A webpage article by a crewman of the HMS Parret mentions the rescue of the crew of the SS Russell H Chittenden. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/ww2peopleswar/stories/97/a4495197.shtml
If your father was a messman I assume he was a member of the merchant marine crew of the Chittenden rather than a member of the U.S. Navy Armed Guard detachment. If so he or you may be able to obtain copies of his service record from the U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center, which maintains merchant marine personnel records. Contact the Center at:
U.S. Coast Guard National Maritime Center
Mariner Information (NMC-4)
100 Forbes Drive
Martinsburg, WV 25404
Telephone: (304) 433-3400
You may also wish to post a message on the "Shipmate Search" page at website "American Merchant Marine at War" at http://usmm.org/shipmate_search.html. Other parts of the same website may be of interest to you: see http://usmm.org
Where does your father live? If he lives reasonably close by he might want to visit either of the two World War II Liberty ships still afloat and in operating condition: the SS John W. Brown in Baltimore (on which I am a volunteer crewman and webmaster); see http://liberty-ship.com, or the SS Jeremiah O'Brien in San Francisco; see http://www.ssjeremiahobrien.com. The Chittenden was a Liberty ship.
Good luck and best wishes to your father.
Ron Carlson, Webmaster
Armed Guard website