Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans


Al Stiles | Multiple Ships - Navy

6:43   |   While in the Mediterranean aboard the USS Talbot, Petty Officer Al Stiles flippantly suggested to the captain that he should be able to learn to drive the ship and stand that watch. To his surprise, the captain did just that and the captain of his next ship agreed to continue. This led to an interesting exchange between the captain and Admiral Stansfield Turner.

More From Al Stiles

Keywords   :     Philip Al Stiles    USS Talbot (FFG-4)    Mediterranean    the conn    conning officer    Stansfield Turner    leapfrog drill

Videos ( 16 )
  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Ships  |  5:14

    Al Stiles was from a Navy family and was set on being a Navy man himself. After boot camp and service on two ships, he re-enlisted and went to fire control school. He headed for his first deployment in Vietnam, stopping in Pearl Harbor, where he was taken aback by something he saw at the Memorial.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  4:58

    As the ship approached Da Nang, the crew was baited by the Viet Cong, trying to get them to open fire. Al Stiles was in fire control on the USS Manley, a destroyer which prowled the coast and offered supporting fire to troops inland.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  9:26

    The destroyer had been off the coast of Vietnam for about a month when tragedy hit. One of the five inch gun mounts exploded in a freak accident. Al Stiles describes the chaotic aftermath as the sailors rushed to contain the fire and prevent further explosions.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  3:15

    After a terrible accident aboard the destroyer USS Manley, the crew gathered for a Christmas celebration and Al Stiles remembers it as a very special occasion.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  5:53

    With one five inch gun mount out of commission, the USS Manley returned to duty off the coast of Vietnam. Al Stiles recalls the tragic death of a crewman from a sudden heart attack and, as the crew was getting over that, another bizarre accident caused the explosion of a second gun mount. Lightning had struck twice.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  3:17

    When a ship pulled into Hong Kong for liberty, a call went out to a lady named Mary Sue, who had a big operation painting the sides of warships. The USS Manley had a lot of port visits there and elsewhere for repairs and refitting after she lost two gun mounts.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  7:07

    The USS Manley was heading to Singapore for repairs when the route was adjusted slightly to make sure the ceremonies associated with crossing the equator could take place. Al Stiles provides a colorful description of the initiation of the Polliwogs.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  6:45

    While transiting the Mediterranean, the USS Manley stopped in Crete, where the crew got some liberty and a taste of the local beverage, ouzo. Al Stiles recalls the potentially embarrassing departure from the port which became an apparently graceful bit of ship handling.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  2:59

    Al Stiles remembers that it seemed to take forever steaming into home port at Charleston. The USS Manley had returned from Vietnam and he was anxious to see his wife. He adapted his letters home to her, along with deck logs and other materials into a book.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  USS Manley (DD-940)  |  4:08

    During the second deployment of the USS Manley to Vietnam, the destroyer was called on to use its guns to breach the wall in the old city of Hue without harming the palace within. Two other ships had failed, but Al Stiles directed the fire that accomplished the mission. The Manley was getting a reputation as the go-to destroyer for precise fire.

  • Al Stiles  |  Vietnam  |  Multiple Ships and Stations  |  6:50

    Asked what changes over his thirty year career were most beneficial to the Navy, Al Stiles is sure of his answer. All of them were detrimental. He also has some pointed observations on the Vietnam War.

Cold War
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