NEWS LETTER PAGE
Volumn 12 Number 1 JULY 2000
U.S.S. Terry DD513 Eleventh Reunion
Yes, there will be an Eleventh Reunion and it will be held in
Burlington Vermont, at the same Holiday Inn as in 1997. And Horner
Hurlburt and wife Marguerite will host this one as well. The dates
of the reunion are October 11 - 15, 2000. So, put on your warm
clothes, gather up all the relatives and friends you can manage,
and make this a great occasion. Since our ranks are thinning out
year by year, we need more family members to join in the fun.
By now, you may have already received the information and sign-up
sheet from Homer. However, on the sheet, he failed to mention that
there is an extra charge of $5.75 per day for breakfast for
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, which is $16.25. This amount should
be added to your check when you sign up. Hope we can get a good
showing at this reunion, in spite of our shrinking ranks.
U.S.S. Terry DD513 Tenth Reunion
The Tenth Reunion, hosted by Sig and Lillian Vajda, took place at
the Welk Resort in Branson Missouri, from September 10 to September
15, 1999, the last reunion of the 20th Century. Branson is located
in the very scenic Ozark Mountains, and has been carved out in the
form of a brassy-glittery entertainment complex, not unlike Pigeon
Forge TN. However, the shows are a cut above what one would expect
from the "tinsel-town" exterior. During the course of the reunion,
we were entertained by the Welk crew, the electrified performances
in the Soji Taguchi Show, a dinner cruise and show on the Branson
Belle Showboat, and the Shepherd of the Hills outdoor theater
performance. It was a great time for all. This was a unique and
quite different reunion from our past ones.
According to the photograph data, the reunion was attended by 40
persons, which included 17 shipmates; and the remainder were spouses
and other relatives and friends. The shipmates were Finley Amos,
Henderson Caudill, James Hawkeswood, Homer Hurlburt, Harold Jaynes,
Gordon Keck, Gordon Lawman, Bill McDaniel, Bill McMahon, James
Northington, Albert Oakes, Oren Sateren, Bob Simons, Ed Strakna,
Roger Stubbendick, Sig Vajda, and Richard VanOort. Al Oakes was
accompanied by his brother Charlie Oakes.
Ladies present were Marie McMahon, Phoebe Tote, Frances Amos,
Janice Amos, Connie Amos Surosky, Roberta Northington, Marguerite
Hurlburt, Betty Simons, Ruth Lawman, Kathleen Krotz, Judy Vajda,
Vemetta VanOort, Betty Hawkswood, Marlys Sateren, Lillian Vajda,
Betty Keck, Christine Strvikna, Mary Beth Biscanin, Darlene
Stubbendick, Karen Bartholomew, and Ruby Jaynes.
It was a pleasure to meet some persons whom we had not seen for
a long time, namely, Mary Beth Biscanin, widow of our late shipmate
Joe, as well as shipmates Jim Hawkeswood, and Harold Jaynes, who
had attended some of our early reunions.and Oren and Marlys Sateren,
attending their first reunion.
Fred William Berry, whom we called "Bill", died in March 1999, I
learned in a letter from his wife, Glenis. Glenis and Bill who
resided in Woolwich ME, had been at our 1997 reunion in Burlington
VT. Bill was a Sonarman aboard the USS TERRY, and we worked many
watches together. Our condolences go out to wife Glenis and family.
Incidentally, he was the only crew member who helped build the
TERRY as a shipyard worker in Bath ME, and then served aboard her.
Dottie Baumer wrote us on February 12 of this year that her husband,
All had died on 21 January 2000. Alexander "Al" Baumer was one of
the "lucky five" crewmen, who had been transferred to the
TERRY from the USS SPENCE, which was sunk in a hurricane with most
of her crew in 1944. Al and Dottie attended most of our recent
reunions, except for the last one, when Al was too ill to travel.
We shall miss him and extend our condolences to Dottie.
A letter from ex-shipmate Bob Keelan stated that Gerald "Jerry"
Grove died in July 1999. Jerry had attended our Baton Rouge reunion.
Both Bob and Jerry lived in Milwaukee, about 2 miles Apart, and were
good friends. At the reunion, Jerry was wheelchair-bound much of
the time, but showed a lot of spunk. His wife Dottie survives him.
