Stories of a WESTPAC Cruise
This is the complete text of the cruise letter sent to all families of crew members during the 1970 WESTPAC cruise of the USS Southerland. I hope you can make use of it
USS SOUTHERLAND (DD 743)
FPO SAN FRANCISCO 96601
4 October 1970
Dear Families and Friends of SOUTHERLAND, At the mid-point in our Western Pacific cruise, I have compiled this family gram in order to let you know how we in SOUTHERLAND are fairing. Let me assure you at the outset that we are getting along very well, and have participated in nearly every facet of SEVENTH Fleet destroyer operations.
For SOUTHERLAND the cruise began at 10:00 AM sharp on Monday morning, June 15. After tearful farewells, the ship got underway for Pearl Harbor. Upon clearing the channel and increasing to transit speed, we took our last look at San Diego until December.
We steamed alone for the entire transit. Within the ship, though, there was a bustle of activity as there was equipment to be worked on and exercises to be conducted in preparation for WESTPAC.
At 7:00 PM on the day we departed, the ship encountered it*s first time zone of many. We had to retard the clocks one hour. This served to confuse new hands, upset schedules and give meaning to the fact that we were headed steadily away from home and our loved ones.
After five days at sea the ship caught its first hint of land when CIC detected the island of Maui at 127 miles. The end of the first leg of our journey was in sight. The following morning the ship moored in Pearl Harbor on the island of Oahu. For the men who had never visited Hawaii before, it appeared as a tropical paradise. There were many things to see and do: Honolulu, Waikiki Beach, the Wax Museum, the International Market Place, and a tour of the island sponsored by the ship.
Our brief idyll in Hawaii came to an end the 23rd when we got underway for Yokosuka, Japan, with a brief stop at Midway Island for fuel.
Some of the pranksters decided to liven up things in their own way. Coming up with the time honored "Sea Bat" trick, these salty individuals obtained an empty box, cut out a peep hole, and placed a mythical Sea Bat inside. The fun began when the uninitiated bent over to view the Sea Bat and, with the able assist of a broom in the hands of the pranksters, they learned what a Sea Bat really was.
On arrival at Midway Island it was decided to have a swimming party complete with a picnic lunch during the few hours needed to refuel. Midway, an isolated island in the middle of the ocean, has some of the finest beaches in the world. Some members of the crew took advantage of this time to look around and get acquainted with the "Goony Birds", Masters of the Island.
The following day the ship crossed the International Date Line at noon. Once again the salty dogs took advantage of the occasion, and many new hands were lining the rails with their cameras watching for the "dotted line."
On the 1st of July the ship became attached to the SEVENTH Fleet, which meant we were now officially in WESTPAC. On Friday the 3rd we arrived at Yokosuka, Japan, our first foreign port. There were many attractions to be found there, including tours to nearby cities, and a visit to the Main Exchange on base, where new shipmates discovered the beauty of Japanese craftsmanship, cameras, stereo equipment and artifacts.
The following Wednesday the ship got underway for Sea of Japan Operations. During our tour there we performed various duties to ensure freedom of the sea and air for all countries. While in the Sea of Japan we encountered communist ships and aircraft which brought home the fact that we were there for a purpose.
Upon completion of our duty in the Sea of Japan we visited Sasebo, Japan. The ship sponsored tours to Nagasaki and other Japanese cities, which gave an insight into the Japanese culture and provided an opportunity to express good will in the name of the United States.
Our next assignment was to provide naval gunfire support in the Republic of Vietnam. The ship made a brief stop for fuel and stores in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and during our transit through the Taiwan Straits a tropical storm made the seas rather rough. Many new personnel discovered how a "tin can" earned its name.
On the twelfth of August we arrived off the coast of Vietnam. During our gun-line period the ship fired harassment missions and several close fire support missions. One mission assisted ground troops in rescuing 28 South Vietnamese prisoners of war from a Viet Cong controlled POW camp.
