"Keepers of the Dragon"

January 2003  Summer Issue

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 THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ........

 Shipmates and Ladies,

   Thank you for electing me as your President for the next two years. I would like to thank Henry Stephens, on behalf of the entire membership, for serving on the Board of Directors, as the Chaplain, for the past 12 years. He served us well and has been an inspiration to all. Thank you Henry, God speed and following seas. I want to welcome Don "Moose" Fullbright to the Board of Directors as our new Chaplain.  I want to thank all those who attended the 18th annual reunion in Las Cruces, NM. I sincerely hope everyone had as much fun as I did. I again want to thank Bill and Nina Grizzard and Mike and Joyce Seitz for doing such a good job in planning the reunion. A hardy “well done” to all those who helped to make the reunion such a success. Again this year I am establishing a set of goals for the Board of Directors to work on. They are as follows:

1.        Develop and promulgate a new membership card.

2.        Develop a SOP/Board of Directors resolutions document.

3.        Review the Operational by-laws and develop recommended changes.

4.        Increase our membership by 10%. (All members should be actively recruiting eligible individuals.)

5.        Continue to develop a listing of all the individuals who worked in the Navy Nuclear Weapons Program (Navy, Marines and civilians). We need help from the entire membership to achieve this goal. Mike Snyder our Historian will address how you can help in his section of this newsletter.

6.        Develop and procure a logo baseball cap.

  Again there have been regular members applying for lifetime membership. The association does not have a lifetime membership for regular members. Lifetime membership has been voted down by the membership previously and there are no plans to re-visit this issue at this time. Presently, the lifetime membership is only for the surviving spouse of a regular member. For this lifetime membership, all dues and fees are waived and such member has no voting rights.

  The term "Keepers of the Dragon" ©Ô has been copyrighted by the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association. Any use by individuals or organizations must be approved, in writing, by the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association prior to its use.

  Our next reunion will be October 9- 12, 2003 in Branson, Mo. You will find more information in this newsletter. I hope you will find it to your liking and join us for another fine reunion.

  I am still looking for Volunteers for the Secretary and Treasurer's positions. We can fill the positions by one person or separately with two individuals. Anyone wishing to volunteer please contact me or one of the other Directors.

  I would like to wish all of you a belated holiday greeting and a prosperous New Year.

Hope to see everyone in Branson, 9-12 October 2003. Jim Hambley

 

ÓÔ Copyright 2002,2003 and Trademark of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association. All rights reserved worldwide.


Spalling and Exudate from the NNWA Historian

     In mid-December the NNWA memorabilia was returned after wending its way to New Mexico and back.  Thanks especially to Frank Kelly and all the others for their personal effort in making the material available at Las Cruces.  I’m pleased with the response to my appeal for personal historical accounts and memorabilia.  Nearly everyday my mailbox or e-mail contains some new gem of nuclear weapons history and humor or physical artifact.  Jack Hayes continues to inundate the NNWA with personal stories and printed material from his lengthy career.  A new (to NNWA) Arm/Safe lock, USS Saratoga ships patches and W-Division insignia were among the items donated in Las Cruces.  Eldon Irby provided an impressive “Dragon”, giving life to our motto.  I appeal to you to recount your nuclear weapons experiences.  A few paragraphs or multiple pages are of equal interest.  It is very important that we preserve the unique events and contributions of the sailors associated with the 50 plus years of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Program. 

     Established as a 2003 and continuing goal, the NNWA Board of Directors set the task to identify as many persons associated with the Navy Nuclear Weapons Program as possible.  To that end, please send me copies of W Division cruise book pages, copies of orders with multiple names, lists of names of people you knew in the program, etc.  The data we wish to accumulate for each person is:  Persons Name, Rank/Rate, Command at which known, Date known there, Brief comment or interesting fact(s).  e.g. Mike Snyder, NWSN, USS Kitty Hawk, 1960-62, Round the Horn Cruise; John McCarron, CWO4 Gunner, 1964-66, GM3 aboard USS Arizona 7 Dec 41.  I plan to accumulate the information in an MS Access Data Base. 

