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In the fall of 1962, after American reconnaissance planes discovered
the presence of Soviet offensive missiles in Cuba, USS William R. Rush
returned to the area and operated with TF 135 on the Cuban "Quarantine"
line from 20 October to 3 December. The ship was at sea continuously
during that period, except for an availability alongside the destroyer tender
Yosemite (AD-19) from 12 to 17 November.

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Medals/Decorations

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If you have any recollections of events during the time on the Cuban quarantine
please e-mail me with the details.


First-Hand Accounts

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SK2Wagoner.jpg Subject: Cuban Missile Crisis
From Don Wagoner

We had been out on operations in the Caribbean. On the way back we stopped to refuel in Key West. I took a weeks leave to go to Miami. I arrived there Saturday morning only to find out we were to return to Mayport ASAP. I returned to the base on Sunday morning and reported to the Tender {I think it was AD-27}. I found that half our crew was there and had missed the Ship too.

I believe it was on Monday that they flew a bunch of us down to Gitmo. We landed on the other side of the bay and were carried across to the Main Base. On the way over a plane flew over and dropped a phosphorus bomb that lit up the whole island. We could see about 15,000 Marines all over the mountains, of course armed to the teeth.

We were assigned to a barracks to wait for the ship to pick us up. Two nights later the ship came in about 4 AM to refuel and to pick us up. As soon as I got aboard, the Supply Officer notified me that they hadnít picked up the Commissary provisions I had ordered in Mayport. He said that we were scraping the barrel. I took a working party over to the Base Supply Dept.

When we got there the storekeepers were on their way out. They were armed and going to join the marines. They left me the keys and said help yourself. We got a Dock Mule and carts to put together a train. Then we went through the warehouse and got all the frozen and canned goods we could. When we got back to the ship they had completed refueling. We loaded all the supplies in no time at all, and got underway. We also had about 150 extra personnel to return to the fleet.

I also recall that Chief Allen complained that instead of 6-way beef {A package of beef with ground meat, steaks, cube steaks and other cuts.}, we had only picked up steaks and he had to have cook-outs on the fantail, or grind them up into hamburger..

Don Wagoner SK2

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06s_cb63-enslen.jpg Subject: Re: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: William Enslen

I was aboard during the Cuban missile crisis. However, I was on a weekend liberty when the ship left Mayport. When I heard on TV that all Navy personal should return to their ships, I returned to the base, found the ship was gone, turned myself in to the base command. I was flown down to Cuba and landed on the carrier Enterprise and highlined aboard the USS Rush where I remained until the end of the blockade.

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07s_cb63-hurst.jpgSubject: Re: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: Ralph Hurst

I was onboard the Rush during the entire period.



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13s_cb63-williams.jpgSubject: Re: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: John Williams

Yes, I was aboard during that time. Also, l tend to remember that we would steam around off cuba for a number of days, then go into Mayport to get mail, stores and such. We would get base liberty and go to the club on base and get "happy" then go back to the ship and get underway again for Cuba. I was discharged off the Rush on the Monday following president Kennedy's asassination (sic). JOHN

Note: John Williams and wife, Elko, passed away 12/13/2003

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08s_cb63-morgan.jpgSubject: Cuban Missel Crisis
From: James Morgan

George - Reply about the Crisis: Yes, I was onboard during the Crisis. 62-64



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04s_cb63-mays.jpgSubject: Cuban Crisis
From: Bob Mays

Happy Holidays George, I was a member of ship's company when the Cuban Crisis and blockade took place, but regretfully I did not go. I was TAD to GLYNCO NAS in Georgia at AIC (Air Intercept Controller) school. We lived just outside of the base where we owned a small house. My wife, as an active Navy wife, had her hands full with our two small girls and trying to keep many of the young sailors wives calm with all that was happening. Many of the wives were absolutely hysterical so it was not a pleasant memory. Incidentally, I made Chief while at GLYNCO, NAS during that same time frame. Tried to get out of being initiated by a bunch of Airdales and go back to Rush to be initiated by shipmates but the Airdales didn't buy that. We really had fun when I was brought up on charges that I didn't want to be initiated by a bunch of Airdales. When asked if that is what I said I said no it was not that I said "I didn't want to be initiated by a bunch of F------- Airdales," and away we went.
Following seas,
Bob Mays

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02s_cb61-stewart.jpgSubject: RE: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: Walt Stewart

George, I WAS on board during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I left the RUSH to go on inactive duty shortly after the RUSH got back from Cuba. I had also been the Command Duty Officer when the RUSH was notified to get underway at the beginning of the Missile Crisis (a Saturday morning) and to join the Enterprise, though, of course, for unspecified reasons.
Charles Walter Stewart (Walt)

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CalvinESmithson.jpgSubject: Re: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: Calvin Smithson

Hello George: I was aboard during the Cuban Blockade, in fact I Re-enlisted while on the blockade on the 01 deck while RUSH was plane guarding for the Enterprise. I do not have many pictures of that time, but what I can find I can send you, if that is what you want. Let me know.
Sincerely,
Calvin & Pauline Smithson