From the gun-line, we proceeded to Subic Bay, Republic of Philippines, for an upkeep period. For the enjoyment of the crew there were golf and bowling tournaments, swimming and skin diving, deep sea fishing, go-cart driving, and skeet shooting. The base at Subic Bay has probably the finest recreation facilities of any base in the Navy.
Upon leaving Subic Bay, we visited Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the homeland of the Chinese Nationalists. The SOUTHERLAND’s softball team, undefeated in WESTPAC play, grabbed two more victories by winning a four team tournament held while in Kaohsiung.
Back to sea, for on S7 September we headed for the Gulf of Tonkin. Here our duties consisted of plane guarding for the aircraft carriers AMERICA and SHANGRI LA. Fortunately, no pilot rescues were required as all take-offs and landings were successful. We returned to Subic Bay on 24
September for another upkeep period, and will visit Hong Kong in early October.
Now here is news of the individual divisions:
For First Division the cruise has meant hard work and some long hours in topside maintenance.
First Division, led by BM3 Dave COMTOIS, BM3 Charles STEVENS, SN Ron OGIER, SN Dick DUAUBMIRE, SA Keith CHARLES, and SA Rocky NELSON, dominated the SOUTHERLAND’s softball team, which hits the diamond whenever we’re in port.
While the ship was in Yokosuka SN’s Robert KELLY, Dennis KERLIN, and Terry HELTON traveled to Tokyo and were impressed with the world’s largest city. SN Pat BENTLEY and SN Ivory MONTGOMERY also joined an interesting Special Services tour in Sasebo, Japan.
At sea its been UNREP after UNREP, refueling, rearming and repro-visioning (Ice Cream!!!). BM3 Kelly MOORE and BM2 Steve JENSEN are in charge of the forward and after replenishment stations and with the help of SN’s Rod CAMERON, Robert GOSK, Harold HILDRETH, Roger KUHN, Dennis COOK, Don FONTAINE, and Stan ROBERTS, the "riggers" and "line handlers", they’ve kept the ship full of black oil, bullets and chow.
While in Sasebo we towed a gunnery target for the USS MAEAN, a guided missile destroyer. This was the first time the SOUTHERLAND had attempted such a task. Our Chief, BMC Robert LIVINGSTON, assisted by BM2 Sven JACOBSON, successfully organized and supervised this
SOUTHERLAND first. Chief LIVINGSTON also qualified as Junior Officer of the Deck during operations in the Sea of Japan.
The month of August meant advancement in rating exams. Taking the exam for BM3 were SN’s Bill REMINGTON, our able gig coxswain; Russell NYDAM and Ron OGIER. BM1 John KEARSE our leading petty officer, took the chief’s exam and BM3 Kelly MOORE went up for 2nd class.
SA’s Terry HOUSTON, Bill CRIBARI and Fred HERRINGSHAW have moved to the Mess Decks, replacing SA’s Randy KRONICK, Robert DAIGNEAULT and Tony CORDA as mess cooks. They are responsible for keeping the old "chow hall" in top shape. SN Louis GRIECO is also busy trying to keep the chief petty officers happy while working as one of the CPO mess cooks.
SN Joseph SMITH learned to drive while we were in Japan, that is, he learned to drive on the wrong (left) side of the road – that’s how they do it in Japan! He handled most of the ship’s driving duties in Sasebo.
SN Mike MALNOFSKY loaded the first bullet when the ship took her naval gunfire support station in the waters off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam.
First Division helps man the big five inch guns whenever the ship does any shore bombardment. Doing their part in the gun mounts were SN Tom CLARK, who also handles bow hook duties on the motor whale boat, SN Jim MORRIS, who in his off duty hours keeps everybody entertained with his "classical" guitar playing, and SA Charles LEWIS, best known for the "heavy" tunes that blast out of his tape recorder down in the living compartment.
First of all we would like to congratulate FTG3 Bob ESENWEIN, who was married prior to deployment and met the ship in Hawaii.