CONTRIBUTE! !  We want to preserve your history and display your artifacts.   Michael Snyder 


CHAPLAINS CORNER.  As our Nation is experiencing difficult times let us pray for the safety and welfare of our servicemen who are serving in defense of Our Great Country.    As we move forward into a New Year, May God Bless and protect each Member and Family.
     Let us remember the following shipmates who have joined the Staff of the Supreme Commander. Jack  Hale and Sheldon Grindstad . May God comfort those who have lost family members and loved ones since the last reunion.
                                                                               GOD BLESS ALL.  Don Fullbright


Webmaster Report – www.navynucweps.com  - January 2003

   We have had about 10,000 hits on our website in the last year.  This is more than some commercial sites have!!  We still wish to have input from you on how the website can be more useful to you and keep you coming back.

   With this issue of the newsletter, many of you will be receiving it electronically saving us the postage and printing costs.  I e-mailed every member for who we have a current e-mail address and have received over 100 responses.  We did also come up with some bad e-mail addresses.  If your name is on this list, please let me, Ray Margeson, (rmargeson@aol.com) or Ellamae Weaver (leonly@ktc.com) know your current e-mail address.

ELTON CALL

DENNIS R. MOODY

LOUIS (BILL) BROWN

MRS. ERNETT CHRANE

MICHAEL A. CORDOZA

RALPH W. DANKLEFSEN

RALPH (JERRY) DOUGAN JR

JACK HAYES

ERIC A. HUMMELL

GERALD C. HYATT

MRS. DORIS LOWE

JACKIE D. KNICK

DALE L. MILLER

ALLEN MAXWELL

THOMAS B. W. NATION

MRS. PATRICIA PETERS

R. J. RITTER

DAVID D. RUFF

LAURENCE SEXTON

THOMAS J. TARDY

 JAMES THOMPSON

RUSS TICHACEK

ROBERT D. TOME

LARRY R. WEBB

 WELDON K. ZIMMERMAN

 


"REUNION IN BRANSON, MO. - 9th - 12th OCTOBER, 2003

Paulette Picoult and her team in Oklahoma are our hosts.  They have employed expert reunion planners, "Your Best Friend in Branson" headed by Susan Gannucci, to ensure we have the most enjoyable reunion for the most reasonable cost.  Besides our usual Dinner-Dance on Sat. night, we're going to have Dinner Shows both Thur. & Fri. night, plus shows, tours, and lunch's, this is all going to be offered in a package deal that includes your hotel room and a continental breakfast every morning. We are in the process of getting the Reservation forms ready; they will include an itinerary, and ALL the information you need to make your reservations.  As soon as possible all info will also be available on the web site. See ya in Branson


SECRETARY/TREASURER’S REPORT.  Ellamae Weaver

  Minutes of the Las Cruces, New Mexico, 18th Annual Navy Nuclear Weapons Association business meeting are attached to this bulletin.  The annual financial report dated 16 October 2001 to 30 September 2002, also attached, has been filed as official documentation for the association. The supplemental reunion report reflects all bills paid.

  NNWA membership has now increased to 452 members, altho many are in arrears in paying dues.  Please check your mailing address on this newsletter.  The date behind your name shows the year your dues are paid through.  If it is 2002 or before, your DUES ARE PAYABLE NOW. For those of you who are receiving this Newsletter electronically, we will  send an e-mail reminder. For membership that expired in

 the year 2001 or before, the Reinstatement cost is $20.00.  Annual dues are $10.00 per year, and you can pay for as many years in advance as you wish.  Policy is to drop members who are more than three years delinquent in paying dues. 

  We want to keep you informed of reunion news and other important information.  Use the enclosed Membership Renewal Form to pay your dues and also indicate what information you permit us to publish on the NNWA website.  We will send a FREE current MEMBERSHIP ROSTER to members whose dues are paid.


WELCOME, New Members, Reinstatements, Associates

 

Gordon U. Adams                                  Robert “Jack” Daniels                            Louis F. Kulis                                         Donald C. Strong

Arthur J. Allen                                        Mark J. Gibson                                       Albion C. LeBlanc                                  Robert E. Thompson

James R. “Sam” Bass                              Richard E. Gurule                                   Arthur R. Lucero                                    Robert S. Thompson

Clarence J. Bindoni                 Orland L. Hartmann                                David C. O’Connell                                Gilbert N. Trevino

Billy J. Beddingfield                               Ernest W. “Bill” Herr                             Rich Romeo                                            Thomas A. Trimble

David A. Blake                                       Joseph D. Hohe                                      David M. Sauer, Jr.                 Russell A. Tucker

Joseph A. Bruno                                     Robert Hughes                                        Robert F. Southard                                 Steven C. Urbin

Raymond A. Craycraft                           James E. “Jim” Hunt                              Robert J. Speicher                                   Alfred L. Wylie

Richard D. Cupp                                    Clarke R. Ketter                                      William H. Stoddard                               James W. Tuggle

John W. “Bill” Filbert                            Alden W. Duffield, Jr.



