USS William H. Standley DLG/CG-32 Association

Peg's WHS Memories

The first time I saw the WHS was at Roosevelt Roads, P.R. after a 1970 vacation in St. Thomas I flew over to P.R. and Gunner & I drove to Rosey Roads. I had dinner aboard and had a tour of the ship and was so impressed by C.I.C. where they welcomed me on computers. Was a wonderful event in my life.

Then shortly before Gunner & I married in November 1970, I had a business trip and took the long way home via Charleston, SC and saw WHS in drydock there. Of course, Vic Martin was present and I met him for the first of many good times.

The next time was at Chrsitmas just before WHS left for Vietnam in 1971. I vividly remember John (Pink Panther) Peetz going aboard with his blue curtains for his room! Today, he adamantly denies that he had curtains.

Oh, oddly enough, or coincidently--Seaman Kay's aunt sold me my wedding dress in BAltman's in NYC--sure is a small world. What are the chances?

The most fascinating time spent with WHS and her sailors was in Hong Kong!! Gunner had invited his division to our room at the Hilton for soda, beer, etc. for me to meet them and to have them relax. For some reason I felt much older than they were and of course, I was a new bride and quite unused to the sailor's life aboard ship. Gunner asked this cherubic looking young man to tell me the oil can story and I guess, out of respect, although he wasn't too thrilled he began the tale that he has now included in the WHS website. When it came to the part where they were climbing the mast in a storm he mentioned that my husband did so without any lifeline and I was most concerned. But when he imitated Gunner standing there & saying "Goddammit, just Goddammit" with his hands in his pockets I laughed till I cried. I can still remember the scene as if it was yesterday.

Later that evening we went to dinner at the top of a building with a restaurant (Juno) that slowly revolved revealing Hong Kong beneath us and I remember Bill Sutherling bought about 20 of us the best wine ($100 US) on the menu to celebrate.

We also had a wonderful evening with Tim Convway and Stan Rausch aboard the Sea Palace floating resturant ending the evening with them in the Susie Wong district.

Since the rudder needed repair Gunner convinced me to follow to Subic--so, on my own I made my way there as WHS sailed. He had the foresight to have gotten me reservations at the Navy Motel, Subic Bay so my life was made easy.

While in Subic, Captain Blanks did me a wonderful favor. I had to call my office to request leave time and he gave up his place in the telephone line to me so I wouldn't have to wait for hours. I met John Ryan and a Commodore at the O club one evenng and the Commodore asked me what I did--told him I was a textbook editor working on (at the time) sex education. He told me he had told his son EVERYTHING he needed to know when he was 9 years old while on a walk on the beach. Gunner really held his breath not knowing what I might say to that but I said nothing and I am sure Gunner was quite relieved.

Then there was the night I helped Chris Raker cut his steak because his arm was in a cast--MANY MANY YEARS later I heard he whole scary story about that!

In 1991 I had the wonderful fortune to sail on the WHS and it was surreal in a way. After our reunion with the wonderful 1970 group of officers we steamed on the ship down the Columbia River from Portland to Astoria, OR after having a guided tour that all participated in.

The last time I saw WHS was the following Christmas while visiting with my sisters in San Diego we took a harbor cruise and who should be steaming into port? You guessed it--took more picture of WHS than of each other.

Peg Mitchell, 1 September 1998