Summer 2008
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Summer 2008

From the Prez

Our shipmate Don Wall has started the ball rolling toward our April 17-20, 2009 Reunion in NASHVILLE, TN.

This will not be the first time our reunion left the ocean shore – Colorado Springs was a great one. Mark your calendars and start looking for airline deals. Not a bad idea to sign up for such things as SOUTHWEST AIRLINES deal notifications: http://www.southwest.com/email/emailSubscribe.html  (no I don’t own the stock).

Also, Don can use some early arrivals and other volunteers to setup and run the reunion.

Reunions are a time to reconnect with JPJ shipmates. Let’s talk about finding lost shipmates – over the years we guess that some 2400 shipmates passed through the XO’s Ship’s Office and drew pay on the Mess Deck of a JOHN PAUL JONES.  We have 376 members’ addresses and 233 email addresses so you can see we have work to do. Pass along any shipmates you find to Andy Longo treasurer@ussjohnpauljones.org tele #781-749-1094 or me at 619-435-3978.  Dues payers have access to the membership list on our web site - http://ussjohnpauljones.org/  - if you forgotten the password check with Andy.

Many thanks to our new Webmaster NORM KNUPP (STG2 ‘72-’75) for his work to transition the site to a new server at a considerable savings of our dues dollars. Check out the WHAT’S NEW button at: http://ussjohnpauljones.org/WhatsNew.htm

We also have a YAHOO REUNION site at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/USS_JPJ/ for reunion info and to aid our search for new members. Sign up.

Have a great summer,
John J. McKechnie
LTJG ’61-‘63

New Member

Andy Longo reports that a “long-lost” member of the flock has finally returned to the roost: Ralph “Pooch” Norris  (DD-932 ’57-’60).  WELCOME BACK ABOARD!!

Anyone wishing to contact Ralph:
18 Norton Farm Rd.
Freeport, ME 04032
Tel:  (207) 865-6596

Member Update

Keeping track of the whereabouts of members gets difficult at times, as returned newsletters with “Address Unknown” or “No Forwarding Address” all-too-frequently show.  Nevertheless, with the help of mutual friends and shipmates, we are able to keep track of most members.  One group of members we’ve all heard from in past newsletters, and try to keep tabs on, are recent CO’s of DDG-53.

Currently, several are serving in the Pentagon:
CAPT Tom Carney
CAPT Dave Steindl
CAPT-Select Jim Housinger

CAPT Andy Cully stayed in the San Diego area, and is now working for COMNAVSURFOR.

Last Call

We recently received a notice from the executor of his estate that C.E. Chuck Vold passed away May 22, 2008. Chuck was living in Banning, Calif. at the time of his death. Regrettably, our records don’t show which JPJ Chuck served on, nor the dates of service.   He will be missed by those who knew and sailed with him.

Binnacle List -

VP Bob Hildebrand was recovering from a knee-replacement operation he had recently when he did a “job” on his ankle while out walking, which put him back in the hospital. He came home July 31 and will now start outpatient therapy. Calls are welcome: 909-636-1898. We wish you a speedy recovery, Bob.

Sea Bag ..........

The end of last year, Alan Owens, who, as 3rd A/E USNS Sioux (’00-’01) participated in towing our JPJ out of San Francisco for a SINKEX the end of January 2001, made available not only pictures of the tow (see last page of JPJ Newsletter – Winter 2008), but, more importantly he also offered to donate the original Engine-Order Telegraph from DD-932/DDG-32, which he had in the basement at his home in New Hampshire.  Under the auspices of our Prez, John McKechnie, the engine-order telegraph was offered to the CO of the Surface Warfare Officers School, CAPT J.S. Jones (very appropriately). Some of you may remember meeting CAPT Jones who was an invited guest at the final banquet of the Newport Reunion last November.

Below is CAPT Jones’ letter of acceptance for the Engine-Order Telegraph.

