Man O' War

Our Capt John M. Delargy was like none other I have ever met, in or out of the Navy.

During the middle of 1969 we were sent to North Korea as part of Task Force 56 (I believe). I was never concerned about my personal safety during our WestPac cruises until I learned we were going to Korea.

That morning I looked over our task force (Oklahoma City, Enterprise, Hornet, St. Paul, Boston, Canberra, etc plus about 40 other DE's and supply ships.)

During several harrowing but boring weeks in Korean waters things went well. At sundown one day a Russian Guided Missile Cruiser came up off our starboard side going in the same direction we were. The Russian OOD called on the radio and asked "What are you?" I believe simply because we were like no other ship in design and shape. The OOD asked what to say. Capt Delargy told the OOD to say "We are an American man of War." This got no response from the Russian ship. It simply sped up and disappeared over the horizon.

About an hour later as I was sitting on the fantail having a smoke this same Russian ship came sailing south off our port side going opposite of us. She came fairly close and I noticed that all her missile rails were full and all her gun mounts were pointed at us. Nothing ever happened after this, but I now felt that I was justified in being scared about Korea and not Viet Nam. It was the topic of conversation for several days all over Chicago. I gained a new respect for Capt Delargy after that.

Steve Pierce (

More Sea Stories