Summer is well underway with its (hopefully) warm, salubrious, and relaxing days for all of you. Many events have taken place since our fabulous reunion in Philadelphia the end of April: Memorial Day with the dedication of the long-overdue WWII Memorial on the Mall in Washington DC; laying of the cornerstone of the new World Trade Center in New York; launching into space of a privately-funded space shuttle; the 4th of July; release of the "9/11 Commission" report; presidential-election campaigning; and, unfortunately, the continuation of conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis, and most especially the war in Iraq with its horrible killings and mutilation of soldiers and hostages, along with more terrorist attacks, in particular the train-bombing in Madrid. We all pray that peace and order can be brought soon to the strife-torn Middle East.
For a number of reasons, personal and otherwise, I was unable to publish a Late Spring issue of the JPJ Newsletter, for which I apologize. I hope this issue will more than make up for the temporary lack of news, as there’s a lot to report:
Reunion Wrap-UP –
April 29th to May 3rd saw a gathering of 55 JPJ shipmates and 45 wives in Philadelphia for the 9th JPJ Assn. Reunion. And what a reunion it was, with all that historic and "new" Philadelphia has to offer! Not only did we learn about the city, but more especially about what the city witnessed and hosted during the trying times leading up to and during the American Revolution, the devotion and contribution citizens such as Ben Franklin, Robert Morris and many others from the original 13 colonies made in the founding of our great nation.
We toured many sites in the Historic District: (Independence Hall; Liberty Bell; Ben Franklin’s print shop; the Betsy Ross House; and many others). Of special interest and delight was an evening light-and-sound ‘Lights of Liberty’ walking-tour through the historic district, as was the tour of nearby Penn’s Landing with its famous Maritime Museum, ADM Dewey’s flagship, the USS OLYMPIA, with the WWII submarine USS BECUNA moored alongside.
At the U.S. Mint we saw coins being made (25¢, 10¢, 5¢,), by the millions, and marveled at hundreds of millions of shredded dollars in gigantic transparent columns at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia – we were even presented with little packets of shredded currency worth about $100.00.
In a moving and fitting ceremony on the foc’sle of the USS NEW JERSEY (BB-63), we honored and bade farewell to shipmates from DD-230: Eugene Hoff; Bruce Young; Harding Howard – and from DD-932: plankowners Jesse Laseter and Roy Wright; Richard Goodfield.
The Business Meeting was well attended, with John McKechnie presiding in place of president Al Olsen, unable to attend because of a virus. On behalf of all members, an official "BRAVO ZULU" was expressed to Richard Wagar and Doug Weiser for the tremendous job they did organizing and executing all the myriad details of our fabulous reunion.
By unanimous voice-vote, our Association Officers were re-elected for another term (Al Olsen, President; John McKechnie, Treasurer;
Pete Maytham, Secretary). Al Olsen advised this would be his last term as president.
Thanks to shipmate Ben Gerson, we enjoyed perhaps the most interesting guest-speaker talk we’ve ever had at any of our past reunions. We were most fortunate and privileged to hear Evan Thomas, Asst. Managing Editor of Newsweek magazine, and author of the new biography, John Paul Jones, tell us about the background, character, and exploits of our namesake. Turns out Jones was not only a consummate sailor and nautical tactician, aggressive fighter and hero, but also somewhat of a dandy and womanizer!
Next Reunion - Following considerable discussion at the Business Meeting about the site for our next reunion (New England, the Gulf and West Coasts), a show of hands gave the nod to San Diego in 2005 or 2006, depending upon availability of reasonably-priced hotels and the presence of the JPJ DDG-53. The team of shipmates McNamara, McKechnie, Kelly and Hildebrand volunteered their services to better their organising the great reunion of March 2001.
BE THERE !!!