The SERAPIS flag - This flag was used by JOHN PAUL JONES during his successful battle with HMS SERAPIS August 24, 1780.


SERAPIS flag

The affair of the Ranger, so brilliantly conducted, the short, energetic cruise in narrow seas, so near the British naval stations, gave Jones a great reputation for gallantry in Paris. His lieutenant, Simpson, after various refractory proceedings, had sailed home in the Ranger, when an arrangement was finally made with Le Ray de Chaumont, the negotiator of the French court, to furnish a jointly equipped and officered fleet, of which Jones was to take command. Five vessels were thus provided, including the American frigate Alliance. An old Indiaman, the Duke de Duras, fell to the lot of Jones.

In compliment to Dr. Franklin, one of the commissioners, he changed the name of his vessel, by permission of the French Government, to the Bon Homme Richard.

Jones at length set sail, on August 14th, with his squadron. Landais, an incompetent Frenchman in the American service, was in command of the Alliance. It was altogether a weak, mongrel affair. The Bon Homme Richard was unseaworthy, her armament was defective, and in her motley crew Englishmen and foreigners outnumbered the Americans. The plan of the cruise was to sail round the British Islands from the westward. At Cape Clear the commander parted with two of the smaller vessels of the squadron, which now consisted of his own ship, the Alliance, the Pallas, and the Vengeance. The service was, however, far more impaired by the insubordination of Landais, who evinced great jealousy of his superior. Several prizes were taken, one of them by Jones off Cape Wrath, at the extremity of Scotland. Traversing the eastern coast, he arrived, with the Pallas and the Vengeance, at the Firth of Forth, and entertained the bold idea of attacking the armed vessels at the station, and putting not only Leith, but possibly the capital, Edinburgh itself, under contribution. He would certainly have made the attempt--indeed, it was in full progress--when it was defeated by a violent gale of wind.

Jones now continued his course southwardly, casting longing eyes upon Hull and Newcastle, when, having been joined by the Alliance, the squadron suddenly, off Flamborough Head, fell in with the Baltic cruisers, the Serapis, forty-four, Captain Pearson, and the Countess of Scarborough, twenty, Captain Piercy, convoying a fleet of merchantmen. Jones at once prepared for action.

The combat which ensued, between the Serapis and the Bon Homme Richard, is one of the most remarkable in the annals of naval warfare, for the circumstances under which it was fought, the persistence of the contest, and the well-matched valor of the commanders. The engagement was by moonlight, on a tranquil sea, within sight of the shore, which was crowded with spectators, who thronged the promontory of Flamborough Head and the piers of Scarborough. After various preliminary manoeuvres on the part of the English commander to shelter the merchantmen, the engagement began at half-past seven in the evening, with a series of attempts of the Bon Homme Richard to come to close quarters with her antagonist. There was an effort to board the Serapis, which was repulsed, when Captain Pearson called out, "Has your ship struck?" and Jones instantly replied, "I have not yet begun to fight." The ships then separating, were brought again to a broadside encounter, when Jones, feeling the superior force of the Serapis, and her better sailing, was fully prepared to take advantage of the next position as the ships fell foul of one another, to grapple with his opponent. He himself assisted in lashing the jib-stay of the Scrapis to the mizzenmast of the Richard.

The ships became now closely entangled for their full length on their starboard sides; so near were they together, that the guns of one touched the sides of the other, and in some places where the port-holes met, the guns were loaded by passing the rammers into the opposite vessel. Every discharge in this position was of course most deadly, and told fearfully upon the rotten hull of the Richard. To add to Jones's embarrassment, he was repeatedly fired upon by Landais, from the Alliance, which always kept her position with the Richard between her and the enemy. This extraordinary circumstance is only to be accounted for by an entire lack of presence of mind in the confusion, or by absolute treachery.

