A telephone call from Millers Creek, N.C., recently brought a story from a
former Denisonian, who attended Denison High School in the mid-1950s. A check of
the Yellow Jacket Annual in 1951 found Bobby G. Mathews as a member of the class
Bobby said he joined the Navy in Denison on Jan. 3, 1952, at the Post Office,
where his father had to sign for him to enlist instead of go into the Army
during the Korean conflict.
Bobby, in a follow-up letter, said he hasnít been back to Texas in many years,
but heís traveled all over the world with the Navy and other jobs and now is
retired. Heís planning to visit Denison again this summer.
A veteran of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, he first attended Sam Houston and
Peabody elementary schools, then Denison High.
In 1952 while Bobby was on a tour to Keelung, Taipei, Formosa, Denison-born
President-elect Dwight D. Eisenhower came aboard his ship, the U.S.S. Helena.
Bobby and three other sailors from Denison had an opportunity to meet Eisenhower
and have their picture taken with him. Bobby said he has forgotten the names of
the men who were from Denison.
In November 1952 the Helena was relieved of her normal duties at Yokosuka and
five days later sailed on a special mission, first to Iwo Jima where on Dec. 1
Admiral Arthur Radford, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, boarded the
ship by helicopter. Two days later the Helena went to Guam, where
President-elect Eisenhower and several prospective cabinet members and Admiral
Radford joined the ship for top level policy conferences on board as they sailed
for Pearl Harbor, where they arrived on Dec. 11.
Bobby sent copies of several photographs of Eisenhower and cabinet members on
board the Helena and of the men on board the ship, however he didnít have a copy
of that picture taken with the future president. Unfortunately the photos were
dark and would not reproduce.
He said he hopes someone else who may have been one of those Denison sailors
will see this article and get in touch with him. We will be glad to make the
connection. He can be contacted at 336/262-1652 or I will be happy to pass along
a message. I can be contacted at
email@example.com. - Donna Hunt
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