Thursday, April 12, 2018

Military Chaplains receive our Challenge Coin

Irish Blessings are always in demand.   These chaplains are part of a fine tradition in our military.  

Dobson receives coin
Matt Dobson is an Army Reserve Chaplain who is also a minister and counselor at prisons. He is also a marathon champion runner and coach.  His annual "Coon Hill 5K" run raises local funds to help maintain and repair damages to our local (to Vic Campbell) heritage cemetery.   We know his coin will get a lot of activity as he takes time to pray with and for veterans and others that need a little grace.

Kissinger reflecting on the coin
Col. H. Philip Kissinger (PhD) is a veteran of Vietnam and a regular counselor and visitor to support Veterans in the VA homes.  He was involved in heavy combat with his unit in Vietnam and has many memories that are difficult himself.  In his mission to visit with veterans in the homes in PA and NJ, he has many opportunities to bring out our challenge coin in a prayer for peace and grace. 

His nephew is a friend from association with the USS Houston survivors organization. Sean Frey made a scale model of that ship from scratch.   Resources about the USS Houston.

He has become a regular assistant to his uncle in visits to the VA homes. Here is another recipient of our coin. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Promoting the Irish Blessings

blow up to read the card
Last year one of the volunteers at the Tin Can Sailor (Destroyer Veterans) annual meeting (and our own Irish Song Reunion), Paula Botelho, became enamored with the story of Fr. O'Callahan and the USS Franklin and our association.  She has since become an ambassador of the IRISH BLESSING in MA and RI where she volunteers with community service projects.  Often she will tell the story of Fr. O'Callahan and give out some facsimiles of our ship's seal with the instructions to say a prayer for a veteran and receive an Irish Blessing in return. 

This week I received in the mail some cookies and a shamrock dish towel from Paula in gratitude for her new-found enjoyment of passing along the story and the blessings.   Well, blessings must revolve so, I am sending her some of our prints and more sticky seals to share with special people.   At this year's reunion in Boston, I hope she and others from the DESVETS organization (big write-up on us last year) are able to share in the transfer of the seal for the next host pub. (Boston is HQ for DESVETS).

I think she meant for all of us to enjoy the cookies - so I will let you all know how they taste!  "Really good" ...  so .... that is something you can enjoy --- my report.   THANK YOU, PAULA ! 

prints and coins available from our ship's store - at .
(shown are the 11x14 prints and post cards)

Sunday, January 21, 2018


NEWSLETTER- Boston Reunion Info and more     to help you PLAN AHEAD for the JULY 11-15 BOSTON 50th ANNIVERSARY Gathering. The newsletter will be mailed to those who do not use internet resources. UPDATES to the newsletter will be found at the NEWS link on our main page.

It was a fun and productive reunion in Valley Forge. There will be news and photos from that and more in upcoming NEWS..

2017  SHIP's STORE - memberships
(these are in the ship's store)

An Irish Blessing - our ship's seal is now finding its way into use as a talisman to encourage a prayer for a veteran - and with it the gift of an "IRISH BLESSING" by association with Fr. O'Callahan. 


Thursday, November 16, 2017


Bill Raymond manages the ship's store.  We want to let you know there are plenty of great items in there. We talked about selling outside the organization since it is a fund raiser after all.

There may be an appeal for some of our items on EBAY. But if placed on ebay - THOSE prices will be set at least fifty percent more than they are for a  shipmates.  


Add an extra $5 to cover shipping and more if you'd like to add to the ship's funds. (or extend your membership)
Send your check made out to William Raymond.
Include clearly printed Name and Address for shipment to you. Include your email in case of questions or if stock is out.

William Raymond -
4706 Poppywood Cr.  
Killeen, TX 76542

At one point had several arrangements so that if you purchase a certain amount it will include your membership paid up for the next "x" period. Like for  $200 order you would get 5 years paid up membership as well ( a bonus)  .  Ask Bill.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

Andy Anderson - Shipmate - Pearl Harbor

DEC 6, 1941, Pearl Harbor
A conversation with Andy Anderson

Andy says there was a band competition that night at the “Block” building and the USS Arizona Band won it. As the bands started up a jitterbug competition, a little ten year old girl, “Joedy” got up front and they called for a dance partner.  A sailor by the name of Evans, from USS Tennessee took up the offer and danced with her.

