+13 Fullam Newsletter Winter 2001
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Northern Solomons - Bougainville - Bismarck Archipelago
Marianas - Western Caroline Islands - Iwo Jima - Okinawa

January 10, 2001

I sincerely hope that each of you had a great holiday season and
are now looking toward a happy, prosperous, and healthy New Year.
Judging by the many comments on the postcards I received, the latter 
would be most appreciated.

Speaking of the postcards, here is a report on the results. We had 124 
people On the roster to whom each was sent a self-addressed postcard. 
I received replies of either the postcard or a note from 94 of which 
only 5 indicated they no longer wished to receive the letter, notified 
of the death of 2, and 23 from whom I heard nothing.  Mike is preparing 
a new roster for inclusion in a future letter. I certainly want to thank 
each of you who took the time to reply and the many comments that you 
wrote on the cards.

Unfortunately, we lost three more shipmates since my last letter.
They are Ernest Weeks who died in 1997, Arnold Madsen in 1999, and 
Stewart Johnson who just passed away on December 14.  Stew and his
wife, Joyce, attended all but one of our reunions if I recall.  Like
all our FULLAM shipmates who have gone before, they will be missed.

Sigmund Migden advised that the history of the FULLAM was accepted
for publication in the "Tin Can Sailors" bulletin and may be in the
next issue. Sig did an excellent job on this and should be congratulated 
for his efforts.

According to the E-mails that I received, the Cape Cod mini-reunion
was a great success with much of the credit going to the DeSisto's
and their gracious hospitality.  It was held over the weekend of October 
27-29 and the motel facilities also got high marks.  Those attending 
were as follows:

Louis Bryda			Christine and Joe DeSisto
Bruno Cantamessa      		Irene and Roland Desmaris
Betty and John Crowther 	Clara and Pat Ferguson
Renee and Bill DeMarco 		Ena and John Glencross

John Glencross couldn't say enough about the brunch that the DeSisto's 
had for the group; he gave me the complete menu in his E-mail that
made my mouth water.  If you can fill John up, that is an event!
Since we did not hold a regular reunion this year, I want to give
you a report on the USS FULLAM REUNNION FUND which translated means
the monies that produce this epistle every three months.  Many of
you forwarded a donation as a result of the postcards I sent and
these are much appreciated.  

Here is the latest financial report:
Balance, 11/1/98                   $512.06
Donations, 11/1/98 to date -     $1,470.00
Printing and postage (7 letters)   -887.04
Envelopes                          -150.00
Military Research                     3.50
              Balance, 01/01/01   $ 941.52

I am trying to locate where I can obtain copies of the ship's logs
for the periods of time we are missing.  These are from March 2, 
1943,  through November 30, 1943,  and July 1, 1945,  through the 
end of the shipls commissioning.  I have the Administrative Log 
for the period of March 2, 1943, through November 30, 1943, but 
these are worthless.

When Wayne Watkins. returned his postcard, he asked about Jim Gibson, 
our Engineering Officer, and the time he was assaulted.  I wrote him 
that this occurred when we were at the Mare Island Navy Yard in July, 
1943, having the forward 20's replaced by the two twin 40's just 
below the bridge.  In my last letter I copied several vignettes that 
Jim Carey sent me a few years ago; among these was the following:

"The clatter and racket of the riveters together with the sparks, 
blue light and smoke of the welders made it seem more like some 
factory in Gary.  It was no factory.  It was the deck of the FULLAM 
which was covered with the cables and power lines for the civilian 
workers completing necessary repair and alterations.  They were all 
over the ship which was anchored across the bay from Frisco. It was 
late afternoon when the Chief emerged from officer's country and 
stuck his head into the ship's office.  He was agitated and intense.  
Did you see anyone go by he asked?  No.  He disappeared up the ladder.  
What's going on? The chief hadn't looked oraacted normal and his 
color was ashen.  The curious yeoman bounded up the ladder after the 
Chief and opened the door and put one foot on the deck. The other 
foot didn't follow as the yeoman found a lethal weapon thrust against 
his ribs and he was given to understand that his posterior would be 
greatly at risk if he didn't reverse course.  After some consideration 
and being the friendly type and concerned with the status of his 
posterior, the yeoman reversed course.  Some one had stabbed the young 
and popular engineering officer in the chest as he slept in his bunk.  
No one, including the many civilian workers could leave the ship. How 
could they be involved?  They would be plenty late getting home from 
work.  Imagine the comments when they arrived late.  What's your excuse 
this time?  Where did you stop today?  How many beers this time?  Of 
course! your meal is cold - what did you expect?  So who will 
investigate? The FBI or the Navy?  The FBI will enter the case only if 
it has jurisdiction to present for prosecution.  But the crime occurred 
aboard a naval vessel, and the Navy therefore has jurisdiction.

