USS Waller, Her Stories

The following are e-mails and stories gathered by this web site, please send me any "remember when" stories and I'll post them as soon as I can.


More from Bud

A couple of things that might be of interest that you don't necessarily need to post.

On the second day of attacks when were trying to escort the Chicago out of harms way, the Waller was at GQ easy and was strafed when the Chicago was sunk. There was a French kid laying out in the sun foreward who was the only casualty. He was hit in both arms, don't know what happened to him after that nor what his name was??

On one of those trips we made up through the "Slot" we ran into a bunch of Japanese barges that we were running over and shooting at. The word was passed to take cover because we were taking small arms fire. The Chief Yeoman opened the lighted porthole in the yeoman's office and stuck out his head to look and a bullet hit the bulkhead near his head and scratched his cheek. The next day he was raising a big fuss because he had a war wound that required a Purple Heart. I heard that the Captain told him no because he had disobeyed the order to take cover.

Also I told you that the war record as published was defective or incomplete in some respects.

At some point in time the ship was escorting LST's someplace when we were attacked and at least one LST was on fire. The Waller laid down a protective smoke screen around the area and was patrolling the outside of the screen while the USS Philips was patrolling the inside. Apparently without warning the Phillips appeared out of the smoke screen from our Starboard side directly in our path. I was on deck at the time in a repair party but the engine room crew told me later they were doing three hundred turns astern when we hit the Philips on the Portside near the after engine room.

The collision laid to the side a large portion of the bow several feet down from the prow to the keel like a rudder and other than destroy the paint locker it did little other damage. We all thought the ship had a going home injury but a floating dry dock had been moved into Espiritu Santo since we had last been there and they rebuilt the bow. Never knew what damage had been done to the Philips.

When the campaign through the Solomon's was finished we put up home going pennants and took off for Hawaii where were sand bagged and got sent back out for the Guam, Saipan and Tinian thing. You cannot imagine the number of ships that the United States had by this time. Before that campaign the ships assembled in a very large natural coral harbor some miles across [don't remember the name of the place] but we had patrol duty to protect the ships coming in and I tell you that there were ships two or three abreast as far as the eye could see coming in. When the campaign began the sea around those Islands was literally covered with ships.

Anyway thought you might like to hear some more of this stuff. Have a good day   


Ellis (Bud) Couron


Some of everyday life aboard.

At one time during the Solomon campaign the crew in their boredom adopted an imaginary dog named "Bismarck" and it was not unusual to see a member of the crew walking around talking to the dog.

One day when I was on the shore run in the whale boat with the Medic I saw a brown puppy on the dock and snuck it under the canopy of the boat.
When we got back to the ship we put it an board and now had a real live "Bismarck". The dog was on board for some time [not sure how long] when we got an air raid warning and had to get underway immediately.

Unfortunately we were tied up in a nest to the buoy and the dog was not on board when we left. Sometime after we were gone we got the word from the USS Phillips that the dog was on their ship and had suffered some kind of seizure so they shot the dog and threw it overboard.

Thus began a feud between the two ships crews that at one time erupted into a name calling and chair throwing melee at the evening movies that was broken up only by a call to General Quarters.

During the disarmament of the Japanese suicide garrison in the Chusan Archipelago's the local Chinese sent back to the ship a boat load of souvenirs that included swords, pistols, flags, and even a Japanese motorcycle and side car.
The motorcycle was cleaned up by myself and another engineer for the use of the ships Captain when he needed transportation. However after one ride in it the Captain decided he wanted nothing more to do with it. The motorcycle was stored on the fan tail for transportation back to the states but the salt water wash over the fantail ruined the Magneto and we could never make it run again so it was given away to the local Harley Davidson dealer in Charleston, S.C. I have a picture of the bike and my friend.

Ellis P. Couron [Bud]

Ted just for information here are a few things you might like to know about that was going on aboard the Waller during the war.
At the time the Navy was hurting for ships and sailors to man them so there was a terrific ship building program in effect and I found out later that the Navy had issued bulletins to the effect that as the ships at sea qualified personnel in the various rates they were to be transferred back to the states to train others in new construction. However on the Waller hardly anyone got sent back and most of the crew that put the ship in commission were still there when it was decommissioned.
The Chief Engineer Olvany and the First Lieutenant [don’t remember his name] were a couple of bad guys who spent all of their time sneaking around the ship trying to catch someone they could put on report.
I was first class when they gave me the forward engine room and I soon discovered there were no records of machinery maintenance. So I got a record book, listed all of the equipment, changed oil in all of the pumps and began a maintenance log that someone else could use if needed. I didn’t know at the time that a log of this sort was actually required and was actually surprised when Mr Olvany called me in the engine room some months later and told me to bring him my log. He didn’t say what he wanted with it and not wanting to lose it I asked him what he wanted it for. He starting swearing at me and told me it was none of my business and to bring the log to his cabin at once. So I went up there without it and he put me on report.
When I went before the Captain Mr Olvany lied saying that I was the one who was swearing and etc. I told the Captain exactly what happened and believing me he told me that he wished I had taken the Log up as I was told saying that there would be a whole different ending to that story. He put me on six months probation and gave Mr. Olvany ten days in his room for lying about it.

