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.

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

Contact: Vic Campbell  850 994 6120 --

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

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   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.


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!


Thursday, July 28, 2016


We will have an extra day of tours available but this is a sample of  timelines for some of the tours. This one was set up for USS Gregory which is one week after our reunion in Pensacola.  You can see a little more detail in this. I will work with Beachbum Trolleys to get our page on their site up and visible for everyone.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Print and Fill out and Mail In
July 31 modified OCT 6 to PENSACOLA tours - NOT MOBILE

Here is what you are downloading to print

USS O’Callahan Reunion Schedule and Sign Up
Arrive October 5 - Tours Oct 6-9 -  Close and depart October 10
Be ready for All Tour Days to start at 8am Highlighted Items on Daily list are Included in Fee
Some days - evening meals are on your own. Fast Food and Fine Dining and tourist areas are plentiful. Some attending will have private cars for these nearby venues.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Download: USS OCallahan PRINT

Download: USS OCallahan PRINT


Here is the link to buy ($20) and download our ship's graphic files that you can have printed up for framing. They are amazing work by our shipmate - Bill Scroggins.

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Tentative Tour Plans for Pensacola

This plan is not yet FINAL. It does give an idea of the activities for the week in OCT.  When ironed out - there will be a registration form with payment instructions. Some big pluses - - the Hotel does NOT require advance payment but registration is encouraged. Our hotel provides a FREE large Host suite with bar - tables - etc. The tour costs estimated here include the transportation, meals and venue tickets. Our breakfasts are included at the Hotel.

OCT 5-10 - Ashton Hotel Navy Blvd --- Beachbum Trollys - Wheelchair and scooter access. Items in BOLD are cost items in the daily estimate. We chose an inexpensive but  nice hotel which we felt allowed more felxibility for everyone to take advantage of the tours. The tours require no driving. One day we will use a bus and the other days are using the Beach Bum Trolly. You can see past tour photos and descriptions at the Beach Bum Trolly site. These folks are veterans and know veterans and KNOW THIS TOWN. SO - experience is bringing us a very cost effective and fun package for every day.  

A Registration form will provide an opportunity to select for the tours but I would encourage all of them. Two days will be long ones (but not driving) and two will be "half days" to allow plenty of rest time or extra activity. IF ALL TOURS are signed on a COUPLE can expect a $500 budget plus or minus $50. BUT - you don't have to sign on for every day's tours. 
OCT 5 WED -- Arrival  
Hospitality Suite at Ashton -- Town tours at will - dinner on your own
Suggestions will be made available -- Beach - Town -etc.

OCT6  THURS --  This is the longest and biggest day - est $80 each  (Not Trolly  but tour bus this day)
Austell new ship construction - Belengrath Gardens plus lunch and then river cruise - return to Mobile and dinner at Wentzells famous seafood downtown. Return to Pensacola - Ashton Hotel - Hosp Suite.

OCT 7 FRI --  Pensacola FOCUS day Est. $50 each - Trolly and City Tour with history - 10:45 Veterans Park Honors for Fr. O'Callahan, USS Franklin and our own shipmates. NAS Naval Chapel's Fr. Pete McLaughlin will participate with about six Navy Colorguard which we will comp as they join us for lunch. LUNCH at Maguires. (we may use this time for some normal banquet presentations)   Return to Ashton - Host Suite.  Afternoon Free - other Tours and restaurants will be suggested for individuals. Possicle board meeting in our Host Suite.

OCT 8--SAT -- AIR MUSEUM DAY Est $75 each for the day --  Trolly to Air Museum - Cubi Club Lunch in the Museum - BIg Screen Films - Back to Hotel probably about 4pm.  Fish Fry with best seafood in area (including chicken for non fish eaters).  The Fish fry and meal at our very large Hosting Suite will possibly serve as our banquet with all appropriate remarks and honors.

.... OCT 9 SUN - BEACHES and SUNDAY SAND Est $50 each for the day -  Trolly to possible beach service and then --  A 10 AM Dolphin Cruise with PICNIC at the Marina. at Noon we will have flex time for more beach access or walks and Trolly return to Ashton Inn. Host Suite. End of Reunion. Use afternoon to pack, independent town exploration- Restaurants.

