Farewell, Chief Petty Officer Otto Sharkey
Also known as S1c Don Rickles (1926-2017), USN 1944-46. Rickles enlisted in the Navy after high school and served in the Pacific during World War II on the USS Cyrene, a PT-boat tender that saw action in New Guinea and the Philippines in the tail end of the war.
He has said of one deployment, “It was so hot and humid, the crew rotted.”
DANFS on Cyrene:
In Greek mythology, a nymph beloved of Apollo.
Cyrene (AGP-13) was launched 8 February 1944 as Cape Farewell by Pusey and Jones Corp., Wilmington, Del., under a Maritime Commission contract; sponsored by Mrs. G. L. Coppage; acquired by the Navy 28 April 1944; and commissioned 27 September 1944, Commander F. A. Munroe, Jr., USNR, in command.
Departing Norfolk 10 November 1944, Cyrene arrived at Manus 13 December to escort two squadrons of motor torpedo boats to Hollandia, New Guinea, then sailed on convoy duty to Leyte, P.I., arriving 1 January 1945.
She served as tender for motor torpedo boats and on 17 January 1945 became flagship for Commander, Motor Torpedo Boat Squadrons, 7th Fleet. She sailed from Samar 21 December 1945 and arrived at San Francisco 7 January 1946, reporting to the 12th Naval District for repair work in decommissioning small craft. Cyrene was decommissioned 2 July 1946 and delivered to the War Shipping Administration for disposal the same day.
It was after his service that he broke into entertainment– though he did put on the uniform again as QM1 Ruby for Run Silent, Run Deep; joined the Army as SSG Crapgame for Kelly’s Heroes, and of course made Chief for CPO Sharkey in the 1970s. He also played another Chief on the 1960s military comedy Hennesey in a guest starring role and as a visiting Sgt in Gomer Pyle.
Fair seas, you hockey puck.