My name is Daniel “Dick” Sawyer. I am 87 years old in the year 2011. I am a Veteran who served in World War II in the European and Pacific Theaters.

I enlisted in the Coast Guard in December 26,1942 and went through boot camp at the Manhattan Beach Coast Guard Station in New York. I was then assigned to Pier 18 in Staten Island, New York. 

Coast Guard Cutter 83 Feet Long WWII
I was reassigned to Ellis Island and was picked up by CG 83504 which is a Coast Guard Cutter 83 feet long with a crew of 12. We went all over the Caribbean, to Cuba, Grand Cayman Island, and little Cayman Island, escorting a sea train of ships from West Palm Beach, Florida to Havana, Cuba.

Next I was assigned to Coast Guard Gunner Mate School in St. Augustine, Florida. After that school I was a Gunners Mate 3rd Class and later promoted to 2nd Class. I went back to New York and was picked up by the Destroyer Escort Kirkpatrick 318. We escorted Liberty ships with Combat Soldiers from the United States to various ports in Europe. We made a number of convoys over to Europe and back to the United States. 

Destroyer Escort Kirkpatrick 318

While protecting the convoy we investigated many sound and radar contacts for potential German submarines. We would be on the outside perimeter of the convoy of ships, protecting the convoy, and racing to investigate possible submarine contacts. 

We would circle back to investigate sound and radar soundings. If we thought we had a submarine we would drop depth charges with K Guns, which would shoot out the depth charges in a pattern. The depth charges would explode underwater at the depth that we thought that the submarines were hiding in.

We had been ordered to support the Normandy invasion to be loaded on to Liberty Ships to give sea and rescue support for the invasion. But we ran into a Hurricane off of Camp Hatteras. The storm was so violent that it pulled the head (toilet) out of the deck. The calking was splitting out of the seams and there was two to three feet of water on the deck. I tied myself into the top bunk and somehow we made it to the Morehead City docks. Repairs took 3 weeks so we missed the Normandy invasion.

When the European War was over we went to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to have our guns refitted, replacing some of the guns with Quad 40 mm guns. We were getting ready for the impending invasion of Japan.  We went through the Panama Canal enroute to Pearl Harbor.

While we were waiting for instructions the atomic bomb was dropped  and World War II was over. But I was still in the Coast Guard and we still had work to do. Our ship escorted a convoy of 15 LST’s (Landing Ship Tank) that were part of the southern occupation forces to Sasebo, Japan.

Our motto at the end of the war was “Don’t ask questions, just have fun.” I was with two of my long time shipmates and friends, Elwell and Gallager. Gallager was a little Irish guy, and a great boxer.  We managed to egg each other on and had fun and got into trouble.

We had a beach liberty celebrating the end of the war. Elwell, Gallager and I enjoyed more saki then we should have. We bought a water buffalo and the three of us rode the buffalo into the village.  Elwell was on the back and must have fallen off the water buffalo but we were not sure when.

We met some nice people and we stayed with them in their hut. They fed us fried bananas which did not agree with us and we were sick all over the sleeping mat. We were late getting back to the ship, which got us in hot water with the Captain. We then found out that Elwell had been found in a rice paddy with nothing but his nose and mouth sticking up above the water. 

The Captain sentenced us to no liberty for our remaining time in the Coast Guard. He also transferred the three of us away from our ship the Kirkpatrick to serve on an LST (Landing Ship Tank). The bow of the LST would open to let Marines or cargo land on the beach. This was a step down for a Destroyer Escort sailor.

While on the LST we went to Japan. There was no liberty permitted because they were still afraid of Japanese attacks.  Elwell, Gallager and I decided to sneak off the ship. The sentries were armed with machine guns. We waited till one of the sentries went to the far end of his post, then climbed down a rope behind the bow door and then down to the shore and into town.  We had a great time. I was able to climb the rope back onto the LST when we got back, but Elwell fell and was captured by the Guard and back in trouble.

Another guy and I visited Nagasaki a month or two after the bomb. We did not know about how dangerous radiation could be. The destruction of the city was amazing.

I rode the LST to many ports including the Phillipines and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. While on liberty in Hawaii I was coming back on the liberty boat where my LST was anchored off shore. I fell off the liberty boat at night. No one saw me fall and they went on without me. 

I thought sure I was going to drown and thought what a hell of a way to end the war. I was a pretty good swimmer and nervously tread water for at least 5 minutes. Finally someone realized I was overboard and the boat came back to get me. 

Our LST then went to San Diego, back through the Panama Canal, and then to New Orleans, where I was discharged.

After the war I worked with Stokely-Van Camp, Inc. for 34 years.

Daniel "Dick" Sawyer

More about Dick on the blog he wrote about his friend.

