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TANKER NECHES ARRIVES AT TOKYO

TO FUEL HALSEY'S WHITE HORSE

By

 H. W. MILLER, ENSIGN, U.S.N. 

NECHES: "REQUEST PERMISSION TO FUEL YOUR WHITE HORSE BEFORE

YOUR SCHEDULED RIDE."

ComThirdFleet: "AFFIRM X USE STERN METHOD."

The above exchange of messages took place on August 11th off northern 

Honshu where the USS Neches (AO47), pride of the tanker fleet, was fueling 

Admiral W. F. Halsey's Third Fleet.   The fleet all tensely yet jubilantly 

awaiting the Unites States reply to the Japanese surrender offer. 

Today Commander H. G. Hansen, USNR, and his officers and crew are the 

proudest men in the tanker fleet.   They are the 11th major fleet unit and  

the first tanker to put into Tokyo Bay, August 29, four days before the 

surrender ceremonies, and have anchored in company with Admiral Halsey's 

flagship and other selected ships of the United States and British Navies.

For a time it looked like the Neches would lose out on her special 

assignment.   Following the exchange of messages with Admiral Halsey she 

had to return to port to reload.   However, the same luck that followed her 

through nearly every major campaign from Guadalcanal to Okinawa carried 

her on to Tokyo.   It was natural that one of the first tankers in the China 

Sea, the first tanker at Iwo Jima and the first tanker to shoot down a suicide 

plane at Okinawa should be the representative of the tanker fleet at the  

surrender of Japan at Tokyo.

 On rejoining Rear Admiral D. B. Beary's logistic support group the Neches 

lost no time in requesting assignment to the coveted duty at Tokyo .   Rear 

Admiral Beary thrilled every man aboard when he replied, "BE PREPARED TO 

PROCEED ON A SPECIAL ASSIGNMENT THIS AFTERNOON IN REGARDS TO 

FUELING ADMIRAL HALSEY'S WHITE HORSE BY THE STERN METHOD."

Then with the entire logistic group of dozens of ships listening in he sent us 

on our way with, "GOODBYE X GOOD LUCK X YOU ARE OUR REPRESENTATIVE 

AT THE SURRENDER X WE WONT BE THERE X BE SURE TO TELL US ALL 

ABOUT IT WHEN YOU COME BACK."

"WILCO X WE WILL DO OUR BEST." Replied the Neches.  

Rear Admiral Beary:  "MAKE SURE THAT HALSEY'S HORSE IS PROPERLY FUELED 

100% BY THE STERN METHOD."

Neches: "WILCO X WE'LL BLOW HER UP."

To those unfamiliar with navy fueling at sea methods it should be pointed  

out that the common method is the "alongside", one in which ships to be 

fueled come alongside the tanker.   In the seldom used "stern" method the 

ship being fueled lies astern of the tanker.

With the fueling of Admiral Halsey's white horse already a tanker legend, the 

crew of the Neches have lost no time in painting a proud new insignia on 

her bridge - a frightened buck-toothed white horse being chased by a 

winged oil can, obviously about to make contact by the "stern method."