FTG2 Todd NAGLE spends a lot of time in the MK 25 radar room, but rumor has it that he is making tapes to his wife instead of working. FTG1 John "Sandy" NOLEN isn’t worried about the theft of his motorcycle since he received the check from his insurance company. Petty Officer NOLEN is in charge of the work done by the FT’s and is also the spiritual leader of the division. GMG1 Jack JACKSON is Second Division’s leading petty officer and career counselor. The saltiest bluejacket in the division is hopefully waiting for the results of the chief’s exam. He tackled all the casualties on the gun mounts during our brief stay on the gun-line. Jack can be heard murmuring in his sleep: "God, Guts & Gunpowder Keep America Free." His number 1 "Son", GMG3 Lou DINWIDDIE can often be seen listening to his tapes and dreaming of the day he is riding is motorcycle across the U.S.A..
We have two short-timers in the division, FTG3 "Che" Dan GUERRERO and FTG3 Pat TRUE. Dan GUERRERO came to us from USS NEW JERSEY (BB 62) and is still looking for the other 630 feet of the ship. Pat TRUE had the opportunity of visiting old friends when we pulled into Pearl Harbor, since his last ship was home-ported there.
FTG3 "Rip Van" KOZDREY, better known as Steve, is looking forward to our arrival in Subic Bay so he can compete in the golf tournament and hopefully beat Mr. GIBSON, our Gun Boss.
A newcomer to the division GMGSN Chuck REDETZKE, came to us from USS FOX (DLG 33). He is presently in charge of repair and maintenance of MT 52 and is MT Captain while firing.
The workhorses of the gun gang are SN Danny STARK and SN Fred RACKOW. SN Fred RACKOW has decided he doesn’t like the warm, rainy weather of WESTPAC and has volunteered for "Operation Deep Freeze" in Antarctica. On the other hand SN Danny STARK has decided to give up the hot weather of WESTPAC for the smog of California.
FTG3 "Horatio" Tom HONEYCUTT, our divisional" soothsayer" is still trying to predict the ships operational schedule. So far he has had little Success.
FTG3 Mark YARNISH, who met the ship in Sasebo after a month and a half stay in the hospital, is fine and is doing well. LTJG Floyd FELT, Second Division*s new division officer met the ship in Yokosuka. His is also in charge of the ship’ cruise book, which promises to be a good one.
STC Ed CRANDALL and GMGC William GARRETT, the division’s senior men, have been keeping busy this cruise by standing JOOD and Director Officer watches. We can all sleep a little easier now.
STG3 Lonny CARTER wishes to thank the Navy for sending him to Hawaii for his 21st birthday.
STG2 Robert BURKE has been spending much of his in-port time teaching ST1 Pete STOKES the in’s and outs of golf. Pete STOKES contends Bob BURKE could use some instruction also.
ST1 Duane HARTNESS is still waiting for a letter from his model "A".
TMSN Ray SIGLER is having trouble with shipboard orientation. Seems there is no place to tie a horse.
STG2 Ray MACDONALD is taking advantage of the tax free situation this year by re-enlisting for six years for his maximum reenlistment bonus.
Congratulations are in order for three of the division*s newest members, SN Lloyd LOPEZ, SN Jim KLIENDIENST, and SN Jim HERRINGSHAW. All made seamen in August. Good work mates!
One AS Division member is finding his enlistment drawing to a close at the end of the cruise. TM3 Hugh MAURITHO is looking forward to settling with his wife and young son in Southern California to pursue a career in the field of law enforcement. We wish him luck in his civilian endeavors.
STG3 Jerry HUGHES made a worthwhile purchase at the beginning of the cruise. With is new sewing machine he has contributed much toward keeping the division looking sharp. Thanks again Jerry.
"Hoopsters" and the Steamrollers" have made an impressive showing.
SN Roger HOOPER and STGSN Ken WILSON purchased cameras on our first visit to Japan. They should be able to figure out how to work them by the end of the cruise in order to take some impressive pictures of our return to San Diego.
