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A Memorial To The Passing of Our Brothers !
A Farewell From :
United States Man of War
USS Walker DD 517

" WE SALUTE YOU !"

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"As you sailed with us across the seas, now you sail alone, the sun has set and the sky is red, set those throttles full speed ahead  and ... "

Prayer

smwalker
Destroyer DD-517
U.S.S. Walker

" ... know that your brothers will keep you in our minds and hearts forever and wish you fair winds and smooth seas as we all will be together again one day. !"

Poem

A word to the Families
from
The Crew

Eagle
In God We Trust ....


From the Crew of the Walker:


     Like two ships that pass in the night, we leave this life to sail into the next. We leave our loved ones, family and friends, to embark on a new journey, one that takes us to everlasting peace and tranquility. We leave our mother and father only to join with our true Mother and Father. It is not tears of sadness that we should shed on their passing but tears of joy and happiness for now they are in the hands of their Father.

     Yes we all will miss you and wish you were still with us but knowing this our hearts will be filled with peace as we honor your memory that will last forever with us.

So to all who have passed, we the crew of the Walker and our families salute you and your families and loved ones and bid you fairwell, smooth sailing and Godspeed to the everlasting!

     We, the crew of the Mighty Walker, would like to express our gratitude and appreciation to the families and loved ones who have most generously furnished this information for the surviving crew of the Mighty Walker to Honor and pay Tribute to these men!
Thank you from each of us!

Signed this day, May 1 1998
Updated May, 30 1999
The Crew
U.S.S Walker DD 517
"In Memory We Serve"
Smoot, Tom   Marques, Albert   Purvis, Dick   Connite, Earl 
Nunley, Jack   Duerr, Robert (Rob)   Averill, Charlie  
Cochrell, William   Markley, James   Lund, Richard (Rick)  
Wilson, Russ   Davis, Jim   Ray, Bob   Tharpe, M.  
Rice, Roy (Joe)   Dillon, Gary M.   Clark, John A.  
Christensen, Mike   Ingenito, Frank   Whittington, Lew
Friedman, James
 
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* Ships Namesake *
Small Cross Admiral John G. Walker
United States Navy
1835 - 1907

* In Memory of Tom's Father *
Small Cross 1stClass Jerry T. Smoot
USS Nashanic AO-71
United States Navy
October 11, 1917 - April 7, 1997

* In Memoriam *
Mark's Father
Frank E. Ingenito
United States Navy
March 4, 1922 - December 4, 2006

Small Cross Randall C. Redpath 
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross G. Warren Prada
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Jim Powell
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Bob Schultz
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Bob Callahan
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Gerald W Sims
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Admiral R. C. Robinson
    United States Navy
    1972 Vietnam

Small Cross James K. Quint
    United States Navy
    1925 - 1989

Small Cross Leonard John Swindler
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Roy "Blackie" Braucht
    United States Navy
   
1922 - 1981

Small Cross Norman Newbury
    United States Navy
   
Unknown - 1966

Small Cross John Himmler
  
 United States Navy
    ???
? - 1999

Small Cross Fred O. Dobbert
    United States Navy
   
1910 - 1989

Small Cross Captain Brand W. Drew
    United States Navy
    1918 - 1994

Small Cross Art Jonsson
    United States Navy
    1927 - 1971

Small Cross Lew Whittington
    United States Navy
    Unknown - Feb. 27, 2001

Small Cross Gerald W. Sims
    United States Navy
    Unknown - 1993

Small Cross Nelson B. Slayton
    United States Navy

    1921 - 2002

Small Cross Orazio "Oscar" Vassalotti
    United States Navy
    Unknown - February 26, 2003

Small Cross James Kenneth Thornburg
    United States Navy
    1919 - 1985

Small Cross  Alvin R. Owens
     United States Navy
     Unknown - Sept. 29, 2004

Small Cross  J.O. Demaree
     United States Navy
     Unknown  - June 14, 2005

Small Cross  Louis C. Johnson
     United States Navy
     Sept. 5, 1939 - May 5, 2006

Small Cross  Richard E. "Dick" Cristobal
     United States Navy
     August 12, 1936 - February 26, 2008