In the mine incident in the Yangtse river;

The ships had anchored in the river for the night before proceeding up river to Shanghai in the morning. We were all lighting off that morning and getting ready to move. From the gage board in the forward engine room I could see the RPM’s on both screws and knew that we had moved the ship forward and taken in the anchor. At this time the explosion went off with a terrific noise that sounded like a boiler in the after engine room had gone up. Not being able to contact anyone in the after engine room I had the electrician disconnect the power at our after bulkhead to protect the forward part of the ship and we were holding the ship steady in the river on the starboard screw.
It turned out that the after engine room crew being almost right over the mine abandoned the after engine room for a short period of time.
Mr. Olvany came down the ladder put one foot on the deck of the engine room, asked me if everything was okay and I told him that we had notified the Bridge that we were underway and holding the ship steady so he left. It appeared that we had anchored over the mine was in the mud under the ship
Most of those who were injured back aft suffered from sprained knees and ankles. One had a broken collarbone from a metal cabinet that came off the bulkhead. The metal fasteners that held the three tiered bunks to their stantions had been removed over the years and some of the bunks collapsed on those who were in them causing other injuries. The two ladders in the fantail came loose and fell down leaving no way out of the after compartment so when a crew member found his way in the dark compartment to where the ladder had been other members on deck pulled him out.
The actual damage to the ship consisted mostly to the hollow rudder that was found full of holes when it was exposed in dry dock. The sailors aboard the ship astern told us later that the explosion blew the stern of the ship high enough out of the water that the screws were seen.

For putting his foot on the deck of the forward engine room Mr. Olvany got himself a medal that was presented at quarters soon after. What the rest of us did was never mentioned.

One other thing I might tell you is that when those souvenirs I told you about came aboard there was a fancy gun belt with two revolvers in it like cowboys might wear. I heard that when it hit the deck it bounced once and disappeared and was never seen again even though the Officers made several locker inspections looking for them. I was usually in on all of the bullshit and goings on but not even I knew who or where those guns went???

Some other things that you might like to know. I have a copy of the activities attributed to the Waller that was made available for a price right after the War. It is an exact copy of the one printed on your web page BUT:
In the incident of the Kula Gulf thing I found that it in no way resembles my memory of that event. In the first place you need to know that the Waller almost always had the senior officer on board known as the Commadore. As a result we were almost always in the lead wherever we went. On that particular night we were in convoy with four other Destroyers and several Cruisers and were actually entering a Japanese Harbor to bombard shore installations and whatever else we might find there. When we entered the Harbor we found those ships tied up at piers and fired torpedoes at them as soon as the tubes came to bear.
Our job was to proceed on across the harbor and turn up river to guard against torpedo boats that might attack our heavier ships. When all of the ships were in the harbor they fired at any target seen for some time and then left. The enemy ships were sunk and the harbor was left in a mess.
For whatever reason we were not told that the mission was finished and they were leaving so when we discovered our other ships were gone we came out into the harbor hitting the high spots and when we got to the harbor mouth we were doing thirty knots and gaining.

You need to remember that in wartime some things are not told like they happen and mind also that one of the three west coast sailors I told you about and a very good friend of mine was William Calvert a Radarman so I got good information regarding what was going down on the Bridge.

Regarding the Submarine at Penson Island, the Waller came around the Island and was right on top of the Sub before anyone knew it. The order was given by the watch officer to ram and when the Commadore got to the bridge he countermanded that order and ordered the ship out where it could bring guns to bear. Actually the story was that we were so close to the Sub that nothing we had on board could be brought to bear, but when the ship made the turn and exposed the fantail to the Submarine there was one twenty MM out there that could fire and did, clearing the deck of the Sub until other guns could shoot. The Sub was sunk of course but the kid who fired the twenty got chewed good for shooting without orders??

