On 6 September 1950, we left Task Force 77 to join Task Group 95.2 for gunfire support in the front line in Pohang Dong at the east end of the Pusan Perimeter. After twenty days on the front line, the Brush and the Maddox were sent north to the Chinese-Russian border to enforce the UN blockade.
I was in the first division, the deck division, for regular duty. When I was not on watch or at general quarters, one of my regular assignments as a junior officer was correcting charts. Corrections came down from the Bureau of Navigation; we would take our charts out and make the corrections. One sailor was assigned to work with me; he was also one of the men at the same battle station as me. While we were correcting charts together, I talked to him about the Lord, and he received Christ. The next day while correcting charts, he told me that he had a problem. I encouraged him to tell me about it. I thought I could help him.
He said, “I have two wives.”
“What do you mean you have two wives?”
“My first wife is in Baton Rouge, and the second one is in Pearl Harbor.”
“How did that happen?”
“I just never told the second one that I was already married.”
“I’ll have to think about that.”
This was out of my league. At that point, I did not even have one wife. I was still praying about what to tell him when our ship hit a mine later that month, and he was killed. I realized that God has solutions to problems that I cannot solve.
The captain was to write personal letters to the dependents of those killed by the mine explosion. He delegated me to write the letters, and he signed them. The sailor’s wife of record was the only who got a letter. The second one never heard a word.