Little Fellow's Big Day

Navy records call her PC-487. Navy men call her "The Little Fellow," and say it with affectionate pride. Like dozens of her sisters who do the monotonous patrol work of the war at sea. PC-487 is a modest, unspectacular little warship, about 170 ft. long, of 600 tons displacement. Her commander is a reserve lieutenant, chubby, ruddy W. Gordon Cornell, a Staten Islander.

On a medium foggy morning, somewhere in the Pacific, PC-487 was dutifully sheep-dogging along on the outskirts of a convoy. Her sound detectors picked up a strange craft and she headed for...