The following interview of
Mr. Graham Nelms was conducted at
Mr. Nelms: We chased those submarines all the way to the
Q. What is a K gun?
Mr. Nelms: That is a gun that fires a depth charge up in the air and set up a pattern of the rollÖ. They just rolled off the fan tail of the ship, but these K guns and Y guns, the Y guns would fire two depth charges, the K gun would only fire one, and I would pull the [trigger] on the K gun. †We have 2 Y guns and 2 K guns on each side [of the ship] so that would give us 4 depth charges going over each side at a time, 8 at a time, and 2 roller racks which would allow us to drop 10 depth charges at a time.
Q. Did you practice with live ammunition? Or did you feel like you couldnít waste the live ammunition?
Mr. Nelms: Well because depth charges were kind of
expensive we just didnít throw them overboard just to practice but we would go
through the drill, you know we would go through the dummy drills, but I was on
this mine sweeping ship up on Solomonís
Q: Did you get to
Mr. Nelms: I did mention the fact that during the Korean
War, my ship did what we called __. Weíd go in
and fire on the coast line, and cause the North Koreans to fire on us.† We would go close into the beaches. And the U.S.S.
Missouri, the U.S.S.
Q. Did a lot of your friends join the army when they hit the age of 18?† Were they excited and looking forward to it?
Mr. Nelms: I believe they were.† This was something brand new when the
Japanese suddenly bombed
Q. Was the war what you expected it to be?
Mr. Nelms: No, I really didnít know what to expect.† Iím a kid, I donít quit school.† I wasnít even educated, like you guys
are.† You know, I was in about eighth or
ninth grade when I was sixteen years old and I was not a good student, I really
wasnít.† Now, I got my education the hard
way.† I went to med school for seventeen
years after I got out of the Navy. I was able to have a job and raise a family
and now I can even support myself on a retirement income because of the
education I got. This was after the war was over. To be absolutely truthful
with you, I really didnít know what the war was all about until it was all
over. After Iíd been there and experienced it I had some idea what it was all
about, but I had no idea what it was all about.†
I just knew that my friends and people that I was raised up with were
going in and Iím hearing all these stories and reading all these articles in
the newspaper.† I just wanted to be a
part of it.† It was more of a peer
pressure type thing.† But I wanted to be
a part of it.† And at that time, it was
the thing to do.† I know the Vietnam War
was not very popular.† This
Q: Today thereís kind of a playful rivalry between the different branches of the armed services. †Was there in your time?
Mr. Nelms: Oh yeah, how shall I put this?† This island Mogma, there were soldiers who were in that area that would come over on the island, and course there was the Navy, and there might be a couple guys from the Marine Corps over there from Liberty. †It was just a little recreation island that gave you an opportunity to leave the hum drum things you do all day for a few hours to change the scenery.† You know, those guys, they played as hard as they could and we did too.
Q. Did you follow baseball on the radio, like the World Series?
Mr. Nelms: Yeah the World Series that year was the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns. That was two ball teams from the same city. But anyway that was a big thing to listen to the World Series on the radio.
Q. What was your favorite thing to listen on the radio?
Well, aboard ships, they had what was called Armed Services Radio. †They would broadcast music. They would send you these long play albums, South Pacific, all of the Broadway shows. †I donít remember all of them, but I used to listen to those things and I used to remember all the words to all the songs cause we heard them so often, but the armed forces radio, they would give us information of what was going on. We didnít get a whole lot of information. There was a lot of censors in those days. The radio people that were in the radio shack receiving communications from other ships and commands, they knew what going on and they would make a recording and then they would play it. But the armed forces radio was mostly what we listened to on the radio. And of course you guys know there was no such thing as a television in those days.
Q. Did you have any ways to get around the censor?† Did you try to communicate with your family with a code or anything like that?
Mr. Nelms: Iím trying to think. Not really. When my mother
would write to me or a girlfriend would write to me they would write to the
Fleet Post Office in
To be continuedÖ.