New Members – Membership has been growing as more and more shipmates learn about the association. Since the beginning of this year, 18 new members have joined:
BARD: (DD-230’s Sqd. Tender USS BLACK HAWK)
We now have a GRAND TOTAL of 437 members, consisting of:
* No ship/onboard dates provided
♠ We commit thee to the sea …..
♠ Members Reported Deceased –
Copies may be ordered for $10.00 ea. by contacting Don at:
207 Cima Dr.
Goodlettsville, TN 37072
Email Addresses –
If you have an email address and did NOT receive this newsletter by email, it means John McKechnie has a problem with your address, OR you have set your computer to block his addresses for incoming messages –
Check to see if you have these addresses entered as "friends", and are NOT BLOCKED. Then send John a test email so he might capture your good address. Email address changes are the biggest problem we have in maintaining our JPJ database. Thanks for your help.
Naval Institute Certificates –
Allow me to introduce the Naval Institute’s Certificate Service. We offer unique certificates commemorating momentous occasions at sea during peace and war. If you never received your Plank Owner’s certificate, have misplaced your Shellback, or want to proudly recognize wartime service, the Naval Institute can provide a full range of certificates that may be of interest.
All of our certificates are in full color on heavyweight 11x14-inch card stock. At your request, they can be personalized to reflect individual accomplishments
The brochures also provide details of special pricing for membership the Naval Institute is extending to your reunion group if interested.
For more information about the Naval Institute and its Certificate Service, you can browse our website, www.usni.org. If you have questions, I can be reached by phone, (410) 295-1053, by e-mail, email@example.com, or at the following address:
U.S. Naval Institute
291 Wood Road
Annapolis, MD 21402-5034
Memorial Day 1969-2004
With the dedication of the World War II Memorial this past Memorial Day in Washington, DC, joining the Korean and Vietnam war memorials, it is only fitting that a Memorial Day Service address, made 35 years ago by one of our own members of "the Greatest Generation", CAPT Raymond A. Komorowski, USN (1925-2002) -- who loved the navy, the JOHN PAUL JONES, and above all serving the U.S. Navy and his country with all his heart and soul -- to the crewmembers of the USS BOSTON (CA-69) as he took the ship into harm’s way in May 1969 to Southeast Asia, be reproduced here with the kind permission of his widow, Mary Ellen.
"Shipmates in the USS BOSTON, Comrade in arms. In the darkest days on our nation’s history, an American who was one of mankind’s most dedicated advocates of freedom wrote, ‘These are the times that try men’s souls.’ The man was Thomas Paine. The time was the American Revolution. Thomas Paine was so passionate and eloquent a spokesman for liberty and freedom that his writings even today might offend the most conservative of our countrymen. Thomas Paine loved liberty and freedom, and in the flickering light of hundreds of army campfires, Paine urged the men of Washington’s army to fight hard and, if necessary, long for freedom; to embrace the grim lot of the soldier; separation from family, little and sometimes no pay, hard military discipline, perhaps death. Paine went on to say: ‘The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country, but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women.’
The vision of freedom was the hallmark of our revolution. Above all it was love of freedom that drew foreign military experts to America to aid us against the redcoat invaders. Freedom drew the disciplined man of action, the German, Von Steuben; the engineer of the fortifications at West Point and Saratoga, the Pole, Kosciusko, and his fellow countryman, Count Casmir Pulaski, who was to fall mortally wounded while leading a charge at the Battle of Savannah. Freedom drew the young aristocratic Frenchman, the Marquis de Lafayette, beloved aide-de-camp to Washington, and scores of others foreign soldiers of lesser fame. They came to our aid drawn by the violence, by the splendid vision of man fighting to be free. And we, with their help, won that freedom. And if Thomas Paine and the others were to see that freedom at work now, they would be pleased. For even the sharpest critics of our country, at least those of the non-communist world, acknowledge that there has not been a nation on this earth whose citizens have enjoyed more personal freedom. Freedom to choose; to vote, to work, to move, to change jobs, to petition, to own a car or home. Our nation is not perfect --- it is after all made up of imperfect mankind --- but it allows more freedom than any the world has ever seen.
