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.