Small Cross  Rick Carrasco
     United States Navy
     Unknown - March 15, 2009

Small Cross  Frank Turkalj
     United States Navy
     Unknown - February 2012

Small Cross  Homer Harris
     United States Navy
     1921 - 2012

Small Cross  Jack Cogan
     United States Navy
     Unknown - February 6, 2012

 

Small Cross Captain William Marshall Shifflette
    United States Navy
    1916 - 1995

Small Cross John Hurd
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross George Price
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Fred Warbington
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Francis (Hank) Nee
    United States Navy
    1923 - 1943

Small Cross William Hedrick
    United States Navy
    Dates Unknown

Small Cross Harry Wendt
    United States Navy
    Unknown - 1998

Small Cross Louis F. Decker
    United States Navy
    1925 - 1985

Small Cross William Robert (Rusty) Nail
    United States Navy
    1921 - 1996

Small Cross Joseph P. Baran
    United States Navy
    1923 - 1998

Small Cross George E. Dunn
    United States Navy
    1933 - 1999

Small Cross Jesse M. Gaytan
    United States Navy
    1923-1994

Small Cross Jack E. Springsteel
    United States Navy
    Unknown - 1992

Small Cross Leonard Roza
    United States Navy
    1923 - 1992

Small Cross Reuben (Roy) Hechter
    United States Navy
   
May 31, 1918 - Oct. 13, 1973

Small Cross Harland Dale Trudell "elmo"
    United States Navy
    Unknown - 1981

Small Cross Commander J. Philip Gutting
    United States Navy
    Unknown - Feb. 17, 2001

Small Cross Vincent William (Bill) Sakal
    United States Navy

    1912 - 1986

Small Cross Albert Marques
    United States Navy
    1938 - September 12, 2003

Small Cross  Robert Foote
     United States Navy
     Unknown - June 15, 2004

Small Cross  Arnold Schevikhoven
     United States Navy
     Nov. 29, 1925 - March 13, 2005

Small Cross  James D. Albert
     United States Navy
     Unknown - May 1, 2006

Small Cross  Harold A. Kerstetter
     United States Navy
     1920 - January 13, 2007

Small Cross  Captain Lawrence W. Kelley
     United States Navy
     Unknown - 2007

Small Cross  John Norris
     United States Navy
     Unknown - July 23, 2011

Small Cross  Ronald Alexander
     United States Navy
     Unknown - February 2012

Small Cross  Richard Radloff
     United States Navy
     Unknown - 2008

Small Cross   Bob Ray
      United States Navy
      Unknown - May 7, 2012

 

   

 

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Small Cross Jesse M. Gaytan QM3
1923 - 1994

gaytan43_memorial.jpg (4076 bytes)My father enlisted in the U.S. Navy in November on 1942 and served on the Walker from 1943-1945, the duration of the war. Though he seldom discussed the war he seemed to open up more towards the last 3-4 years of his life. He spoke of islands in the Pacific, like Guadacanal, Tarawa, Saipan, the Philippines, Kwajalein, Marshall and Gilbert islands. Once he was up for three days because of chasing Japanese submarines. And he told of American aircraft being shot down by friendly fire because of immense bombardment in the assault of Okinawa. And he told me the most terrifying experience of all were the repeated attacks of the kamikaze pilots. I was fascinated by this chapter in his life. Like most men of his generation, he didn't think he'd done anything special. He simply stated, "no big deal, we had a job to do"

I asked him about the atomic bombs being dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima. At the time his ship was off the coast of Japan, bombarding Kamaishi, Honshu. Like the rest of the fleet, they were waiting for invasion plans of Japan itself to develop. He believed the Japanese people would have fought to the last person, prolonging the war several more months if not a year. "I just wanted to go home and get on with my life. The empire of Japan wasn't about to surrender,  so it was the right decision at the time. " My father was discharged in Nov. 1945, came home to San Antonio, married Alicia Muller and had four children. He left this physical world on Christmas Eve 1994, at the age of 71 years, almost fifty years after the war.

