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 ..


Ussocallahan.org . (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  beachbumtrolley.com

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

REUNION UPDATES (notes)

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 (destroyers.org) 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.

THE REGISTRATION FLYER

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 !

Thursday, June 08, 2017

LATEST PRINTABLE NEWSLETTER 6-2017

Please print and mail to a shipmate !
CLICK THIS LINK TO READ or DOWNLOAD for printing

Here is an added note about the reunion from our DEar FF Leader (Mike Goodwin) ...
"We have an Irish Pub booked for our 
"Passing of the Shire" Plaque. 

The place is Molly Maguires Restaurant & Pub. We will be in a private room on the third floor with a cash bar, two bathrooms and an outside deck area. They are very excited to have us there and looking forward to sponsoring the Plaque. They also are waving the room fees for us. Plus she wants to have there media guy there to take pictures and post on there Web site.
The day will be the 22nd, Tuesday, at Five.
This should be a really Awesome time for all of us !!!! 
You can check the place out at www.mollymaguirespubs.com"

DEar Leader  (Mike Goodwin)

Thursday, April 13, 2017

REUNION 2017 - AUGUST heads up

WE are piggybacking our reunion with the TIN CAN SAILORS (www.destroyers.org).  Make your plans through them.  Those of us who arrive a day or two early will hold some meetings and meals to talk over IRISH SONG business and there will be independent time in the course of the TIN CAN SAILORS meals and tours to meet some more.  THIS SOLVES so many logistical problems of challenging our membership to make all the arrangements and keep records for all the reunion attendees and the logistics.

NOTE-  you do NOT have to be a TIN CAN SAILOR member to sign up for this. But it is a GREAT newspaper and organization at only about $35/year.

HERE IS THE PDF with registration INFO -- 
AUG 20-24 - Valley Forge, PA

HERE IS OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER 6/2017
in a PDF format you can print out

Share this blog post with any shipmates you know by email or print it out and share it. Thanks.

Information packets will not be ready until April. If you would like to be put on the mailing list, please call the office at 1-800-223-5535 or email monica@destroyers.org and we will mail one when they are complete. Come join in the fun!

Friday, March 10, 2017

AGENT ORANGE RESOURCES

All of our AGENT ORANGE resources for presenting the VA with documentation are located at the following link.....................  (you can always get to this BLOG by LATEST NEWS link on our website at ussocallahan dot org.)

AO RECORDS ON FILE at WEB CLOUD for USS OCALLAHAN
Additional Location of MORE resources ......


PRIOR POST. ..............................

Agent Orange - blue water navy

Recently - there is a greater interest in assigning AO claims to the BLUE WATER Navy. We have some sailors who could use the VA help given their current conditions.  Here are some LINKS to help you sort out your exposure for  claims.  Several of our crew are now on the list for VA health benefits, having had some help from the documents and links provided.

ACTION REPORT 1
ACTION REPORT 2
ACTION REPORT 3
ACTION REPORT 4

DECK LOGS 72-3
DECK LOGS 70
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE - VIDEO

LETTER of EXPLANATION (Veteran support letter)
BLUE WATER AWARENESS for AO (offered by USS Bainbridge's Mike Yates

Agent Orange claims ease
for shipboard sailors - 

There may be some USS O'Callahan sailors who served in these units as well. This link was contributed by Joseph Allen. One sailor had earlier asked if the deck log of O'Callahan might show of his temporary assignment to a PBR and shore activity that would verify his exposure to agent orange. I am not sure if those logs would show the unit assigned but the logs are housed in naval archives in Washington D.C.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Post Reunion 2016 - Report

Here is a LINK to the final report, including the financial report at the fund raiser follow up to clear off the books and bring us back to a modest stash for store stock and such.

FINAL REPORT
Post Reunion Fund Raiser

NOTES OF INTEREST from conversations:

In talking with Capt. Heidt ( former XO, LCdr.) it was explained that the yard time in Sasebo (which I think followed the January cease fire)  was NOT about a BENT shaft or sand from the ocean bottom gumming up the bearings or the screw.  Here is how it went down.

The ship was scheduled for yard time in Sasebo to take care of an unfinished sonar modification that happened in the yards in Long Beach early in 1972.  We had that done in the yards in short order. Maybe five days?  We then filled the dry dock back up and left in the evening. Not even out of the bay yet, the shaft and bearings began to misbehave.  XO went immediately to the engine room - to the shaft bearings where the EO showed him the problem. They opened a pit cock to see the bearings at work and sand and water were spewing out. XO called the CO and called for immediate shut down. A tug brought us back to Sasebo to the Dry-dock  in the dark.

