Winter 2008
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Winter 2008

Notes from the Prez...

I have had time now to reflect back on my sudden and surprise election as Association President.  Believe me, I had already agreed to continue on as Treasurer but it’s a relief to pass that job to Andy Longo – Thanks Andy for picking up the task I have held since MYSTIC.  Our Treasurer is also the keeper of the database; so, keep your addresses, both mail and email, up-to-date with Andy.

Back to reflections - Thank you for the vote of confidence …. I will do my best to not disappoint you.  Doug Weiser and I follow Bob Hayler and Al Olsen – former skippers of JPJ who started this Association over 15 years ago. In fact I remember Captain Olsen calling me in Phila. in 1975 or ’76, advising me of a gathering of JPJ’ers in DC.

In looking at our reason for being – REUNIONS head the list. I have looked at past attendance and note that most of our DDG-32 shipmates are of the age to still be in the working world and still approaching retirement. Those two impediments restrict reunion attendance. As they are overcome, we should see an upswing in reunion attendance. We average 105 …. with NEWPORT ’07 as a new high of 124. Wouldn’t it be great to attract 150 or even 200? If everyone tracked down one lost shipmate we can do it.

It is nice to see shipmates from your days on the Paul Jones or John Paul Jones, but after just one reunion you will have found “shipmates” from all years and it is amazing to see after eleven reunions how the different generations of JPJ sailors have become one. Give it a try in NASHVILLE.

John J. McKechnie ’61-‘63

Newport Reunion Wrap-up …

If you missed the 2007 USS John Paul Jones reunion, then you missed the best reunion … EVER … maybe even for the rest of your life.
The reunion committee put on an excellent show, and all of us had a blast.

Congratulations and BRAVO ZULU to Reunion Committee members Ed Ettinger, George Grove, Andy Longo, and Bill Gallagher!!!

If you’ve never attended one of these events, then you may want to think about joining us in Nashville, Tennessee, in the spring of 2009.
On the following two pages are candid shots taken during the reunion. All of the reunion pictures, along with past cruise-books, will be available, on DVD, at the Nashville reunion.

For those who were not able to attend our 11th Reunion in NEWPORT, the newly-elected Association Officers are:

John McKechnie                President ('61-'63 DD932)
Bob Hildebrand         Vice President ('67-'69 DDG32)
Pete Maytham                      Secretary ('55-'59 DD932)
Andy Longo                         Treasurer ('61-'65 DD932)
Don Wall                      Vice President & NASHVILLE Reunion Chairman ('69-'70 DDG32)

Don has taken on the task of Reunion Coordinator for NASHVILLE.  He’s already contacted several hotels, and is searching for a suitable hotel with an affordable time-slot that’s open for us. We’re also looking at mid-week as well as weekend time-slots, all with an eye on the price.

More news and details will be forthcoming in future newsletters. For now, just …..


Don Wall  GMM2, '69-'70.

Newport in November 2007

Last call ... ...

On 9 December 2007, shipmate Lou Clark,  GMM1, DDG-32, passed peacefully into the hands of God.  Lou had fought a valiant fight against stomach cancer diagnosed last July.  Lou lived in Long Beach for 25 years and is survived by his loving wife Patricia, two daughters, 2 sons, and 6 grandchildren.  Lou was Director of the USS Berkeley Association.  He put the Berkeley in commission in 1962 as a Plank Owner and witnessed it's decommissioning in 1992.  Lou served in both the Marines and Navy, retiring after 21 years of service to a country he loved with all his heart. His memorial service was held with full military honors, and his request for his ashes to be scattered at sea from a Navy ship will be carried out in the Spring of 2008.

Sea Bag ….

·   Jerry Novak, son of Ed Novak, who served aboard DD-230 in 1942, writes that his father is in a nursing-home in Colorado Springs. He’s pretty much blind, in a wheel-chair, but comfortable and in no pain. His son and family stop by to see him almost daily. Ed celebrated his 87th birthday last December. WELCOME to the JPJ family!