One last thing I will tell you about is the mess cook. As you know the galley is on the maindeck and the mess is down forward. One day the messcook was backing down the ladder with a steam table insert full of hot oatmeal. He was on the last ladder down by the personnel office when he fell over backward dumping the hot oatmeal all over himself. Wearing only a tee shirt the oatmeal burned him something fierce by the time crewmembers got it off of him and into sickbay.
For whatever reason the officers refused to send this man to the hospital where he belonged but soon after during an inspection of the ship the inspection team found him and ordered him into the hospital.
He was one of the very few who got off of the ship.

Ah the memories Have a good one

Ellis [Bud] Couron

Dear Ted,

My name is Donna Davis. I am the daughter of one of your WWII USS Waller Ship Mates. My Dad passed away in 1983. He left behind three children, two boys and myself. How great to see his photograph on your website! It was like looking in a mirror for my youngest brother, age 39.

My father's name was Thurston David Lupton. He is in the photograph beside Richard N. Keener, along with Jack Koch and Alberto Aleman. My dad used to tell me of how I came to be named Donna Carol. He suffered an eye injury for which he received a Purple Heart which I have. The nurse who took care of him left quite an impression. He was not married to our mother at the time. He vowed that if he ever had a daughter, her name would be Donna Carol. He later married my mother and had a son before I came along. The interesting part of this story is that I am now a Registered Nurse.

I would love to find this caring nurse who left such an impression on a young sailor, my dad. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Again, thank you so much for giving me some warm memories of a man whom I dearly loved and sorely miss.

Sincerely, Donna Carol Lupton Davis


Hi Ted from Bob Cross.

Some good remember when's for you. One night, darken ship, we were doing ASW exercises, Ed Mellas, Fred Benoist and I had the mid watch. We were awakened and prepared to leave the aft compartment. This was winter and we were wearing our P coats. Fred left before ED and I. As Ed and I exited on the starboard side we thought we heard a faint help me.

Looking all around we saw nothing. Could keep hearing it and thought it was the wind. I said to Ed, it's coming from over the side. Looking down, there was Fred hanging by one hand from the bottom of the life line. Ed and I reached over and hauled him back aboard and saved his life.

Another incident. Clear beautiful day with flat seas. Ed Mellas had the duty of cleaning the after head. I was walking down the port side and from no where came a big swell. Over the deck it came and picked me up on it. I could grab nothing and new I was headed for the drink. But as I was being swept past the after head, there in the doorway smoking a cigarette, was Ed. Calmly, as if he did it on a daily basis, he reached out, grabbed me by my collar and hauled my butt into the after head.

I sure did enjoy the years on the old girl and miss all the friends I met while stationed on her. Please keep up the good work.

Hello, my father served on the Waller during WWII (1943-1945), but never wanted to talk much about the war.

He died of cancer in 1987, so I was interested to learn more about the Waller's actions from your website. Some of the events are familiar from the little he talked about it. I would appreciate it if you would add his name to the roster: Elliott Ladd Thurston, Jr. He was a lieutenant (supply corps)--the men called him "money bags."

Thanks so much, David Thurston


My brother sent me a web site on the USS Kidd which lead to the Tin Can Web Site and then to the Waller site.

My father Richard Norman Keener joined the Waller on or about January 1943 at Receiving Station Noumea, New Caledonia after transport from the States on the SS Matsonia. He was a Torpedoman 2nd class and generally was in fire control on the bridge.

My father loved the Waller and told my brother many stories of his life on board until discharge at Charleston, SC in 1946.

I have a wooden cane he bought in the Solomon Islands. It has a handle with inlaid mother of pearl. He brought home a Japanese rifle, Samurai sword, two Japanese hand grenades and two Japanese mortars. All have been emptied of TNT. He passed on several books about New Caledonia and Shanghai as well as Survival on Land and Sea.

I remember stories of the Japanese barge that hit the side of the Waller in the Solomon's one night. They could not depress the deck guns as the barge was too low in the water. They used Thompson Sub machine guns from the deck to take out the Japanese soldiers using the barge to sneak off the island.

There was the Japanese plane that was shot down and continued to float on the surface. The Waller sent a motor whale boat over to get the pilot who had his feet pretty chewed up from running from side to side over the wings that had been damaged from the 50 caliber fire that brought her down.

I still have his Navy survival knife with the metal parts from the propellor of the plane and the handle made of Plexiglas from the canopy.

The family that tied up their sampan on the fantail of the Waller in Shanghai harbor and the Chinese man who tried to steal food from the young boy who had just received a care package from the crew of the Waller.

The experience of getting out of the way of "Saint Elmo's Fire" on the bridge and listening to Bing Crosby singing White Christmas while sailing across the Philippine Sea on a beautiful moonlight night. The thoughts of home and how much everyone wanted to get back home as soon as possible.