We had to order a bearing to replace the bad one. This bearing had no access to the exterior of the ship so it had no possibility of ever being fouled by sand from the ocean bottom.  We ordered a bearing which took awhile and we had maybe another 10 plus days in Sasebo.  The engineers determined the bearing was OK so long as we were in water after the ?Feb '72 long beach yard time. Sand from SANDBLASTING the shaft had not been removed out of the shaft channel but had settled into place as long as it was dry from being sealed in.  With the RE-ENTRY To a dry-dock and then RE-FLOATING later with fresh bilge water, the sand was shifted into the bearings and RUINED them.  SO it was NOT from going in too close for NGFS - we were frequently within a mile of the coast and sometimes received mortar fire at that close range.  And the shaft was not replaced. It was just fine.

ANOTHER INTERESTING INSIGHT: The night of the closest counter-battery and taking a hit.  It all happened ---- as told from various points on  ship at the time --- and one round in particular came very close to the port side of the ship before exploding.  XO said he rushed down there right after the hit which the engine room reported. William Worthington was on watch there.  They tore back the insulation to the hull at the point of impact and noted a lot of push in points and fragment indentations from the inside point of view.  It was VERY CLOSE to a steam super heater unit.  Had it penetrated, Bill and all the engineering crew in that compartment would have become cooked sailors.
.................... Fran (Bill's wife) won a special painting by an artist friend of mine who used his marine artist skills and attention to detail to paint the moment in the engine room just after the hit.  It is titled: "The fraction of a second following the port side hit by enemy counterbattery when the lights flickered out in the engine room and before the watch could report the damage topside"  The Artist, Roy Allen is blind, so the scene is accurate for that fraction of a second. The canvas is of course, completey --- BLACK.  These are the kinds of scenes Roy can paint with accuracy.

There is another painting - TOPSIDE - "Making an NGFS run toward the beach on a moonless, cloudy night with no lights showing topside to avoid enemy detection, and three seconds before a splash off the starboard bow from incoming battery"  This painting was won by Martha Mazza, (wife of Gene), for telling one of the best stories of how old sailors make poor listeners. It was a story that followed one about "Blind Roy's" grandparents and the missing wife in the passenger seat after leaving church -- such that he wondered if the rapture had already happened and why was he still here because he was much more deserving to go ahead than she was".    Martha's story involved Gene driving off and leaving her at a gas station miles from nowhere with no phone ... as he drove on down the road -- talking to a non-existent passenger who was supposed to be asleep in the back seat.

ANOTHER CLARIFICATION from the Sea Tales:  There was a massive storm in the 80's and some of the younger shipmates were in this episode.  Apparently there was a huge gathering of the fleet and a photo op was coming up but also a storm.  USS O'Callahan was taking a pounding. Lost an antenna that folded over the bridge down to the ASROC.  The CO sent a crew out to cut away the antenna before it did any more damage. They were all tied together and to fixed positions on the ship.  A massive wave came over the bow at one point and at least two and maybe four sailors nearly washed overboard.  Some of the vets at the reunion remembered they actually LOST the sailors. It was clarified later that they did not lose them but it was a very close thing.   People remembered the event and recalled the team taking cover behind the ASROC - and then one or two running out on a line to chop on the antenna and then run back for the next wave. But one wave caught them out of sync and nearly washed them overboard. The key word is "NEARLY".  whew.  The CO at the time had some very choice words for the Admiral who did not release O'Callahan to seek a better track out of the storm's way.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

REUNION News Release - OCT 2016

News Release
USS O’Callahan DE-1051 Reunion
September 2013
Pensacola

Contact: Vic Campbell  850 994 6120 -- vic@buzzcreek.com

Veterans of USS O’Callahan will enjoy Pensacola for a reunion October 5-10 in Pensacola.  

USS O”Callahan was named for a recipient of the Medal of Honor in WWII, Fr. Joseph O’Callahan who was one of the chaplains aboard USS Franklin, which was bombed near the end of the war with a loss of over 800 dead. Fr. O’Callahan’s actions among the crew to organize and dispose of exploding ordnance on deck saved the lives of many sailors.  A film clip of him, and still photos of his giving last rites to a sailor on the deck of the Franklin is one of the most recognizable scenes of the Pacific War.  That sailor was interviewed by a USS O’Callahan shipmate and it exists on youtube. (Search me3tv, franklin). Yes, Bob Blanchard survived !