The next morning, seaman Evans was in the top crow’s nest of the Tennessee on watch.

Andy Andrews (also age 10), who lived on the same street as Joedy, had an uneventful evening, but years later is telling me about meeting Joedy, and retired Captain Evans, and his friend Stu Hedley, who was in the USS West Virginia the next morning.

Meanwhile Ray Chavez, (now age 106) early that December 7, about 0350, noted in the logbook of the USS Condor (AN14) (a brand new coastal minesweeper) that a periscope was sighted outside of Pearl Harbor. The Condor was coming into port after a night of patrol. An old WWI destroyer was underway out of Pearl Harbor and manned by a reservist crew. The USS Ward was notified of the periscope but it could not locate it.  A bit later, An old supply ship, USS Antares, returning in the early hours, having been out to tow targets, observed a periscope and conning tower in its wake -- trying to sneak into the harbor.

The Ward was again notified.  This time, the Ward found the submarine with its conning tower exposed. The forward mount fired and missed, having been close and the round passed over the submarine. The next round would  come from the after 5” mount. The gunner there aimed but waited for ship motion to lay the hull over toward the water so he could depress the gun enough. That round was fired and hit the submarine below the conning tower. It blew up and sank.

According to Andy that is the sub found off Honolulu some 20 years ago.  It had drifted deep and to the East from the entrance to Pearl Harbor because of thermal currents.  The gun that fired that round is displayed at a reserve center in Wisconsin.

Then comes the attack.

Seaman Evans finds himself in an impossible position atop the USS Tennessee, inboard to the USS West Virginia. From his position, unable to come below because of fires and bombs, he viewed the entire Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor.  His friend Stu, in the West Virginia was able to crawl out from below decks of the ship and get into the water before the ship sank there.Andy, the ten year old, was living in Navy Housing about a five minute walk from the front gate of the base.Joedy lived nearby.  That Sunday Morning became a horrific memory of explosions, attacking aircraft and more. His dad was on a ship in the harbor (and survived).  

So --- I called Andy today to fill him in on our recent ship reunion at Valley Forge ( .  In the past, I have written about Andy and his Pearl Harbor experience. There are now about 14 Pearl Harbor survivors remaining, among them Captain Evans, Stu Hedley and Ray Chavez. Captain Evans, at the last meeting of Pearl Harbor Survivors in San Diego, was unhappy that the State of California took away his driver’s license (he is 100 now).  The survivors now include “The Children Survivors of Pearl Harbor” of which, Andy and Joedy are members. Andy said there are about ten of them at this point. Andy is 86 now.

Andy went on to a Navy career. He served in 9 ships with 18 years at sea and having changed ratings four times and serving in six conflicts (Korea and Vietnam of course). He now has over thirty years of service as a volunteer with the Coast Guard, doing harbor patrols and other tasks a few days a week.

Meanwhile,  Having discovered Joedy lived on his street in that critical time, he learned she also went to his same school and found a photo in which they are in a group, separated by only four other faces.  Joedy expressed that she always wanted to find that sailor she danced with and now she has. HE is Captain Evans, USN retired. They have lunch with the group on a regular basis now.

I may have to fly out to California to interview Andy. I’ve recorded him before - at some of our ship reunions. Some of the better stories got lost in my computer somehow but I hope to recreate them or find them one day. Andy was also present for the “second attack on Pearl Harbor” in 1968, when his ship (My future ship in 1971) was attacked by movie making Japanese Zeroes for the  film “Tora,Tora,Tora”.

