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Albert Wapstra


The burial at sea story by Andy Anderson brought back to mind of something that happened while I was serving aboard the USS Tawakoni ATF-114.


The year was 1972. I had been transferred around the fleet since leaving Collett and ended up on a fleet tug homeported out of Hawaii.  We were on a standard 6 month westpac deployment and were visiting Singapore for some R&R.


Lots of retired U.S. military living in Singapore.   One old salt had passed away and was waiting for a ship to take him to sea and scatter his ashes. Tawakoni volunteered.


Several days out, the C.O. Assembled the crew all dressed in whites to the fan tail for a somber ceremony. I was standing on the second level anticipating how this was going to be done.


The C.O. gave a brief eulogy and the urn was tilted with the ashes falling into the sea? About the same time, A gust of wind came up blowing the ashes all over the fantail. If this wasn’t bad enough, A voice came over the 1mc calling for “sweepers, sweepers man your brooms, sweep down all lower decks, ladders and passageways.


This old sailors must have thought it was funny ‘cause on the way to Guam, was almost sank in a typhoon. We were sure he was watching over us.