Nathan Stovall was born in 1928 in Dallas, Texas. After dropping out of high school, he tried to join the military in 1945. Because his older brother was still in the Pacific with the Marines, his father asked him to wait to enlist until after the brother returned home. In January 1946 he joined the United States Navy and was assigned to the 103rd Construction Battalion unit working in Guam. Nathan Stovall returned to active duty after the Korean War broke out. During the Korean War, he was an electrician in the engine room of a destroyer, USS Blue (DD744), that spent part of the war deployed in the East Sea. The USS Blue did not land in Korea, rather it patrolled the seas north of Pusan searching for submarines and mines. On occasion, his ship also transported North Korean prisoners of war to South Korea.
Picking up Pilots and POWs
Nathan Stovall describes how his ship supported the war effort by picking up pilots who were shot down. The ship also transported North Korean POWs to the South for interrogation. In the clip, Nathan Stovall describes how scared and starved the North Koreans looked.
Death of a parent
Nathan Stovall's mother died when he was 2 years old. His father died while his ship was on patrol near Korea. After he received word of his father's death, he describes the complicated and long journey home for mourning.
Aboard the USS Blue
Nathan Stovall returned to active duty to take a destroyer, the USS Blue, out of mothballs to sail to Korea. Once they had readied the destroyer, the crew trained to look for submarines. After a brief leave to spend time with his father, Nathan Stovall sailed for Korea in 1951, a place about which he knew nothing upon arrival. The journey was difficult, and a heavy storm damaged nets and whale boats during the leg to Japan.
Planes Sinking into the Sea
Nathan Stovall served as an electrician in the engine room of the USS Blue. One night, he opened the hatch to watch planes launch from the air craft carrier nearby. As he watched, the Corsair launched but dropped straight into the sea. The pilot probably didn't survive.
Never Set Foot on Korean Soil
Nathan Stovall patrolled the East Sea near Wonsan in the summer of 1951. He neither set foot on Korean soil nor saw enemy forces, but the USS Blue engaged in firefights along the coast. Once his unit assisted the ROC by shooting onto the shore while the ROC escaped a tight spot.