USS Waller, DD/DDE 466
I was laid down on February 12, 1942, at Kearny N.J. I was launched on the 15 of August 1942 and commissioned the 1st of October 1942. Lt. Commander Lawrence H. Frost was my first skipper.
On the 31st of November 1942, I headed out for the Pacific via the Panama Canal and Pearl Harbor.(The water was much warmer there). I arrived at my destination, Efate, on the 21st of January 1943. On or about the 29th of January I saw my first real action. Torpedo carrying "Betty" bombers came in low from the East. I came under machine gun fire from the "Betties" as they bore in on the attack. We responded with heavy fire toward the 2 planes. They went down in a brilliant fire ball. Unfortunately the Chicago (CA29) sustained heavy damage. And the fighting went on and on. I had more than one opportunity to lead the squadron into battle.
I remember one time the radar detected 2 ships, they were Japanese destroyers. We opened fire and with help from some of the other Destroyers we reduced them to rubble in short order. I continued to support the war effort and distinguish myself, as was said by many, as a great fighting ship. OK, there was that one time when I opened fire on 3 of our PT boats however I didn't hit any of them.
After many many months of escort duty and engaging the enemy. I was returning to Shanghai on October 9, 1945, I hit a Japanese mine. 3 officers and 22 men were wounded. I thought it was all over for all of us but we survived.
After the war was over (we won of course). I was sent to Charleston S.C. and put out of commission. I stayed there until the onset of the Korean War. I was recommissioned and converted to an escort and was redesignated as DDE 466 on the 26 of March 1949. On the 14th of May 1951, I headed out for Korea and joined with Task Force 95. We did mostly shore bombardment.
After a relative short tour I returned to the United States. From 1951 to 1956 I participated in ASW exercises on the East Coast. In 1956 I was again modified this time with extesnsive alterations in my ASW battery. I rejoined the Fleet and went on a Med. Cruise in 1957 and joined DesRon 28 as a unit of ASW Task Force "Alpha".
In November 1957, I ran aground (I mean, I hit a submerged object) not far out of Norfolk (obviously uncharted waters) and destroyed the sonar dome. I returned to Portsmouth and went in to dry docks for repairs.
In 1958, I decided to tangle with an aircraft carrier, the USS Valley Forge, the Valley Forge won. My 01 level was caved in and I lost my port anchor and there was a large hole in the port side, I returned to the Portsmouth ship yard and went back in dry dock for repairs. The crew didn't seem to mind. Then it was back to sea.
In 1960, Walter Cronkite made a documentary on ASW ships at sea. The documentary was called Sub Killers and of course I was the star. In July 1964, I joined DesRon 36 we took several Med. Cruises over the next 4 years. On Sept 6, 1968, I departed Norfolk with DesDiv 362 for Vietnamese waters.
My brave crew and I had the opportunity to distinguish our selves one more time. We did so for 109 consecutive days, and then on the 2nd of March, we started home. After arriving in the states, I had a brief tour as a Naval Reserve training ship on the East coast. Then I was decommissioned and struck from the Navy list on the 15 th of July 1969.
I am not bragging but I received 12 battle stars in World War II, and 2 battle stars in Korea and 2 battle stars for Vietnam. Yes! for a total of 16 battle stars.
But then the Navy in there infinite wisdom decided to make me a hotel for fish and other sea life at the bottom of the Atlantic, where I rest today, gone but not forgotten. You see, the way I see it as long as there is one sailor who can remember walking my decks, sleeping in my bunks or eating in my mess decks, I will continue to sail.
U.S.S. Waller DD/DDE 466
My address is
39 deg. 26 min N., 70 deg. 23
if you would like to drop me a line.
By Ted Allen
The following was borrowed from Nick Grande's web page, it was written by Rick Elster and I felt that it had a place on this bio.