VICE PRESIDENT’S REPORT.  Sid Hart

Happy holidays to all! I hope this newsletter finds you in good health and spirits. We have accomplished a lot since the last newsletter. First, I would like to thank Bill and Nina Grizzard and Mike and Joyce Seitz for a superb reunion!

     Second, I would like to welcome all new and reinstated members and sincerely hope to see you at the reunion in Branson.

      Our President has established new goals for the 2003 year…and with his superlative leadership, I see accomplishment of all this year.

      This last year, Douglas Carroll (member) and I attended a luncheon with Gen. Paul Tibbetts as the guest speaker. We obtained copies of his book and he autographed a copy personalized for the NNWA. We plan on presenting it to the membership at the Branson Business Meeting.

        One of the President’s goals for this year is a 10% increase in membership…to obtain this goal, each and every one of the members needs to contact shipmates we know and get them to join up! It’s real easy for them to join…and they can get an application from our website…let’s get ‘em signed up!

        Until Branson, Jody and I wish you a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year


Master At Arms – Logo Salesman – Reports.  Frank Cantrell

  Sales of the logo items are going well. As a matter of fact, if memberships, and sales continue at the present rate, we will have to reorder both patches and decals this year.  The embroidered patches are $5.00 per logo (mix and match) plus $1.50 shipping and handling for up to 5 patches.  The 5” vinyl decal suitable for a car window is $3.25 including shipping.

  Sales at the reunion were great! We had many requests for logo ball caps, as well as a membership card. I am making progress on both of those items, and will be presenting proposals to the board in the next few weeks. Happy New Year to ALL! You can reach me at (864)859-3056, 2772 Greenville Highway, Liberty, SC 29657


Service Officer Report

January 2003

 Dear fellow NNWA members,

 Thank you for allowing me to continue to serve you.  I will ensure that you are provided prompt and pertinent information on veteran, benefit and informational issues that would be of interest to you.

 Below are summaries of some current, topical issues.

 Yours in service,

 Chuck Weber

navychuk@ptd.net

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

VA Benefits – all were increased by 1.4% effective 01 Dec 2002. 

VA Claims – the backlog in claims processing was reduced 21% in 9 months.  BZ to VA. 

Federal Long Term Care Insurance – This insurance provides coverage for “nursing home” types of elder care.  The program is open to ALL Federal employees, annuitants and retirees.  The open enrollment period for this insurance ended on December 31, 2002.  I’ll let you know when the next open season is announced.  For immediate assistance, e-mail info@ltcpartners.com.

  Identity Theft/Fraudulent Representation – We mentioned this to you last year.  Pay close attention.  There are people out there who will try to obtain your personal info (name+SSN+mom’s maiden name+date of birth+PIN number, etc.) to steal from you…. and it will ruin your life.  Always make sure that you know for sure with whom you are speaking before revealing any of your personal information.  Recently, the military’s Tricare system was revealed as a source of leaks of personal info!  A little while ago a nationwide scam was revealed where they stole info and money from tens of thousands of people.  If you ever “registered” your DD-214 or discharge papers with a County Recorder or Prothonotary, get them back.  They are now a “public record” and anyone can take your info from them.  Be careful what info you store on your PC hard drives, and make absolutely certain that they are at least protected with “firewalls” lest someone break in and getcha.  Shred personal papers before throwing them in to the trash.  “To be forewarned is to be forearmed” – a wise and apt old Navy axiom.  