And it has been America’s passionate love for freedom that has been at least partially responsible for our entering into every war from the very first to the one we are engaged in today. In the span of the lifetime of our fathers, American soldiers, sailors, and marines have saved Europe from the domination of Imperial Germany; and, then later, the tyranny of Nazism. In Asia, we stifled the Japanese appetite for China the Philippines, Indo-China, Indonesia, Korea and Australia. Later we helped preserve the Republic of South Korea from the communist bestiality of its northern brother, and we are engaged in a similar task in South Vietnam. It was North Korea which invaded the south, and it is North Vietnam'’ troops which are still marching southward towards Saigon. Should we fail to support either the South Korean or the South Vietnamese people from the fanaticism of their communist enemies --- should we fail, we would be witness from the safety of our shores to a monstrous blood bath beside which the murderous savagery of Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler would pale to insignificance.
For the truth is: man’s freedom to choose his way of life is still widely threatened. And nations, which cherish freedom, have banded together in various combinations to protect that freedom.
In Europe the world has again witnessed the Soviet Union’s brutal disregard for mankind’s striving for personal freedom when it sent its divisions into Czechoslovakia. In Asia, China broods over injustice real and imagined, and with half-mad fury threatens communist Russia, the United States and India alike, while sending arms, money and subversive agents to Thailand, Burma, Malaysia, and even into Africa.
A wise American has said that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. It is t that solemn task, the defense of freedom, that we of the USS BOSTON are called. No less now than in the time of Thomas Paine. And it was while engaged in that solemn task that some of those many men who served before us died for duty, for honor, for country, for freedom. We hear their words:
John Paul Jones, 1775: ‘I have not yet begun to fight.’
Oliver Hazard Perry, 1813: ‘We have met the enemy and they are ours: 2 ships 2 brigs, 2 frigates, 1 schooner and 1 sloop.’
David Glasgow Farragut, 1864: ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.’
George Dewey at Manila, 1898: ‘You may fire when ready, Gridley.’
Joseph K. Taussig, 1917: ‘We are ready now, sir.’
William F. Halsey, 1942: ‘Attack, repeat, attack.’
God rest their souls. God give us strength. R.A. Komorowski, Commanding"
Navy Chaplain Comments from Iraq - 30 May 2004
The following is another letter written on Memorial Day to friends and shipmates of LCDR Steven P. Unger, a navy chaplain, passed to us by CDR Andy Cully, CO USS John Paul Jones DDG-53. It is most appropriate and pertinent at this time that we hear "from the front" from one of our own.
This is my third letter from Iraq. I have been working myself into the right mood to do this. Today is the day. In my last two letters I have leaned toward being as upbeat as possible. This time will be different; today I want to talk about Memorial Day, but I will start off by giving my perspective on the Abu Ghraib prison problem.
First off, the investigation into the abuses at Abu Ghraib began back in January. That is why the first court martial was ready for trial in May. The senior people here knew about the investigation; the rest of us didn't. By the time the media "broke" the story, the investigation was almost done and the soldiers who had committed the abuses had already been rotated home.
Second, I (we) don't see all the news coverage that you in the states see. I do see some Fox News and CNN. Fox editorializes toward the right wing; CNN is the voice of the anti-war movement. I wonder that if CNN had been around in 1942 we might all be speaking German and Japanese. I can tell you this, everything I have heard on CNN is so biased, negative, and out-of-touch that I will never watch CNN for the rest of my life. That being said, when the rest of us found out about the abuses we were shocked and sickened. I think maybe more so than people back home because we are here; these are the people I see every day. The people I see every day who are going out to fix: schools, hospitals, reservoirs, power plants, and sewer systems. They do these things risking sniper-fire and hidden explosives. These soldiers are not a handful of bad apples like those at Abu Ghraib, these soldiers number into the thousands. Now think for a second, how much have you seen about that on the news? I believe Abu Ghraib should have been reported, but when I see the fixation of the media on the actions of a few, when the courage shown in reconstruction and the restraint shown in combat by thousands of our people is never shown, I believe this is inexcusable. For the real story of what our people are doing here, go to www.cjtf7.com. Click on "Coalition News" and then "Humanitarian Efforts".
