Northern Solomons - Bougainville - Bismarck Archipelago
Marianas - Western Caroline Islands - Iwo Jima - Okinawa
July 10, 2003
Former FULLAM sailors!
Well, so far, so good as the only roster change is the address for H.J. Smith who now resides at 2222 Sehlyn Ave., #404, Charlotte, NC 28207. However I am sorry to report the death of Ena Glencross, John's wife, after a long battle with cancer; Ena attended several of our regular and mini-reunions and was a lot of fun to be around. Our sincere condolences to John.
Recently, Margaret Slife sent me a copy of her husband's (Jim) autobiography and he certainly did a remarkable job including his experiences aboard the FULLAM. By the way, have any of you been able to put your life on paper for the benefit of your family? I have not. Like several of you, Jim was called back for the Korean War and served on the USS FECHTELER (DD870). Here follows his story on why he was recalled:
"This might be a good place to answer the reader's question as to what in the heck was I doing in the reserve? When Margaret and I bought our first home when I returned from World War II, I was working for thirty-five dollars a week. Money was tight so I joined the reserve unit in Cedar Rapids which was offering five dollars a night four times a month for two hours of work. This helped nicely until I went to work at Collins where the long hours of overtime kept me so busy there wasn't time for the reserves. I dropped out of the active reserve into inactive status. From there I was called back into service while no one in the active unit was ever called. Typical government planning."
For some reason I have been unable to find much to write this quarter, but, finally came up with an idea to put on paper what I still remember about a certain member of our crew, particularly, some of their idiosyncrasies. Hopefully, if any of you have someone in mind, please let me know to include in a future letter.
The one I have chosen for this letter is Dominic "Nick" Angotti, plankowner and signalman. If I recall, Nick was of Italian heritage from Patterson, New Jersey. There are four things that I distinctly remember about Nick besides being a very likable person and a good shipmate. First, Nick was without peer the champion letter writer throughout his time on the ship! I'll wager to say that he wrote an average of 6-8 letters per day and when mail call came he received the most. He was a deliberate penman and his writing was perfect. Second, whenever the ship was underway, his nightly bunk was one of the signal flagbags; he could sleep through everything whether weather, the noise on the bridge, no matter what! I don't believe he was afraid but just not comfortable with sleeping below when underway. Third, since Frank Sinatra was from Jersey, I think Nick had a deep desire to emulate Frank so whenever we staged the FULLAM FOLLIES we could always depend on Nick for few Sinatra numbers. Fourth, Nick's goal when he returned home was to get married and have plenty of kids. Anyway, after we returned to sea from the San Francisco overhaul, we had new equipment that would allow us to use our signal lights at night to send messages to other ships, and receive same as we could in daylight. This equipment consisted of an adapter that fit on the lens of the signal light and a device we could look through to read messages from other ships. We had to monitor this device constantly so we would not miss any messages. Somehow, Nick heard that the use of this equipment could lead to making the users sterile; actually, I think Don Hewson spread this rumor in jest but Nick was absolutly convinced that Hewson might be right. From then on there was no way that Nick was even going near that equipment even if it meant a court martial! At one of our reunions Tom Bruce said that Nick ran for Mayor of Patterson (he lost) and passed away a few years later.
What was your favorite, or least, favorite General Quarters station? ' Here again let me know so that these could become a part of future letters.
For example, my least favorite station was in CIC when Lt. Coleman wanted me to record all the TBS messages, orders, etc. Lt. Coleman was not exactly my most respected officer on the ship and having to be there was certainly no prize. About the only saving grace was the fact I was there when we collided with the NOA so was not involved in any of the hearings and not having to return early from my leave as several had to. My favorite station was the bridge where we were able to see everything that happened - like a seat on the 50-yard line at a big football game! However, when it came to enjoying a rest, eating well, having plenty of reading material, etc., it was the After Steering Engine room; that was my station for about 18 months and I think we only had one emergency - quickly and efficiently handled. There was always an electrians's mate with me, a quartermaster, and we always got along just fine; for the life of me, I can't remember the names of any of them. We had a definite pact that whoever arrived first when GQ sounded would immediately climb the ladder to check the hatch that opened onto the deck where the aft 20's were located; the purpose was to make sure the hatch was secured just enough to be closed but with a mere, and I mean mere, turn of the wheel we could be out of there in a flash! My bunk and locker were just outside the After Steering Engine room so we had access to any reading material I had; in addition, when they brought the C or K rations around, we stocked up enough to last for a week. Even on a steel deck, proper rest was no problem as one of us would always be awake and alert with the phones while the other got his beauty sleep. In fact, after a long period at GQ we were probably the two most rested shipmates on the ship. Agreed we missed seeing anything and all information we received was via the head phones; however, we sure felt the bomb blast that hit near the fantail on June 19, 1944. This bomb also gave us our one and only Purple Heart when Roy West received for acquiring a small piece of shrapnel in his back.
Now you have just read a couple of examples of what I would like to receive from as many of you as possible. This letter can be a real struggle when I have to hunt and hunt, or think up, items to include in it. Will be looking forward to hearing from you!
