Summer is now behind us, as is Hurricane Isabel, which came through southeastern Virginia with a vengeance on Sep. 18th, leaving literally millions without power for days and, in some cases, weeks!
Lots of things have been happening within the JPJ Association – mostly good, but some sad. In this issue:
Last Call …..
We say goodbye to shipmate Jesse Laseter, founder of our Assn.
Scattering of Ashes …..
DDG-53 performs burial at sea
Rendering of Honors …..
The German Navy remembers 9/11
Reunion 2004 Update …..
A great program in store for you!
Sea Bag ….
Form DD-214 now online
Navy Locator Service
CO’s Column, DDG-53 ……
JPJ first in "Sea Swap" program
Shipmates gather together in Mass. and DC --- with photos (A FIRST!!!)
Until the next newsletter, due out Christmastime (hard to believe only 2 mos. away), have a great autumn!
Last Call …..
CDR Jesse Laseter, USN (Ret)
We are saddened to report the death of CDR Jesse Laseter, USN (Ret),
the founder and past Secretary (1992-2000) of the USS JOHN PAUL JONES
Association. He died peacefully on June 9th at Ocean Springs, MS. He had not
been in good health for some time.
Jesse served 29 years in the Navy and had a distinguished career, rising from FN to CDR. He was a plankowner of DD-932, to which he reported as a BT1 and from which he was detached as an ENS. His love for the DD-932 inspired him to start our Association. He organized and hosted the first JPJ reunion in 1992 in Biloxi, MS, and arranged the second reunion at San Diego, CA, in Dec. 1993, coinciding with the commissioning of DDG-53. He was known for his "down-home" newsletters and diligence with which he kept track of members and dues. He was an avid golfer. Although his health prevented him from attending recent reunions, he remained a JPJer to the end.
CDR Jesse Laseter, USN (Ret) was buried with full military honors on June 12, 2003 at the National Cemetery, Biloxi, MS.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Mrs. Bette Laseter, 101 St. Andrews Drive, Ocean Springs, MS 39564-8426, Tel 228-875-9134.
Scattering of Ashes …..
On July 3, 2003, the JPJ DDG-53 performed a burial at sea, scattering the ashes of Herman Fischer, Sr., who served at sea during WWII. His son wrote the following "Thank you" to CDR Roy Kitchener, CO of the JPJ:
My father, Herman Fischer Sr., also served in the Navy, most of his sea duty being in the Pacific. With his passing this past March 17th, it was his wish that his ashes be scattered in the Pacific.
Yesterday our family received a phone call to let us know that his ashes would be scattered today 7-3-03 from the USS John Paul Jones.
I just wanted to pass a message to the crew to express our thanks for a job well done, and may they have smooth seas for the remainder of their deployment.
To me there is no greater honor than to have our father’s ashes scattered by THE UNITED STATES NAVY. While his naval career was served on many different classes of ships, he did ride several destroyers. So, it is fitting that his final tour of duty was on the USS John Paul Jones DDG-53.
FTG1 Fox Div
USS Newport News CA-148"
The following is an email passed to shipmate Tom McNamara in remembrance of 9/11:
This morning (9/11/03), I witnessed another classy and emotional presentation by the German Navy. The FGS NIEDERSACHSEN (F208), which is part of our NATO Battle Group, called us this morning at 8am and asked if they could pass close to Starboard.
What we didn't know was that they had their whole crew topside in dress blues rendering honors to the United States for Sept 11th.
From their main-mast they flew our flag and they held their hat-covers over their hearts. Needless to say, our whole crew was choked up, and a few tears formed in our eyes. Both ships stayed next to each other in silence for about 5 minutes.
These are the kind of days that remind me why I joined the Navy."
REUNION 2004 Update –
Here’s the news you’ve been waiting for:
The where/when/what about our next reunion in the spring of 2004
When: April 29 - May 3, 2004
Hotel: Holiday Inn – Historic District (can’t get better than that!).