Third, what happened on that cellblock of Abu Ghraib is what happens when leadership is not out walking around. That is true in the military or in college dorms. I haven't seen it reported in the news, but other soldiers turned in the soldiers who did this. If the dirt-bags that committed those abuses had been turned loose among the troops here it would've been ugly. I haven't heard any comments about them coming from soldiers that didn't express a hope that they would get the maximum punishment. A few leaders need to get demoted too.
As per the "outrage", if you were "outraged" by this, good. I was. However, I would like to ask Arab governments and our own media elites "Were you just as outraged by what happened under Saddam? If so, you didn't show it."
Here is what people need to understand: the interrogation of prisoners of war is a little tougher than what the typical thug gets by the local police. I went to Survival, Evasion, Rescue, and Escape (SERE) School back in 1995. I am more proud of completing that course than anything I have ever done. Also, I would never do it again. After playing hide and seek with "bad guys" in California in March, we all got caught, knocked around, froze, went hungry, sleep-deprived, threatened with worse, and then interrogated.
Here's the deal: when interrogation is done correctly, people don't break so much as they "leak". (The purpose of SERE is to teach you how not to leak. That is the classified part of the school.) The interrogator wants them to leak in a way so that the prisoner doesn't even know he is leaking. When someone breaks, as opposed to leaking, they usually give out a data dump of gibberish and then physiologically shuts down. A good interrogator avoids that. If you hurt them or scare them too badly, they quit leaking. Interrogators ask the same question about ten times, ten different ways.
Disoriented people leak and they don't even know it.
What most Americans think of when they think of POWs being interrogated is what they remember of our pilots in North Vietnam. The abuse our people went through in Vietnam wasn't to get intelligence; it was to exploit them for propaganda purposes. I mention this to put the term "abuse" in context. When a terrorist here in Iraq or jaywalkers back in the States report jailhouse "abuse," what does it mean? When we catch
a guy red-handed restocking his weapons stock and question him, withholding
his TV privileges isn't enough. He won't be happy, but neither will he be
destroyed or scared for life. He will tell his buddies, "I didn't tell them
anything." In fact he will have told us a lot.
As I said, I had to work myself into a mindset to talk about this. To work around horror without letting the horror seep into your soul is a spiritual battle. This week I worked with a National Guard soldier who had to clean up after a convoy of civilian aid workers were killed when an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) went off on the road into Baghdad. He is a carpenter in civilian life, but this week he was out on a highway picking up arms and legs while watching out for snipers. He was cleaning up after monsters. Some other young Americans were put in charge of guarding monsters and then they became monsters. Care of the soul is serious business. That is part of the reason why I became a Navy Chaplain.
The other reason is the people. The folks I have known in the military are more interesting to be around than anybody else I know. This leads me to Memorial Day. Earlier this month I went to Camp Cooke at Taji. (To lend perspective, Taji is really north Baghdad; I am in west Baghdad.) The 39th Brigade (Arkansas National Guard) is stationed there. I didn't know any of them, but I wanted to see my home-state Guard here in Iraq. So I badgered my way into flying up there for two days. They are stationed in the old Iraqi army air defense school. Unlike downtown Baghdad, the old air defense school was turned into rubble. It is getting better, but it was like living in a junkyard.
Their first month in Iraq was tough. These soldiers patrol the roughest part of Baghdad. While I was there, the Chaplain of the 39th told me this story: One of the old troopers who came was a 52 year-old Sgt. who had already done his 20+ years and had retired. But his son was in the 39th, and when the father found out they were coming over here, he re-enlisted. On their first week in country, Camp Cooke was attacked by rockets and the first rocket that landed killed the father.