STG2 Larry DUMAS enrolled in an electronics correspondence course just before the cruise began, and plans to enhance his knowledge in the field.
GMG2 Tim SCHOFIELD bought some interesting toys in Japan, such as a train, and insists, "It’s really for my kids."
Last but not least, ST1 Douglas MACFADYEN, our foreign ambassador to Kaohsiung, Mr. MIKE spent a joyous reunion with friends and relatives there and now like the rest of us, is more than ever looking forward to returning home to our loved ones.
"M" Division has been going strong since we left San Diego. Everyone can boast that we have not missed a commitment for lack of steam. The old die-hards are keeping the plant moving. Joe HERNANDEZ, Marion HOLLOWAY, Luther BYRD, Galen WILLIAMS, Jim TYLER, "Butch" BUTCHER, "Hoppy" HOPKINS, and "New York" SNELL are some of the veterans aboard who have constantly managed to give SOUTHERLAND all the steam it needed. Of course they all had the expert supervision of that "Little Giant", Chief VINYARD.
Credit must also be given to the Machinist Mates, who use all the steam. They also made a batch of water that had a slight fuel oil taste! "Mac" MCCARTY and "Adolf" WHITFORD share the dubious distinction of leading such stalwarts as Larry MOSES, "Daddy Rufus" RICHARDSON,
"Bronson" Hatt, "Bicycle" GRAY, "Pack Rat" ALBAECK, and "Slow Jack" KAMBERT. Of course they are all under the watchful eye of Chief TATE, and "The Old Man of the Sea" Chief THOMPSON who tries to teach everyone paperwork.
The engineering spaces are not the only place in which the engineers excel, as we have a number of fine athletes. Our softball team, "Undefeated in WESTPAC", has been number 1 due to the efforts of "Boog" POWELL, "Ramjet" RIMBECK, Galen Williams, Ken Nalan, and the undying support of the cheering section led by YNFN ST JOHN, Al TUCKER, "Pineapple" KEKAHIO, Don LASSEN, Bob JACQUES, Lynn DAVIS, Glenn MCCOMB, Frank MELTON, Cliff WALJE, Dave ATKINSON, and "Fat Larry" CLASEN.
We have supermen in our midst who valiantly tried to defeat the professional "Tug-o-War" team from the USS MAHAN. Among the musclemen representing the engineers was Leo GONZALES, "Shorty" DENNIS, Larry MOSES, Boyd SUNDBY and Dave STACY.
Of course not all the engineers are men of brawn. We have our intellectuals who offer their sage advice and philosophy to the department. The leading prophet being BT3 Larry THOMAS followed closely by Tony SHASTY, "Hydro" GROSS, Ron ORR, "Teddy Bear" VALENCIA, Fred MIEARS, "Oil King" ROBISON, Emory RITTER, Danny DOSHER and "Sleepy" COLEMAN. The division owes a great debt to these men, whose wise and timely advice has been filed in the "circular file"
The division takes pride in welcoming to its ranks BTFA HARTER, MMFA FRANKLIN, MM2 CREECH, FN LEWELLYN (who just made FN on board:
congratulations), FA STICE and FA VALENCIA.
Hello to everyone back home and a special hello from Howard WADE, FA Burnell TWIDT, Victor SMITH, Ron ROGEL, Lyle RIENDEAU, Dick PACQUIN, Steve MARSH and Lynn DAVIS to his wife and new son Mark.
The cruise has been an eventful one for the men of "R" division, with everyone turning in long hours. The diligent efforts rendered by all have resulted in the correction of many problems associated with keeping SOUTHERLAND in smooth working order. The cries for cold air from the operation’s compartment were finally answered with repair of their air conditioner. Under MM1 Eugene BAKER’s able supervision EN2 Wayne RASMUSSEN, MR3 Stanley DOSS, MM3 Jimmy WORRELL and FA Gerald TAYLOR were able to repair this piece of equipment which has plagued the ship for over a year.
