A boatswain mate’s tale: Serving on the USS Tappahannock

The USS Tappahannock.

“Make Love, Not War” was a sign that could be seen in the shadow of the nation’s capital and on college campuses around the country. The year was 1965 and America was mired in the Vietnam War. Anti-war protestors blocked the streets of big cities.

The country was in turmoil, yet, the airmen in the wild blue yonder, the soldiers in the jungles of Vietnam and the sailors at sea served, day and night, to fulfill their duty to their country. One of those young sailors was Walter “Ziggy” Zeigler serving on the USS Tappahannock.

Zeigler and his family recently visited the Essex History Museum to share his memories of the years 1965-1969 when he served three tours in the U.S. Navy as a boatswain’s mate 3rd class on the oiler, “Tappy.” While visiting the museum, he also presented his USS Tappahannock cruise book to I. C. Smith, a former FBI agent and fellow Vietnam era naval veteran, who accepted the book on behalf of the museum.

The two veterans spoke openly about their experiences…