Weatherford Democrat

Front Page

April 3, 2014

War museum to launch Navy memorial garden

National Vietnam War Museum to honor 74 sailors who died in 1969 ship collision

By TODD GLASSCOCK | Lone Star News Group

Sometime around 3 a.m. on June 3, 1969, in the South China Sea just off mainland Vietnam, the USS Frank E. Evans initiated turns for what should have been a routine maneuver to change formations during a training exercise.

Instead, those turns, ordered by a junior officer, set the destroyer on a collision course with the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

“I knew the carrier was going to hit us,” said Steve Kraus of Oceanside, Calif., who was the signalman on watch aboard the Evans that morning. When he saw the carrier, he ran to the signal shack to issue a warning, but would not have time to get the warning out before the two ships collided.

The destroyer was split in two, he said. The ship rolled starboard, then righted momentarily before going bow up, sinking beneath the calm sea within three minutes.

Once water reached the signal shack, Kraus began swimming until he was safely away from the wreckage, and was able to grab a deck board and cling to it before being rescued. “It was pitch black but I kept swimming. I saw the bow go under.”

The collision resulted in the lives of 74 U.S. sailors lost, he said. Two hundred-four men survived.

Kraus, vice president of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD 754) Association Inc., on Monday visited the National Vietnam War Museum, located in Parker County just outside Mineral Wells, where those sailors as well as all sailors who served in the Vietnam War will be honored at a memorial service on June 7. Also visiting was the association’s president, J.C. Campbell, of Granbury, who served on the Evans during the Korean War.

The sailors who lost their lives aboard the destroyer will be honored that day with the establishment of a memorial garden and a tree planting. A granite memorial will eventually be installed, said Jim Messinger, the museum’s treasurer. He said he was honored to add a U.S. Navy memorial garden that will honor those who served in Vietnam and sees placing a tree and granite memorial to those lost on the Evans as a very appropriate way to honor those men.

Text Only
Front Page
  • 0727 one before-after.jpg Almost there...

    As a two-room schoolhouse with two school teachers conducting grades 1-9, the Mount Pleasant Colored School has had a humble beginning.

    July 26, 2014 2 Photos

  • Woman hit on interstate identified

    A woman killed early Friday morning while walking on Interstate 30 near the Parker - Tarrant county line has been identified as 29-year-old Ashley Wright of Weatherford, according to information released Saturday by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

    July 26, 2014

  • Five teens hospitalized after wreck

    Alcohol may have been involved in a wreck Wednesday near Brock that sent five teens to the hospital, including two with life-threatening injuries, according to information from the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

    July 25, 2014

  • Woman killed while walking on interstate

    A woman, who had not been identified as of Friday afternoon, was killed early Friday morning while walking on Interstate 30 near the Parker - Tarrant county line, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. 

    July 25, 2014

  • Rates of the rise?

    As part of an ongoing discussion, the City of Weatherford Municipal Utilities Board Thursday was taken through part two of the rate-making process for the city’s proposed capital improvement plan. The result of this plan will have a direct impact on utility rates for city customers. 

    July 24, 2014

  • Hospital board moves closer to building ambulance station

    The Parker County Hospital District Board of Directors took steps Wednesday to advertise and accept bids for the construction of a Brock-area ambulance station. 

    July 24, 2014

  • 0725 one arson.JPG Suspicious house fire under investigation

    The Weatherford fire marshal says a fire that damaged a house and killed two puppies Wednesday night is being investigated as a suspicious fire and a suspect is in jail on unrelated charges.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • CPS data.jpg Case overload

    Parker County Attorney John Forrest will ask county commissioners for additional funds as county budget discussions begin this year; he hopes to hire another attorney to help with an increase in Child Protective Services cases.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • City to transfer bond funds to cover street project

    Per the recommendations of City of Weatherford staff, the Weatherford City Council Tuesday approved an ordinance amending the fiscal year 2014 budget to transfer monies from various bond funds into the general capital improvement projects fund. The reallocation of funds are from bonds designated to various street construction projects and will be consolidated into one more street construction project: the access road between Bethel Road and South Bowie Dr.

    July 23, 2014

  • Richard Adams Sr. Firefighter arrested on child sex assault charges

    A volunteer Hudson Oaks firefighter is in the Parker County Jail on charges he repeatedly sexually assaulted two young relatives over a several year period. 

    Richard Frederick Adams Sr., 62, arrested Monday, faces two charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14, a first-degree felony.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks