Northern Solomons - Bougainville - Bismarck Archipelago
Marianas - Western Caroline Islands - Iwo Jima - Okinawa
SPRING March 2000
The time is fast approaching for our mini-reunion in Baton Rouge over the weekend of April 28-30 and I sincerely hope you are giving it the utmost consideration to attend. I have heard from some of you planning to attend and I hope to hear from many more. Garrett Lynch informed me that he has arranged for us to have an "open gangway" to board the KIDD at any time with no cost to us which is most generous on their part. All we have to do is check in with the cashier and identify ourselves and our guests. I cannot describe the feeling you receive when you board the KIDD; it's like returning to your youth of 50 plus years ago! It is a great experience also for any family members as they can actually see what you have been trying to tell about over these past many years.
As I indicated in previous letters, this reunion is strictly informal and everyone is on their own regarding motel reservations, meals, transportation, other sightseeing, etc.; in other words, no buses, banquets, or watching the clock. The motel I recommend is the Holiday Inn South in Baton Rouge, phone 225-924-7021; we held our '94 reunion in this location. If you have any questions, drop me a line or give me a call at 913-451-4982. So, Come on down!
Since my last letter, we lost another shipmate, William McCabe, who passed away on December 29, 1999; his widow sent me his obituary and it was most interesting. Often wonder what the rest of you did after leaving the FULLAM. As I write this, Ed Langlois is gravely ill so keep him in your prayers as his chances for recovery are very poor. Ed was in charge of our San Diego reunion in 1992 which was the largest we have had.
I plan to include an up-to-date roster in my next letter but for now
here are a couple of changes:
For those of you on the internet, there is a former HUDSON radioman
who is putting together all the information he can locate regarding the
destroyers of DesRon 45. He already has put some great stuff about
the FULLAM, including pictures, which I had a chance to view at my son's
house. His name is Robert E. Ross at 60 Oakland St., Melrose, Ma.
02176 but most important email@example.com. For you computer hounds get
in touch with him.
Thanks to Sigmund Migden, we found a lost shipmate - Edward Fletcher. He was a MM3/c in the E division and lives at 1746 Sparta Circle, Sebring, Fl., 33872. His E-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I have been in contact with Ed and he already sent me a great memory as follows:
"I remember when we were restocked with supplies and we would have to carry all the food and stuff forward. When we would get to the galley stuff, we would take the dehydrated potatoes that came in what I think were 5 gal. shiny metal cans and throw them over the side. When we would get to the cases of canned turkey, we would drop them down the hatch to #2 engine room. They would then grab it and put it in the bilges until things cooled down and it got dark. We would then go up to the galley and with a long metal pole we would reach through the wire and stick the bread and bring it to us. Back in the engine room we would go and make our toasted turkey sandwiches. We made our own hot plates by taking boiler cement and make the hot plate and make the circular grooves in it before it hardened and then we made our coiled steel wire on the lathe by locking it in the chuck with a steel rod, hold the wire and turn the lathe on, and presto, we got coiled wire. We ate and awful lot of turkey and parts of roaches that were in the bread for the next few days. We really were a bunch of great guys that would stick together in that #2 engine room."
Can anyone top this for ingenuity?
Here are a couple of paragraphs from one of the articles in the Ketchikan papers my wife and I microfilmed last fall:
"Naval officers from the destroyers Fullam and Guest, and the Coast Guard destroyer escort Ramsden, spoke at a victory bond rally held at the Ketchikan High School Monday."
"An impromptu performance was given by signalman first class Don Hewson of the Fullam who played the piano and sang humorous ballads. He was enthusiastically received by the students."
I wonder if he ever hit the big time?
Hope you enjoyed the bulletin put out by Capt. Kelly that "Whitey" Iredale sent. The latest destroyer rosters came from the annual report published by the United States Navy League; our FULLAM look mighty small alongside one of these new destroyers.
In closing, I would like to thank those who have contributed so generouly to the cost of printing and mailing this quarterly epistle. As you know, we have no dues but rely on whomever has the resources and williness to insure the continuance of this letter. Mike Plessl continues to supply all the envelopes and addresses for which we are sincerely grateful.
Your old shipmate,
Paul "P.T." Beyer
MEMO T0 ALL HANDS
1. WE ARE NOW HEADED WEST TO JOIN UP WITH ONE OF THE FAST CARRIER TASK FORCES. AT LAST REPORTS THE JAPS ARE STILL HEADED THIS WAY WITH THEIR BATTLESHIPS, CRUISERS, CARRIERS AND DESTROYERS. THE LONG AWAITED BATTLE WHICH SHOULD GO A LONG WAY TOWARD FINISHING OFF THIS WAR SEEMS TO BE CLOSE AT HAND. tHE SHIPS SIGNTED LATE YESTERDAY AFTERNOON. WE CAN ALL HOPE THAT THE "BEAR" WILL SHOW UP ON SCHEDULE.