Printable File Dick Sawyer

Edit File Word Dick Sawyer


Wikidpedia Article about my Ship

USS Kirkpatrick (DE-318) was an Edsall-class destroyer escort built for the U.S. Navy during World War II. She served in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and provided destroyer escort protection against submarine and air attack for Navy vessels and convoys. Post-war, she was converted to a radar picket ship to support the DEW Line.
She was named in honor of Thomas L. Kirkpatrick who was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941. She was launched 5 June 1943, by Consolidated Steel Corp., Orange, Texas, sponsored by Mrs. Genevieve Kirkpatrick, widow of Captain Kirkpatrick, and commissioned 23 October 1943, Lt. Comdr. V. E. Bakanas, USCG, in command.



[edit]World War II North Atlantic operations

After shakedown along the Atlantic Coast, Kirkpatrick arrived Norfolk, Virginia, 23 December 1943, to commence transatlantic escort duty. From January 1944 to May 1945 she made one convoy escort mission to the Mediterranean, and 10 crossings between the United States and the British Isles. On her third voyage, USS Gaudy (DE-764) another escort in the convoy rammed a German submarine U-550 after the U-boat had sunk tanker SS Pan Pennsylvania. Eleven prisoners from the sunken enemy submarine were captured in this action of 16 April 1944.

[edit]Transfer to the Pacific Fleet

Kirkpatrick returned New York on completion of her final transatlantic escort mission 15 May 1945. After bombardment exercises in the Caribbean, she sailed for the Pacific. She entered Pearl Harbor 11 July, for tactics with submarines in Hawaiian waters until 29 August when she departed on an escort cruise to the Far East Departing Sasebo 2 November, Kirkpatrick arrived Charleston, South Carolina, 8 December 1945, viaPearl Harbor and the Panama Canal. She arrived Jacksonville, Florida, 5 days later and decommissioned 1 May 1946, at Green Cove Springs, Florida.

[edit]Converted to Radar Picket Ship

Kirkpatrick was reclassified a radar picket ship (DER-318) on 1 October 1951, and recommissioned 23 February 1952, Lt. Comdr. George S. Davis in command. After shakedown and training out of Guantanamo Bay, CubaKirkpatrick reported to Newport, Rhode Island, 11 July 1952, for radar picket operations on the Atlantic Barrier, the seaward extension of the Distant Early Warning (DEW) line across northern Canada. She manned radar picket stations in the North Atlantic until 1960, a seaborne unit of the air defense system of the United States and Canada. Incidental to this service she visited ports of northern Europe in the summers of 1958 and 1959. The radar picket ship departed Newport 27 March 1960, and arrived Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2 days later.

[edit]Final Decommissioning

She decommissioned there 24 June 1960, and entered the Atlantic Reserve Fleet. She was struck from the Navy list on 1 August 1974 and was sold for scrapping 12 March 1975.


Click to see a video of a World War II LST sailing on the mighty Mississippi

<iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

83 CG 83504 293250 - SOLD 1962 = JUDY [63] -FOUNDERED 29 NOV 1963

On Liberty in Cuba - Dick Sawyer on the Right

Daniel “Dick” Sawyer
5056 Creekside Trail Drive
Sarasota, Florida 34243
                                                         December 10, 2010

Athletic Department
University of Florida
Gainsville, Florida 32611

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Daniel “Dick” Sawyer. I am 86 years old and a Veteran who served in World War II in the Pacific and European Theaters. I worked with Stokely Van Campen for 34 years. At the end of my career I was the Division Sales Manager for the Southeast and Southwest Divisions of the Company.

I was living in Charlotte, NC when Dr. Cade presented the opportunity to market Gatorade.  I was one of four people who went to Indianapolis to taste and explore the possibility of our company selling Gatorade. It tasted like dishwater but we said the possibility of it becoming a viable product were good. Our in house laboratory started working with the taste and color of the product and came up with a lemon lime recipe. 

As explained to us the product was actually canned sweat, but we did not want to advertise in that light. It was a product with a purpose. It replaced the electrolytes and other chemicals we lose when we sweat.  We introduced the product in 1966 in Jacksonville, Florida. When other customer in the southeast such as Winn Dixie, Food Line, and Harris Teeter and other companies in the southeast heard about the product they started boot legging it out of Florida.

I have hundreds of stories as to the legitimacy of Gatorade. Enclosed is a picture that was taken in the Miami Playboy Club where we had all of customers in the area listen to our stories on the great properties of Gatorade.

In the early 1970’s I had a very good friend who I played tennis and poker with. His name was Bob Spurrier, the uncle of Steve Spurrier. Steve played poker with us when he was in town. If I am not mistaken he was coaching at Duke at the time. He then went on to become a backup quarterback coach at Tampa Bay. I became an avid fan of the Gators when he became the Coach of the University of Florida, and also because of the fact that Gatorade came from the University.

My reason for writing this letter is to recommend that you consider Tim Tebow for Head Coach. He followed the same path as Steve Spurrier in that they both won the Heisman Trophy. Tebow being with the Denver Broncos is similar to Steve’s experience before he became Head Coach at the University of Florida. Can you imagine Tim’s possibilities as a recruiter? Every kid in the United States would want to play for him. Because of his outstanding character and work ethic and enthusiasm every mom and dad would want their son to play for the University. I know this is a long epistle but I feel so strongly about the probability of Tim Tebow being considered for this job.


Daniel “Dick” Sawyer