The male and female monkeys with tails taken from an island just before the Waller crew knew they were heading to Zamboanga which Ruddard Kippling had made famous with his poem, "The Monkeys Have No Tails On Zamboanga".

The Japanese motorcycle that was taken from Tinghai Island during which a Japanese Garrison was taken over by the Waller's crew and how it ended up being raffled off back at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The tie salesman who came on board and traded his suitcase full of ties for a Japanese sub machine gun that was stored in the aft torpedo shack.

Our father returned to his hometown of Oroville, California and took up the family business of Insurance started by his mother in 1936. I was born in 1948 and my brother in 1951. Our father died in 1974 at the age of 51 from a massive heart attack. My brother and I both graduated from College. He is a forensic chemist with the California Crime Lab and I am a Chief Deputy with the Solano County District Attorney's Office in Vallejo California.

I hope these stories can eventually get into the Waller site. I have located a few sailors from the Waller yesterday from the site who were onboard when my father was. I sent them e-mails yesterday and have received one response so far.

Thanks for the opportunity to have found out a little more about the Waller.

Sincerely, Doug Keener


Hi Ted:

I was an Aviation Sailor but I did ride your ship from Gibraltar to Mayport in early 1967. My drone target detachment crossed from Newport on a destroyer, the name of which I cannot remember. We boarded Waller as she was about to depart the Med and did not even get ashore for a warm beer. So our total "beerless" days were 22.

I rode about nine other destroyers but Waller was the only Fletcher class I was on ... low, sleek and fast! We usually launched our drones from Dash decks but on Waller we did manage to launch from just forward of the depth charge rack. Kind of crowded but we did it.

I still have my Honorary Destroyerman's Card issued by the Waller.

I recall the skipper came into the wardroom with half a haircut. The "barber" told the Skipper that the barber shop (on the main deck) closes at 1600 and he would have to come back tomorrow. The Captain convinced the "barber" that they were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, he was in command and he would get a haircut. The kid got about halfway through and dropped the electric clippers in the sink, which for some unknown reason was full of water. As the "barber" reached for the clippers and was being electrocuted, the Skipper unplugged the cord and left.

Best regards shipmate, Hank Porter






Hi Ted:

Hope you have a nice holiday. Forty nine(49) years ago on July the Fourth, the Waller was in North Korean waters and we were helping, probably up on the bombline supporting the Army. We had did our tour in Wonson Harbor and was out of there by then. Seems like yesterday sometimes. We were lucky to get out of there with no causalities. We took shrapnal on board lots of times. Maybe we can think about it at the reunion next year. It will be 50 years, doesn't seem possible. Anyway, have a great holiday....My best to you and your wife...

Frankie Casto 1950-1952


A very pleasant surprise!!!!

You have done a fine job putting this together. It's been so long that I have some problem remembering most of the names but was there during the Valley Forge incident. The problem..... a pin vibrated loose from the "manual/bridge" hydraulic control system lever in the after steering room transferring steering hydraulics to manual operation in after steering vice bridge control of the hydraulic pumps.

The incident with the running aground was a result of (as I have heard) one of the crew members developing appendecitis and the captain was rushing him to the medical facility in Portsmouth.

How about the MK 108 rocket launcher incident on the Waller where an explosion in the magazine forward of the Officer's buckled the bulkhead and did some damage in the mess area.

Or the MK 108 rocket that hit a sister ship (engineer's log room) and killed 3 occupants.

I remember the engineer for the MK108 system really enjoyed his ice cream.

Any way, I really enjoyed the site. It will be in my list of favorites. It will be nice to see it grow.

Don Strouse


I really enjoyed seeing some of the pictures of the guys at the reunion. I served aboard the Waller from Sept. 1958 until January 1960 when I swapped ships so I could take a Med cruise.

My name is Francis Kimm and I was a radarman striker. I saw Bob Shivers picture. We have all gained some weight from the old days. Pete Mallison ran the paint locker while I was aboard. I think Pauley was a Gunners Mate.

I worked at a GM parts plant as an electrician and a Maint. Supervisor. Spent 35 years there and retired in 1997. I have been married 2 times. I have 4 children and 3 step children. I have been married almost 20 years this time. I made it 18 1/2 the first time. This as a record for me. My present wife and I have no children together. I will be 60 in May. In basically good health. My wife and I have a travel trailer and we spent 2 months in Texas this past winter. I live in Pendleton Indiana. My e- mail address is:

I would appreciate hearing from anyone who might remember me. Thanks for the memories.

Tom Mamon RD3

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

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