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A Sailor's Dying Wish


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Part of the tour at my dad's ship reunion in 2001 included a ceremony aboard the USS Kidd, which is permanently harbored in Baton Rouge, LA. The tour group included plenty of duffers from the Korea and Vietnam era. I believe it was the Epperson's former captain and several other crew members who climbed over a chain link "DO NOT ENTER" area to try to get to the ship's bridge. A young tour guide promptly comes over and tells them "I'm sorry, you can't go up there." A Navy vet from Baton Rouge who was serving as the unofficial director of the group heard the commotion, walks over to the tour guide and calmly says "son, you let these men go where ever they want on this boat." The kid promptly nodded his head. I couldn't help but chuckle.

At the 2007 reunion's closing dinner (Louisville, KY), the brother of Private Harold Epperson, the ship's namesake, served as keynote speaker. Harold died while diving on a grenade to save some of his fellow soldiers. The brother was 2 or 3 years old when Private Epperson died in 1944 - he never knew him. When the ship was sent to Seattle for de-commissioning and eventual sale to Pakistan, the men of the ship voted to use their enlisted men's fund (normally used for blowing off steam, so to speak, when in port) to fly Harold's mother and sister to Seattle so they could say good-bye to the Epperson.

Just a couple more stories I thought I would throw into this thread...Go Navy. Beat Army.


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