Northern Solomons - Bougainville - Bismarck Archipelago
Marianas - Western Caroline Islands - two Jima - Okinawa
Chow Down, Chow Down!
Well, another summer is upon us and so far'it hasn't been too bad in this area. In fact, with plenty of rain and below normal temperatures, it's been right pleasant. Now for the news!
I have some roster changes as follows:
Vinnie DiMaio PO Box 16553 West Haven, CT 06516
Also, I'm sorry to report the death of Anne Blackman, the widow of Sid Blackman, on February 28. She had attended three or four of our reunions with Sid and was a most charming lady.
Mike Plessl advised that he has up-to-date rosters and would be happy to send one to whomever requests. By the way, Mike is recov- ering from a very serious back operation and, hopefully, is on his way to a speedy recovery. Wish him well!
Since my last letter, I have heard from the son and the daughter of two of our shipmates. The first is Kevin Kays whose father, Harold, was a plankowner and MMl/c aboard the FULLAM; he passed away in 1987. The other is Lana Cox Shrader whose father, Thomas Cox, was a TM3/c and. also a plankowner; he passed away in 1978. Both of these "kids" would sure like to hear from any shipmates of their fathers who can tell them anything about their dads while aboard the FULLAM. Their addresses are as follows:
Kevin Kays 216 Pennsylvania St. Staunton, IL 62088
Good news! I finally found out where I can obtain the Deck Logs of the FULLAM that I did not have. I want to thank Jim Carey for his assistance as he lives in the same city where these logs are located; that is, College Park, MD. Consequently, I have gone ahead and order- ed the missing pages so that when they arrive, we will have all of them from March 2, 1943, through February 28, 1946. These are your logs and if you wish any information, I will make every effort to locate it and forward it on to you. I am planning to instruct my family to send all of these logs to the USS KIDD museum in Baton Rouge on my passing so that they will always be available to whoever wishes to see them such as our children or grandchildren.
Over the years I have aquired a substantial library of books dealing with WW 2 and the Navy. Every now and then I will peruse a few and recently I found several pages in a book that you would be most inter- ested in so check your local library or book store. The name of this book is "The Little Giants" by Wm. T. Y'Blood, published in 1987, ISBN- 0-87021-275-3. Look-up pages 382-390 as they contain the full and detailed account of the Kamikaze attack on the USS SANGAMON and the FULLAM is well represented. It's certainly worth your time to look this book up.
In the June issue of "Naval History" magazine there is an article that I want to pass along to you:
"The national D-Day Museum in New Orleans, which opened in June, 2000, has announced its first major expansion, The new exhibit, 'The D-Day Invasions in the Pacific' is scheduled to open on 7 December 2001, the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
The new gallery, totaling approximately 5,000 square feet, will incLude a combination of photos, videos, artifacts, interactive displays, maps, and oral histories. A large animated map of the Pacific Theater will summarize the major campaigns and battles that took place over a 44-month period, beginning in December 1941 and ending with the surrender of Japan in August 1945. A 200-foot-long serpentine timeline wall will follow the major D-Day invasions of the war in the Pacific, with special emphasis on major amphibious assaults such as Guadalcanal, Bougainville, New Guinea, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa."
I think this will point out the influence and importance of the mighty FULLAM; of the eight Pacific invasions described, we participated in five of them!
You recall that in my last letter I included a couple of photographs of several of our shipmates taken in a San Francisco night club back in '44. I had identified some of them and some of you wrote me and named a few more. In the top photo Derossier is tne first one on the left side in the top row with Gordon in the middle; Bauman is in the first row, left side, while Boychuck is on the right side. I have two ID's for the shipmate between Hamilton and Boychuck, namely Collins or Curtin. In the lower photo Rennie is on the first row, left side, and Campbell is in the middle row, right side; also, Bauman and Derossier are in this picture. The one between Bauman and Campbell is thought to be P.K. Gilbert according to his younger brother.
On the final page of this letter I have included two more photographs which were taken in Kodiak, Alaska. I have the top one and can ident- ify every shipmate. My memory isn't that good - I wrote the names and rates of each when I received the photo! Standing from left to right: Ferguson, TM3/c; Galloway, TM3/c; Beyer, QM1/c; Dudutis, GM2/c; Peck, TM3/c; Cicero, SC3/c; Radke, SM2/c. Kneeling: Ed Johnson, GM1/c; Hewson, Sml/c; Castaldo, GM2/c.
The lower photograph was sent to me by Max Yergin and he named the shipmates as follows: Harold Kasperian, unknown, Max Yergin, Ray Craft, unknown. Can anyone help us out by identifying the two unknowns?
One of the more interesting things you learn while perusing the logs is perhaps why some of our shipmates did not pursue a particular profession after leaving the Navy. For example, the following item certainly did not help Garrett Lynch toward a major league baseball career. The following was dated 19 April 1943:
1605 LYNCH, Garrett Conklin, 2243751, S2/c, USN, received a broken tooth when he missed catching a pair of pliers that was tossed to him.
On the same date and just before the above incident it was nice to know that somebody got a taste of fresh fruit as follows:
1550 Received on board fresh pineapple. Inspected for quant- ity by MALLETTE, Elmer Thomas, 3719909 CCS (AA) USN and, for quality by Lieut. (jg) E.P. Berry; MC, -USNR.
Makes you wonder what the importance of Chief Mal1ette's serial number was to whether or not the pineapple was even fresh?
I believe some of you mentioned this method of leaving the ship at some of our reunions; this item was dated 13 June 1943 and I think we were still in Boston:
1935 Man believed to be DECOSTER, Alvah Joseph, 2025828, S2/c, USN seen to go down forward line absent without leave.
In closing, here's wishing you all a great summer and to you golfers such as me, many pars and maybe a few birdies. I'm still open to your memories so send them on and if you need any thing from the logs, let me know.
Your old shipmate,
Paul "P.T. " Beyer