The Serapis poured in her fire below from a full battery, while the Richard was confined to three guns on deck. She had efficient aid, however, in clearing the deck of the Serapis, from the musketry and hand-grenades of her men in the tops. One of these missiles reached the lower gun-deck of the Serapis, and there setting fire to a quantity of exposed cartridges, produced a destruction of life, an offset to the fearful loss of the Richard by the bursting of her guns in the opening of the engagement. The injury to the Richard, from the wounds inflicted upon her hull, was at this time so great that she was pronounced to be sinking, and there was a cry among the men of surrender; not, however, from Jones, who was as much himself at this extremity as ever. Seeing the English prisoners, who had been released below, more than a hundred in number, rushing upon deck, where in a moment they might have leaped into the Serapis, and put themselves under then country's flag, he coolly set them to working the pumps, to save the sinking ship. Human courage and resolution have seldom been more severely tried than in the exigencies of this terrible night on board the Richard. Jones continued to ply his feeble cannonade from the deck, leveled at the mainmast of the adversary. Both vessels were on fire, when, at half-past ten, the Serapis struck.

CO’s Column – DDG-53

USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) has safely returned from its four-month Western Pacific Deployment and is now deeply entrenched in her much-needed and deserved Emergency Docking Selected Repair Availability.  It seems like the crew is now having its first chance to breathe easy after a very arduous two years of operations home and abroad.

When I last wrote, JPJ had just successfully finished INSURV and was prepping for its second deployment in ten months.  JPJ stayed in the Seventh Fleet Area of Operations with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group and conducted a myriad of Joint, Combined, and Multi Strike Group Operations.  Our Combined Operations were conducted with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force and the Republic of Korea Navy.  Both were great opportunities for our crew to work with our allies in the tactical, ship handling and social environments.  Nimitz CSG worked with both Reagan and Kitty Hawk Strike Groups in various Air Defense, Strike, Anti-Submarine and Anti-Surface Warfare exercises, and with the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group for their ESG Certification, where JPJ excelled and shined as the premier DDG/surface combatant in theater.  While in the Seventh Fleet AOR, we made port visits to Hawaii, Guam (twice), Hong Kong, and Pusan, Korea.  Good liberty was had by all.

As we left Seventh Fleet and the Nimitz Strike Group, JPJ sailed to Alaska in company with USS Chafee to participate in the Joint Operation Northern Edge. Though weather did not support the Air Force’s ability to fly over the Gulf of Alaska to support the Navy’s participation, JPJ did take advantage of the time at sea by conducting Unit Level Training and enjoy two wonderful port visits in Seward Alaska; and, on the transit back to San Diego, in Everett Washington.  Additionally, we did a glacier run, took some great pictures, and did some profitable fishing.

JPJ returned from this second deployment on 27 May 2008 and spent the next twenty days in stand down.  The work never stops, nor the inspections.  The ship continued to prepare for the Supply Management Certification which went extremely well, earning the Blue Excellence Award for the first time in ten years, a giant leap towards earning the Battle E.  We also had a wonderful visit from RADM McNamara, Capt John Kelly and Capt John McKechnie who pleasantly surprised us with a donation to our MWR.  It was a joy to have them aboard and we look forward to any JPJ Association visits to the current John Paul Jones.

Left-to-Right: ENS Lauren Griebel, CDR Chris Barnes (CO), ENS Warren Bong, CAPT John McKechnie, LTGJ Benjamin McCarty (ASWO), RADM Tom McNamara, CAPT John Kelly, LT Shawn Morgheim (SUPPO), ENS Kyle Fullerton

We now are sitting in Dry Dock in NASSCO getting a great deal of work done to repair some long-standing problems and to get improvements to the ship.  The crew worked very hard to identify material issues over the past year to put together a very comprehensive availability package.  Every job was picked up with promises of more “nice to have” work in the future.

John Paul Jones will be in this EDSRA until early October when we will re-commence the training cycle in preparation for the next deployment cycle.

Sincerely and Very Respectfully,
Christopher K. Barnes
Commander, U.S. Navy

Commanding Officer

Good and Humorous Thoughts