 

REUNION 2002
We wish to thank all who attended the 2002 NNWA Reunion in Las Cruces.  We had approximately 1/4 the of our total membership in attendance and truly wish more could have attended.  We feel honored to have had the privilege of hosting the Reunion for such a Prestigious group as "YOU", the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association.  We strongly urge all who can possibly attend FUTURE reunions next year and in the out years, do so, because WE were, and are, Keepers of the Dragon.ÓÔ

Sincerely,
Bill and Nina Grizzard
Mike and Joyce Seitz


MINUTES OF THE NAVY NUCLEAR WEAPONS ASSOCIATION BUSINESS MEETING 28 SEP 02, HELD IN HILTON HOTEL, LAS CRUCES, NEW MEXICO, AT APPROXIMATELY 0900

  About 30 members were present, and eight members of the Board of Directors.

  The President, Jim Hambley called the meeting to order.  He asked the members to rise for the opening prayer by Chaplain, Henry Stephens, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

The Two-Bell Ceremony was conducted by the Chaplain, in honor of departed shipmates, Tom Best and A.L. (Sparkie) Haukeried, and those who guard our country today.  

New Members and Board Members were introduced.

  The minutes of the last business meeting were read, and accepted.

  The Treasurer presented the Treasurer’s Report (attached) and announced that the bills from the reunion had not all been paid, but that a complete report would be included in the January NNWA Bulletin. It was approved to pay all outstanding bills. The report was accepted

The President reported on last year’s accomplishments.  all goals were reached.   (1)The association was incorporated Apr 3, 2002, with thanks to Chuck Weber. (2) The web site is on line with much thanks to Ray Margeson.  (3) NNWA business card has been created and distributed to all members.  (4) Terms of office for the Board have been established and included in By-Laws.  (5) By-Laws have been distributed for voting  (6) Membership increased by 68 new members  (7) PAO release and Reunion Announcements were sent to 72 magazines and newspapers (8) NNWA Decal created and up for sale.  One is included in each member’s reunion packet.

The Secretary gave the following report covering the past year’s activities. 

There were four big mail-outs to all NNWA members.

(1)      January 2002 Bulletin with last years minutes/treasurer’s report

(2)      Reunion Information

(3)      June 2002 Bulletin with proposed constitution and by-laws

(4)      Membership Rosters were mailed to all whose dues were paid up through 2002

There were 68 new member packets mailed.

In addition to collecting and depositing the fees and dues from the new members, dues were collected and deposited from 150 regular members.

Public affairs releases and reunion notices were mailed to 72 magazines and newspapers.

80 folders were prepared for the reunion

Monies were collected and deposited for all the tours, meals, and hospitality room.

There are now 434 Total members, 10 Associates, 31 Life, and 394 Regular members.

We have lost 55 members whose dues had not been paid for three years or more.  Mail was returned for 13 of these, with no forwarding address, and we could not find them over the Internet, and the remaining 42 did not answer our correspondence.

Of the 394 regular members, 17 have paid dues through the year 2000, 26 paid through the year 2001, and 351 are paid through 2002 and beyond.

Actions taken by the Board of Directors:

(1)The Board voted to not purchase a lap top computer.

(2)The Board authorized Ray Margeson to expend approximately $93.24 for one year of service using the website name www.navynucweps.com (actual cast $108.24)

(3)The Board authorized Mike Snyder to purchase plaques and nameplates for memory of the deceased members.

(4)The Board authorized payment of Incorporation and Filing Fees.  Thanks to Chuck Weber’s friends, the lawyers who did the work, NNWA has not been billed.

(5) The Board approved the Articles of Incorporation By-Laws and the Operational By-Laws.

(6)The Board authorized sending logo badges to lawyers handling NNWA Incorporation.

(7)The Board authorized purchase of 300, five-inch diameter, logo decals from Military Graphics for $710.00 ($703.50 plus $6.50 shipping).

(8)The Board authorized the expenditure of funds (not to exceed $100.00) for printing of 1000 NNWA Business Cards (actual cost was$51.17).

(9)The Board approved the proposal for the “Supreme Commander’s Staff” page on NNWA website.

(10)The Board approved to provide one NNWA Logo Decal to each member attending the Las Cruces Reunion.

(11)The Board Authorized to dispense funds to Bill Grizzard for 2002 Reunion.

(12)The Board authorized subsidizing the dinner dance for $1,550.00, for the 2002 Reunion

The Master at Arms, Frank Cantrell, reported on logo and decal sales.

