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loyd Hardin has quite a loss of American lives since

story to tell. World War II to that date.


It was late on a Sat- “It’s one of the largest peace-
urday night, at approxi- time tragedies in U.S. history,”
mately 10 p.m., on April 26, Hardin said. “I was getting a
1952. drink of water when it hap-
Hardin, a Villa Ridge resi- pened. The whole ship shook,
dent, was working as a yeoman which stopped me in my tracks.
for the U.S. Navy on the USS I got dressed in a hurry.”
Wasp (CV-18), an aircraft car- The fact that Hardin said the
rier patrolling the waterways entire 32,000-ton ship shook
during the Korean conflict. during the collision speaks vol-
“We were like policemen in umes of what kind of force was
the sea,” said Hardin. “We involved.
were in a different country ev- “We’re talking about a huge
ery week. We had to keep ev- carrier. The Wasp was like
eryone happy.” the city of Washington, Mo.,
Wasp-Hobson Collision floating in the ocean. That’s
On that April evening, the how big it was,” Hardin said.
USS Hobson (DD-464), de- “There were 4,000 men on the
stroyer-minesweeper, was ship. We were carrying around
steaming in formation with 110 airplanes.
Wasp. “The first thing I thought
While most of the crew was was that he hit a fishnet. It
sleeping, the captain of the was dark and difficult to tell
Hobson, confused due to the what happened. And then they

Navy Veteran
darkness, gave the order to told us to abandon ship. That
change course several times, got my attention. We never
unknowingly leading her had to abandon ship. That was
straight into the path of the canceled.”
Wasp near the Azores Islands Wasp and Rodman (DD-456)

Was Aboard
in the Atlantic Ocean. The rescued many survivors from
force of the massive collision Hobson, but the ship and 176
caused the Hobson to roll and of her crew were lost.
split in half, tossing the crew With no time to don lifejack-
into the ocean. ets, some survivors were left

USS Wasp’s
The ship lay beneath a blan- treading water in the Atlantic
ket of water, at the bottom of Ocean for up to four hours.
the ocean within a total of four “Just imagine a ship break-
minutes. ing in two and sinking in a
Of the 176 Hobson crew four-minute period,” said Har-

Collision
members who lost their lives, din. “Most of the crewmen on
150 were estimated to be sleep- the Hobson didn’t survive.”
ing at the time of the collision, Recovery Efforts
never even given a chance at With the Hobson destroyed
survival. at sea, the attention turned to

With Hobson
The captain of the Hobson, the Wasp, which had gaping
the most likely culprit of the holes torn into its bow.
disaster, went down with his “We lost the bow of our ship,”
ship. said Hardin. “Engineers took
Following the crash, Wasp the bow from another ship and
crew members hastened to used a crane to shove it into
pull survivors from the wreck- place.”
age. They managed to rescue After replacing the bow, it
61 American military person- took a barge to pull the Wasp
nel. backward back to the states.
The sinking of the USS Hob- “It took a little over a week
son became one of the great to get back. We were moving
tragedies of the Cold War. It very slow, about 10 knots,”
led to the greatest amount of said Hardin. “There was no
By Craig Vonder Haar

The Missourian Page 10 November 8, 2017