CWO4 S. K. Perdue
(Samuel K. Perdue)

WO2 S. K. Perdue - Samuel K. Perdue

Born March 29, 1917 and died March 27, 1993

Tribute by son 'Ken Perdue'

My dad, CWO4 S K Perdue, served aboard the Ranger from the time it left Newport News until late 1959 when we were transferred to Tsoying, Taiwan.

My dad has a monument at the Presidio overlooking San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. He was one of many who fought at sea during WWII. He served on the Cruiser USS Portland during the entire war. My mom passed a few days before Christmas in 1999 and I have some of their mementos including some other items he collected during his career. I don't want them lost or thrown away. I'm proud of my dad's military service and I want people to remember what his generation went through to secure the freedoms so many take for granted.

The old man would be happy that I'm doing this. He didn't talk about the war or his experiences during that time. I had to hear them from his long time friends and read about them in books like The US Navy in WWII. The USS Portland caught hell more than once and my dad was on board for all of it. In the Battle of Guadalcanal the USS Portland was caught in a bay and forced to slug it out all night with a Japanese battleship. She was holed 17 times but didn't sink. In the book, Cruisers, there's a picture of the USS Portland undergoing repair in Australia after that battle.
I can only imagine the terror.

My dad was stationed here in Portland, Oregon as a recruiter when he got orders to go to Philadelphia to attend a school for his duties aboard the USS Ranger.

When my dad's training was completed we moved down to Norfolk to await the ship's christening. As I recall we were in Norfolk for a year or so.

One day my dad came home and told the family that the Ranger was headed to Alameda. He said the ship was too big to go through the Panama Canal and the Navy was debating which route it was going to take to get there. He said that the choice was around the world or around the Horn. Both were an option because the difference between the distances wasn't that great. Finally the Horn was decided upon. We saw the old man off and started packing.

Being a Navy brat I had lived in Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, San Diego, San Francisco, Bremerton, Portland and Stockton, California and had been cross country several times. We'd lived in Boston and Norfolk twice. I was only 15. Later we moved to Taiwan for two years. I made it to Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Okinawa. Not bad for a kid. It gave me a broader view of the world and I'm thankful for it all. It also gave me a deep love of country and pride that my dad was doing something as noble as serving in the Navy. Although we sometimes were looked down upon by the locals I knew that my dad had fought in WWII and had helped secure their freedoms. If anyone should've been looking down their nose it was us.

Many of my life long friends are from military families. Army, Navy and Marines and Air Force. With the coming of the internet we've found each other and stay in touch almost daily. If you didn't grow up in a military family you will never understand what it's like. When I moved to Taiwan every other kid there was like me with similar experiences. We were and still are a tight knit family. From time to time we have reunions. Some went into the same service as their father. The girls are working in some capacity with the service of their of their fathers on bases around the country. Some are retired now. Some, too many, of those kids names are engraved on the Viet Nam War Memorial.

I have a friend who's dad was an Army helo pilot. Both father and son did two tours in Viet Nam. Dale lives near Atlanta, GA. We get together to fish or hunt at least once a year since finding each other several years ago. We met in Taiwan at the age of 16.

Two years ago another friend, who was in Taiwan and later became a Navy E2 pilot and helped set up the AWACS program in Egypt, found himself working in Alexandria, Egypt as a consultant to the Egyptian Air Force invited us to visit them in Egypt so we did. It was one of the great experiences of my life.

Not much more to add. As I said before, my dad didn't talk much about his work and hardly ever mentioned his experiences in WWII. I think he wanted to put it behind him. From reading the history books and talking to some of my dad's friends who served with him I know he was in some serious sea battles. I know he had nightmares and was a bit screwed up from it. I remember him telling me once that he had been awakened aboard ship one night when a torpedo struck the ship and that most of the sailors in the quarters where he was were killed.

There's an excellent book called The US Navy In World War II. It's a collection of stories from Navy men who lived and fought during the war. It starts at Pearl Harbor and traces the war through their eyes. It's factual and good reading. I highly recommend it.

I wish my dad was still around to tell you his story.

Ken Perdue            
Email Ken

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The Photo Album Of  S. K. Perdues' WestPac 1959 Cruise