While researching his ships logs, I found that in the 2 1/2 years at sea, he only returned home once on leave...Christmas Eve of 1944.....one special memory is of tracing down two photos of the Walker from the Natl. Archives in Wash.D.C. I presented them to him on fathers Day and his eyes became very misty, and he would stare at those photos and you could sense he was going back to a place of his youth none of us could imagine. I'm sure the war impacted his life on never taking anything for granted and he was very devoted to the Methodist church, his family and country. Jesse M.Gaytan was my father, my friend, and my hero, of which I am very proud!
George Gaytan

 

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Small Cross William Robert (Rusty) Nail1921 - 1996

william r nail USN.gif (12837 bytes)William Robert Nail joined the Navy on 8 Feb. 1939 (321-29-94) and was assigned to the USS Philadelphia. He served three years (1939-1941) in the "undeclared" war in the North Atlantic. During this time he received the nickname "Rusty" which he kept his entire life and his son David picked up when joining the Air Force. They are together now. William leaving us on August 1, 1996 and David left us August 1, 1998. David was only 43 and very close to Dad. It is fitting they had the same nickname of "Rusty". The story goes that dad was working out in the rain and the other swap-jockeys told him if he didn't get out of the rain he would get "rusty". Well the name stuck.

In Dec 1941 Rusty was assigned to the USS Walker. He participated as a gunners mate on the Walker for the duration of the war. It was on the Walker that Rusty met Don Gray. The two of them became very close friends. After the war Rusty brought Don home (Woolstock, Iowa) to meet the family. Don fell in love with Rusty's sister, Phyllis and they ended up getting married. Uncle Don and Aunt Phyllis currently live in Kansas City, Ks.

Rusty tried civilian life for about a year and then joined the USAF. He served in the USAF 18 years. He and Ruth (our mother) raised a family of six in Kansas City, KS; Topeka, Ks; Margate, England; Denver, Colorado and Tampa, Florida where he retired in 1966 with 26 years of service to his country under his belt. He spend the next 30 years in Kansas City, MO. where he worked at the NCO Club at Richards-Gebaur AFB and fished a lot with his lifelong friends.

Dad loved to tell stories, but not very many about the war, I know now  that WW II was not very funny. There were some lighter moments,   however. One I remember was when the Walker received some warm beer. He said the guys would pop the cap and put it to their mouths as fast as they could, so as not to loose any of the valuable commodity. The beer being warm of course foamed up and fill the mouth and ran out the nose like a spigot. It must have looked like a boat load of "rabid" sailors! He also liked to play cards and maybe even gambled a little on the ship. Maybe that's why they have gaming "boats" here in Missouri.

Rusty had the highest respect for his "buddies" on the Walker. I'm glad they never had to swim for it because Rusty never knew how. He cheated on the swimming test when he enlisted, because he wanted to go to sea. I'm glad it was to serve on the USS Walker.
John Nail

In memory of "Rusty"

Ruth Nail (wife and mother of the six of us)
Linda Hobson (daughter)
John Nail (son)
Jeanette Nail (daughter)
David Nail (son -died 8/1/98)
Kenneth Nail (son)
Nancy Buechter (daughter)

 


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Small Cross  Chief Radiomen Randall C. Redpath, USN
Plank Owner

Thank you for these pages. My father RandChief Redpathall C. Redpath was a plank owner. He was a radiomen on bored during the W.W.II years. He spent many hours talking about the times he had on the walker and what that ship went through. The many air raid's and the harassment of the Jap kamikaze plan's. I believed this was one of the most feared attacks to be experienced by the ship. The very close calls the ship had. My father pass on 10 years ago. My youngest son now serves abroad the USS Carney DDG 64. he is keeping the destroyer line alive in our family. He to is a plank owner and his ship was built the same place as the walker. His grand father would be very proud as I am. He just returned from a six month cruise in the Persian Gulf last week.

I would be very interested in any additional information you might be able to gather on this ship or the time my father served on her. Thanks again for all the work you have put into this page I know my father would have loved it.

Sincerely
Greg Redpath


 


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Small Cross Captain William Marshall Shifflette, USN
1916 - 1995


My father was Capt. William Marshall Shifflette. He served on the Walker. my brothers David and Mark know this ship best. I being the baby remember only the Pt. Defiance. I was born when he was 49 , 5 years after his retirement. His steward, Eddie Thomas, continued to work for him after his retirement.