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03s_cb63-walker.jpgSubject: RE: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: Bob Walker

I was aboard from the Saturday we got underway from Mayport to meet the Enterprise until we got back to Mayport around Christmas with only shore leave being in Kingston Jamica--a hell hole at the time, but it looked good! Many events I recall well. Some standouts:

  1. The Stirring in my gut when we first saw the Enterprise rising over the horizon like an enormous silo---tracking at over 40 knots.
  2. The going-to-war feeling when we went alongside the Enterprise Sunday afternoon for fuel and saw and heard the Enterprise band playing patriotic tunes on deck.
  3. When I was given a COLT 45 Monday night before we were to strike Cuba and said "what do I do with this?" Mr. Barr (fiery red-headed XO): "You are an officer aren't you, you figure it out."
  4. After we went into Guantanamo about 2 am to recover several hundred sailors and officers who had been flown there from Florida, many carrier personnel on board got seasick and threw up on ship. (They were packed on there like sardines.) Mr. Barr had CIC find a rain squall on radar as soon as we were not EMCON, and drove The Rush through it to "clean the ship and the deep-draft sailors.
There are more.
Bob Walker, Greenest Ensign on board at the time.

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11s_cb63-thorson.jpgSubject: RE: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: Gary Thorson

Hi George, My name is Gary Thorson , I was onboard the Rush during the Cuban Missile crisis. In fact, I had a 72 hour liberty that weekend when we pulled into Mayport. Being a Boiler Tender, we had to fuel ship before we could go ashore. When fueling was complete, I cleaned up & was in my dress whites getting ready to cross the gang plank, only to be told to return to the fireroom & "light-off" (fire-up the boilers) & get ready to get underway. Over half the crew was gone, & most of the BT's had made it ashore before the gang plank was taken in, so we had to "4 on & carry on" until the rest of the crew was helicoptered from the Enterprise on to the Rush's fantail, while we were under way. I was told that one of the BT's that was landed onto the Rush "heaved" all over the party of men below him.

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12S-cb63-wharton.jpgSubject: Re: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: John Wharton

George - Received your email re:Cuban Missile Crisis. I was on board Rush during that time. Be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thanks.
John Wharton


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05s_cb63-bonta.jpgSubject: Re: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: George Bonta

Just wanted to let you know that I was on the RUSH during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was home on leave when the crisis started and the RUSH was deployed. When I got back to Mayport I had to stay on the Yosemite for a week until I could get a flight to Gitmo. I had never been on a plane in my life and in two days I got to fly in a plane, land on a carrier, and take a helicopter ride to the RUSH.

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12s_cb63-wharton.jpgSubject: Re[2]: Cuban Missile Crisis
From: John Wharton

George, As you may know everything happened so fast with the "Blockade" that we Went out to sea with about 1/2 of our crew. We had returned from ASW games and liberty was given upon our return. Saturday morning as I was supposed to go ashore for liberty, it was cancelled and we were advised that we were going to do emergency plane guard and were heading out to sea immediately. We all thought that it was strange to plane guard with 1/2 of the crew. The next day the captain advises us that we are part of a Contingency Strike Force on a Naval Blockade. We all about Sh--!

The funniest thing is that we were sent into Guantanamo Bay to pick up sailors that were ashore at the time the ships pulled out. We were with the Enterprise and had to pick up about 200 of her men in addition to our own. It is amazing to see aircraft carrier sailors on a Tin Can. For the next 24 hours they were all lining the rails, manning the heads and going wherever they could go. It was nice to see them depart!!.

The most frightening event was a very early morning "GQ" while we were sleeping and all we kept hearing was "This is not a drill". You can imagine how fast people flew to their stations including me. I was a signalman on the bridge and had my helmet on before I put my pants on. Several planes were flying towards our group and would not identify themselves. At the last minute, like they knew where that imaginary line was for our group, they turned back. Enterprise had been set to launch.

While on patrol, one of our desalinaters for fresh water broke down, and we had to pull into Kingston, Jamaica for several days. You talk about a party - nobody knew what tomorrow was going to bring therefore we had to party.

These points have always been fresh in my mind therefore, I can share them easily. Hopefully this helps.

Regards,
John Wharton

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10s_cb63-stone.jpgSubject: CUBAN MISSile CRISIS
From: JERRY STONE

GEORGE, I WAS A FIREMAN IN THE AFT ENGINE ROOM ON RUSH DURING THE CUBAN MISSIEL CRISIS. I HAD COME ABOARD RUSH IN FEB OF 1962 WHILE RUSH WAS FINISHING UP WORK AT CHARLESTON. I WAS 19 YEARS OLD AND FRESH OUT OF HIGHSCHOOL AND BOOTCAMP AND THE NAVAL RESERVE CENTER IN NASHVILLE.