  Service Officer, Chuck Weber gave three reports  (1) He and Sid Hart conducted an Ad Hoc audit of the secretary/treasurer’s records:  Corporation and Operational By-Laws maintained and corporate seal and book were in good order, and they found the financial records in perfect balance. (2) He explained the procedures and purposes for Incorporation. (3) The Service Officer report is attached.

  Web Master, Ray Margeson, reported that since .Jan 1, when we went on line, there have been 7400 hits to the website.  If you want your name, address, telephone, e-mail address on line let Ray know and he will put it on line.  If you want to locate missing buddies let Ray know. On some mass mailings 30 or 40 bad addresses came back.  Please keep us up-to-date on your e-mail address.  Because of mailing costs for the newsletters, if you would like to not get a mailed copy, and get notification on e-mail that the Newsletters are on the web site, let Ray know.  It costs nothing to e-mail you, and will be great savings to the association.  If you do want to get electronic mailing of the newsletter, let Ray know.  If you want something done differently let him know.  We want the web site to be something you can use.

  Historian Report (attached) was given by Sid Hart in the absence of Mike Snyder. The report includes a letter from Bob King's son in law. 

  Under unfinished business:

The President thanked Bill and Nina Grizzard and Joyce and Mike Seitz for hosting this reunion.   Bill Grizzard thanked Mike and Joyce for doing all the El Paso and Juarez tours.  He reported that 148 people are attending and 29 States are represented.  He received a round of applause.

  The Operational By-Laws were presented, there was no discussion, and were unanimously accepted.

  Eldon Irby said that he would like to make a formal presentation to NNWA of the dragon that is on display in the memorabilia room. There were many affirmative and complimentary comments on the dragon.

Bill Grizzard said he had been given Trinitite from the Trinity Site for display with the other historical items.

  Under New Business:

  The President announced this being an even year, the following positions on the Board of Directors are up for election:  President, Service Officer, Chaplain, Master at Arms, and one Director.  He turned the chair over to the Nominations Chairman, Chuck Weber, to conduct the election.  The following officers were nominated or volunteered, and elected. 

President, Jim Hambley

Service Officer, Chuck Weber

Director, Bill Grizzard

Master at Arms, Frank Cantrell

Chaplain, Don Fullbright

  A motion was made that NNWA obtain Reunion Liability Insurance for each future reunion; it was seconded, voted on, and passed.

  Jim Hambley announced that information on the 2003 19th reunion, to be held in Branson, MO, will be included in the January NNWA Bulletin.  He announced that the 2004 20th reunion is scheduled for the Eastern Region and Sid Hart will investigate the feasibility of having the reunion on a cruise. Info will be published in the January Bulletin.  Other sites suggested are:  Savannah, GA, with Dee Rochester as host; Williamsburg, VA, no host; Atlanta, GA, no host; Fredericksburg, VA, no host. .  John Dillon suggested that more information be available on what are the duties of the host. 

  The President said that the Secretary and Treasurer positions will be open next year and he is looking for volunteers to put their names in the ring. (Please let the President or one of your Board members know if you wish to serve.) 

  There being no other new business, the President asked all to rise.  Henry Stephens said it has been an honor to serve as Chaplain for the past 14 years.  He read an inspirational poem and then pronounced the closing prayer.  The meeting was adjourned


Service Officer Report

September 28, 2002

 

VA Health Care is under-funded per a recent presidential task force report.  And...  VA says NO to new patients – a shortage of funding has caused VA to cease enrolling new patients in its health care system who are not service connected disabled.  In the past three years the number of patients has doubled yet the funding has only increased 32%.  If you are not enrolled, it is too late.

.To adjust with the increased demand and decreasing funding, VA has launched Phase II of its CARES initiative to bring its benefits closer to where the veterans live and more efficiently.  It’ll take about two years to finish this process.

  Concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability pay – drags on in Congress at the House and Senate versions are argued.  The White House supports neither.  Over 437,000 disabled military retirees are the only workers in America who have their earned retirement reduced by their earned service connected disability.

  Long Term Care Insurance – protection for your old age needs is now available for all retired federal employees:  military, civil service and postal service.  For details and applications call 800-582-3337 or log on at www.ltcfeds.com.  (These are new contact points.)

  Radiation caused illnesses are conceded as service connected by the VA to anyone working at the following additional locations:  Amchitka Island, AK before 1/1/74; gas diffusion plants at Paducah, KY, Portsmouth, OH and K25 area at Oak Ridge, TN.  To file for compensation call 800-827-1000 or visit www.va.gov.  