1961 April 17-20 The Bay of Pigs - A force of 1400 Cuban exiles, lands at the Bay of Pigs, to overthrow the Communist government. American Naval units are
standing offshore, (The USS Waller was one of the ships), in position to assist the exiles, but President Kennedy decides that to intervene would only worsen
the situation. For the USS Waller actions in the Bay of Pigs the ship and her crew are awarded the Naval Expeditionary Medal. (this was awarded many years
1962 October 24-Nov.08 USS Waller part of Task Group Alpha played a role in the Cuba Missile crisis of 1962. On Oct. 21, 1962 President Kennedy
informed the nation and the world that a strict quarantine on all offensive equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. The actual blockade began the
morning of Oct. 24, 1962. For this action the Waller and her crew received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.
#1-notes taken from "The US Navy an Illustrated History by Nathan Miller"
#2-notes taken from "American Naval History by Jack Sweetman"
The medals and the Waller name were not used in the two history books. Those medals were awarded to me some years later as a member of the USS
WALLER DDE 466.
Email Rick at RElster565@aol.com
I have read the histories of the Waller and have a couple of corrections and
stories to add. I joined the ship in Norfolk right out of Boot Camp and Radar
"A" School in Great Lakes in June of 1968.
We left on the Vietnam cruse on September 22, 1968 and returned on April 18,
1969. We were in DesDev 362, consisting of the USS Robert L. Wilson DD 847,
The USS Corry DD 817 and The Douglas H. Fox DD 779. About a day outside of Norfolk
the Fox had a flashback in it's boiler and several crewmen were killed and/or
injured, the Wilson took the injured to Charleston and the Sorry escorted the
Fox into Charleston and we, on the Waller were told to continue on to San Diego.
We reunited with the Wilson and the Sorry there.
While on station at Phan Thiet, the Captain had us anchor (not in any reports
I am sure) but it sure made us accurate! I remember one night right before getting
off watch (around 2000) the ship getting a call for NGFS for 60 rounds of 5
inch shell. At the time the ship had been swung by the tide in such a way only
the aft gun could be shot. All sixty round came from that mount and since my
compartment was under that mount, I went to sleep (when you are port and starboard
you sleep whenever you can) while all the ceiling lights broke and fell while
the 60 rounds where fired until the compartment was completely dark (except
for the red lights). The next day the EM's replaced all the lights, but not
for the last time.
After we got back to Subic Bay the barrels of both mounts were changed. There
was a lot of trouble getting the front barrel out. The tender (an older one
with a full crane) dropped a cable down into the barrel and tried to pull it
out (after a day or so using a hammer device to turn the barrel). They tried
sever times with the Tender leaning over and the Waller being pulled out of
the water. I was in Combat and felt the ship rise and then fall. After picking
the ship up, the cable broke and the ship dropped into the water pretty hard.
I remember the tender crew standing along the rails while their ship rocked
back and forth probably more than when at sea. (I think they finally had to
cut the barrel out with torches) When it when to the bottom in June of 70 (bummer)
the guns had only been fired about ten times with the new barrels.
Also while plane guarding with the USS Ranger we had the unfortunate occasion
to have to pick up a downed pilot who crashed. His body was kept in the cooler
until we reached Subic Bay. It was a night take off, during the day the helicopters
could get to any down pilots well before us and save them.
After returning to Norfolk on April 18, 1969, the ship underwent an extensive
inspection. There were rumors of going to Bayonne, NJ as a training ship (I
was supposed to stay aboard), or being sold to the Italian Navy. Alas Waller
was well past it prime and was just decommissioned. (it was never a training
ship.) I was there for the decommissioning and after leave I was transferred
to the USS Hawkins DD 873.
I am not sure what of any of this you will want to use but I can assure you
it is all true as I was there. I was a RD3 in the Operations Department, OI
Division and worked in the Combat Information Center (CIC).
Tom Mamon at firstname.lastname@example.org
Click on me to go back to Wallers home page.