JANUARY  2009              WINTER ISSUE

ÓÔCopyright 2000-2009 and Trademark of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association.  All rights reserved worldwide.


President:       Jim Hambley (757)340-6909        Webmaster     Ray Margeson (607) 732-0579


Vice President:    Larry J. Sneide                         Treasurer:     Frank Kelly (843)378-4026


Secretary         David L. Cobb (352)753-3285     Chaplain:  Lonnie O. Cucinitti (972)417-7216


Master at Arms: Sid Hart (803) 755-6622           Historian:  Michael D. Snyder (415)456-2876


Service Officer:   Chuck Weber (570) 722-0212 Board Member:Jack Grieves (352)347-5269


The Navy Nuclear Weapons Bulletin is produced by the Association’s Board of Directors and is distributed free to NNWA members.  Edited by: Dave Cobb.


The Presidents Message

Shipmates and Ladies,

Let me start off with saying, I’m pleased to have been elected as President for another term. As I said in the last bulletin, I had not planned on staying. However, at the last minute I was convinced to stay by my fellow Board members. The Bremerton Reunion was a resounding success and I want to thank John and Bethany Gray for hosting and putting in so much time and effort in making sure we all had a great reunion. The photo book of the reunion, I think, is the best one yet. All who worked so hard putting it together has developed a superb memento of the Bremerton Reunion. A Bravo Zulu to all. It’s time to start laying plans for the next reunion in Dallas, Texas on September 30 to October 3, 2009. Lonnie Cucinitti is the Host for this reunion. You will find more information on the reunion in this Bulletin. I’m happy to report that the NNWA’s Tax exempt request has been approved. The Association is considered a Veterans Organization under IRS Code Section 501 (c) (19). This means we don’t have to pay income taxes on the first $25,000.00 of gross annual receipts?

As I reported at the business meeting in Bremerton, the Board of Directors approved the “Order of the Gray Dragon “. The Gray Dragon will be the member, in good standing, who entered the Special Weapons/Nuclear Weapons Program on the earliest date. He will retain the title until he joins the Staff of the Supreme Commander or another member, in good standing, is identified who entered the program at an earlier date. If by chance, there are more than one qualified member with the same entry/assignment date then the oldest member in age will be designated the Gray Dragon. This member will be recognized as the Gray Dragon at the NNWA Business meeting regardless if he is in attendance or not. He will be presented a framed certificate designating him as the NNWA’s Gray Dragon. If he is present at the reunion at the time of designation the Association will pay for his and a guest dinner at the Dinner Dance. For the duration of his reign as the Gray Dragon he will be seated at the President’s table and at his place setting there will be a small Gray Dragon. When in attendance at the reunion he will have a special name tag identifying him as the Gray Dragon for all to see. A picture of the Gray Dragon will be placed on “Albert” the Association Dragon. ALL MEMBERS ARE REQUESTED TO SUBMIT THE DATE THEY WERE ASSIGNED THEIR FIRST SPECIAL WEAPONS/NUCLEAR WEAPONS BILLET TO THE NNWA TREASURER, Frank M. Kelly at 1087 Frank Kelly Road, Society Hill, SC 29593 or e-mail to: If possible, please include a copy of your orders or some other document which substantiates the date. This documentation is not mandatory for selection. However, it would be helpful to prove your entry date if disputed by another member.

Goals for 2009 are as follows:

1.    Publish the NNWA’s Social Roster by the end of June 2009 and make it available to all members in the form of a computer file.

2.    Develop and publish change 1 to the SOP/PDL.

3.    Identify and designate the “Gray Dragon” of the Association.

The 27th 2011 Reunion will be held in Albuquerque, NM. I want to thank John O’Malia for volunteering to Host this reunion. Anyone from the Albuquerque area who would like to volunteer to assist in the planning and execution of the reunion please let John or myself know.

I hope to see everyone in Dallas.

