INMAN, S.C. (WSPA) – Retired Navy veteran Herman Whitaker said his two uncles inspired him to join the service.
“I got in the Navy, and finished high school in May of 1952,” Whitaker told 7NEWS. “And all of our seniors except two joined the Navy. And those two did get married.”
Whitaker said he liked the uniform.
The Cold War was going on at the time and Whittaker signed up.
He said President Eisenhower sent his crew and four destroyers to Formosa, Taiwan.
“The Chinese communists had just run the non-communists out of China,” said Whitaker.
His job was to patrol the straits and make sure the communists stayed out of Formosa.
“We patrolled those night and day. Four destroyers,” Whitaker said. “These are the four destroyers that we did the four motion straits with. Mine was the lead ship 833.”
Whitaker was on active duty for four years then entered the Army Reserves for another 19 years through the Vietnam War.
“And when I was in the Reserves, I still every two weeks had gone,” Whitaker explained. “Every two weeks and a year had to go serve somewhere. So I got to serve on a destroyer. I’m a destroyer sailor.”
After the service, Whitaker went to Spartanburg Junior College and then to Limestone.
He spent 35 years working at Startex Mill.
7NEWS was there as Whitaker was honored by Veteran’s Last Patrol.
“I’m just thrilled to death,” he said. “It’s just it’s awesome. I don’t know how to feel. But I don’t I don’t feel worthy.”
Roger Williams is the Captain of Veteran’s Last Patrol in South Carolina.
“This is the fun part of my job. Not all of my jobs are fun. This is an absolute fun part,” Williams said. “If I could just do this every day, and not do anything else that would be truly wonderful.”
Williams said it was truly special to be able to honor Whittaker in front of his family.
And as you heard from Whitaker, he’s proud to have served his country.
Herman Whitaker and Roger Williams, Thank You for Your Service.
Veteran’s Last Patrol is in need of volunteers, specifically veteran volunteers to get in on their work. If you’d like to sign up to volunteer, click here.