"A" gang not only supplies cooling throughout the ship, but also steam for cooking and hot water. Anytime of day or night, at sea or in-port EN3 Bob KRAKE and FN Dave KLINE can be seen carrying their massive pipe wrenches around to maintain the vital 150 pound steam system.
The "IC" gang under IC1 Mack BRINSON eliminated the nagging problem of a faulty wind-bird in Yokosuka, Japan. A wave of relief could be seen to cross the faces of IC3 George HOFFIS, ICFN Ed Dickson, and FN William HERNANDES. They are now free to devote themselves to such jobs as showing the motion pictures for the crew’s entertainment.
The mettle of the ship-fitters and electricians was tested recently while on the gun-line. The vibration from the guns caused lighting fixtures to loosen and pipes to leak. EM2 Lee BRADSHAW could be seen leading EM3 Jim FLAHERTY, EMFN Larry HAUSCHILDT, EMFN Joe POLLOCK, and EMFN Pete MOYNAHAN to effect repairs. Meanwhile, SFP3 John MCAVOY, SFM3 George LUCAS, and SFM3 Sammy MEARS were kept busy repairing leaks in the fire-main and welding stanchions. Congratulations are in order
to Mom and Dad MEARS on their new daughter Cindy Lynn.
August advancement exams provided some of the men of "R" division the opportunity to advance in rate. Among those to participate in the exams were: MM1 Eugene BAKER, MR3 Bruce LANGDON, EM3 Donald BRAND, EMFN Ted HEISLER, FN Glenn RAY, IC3 George HOFFIS, and FN Bob AYOTTE.
"R" division has welcomed three new members to its ranks: FN Fred King, FN Bob RINEWALT, and FA Ken SANDBOTHE. At the same time we lost some very valuable talent due to the transfers of MM1 Eugene BAKER, EM1 Benito ESPE, EM2 Henry MCCOY and SFP3 John MCAVOY. Their absence will be felt.
August also saw the arrival of ENS Joe BUESCHER on-board SOUTHERLAND to assume the duties of "R" division Officer. This will leave LTJG John DELOTELL free to concentrate on damage control with the aid of DC2 John GREUBEL, DC3 Carl ALLMAN and DCFN Phillip MILLER.
The men of "OI" division are radar-men. Found usually in the Combat Information Center, they collect, display, evaluate and disseminate information. Versatile, they play an important part in executing the missions of SOUTHERLAND including save navigation, ASW, AAW, Shore
bombardment, Search and Rescue and Plane Guard for aircraft carriers.
Several new men have joined the division for this cruise. RDC MacDonald SHAND, late of the USS NEW JERSEY (BB 62), has brought with him the expertise of many years of WESTPAC service.
Our resident golf-pro, RD3 Doug MILLER holds SOUTHERLAND’s golf record on all the links of WESTPAC. Jasper, Indiana’s loss in RDSN Stanley SCHMITT was SOUTHERLAND’s gain. RDSN Eric KOENIGSHOFER excels in hitting Home-runs for SOUTHERLAND’s champion softball team. OI’s history is in the good hands of a native of Boston, RDSN Tim MURPHY. RDSN Dave FOWLER came to us from a tour in Subic Bay. He is our tag-a-log expert and the Philippines may never be the same. Mr. Good Attitude, RDSN Dave HOHENBERGER achieved a CIC first by becoming the first RD to survive a month* "vacation" working in the Chiefs’ mess.
The "old salts" remain to guide the newcomers. Among them is RD1 Jerry YOUNNGQUIST, our new Leading Petty Officer. Under the able tutelage of Chief SHAND, Jerry is becoming quite a cartoonist and sketcher. RD2 Bob KELLY, our reluctant Anti-Submarine Air Controller who guides Helo’s with a Texas drawl, was advanced to second class petty officer before the cruise began. Scrimping and saving, RD3 Ladd O. BLUMBERG expects to deploy into the bonds of matrimony after this cruise.
