Gerald Avera

Gerald Avera, YN-3 served aboard USS Wilhoite during its Deep Freeze deployment. The information on this page was submitted by Theresa Linden, Gerald's daughter. Gerald passed away in August, 2001. Found among his belongings were these items from USS Wilhoite.

Roster of USS Crewmembers from the Deep Freeze deployment.

USS Wilhoite did not have a separate cruise book for this deployment, she shared the larger Operation Deep Freeze book that consolidated sea, ice and air operations into one book. These pages were the Wilhoite's pages. (we'll excuse the misspelling of Sydney.

The traditional documents issued to Gerald Avera that recognize significant seagoing events, Crossing the International Date Line - Domain of the Golden Dragon, and the crossing the Equator - Ancient Order of the Deep

Click on image for a larger view


E-mail received :

On 8/2/2014 7:50 AM, Dan Cragg wrote:

I had the distinct honor of serving with YNCM Avera in Vietnam. He often spoke of his service on Operation Deep Freeze.  We were in awe of his  Wintering Over service medal.

In Vietnam we were both assigned to the Secretary of the Joint Staff  Military History Branch, Military Assistance Command, where we worked on the command histories of the Vietnam War

Jerry and I shared quarters  at the Metropole Bachelor Enlisted quarters on Tran Hung Dao Boulevard  in Saigon in 1965.  Early on the morning of December 4, 1965 the  Vietcong blew up our quarters with a car bomb.  Our room was on the  third floor of the building facing the street where the bomb went off.  I was not there that morning but Jerry was.

 At the first sound of  gunfire as our guard exchanged shots with the terrorists, Jerry got up  and took cover in the hallway as we were instructed to do in such  emergencies.  When the firing finally died away Jerry thought the  attack was over and went back into our room at the very moment the  bomb went off. 

A piece of fragment struck him on the top of his head  and dazed him.  The blood from his wound blinded him so he staggered  onto and fell down my bed and bled all over it. He spent a few days  in the hospital.

When we went there to award him his Purple Heart our colonel asked, "Avera, think you'll extend your tour again?"  I won't  tell you exactly what he replied.

The day after the bombing I was allowed back into our room to retrieve my  personal gear.  The room was a shambles, the windows blown out, the door ripped off and lying in the hallway.  When I picked it up I noticed a  hole punched through the solid wood by the projectile that wounded  Jerry. I stood the door up and observed the hole the fragment had made  If I had been standing there that morning instead of Jerry, that  fragment would have hit me right in the Adam's apple.

Jerry Avera was a very talented man.  I especially admired his natural talent as an artist  Some of his cartoons were published in various  newspapers he was so good.  He could take a pencil and in a few minutes  produce a caricature that would make anybody laugh, some of me, which  unfortunately I've lost now.  The last time I saw him I was leaving the  Pentagon Building and we only had time to exchange greetings.

Jerry was a good shipmate at sea and everywhere else he ever wound up. He  was taken from us too young.  I think often of him and those days we  served together and I miss him.

Dan Cragg
Sgt. Maj., USA (Ret.)
smadge9  at