Sometimes, a phone call to a shipmate from the Navy is unbelievably loaded with truth that puts fiction to shame. …..  Thanks, Andy for a great visit on the phone today.  He missed our reunion in Valley Forge this year because he was at his annual service week to keep up the old Destroyer Escort USS Slater, in Buffalo, NY. Maybe next year we can have him with us again.

Andy Explaining to a contractor in the historic area of Boston
-- “How to Paint - the Navy Way”. 2009.


Did you read some of the LINKS in the above story? This is from the Page about the gun mount on display in Wisconsin. ....
"As the Pacific War moved closer to Japan, Ward was assigned to assist with operations to recover the Philippine Islands. On 17 October 1944, she put troops ashore on Dinagat Island during the opening phase of the Leyte invasion. After spending the rest of October and November escorting ships to and from Leyte, in early December Ward transported Army personnel during the landings at Ormoc Bay, Leyte. On the morning of 7 December 1944, three years to the day after her Number Three Gun fired the opening shot of the War, she was patrolling off the invasion area when she came under attack by several Japanese aircraft. One bomber made a suicide crash into her hull amidships, bringing the ship to a stop. When the resulting fires could not be controlled, Ward's crew was ordered to abandon ship and she was sunk by gunfire from USS O'Brien (DD-725), whose Commanding Officer, William W. Outerbridge, had been in command of Ward during her action off Pearl Harbor three years before."

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Molly Maguire's Takes the Helm

This is the night the Tin Can Sailors staff helped us present our plaque to Molly Maguire's. The brass in the plaque is from melted down shell Casings that were fired in combat.
We hope to have more photos from this event later.




Declan ,
cc - Tin Can Sailors, USS O'Callahan team, I.C. Smith

Our shipmates send a sincere THANK YOU
for the wonderful evening at your pub. Molly Maguire's

including the events with TIN CAN SAILORS
BIG NEWS ARTICLE on the transfer of the Plaque / Blessings

Some of your shipmates enjoy memberships and the news magazines from DESVETS
which is TIN CAN SAILORS.  HERE is how you can join - and enjoy the great reading and more.
We hope to use their umbrella for future reunions when possible.
 It removes ALL the work and leaves ALL the fun and more.

The TIN CAN SAILORS annual meeting gave our little ship a chance to spread some Irish Cheer and enjoy much in return.  I am sending you some of the ship crests on notepads and sticky notes (Irish Blessings) so you can have ways to extend the message.

We hope to send you the extension plaque for our host pubs soon.  Yours is only the second in what will be a long tradition, I am sure. McGuire's in Pensacola was the first gracious host where our tradition began in 2016.

"Place your hand on the plaque and say a prayer for a veteran. You will receive an Irish Blessing by association with Fr. Joseph O'Callahan (MOH)."  (we encourage a prayer for anyone ... especially first responders, health care workers, and of course friends and family)

And soon you can give them a small reminder of the blessing -- with the small note sheets.

Have fun with them and thank you again for hosting our official Ship's Plaque . We feel our ship and namesake are in an honored place at Molly Maguire's.  It means a lot to us and it honors Fr. O'Callahan.

If you have any video or digital photos from the evening you can share with us, we would love to put them in our ship's news pages online and our facebook pages. (

I believe the TIN CAN SAILORS ( also captured many photos which we will encourage to be shared with you (and us)  as well.  You are welcome to whatever photos we managed to acquire that night. IT was a tremendous evening for us and for some - quite meaningful.  

Thank you TIN CAN SAILORS and I.C. Smith too for giving us the plaque that you found.

Vic Campbell  ---  -- In Country

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

The Transfer of The SEAL

Perry Hunter and Vic Campbell
A lunch at McGuire's in Pensacola, August 2 was organized to retrieve the USS O'Callahan plaque my shipmates placed there at our reunion in 2016. It will be transported to our new reunion in Valley Forge and hosted at Molly Maguire's, there for the next year. Those who touch the brass seal and say a prayer for a living or deceased veteran or active service member are blessed through Fr. Joseph O'Callahan, the namesake of our ship. 