·   Gun Boss Antics -  Shipmate Pat Scollard tells an old story about how Clint Kreitner, as DD-932 Gunnery Officer, convinced the Capt. to fire a 5”/54 round to signal our approach to a blind turn in the Chilean Passage, which was an option warships had rather than sounding the horn. Pat writes:   “We aimed at the mountain alongside us (less than a hundred yards or so away), and he (Clint) gave the order to fire. We watched the forward mount's barrel proceed to start moving upward in jerky motions until its line-of-site was clear of the mountain top, and finally the gun fired. By this time, the barrel was almost pointing overhead! Turned out Clint had forgotten about a built-in safety feature that prevented the gun from firing unless it had a minimum separation from the target, and we were so close that it wouldn’t fire initially. Poor Clint never lived it down, and was forever tagged with being the Gun Boss who couldn't hit the side of a mountain!!”

   Clint’s response:  My official position is that it was definitely an equipment failure. However, it gets worse ……  A year or so later, we were conducting a surface gun shoot off Newport.  With all three 5"/54's blazing away at 50 rounds/minute, the officer on the gunfire-control radar informed me via sound-powered phone he thought he could see the tug in his sights.

After giving the cease-fire order, I watched as rounds splashed forward of the tug, aft of the tug, beyond the tug, and between us and the tug.  Not surprisingly, the tug skipper announced over the radio-telephone that he was breaking off and would never tow for JPJ again … ever!!  My tenure as Gun Boss led me to two conclusions: (1) God was looking out for me; and (2), it probably would be a good idea to try some other line of work.”

·   Donation – A donation for $800 was received last October from the ONTARIO (CA) ELKS LODGE 1419, presented to shipmate Bob Hildebrand, designated for the JPJ Assn.. This is the second time this ELKS Lodge has made a generous donation to the association.

·   Shipmate Delbert Foster (DD-932) sent us a greeting and update last Christmas:

“Hello Fellow John Paul Jones shipmates. We’ve finally completed my Wife's treatment and follow-up tests for her cancers; so, we could be looking forward to the next John Paul Jones Assn. get-together.  I transferred from the USS.Markab AD21 the first part of March 1956 with orders to the USS John Paul Jones DD932, but first had to take some emergency leave.  The day I was to report, the Jones left for shake-down; so, I had to stay at the Fargo Building until she got back that Oct. to report aboard. I left the Jones 29 March 1959 for separation when the ship left on a Med Cruise. I was ENFN at the time. A couple months later, I received a letter from the Navy Dept., saying that, if I joined the reserves, I would make EN3 from the exam I had taken on active duty. But I had already started my civilian job; so, I turned them down, and started attending drill meetings in April ’61 or ’62 as a Construction Mechanic until Sep. ‘63  In Jan. 1964, I joined the Reserves again as an ENFN and made 3rd class on the Jan. ‘64 exam. In Apr. ’66, I was called to active duty.  I served on various ships, had Recruiting duty and converted to the Navy Counselor Rate.  I retired 28 February 1982 as a Chief Navy Counselor.  We moved from San Diego, Ca. to Sioux Falls, SD and I went to work for the SD Department of Labor, retiring 31 Aug. 2000.  I've been involved with a large number of Veterans Organizations in various leadership positions local and state wide. Hope to see you in Nashville, TN.”


U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims says VA's current "boots on the ground" definition of "service in the Republic of Vietnam" is "plainly erroneous...and unreasonable, and must be SET ASIDE."   This is incredibly good news for the "Blue Water Navy" of the Vietnam era. The old "boots on the ground" definition is being thrown out.

Be sure to pass this along to any Vietnam-era Navy veteran.

After consideration of the appellant's and the Secretary's briefs, oral argument as presented on January 10, 2006, and a review of the record on appeal, the Court finds that VA's regulation defining "service in the Republic of Vietnam," 38 C.F.R. § 3.307(a)(6)(iii), is permissible pursuant to Chevron; however, the regulation is ambiguous.

VA's argued interpretation of the regulatory term "service in the Republic of Vietnam," affording the application of the presumption of exposure to herbicides only to Vietnam-era veterans who set foot on land and not to the appellant, is inconsistent with longstanding agency views, plainly erroneous in light of legislative and regulatory history, and unreasonable, and must be SET ASIDE. In this case, the M21-1 provision allowing for the application of the presumption of exposure to herbicides based on the receipt of the VSM controls.

The February 2004 Board decision, therefore, is REVERSED to the extent that the Board denied the appellant the presumption of exposure to herbicides and the matter is REMANDED with instructions to apply the presumption in a manner consistent with the interpretation set forth in this opinion.

If service connection for diabetes mellitus is awarded upon remand, VA should ensure appropriate processing of the appellant's claims for secondary service connection for peripheral neuropathy, nephropathy, and retinopathy, claimed as residuals of diabetes mellitus.