For info about the hotel, check out their website at: http://www.philadelphia.the-hotels.com/holiday-inn-historic-district.htm
Hotel Reservations: 1-800-843-2355
Shipmates Dick Wagar and Doug Weiser have put together a great program for us, with visits scheduled to the USS OLYMPIA (ADM Dewey’s Flagship during Spanish-American war), the USS NEW JERSEY BB-63, where a memorial Service will be held, and a host of other places and sights to see and behold as a group, or on your own.
Hotel: $85.00/nite/room, including parking.
Reunion Fee: $130.00 per person, payable in advance.
Remember the Dates:
April 29 – May 3, 2004
Form DD-214 now online ….
Military veterans, retirees, and next-of-kin of former military members may now use a new, online National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) system to request Form DD-214 and other personnel documents.
Point-of-Contact: Linda Krout, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (410) 306-1755
Navy Locator Service –
Published in the Fall 2000 newsletter, and worthy of a periodic reminder, is how to connect with a "long-lost" shipmate. Jim Peters originally provided the following information:
Because the Privacy Act of 1974 prevents the military services from arbitrarily releasing names and addresses of retirees and former service members, each service operates a "Locator Service", which functions as follows:
Write your message/letter to the shipmate you’d like to locate
Put it in a stamped envelope with the name/grade of your shipmate in the address block, and your return address in the upper-left corner
Place the envelope with the message in another stamped envelope, addresses to the Locator Service, with your return address in the upper-left corner
Include as much information about the shipmate and his service background (full name, places and dates of duty stations, Navy schools attended, where known, etc.)
Naval Reserve Personnel Center – Code 41
New Orleans, LA 70149-7800
USS John Paul Jones DDG-53
18 September 2003
Unfortunately, our time on the JPJ is quickly coming to an end. This time next month we will be at the "tip of the spear" bringing the legacy of the father of the Navy to another ship named after a true American patriot, Colonel HIGGINS.
Implementing the Navy’s cost-saving concept of "Sea Swap", the entire crew of the JOHN PAUL JONES will be flown out to the Gulf to relieve the crew of the HIGGINS, who have been deployed to the Middle East for the past six months.
For several months now, everyone on board the JPJ has busily turned-to, preparing the ship operationally and physically to be turned over in excellent condition in all respects, prior to our being airlifted to the Middle East to man the HIGGINS.
Rest assured that the JPJ will be in good hands with CDR Randy Hill. I have known him for many years and, like so many of you, he also is a true patriot. His biography follows on the next page. Randy has been informed about the JPJ’s excellent relationship with the JOHN PAUL JONES ASSOCIATION, and will continue the custom of providing input for the CO’s COLUMN of the JPJ newsletter. Randy will assume command of the JPJ on 20 October; and, in turn, will be relieved sometime in December by CDR Andy Cully, as "Sea Swap" continues its rotation of crews in our division.
Thanks for all your support and keep us in your thoughts.
CDR Roy Kitchener
Commanding Officer, USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG-53)
cc: Commander Charles HILL
Biography – CDR Charles Hill, USN
Commander Charles "Randy" Hill graduated from the University of Southern California in 1983 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, and received his commission through the NROTC program.
Following commissioning, Commander Hill was assigned as communications and Anti-Submarine Officer in USS HEPBURN (FF-1055). Subsequent sea tours included assignments to USS HALSEY (CG 23) as Combat Information Center Officer, USS ARTHUR W. RADFORD (DD 968) and USS YORKTOWN (CG 48) as Operations officer, USS PRINCETON (CG 59) as Executive officer, and as Theatre Air Defense/Tomahawk Officer and Flag Secretary for the Commander Third Fleet.
Duties ashore have included assignments as a test officer on the staff of the Operational Test and Evaluation Force Pacific and as the Surface Warfare Plans and Policy action officer on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations (N86).
Commander Hill has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal with one Gold Star, the Navy Commendation Medal with three Gold Stars, the Navy Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars, and various unit and expeditionary awards.
Commander Hill and his wife Marianne have two children, Amanda and Michael.