MORE DETAIL ABOUT TOURS at this website ... 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Membership Dues Request

Joe likes to remind me to inform everyone to please "join" the association or pay your dues if they are up. If you simply can't for financial reason we understand. Nobody will shake you down. This and the Scroggins print files help bring in a little stash to help out with mailings ( a few prefer that to the web) and to cover some of the minor reunion expenses outside of normal personal costs. Just download this and print it and mail it to Joe with a check. Or- print it and bring it to the reunion and turn it in there.
Membership and Dues Form .... Print and Mail

Monday, March 28, 2016

Reunion Transportation

Reunion Transportation

We will be using BEACH BUM TROLLIES for our group tours in Pensacola in October. You can see their tours here -- some of which we will choose. Also notice they are OLD HANDS at military reunions and a LOT of other Navy and sister military organizations are represented in their reunion schedules. Tours usually include the transportation, meals, and any fees for entry to venues. I hope to SHANGHAI one or two of my history professors who liven up the area knowledge to join us.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


Ron Harper says COME ON DOWN !
Twin Queens with mini kitchen
Here is a link to the information about REUNION Lodging.  Go ahead and reserve a room in our OCT 5-10 time frame. IF you want to stay a few more days to catch the annual big home (AN EARLIER NOTICE HAD THE WRONG ROOM PRICE- correct price is $75 and includes the continental breakfast) coming practice and show with the Blue Angels - just add some days.  The HOTEL DOES NOT require a credit card reserve and they are very flexible on late changes or cancellations. THIS IS A BIG PLUS. So go ahead and reserve ... it will help us plan all other reunion activities as we build numbers. -- ALSO - encourage our affiliated ships that we may share some history with to join in (Just let us know). AND all the HSL detachments are very welcome and encouraged to come along as we were shipmates through and through. Affiliated guests and friends of our ship and its history are all welcome to join in.

The hotel is within a mile of NAS Pensacola and within two miles of downtown Pensacola. Beach bum trollies will be our key transport for all the group touring and they have a stellar reputation with veteran groups.

Thursday, January 21, 2016


Ahoy USS O'Callahan shipmates, affiliated units and camp followers -

Our 2016 reunion is scheduled for October 5-10 in PENSACOLA , FL. (All updates will be posted  HERE - linked by "News" from our main website

- Also welcomed are the HSL detachments we sailed with and sailors from other ships related by our heritage or our operating histories. Just let us know and sign in for the ride.  

- YOUR CONTACT: (Served '71-73 - OC Div. Officer)
Vic Campbell  6933 Martin Road , Milton , FL   32570  850 994 6120 (text or call)

Everyone is welcome to attend all or part of the reunion. Registration forms will be in a later email. (probably by March)

Visit our FaceBook Page -
It is a closed group so you will have to ask permission to join, lots of discussions and sea stories.

The local international airport is PENSACOLA INTERNATIONAL.

In a few weeks, we will have a more definitive plan for the hotel accommodations. I will include some contacts for other lodging options as well - such as the excellent camping facilities including one on NAS Pensacola that retirees can use.  

Our original dates were OCT 6-10.  I have moved up to OCT 5-10 in order to try to fit in a better tour trip to Mobile .   Pensacola and Mobile are very close to each other.   Mobile hosts Austell shipbuilding where they make the new LCS trimarans.  I hope to get us some kind of tour or a speaker on the topic at Mobile . 

That is in the works.  If not a few other items make a day in Mobile a good day.  Otherwise, the activities will be in Pensacola and therefore a Pensacola hotel will be our base of operations.

Activities Planned  (Links are underlined)
MOBILE - Austell Talk/Tour.   Bellingrath Gardens.  History and technology and dinner at Wentzell's Oyster House in historic downtown.

PENSACOLA   BEACH TOUR including Fort Pickens overlooking the bay, a possible Dolphin tour, dining overlooking the Gulf.  

PENSACOLA NAVAL AIR MUSEUM at NAS PENSACOLA - A premier affiliate of the Smithsonian. It is an amazing museum that can fill a whole day. IMAX films. Blue Angels may be home from tours.  If the plan works out, we may have a cookout on the beach at the waters edge right on the base (at cottages for military and retirees).

PENSACOLA DOWTOWN -- Many small museums and crafty shops and eating establishments will fill the day - Probably Saturday - all within walking distance of the hotel (as planned). Some excellent historical tours will give you insight to the eras of the Spanish colonization, the British and American all overlaid on the Native American experience. The Jackson tour is quite an eye opener about the war of 1812 and post war exnpansion to eventually bring in Florida to the USA .