Other stalwarts of previous cruises include RD3 E.J. MADDOCK, the "number one" sleeper of the division (and looking strong on the back stretch); RD3 Larry WAISON, who recently became a Condition III Watch Supervisor; and "money bags" RD3 Jerry SEALS, aspiring for PO2, who
recently reenlisted and received a variable reenlistment bonus.
In the meantime, RDSN Kelly LEWIS is learning to sew in preparation for sewing on his 3rd class "crow" in November. Our native American, SN Otis ROQUEMORE, after a brief skirmish with "firewater" has been heard to exclaim "it’s a waste of good wampum." SN Bill KLEINDIENST, one of our two Navel Gunfire Support radio operators, did most of the talking, most of the shooting, and most of the bragging. All in all, it has been an eventful cruise thus far, but we are all looking forward to returning home.
When SOUTHERLAND left San Diego the radio gang was 12 strong, Chief Rutherford EASLEY, RM1 Bill ANDERSON, RM2 Wayne KITT, RM2 Eugene
MONDAY, RM2 Hank SUMMERS, RM3 Jimmy HARDIN, RM3 Dennis WALERI, RMSN Ed ALDERS, RMSN Doug BODDICKER, RMSN Bill PIERCE, RMSN Jim BAKER and SN Rick LOUGHMAN. With the exception of Dennis, everyone was present and accounted for. Dennis was in teletype repair school, and has joined the ship later. For some in radio, this cruise was the second or third such voyage in as many years, but for the new men, it was to be their first, and they could look forward to seeing places like Hawaii, Midway, Japan, the Philippine Islands, Vietnam, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Under the new leadership of LTJG Mike DANESI, and the professional guidance of Chief EASLEY, the radiomen are well lead. Bill ANDERSON, the great organizer, had the admin portion of the radio shack down pat and it left no problems for the watch-standers. Our three supervisors, Wayne KITT, Eugene MONDAY and Hank SUMMERS, are all expecting to leave the Navy either during the cruise, like Gene, or right after the cruise is over, as in the case of both Hank and Wayne.
When August came around, advancement in rate exams did also. Andy went up for Chief and Ed and Doug too their first chance at third class. Good luck to all.
The operations in the Sea of Japan and the gun-line were an experience to say the least. The new men, Doug BODDICKER, Bill PIERCE, Jim BAKER and Rick LOUGHMAN had been anxious to see all the sights afforded by the new areas but were just as anxious to leave when the time came. Sasebo and Yokosuka in Japan, and Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands were the ports that held the greater interest for the radio-gang. With the various tours and places of interest, as well as the well-filled Navy Exchanges in each of these ports, the money earned on the gun-line and Sea of Japan operations was soon separated from its owner. Items like rifles (Andy and Hank), cameras (Jim BAKER and Hank) and a variety of other things were only a few of the purchases.
The signal gang completed the first leg of this cruise in fine shape. Five men competed in the August fleet wide exams and two others were advanced to seaman, Visual communication was at its best in the Sea Of Japan.
The leader of the gang, the "old salt" himself, SM1 Jeff MAPPS, gave his best efforts in the chiefs’ exam again this year. And his able assistant, SM1 FOSTER, participated in the test for the warrant officer program. Good luck to both men, who together provide the signal gang with out-standing leadership.
The division will remember their party in Subic Bay as one of the high lights of the cruise, and one of the men most responsible for planning it was SM2 Hal ENGELTER, also known as the "Whiz Kid" to his com-patriots.
The signal gang has shown more than its share in talent so far this cruise, in many areas. Their professional strength was greatly enhanced by a newcomer known to the gang as the "Cisco Kid", SM2 Doug TIONGO. They have also displayed their athletic ability through the talents of SMSN Robert "Toby" TOBIN, SMSN Antonio "A.B." SMITH, SMSN Doug "Slim" BARGHOLS, and SMSN Tim HOLWIG, all active in the SOUTHERLAND’s basketball and highly successful softball teams. In the entertainment field, the gang has their own private hootenannies on the signal bridge, centered around the voice and guitar of "Hollywood" Tim HOLWIG.
