Interview with Donald Smith Henry, April 24, 2017

Project: Kentucky Honor Flight Veterans Oral History Project

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Interview Summary

Donald Smith Henry talks about being assigned first to the boiler room and later to the engine room aboard the U.S.S. The Sullivans. Henry describes the process of taking the U.S.S. The Sullivans out of its decommissioned state. Henry talks about learning his duties in his positions in the boiler room and engine room aboard the U.S.S. The Sullivans. He talks about training and drills aboard the ship, including nuclear training in Cuba. Henry talks about his rank in the Navy and about his superiors and supervisors on the U.S.S. The Sullivans. He talks about the pay rate for each rank and how he spent his money. Henry describes the experience of being under fire while aboard the U.S.S. The Sullivans. He talks about some sailors gathering shrapnel as souvenirs. He talks about the weapons the U.S.S. The Sullivans was outfitted with and what it was like when they were being fired. Henry describes the layout of the U.S.S. The Sullivans, discussing the claustrophobic feel of the sleeping quarters. He talks about the lack of privacy on the ship. Henry talks about the few fights he witnessed on the U.S.S. The Sullivans, and how the crew would band together when they encountered other branches of the military. He talks about their rivalries with the other branches and other countries' military members. Henry talks more about the sailors' wages in and out of combat. He talks about the routine they followed when underway between watch duty, maintenance, and time off. He talks about some of the ship's equipment, including sonar, mine detectors, and its weaponry. Henry describes in detail the experience of being at top (flank) speed aboard the U.S.S. The Sullivans. he talks about the noise in the boiler and engine rooms, the difficulty caused by being on heavy seas, and the cold weather they encountered. Henry talks about the quality and quantity of food available on the U.S.S. The Sullivans, and tells a story about the crew sneaking food as it was being brought on the ship. Henry talks about how the crew of the U.S.S. The Sullivans felt when they received orders to go into the war zone of Korea. He talks about the problems caused by the cold weather. He talks about injuries and sailors falling overboard. He talks about their lack of awareness of the wider events of the Korean War while aboard the ship. Henry talks about marrying his wife. Henry talks about practicing boat drills and the various signals that would sound while aboard the U.S.S. The Sullivans. He talks about the signal that meant the crew should go immediately to their General Quarters stations, and says that the lower ranking crew generally did not know why the alarm had been sounded. Henry talks about the journey the crew of the U.S.S. The Sullivans took after their time in Korea, including stops in Japan, Venice, Singapore, and Hong Kong. He tells a story about attempting to sneak wine onto the ship which prevented him from later taking shore leave in Venice. He talks about the experience of shore leave in Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Cuba. Henry talks about several problems that occurred during his time aboard the U.S.S. The Sullivans, including repairs, cleaning bilges, cockroaches and mice, and illnesses and injuries.

Interview Accession

2017oh323_honor006

Interviewee Name

Donald Smith Henry

Interviewer Name

Jeffrey Suchanek

Interview Date

2017-04-24

Interview Rights

All rights to the interviews, including but not restricted to legal title, copyrights and literary property rights, have been transferred to the University of Kentucky Libraries.

Interview Usage

Interviews may only be reproduced with permission from Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

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Henry, Donald Smith Interview by Jeffrey Suchanek. 24 Apr. 2017. Lexington, KY: Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.

Henry, D.S. (2017, April 24). Interview by J. Suchanek. Kentucky Honor Flight Veterans Oral History Project. Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, Lexington.

Henry, Donald Smith, interview by Jeffrey Suchanek. April 24, 2017, Kentucky Honor Flight Veterans Oral History Project, Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries.





Persistent Link for this Record: https://kentuckyoralhistory.org/ark:/16417/xt7gxd0qvb52