I had quite an exciting experience on my last trip to Korea. We were leaving Yokosuka, Japan and not quite gotten into formation with the fleet. Four of us were standing on the port side, mid ship when I leaned back and the safety line snapped and I went overboard.

Things went through my mind in a hurry, as I knew I had to get a way from the ship or be sucked under the props. As I went by there was a sailor on the fantail looking at the ships in the rear. As I went by helplessly, he looked down with shock and said “Spear, what are you going?”

After I went by two destroyers who were coming down toward me fast, but thank goodness they saw the MAN OVERBOARD flag and cut out to avoid hitting me.

Our Captain sent the gig boat and they picked me up. They took me to the first aid and checked me out. I was shaken but OK. Then the Captain sent word for me to report to him, which I did. His first words were “Spear, do you realize that you, being a White Hat stopped the whole task force which only an Admiral can do?” “ No sir I surely did not intend for this to happen.” Then with a smile he said “When they told me who you were and where you were from” he said, “I heard that you boys from Louisiana living in the Bayous and Swamps had webbed feet”. We all got a good laugh.

Thank goodness everything turned out OK and was a good exercise for retrieving a sailor at sea. Peyton Spear 1951-1955