Jim Hambley

From the desk of the Vice-President:


I would first of all like to thank John and Beth Grey for a wonderful reunion in Bremerton.  I believe everyone had a good time and look forward to seeing old shipmates again next year in Dallas.  At the Dallas reunion this year we will elect 5 members for the board.  The members currently holding the positions of Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian, and Webmaster will stand for reelection.  It would be nice to see some other individuals stand up and stand for a position.  You must remember that you are standing for election to the board, not necessarily to fill the position of a person who is vacating a position, to my knowledge no one is not standing for reelection.  But it is through occasionally bringing new blood on to the board that we can develop new ideas.  Please review the SOP on- line to see what is involved in being a board member.  See you in Dallas.




Fellow Dragon Keepers,


Yes, it’s me…still me.  In my June 2008 Report I said that I would be stepping down from the Board and the SO position.  Well, they wouldn’t let me.  How about that, can’t even quit anymore!  Seriously, I had thought that someone else might want to jump in and the best way to do that was to make an opening.  As things have turned out, I am pleased to remain to serve our community.

The political activities of the past year have overshadowed much in the way of attention to issues of importance to military veterans and retirees.  Following are a few of the things that did happen.



As always, if you need assistance in military, veteran or retiree matters your best first contact is your County Service Officer or a certified Service Officer of a major veteran service organization (such as the American Legion, DAV, VFW, FRA, AMVETS etc.)  If you do not know how to find them, please feel free to contact me for a point in the right direction as well as for answers to any questions that you may have. Until next time…..


Yours in service,


Chuck Weber

NNWA Service Officer or


1.  COLA for 2009 is a record 5.8%.  The 2009 COLA increases payments made for military retired pay, Social Security benefits, SBP annuities and VA Disability and Survivor benefits.  The increase is effective 01 Dec 2008 and will be reflected in checks issued 01 Jan 2009.


2.  Two VA Bills signed into law by President Bush.  Their summarized provisions are:

            a. Veterans Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008

                        - Research into PTSD and substance abuse among Vets

                        - Mental health care for veterans families

                        - Cost reimbursement for Vets getting emergency care in non-VA facilities

                        - Requires the VA to centralize third party medical billing

                        - Expanded health care for spina bifida children of Korea & Vietnam Vets

            b. Veterans Benefits Improvement Act of 2008

                        - Establishes a VA Office of Survivors Assistance

                        - Provides temporary disability ratings for certain Vets

                        - Redevelops the certification exam for VA claims processing personnel

                        - Extends Service members Civil Relief Act for deployed military

                        - And much more


3.  VA will NOT outsource administration of GI Bill Benefits.  Unable to find suitable contractors, VA will handle claims for these benefits itself, bringing a sigh of relief to many. (As many problems as there are in the VA, it is preferred to have them handle claims rather than have contractors who are motivated only to save costs and not care for Vets.)


4.  VA claims backlog top 850,000.  An Inspector General investigation found that 4 of 57 regional VA offices nationwide have shredded Vets’ claims in order to avoid processing them.  (Note, if a Vet submits a claim he should hear from the VA within 30 days that the claim was received and is in process.)


5.  POWs eligible for the Purple Heart.   POWs who died in captivity are now presumed to have died as a result of enemy action.  This is retroactive to 07 Dec 1941.  (Duh…ya think?)


6.  DOD establishes Physical Disability Board.  Military members medically separated after 11 Sep 2001 with 20% disability rating or less and found ineligible for military retirement will have their ratings reviewed to ensure fairness and accuracy.  (DOD had been accused of understating the extent of certain injuries in order to avoid giving retirement benefits to injured OIF/OEF Vets.)


7.  National Guard & Reserve Debt Relief Act was signed into law by President Bush in late October to protect from bankruptcy reservists returning from deployment dues to debts incurred while they were overseas.



Navy Nuclear Weapons Association

Secretary Report

Before I present the minutes, I would like to make the membership aware of the following:

            The Nuclear Weapons Technicians Association (NWTA) is having their 2009 convention in Albuquerque, NM May 8-10 in conjunction with the grand opening of the new National Atomic Museum?  Any and all nuclear technicians are welcome to attend.


Navy Nuclear Weapons Association business meeting was held at The Hampton Inn & Suites, Bremerton, Washington.  The meeting was called to order at 1000 with all Board Members present except Chuck Weber and Sid Hart., and attended by 49 members in good standing.

The President asked for all present to stand for the opening prayer by Chaplain Lonnie Cucinitti followed by the pledge of allegiance to the American Flag. The Flag was presented by the Kitsap Battalion of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps.  All present remained standing as Lonnie Cucinitti conducted the 2-Bell ceremony to honor our shipmates who transferred to the Supreme Commander’s Staff: CWO Donald E. Fritz, GMTCS Ray Steele, GMTC Larry Papachek, Carl Blount, GMTC Eugene Murphy, GMTC Robert J.Tye, Fred Uibel, CWO4 James L Williamson, GMTC Clyde R. Phillips, GMTC Howard Moore, CWO4 Ernest Sanchez, PN1 Donald ‘Casey’ Hillman, GMTCS Ron Kitterman, Dillard H. Currin, GMT1 Jackie D. McCammon, CEO4 Harland D. Clark, LCDR Tom Hormuth, Donald E. Milroy, GMTCM David O’Connell.

The President called for new members to stand and introduce themselves.

The President called for members who were attending their first reunion to stand.

The President called for the minutes of last year’s general membership meeting to be read.

The minutes of the 2007 business meeting were read by the Secretary.  The Secretary had no additional information to report.

The President entertained a motion to accept the minutes as read.  A motion was made, seconded and vote carried to accept the minutes as read.

The President called for the Treasurer’s Report.

            a. The Treasurer passed out copies of the financial report to the membership.  The Treasurer stated that there were outstanding bills to pay for this year’s reunion.

            b. The President asked for a motion to pay all outstanding bills.  A motion was made, seconded and approved to pay all outstanding bills.


The President reported on the 2008 Association accomplishments as follows:

            1.  The SOP/PDL is a working document, assembled by the Board of Directors and has been completed.  It will be posted on the web site and I encourage everyone to read it. If anyone has any questions or suggestions/recommendations, send to the VP.  He will then update it and bring it up to the board for advisement.  If someone wants a copy (that does not have a computer), we will mail them a copy.  We will not do a mass mailing due to the cost.

            2.  Paperwork has been submitted to the IRS for our EXEMPT status as a subchapter 501 (c) (19) Veteran exempt organization.  When we receive information back from the IRS, I will report to the membership.

            3.  We have procured NNWA Logo Decals, Logo Pins and Logo Coins and are now available for purchase from Jack Grieves.  These items will also be available thru our web site.

            4.  We have started the collection of photos for the photo roster that the Board has approved.  Photos of you and your spouse/significant other should be sent to Dave Cobb. In the January Bulletin, this was addressed again. Instead of each member mailing a picture, we will be using the photos taken at the reunion.  It will now be called a ‘Social Roster’. If you do not want your photo in the ‘Social Roster’, please notify the Secretary that you would like your photo removed.   When completed, it will be provided to each member via email attachment and the individual can print it or store it on his/her computer.  For those without a computer, all they need do is request a copy and it will be mailed to them.

            5.  The NNWA reunion-planning guide has undergone its annual review, and changes incorporated.

            6.  Our membership drive continues and this past year we added 30+ new members. Current members were asked to look up old shipmates and inform them of the NNWA.  Several ways of finding people we discussed (

            7.  The President then asked each board member to give their report: 

                    a. Secretary Dave Cobb:

                        1.  Pictures for the proposed NNWA albums.  We have advertised in the last 2 newsletters, and so far have only received three.  Get the word out to all non-attending members to send pictures if they want to be included in the albums.

                        2.  If you need a copy of the roster (and do not have an email address), notify me by mail or phone, and I will print a copy off and send it via snail mail.

            b. Treasurer.  No additional input.           

c.   Historian’s Report

                        1.  In the last year, I have added quite a few new members to our memorabilia collection.  Please continue to send in items so we can accumulate a history of our part in the Special Weapons History.

