To My Favorite Sailor

26 May

EM2/c Philip Fred Hughes

On this Memorial Day weekend, I want to honor the memory of my dad, Philip Fred Hughes, Born March 18, 1922 in Murphysboro, IL and died February 23, 1999 in Corvallis, OR.

Dad served aboard the USS Tryon from May 4, 1943 to December 24, 1945 as an electrician’s mate, second class.

We sure do miss you, Dad!


Fred Hughes – front right

Fred Hughes on deck of USS Tryon


Dad’s grave site – Willamette National Cemetery, Portland, Oregon

Willamette National Cemetery


12 Responses to “To My Favorite Sailor”

  1. Betsy Lambe June 2, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    What a lovely memorial to your Dad! -BL

  2. Edward T. Straigis June 21, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    What a wonderful tribute to your dad, and his service to our beloved country.

  3. Mark June 7, 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    I am just learning about my father’s experiences during the war, as he did not want to relive the horrible memories of it.
    I see that your father lived in Corvallis. I work at OSU and my dad served on the Tryon as well during the same time period as your father. He assisted in the surgical rooms. He turned 92 this May, but dementia has taken its toll. I can only imagine what our fathers went through….

    • rememberthetitans June 8, 2015 at 9:35 am #

      Hi Mark – thanks for your comments. Mom was living in Corvallis until her death last December, but I still have a sister and her family that live in Corvallis. When Dad passed away in 1999, a man came by my folk’s house with a large photo of Tryon to show us, saying that he had seen in Dad’s obituary that he had served on Tryon during the war. That wasn’t you, by any chance, was it? If not, there must be yet another Tryon legacy living in Corvallis!! At the time I thought that I’d seen a similar photo in some of Dad’s stuff, but in recent years I’ve not located it.

      Your dad no doubt saw some of the worst cases coming on board Tryon – and when it came to transporting wounded men, Tryon only got the most severely wounded, at least if other transports were available for the ambulatory patients. If your dad worked in the surgical bays, then he no doubt saw some shocking sights. It’s a tribute to those guys that in spite of the fact they transported the mostly severely wounded, they lost relatively few, and they took great pride in the fact that they delivered patients to hospitals in the best possible condition. Here’s an interesting quote regarding this topic from “The South Pacific Express” by Mac Perry:

      ” Departed for Tulagi at 1000 and took aboard 74 stretcher and 71
      ambulatory patients in addition to 169 survivors of the cruiser Helena
      and the destroyer Strong. It was a difficult job for the medical depart-
      ment because there were not enough beds available for the stretcher
      patients and most of them were suffering from wounds or burns.

      There were several amputations and many transfusions were neces-
      sary for these and other patients. Much plasma saved the lives of a
      number with badly burned bodies.

      The survivors of the Helena and Strong all were suffering from
      badly cut feet. We could only guess what they had been through for
      they were under orders not to talk about their rescue and we were under
      orders from Comsopac not to question them. Later, their rescue would
      make thrilling stories in magazines and newspapers. They had gotten
      ashore at Vella la Vela, then held by the Japs, and had been taken in
      charge by a group of friendly natives, who contacted Allied beach-
      watchers on a nearby island. Meanwhile, the natives hid them by day
      and by night kept them on the move so the Japs didn’t spot them. A
      marine officer came ashore in a submarine and made plans for their
      rescue. Two nights later, destroyers moved as closely ashore as possible
      and the men were taken aboard and brought back to Tulagi, where
      they embarked on the Tryon.

      Most of the patients were fresh casualties from the New Georgia
      invasion. They had been brought down in LSTs and we took them
      aboard directly from these ill-equipped sea-going ambulances.

      Arrived at Noumea on July 22 [1943] and went alongside the dock for the
      first time. The patients were in much better shape than had been
      expected. The doctors and corpsmen had really worked to save lives and
      to keep others from needing amputations. A number of army patients
      had won their battle against possible amputations and the medical
      department was pleased as punch over it.

      The next day it was learned that several of those patients had under-
      gone amputations just a few hours after leaving our ship, and Dr. Snell,
      and the other doctors aboard were fit to be tied.
      If they could have
      gotten their hands on a certain army “saw-bones” major, no telling what
      would have happened. From what we learned, the operations were
      useless sacrifices of arms and legs, and if so, was a blot on the medical
      profession as practiced by certain Army doctors.”

      It was difficult but rewarding work your dad did, Mark, and many benefited – and some survived – as a direct result of his service. I’m sure that you’re very proud of him! To the degree that you are able, please give him my regards and my respect.

  4. Rachel December 5, 2016 at 10:34 pm #

    Hi there. I came across your post in doing some research on a family member. I am wondering if you have a list of names on the back of this photo:

    There’s someone in there who looks familiar to me, and I wondered if you could confirm who those sailors are, specifically back row, third from the left.

    • rememberthetitans December 5, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

      Hi Rachel! Thanks so much for your comments. Unfortunately I do not have names for the sailors pictured – only my dad, Fred Hughes, lower right, and Dallas Allen, back row, third from the right.

      Who do you think that the third from the left is? We might be able to get our heads together and figure out who it is! Did you see my post on the comprehensive list of Tryon crew members? You might find the name of the person you are looking for there:

  5. Rachel December 6, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    Thanks for the quick reply. I wondered if it was Alvin Harry Bruene. He part of the USS Arizona, and after Pearl Harbor, was assigned to the Tryon.

    • rememberthetitans December 6, 2016 at 1:42 pm #

      Hi Rachel – that’s a fascinating story. Alvin is the third Pearl Harbor survivor aboard Tryon that I’ve found so far! That is pretty surprising to me.

      I don’t have a way of knowing for sure, but my first thought is that the person you pointed out is NOT Alvin Harry Bruene, based on a very limited amount of info I was able to find on him. I believe that the person in the photo is wearing an officer’s uniform – I think that uniform is called service khakis; all the rest of the sailors in the photo are in what was called a dungaree work uniform. According to the information I’ve been able to locate on Alvin, he was a Gunners Mate First Class while on Tryon, which is an enlisted positon, and I wouldn’t expect him to be in an officer’s uniform. If I’m wrong on that maybe someone can tell us. But that is my first thought about it.

      • Rachel December 6, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

        Thanks for the feedback. Your knowledge of this photo makes complete sense to me. Great detective work. I appreciate it!

      • rememberthetitans December 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

        One other thing I’d like to ask, Rachel – if you have a photo of Alvin Bruene, especially one in uniform, I’d love to have a copy to add to Tryon’s Honor Roll:

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