And last but not least, we welcomed SMSN Dave ROBINSON, Dave*s quiet manner fits in well with the rest of the gang.
OX Division, composed of the Quartermasters, Yeomen, Personnel-men, Postal Clerk and Hospital-men, serves primarily as the XO*s "little helpers."
Our Administrative Gang is headed by the "Old Hat" YN1 Don HICKERSON. He is ably assisted by our expert swimmer YN3 Steve HALL. Holding down the job as Weapons Yeoman is SN Bruce DAMON, a prospective third class. After flying all over the Far East, YNSA Ken HIRATSUKA reported on board by highline, bringing with him many stories of his past adventures.
The personnel-men section is headed by "Night Hawk" PN2 Bill BRADLEY. He is kept busy taking care of 2770 personnel records, but should receive help from our newest member of the gang, PNSN Bill PHILLIPS. PCSN John THERRIEN, our new postal clerk, is always busy either with his postal duties or helping out the admin gang.
A question often asked of the Quartermasters is "Well, where are we now?" A 24-hour-a-day job of Navigation keeps QM1 David OLSON, QM3 Richard CAMERON, QM3 Carlos GURLEY, QMSN Peter GR IM, and QMSN Albert WILK quite alert. Between and during, working hours, Carlos GURLEY paced Radio Central waiting for that certain message telling him of the arrival of the stork. His wife Sharon finally presented him with a daughter named Tammy Lee. Congratulations to both Mom and Pop. QM1 David OLSON is the leading family man. There*s Alyn and Denis and Richard and Damon and Michele! For the remaining bachelor III, their hearts seem to be wherever the liberty is.
The Medical Department is headed by HMC Marlin O. MOSHER who is backed by HM3 Mike SWICK and SN Bill VALENZUELA. They keep busy treating various minor sicknesses which occur on board and preventing many others with shots and inspections.
Our Division Officer, Ensign Bobby D. JONES, reported on board in Sasebo, Japan, during August, after spending seven weeks in the States preparing for his first tour at sea.
Maintenance of the electronic equipment in SOUTHERLAND is the job of the OE Division. Under the resourceful and prodding leadership of Ensign George BUORAC and ERTC Paul LATHAM, the ET’s strive to maintain the electronic equipment at peak readiness
The radar equipment is handed skillfully by ETR2 Paul TROSZAK and his two cohorts, ETR3 Bruce HARKNESS and ETR3 Jan FRITCH. Paul TROSZAK reenlisted for six years and received a handsome reenlistment bonus.
The communication equipment is watched over by ETN2 J.D. YOUNG and ETN2 J.A. YOUNG. Together with the two newest of members of the gang, ETNSN Bill MOORE and ETNSN Bill SMART they troubleshoot the ills of radio when they aren’t engrossed in a lecture on the fine points of the Ashai Pentax Camera as given by J.D. YOUNG.
The EW Technicians RD1 Elmer LONG, RD3 Bill CROVATT, and RD3 Merle MORRISON maintain and operate the ship’s electronic defenses. We hardly ever see our EW’s. It is rumored that Bill CROVATT and Merle MORRISON live in forward ECM while Elmer LONG can be located at the local MOTU Repair Facility attempting to solve the many mysteries of ECM equipment.
Despite constant lecturing on the fine points of paperwork by Ensign BUTORAC and the value of long working days by ETC Paul LATHAM, OE division continues to function smoothly.
Under the able leadership of our "boss", LTJG Jim DEMPSEY Assistant Supply Officer SKC SCHENSE, has discovered that some of his people have been performing unusual jobs this cruise. SN KNOX has been standing radar watches in CIC rather than cooking. SN LEMIEUX has been manning the helm as well as handling commissary records. SN Willie HALL was cutting hair and washing laundry before he was relieved by our new barber SA HARTLEBEN.