My impressions of First TERRY Skipper, George Richardson Phelan
By Ed Strakna
When I arrived at the Charleston Navy Yard, as a Sonarman 3/c fresh
from the Fleet Sound School in Key West Florida, I was gung-ho,
despite the inconveniences at the receiving station, where I had to
sleep on springs since our bedding failed to keep up with us. Yes,
I was all ready to depth charge all the enemy subs lurking off our
coasts. At the school, they pumped up our egos, telling us how
important we were to the war effort. They painted a picture of
fighting ships manned by well trained officers and men, headed by
top-ranking command personnel. A few weeks aboard the TERRY altered
this idealistic picture, We sea-going neophytes came to realize that
human beings are the same, regardless of rank or station.
I began my first watch on the sonar gear at the time we were having
our first sea trials outside of Boston Harbor. When I took over
watch, I heard such loud yelling, screaming, and cursing. It struck
me at the time that some Chief Boatswain's Mate was chewing out a deck
hand somewhere on the deck. I asked quartermaster Bastian, who was
sitting at the plotting table, what was the yelling about. Vince told
me it was the captain. I had seen Captain Phelan only once before,
when we were lined up at the ship's christening, when he was in full
dress regalia. There was some scurrying and flurrying on the bridge,
and out came the executive officer Whaley, followed soon after by
another officer, and then a third. The yelling and cursing continued.
It seemed that every other phrase was "goddamn it, goddamn it! My
curiosity got the best of me when it was time for my half-hour off,
and I peeked into the pilot room and spied a skinny man with sunken
cheeks and sallow skin hopping around with a lit cigarette in his
mouth, scratching his butt, tweaking his moustache and cursing a storm,
all at the same time. I ducked back least it gave him cause to loose
a tirade in my direction.
A couple days later, we were headed out to sea for more tests. There
was some firing practice that somehow did not go well with the captain,
and he was yelling out to gun crews, and berating his junior officers
at the same time. Apparently, something went wrong, and the yelling and
cursing started again. In fact, the captains's voice reached a high
treble pitch, falsetto-like, I heard him tell the exec that if there
had been a Japanese cruiser on the horizon, he would have only 2 minutes
before getting sunk. There is not enough of room to relate what went on
during our shakedown to Guantanamo Bay Cuba, and the "Rum stop" in Puerto
At first, I could not come to any other conclusion than that our
commander was a madman, and many of us could have agreed at that
time. Our opinions changed, however, as we braved the stormy weather
and the submarine hunts in the Atlantic. But it was especially after
going into the Pacific War Theater that we appreciated his ability to
handle the ship and to do the right thing at the right time. And,
while George Phelan was our skipper, we did our job and we all
survived. One could not ask for more than that!
George Phelan was a hard-driving, hard-drinking old-time sea dog,
who sobered up with massive consumption of black coffee and cigarettes.
He was impatient with subordinates, it's true, and some of the junior
officers, were uncomfortable under his thumb, to say the least. He
died in 1975 at the age of 73, which was pretty good for a drinking,
smoking "Type A" personality..
This has been a tough year for me, making it difficult to concentrate
on such matters as this newsletter. However, if I start going into
details, I could write 20 pages of kvetching and still have more to
write. So all I can say, is even if you do your best, with respect to
health and finances, if those around you do not, the results can be
devastating after illness and death. But in spite of gross
interference from unplanned crises, one still has to live and not
let things got the best of one. A home has to be cared for, a lawn
has to be cut, repairs have to be made, with limited time, energy
DESRON 45 Web Page
Bob Ross Sr. - RMCS-USN-RET, has set up a web page for Destroyer
Squadron 45, that includes a site for the USS TERRY DD-513, at
http://bobrsr.com. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
0ur 2000 dues of $10.00 per family are due right now. Please send
M Richard Strauss
101 Garrison Forest Road
Owings Mills MD 21117
The Terry Clock is a pulbication intended for the information of USS
TERRY shipmates, their families and the survivors of TERRY personnel.
Ed Strakna is the Editor.
Please send all items and suggestions to:
Edwein R. Strakna
4957 Reedy Brook Lane
Columbia MD 21044-1514
Phone: 1-410-997-3776 & 1-301-596-6020