2. THE OPERATIONS OF THE PAST FEW DAYS HAVE BEEN STRENUOUS. ALL HANDS HAVE SPENT LONG HOURS AT BATTLE STATIONS. THIS HAS BEEN NECESSARY BECAUSE WE HAVE BEEN FOOLING AROUND IN THE "NIPS" BACK YARD. ALL HAVE DONE A SPLENDID JOB. I PARTICULARLY CQNGRATULATE THE FFUELING DETAIL ON THE EXCELLENT ACCOMPLISHMENT OF FUELING IN THE DARK. ALL DEPARTMENTS HAVE ENDEAVORED TO DO THEIR BEST; THE ENGINEERS WITH THEIR ECONOMICAL STEAMING; THE LOOKOUTS BY THEIR ALERTNESS; THE SIGNAL GANG; THE FIRE CONTROLMEN AND GUNNERS MATES; RADIOMEN; TORPEDOMEN; OFFICERS, AND ALL OTHER DIVISIONS AND UNITS HAVE WILLINGLY, EFFICIENTLY AND CHEERFULLY CARRIED OUT THEIR DUTIES UNDER THE TRYING CONDITIONS OF THE PAST FEW DAYS. AND LET US BY ALL MEANS GIVE A VOTE OF THANKS TO THE HARD WORKING COOKS AND BAKERS WHO HAVE PREPARED OUR FOOD AND THE REPAIR PARTIES WHO SERVED IT.
EVERYONE HAS CONTRIBUTED HIS SHARE TO THE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE WHICH RESULTED IN A PERSONAL "WELL DONE" FROM ADMIRAL AINSWORTH TO THE SQUADRON COMMANDER.
3. THE END IS NOT YET IN SIGHT. LET US HOPE THAT THE "NIPS" WILL
GIVE US THE REST OF THE DAY T0 GET OURSELVES IN SHAPE FOR EVENTS OF THE
IMMEDIATE FUTURE. CONTINUE THE EXCELLLENT WORK AND WE WILL ALL HAVE REASON
TO BE EXTREMELY PROUD OF OUR CONTRIBUTION TO THE GREATEST NAVAL VICTORY IN
HISTORY WHICH SHOULD BE OURS VERY SHORTLY.
"Whitey" Iredale sent me the above which I certainly wanted to include in this letter. It refers to our joining up with Task Force 58 at the Battle of the Philipine Sea. We became part of the screen for Task Force 58.7 under Admiral Willis "Ching" Lee, and, consisted of the battleships WASHINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA, IOWA, NEW JERSEY, INDIANA, SOUTH DAKOTA, and ALABAMA plus the cruisers WICHITA, MINNEAPOLIS, NEW ORLEANS, and SAN FRANCISCO. We were one of 14 destroyers in the screen and became part of the famed,"Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" on June 19, 1944.
This was also the day we suffered our one and only personnel casualty
when Roy West received a schrapnel wound from a nearby bomb which exploded
near the fantail. I was in the after steering engineroom and can
still remember the stern rising out of the water from this bomb.
Here is the roster of the current USN destroyers in commission or under
construction. Note the tonnage and dimensions of these ships; these
would be light crusiers in our day. About the only thing in common
with the FULLAM is their speed!
The first two of the three fiscal year 1994 ships will be Flight 11, but the third, Oscar Austin (DDG 79), is the first of the class to be built to a revised Flight IIA design. Her construction by Bath commenced in September 1996; she is scheduled for delivery in early 2000. Flight IIA ships will incorporate the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) system now under multinational development, the Kingfisher mine-detection system, and a two-helicopter hangar. Removed from Flight IIA ships will be the SQR-19 towed-array sonar and Harpoon missiles. The new design will have the weight-reduction and reliability advantages of fiber-optics technology. The Navy plans to acquire 57 Burkeclass DDGS, with the last being funded in 2003. The Navy has awarded to Ingalls Shipbuilding and Bath Iron Works multiyear procurement contracts for 12 Burkes (plus one option ship) for FY 1998-2001. Burke-class ships launched Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets in Yugoslavia during Operation Allied Force in early 1999.
The Spruance-class destroyers-the first U.S. Navy destroyers to use gas turbines as their main propulsion systems-have completed long-term modernization programs during which they have received, among other warfighting systems, SH-60B Seahawk (LAMPS III) helicopters, Tomahawk cruise missiles, and PHALANX CIWSs. A new dimension of warfare for destroyers was introduced when Spruance-class DDs fired Tomahawk missiles when the Desert Storm air-bombardment campaign commenced in 1991. Spruanceclass ships fired Tomahawks at Iraq in early 1993 and mid-1993, and at terrorist facilities in Afghanistan in 1998. Spruance-class DDs also launched Tomahawks against targets in Yugoslavia during Operation Allied Force in early 1999.
During 1998, as a cost-cufting move to fund additional littoral-warfare
systems, seven non-VLS-equipped Spruance-class DDs were decommissioned
Spruance Class (DD)
DISPLACEMENT: 8,040 tons full load
Arleigh Burke Class (DDG)
DISPLACEMENT: 8,315 tons full load