One of the key events for the reunion is to be a memorial service at Pensacola's Veteran’s Park at 10AM on October 7 (Friday).  The veterans will honor their namesake, Fr. O’Callahan and all the dead of the USS Franklin and the  more recent passing of fellow shipmates. The chaplain from NAS Pensacola and an honor guard will participate.  The O’Callahan veterans invite those who wish to honor the Chaplain Corps, the USS Franklin, the USS O’Callahan and the US Navy, our veterans and our Nation are welcome to join us at the ceremony. Following the ceremony everyone is welcome to celebrate with them at McGuire’s.

The vessel served in the the US Navy fleet from 1968 - 1988 and was decommissioned.  The hull was then leased to the Pakistan Navy for about five years after which it was scrapped.

In its history the ship made three Vietnam deployments where it served primarily as gunfire support for troops ashore.  In later years it was involved in many West Pac (and Rim Pac)  deployments and maritime activities in the service of American interests.  The veterans will be enjoying the Pensacola Naval Air Museum and other area attractions while staying at the Ashton, Inn on Navy Boulevard.  The group will be using Beach Bum Trolleys for transportation and tours and the crew welcomes any who wish pay tour and meal fees to join them. The ship’s website with more information is www.ussocallahan.org.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDN2FpPA99c


ocallahan seal-card2.jpg   Vietnam024.jpg

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The reunion is coming up in OCTOBER !  Please get your registrations in for the tours and be sure to call the hotel and get your rooms booked (no up front payment required). All the instructions are on the main page at www.ussocallahan.org.   Several have confirmed with checks the last week. We hope there will be more.  A couple of shipmates had to bow out due to health or work schedules. IF you pay up front for tours and have to bow out there will be a full refund. Also if you have paid already and a given day of trolley tours is cancelled out for low participation - or if your own plan changes - that will be refunded as well.

Just now - five or six shipmates will be going to MOBILE, AL to see the USS ALABAMA battleship on THURSDAY. They will go in private cars and people can carpool. I see no need to rent a car for that.  A shipmate in Mobile, DAVID JERNIGAN and his wife, Sally, will meet the group with a limo to tour you around to key sites and the ship before you all car pool back to Pensacola for the Banquet that night.  Actually some who are driving in from the West are going to stay in Mobile on Wed. Night and tour Mobile Thursday with this group. Sunday and the Dolphin Tour and beach worship service and picnic are a Trolley item also and we hope to have enough willing to do that. IF not that might get cancelled and pre paids will be refunded. That is of course yet to be seen.

Here is Sally Jernigan's tour ticket from USS ALABAMA the FIRST YEAR the museum opened. She was a student then and it was a school field trip.   
On FRIDAY  (after a brief city trolley tour) we will hold a 10 AM memorial and remembrance service at the Pensacola Veterans Memorial. Here is a DRONE view of that area.  At this service we hope to have several distinguished shipmates say some words followed by an address from Fr. McLaughlin of the US Naval Air Chapel. An honor guard of sailors will be present. After this, we will retire to McGuire's Irish Pub for lunch and bagpipes and green beer and a USS O'Callahan presentation to the pub to perpetuate the "legend of the USS O'Callahan".  

Monday, September 05, 2016

Collection of O'Callahan Archives

The FOLLOWING LINK will provide you with hours of entertainment to go back over some of the Archives pulled from the files of Vic Campbell.  Many of the documents are informative about the 1971-73 period (Including a ship brochure with a roster of officers)  but included are notes and rosters from past reunions. Shipmates MAY be able to locate each other this way.  There is no indication on these rosters whether shipmates are deceased or if they have moved. They are simply historical record. It may help jog your memory as you try to reconnect with some history.  Most of the files are PDF files - a standard document format for the web.

LINK TO ARCHIVES

I am posting this in advance of the Pensacola Reunion in October 2016.















Thursday, August 11, 2016

SHIP PRINTS - graphic by Bill Scroggins

Our shipmate, Bill Scroggins made up graphics of USS O'Callahan in both lamps and pre-lamps configuration and provided the files for you.  For a donation to the ship's fund - you can get a zip file downloaded to your computer. take those files to any good printer and you'll have a quality print to frame and put on your wall. Impress the Army guys.  The files were formerly on a "store" site called payloadz. It is no longer available to us because of costs.  I am now using GO Spaces. The zip file has both JPG and BMP file types. I think the BMP files are what you want the professional printer to use but they will all fit in about 12 megabytes. We will make the files easily available at the reunion as well.     I had the side view and the cutaway view mounted in a single frame - the outer hull version on the top. They are about 20 inches long but framed in kelley Green. AweSOME!

YOU CAN ORDER WITH A CREDIT CARD HERE.