Branch: U. S. Navy
Rank: Engineman First Class
Status: Living Veteran
Date of Service: 1959 – 1968
Home Town: Bagley
Duane Donald Mathison was born September 23, 1941 in Bagley to Leroy and Evelyn Rounds Mathison. He grew up in Minerva Township and attended elementary school in Minerva. He graduated from Bagley High School in 1959.
Duane enlisted in the Navy in August 28, 1959. He was sent to US Naval Training Center at Great Lakes, Illinois where he completed Engineman training on November 7, 1959. His first duty station was the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York City where he served on Yard Tugboat YTB227. While on the YTB 227 fire broke out on the USS Constellation (CV-64), which was under construction. Duane helped fight the fire in which 50 civilian workers lost their lives and 330 were injured. Duane attained the rank of Fireman here. In June 1961 Duane was sent to Damage Control School in Philadelphia from which he received a diploma on December 8, 1961.
Duane next served on the USS Yamacraw (ARC-5) in Auxiliary Cable Repair. The ship was leased to Bell Telephone and tested cable laid around Bermuda and Miami, Florida. Duane was promoted to Engineman 3rd class on May 16, 1962. He received an honorable discharge on September 21, 1962.
Duane re-enlisted on November 30 of that year and was sent to the USS Zelima (AF-49) From January 1963 to December 1965. The Zelima transported food loaded in Alameda, California and distributed it to other ships around Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Subic Bay, Hawaii, and San Francisco. He received the rank of Engineman 2nd class on January 16, 1964 and attended a 5-day Portable Pump School course in June of that year. He was recommended for UDT (underwater demolition training) but the captain would not release him from the ship. The crew of the Zelima was subject to hostile fire in August, 1965. Duane received the South Vietnam Campaign Medal in August.
For the next two years (December 65-67) Duane had shore duty at Newport Naval Station, Newport, Rhode Island. He was in charge of maintenance of small engines used on mike boats. He received the rank of Engineman First Class in October, 1966.
From December 1967 to September 1968 Duane served aboard the USS Kretchmer (DER-329), a destroyer whose home port was in Guam. the Kretchmer patrolled the area just off Da Nang, Vietnam. On three occasions the Kretchmer was called upon to fire her three-inch guns at Viet Cong caves and foot paths. The crew also inspected small junk boats along shore. They helped in the recovery of 13 bags of mail floating near the scene of a helicopter crash.
In September Duane was given emergency leave due to the death of his brother Ted. When he returned he was transferred to Philadelphia Navy Yard and honorable discharged on November 29, 1968.
Duane currently lives in Bagley.
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