Respiratory Cancers in Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange are no longer limited to the thirty years after exposure discovery rule.  If any of the diseases appear immediately contact the VA for health care and compensation application.

  Burial and Funeral Expense Allowances increased for service connected disabled veterans (from $1,500 to $2,000).  The Cemetery Plot Allowance was increased from $150 to $300 for certain other disabled veterans.

  VA will now furnish a Government Headstone for veterans buried in private cemeteries even if they have a civilian headstone.  Date of death must be after 12/27/2001 to be eligible.

  VA Pensions for vets over 65 no longer have to meet disability tests.  Nursing home patients, Social Security Disabled annuitants and those permanently unemployable are all qualified.

  Militant Arab Terrorist Attacks – we all focus on the three heinous attacks of 9/11/2001 that took the lives of over 2900 Americans.  Did you realize that since 1970 there have been 59 other terrorist attacks on Americans overseas that took another 629 from us?

  WARNING! WARNING2  WARNING!  When you were discharged or retired from the service someone told you to go register a copy of your DD-214 release papers with your local government.  Right?  Good idea then, bad idea now.  Your DD-214 is now part of the public record.  So, anyone can go in and read it...and get your Social Security Number, Date of Birth, address, etc.  Get it?  Go get that DD-214 back and put it in a safety deposit box.  This has been the single largest cause of identity theft!

  Chuck Weber, NNWA Service Officer, charlesj.weber@fmcti.com or navychuk@ptd.net

Attachment 2 to Minutes dtd 28 Nov 02                 Page 8


9/13/02  FROM THE HISTORIAN

      Good Morning Shipmates  First let me apologize for not being with you today.  I looked forward to this reunion all year but my pans fell apart in July due to personal issues and I had to cancel.  Please thank Frank Kelly for hauling all the memorabilia here from the east coast.

    It’s been a good year for the accumulation of Nuclear Weapons Program history.  I received more than 50 additional personal historical profiles, many weapons photographs, some copies of ships’ division photos with names associated, several in-depth personal histories and a few physical pieces for the memorabilia collection.  Just last week I received an e-mail from Jim Bass asking if w3e would like to receive a number of photos, plaques and organizational patches.  Obviously my immediate answer was yes.

    I want to bring your attention to the two new large white binders in our collection.  They contain significant new information and material provided by O.B. McReynolds, Jack Hayes, Roy Norman, Doug Weaver.  OB was especially prolific with detailed accounts of his duties and assignments, and a discussion of Clarksville Base.  Jack Hayes sent many pages of unclassified extracts from Nuclear Weapons Bulletins.  Roy Norman continued to send material and personal information he accumulated during his years at Navy Labs and participation in the Pacific tests.  Doug Weaver previously sent informative personal experiences and recently provided many ships crew photos and a view of the early TALOS developmental missile at White Sands.

    We received a very important historical contribution from Dean Larson.  He donated a Lucite block containing a certified piece of the Fermi reactor, CP-1 (Chicago Pile #1) assembled at the University of Chicago in 1942.  In my mind this is like being given the Holy Grail or a piece of the true cross.  This little piece of carbon represents the embryonic beginnings of the national nuclear weapons program and, ultimately, our involvement in it.  It was donated in memory of Tom Best.  Speaking for all the membership, Dean, Thank You Very Much.

    The History section of our website has been enhanced with several interesting articles and more are in development from material recently received.

    Here’s a short humorous anecdote I received in the mail and will post on the website:  Prior to one of the Eniwetok tests the support ships were ordered to sea.  Following a subsurface detonation and testing of the lagoon water, the ships were allowed to return to anchor.   Night fell and the movie was being held on the fantail of a transport.  A sailor looking over the rail noticed a faint glow in the water far below.  His urgent report scrambled the fleet.  Ships crews were ordered inside the skin of the ship.  Watertight doors and hatches were closed.  Some ships got underway and stood out to sea.  Monitoring teams dressed out in full exposure gear and began their investigation.  The furor did not abate and the fleet was unable to stand-down until the monitoring team discovered a gray Navy flashlight with its light on suspended deep in the lagoon.  It had been lowered through a porthole in the ships’ stern.  The person who let the light over the side was never identified.