He was born in Marble Falls in the Texas hill country in 1916. He learned to swim at the Naval Academy. I remember the only stroke he could do was a side-stroke. He graduated from Annapolis Class of 1939. Served in the Pacific and Atlantic Theaters during WW II. I grew up with the coffee stained battle map for the Normandy landing at Aeromanche hanging above the family fireplace. He was an officer on the flag ship. He said that was the day he thought he would die.

PG School 1949? He served in Korea. He gave me his bronze star when I was a boy. He really kept all this stuff in his sock drawer or at the top or back of the closet. It was my mother who wanted to hang up his sword, and frame the battle map later in his life. He was present for the hydrogen bomb tests on bikini atoll(1956?). He served on the Nato Staff in Europe (1956-1958?). He was chief of staff at Mare Island Naval Base in California. His last ship was LSD USS Pt. Defiance. He retired in 1960 to a career in management in aerospace.

He died on April 7, 1995 after a long, difficult illness, Parkinson's Disease. He is survived by his 1st wife Margerie Stone and their children David, Mark and Laura, all of Seattle WA. He is survived by his second wife Lucia Agan and their children william agan and myself John Hardin. There are many holes here. It is information off the top of my head. I would appreciate hearing from people who served with my father and knew him.
Thanks

John Shifflette

 


 

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Small Cross Captain Brand W. Drew, USN
1918 - 1994

My father, Brand W. Drew, served on the USS Walker from 1960-1961, while stationed at Pearl Harbor.  He is a Pearl Harbor Survivor, and also participated in the Korean War. 

Growing up, all I knew was that my dad had been a sailor.  I did not know much about war or the things men and women did during war. My father told me very little. I know that every year around Christmas time he would get a
little sad, spend some more time sitting silent in the dark in his black leather chair, and hug me and my mother just that much harder.  He was proud of his time in the Navy, but he also felt pain for times past, as I imagine any sailor would feel.

He always said, "Don't dwell on the past. Look toward the future!"  He also claimed never to remember anything past yesterday, as the present moment was always where one should be. He never moved from this ideal.

In 1979 he moved to Hawaii with me and my mother, Lourdes. He had always loved it here, and wanted to return.  He spent as much time as he could near the water, and walked everywhere! He had a dark farmer's tan and
bulging calf muscles!

He worked as the Vice President of Denison Corporation until he passed. It was a condominuim management corporation, and each day he visited every single resident manager to talk and make sure "everything was OK".  He was a born leader, and was so until the end.

My mother and I spread his ashes over the waters near Ala Moana Beach Park.

He loved, and still does love you all!
Theresa Drew


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Small Cross Leonard Roza MM3 -USN
1923 - 1992

Contact Family

My father was MM3rd Class Leonard J. Roza, who served on the U.S.S. Walker during WW2. All the while I was growing up I loved to have him tell me stories from his "Navy" days, and I never tired of hearing them. My mother, Kathleen Roza, is still alive and living in Laughlin, Nevada. She boarded the U.S.S. Walker for a dinner commemorating the crew in San Diego at the end of WW2. She still has a log book of my dad's memories of his time on the ship and I will see if our family can gather some of his memories for your Web site. This has been very interesting!
Loraine M. Peters
Hale, MI USA

My Dad served on the this big beautiful ship and was a great looken Dad. We have a good family, my mom is still alive and well, we all miss him very much. He died at the age of 69 years old. This is a great thing to do for the families, I am one of this children he had along of another sister and two other brothers and one other brother that died 47 years ago. My dad is in heaven with him now. We love you Dad and miss you ever much. Our hearts are fulled with lots of great memories of our Father and Grandfather and Great-Grandfather. Bless everyone that has connection with this and the Families.
Love and God Bless,  Diane, Charlie & Family

My grandfather, Leonard J. Roza, served on the Walker from 1941-1945 and died later in 1992. He was survived by his wife and 4 children, 6 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. I have been fascinated by this website, as I remember grandpa telling me bits and peices of the "old days". How wonderful it is that such information is being updated and available to the surviving crew members and their families!
Thank you and keep up the good work!
Darci Hawkins 
Waterford, MI USA


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Small Cross Lew Whittington
Unknown - 2001

Lewis J. Whittington, Sr. - 71

Loving father and beloved husband, Lewis J. Whittington, Sr., of Aston, died February 27 after a long illness. Mr. Whittington was employed at Wawa Dairy Farms for 37 years, starting as a milk driver and working for many years as a plant supervisor. He was a member of Teamster Local Union 463 until his retirement in 1993.

