CENTER FOR U.S. WAR
VETERANS' ORAL HISTORIES

Multiple Conflicts

James H. Carrington

World War II / Korean War / Vietnam Oral History Interview
US Navy, USS Leyte / USS Hanson
Date: September 16, 2002
Interviewer: Carol Fowler
Summarizer: Macartan McCabe
Veterans History Project

Summary

James Carrington received the news about Pearl Harbor attack while shooting a game of pool. He enlisted in the US Navy while at Fordham University as a premed in September of 1942. Carrington felt that he had to act after Pearl Harbor happened; his family had no idea about his intentions to enlist. While at Fordham, he played football; during the 40’s, Fordham University had one of the top football teams in college football. After a year at Fordham, Carrington was called to service. In June 1943, he transferred to Cornell University to complete his education. Carrington performed military drill and received his uniform at Cornell. However, towards the end of his final semester at Cornell, he was ordered to report to Annapolis to complete his training. Carrington soon got married to his wife; and, to be able to stay with his wife for some time, he attended supply school. After training, he was also tempted to resign to pursue football, since he was offered a football contract by the New York Giants, which he ultimately turned down.

James Carrington, Right

From 1949-1950, James Carrington was in the Mediterranean Sea on the USS Leyte; he was there for seven months before returning to New Jersey. His tour was uneventful, due to it occurring post World War II. While in New Jersey, he was able to make a deal with the Navy, which had him stationed at the Colts Neck naval Earle base, so he could stay with his pregnant wife until their baby was born.

After his stay at the naval base, Carrington was ordered to join the USS Hanson, which was ordered to go to Long Beach, California. However, while going through the Panama Canal, the USS Hanson was notified to head straight for Korea, because North Korea had invaded South Korea. The ship made a week long stop at Pearl Harbor, HI to resupply before completing the journey to Korea. He recalled an instance in Korea when they had to sweep mines. Cannon and machine guns failed to detonate the mines, and the Captain of the USS Hanson attempted to blow up the mines with his rifle. The ship was a picket destroyer; it was equipped with radar which was used to track both allied and enemy aircraft. Picket destroyers were the “eyes” of the carrier strike group. The Hanson often had to recover pilots who were shot down. During the Korean War, the USS Hanson earned eight battle stars. The most heroic action the USS Hanson performed was rescuing two Americans from Korean irregulars in an estuary. The ship also supported the Inchon Landing.

After the war, Carrington returned to the United States. He spoke at events about his experiences in Korea. Carrington was asked to do a study on American POWs who were captured and brainwashed by the communists in Korea. Several of his friends had been captured by the communists. Carrington said that being captured was much worse than continuing to fight on the front. He believed that veterans do much better if they talk about their experiences in the war. James Carrington died peacefully at home in 2009.

Researchers

Researchers interested in viewing our collections should contact Mr. Joseph Bilby, Assistant Curator, at (732) 974-5966.