I was born in 1958 and came of age when the Vietnam War and the anti-war movement were both in full swing. It has taken me years to put this into words, but I believe that as bad as that war was, the legacy of the anti-war movement was worse. The anti-war movement gave rise to the moral superiority of non-involvement and non-commitment. While that may have worked to help draft-dodgers sleep at night, it's not much of a strategy of how to go through life. Taken to its logical conclusion the message is: don't commit to your county, don't commit to your spouse, and don't commit to your kids, church, or community. Don't commit to cleaning up your own mess or any cause that demands any more from you than rhetoric.
This was the mindset in which our country was firmly stuck. Until 9/11, some
woke up. Kids came down and joined the service. To the dismay of some of their
teachers, parents, and the media elites, they came down here and raised their
hand in front of the flag. And they are still coming to the shock of the
non-committers. The Marines have more enlisting than their two boot camps can
And we are all here together for Memorial Day 2004. Old National Guardsmen, grandfathers, and single moms, Texans and Mexicans, Surfers and Rednecks. A few weeks ago an Illinois National Guardsman, mother of three, was hit six times, saved by her body armor, but lost part of her nose. She stayed on her 50 caliber, firing on the bad guys, protecting the convoy. She said she was thinking of her kids and the guys she was with. Commitment is love acted out. It is sad that the non-committers missed that. They and their moral high-ground haven't been near a mass grave. The kids I see and eat with every day still want to help this country, in spite of getting shot at while doing it. That is love acted out. You either get it, or you don't.
During my time in Iraq I won't be able to see any of the Biblical sites that are here. But a few weeks ago in Taji I got to stand on some holy ground, where a father died when he went to war just to be with his son.
Steven P. Unger
LCDR, CHC, USN
Multi National Corps –Iraq
21 June 2004
Hello, I realize that it has been six months since my last update, so I want to take the opportunity to let you know what this great ship and crew have accomplished over the past six months.
First of all, however, may I say that we are saddened to hear that Mr. Grady Pearson, the oldest member of the John Paul Jones Association, passed away earlier in June. From the entire crew of the John Paul Jones – our prayers go out to his family and friends.
As you may know, due to some issues with our propulsion shafting we were not able to depart the shipyard until April, which made the month of May, the first of our work-up cycle, very busy. In mid-May we completed CART II, which provides the baseline assessment of our ability to operate and fight the ship. The crew performed brilliantly and we have been on a steady pace to complete all of our required certifications by the end of October.
Following the basic phase of our inter-deployment training cycle, we will commence a twelve-week maintenance availability in order to complete various communications installations. Following that we will begin the intermediate and advanced phases of our inter-deployment training.
We got underway this morning to participate in RIMPAC with the TARAWA Expeditionary Strike Group. The crew has been looking forward to this for some time as it will provide them with ample liberty in Pearl Harbor as well as a rare opportunity to operate with multiple countries in realistic at-sea exercises. For the in-port phase of RIMPAC, quite a few shipmates have signed up to participate in numerous sporting events to include rugby, basketball, golf, etc.
We have received confirmation on our request to conduct a Navy League Cruise.
Although we are still working out the logistics (parking, departure, arrival
times, etc.) we are looking at 17 September. We hope to conduct a gun shoot with
our 5" guns and small arms, full power demonstration and a steel beach picnic.
We probably won’t be able to start working the details until the second week of August, but will let you know as soon as we have the information. JPJ Assn. Member Norm KNUPP (858-277-7659) will be your contact once the program is finalised. I very much look forward to welcoming aboard all JPJ Association members who can join us for a day at sea.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to participate in the JOHN PAUL JONES Association.
Thanks for all your support and keep us in your thoughts.