Speaking of June 19, 1944, or, The First Battle of the Philippine Sea and The Great Mariana's Turkey Shoot, here is the log of the FULLAM for the entire day:
PART III CONFIDENTIAL
Monday 19 June 1944
00-04 Steaming in company with TG 58.7 in accordance with current orders of Com Fifth Fleet. TG consists of Batdiv 6, 7, 8 less MASSACHUSETTS and 9, Crudiv 6, Desdiv 89, 12 and 106. CTG 58.7 (OTC) in WASHINGTON. Heavy units formed in disposition 7V on circle 6. Guide in INDIANA in fleet center. Desdiv 89 and 12 screening on circle 8, Desdiv 106 pickets on circle 15. Base course 080°deg T, 079°psc. Speed 18 knots. Ship darkened; and in modified condition of readiness I, modified material condition Afirm. Steaming on boilers #1 & #4 With boilers #2 & #3 on 10 minutes notice. ' E/R/ SCHWASS Lt(jg) USNR.
04-08 Steaming as before. 0440 Set condition of readiness I, material condition Afirm. 0516 Formation commenced zigzqgging according to plan #6. 0538 Ceased zigzagging, resumed base course. 0541 formation turned to course 110 deg T. 0550 commenced ziggzagging according to plan #6. 0553 Ceased zigzagging, resumed base course. 0553 Formation changed speed to 20 knots. 0556 Changed speed to 15 knots. 0557 Sunrise; lighted ship. 0600 Changed speed to 18 knots. 0602 Screening destroyers took station in disposition 7V on circle 6. FULLAM took station between NEW ORLEANS and SAN FRANCISCO. 0608 Formation commenced zigzagging according to plan #6. 0617 Formation ceased zigzagging, resumed base course. 0620 Formation changed course to 250 deg T. 0629 Changed speed to 18 knots. 0631 Commenced zigzagging according to plan #6., 0701 Ceased zigzagging, resumed base course. 0711 Formed disposition 7N, screening destroyers took station on circle 8. 0752 Formation turned to course 100 deg T. E. R. SCHWASS Lt(jg) USNR.
08-12 Steaming as before. 0814 Formation changed course to 250 deg T. 0847 Changed course to lOO deg T. 0903 Changed course to 250 deg T. 0936 Commenced zigzagging according to plan #6. 1002 Large group of enemy aircraft reported approaching formation from direction 260 deg T, range 139 m;Ues. 1011 Fonned anti-aircraft disposition 7V. FULLAM took station on circle 6 between NEW ORLEANS and SAN FRANCISCO. 1028 Formation turned to course 100 deg T. 1032 Changed speed to 22 knots. 1048 Commenced maneuvering to evade large scale attack by enemy dive-bombers. Commenced firing with all batteries on numerous aircraft targets. 1103 Ceased firing; enemy aircraft driven off or shot down. 1lll Formation again attacked by enemy dive bombers; commenced firing with all batteries. 1130 Ceased firing, raid repulsed with several enemy aircraft observed destroyed. 1146 Changed speed to 23 knots. 1155 Formation under attack by enemy torpedo bombers; commenced firing With a11 batteries. 1200 Ceased firing; attack repulsed. E. R. SCHWASS Lt(jg) USNR.
12-16 Steaming as before. 1209 Formation under attack of another group of enemy torpedo bombers; commenced firing with all batteries. 1212 FULLMJ destroyed enemy torpedo bomber off port quarter 1215 Ceased firing; attack repulsed. 1231 Formation changed course to 150° T, changed speed to 21 knots. 1235 Formation turned to course 130 deg T. 1252 Formation turned to course 090 deg T, changed speed to 22 knots. 1320 Formation turned to course 110 deg T. 1335 Large formation of enemy aircraft reported approaching from west. 1338 Commenced maneuvering by turns to various courses. 1358 Turned to course 080 T. 1405 Turned to course 06O T. 1415 Enemy planes attacking adjacent formation. 1430 Commenced maneuvering by turns to various courses. 1526 Formation turned to course 330 deg T. E.R. SCHWASS Lt(jg) USNR.
16-18 Steaming as before. 1626 Formation turned to course 310 T., 1650 Formation turned to course l00 deg T, changed speed to 18 knots. 1658 Total ammunition expended during day: 1424 rounds 4Omm; 1470 rounds 20mm; 204 rounds 5"/38. 1712 Formation turned to course 300 T, changed speed to 18 knots. 1734 Formation half-masted colors in honor of men killed in days action. 1735 Formation turned to course 270 T. 1757 Changed speed to 21 knots. E. R. SCHWASS LT(jg) USNR.
18-20 Steaming as before. 1806 Formation turned to course 090 T, changed speed to 17 knots. 1824 Two blocked colors. 1825 Formation turned to course 270 T. 1850 Changed speed to 15 knots. 1856 Sunset, darkened..ship. 1858 Formation turned to course 240° T. 1901 Formation turned to course 120 T, changed speed to 22 knots. 1952 Formation turned to course 240 T. 1954 Set modified condition of readiness I, modified material condition Afirm. 1955 C hanged speed to 20 knots. E. R. SCHWASS Lt(jg) UsNR.
20-24 Steaming as before, 2000 Formation turned to course 270 T. 2009 Formation turned to course 300 T, changed speed to 17 knots. 2017 Formation turned to course 240 T, changed speed to 18 knots. 2020 Formation Turned to course 220 T. 2030 Changed speed to 21 knots. 2031 Formation turned to coursee 270 T. 2039 Formation commenced zigzagging according to plan #6. 2151 Ceased zigzagging, resumed base course 2203 Formation turned to course 260 T, changed, speed to 23 knots E. R. SCHWASS Lt(jg) USNR.
Examined: Approved: W.D. KEILY, Comdr, USN Navigator: F. D. BROOKE, Lieut. USNR
To be forwarded direct to the Commander In Chief. U. S. Fleet, either at end of an operation or at the end of the calendar month.
Here's wishing you all a pleasant, healthy, and safe summer. Think about some characters and GQ stations!
Your old shipmate,