+13 Fullam Newsletter Winter 1999
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December 1999

Happy New Year!

As I type this, it is the last day of 1999, or, the last day of the 1900's; simpler than getting involved in whether it's the start of a new "millennium" or not. Putting it another way, we can say that we have lived through 75-80% of this century which should be something to be grateful for.--

I got to wondering as to where we were on the nights of December 31, 1943, and December 31, 1944, so I checked the FULLAM logs. On the former we were "Anchored in berth 17, Port Purvis, Florida Island, in 23 fathoms of water with 75 fathoms of chain to the port anchor. BRAINE moored alongside to port, number 4 boiler and number 2 generator in use for auxiliary purposes. Ships present include various units of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and various harbor craft." on the latter we were "Moored starboard side to BENNETT in berth 20-X, Pearl Harbor, Oahu, T.H., with 6 manila lines, 3 parts each, in nest with HYMAN and YOSEMITE. Number 4 boiler and number 2 generator in use for auxiliary purposes. Ships present include various units of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Allied vessels, and small craft." I think the ship was in Bremerton on December 31, 1945, but I was already discharged and at home.

I have some good news and some bad news to report. The good news is that thanks to Tin Can Sailors and John Barton, respectively, we found two shipmates. One is Vincent DiMaio, former radarman, and the other is Homer "Whitey" Iredale, ship's cook - how could we ever forget "Whitey"? Their addresses are:
Vincent R. DiMaio 240 Connecticut Ave. West Haven, Ct. 06516
Homer Iredale 619 N.W. 90th St. Vancouver, Wa. 98660

The bad news to report is the loss of two shipmates. Dimaio advised that Louis Dion passed away in 1989, and, we learned that Walter Jarosz passed away in 1998. If any of you are aware of the death of other shipmates, please let me know so that I can pass this information on.

I also have an address change for Leo Collins along with congratulations to he and his new bride on their marriage December 5. That's great, Leo, from one who's been there!
Leo Collins 13 Riding Club Rd. Troy, N.Y. 12180

Included in this letter, you will find a copy of an "Ode to the FULLAM" that Mike Plessl authored and had it printed with a picture of the ship. It is printed on a light tan cardboard that makes it very suitable for framing; mine is hanging alongside my other FULLAM mementoes and it really adds to them. He is most willing to send-one to any shipmate who so requests plus a small donation to help defray the mailing costs. Mike has dedicated his ode to one of our good shipmates, the late Frank Purdy.

In my last letter I quoted a memory from Garrett Lynch concerning his delivering a injured shipmate named Cressman to the PRESIDENT JACKSON while we were patrolling off Empress Augusta Bay. I looked over the log and here follows this occurrence as reported:

UNITED STATES SHIP USS FULLAM DD474 Tuesday 28 December 1943
Zone description -11
Position 0800 1200 2000
Lat. 06-19.5 S -- 07-27.8 S
Long. 155-01.1 E -- 155-19.1 E

Administrative and

Steaming as before in base course with Task Unit 32.4-3, guide and OTC in PRESIDENT JACKSON. In standard cruising disposition; FULLAM in station 4000; base course 313deg T, base speed 14 knots; zizzagging in accordance with plan 39Z. 0349 ceased zigzagging and resumed base course.
/s/ F. D. BROOKE, Lieut., USNR

Steaming as before on base course 313deg T. base speed 14 knots. 0400 changed base course and fleet axis to OOOdeg T. Fullam took station 1.000. 0435 passed through point "Uncle", changed base course and fleet axis to 025deg T. 0500 all hands to general quarters, set material condition Afirm. 0600 changed speed to 15 knots. 0628 changed base course and fleet axis to 0300deg T. 0650 commenced patrolling on various courses at 5 knots to seaward of transport area. 0657 secured from general quarters, -- set condition of readiness II and condition Baker. 0740 CRESSMAN, Rhue Westley, 805 50 66, S1c, V6 SV, USNR transferred with records and accounts to PRESIDENT JACKSON for treatment as a result of injuries sustained 0615 this date, having been struck by barrel of number three 5" gun as it was depressed for removal of muzzle cover. Diagnosis - fracture and mutilation of the lumbar spine.
/s/ B. D. COLEMAN, Lieut., USNR.

Also, as a result of Garrett's memory, I received a poignant letter from Charley Jones. I wrote Charley asking if I could include it in this letter; receiving no response, I hopefully assume it was alright so here follows Charley's letter:

"The last news letter really brought back old memories. The story that Garrett Lynch told was very interesting and detailed. The reason it brought memories is because I caused the accident. Garrett couldn't have known how the accident happened because he wasn't there at the time it actually happened.

We were called to GQ. My battle station was in the #3 5-inch gun as pointer. My job was to get into my seat and lower the barrel as quickly as possible. Just as I started lowering the barrel so the muzzle cover could be taken off, Cressman walked under the barrel and broke his back. Someone yelled at me inside the gun and told me what happened. I jumped out of the gun and told Cressman that I couldn't see him at all and that I was very sorry. He replied, 'Chuck, it wasn't your fault. I wasn't looking when I passed under the gun and it hit my shoulder'.

When they finally took him away with a large lump on his back, I went to the side of the ship and threw-up my last meal overboard. It may not have been my fault, but I sure felt responsible.

Paul, if you ever hear how he turned out, I would be interested to know about it. I have never heard from or seen him since the accident."

If by any chance any of you have heard what eventually happened to Cressman, please let Charley or me know. It was certainly one of those wartime accidents that could have happened to any one of us.

Now for Baton Rouge and a mini-reunion in 2000! I contacted the Holiday Inn South (where we stayed in '94) and have some information regarding rates and the best time. The best rates, $59-63 per night, are available on weekends, and the best weekend next April is the 28-30. The weekend just prior is Easter and the weekends before that are already booked; they do have plenty of space available so far for the 28-30 period. Anyway, let me know your thoughts on this and, if OK, we'll see you then; it's up to those attending to make their own reservation with the motel. Their number is 225-924-7021. I sure would like to see a good number of you.

Meanwhile have a great 2000!

Your shipmate,
Paul "P.T." Beyer

P.S. I received a machine for Christmas that I can use to send and receive E-mail; nothing else like internet. I have been in contact with several shipmates so it really works great.
Anyway my E-mail address is:

Hope to hear from you!

Ode to the FULLAM
God! We were young; and also quite dumb
Seventeen, eighteen, a few twentyone
Eighty young Sailors in Peacoats and Dress Blues
Huddling alone, rembering our cues.

Salute aft to the Colors, then the OD
Stop at the Quarterdeck and proudly do say
"Reporting aboard, Sir; how long can we stay"
"On this our TIN CAN, Sir!, the best one at sea."

Thirty five months we cruised the Pacific
A few days were fine; most others horrific
The Solomons first, then up thru the line
To Bloody Okinawa, the worst of its kind.

Seven campaigns all blended together
Often we wondered, could we have done better,
In late '45, at age twentyone
I tried to remember why this had begun.
Fifty some years have flown by so fast
Where did they go, is all I can ask.
We who came back have much to be proud
But why does it hurt so, for crying out loud!

Some of us aged, others did not
For they were our Shipmates left there to rot
The oceans are calm now for those that were lost
But we of the Fullam shed tears at the cost.

The Fullam! The Fullam! Proud Ship of the Line
No longer afloat this Destroyer so fine
Sent to the bottom after doing its Duty
In War and in Peace; this Ship of great beauty.

By Mike Plessl, RM2c, USN (1942-1949)

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