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USS HUDSON DD475 SHIP BELL
Thanks to Steve Leonard for Bell photo
Read his email on this in Contributors
USS HUDSON DD475 BELL RETURNS "HOME" FOR CHRISTMAS
Adm Richard Rockwell Pratt, USN (Ret.), Hudson’s first exec and second CO, with Hudson’s bell found “under the tree,” Christmas 2004.
Dear Mr. Ross :
My name is John B. Pratt and I am the second of four sons of Richard Rockwell Pratt. I was fortunate enough to acquire the Hudson's bell in the
recent auction online. After making arrangements with the very gracious seller, Mr. Stephen Leonard, my wife Candice and I drove 15 hours from Jacksonville to South Miami
and back on Christmas Eve to have the bell presented to Dad on Christmas Day. We live very close to Mom and Dad and provide whatever care we can in these late years. Dad turned 90 in October and Mom is 88.
This was a complete surprise. Dad has trouble with his memory but he readily identified the bell. When I held out the 80-pound bell for him to ring he eagerly grabbed the rope and clanged vigorously, no doubt raising the attention of anyone nearby. I thought it fitting for the bell to retire with Dad. I will be acting as guardian and keeper and want all of the men of the Hudson that the bell is in good hands and will not be sold again but will remain in the Hudson's extended family.
Thank you for honoring Dad as you have in the past. I attended the plaque ceremony at the Navy memorial and was very moved by your tributes to him. Believe me when I say that he has been every bit as quality a father as he was a quality skipper.
John B. Pratt
... I have been hearing from other Navy Veteran's groups already expressing their delight at the story of the bell coming home to it's old skipper. And a TV station here in Jacksonville may be expressing interest as well.
Thank you for honoring these men and their histories. And especially thank you for your instrumental role in alerting Bob Ross of the eBay listing! Mr. Leonard, the previous owner was ecstatic that it was going to go full circle to a plank owner and skipper of the Hudson. So are we.
The pictures were taken Christmas morning but there is one of Dad
as a Midshipman, another in the late 1950's in the kaki uniform, the
retirement photo of him leaving the ceremony, and one with him awarding the Silver Star to his nephew, my cousin, Read Mecleary who had returned from Hanoi after being imprisoned for 6 years. Then there is the 1933 Naval Academy football team photo where he was starting quarterback for 3 years. He is on the top row, fourth from the right. He was also captain of the baseball team playing 3rd base.
The Naval heritage of my family goes back many generations and includes a former Chief of Naval Operations, William Veazie Pratt. He was CNO when Dad was a Plebe at Annapolis. You would think that it would be rather difficult to exist with the level of hazing that went on back then and I asked Dad about that. He just laughed and said that it was fortunate that he was an athlete and could eat at the training table where there was no hazing allowed! A brother, numerous cousins, uncles, and a grandfather were Annapolis graduates. Me? I served in the Air Force flying C-141 and KC-10 aircraft. A traitor, I guess. Now I am a captain with Continental Airlines flying the Boeing 777, based in Newark, N.J. My wife, Candice, is a flight attendant and we fly together frequently. In fact, should the emails stop after
tomorrow for a few days it is because we are both flying a flight
From: "John Pratt" firstname.lastname@example.org
To: "Bob Ross" email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Newspaper story
Date: Tuesday, December 28, 2004 11:11 PM
Hi Bob and Dave:
Today I received a call from an editor at the Jacksonville Times-Union. They want to do a photo op and story on Dad and the bell. It is set up for Monday, Jan 3 at 1000. The reporter and camerman will come to my home and we will go from there to the retirement community, which is gated. I'll have the bell in place for whatever poses they would like to have. I'll have biographical information for them and answer most of the questions, as Dad can't communicate too well anymore. Mom will be there and will be able to add much information as she is 100% lucid (sometimes more!).
Looking forward to sharing the story with you!