U.S.S. Allen M. Sumner DD-692
Mediterranean Deployment - March to October 1962

Scenes from Monte Carlo and San Remo from Bobby Bourassa's Photo Collection

The Crew

The Cruise Book

The Official Ship's Deck Log - 1962

Bobby Bourassa's Photo Collection

Paulk Delasco's Photo Collection

Joe Gall's Photo Collection

Jim Poston's Photo Collection

Gil "Pete" Stafford's Photo Collection

Sumner departed Mayport on the morning of March 9th bound for Pollensa Bay, Mallorca and a tour with the Sixth Fleet. as a part of Destroyer Squadron 16 with the USS Allagash (AO-97) supplying the necessary black crude. She entered port and anchored in Pollensa bay on the 20th where turn over was made and she set sail that evening for Sixth Fleet operations with the USS Shangri-La (CVA-38). On the 23rd the 692 anchored briefly in Golfo di Palma, Sardinia before returning to operations with Task Force 60 in REGEX 62. ASW operations were conducted with the USS Corsair (AGSS-435) and the USS Canberra (CAG-2).

April 2nd found Sumner moored alongside the USS Tidewater (AD-31) in Salonika Bay, Thessaloniki, Greece. After two weeks of tender availability she put to sea on the 16th bound for Kavalla, Greece where she arrived the next day. Returning to the Task Force on the 20th which continued until arrival in Valetta, Malta on the 28th.

May 2nd and Sumner was back with the Shangri-La for air operations. and ASW operations with the USS Trigger (SS-364). The anchor was dropped in Golfo Degli Aranci, Sardinia on the 6th for the day and then she returned to sea making turns for LaSpezia, Italy where she moored to a buoy on the 8th. On the 12th, Mister Sumner (Bobby R. Moore) served on Shore Patrol until 0115 the following morning. ASW training exercises resumed on the 14th broken by a brief visit to Aranci Bay on the 19th. The 24th found her moored in Civitavecchia, Italy, the port for Rome.

The Roman holiday ended on June 1st when the Sumner set sail for Aranci Bay again, arriving the next day. Departing on the 4th, she returned to exercises with the USS Springfield (CLG-7). These operations lasted until the 7th when Sumner anchored in Golfe Juan, France. That night during heavy winds Sumner was grounded at 0300 and she was finally freed at 1335 that afternoon. The ship then proceeded to Toulon, France and entered the drydock on June 12th for repairs. There was a cartoon and a poem written about this incident that appear at the end of this page. Remaining in the drydock until the 18th she returned to operations with the Canberra. The next night Sumner anchored at Cannes, France where she remained until the 22nd when she moved along the coast to St. Jean Cap Ferrat, France anchoring there until the 25th. 

Exercises continued until July 2nd when Sumner entered Naples for a week before. This was followed by three days at sea and a return to Naples on the 12th where she remained until the 16th. The 21st found her again in LaSpezia departing on the 27th. A brief stop was made at Sardinia on the 29th.

On the morning of August 3rd the Sumner moored in Messina, Sicily returning to sea on the 9th where she met the replenishment ships. Exercises continued until the 13th when she anchored in Golfo Di Teulada, Sardinia for an overnight visit. Returning to Naples on the 17thshe remained moored for the next two weeks departing on the 31st.

September 1st found the Sumner anchored in San Remo, Italy before departing on the 4th for operations with the USS Enterprise (CVAN-65). The anchor was weighed in Golfe Juan on the 10th until departure on the 17th. After a brief stop in Sardinia for turnover she began the long trek home entering the St. Johns River and home on October 2nd.

Thanks to Mel Engle who sent this cartoon to us


Listen, my children, I’ll sing you a hymn
Of a mixed-up night on the Great Allen M.
‘Twas the 7th of June, back in sixty-two’
And wild things were happening, just after two.
The C.O.’s voice rang out,
“Fantail, man your phone!”
The voice was quite desperate, lost and alone.
He ordered the canvas be struck on the double.
(By now it was obvious, we were in trouble!)
Each engineer woke from his own private dream
To hear the voice calling,
“PLEASE, gimme some steam!”
And then came the “Reveille! All hands! Get up!”
(By then it was definite something was up!)
We went to our stations confused in a way;
For this was not mentioned in the “Plan of the Day”
A few minutes later, we heard the box sound
“Secure it, forget it, we run her aground!”
(A weird situation, the satirist mocks)
Announcing a new drink---
“Sumner on the Rocks!”
And now, of his homeland, the Sailor may think,
“My basement may leak, but, my house cannot sink!”
There’s actually no one to blame, 
But, Sumner was struck on the rocks just the same”
The French came to aid us and help us pull free;
That we might return to our Med “yachting” spree.
And now, up in Golf Juan a new drink’s in view;
A glass with the numbers of six-ninety-two!
(Note: The above does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Anybody! -Editor)

Thanks to Richard Margoni who sent this ballad to us and adds to the story as follows:

As I remember, Lt. Ekstrom was on watch and he did a great job of getting everybody up to try and save us from drifting into shore. I think it would have been a lot worse if he had not been on watch. He was a good officer who I worked under as an ET. However, the boilers were not on line and just seconds before we went aground, enough power to the screws was built up. We drifted between quite a number of other ships before we grounded. All on board made a huge effort to save us. I remember the very strong winds and trying to take down the canvas that was up on the walkways. When we hit the screws had just made their first turns and dug us in deeper. There also was an article in the New York Times about the incident.

And here is the "story behind the story" from the author of "Sumner on the Rocks," FN Jerry McHone

I was on the good ship AMS during the 1962 Med Cruise, including the infamous grounding in Golfe Juan. Your pages on the cruise include the poem THE BALLAD OF "SUMNER ON THE ROCKS." At that time I was assistant editor or something of the ship's newspaper, and figured an event like this MUST be immortalized. So I wrote "On the Rocks." My Editor, whose name I do not recall, (was it Cerino?) approved it and printed it and distributed the paper. BAD idea!! Since it was not, shall we say, particularly complimentary to our Captain, Someone Up There had officers go around and take back all copies of the paper they could find. Fortunately for me, I had already mailed one home so I wound up with a copy anyhow. (Also fortunate that it was printed without a byline. No disciplinary action was taken.) And now I find it's got a place on the (official?) SUMNER site. It was my first & last run-in with "government censorship," and I'm glad my deathless words survived after all. So that's "the rest of the story" of Sumner on the Rocks.

Samples of the AMS NEWS from just before the cruise up to July 1962 thanks to Paul Delasco

Issue of November 1, 1961

Issue of April 1962

Issue of May 1, 1962

Issue of July 1962

Do you have any stories or memorabilia of the cruise?  If you do please share it with us.