a hasty retreat lest the red-faced miscreant decide to make an issue of my affront. The court martial subsequently found him guilty of having given an unsafe order in conning his ship into danger, but by that time I was safely out of danger off the coast of Vietnam in my World War II oiler!