Since leaving the gun-line, things have returned to normal, although SK1 Gerald SALYER still spends more time as Mess Deck Master at Arms and head popcorn-maker than he does as storekeeper. SK3 Stephen MAZCKO and SN Sammy JONES are finishing up a complete inventory of over 14,000 repair parts, while the storerooms are running smoothly under the direction of SK1 Grady ULLRICH. Petty Officer Grady ULLRICH claims that his work might be easier if SN James DESENBERG would stop losing his glasses. SK3 Philip CHANDLER has provided music to the Supply Office in the guise of seemingly numberless Johnny Cash tunes.
Food is very near and dear to the hearts of all SOUTHERLAND men, and CS1 Sylvester ROBINSON and CS! Raymond TENKEN are making sure that not a single sailor leaves the Mess Decks hungry. CS3 Virgilio AYEN and CS3 Ozell RANSOME (with their able assistants CSSN Peter WATSON and SN Juan RIVERA-FUENTES) are spending many long hours in the galley to make sure that every meal is a "culinary delight."
Watch supervisor Richard LUSSIER has been indoctrinating all of the commissary-men with many sea stories about his previous assignment in Vietnam. SN Karl BERYSON and SN Stanton SMITH have been supplying the crew with fresh doughnuts and homemade bread from their night time bakery shop. SN Edward GERBER didn’t really want to become a physical fitness expert, but his muscles are bulging from carrying heavy boxes as Jack of the Dust.
Meals for the officers are provided by our friendly wardroom hosts, the Stewards-men. SD1 Jose ENCARNACION has recently completed a "cycle" menu, designed to satisfy the varied (and sometimes perverse) tastes of the officers. SD2 Ismael CAASI has proclaimed himself "King of the Wardroom Pantry," as he provides the professional touch to the cooking of all meals. TN Epitacio COLLANTES has been handling ammunition as well as hors d’oeuvres lately. Congratulations to Epitacio COLLANTES on his recent marriage. TN Dante OLAES isn’t worrying about a thing, since he has just returned from a blissful leave in the Philippines, TB Rodrigo MARTINEZ has also visited his family on the island of Luzon in the Philippines.
"We need more money!" is a familiar cry to DK1 Dante EVANGELISTA, our able Disbursing Clerk. Realizing the constant need for cash, Dante EVANGELISTA is working overtime to keep the coffers filled.
Now that we are on the downhill side of our WESTPAC deployment we are getting anxious about our return home. Occasionally the time seems to drag, but the fast pace at which we operate doesn’t allow us to dwell on our longings for home.
The rest of our schedule will include a visit to Hong Kong and Subic Bay again. Additionally, we will stop in Guam, Midway, and Pearl Harbor for fuel on our trip home to San Diego. Operationally we will return to the gun-line and participate in carrier operations with USS AMERICA. All in all we expect to be quite busy for the remainder of the deployment.
As I*m sure you know the most important evolution we go through out here is the receipt of mail, whether by helicopter or hi-line from a replenishment ship. When the word is passed for one of these evolutions we all get topside to find out how many of those little orange bags we receive. We then wait expectantly for the “postal clerk” to sort it out and distribute it to us.A reminder is that the normal cycle for your letters and our replies is about two weeks. Most important of all, please keep the mail coming, as we can never get enough of it.
I feel very proud to be the Captain of such a fine ship and crew made up of your outstanding husbands, sweethearts, sons and friends. Truly they deserve the best. They have performed consistently in an outstanding manner and have conducted themselves as gentlemen and true ambassadors of our country while ashore. Their performance particularly, has led to the many compliments and commendations the ship has received from various senior officers while here in WESTPAC.
In closing I would like to say that although being away from home is never easy, I think we can be proud of our accomplishments in our deployment thus far. But come December 3rd we are going to be looking and straining just as hard to see you as your are us. Please try to meet the ship. Best wishes to all.