Eric Hanney

USS Gurke—DD-783

U.S. Navy

I was born in Pomona, California on May 25, 1931. After graduating from high school, in Pomona, California—at mid-term—I joined the U.S. Navy. As I was only seventeen, my mother had to sign for me.

Upon completion of basic training, in San Diego, California, I was assigned to the USS Gurke—a destroyer. The Gurke was armed with 5 inch .38 caliber twin-mounts, 20mm single mounts, 40mm quad and twin-mounts, torpedoes and depth charges; and she roughly held two-hundred men.

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On August 5, 1950, the Gurke left San Diego for Korea; arriving in time to participate in the Inchon landing. Along with five other destroyers, DeHavenMansfieldCollettLyman K. Swenson, and Henderson, the Gurke anchored in Inchon Harbor, on the 13th of September. We remained there for two days firing at shore batteries on Wolmi-do Island, and at the same time receiving fire; we were called the Sitting Duck Squadron.

As a Seaman First Class, I was a radar man, which meant I watched the radar for approaching ships. Our head phone was on the same frequency as the look-outs. On one occasion while we were receiving fire, the look-out said he could see where the incoming fire was coming from. Suddenly, he was hit; lucky for him he was just wounded.

One of our sister ships took a direct hit, killing five men.

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We also accompanied aircraft carriers to protect them from submarines.

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