·    P.O. Box 1142 (Excerpts from Veterans Day Message by BGEN Joseph L. Shaefer, USAF Ret.)

“Whatever topic I might have chosen for this year's annual Veteran's Day message was changed on 5-6 Oct. when I had the honor of speaking before a group of truly Honorable Men - men who have kept their nation's secrets for 60 years.  The occasion was the first-ever - and possibly the only - reunion of the boys of "Post Office Box 1142."   The youngest of these veterans was 82, the eldest 94.  Most had not seen each other since their unit was disbanded in 1946, when their secrets were classified anew, and the buildings and equipment they used were razed by bulldozers.

PO Box 1142 was a unit so secret that it was referred to only by the address to which the men's personal mail might be sent.  It was comprised of a few US citizens who, because of their heritage, their travels, or their studies, were fluent in German, Italian or Japanese - mostly German.  These few were joined by many more who had escaped Nazi tyranny.  They were refugees from well-to-do families who escaped with only the shirt on their backs, as well as those of lesser means who had the foresight to stay one jump ahead of the encroaching Nazi sickness, and even one man who was already in Dachau and inexplicably released.

All came to America with a far more realistic, and a far more personal, understanding of the evil that was Nazism. All chose, not to cower under the protective shield of nascent American might, but volunteered to serve in the US Armed Forces - knowing they might be volunteering to jump back into the very hell from which they had escaped.

But service in the infantry or armor was not to be their fate.  They were plucked quietly from their initial units and given top-secret orders to report to Fort Hunt, Virginia, now a part of the National Park Service's George Washington Memorial Parkway.  At this location, just south of Alexandria, Virginia, they were tasked to interrogate, interview, debrief, and secretly monitor the prisoner-to-prisoner conversations of high-level (mostly) German POW’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The prisoners they interrogated possessed the most valuable strategic-level information.  They were rocket scientists (it was P.O. Box 1142 veterans who discovered the existence of the V-1s and V-2s at

Peenemunde.)   They were nuclear scientists, some of whose information allowed us to beat the Germans in producing a weapon to end the war.  They were entire U-boat crews, which resulted in major leapfrog advances in US understanding of German codes and ciphers, as well as sonar and radar advances.

And there were many others, including the German general who would later go on to command the West German  intelligence services during the Cold War.

The efforts of these interrogators, debriefers, and monitors shortened the war by an untold - unknowable - period of time.  In this alone, their efforts saved many thousands of lives.  Some of the nuclear

knowledge gained may well have saved millions of lives, Allied and Axis, American, German, and Japanese, military and civilian.

Yet, to a man, these Box 1142 survivors were befuddled by all this attention 6 decades after, for most of them their last days of service. "I was never even shot at," one told me.  "I was never in any real danger," said another.  "I did nothing special," was the refrain from all.  Here were men, many of whom craned their heads to catch our voices with their one good ear, men whose vision paled in poor light, men who walked with difficulty or with assistance, men the nation forgot and never thanked, yet there they stood, prouder and taller, as the flag was unfurled and the national anthem was played.  No resentment.  No regrets.  The arthritis in their hands disappeared as they placed their hands over their hearts or, seeing some of us do so,  saluted smartly as the flag was raised.

A few made the military a career. Most went on to lead other successful and fulfilling lives, becoming doctors, lawyers, college professors (one, the Chairman Emeritus of the Physics Department at MIT) and many other venues, including another who became a US Ambassador to five different countries.

But they were warned they must never speak of the things they did.  The Cold War was descending, and it wouldn't do to let the Soviets know how much we knew; or, who the good guys were in bad places.  So they never did.  Not to their friends, not even to their families. Many of them had died in the intervening years, so their family members came to represent them - and were stunned to hear of their loved ones' accomplishments.  "Never speak" meant never speak, and a promise was a promise.

Good & Humorous Thoughts

·   Chiefs and Cannibals:  Five cannibals were employed by the Navy as translators during one of the island campaigns during World War II.  When the Commanding Admiral of the task force welcomed the cannibals, he said, "You're all part of our team now. We will compensate you well for your services, and you can eat any of the rations that the Sailors are eating. So, please don't indulge yourselves by eating a Sailor." The cannibals promised.

      Four weeks later the Admiral returned and said, "You're all working very hard, and I'm very satisfied with all of you. However, one of our Chiefs has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to him?" The cannibals all shook their heads no.