Mr. Whittington was resident of Chichester Township all his life. A veteran of the Korean War, Mr. Whittington served in the U.S. Navy, assigned to the U.S.S. Walker. Mr. Whittington had many interests including computers and baking. First and foremost was his devotion and love for his family and grandchildren. He loved all types of music from opera to rock, but had a passion for the blues, especially the guitars of Eric Clapton and B.B. King.

 Mr. Whittington is survived by his wife of 49 years, Anna Mae, and four children: Barbara Ann Taylor of Aston with him he and his wife lived; Lewis J. Whittington, Jr. of Philadelphia; Robert E. Whittington of Seattle, WA; Joyce Lee Peters of Port St. Lucie, FL; Julie Taylor of Boothwyn and six other grandchildren; two great grandchildren; a brother Frank Whittington; sisters Juanita Billingsley, Jeanette Nottingham, Mildred Plummer; and, deceased siblings Alberta Grant, Mary Blanton, Anna Overlie and his beloved brother Earl Whittington.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorial donations be made to The American Cancer Society.


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Small Cross Vincent William (Bill) Sakal SoM 1/c, USN

1912 – 1986 

Bill and I were married May 31,1941. War was declared on December 7, 1941.  Although he was married and almost 30, he felt that he would be called up. He said to me, “I’m joining the Navy. At least I’ll have a chance to survive…I can swim like a FISH!”

Bill’s entry into active service was November 12, 1942. He was assigned for duty to the USS Walker after training at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. He served on her for the duration of the war, rising to the rank of SoM 1/c.

After the first shakedown cruise, I went to stay with Bill in Boston for a couple of days. We met Randall Redpath, also assigned to the Walker, and his wife Julie.  She and I immediately struck up a friendship that lasted throughout the war. It was mid 1943 and I did not see Bill again until Christmas of 1944. 

The USS Walker arrived in San Francisco for refurbishing. Bill would receive about 20 days leave. He traveled home to New York. When he was due to start back I went with him by train to Vallejo, California. It took us 5 days because we were put off our train in Chicago so the troops could use it. We spent two days in the train station with only a pillow and a blanket. The floor was our bed. When we arrived in Vallejo we were given a Quonset hut and stayed there until the ship was returned to active duty. I would not see Bill again until the end of the war. He was discharged on October 16 1945. 

After the war Bill returned to work at Consolidated Edison Company, a utility firm in New York City. We bought a home on Long Island. Bill enjoyed being surrounded by water and spent many happy hours fishing and enjoying his boat. We raised a son and daughter and have 5 grandchildren. He passed away on March 8,1986. 

My children and I are extremely proud of my husband. He served his country well. He did not talk much about the war, but would bet his “lucky numbers” 5-1-7, whenever he got the chance. He felt that they were his good luck numbers after surviving the war aboard the USS Walker DD-517. 

I am Margaret Sakal and I was married to Bill for over 40 years. I enjoyed reading Momentary Heroes, the book by George Gaytan that honors the men who served aboard the USS Walker. Thank you to George and Mark Ingenito, who maintains this site. We will never forget.

Margaret Sakal

 


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Captain Lawrence W. Kelley, CO, USN

Unknown - 2007

I am the son of CAPT Lawrence W. Kelley. (CO circa 1963). He died last year, and I would like to send a memoriam for your consideration. More important, the crew gave Dad a briefcase upon his departure. I wanted to tell all con- cerned that he used that briefcase for roughly the next 40 years until the handle broke--and then it lived in his office where he could see it. On my next trip to my parents', I plan on bringing the briefcase back with me to get the handle fixed and continue to use it.

Sincerely,

Kevin Kelley

 


 

 

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