CDR Andy Cully
Commanding Officer, USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG-53)
USS PAUL JONES (DD-230)
(Pictures provided by Sharon Olsen, daughter of Paul H. Afflerbaugh)
Submitted by Dave Grinnell (DDG-32): "JPJ Gotcha" – Errant Missile
The cause of that "JPJ-Gotcha" was real strange. FTM2 Gaddis, just out of FTB school with Chuck Davis and me, had been working for the past several days (weeks) on the missile telemetry gear in the Weapons Office / Missile Checkout. The equipment had been disabled, as it turns out, for good reason: Salt water had gotten into the reception-antenna directional circuitry causing a high-resistance short or load. This load manifested itself by a very circuitous route down through the system and into my MK118 missile fire- control computer.
My computer was computing a launcher-angle (E) of about 40 degrees -- all was well until the count-down got to about 5 and Gaddis turned on his telemetry gear. That's when the circuitry loaded my computer which, in turn, started putting out a "Qualified Elevation" (qE) to the launcher of about 89.6 degrees. That's when you saw the launcher go to "Ready".
Man, I thought I was going to die a little old Seaman-Zippo in Portsmouth because I didn't holler "Cease Fire" or "Silence" or something more appropriate than "Uh-Oh". FTM3 Dan Marcus pronounced the whole thing a "Comedy of errors" which sounded good to most of us -- the screaming and hollering died down after just a few days.
That's how we almost sunk the JPJ and the carrier in one fell-swoop.
Speaking of JPJ-Gotcha's: Do I remember correctly that the Torpedomen once fired a tool-box out of one of the starboard tri-pod tubes?
FTM2 Dave Grinnell
Submitted by Brad Gilbert (DDG-32): USS John Paul Jones - Snub-Nose #1
I was there when JPJ the 3rd built and fired his brass cannon, and when we
got our snub-nose in Port Hueneme. Not only did we hit with our bow but, when we
backed down then went hard starboard forward, hit again broadside, then backed
down with hard starboard forward, hitting again with the fantail. Then we went
on to Hawaii and ripped the boat-davits off a DD there in Pearl Harbor while
trying to tie up.
FTMC (SW) Ret. Brad Gilbert, 1975-78
Submitted by Ray Hicks (DDG-32):
The story of shooting oranges through a brass cannon provided a good laugh. I
remember watching -- everyone was surprised and very pleased with the smoke and
noise it produced when fired.
In '78 when I was discharged, the ship also had an Ensign with the distinguished name of John Paul Jones III.
IC2 Ray Hicks 1976-78
We are very fortunate to have so many shipmates from 4 different ships making up the JPJ Assn. – 437 at last count. Depending on where our reunions are held, 100+ shipmates and wives typically attend, making for wonderful "family-like" get-togethers. Virtually every shipmate attending reunions, plus about 100 more, regularly pay their $20.00 association Dues, covering the periods between reunions – 18-20 months on average.
Unfortunately, that leaves roughly 275 members on the roster who haven’t paid dues (widows are excluded from paying Dues) – and, in most instances, never have.
We’re still very glad to have them as members, however, sending them newsletters, keeping them informed of happenings within the association, and about the current USS John Paul Jones DDG-53. Through some of them, we’ve learned of the whereabouts of "long-lost" shipmates who have then become association members, and we hope word of the JPJ Assn. is spread far and wide by many of this group. So, the "return" is worth the effort.
Nevertheless, it would be most helpful and very much appreciated if ALL members would pay Dues. It’s easy -- just make out a check for $20.00 payable to the USS John Paul Jones Association and mail to:
CAPT John J. McKechnie, SC, USN (Ret.)
USS John Paul Jones Association
540 Alameda Blvd.
Coronado, CA 92118-1617
To date, 63 members have paid their dues. They are:
SCHAEFFER, Sr., C.
SCHAEFFER, Sr., J.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT OF THE JPJ ASSN.