   After the Admiral left, the leader of the cannibals turned to the others and said, "Which of you idiots ate the Chief?" A hand rose hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals replied, "You fool!  For four weeks we've been eating Ensigns, Lieutenants, Lieutenant Commanders, Commanders, and even one Captain, and no one noticed anything - then YOU had to go and eat a Chief!"

·   Smart Ass Answers:

§   It was mealtime during a flight on Hooters Airline.
"Would you like dinner?" the flight attendant asked John, seated in front.
"What are my choices?" John asked.
"Yes or no," she replied.

§   A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."

§   The cop got out of his car, and the kid who was stopped for speeding rolled down his window.
"I've been waiting for you all day," the cop said.
The kid replied, "Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could."
When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.

CO’s Column – DDG-53

USS John Paul Jones has been very busy since our return from deployment in September.  After completing a highly successful 6 month WESTPAC tour, the crew relaxed for a much-deserved 30-day stand down.  The months of Oct. thru Jan. would be very challenging for the crew as we fought our way through a series of inspections and preparations. 

JPJ was slated to conduct its congressionally-mandated Inspection and Survey (INSURV) in December.  The preparation that goes into it is difficult and very time-consuming.  We were met by multiple hurdles along the way that made the preparation even more challenging.  First, the only maintenance availability we would receive was scheduled for 5 weeks in October and early November.  The inability of Washington to provide an approved budget or a continuing resolution prevented the maintenance from beginning on time.  Once the money was finally in place, the wild-fires in San Diego stopped work for another week, leaving us just two weeks.  As you can guess, most of the work did not start as two weeks was just not enough.  INSURV became a ship’s-force-only preparation event.  Luckily, we started preparing in August.  

Also due to a lack of an approved budget, we were severely restricted in our ability to spend our own OPTAR.  Trying to prepare for INSURV and deployment at the same time can be costly; and, with spending restrictions placed upon all ships, you can imagine the additional difficulties we experienced.  Our sailors became very good at overcoming and adapting in getting all equipment operational and the ship looking good.  As Thanksgiving approached, the crew took a much-needed few days off to recharge their batteries for the stretch run in their preparations for inspection.

Through many underway and inport practice sessions and corrective maintenance, JPJ would start INSURV as scheduled on 10 December.  The inport and underway inspection went extremely well, thanks to the hard work of each sailor on JPJ.  Of course while all this was going on, we were still in the midst of preparing for our 24 January Surge deployment with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group.  The ship and our sailors earned many accolades from INSURV inspectors on their preparation and performance. 

With INSURV wrapping up on 14 December, the crew would take its holiday leave/pre-deployment stand-down in unison, though the work never stopped as we had a few more big events ahead of us in mid- January. 

The first big event was our Naval Surface Fire Support qualification (Firex).  The 5-inch gun has been working extremely well over the last 6 months and we knew it would perform admirably for us once again.  The gunner’s mates take pride in it and it shows.  Our NSFS team smoked the Firex with a score of 92 (Battle E eligible).  As the last of our pre-deployment requirements wrapped up, we conducted an Anti Terrorism/Force Protection assessment and passed with flying colors, and conducted our pre-deployment ammunition onload. 

The ship returned to San Diego on 17 January for a week’s respite prior to deploying on 24 January.  This quick turnaround (less than 4 months) was required due to the need for a Carrier Strike Group presence in Seventh Fleet while KITTY HAWK was in a yard period.  NIMITZ CSG answered the call, and we are on our way to conducting a multitude of exercises, port visits and operations in the Seventh Fleet Area of Responsibility. 


                                                                                    Sincerely and Very Respectfully,

                                                                                    Christopher K. Barnes
Commander, U.S. Navy
Commanding Officer

Last Sea Voyage of USS John Paul Jones (DD-932)

John Paul Jones SINKEX, Jan 2001

In Dec. 2007 –

My name is Alan Owens- I was an engineer aboard the tug, USNS Sioux (T-ATF-171), in January 2001, when we towed the former USS John Paul Jones (DDG-32) out San Francisco Bay into the Pacific for her target/training 'SINKEX’. I was looking through some of my photos recently and found one you may be interested in. I was one of the last 10 people to walk her decks during the tow-inspection a couple days before the exercise off the California coast.
Best regards,
Alan Owens
3rd A/E USNS Sioux, '00-'01

Remember the USS John Paul Jones