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NavSource Online: Amphibious Photo Archive

USS Wantuck (APD-125)

Personnel Account, as told by Ray P. Horton, of the Collision between USS Wantuck and USS Lenawee, Friday 23 August 1957

"My name is Roy P. Helton, (I was sometimes referred to as Helty). I served on the Wantuck from '55 to '57 and was on throttles in the forward engine room the night of her collision with the Lenawee. There are inaccurate accounts posted here of the number of men who were killed as a result of that collision and I just wanted to set the record straight. There were only two men that actually died: a CPO, whose name I don't remember, and an FN named Penniston. Both were on watch in the forward engine room. There were four of us on watch at the time. Penniston, we called him Penny, was on the lower level. On the upper level were the Chief, and Donald Schwab, a new electrician who was the messenger of the watch, and myself on throttles. I was told by the Captain, who later came to visit me in the hospital, that they had found Penny's body after the ship had been put into drydock. He had drowned in the lower level, but had a gash on his head and probably never knew what happened - at least I would like to think that was the case. The water was about chest-deep on the upper level by the time we got out. The Chief and Schwab and I suffered from steam burns and were moved to the Lenawee. We were later dropped off at Oahu and taken to Tripler Army Hospital, where I spent several months in the burn ward. Schwab, who was burned the least, was soon discharged from the hospital. The Chief developed complications in his lungs, and I was with him at his bedside when he died. To my knowledge there were no fatalities of crew members other than those that were in that engine room."

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