To the Editor:
I arrived in Okinawa in 1958, two weeks after a typhoon roared through a Marine Corps’ artillery base there killing 29 men.
DUWKs [ducks] were employed out of de-activation to recover the bodies swept out to sea. The ducks were ideal for this task because they could drive over the unseen underwater boulders while traversing shallow water [waist high]. The ducks served a purpose, but they were difficult to maintain [water seepage around the wheels, continuous pumping needed, top heavy, limited human capacity, tended to roll lengthwise] and the Marines were scared to death to ride in them.
After the recovery, the ducks were de-activated again and sold to the tourist trade, never to be used again by the Marines.
Could the tragedy on Table Rock Lake be prevented? Perhaps. But ducks are not seaworthy. Maybe the passengers in Branson rushed to one side to observe something. If ducks are going to be used, mandatory life vests need to be worn and more frequent inspections by Coast Guard are needed.