Richard Waterbury of Cherokee received a very special Christmas gift this year.
A former Navy shipmate of his, Hal Dennis of Okalahoma, sent Waterbury a custom-made quilt that documented, with photographs, their service together while on the U.S.S McGinty DE-365 during the 1950s.
Each of the photos represents people, ports of call, and history and missions the pair shared together.
"When I opened up the box that the quilt came in and saw the quilt, well, all those memories came back," said Waterbury.
"I know what a special gift this is. My wife's a quilter and I know how much work goes into making one of these," added Waterbury.
(U.S. Navy photo)
With the quilt was a three ring binder that Dennis put together with the history of their ship, along with copies of the photos on the quilt, plus many more that weren't.
The U.S.S McGinty DE-365 was named after Franklin Alexander McGinty who was born in Atlanta, Ga. in 1911, enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in August of 1942 and joined the River Gunboat U.S.S Plymouth PG-57 on Jan. 1 of 1942.
A torpedo hit the gunboat as she prepared to depth charge U-566 of Cape Henry. Despite raging fires, McGinty entered the ship's magazine where he attempted to rescue a trapped shipmate. He, too, was trapped by the flames and was unable to escape before the Plymouth sank.
For extraordinary heroism without regard for his own safety, McGinty was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously.
The U.S.S McGinty DE-365 was laid down in Orange, Texas on May 3, 1944. Dennis served on the ship from 1955 to 1959 and Waterbury served from 1954 to 1957. Waterbury also served with his brother Merlin Waterbury who was also on the U.S.S McGinty DE-365 from 1951 to 1955.
During the life of the ship, the U.S.S McGinty DE-365 saw many adventures, such as Operation Redwing in 1956. Redwing was the second U.S. test series devoted primarily to proving thermo-nuclear designs of actual weapons.
Each test was named after American Indian tribes, Lacrosse, Zuni, Yuma, Erie, Seminole, and Cherokee.
Pictures of this test depicting mushroom clouds are among the ones on Waterbury's quilt. The U.S.S McGinty DE-365 also received three-battle stars for its Korean service.
While remaining ready to meet the threats to world peace from Communist aggression and subversion, the ship also responded promptly to the menace of natural disaster.
During a flood, which affected much of Oregon and portions of northern California in late 1964, the McGinty provided material assistance to emergency teams and lifesaving missions in the stricken areas.
The McGinty was transferred to the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility, in Bremerton, Wash. in September in 1968:,her name struck from the Navy list. On the same day, the ship was sold for scrapping in early 1969, but her memories live on for the Waterburys and all of the proud soldiers who served on her.