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Introduction at 1998 Reunion of
Commander Arthur (Tex) Anders, USN (ret)

The Place: Yangtze River, China, 28 miles upstream of Nanking

The Date: 12 December 1937 (4 years prior to Pearl Harbor)

The Situation: Japanese invaders are fighting their way through China, devastating the countryside and cities. Nanking is falling to the Japanese in an action to be remembered in history as the "Rape of Nanking".

All U.S. nationals (embassy people and war reporters) remaining in Nanking have been evacuated at the last moment to the safety of the river gunboat USS Panay, PG45, which then moved upstream and anchored to await an opportunity to deliver her passengers to a safe haven.

The Action: Defying a state of neutrality of the U.S. in the conflict, and ignoring two large U.S. flags displayed topside on the Panay, Japanese bombers out of nowhere attack the Panay and two U.S.-flagged Esso tankers anchored nearby.

Despite a determined resistance using WW1 vintage 50 caliber machine guns, the Japanese score several direct hits on the Panay, seriously wounding and incapacitating the CO. This left the XO with the daunting assignment of directing the abandonment of the now-sinking Panay, and the ensuing search among Chinese villagers ashore for medical assistance, sustenance and cover.

But the XO, Lt. Arthur Anders, was also wounded. Shrapnel lodged in his throat prevented him from issuing vocal orders, and hand wounds made writing orders very difficult, yet he managed to scribble orders on a blood-spattered chart and on bulkheads. He succeeded in shepherding his crew and passengers for 4 days ashore, then in safely transferring them to 2 British and 1 American gunboats on the Yangtze, and ultimately delivering them to Shanghai.

For his heroic actions he was awarded the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart by a grateful Navy and Nation.

Fast Forward to August 1945: V-J Day has come and gone. The USS Robinson is detached from ASW patrol duties at Ulithi, and sent to Subic Bay to join a forming 7th Fleet task group called "Yangtze Patrol Force". Its mission: secure the river approaches to Shanghai for safe navigation.

Once again there are US Navy ships on the Yangtze looking out for our national interests. The traditions of the old "River Rats" (as the old "YangPat" sailors called themselves), were restored, if only for a few months.

Commander Tex Anders, hero of the Panay and one of the very few remaining River Rats of the old Yangtze Patrol, and a personal friend, asked to participate in some way in this (1998) Robinson Reunion so he could associate with the second generation of River Rats.So I take pleasure in introducing to you CommanderTex Anders, USN (ret).

David R. Miller

12 September 1998

Here are the contents of an email we received from Commander Anders (who, by the way, celebrated his 95th birthday in October of 1998:

I just read the Robinson website info and was overwhelmed by what it contains. Thank you for what you said about me. All the men at the Robinson reunion I consider old-time "river rats" and I am proud to be one of them. I hope that someday we'll all get together and sing our theme song:

tune of "Let Me Call You Sweetheart"

I'll meet you at the slop chute on the old Whangpoo
Bring along your dip net; there'll be enough for two
There'll be beans and carrots and some Irish stew
I'll meet you at the slop chute on the old Whangpoo!

Tomorrow (12 Dec 98) is the 61st anniversary of the bombing and sinking of the Panay. We will not celebrate but we will always remember the day. It was a deliberate, well-planned bombing.

So long, The oldest living river rat (I think).

Tex Anders


Following a brief but heroic struggle with cancer, Tex Anders crossed over the bar to gentler waters 27 August 2000. He was approaching his 97th birthday. Family, friends and admirers commemorated his remarkable life on earth at a mass and graveside service on 6 October 2000 in San Diego. His cremated remains joined those of his wife, Muriel, in a beautiful site in Rosecrans National Cemetery, near Point Loma, overlooking San Diego harbor and North Island. A Navy chaplain and burial detail accorded full military honors.


Farewell, gallant sailor. May you journey now o'er calm seas with fair winds.
Perhaps one day we shall meet again, on the old Whangpoo !


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