Will the Navy defer to the FBI?  
Was there an investigation?
What was the disposition?  Who knows?  
Where is it recorded?
And the bottom line - what will it be like sailing with a homicidal 

After all these years does anyone have the answers as to what really
happened? Was anyone apprehended and prosecuted?  If so, who was it?

If one of you has the straight dope let me know. I also received a
letter from Wayne from which I want to quote some portions:

"In 1947 I received orders to the Tsingtao Unit of the Joint Military 
Advisory Group CHINA. I proceeded unaccompanied to Tsingtao and 
relieved the xo of the Tsingtao Unit. I was pleasantly surprised to 
find that'Jim was in charge of what we would call a Class A school 
teaching engineering ratings.  He shortened my wait for housing by 
inviting me to stay at his home and I can assure you that his 
security measures surrounding his home were top of the line.  Thus 
I was able to have my wife join me and. we both lived with the Gibson 
family for about two weeks. Besides being an excellent department 
head he was also an excellent diplomat.

The next time I saw him was in 1956 in Washington, D.C. I remember him 
vividly because he was booked on a plane leaving that evening.  Against 
my warning to get to the plane on time, he and my wife told me we had 
plenty of time.  You guessed it, the plane was taking off when we 
arrived at the airport.

In 1961 I was ordered to the Great Lakes as XO, Recruit Training Command.  
Jim's son was there on duty with one of the Class A schools at the Naval 
Training Center Training Command. He looked exactly like his father - 
tall, lanky and handsome.  He was a Petty Officer 1st Class.

Jim Gibson never did speak to me about the incident in question as far 
as I can remember."

Here's a memory from Price King that perhaps others can also remember:

"Try as I may but it's hard to recall points of interest for comment. 
I did recall an incident on the fueling dock after our arrival at Adak.  
Some of the crew were passing a football back and forth when it bounced 
into the water.  

Does anyone recall who dove off the fantail to retrieve it?  The 
injection temperature of the water was cold -  30's if I recall 
correctly. Whoever it was was in a state of shock when they got him 
to sick bay."

Any body have an answer for this one? Or, would whoever did it even
admit to it?

Garrett Lynch recently wrote the following:

"Did you know that when the FULLAM was towed back to Pearl from the 
nuclear tests, it was towed in tandem with the USS HOWORTH? You may 
remember I met a man visiting the KIDD who was a crew member on the 
ATF-IOO.  When I mentioned that I was on the FULLAM, he said he 
remembered it well. He and several others had to go on board and rig 
the towing bridle and the ship was still hot with radiation. The 
BB USS NEW YORK was towed back in the same group by another tug at 
the same time."

Eddie Johnson also sent me a great memory but due to its length I'll
have to include it in my next letter; it's well worth waiting for.
Several weeks ago I had a pleasant suvprise when I received an 
E-mail from Phillip W. Gilbert who is the brother of "P.K.".  
Perhaps, you remember that "P.K." was in the Deck Division and a 
plankowner, I believe; "P.K." was killed by a drunken driver while 
crossing the street a few years after leaving the FULLAM and still 
in the Navy.  Believe it or not,  Phillip E-mailed the entire poem 
that Walt Bretzer penned about the ship and a big hit with the entire 
crew; now that was a real effort on Phillip's part. He says that he 
remembers very little of his older brother as he was very young when 
"P.K." was killed.

I am going to try something with this letter and that is to see how 
well a photograph will be duplicated;  I have never tried this before 
and if it works we can try more in the future. 

The photo was taken in San Francisco on the first night of liberty in 
October, 1944, after our return to the states; I was in the second 
group that had the 30-day leave we received. 

The shipmate on the left is Roger Gorman, Yeoman 2/c, and the one on 
the right is ME, Quartermaster 2/c. God, to be that young again!

Have a great 2001!

Your shipmate,
Paul "P.T." Beyer

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