Officer & Gentleman

Captain Don Wikeen USN passed away 18, April 2009 after a long prolonged illness of which he endured. Don was Captain of the USS Pyro AE 24 [1971-72]. His last reunion was in San Diego & his fIrst was at Dubuque 1985 as he was the very fIrst shipmate of the AE 24 to attend a USS Pyro Reunion. Consequently, the AE 24 joined with the AE 1 thus, becoming the USS Pyro AE 1 & AE 24 Association.

Don became very interested in our association & after being drafted by a CPO as I asked him to assist me in setting up the fIrst Charleston Reunion of which he acknowledged whole heartedly. There were a few AE 24 shipmates in attendance & then when Charleston was selected again Don & I made plans for another Charleston Reunion which also become very successful with Don now the President of our association.

Our close association setting up the reunions resulted in a ever lasting friendship with one another. Incidently, there was/is a Minnesota connection with Don, Bob Smith, Gary Golay & yours truly all from Minnesota.

Bob Smith served under Don as Cargo Officer aboard the AE 24 now to quote Bob several wardroom officers were sharing drinks in a BOQ room in Sasebo on his fIrst deployment & asked Bob ifhe felt ready to become OOD underway, well Bob slurred of course naturally. Next morning 0600 the sea detail messenger announced the Captain requests your presence on the bridge. Up Bob went & the Captain said Gunner you are taking her out[the ship] , don"t screw up! That after noon a service jacket entry noted"qualifIed as OOD Underway" Bob also notes that Don was fair, honest, with open for opinions- good or bad & usually made right decisions based on a lot of thought.

Thus, what more can one say then Farewell Don your shipmates, Daughter & Grand Daughter will always miss your very presence. God speed Captain Donald Wikeen, Father, Grandfather, Officer & Gentleman, Rest in Peace for ever more.

Bob Hauge 22, April 2009
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