Crawford County

A. W. Jansen


Walnut Boy Among Explosion Victims

Seaman 2/c Cletus G. Fresener of Walnut, one of the injured sailors aboard the destroyer Duncan, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Fresener, who farms south of Walnut. He attended Walnut high school prior to entering the naval service.

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LONG BEACH, Calif., (AP) – The blast-torn destroyer Duncan reached port Tuesday with one man dead, 14 injured and a story of valiant crew work to save their ship after an explosion 200 miles at sea.

The 390-foot ship got home under her own power. A navy tug guided her to dock. The starboard side near the stern was sent along the water line, the jagged opening being more than 30 feet long and three or four feet wide. Steel deck places were buckled.

Immediately upon arrival the injured were taken off, some by stretcher, and transferred to Long Beach naval hospital. The name of the man killed will be announced later. Six sailors were injured seriously enough for hospitalization, mostly by burns, but the navy said none was in critical condition. They are:

Walnut Boy Among Injured

F. S. Rice, S 1/c, Bonyers, Ga.; C. G. Fresener, S 2/c, route 1, Walnut, Ia.; W. V. Werninger, S 1/c, West Des Moines, Ia.; Donald L. Radicky, S 2/c, Lansing, Mich.; A. W. Jansen, boatswain’s mate, SeaBee 2/c, Aspinwall, Ia.; and J. M. Evasky, S 2/c, Akeley, Minn.

Commander Paul Van Leunen, jr., of Cincinnati, O., skipper of the Duncan, which was based at San Diego, told newsmen in the ship’s wardroom that the explosion was believed to have been caused by acetylene gas from a leaking container. It occurred in the shipfitter’s shop. There was only one man in the shop at the time, the man killed.

Occurring on the first deck below the main deck, the single explosion did not set off any ammunition, he said, although there was a magazine only about 50 feet away.

Source: The Council Bluffs Nonpareil, Council Bluffs, Iowa, day, March 02, 1948, Page 5