RUSH HAD JUST RETURNED TO MAYPORT FROM SEVERAL DAYS OF TRAINING AROUND KEY WEST, IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY. MAYPORT WAS OUR HOMEPORT AND I AGREED TO SWAP WITH SOMEBODY WHO HAD FAMILY THERE. LATE THAT NIGHT WE RECEIVED ORDERS TO GET UNDERWAY FOR GUANTANOMO BAY. WE LEFT PORT WITH LESS THAN 1/2 THE CREW ON BOARD AND STEAMED TO GUANTANOMO.

IN THE MEANTIME THE REST OF THE CREW HAD BEEN FLOWN OR ARRIVED ON OTHER SHIPS SENT TO CUBA. WE LEFT GUANTANOMO WITH A LOT MORE THAN A FULL CREW, WE HAD MARINES FROM THE ENTERPRISE AND SAILORS FROM OTHER SHIPS IN THE TASK FORCE. WE HAD MEN SLEEPING IN THE PASSAGEWAYS AND THERE WAS USUALLY SOMEONE IN YOUR RACK WHEN YOU CAME OFF WATCH. WE JOINED TF 135 AND TRANSFERRED THE MEN TO THEIR SHIPS.

WE STEAMED WITH THE ENTERPRISE AS PART OF HER SCREEN DURING MOST OF THE DEPLOYMENT. THANKFULLY THIS WAS THE FIRST AND LAST TIME THAT I HEARD "THIS IS NOT A DRILL" WHEN GQ WAS SOUNDED. WE STEAMED UNDER BLACKOUT CONDITIONS MOST OF THE TIME.

I DO REMEMBER A WILD LIBERTY IN MONTEGO BAY AFTER THE DEPLOYMENT.

THANKS FOR ALL THE WORK YOU DO FOR THE ASSOCIATON.

JERRY STONE 1962-1964

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Subject: Cuban Missile Crisis
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001 10:42:07 -0400
From: Charles Kehm

Dear Chief Munk, What a pleasant surprise to hear from you so quickly. Last night included a family dinner with 2 sons present. Conversation drifted to the Cuban Missile Crisis and my ship. I described to all present what happened. How we on board the Rush were surprised to hear over the PA “Man the special sea detail” & “make all preparations to get underway” & “this is NOT a drill” early that Saturday morning. What was going on... No one seemed to know. I had given up my 72 hour pass for a ship mate who had family and now we were getting ready to leave Mayport with less than 1/2 our normal crew. Underway and steaming South, although we were not advised exactly where or why until we were on station, we settled into what seemed to be a permanent general quarters status under "war time cruising condition 3 orders". My quarters became the 5"-38 Gunmount just forward of the bridge. It seems to me we actually lived here for most of the 90+ days we participated in this event. The only changes I can remember were sudden and fast trips into Gitmo to pick up sailors who had missed movement of their ships (due to the sudden departures) and transporting them to the Enterprise for high lining aboard. This was most interesting as these guys were not destroyer sailors and as soon as we left port they were confined to the O2 level with much "mal de mar" and general unhappiness. We destroyer sailors were very amused at their distress. As you will remember, anytime we had to work alongside a carrier with high lining efforts there was always a brass band playing Anchors Away on their very stable decks while we were generally rocking and rolling away. It was the Rush's nickname “Roadrunner” and quick departures (including a special Roadrunner flag being popped at this moment) at the end of any alongside larger ships exercise that we Rush crew members (from the Captain on down) waited for with much anticipation and enjoyment. Sorry, I seem to have memories flooding in long forgotten as I type this note to you. Anyway, after 90+ days at sea, with fresh water rationed, food running out and continual apprehensions due to the potential danger of this effort, we finally had what was described as a major mechanical problem (rumor had it was sabotage) and we pulled in Montego Bay for a very needed liberty. Much steam was let off during this 2 day event. I recall returning late to the dock from liberty and having the “privilege” of riding out to the Rush with the XO, Lcdr. G. C. White. He was not amused. Now that I think about it he was never amused about anything especially his nickname "Banjo Eyes" which seemed to appear all around the ship by pranksters. It is amazing to look back and wonder about my time aboard the Rush remembering this time through the eyes of an 18 year old kid. I remember many ship mates of enlisted and officer ranks well and would like to correspond with any interested. Upon my departure from the Rush (I had a 89 day early out to attend college) I seemed to enter into the normal American world of the civilian. However, my days on the Wm. R. Rush DDR-714 (the "Silly Willy" as we fondly called her) starting on 21 July 1961 and ending on 4 May 1964 will always be remembered with pride.

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CubanMissileCrisis.jpg

Cuban missile crisis: U.S. ship intercepting a missile-carrying Soviet ship. [Photograph].
Retrieved May 4, 2008, from Encyclopædia Online.


Select the PHOTOGRAPH above to view an in-depth report on the Cuban Missile Crisis. This very interesting article, in Adobe PDF format will open in a new window.


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