Veteran Salute: Korean War veteran worked in sonar hunting mines

Veteran Salute

EDNA, Kan. (KSNW) – An Edna native said hard work on the farm prepared him for the military.

“Just helps ya to be able to cope with the different style of life,” Korean War Veteran Dean Stine said.

Stine signed up for the Navy with some of his high school buddies because they didn’t want to be drafted into the Army.

“We’ve probably known each other since grade school,” Stine said.

The Stines love story goes back many years, as do the memories of a war zone for Stine.

“I was on a destroyer.”

They were off the coast of Korea.

“It was right on 38th parallel, which is now the DMZ.”

The sailors were bombing the shore at night.

“We’d have to get out of there in the daytime because apparently, the North Koreans didn’t have radar that they could pick us up at night, so they couldn’t fire at us.”

The enemy did have mines planted everywhere.

“A mine would blow a hole in the side of a destroyer,” he said. “We just tried to navigate around them.”

The young sailor worked in sonar.

“We could detect those mines,” he said. “We could see a mine blip, and sometimes we would come real close to them.”

He said thankfully, they always navigated around the mines, and they dodged a lot of enemy fire along the way.

“The Koreans would fire at us, so the battleships could tell where they were and then shoot back at them,” Stine said. “North Koreans had guns that would reach you!”

He said they also escorted carriers making bombing runs and picked up pilots who had to bail.

“Once in a while, one of them would come back, and their plane would be shot up, where they couldn’t land on the carrier.”

Stine spent most of his time on the USS Shields.

“It was a warzone.”

After the war, he finished up his stent in the service on the USS Henderson.

“The last time I got back from overseas, Marlene was standing on the dock hollering at me, and I took her to the hospital, and our daughter was born.”

The Stines made a lot of family memories in the last 69 years, and all these decades later, Dean is still thankful for his Navy days.

“Enjoyable experience and I was glad I was able to serve my country.”

When Stine enlisted, he went with three other boys. Two of them were stationed on the same destroyer as Stine.

The third, Wayne Hittle, Stines brother-in-law and high school classmate, never made it home.

He was one of the nearly 40,000 Americans killed during the Korean War.

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