Bill Huckle - Veterans Day Essay 2013
11/9/2013 - This Saturday afternoon Malinda and I went to visit her father at the Fort Sam National Cemetery, he had past away in 2010. William “ Bill” Huckle served in the US Navy from 1952 - 1955. He served on the USS Manatee AO58 “Big Ma” from 1953 to 54 off the waters of Inchon Korea it was a fast oiler which served with honor. The Ship received 8 Battle Stars for WWII, and 6 for Korea. Bill Huckle never talked about his service and it took me many years of knowing him and talking to him about his service but I could never pry a photo or get details of what he did in the Navy. I finally received photos of him and his DD form 214 for his service after he died.
I have always been a student of history and family research and wanted to read and understand what his service was like. The only way to do this now is to understand the accomplishment of the ship and the men who served on the USS Manatee AO58 from WWII, Korea and Vietnam.
The crew had always been part of a battle group to keep the aircraft carriers and battleships moving forward, it may not sound like a glamorous job working on an oiler but without every man doing their job aboard ship, the battle group could have never have accomplished the most well know battles in the South Pacific - Battle for the Philippines, Saipan, Tinian, Guam, Okinawa and Japan.
The crew and ship also served in the Korean War this is were Bill comes into the picture he served on the oiler supporting the war from 1953 to 1954.Another interesting fact is that the USS Manatee also serviced ships that worked out of the Marshall Islands to be more specific Bikini Atoll. Operation Castle which began in March 1954 and tested 5 Hydrogen bombs. Bill could have witnessed the testing of the 5 Hydrogen bombs tested that year, maybe he was ordered never to discuss what he witnessed, but we will never know now.
His service was important, and the Sailor that replaced him was important and all of those that came after US play an important role in our Nations defense that cannot fully be measured.
William G Huckle
August 24, 1934 - December 6, 2010
photo provided by Bill Huckle