(April 4, 1957 - May 13, 1957)
Yokosuka to Hong Kong
(Subic Bay, P.I. & Singapore)
by Wayne Dorough with help of a few shipmates.
Goodbye Yokosuka! By April 4th we were headed south on our way to Subic Bay, in the Philippines, waving goodbye to some darn good liberty back in Yokosuka. We arrived there the 9th, but left again the following day, anchoring off Corregidor on the 11th. We no sooner than we got there and the anchor was raised again the following morning for a return trip to Subic Bay.
This gave me a brief opportunity to get a letter off to my girlfriend saying, "we're finally back in port again (Subic Bay in the Philippines this time), but not for long, because we pull out again this afternoon." I added that I received a telegram from my dad letting me know that my mother had a baby boy. He only weighs six pounds and nine ounces. And he's 19-3/4 inches tall...Oh well, even if he is a boy, and small at that, I'm sure mighty glad to have him in the family! Ha!" As a point of note, this little guy came into the world 21-years after I did. Guess you could say my mother and dad missed me!
We remained in Subic Bay only a night to take on supplies, then headed south to Manila, also in the Philippines, to refuel before heading on our way to Singapore. In my letter to her from Manila on the 15th I said that after getting back to the states I had a better than a good chance of being transferred from the Spangler onto another ship sent straight back over here..." I can only imagine how excited that left her!
Sailing into Manila Bay was an awesome site. What we saw was reminiscent of our stop over in the lagoon at the Army Kwajalein Atoll. The The wreckage of ships, likely both Japanese and American dotted the harbor as far as the eye could see. I've learned since that some may have been there from the Battle of Manila during the Spanish-American War. In any respect what we saw clearly emphasized the awesome destruction of war.
In my letter to her from Manila I wrote that this Tuesday we would be leaving for Singapore, that it's really going to be hot there, cause Singapore is sitting right on the equator. Said this moving from hot to cold back to hot was keeping me with a head cold, that I had one ever since we left the states. I said I sure hope you're forgiving me for not writing very much. It's just that we're at sea so much. “You don't have to worry about, it's the women over here. It's so seldom I see one, that I've almost forgotten what they look like.”
Those of us that didn't have duty at least got to go ashore for awhile. I don't recall there was a whole lot of liberty to, not the Yokosuka kind anyway. Some of the crew made a tour of the San Miguel Brewery. Our ship's photographer, Phil Eng was along and grabbed some snapshots, shown below (All, by the way, are from the '57 Cruise Book). Andy Lonzanida, IC3, was from Manila and got to visit with his family along with several of his buddies. So that had to be a big thrill for him! Again, Eng was johnnie on the spot and grabbed a photo.
Visiting Ruins From World War II
Andy Lonzonida Returns Home For A Visit
Stopping By For A Visit
San Miguel Brewery
Each Bottle Is Inspected
Just Like Making Home Brew
We sailed into Singapore on the April 20st. It's situated at the tip of the Malay Peninsula and only 60 miles north of the Equator. Since it rains there most of the year, the weather was hot and humid. The saying in Singapore is that there is not cool season. I believe it! We were only there for a few days, but that was more than enough for me.
Our squadron tied up along side a destroyer tender, not the USS Prarie (the ship I transferred to on leaving the Spangler), but one of her sister ships. Anyway, I had earlier promised William Watts that I would go ashore with him when liberty call sounded. Smith was a guy that didn’t make friends easily, sort of a quite guy. He had a movie projector and had taken some film of Bonnie (my New Zealand girlfriend) and I sitting on the grass just off the ship’s bow before departing Auckland. I desperately wanted to get my hands on that movie he promised to show me when the film was developed!
When liberty call sounded I couldn’t find Watts anywhere. And it wasn’t that I didn’t look, because I did. But I just couldn’t find him!
Joe and the other guys were waiting on me. With sites like the one of Tiger Balm Garden on the right photographed by Phil Eng later in the day, you can see why they were axious to get ashore.
After about 10-minutes of me searching through the ship with no luck they said they couldn’t wait any longer. I concluded that Watts had forgotten and gone ashore already. I learned later that evening that he had made a quick trip to the destroyer tender for some reason.
When we returned to the ship he was waiting on me and livid that I went ashore without him. That pretty much ended any likelihood I would ever see that movie. I felt bad about that but I felt equally bad that I had let him down, it certainly wasn't done by intention.
On the 24th, the Spangler and the other ships in Escort Squadron Three got underway for a nine-day joint exercise called ASTRA. This was basically a war games exercise off the Malay coast involving units of the British, Australian, French, other SEATO Forces. Unfortunately, a tragegy struck on the night of the 26th. During night time exercises and in the process of lighting up other ships with star flares, one of the flares accidentally struck a British ship killing a sailor. As I recall the flare wasn't from the Spangler which was some relief for us but it didn't really make much difference, it and the burial at sea the following day were sad events.