Merle was my friend and only 21 when he died in the faithful service of his country, the United States of America.
We served together as shipmates aboard USS Frank Knox (DD-742) in 1967-68. Merle Bissell was the ship’s postal clerk and operated the ship’s store where sailors could make small purchases of cigarettes, ‘gee-dunks’ (candy), razorblades and other sundries. I was a sonar technician.
In June of 1967 USS Frank Knox would set sail on her first West-Pac cruise since the ship ran aground on Pratas Reef in the South China Sea July 18, 1965. The ship went through a massive repair in Yokosuka, Japan and would be returned to service in the Pacific Fleet in November 1966. The rebuilt Frank Knox would receive an all new crew following her salvage and repair.