On Sunday, May 6, 1956, at approximately
3:14 PM the USS WISCONSIN BB-64 collided with the USS EATON DDE-510. This
happened off the Virginia Coast during heavy fog. The following is a copy
of the original Deck Log- Additional Remarks Sheet dated Sunday, 6 May 1956.
This Deck Log was obtained from the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
Following the Deck Log report are several
comments and 27 pictures showing the aftermath of the collision.
The USS EATON almost lost her entire bow. Her forward
engine room was flooded and she was towed stern first to Norfolk.
On a subsequent Deck Log it was noted that the injury
report on Mr. Clarence E. Humphrey, Jr., civilian, stated it was a very minor abrasion to
his right leg when he was thrown from the bridge. Treatment was administered by the
Wisconsin's Medical Officer.
Our Deck Log states, USS Eaton reported, " no casualties, except one". Actually
there were two. George Wickham, a crewmember of the Eaton was injured ,
following is his account as to what happened to him.
"I WAS ON THE USS
EATON. AT THE TIME OF THE COLLISION I WAS IN THE REEFER GETTING
VEGETABLES FOR THE EVENING MEAL. MY INJURIES WERE TO MY HEAD AND FACE. I WAS
HANDED OVER TO THE WISCONSIN TO THEIR HOSPITAL. I RODE TO NORFOLK ON THE
WISCONSIN. UPON ARRIVAL I WAS TAKEN TO THE PORTSMOUTH NAVAL HOSPITAL. I
WAS HOSPITALIZED FOR 30 DAYS. I THEN RETURNED TO THE EATON ON LIGHT DUTY AND
LATER RETURNED TO PORTSMOUTH HOSPITAL FOR SKIN GRAFT. GEORGE WICKHAM.
P.S. I FINISHED MY ENLISTMENT ON THE USS EATON"
Norfolk Naval Shipyard workers fitted a 120-ton,
sixty-eight-foot bow section from the unfinished Iowa-class battleship Kentucky to the
Wisconsin in record time. Wisconsin was ready for service 16 days later and she
departed for Spain on July 9th.
Do you think that the crew from the 1940's had an
inclination that something like this would happen when they nicknamed the
WIS (Wisconsin) KY (Kentucky). It
is something to think about.
Our thanks go
to the U.S. NAVAL
INSTITUTE for permission to use the following story on our website.
Click on the following; R. L. Taylor story
The following pictures need no explanations. A
picture is worth 1000 words.
Photo credits: #18 & 20 submitted by Otis Osborne
#19,23,26 & 27 National Archives
The remaining pictures submitted by Dom Menta
Ervin Maule, R Div.
June 8th Wisconsin leaving dry dock with new bow
Next 3 Photos from the National Archives.
Kentucky's bow underway to replace Wisconsin's damaged bow, 1956.
Kentucky at Norfolk Naval Shipyard, VA., 24 October 1956
Kentucky being towed to the Boston Metals Co., Baltimore, MD., for
scrapping, 31 October 1958.
engines remain in service today. Powering the fast combat support
ships USS Sacramento (AOE-1)
and USS Camden (AOE-2).
The following two pages appeared in the
"Shipyard Bulletin" May-June 1956
Published by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company Newport
The following 2 photos were submitted by
LTJG R. L. Taylor,
former officer aboard the
USS Eaton in Norfolk Naval Shipyard, May 8, 1956