Spring 2009
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Spring 2009

Message from the Prez…

The NASHVILLE reunion is now in the books, and a great one it was. Turnout of 53 shipmates and a total of 112 attended a reunion blessed with good fellowship and beautiful weather. 

WELL DONE to Don & Margaret Wall (DDG32) for showing us the great Nashville hospitality – we had a great time!!

Our business meeting had its election of officers (see below), and settled on a location for the next reunion – Buffalo, NY with a 2010 date yet to be determined. Shipmate Paul Shanks (DD932 ’61-63) stepped up, and was quickly followed by offers to assist from Ray Schmidt (DDG32 ’67-69) and Joe Bruce (DD932 ’56-58) – many thanks. Since the reunion, I have checked out the Buffalo Visitors Bureau website, and it looks as if we have found a real jewel.     Check out: http://www.visitbuffaloniagara.com/visitors/

The JPJ Assn. reunion history is impressive -our ship reunion group has been operating since the early ‘90’s at the following locations with many hosts:

  1. 92 BILOXI, MS - Jesse Laseter

  2. 93 SAN DIEGO Commissioning DDG53 – Laseter, Kelly (Dec. 18)

  3. 95 HAMPTON ROADS -   Dick Moore

  4. 96 COLORADO SPRINGS- Foxwell

  5. 98 ANNAPOLIS – Olsen, Komorowski

  6. 99 NEW LONDON - Grove, Ettinger, Gallagher, Longo

  7. 01 SAN DIEGO - McNamara, Kelly, McKechnie (day at sea aboard DDG-53)

  8. 02 NORFOLK – Maytham, Malone, Good, Moore

  9. 04 PHILADELPHIA – Wager, Weiser

  10. 06 SAN DIEGO - McNamara, Kelly, McKechnie

  11. 07 NEWPORT - Grove, Ettinger, Gallagher, Longo

  12. 09 NASHVILLE – Wall

  13. ’10 BUFFALO – Shanks, Schmidt, Bruce

I am sure that Buffalo will continue the tradition of excellence. Details to follow. 

Our next project is to locate shipmates who have not found our web site, don’t know we exist, or have never attended one of our reunions. Search your memory; look in the various military and reunion websites; Google the name; and pass the info on to Andy Longo so we might add more new members to our mailing-list. Our database has 512 names, but only 390 good addresses, and 238 email addresses (these keep changing).

It was good to see so many old and new shipmates at Nashville. I thank you for reelecting me along with the fine slate of officers – we think we’re a good team, and look forward to seeing you in Buffalo.

John McKechnie
LTJG, SC, USN ‘61-‘63

Andy Longo
16 American Elm Ave.
Hanover, MA 02339

New Members 


·         Dennis Castro –          DDG-53

·         William Thomas  -       FTG3 DDG32

·         Dennis Havlik          DDG-53

Our 12th reunion was held in NASHVILLE, TN 16-20 April 2009 at the Holiday Inn Select (Nashville Airport.) with a turn - out of 112 attendees, of whom 53 were shipmates representing DD230, DD932, DDG32 & DDG53, guests and spouses. Our shipmate host – Don Wall set up a great program. We opened with a personal welcome from the Mayor of Nashville – Karl Dean. Our wrap up banquet featured Myers Brown, the Tennessee State Museum Curator of extension services who spoke about the U.S. Navy connection to the U.S. Cavalry in Tennessee. There were tours of Nashville historical sites and the music industry. The nationally known GRAND OLE OPRY was one of highlights, where the USS JOHN PAUL JONES Assoc. was recognized on the radio show.  Sunday lunch was served on the Paddle Wheeler General Jackson.   
A special Memorial service was held at the Nashville National Cemetery for 14 shipmates that departed since our last reunion. The service was complete with Navy Honor Guard and a church choir.




John J. McKechnie

DD932 ’61-63



Peter Maytham

DD932 ‘55-59



Andrew Longo

DD932 ‘61-64


Vice Pres.

Bob Hildebrand

DDG32 ’67-69


Vice Pres.

Don Wall

DDG32 ’69-70



Paul Shanks

DD932 ’61-63



Compliments were the order of the day

From Chuck and Nancy Zeisser:
Don, Thanks for forwarding the two pictures, AND A HEARTY "THANK YOU” TO YOU AND MARGARET FOR YOUR WARM, CORDIAL AND EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION, AND HOSTING OF A VERY ENJOYABLE REUNION! God's continued blessings to you and yours!

From Al Olsen (at the banquet):
I have asked John McKechnie for the opportunity to say a few words before we secure tonight because I won't be able to attend tomorrow morning's business meeting.
    First,  on behalf of the Olsen women and myself,  and,  I'm confident that I speak for all of you,  when I thank Don and Margaret Wall for organizing an absolutely,  superb reunion for us.   A reunion we shall all remember.
    I know what it takes to run a reunion:   the organization,  the attention to detail,  the follow-up,  the arrangements,  the unforeseen happenings   -  it is a demanding,  challenging task,   but there is tremendous satisfaction when you see your shipmates having a good time   -  recalling the days when we were young and went to sea,   not just in any ship,  but in a ship named for the Father of the American Navy,  John Paul  Jones.
    I also want to thank the officers of our Association:   President John McKechnie, Vice President Bob Hildebrand, Treasurer Andy Longo, and Secretary Pete Maytham,   who have comprised our headquarters group and have been the heart of the JPJ Association.  They have kept in touch with us and held us together.
    I look forward to seeing you all at our next reunion, wherever that may be.  Tell our shipmates who didn't make this one what a great time we have had and urge them to be at the next one!
    Lastly, in true Navy fashion, I propose three cheers for the USS JOHN PAUL JONES and for Don and Margaret Wall.  God bless them all.    Hip, hip.......Hooray;  Hip,  hip........ Hooray;   Hip,  hip.........Hooray!!! 