    There is one more item I want to bring to your attention.  After our meeting in Myrtle Beach last year Bob King received a letter from his stepson honoring him on Veterans Day.  Bob sent it to me with a note saying “The letter was for me, but I guess it could have been written by any son for any one of our members.  I thought it would be appropriate for our scrapbook.  I think it is especially meaningful this Veterans Day especially after the events of 9/11 (2001).  P.S. It was inspired after his attending our last reunion.”

 

Here’s the letter:

  TO ROBERT O. KING

November 10, 2001

  Dear Dad,

  First, let me apologize for not hand writing this letter.  Usually, my handwriting is not good enough for most people to read, so this is a better alternative.

  I wanted to write you to tell you how thankful I am for all of your years of service in the Navy and with Civil Service to protect the freedoms we have in the United States.  I must admit, that I was embarrassed that I never really said thanks before 9/11; I always was appreciative I just never took the time to say it.  The past two months got me thinking about what it means to be an American, and I think you are the most patriotic American I have ever known.  I have begun to appreciate what you and your peers have done for this country and for me.

  I have been able to grow up in a safe country, have all of the things I need to survive and prosper.  I have never known hunger or disease or persecution for my religious beliefs.  I was able to go to college and get an education that has allowed me to find a career that allows me to provide very well for my family, and so on.  I realized that none of this would have been possible if it was not for your dedication to our country and your dangerous work with nuclear weapons.

  Attachment 3 to Minutes dtd 28 Nov 02                                 Page 9

I am sad, to a degree that I will not be able to serve my country in the capacity that you have.  I will do my part to support our leaders and be the best patriot that I can be.  In fact, at my Rotary Club, we have always said the pledge of allegiance, and now when I say it, it means more than ever.

  Dad, I am very proud of all the things you have done, and even more proud to be called your son.  I am thankful that we are family and that you and Mom are together.

  It was important to tell you how I feel and this Veterans’ Day I will spend a few minutes thinking about all of your comrades that passed on to protect this country.

  I love you, Dad

  Your son,

  John


    Now, I’ll close with the advertisements.

    I urge you, implore you, to please think seriously about recording your experiences in the service, THEN DO IT!  Reading the accounts and experiences of, in particular, the older members I am amazed at the things they did and what they considered routine.  I need to emphasize how important it is to record all of your nuclear weapons program and shipboard histories.  You can write them, or record them on audio or video tape.  No matter how you do it, please understand and believe that it is important and of interest to others both in and out of the Association.

    If you want an example, look at the O.B. McReynolds or Roy Norman papers.  For information about formally recording veterans experience take a look at the Library of Congress web site http://www.loc.gov/folklife/vets then follow your interest.  You can also write to the Library of Congress, American Folk Life Center and request a free copy of documents relating to their Veterans History Project.

    This year the NNWA has established a long-term task of identifying as many participants in the Navy Nuclear Weapons Program as possible.  I have documents indicating that as many (or as few) as 1000 WTs were on duty in the closing years of the program.  How many men and women served in the Navy program from 1947 to now?  We’ll probably never know but we would like to take a shot at it.  If every one of our members listed as many people as possible we could end up with thousands of names.  Given the few years I was in the bomb business, I know I can name at least 50 people.  Cruise book photos and school orders are a great source.  The information we want is:

    Name, Rank, Command/Station, Date you knew this person at that place.

    For example, I knew:

    Robert O. King, GMTC, NAD Oahu Waikele Branch, 1963-1966

    Joe Hohe, CWO2, USS Kitty Hawk, 1960-1962

    Joe Hohe, CWO4, NAD Oahu Waikele Branch, 1963-1966

    Just do a mental dump of people and send me the information by any means.  Don’t forget to include yourself.  I intend to implement6 a relational database that will organize the information.  Please help.

    Finally we continue to seek gifts of pieces, parts, things, documents, photos, tapes, and records associated with the Navy Nuclear Weapons Program.  Anything is fair game.  Clean your closets and basements and send the good junk to NNWA.

    Thanks for your support and for being shipmates in the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association.

Mike Snyder                         Home phone:  301-570-0242

P.O. Box 226                          Work phone:  202-863-3301

Ashton, MD 20861              Work FAX:  202-863-3307

                                                e-mail:  michael.d.snyder@lmco.com

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