USS Canberra - Page 3

An Incredible Saga of Seaman Hegdahl - American Hero - Page 3

USS Canberra

This young man came from a solid, patriotic Norwegian Lutheran stock that believed when your country called, you answered. You did not go to the bus station but to the recruiting station. You did not go to Oxford, you went to Vietnam. So Douglas Brent Hegdahl III shipped out to boot camp at San Diego, where he slept through the Code of Conduct lectures since he would not be fighting in the trenches. Lo and behold, he did get orders to the USS Canberra. At that time Canberra with 8-inch guns mounted on the pointy end and missiles on the round end was assigned to steam with the Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club in the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam (And, yes, she did have Canberra, Australia on her Port of Call list.) He doesn't know what happened. Either not being night-adapted, or being without his glasses, or concussion did it, he ended up going ass over teakettle into the South China Sea about three miles offshore with no life preserver, no identification, no nothing.

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