And ….. from reunion host Don Wall:

Dear Shipmates,

    It is with great pleasure that I write a “THANK YOU  note to express our thanks, and to let you know how humbled Margaret and I are by the special complimentary comments and “Thank You’s” that have come from so many of you, either by kind words or ‘thank you’ notes, concerning the success of our USS JPJ Nashville Reunion.

    Margaret and I are very pleased and happy that everyone enjoyed their hotel accommodations, tours, and last, but not least, the food in Nashville.  “It’s time to eat again.”

    We thank you for placing your trust in us to organize the spring, 2009 Nashville Reunion.  We worked hard, yet we truly enjoyed the challenge, and appreciated the opportunity to give each of you shipmates in attendance a highlighted tour of our great city of Nashville and its surrounding areas.

    I also want to thank John McKechnie for his great leadership, help, and guidance, and   Andy Longo for keeping up with registration and the finances.

    Again, thanks for the kindness and appreciation shown to us. See you in Buffalo, New York!! Don Wall

Taps ......
It was with great sorrow that we received word from his wife, literally on the eve of the reunion, of the passing on April 1, 2009, of her husband, and our shipmate, ETN2 Joe Burns who served aboard DD932 from '61 to '63.

Joe was a strong supporter of the JOHN PAUL JONES ASSOC., having attended almost every reunion. Joe and his wife, Rebecca, were already registered and looking forward to attending the NASHVILLE reunion and seeing old shipmates and friends again.

We shall all miss Joe.

It was in connection with the passing of Joe Burns, and a question asked by his wife, Rebecca, that we learned how to obtain a Form DD-214 online if the original can’t be found, has been lost, or destroyed  

Go to the National Archives website, a free U.S. government site:

Click on “Request Military Records” at the bottom of the homepage, which leads to the specific steps required to obtain DD-214 and other military records.

If there is an emergency or deadline associated with your request, the site instructs you to:

“Please explain in the "Comments" section of eVetRecs or in the "Purpose" section of Form SF-180, so that we might fully understand the situation, and we will do our best to meet your priority.

If your request involves a burial in a National Cemetery operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the cemetery staff will work directly with us to obtain the required records for the military service involved. If your request involves funeral services provided by a non-VA/private provider, the next of kin may fax the request (including signature of the next of kin) to us at 314 801-0764.”

CO’s Column – DDG-53

Since taking Command, this is my first opportunity to write-in to the JOHN PAUL JONES Association.  I’ve only had the pleasure of meeting a couple of you, but really enjoyed seeing all of the Association’s camaraderie during the updates from the recent reunion in Nashville.  I look forward to continuing the strong relationship between all JPJ veterans and the current proud and outstanding crew.

USS JOHN PAUL JONES recently deployed and left San Diego enroute to the Arabian Gulf.  As one of the Navy’s leading state-of-the art Ballistic Missile Defense ships, we are shipping out independently and are not part of the NIMITZ Carrier Strike Group like previous deployments.  The ship has made stops in Pearl Harbor, Guam and most recently in the beautiful islands of Palau.  During our transit we have one final port visit scheduled for Phuket, Thailand.  During each of our foreign port visits, the crew actively engages in their duties as ambassadors of the Navy and United States demonstrating to the visiting country how truly great U.S. Sailors really are.

While on station in the Middle East, we anticipate operating in a variety of mission areas including Approach and Visit operations, Visit Board Search and Seizure operations, Anti-Piracy patrols and many naval exercises with foreign navies.  You have likely seen other ships in the news recently for their operations in the area we are headed.  Keep your eyes open in the news because we will be taking the watch soon.  Both the ship and crew are well prepared and ready.  You should continue to be very proud of the young men and women who are carrying on the JOHN PAUL JONES tradition!

Of particular interest, JOHN PAUL JONES won the 2008 Battle Efficiency Award, better known as the Battle “E”.  Many different and stringent criteria go into qualifying for this award.  The only thing a Commanding Officer could ever ask for in this area is to simply be a viable candidate for recognition.  In 2008 the crew persevered through a WESTPAC surge deployment, a dry-dock maintenance availability, and an extremely compressed work-up cycle that overlapped with the holidays to prepare for our accelerated independent deployment.  They set the standard for excellence at every turn and deservedly won the Battle “E” for COMDESRON 23.

Until the next newsletter, know that we are steaming “In Harm’s Way”.

                                                            Sincerely and very respectfully, 

                                                            Sam R. Hancock
                                                            Commander, U.S. Navy
                                                            Commanding Officer

                                                            16 May, 2009