This is a new tradition for us. The seal was donated to us by I.C. Smith, a veteran sailor who left the Navy (he was an FT)  in 1966. He found this plaque and several others at a flea market in Virginia that came by them from an estate sale. We do not know the origins other than that --- and that it was cast probably in Taiwan in the early 1970's from surplus brass shell casings left over from gunfire support missions off the coast of Vietnam. I was given one myself from a second (or third) casting during the third Vietnam deployment for the ship.  What to do with this new plaque? We could auction it to a shipmate. We could give it to a museum? But ... We came up with the idea of a tradition.  

Nancy, Perry, Kathy, Aubrey

This "ship's seal" in brass was to  become an ambassador of good-will through Irish Pubs around America - to be hosted in towns where ever we hold our reunions. The host Pub will encourage admirers of the seal to touch it and say a prayer for living or deceased veteran or serving member of the military.  Before the next reunion, the seal is retrieved and brought to the next city - where the tradition is carried forward. 

Call sign  - "IRISH SONG"
In the picture above, We have the manager of McGuire's, Perry Hunter, holding a facsimile of his "Port-of-Call" Certificate from the IRISH SONG Association. Holding the plaque is Nancy Dandino who is the daughter of Bill Worthington, our shipmate in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She is a USO volunteer here in Pensacola while her husband is attached to the military here.  Kathy and Aubrey Penton are standing to the right and helped support our memorial service last year before the McGuire's plaque presentation. Kathy related a story of her dad in the Philippines in WWII and how he would  not talk about it or his wounds. This story came up as we discussed Fr. O'Callahan and USS Franklin off the Philippines in 1945, and that his sister ( a nun)  had just been released from imprisonment. Fr. Joe was to fly over to visit his sister after all these ordeals but the Franklin was called away in a rush to attack the
home islands of Japan. It was off Japan that the events occurred in which Fr. O'Callahan's actions led to the award of the Medal of Honor.  Years later, after his death, Sister Rose Marie O'Callahan Christened our ship when it was launched. 

I hope you are following the links in this post.  you will learn so much more than what you see in the picture.

Perry Hunter's dad, ( Perry is the manager of McGuire's), was a Blue Angel. But in combat over Vietnam,  his aircraft was shot up and it crashed on the deck of the Bon Homme Richard (although his squadron was flying from the Oriskany) and he died. The Oriskany is today an artificial reef and divers attraction in the Gulf near Pensacola.  Perry's dad's Blue Angel (F-8) was until recent years on display at the entrance to Pensacola Airport. The news article linked here honors that legacy. As do the actions every day in which Perry supports and encourages the spirit of the warriors at McGuire's. 

Nancy's dad, BT, Bill Worthington was working the boilers on watch one night off the coast of Vietnam while those of us above were taking the ship into harm's way to get close in gunfire support for our forces ashore. (Well, the Captain was taking us - we just followed orders but if given a choice - I would have suggested we go the OTHER way) . An  enemy shell "ALMOST" opened a hole in the ship very near to Bill's head.  A surprise, you can be sure.  Last year, I asked a blind friend to paint his vision of what Bill saw as the lights flickered out and you could peer into the black depths of Bill's pupils. Here is a photo of Roy Allen and some of his other works.  Here is a media collection of our ship at the time -- the gun missions start about halfway.

SO -- our tradition is off to a great start, thanks to Mr. I. C. Smith, McGuire's and our band of happy (or somewhat happy) shipmates.   The register board shown here has our FIRST PUB  listed as McGuire's for the 2016-17 year.

Our upcoming reunion is in Valley Forge, PA in tandem with the Annual Meeting of the Destroyer Sailors Organization (Tin Can Sailors). We invite other sailors at this meeting to join us at Molly Maguire's as we transition our seal to its next home. 

We have expressed our gratitude to Mr. Smith by providing him with one of our challenge coins and a certificate of Honorary Shipmate.  Anyone can order challenge coins from our ship's store. Get some to share with very special people who deserve a blessing or a dose of history. The flags on the  ship on the reverse side - are BRAVO and ZULU. In Navy code speak this means "WELL DONE". So, giving someone the challenge coin (a poker chip version) is a way of telling your friend - you appreciate their good work or something they have done .. . (there is a link to the ship's store). We are not sophisticated here You'll need to send a check. Coins are 2 for $10. I suggest a pocketful. 

The ship was decommissioned about 1988 and transferred to the Pakistani Navy as PNS Anslat. Members of the ANSLAT CREW (Pakistani's) often contribute to our stream of media, especially on facebook. After a few years of service it was returned to the USA and sold for scrap.  It was one of the last "STEAM" powered US warships.  Within ten years the "Oliver Hazard Perry Class" of FRIGATE (no longer called a Destroyer Escort) came to the fleet. These ran on  gas turbines (jet engines). All line ships except the nuclear fleet now use these efficient power plants. The age of steam is gone. 
Actually  - today - 2017 - Even the Perry Class is gone. Time moves onward.
FROM USS O'CALLAHAN  Supported by Save The Collards and WME3 Network

Thank you, Beach Bum Trollys

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


The 2017 REUNION in VALLEY FORGE is still accepting registrations.  Open the link and get to the instructions to order a registration packet or view the one online.  The staff at TIN CAN SAILORS ( is very helpul. AS OF JULY 18 we have SEVEN rooms reserved with our group. By teaming with Tin Can Sailors we get full benefits of the larger numbers and still get to sit together and group together on tours. We also have our own dinner planned at an Irish Pub to pass forward our Ship's Plaque for the next year's display.


HERE ARE SOME THINGS I learned by talking to MONICA today ... helpful stuff.

While we have low numbers for now - it is not a problem as TIN CAN SAILORS in total have met the room quota for the good rates. Only problem is later registrants MAY not get a room in the hotel we are in at those rates. For now there are some rooms left.

RIDES FROM THE AIRPORT - are managed by a couple of limo companies noted in the registration packet -- for about $29 each.  It is a hike. Some people are renting cars and that is not a bad idea either. Because most tours are now booked up (ask anyway) it is good to remember that those with rental or private cars in our group might take a few tour trips in the area with shipmates anyway.  There is a lot of flexibility -- and there are lots of touring opportunities in the area.

this from the information packet: (download here)
Hotel Shuttle: The hotel has a complimentary shuttle. It will take you anywhere within 5 miles of the hotel based on availability. Please call the hotel for more information.
Airport Transportation Options: The hotel does not have a complimentary shuttle to the airport. There are several companies that provide airport shuttle services. Moe's is a top contender.
Moe Taxi and Limousine - (484) 479-4758

If you have any issues arranging your transportation from the airport, please call us at (800) 2235.535.

OUR SHIPMATES will all be seated together where possible at the various event meals. We qualify for a FREE hospitality suite. We will simply stock it with our own snacks - drinks - etc. Late registrants may have to accept other seating at such events.
Obviously on tours we would group with our own shipmates. Most tours are now booked up so late registrants may need to depend on some personal or rental vehicle access for small group private touring. THE LAST thing Tin Can Sailors wants is to have to separate shipmates at the various events. It should feel like OUR PRIVATE REUNION except there are a bunch of other sailors at the hotel and at the meals.
WE ARE fortunate the burden of planning - getting deals - setting up meals and speakers and tours is OFF OUR BACKS for this reunion.  The 2018 TCS reunion will be in late Sept. in BUFFALO, NY.  I asked about next year's TCS reunion should we want to follow this path again. But is a decision we are not ready to make yet nor do we need to at this point.

2018 is 1051's 50TH Anniversary of commissioning. Some have mentioned a hope that Boston might be in the cards for that year's reunion. We also need discussion on coming back to the West Coast at some point.  It will be up for discussion online and at the meeting in August.
I will retrieve our ship's plaque from McGuire's in Pensacola in early August and bring it with me to transfer to MOLLY MAGUIRES near Valley Forge at our Tuesday dinner !