                        2.  Please try to identify everyone in the pictures sent.  I have two pictures here that do not have names.  I will leave these in the memorabilia room.  If you recognize someone, please label on the back.

                        3. Photos were received that showed the demilling of the last MK 101 at Yorktown.

                        4.  If you have tools/equipment used in the NW program and you want to get rid of it, don’t throw it away.  Send it to me for inclusion in the history of the program.  Don’t let it be lost to history.  Put your name on it.  We want to know who you are and where it came from.

                        5.  One of the things we are going to do in the coming year pertains to plaques.

We are going to photograph them and put them in a book.  We have quite a few now and the weight to bring them to the reunions is not allowing us to bring other memorabilia to the reunions.  This was discussed and approved by the board of directors.  We may also put pictures of ship’s plaques on the website.

                        6.  LCDR Robert Pierce’s service was discussed.  My question, after reading his record, is how do some of these people get assigned to the NucWpns Program (not counting people who went to ‘A’ school.

                        7.  Keep writing your history in the Naval Service and the Nuclear Weapons Program if not for the NNWA, for your children/grandchildren.

d. Storekeeper’s Report:

            1. Sales on the web are $1500.00, and sales at this reunion $1024.00.

            2. We had expenses of $223.00 leaving us with a net of approximately 2300.00. 

             e. Webmaster’s Report.

                        1.  Our website averages about 36 hits a day.

                        2.  The SOP/PDL will be published on the website this year.

                        3.  We still need help on the locator/help sections.  Remember the website is our public face.  I know some people have joined because they found the web site.  It can be a great recruiting tool.  If anyone has ideas how to improve the website, let me know.

                        4.  There will be more historical information added to the website in the next few months.

                        5.  Next year, as we get close to the reunion date, we will publish the names of the people who plan on attending the reunion.  This will allow people to look and see if their friends are attending.

                        6.  Mike asked about the spam that we are getting on our website.  Ray said that they were coming thru a guest book.  He has since shut it down.  I have created a new guest book that seems to be doing pretty good.  I have save the authorized entries from the old guest book as a file.

            f. Vice-President’s Report.

                        1.  Encourage each of us to get out and recruit for the organization.  I call members from my old ship and some from the guest book.


The President thanked John and Beth Gray and all who helped for this outstanding reunion.

The Memorial Plaque that was mentioned in last year’s Secretary report was discussed by the board and it was decided not to purchase the plaque at the US Navy Museum in Washington.


As the first order of new business the President announced that 5 positions were open on the board and up for election by the Membership.  He informed the Membership that, in accordance with the By-Laws, the following Officer positions were also up for election by the new Board during the Board Meeting to follow the general meeting; President, Service Officer, Chaplain, Master-at-Arms, and one director. He then turned the gavel over to the Nominations and Elections Chairman Larry Sneide to conduct appropriate nominations and elections. 

Larry provided an overview of the responsibilities of being a Board member, followed by nomination and voting procedures. The first position up for election was for President.  He informed the membership that Jim Hambley, Chuck Weber, Lonnie Cucinitti , and Sid Hart have agreed to remain on the board if reelected, and strongly recommended their reelection. Lou Rivera indicated he declined to be nominated. Jack Grieves was nominated and seconded.

Nominations were closed.  Three calls were made for nominations for each of the five open board member positions.  Five separate nominees accepted.  They were:  Jim Hambley, Chuck Weber, Lonnie Cucinitti, Sid Hart and Jack Grieves.  These 5 nominees accepted.  Chairman Sneide requested a motion from the floor stipulating the Secretary cast a ballot in favor of each nominee representing the unanimous consent of the Membership.  Motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously.

The 25th annual reunion will be held in Dallas area.  The host will be Lonnie Cucinitti.

The President asked Lonnie for his thoughts about what he has planned for next year.

Lonnie said he is looking at the end of September or the first 2 weeks in October.

Some possible things are Daly Plaza, Dallas Museum, the South fork Ranch (of  the TV show Dallas fame),  Longhorn cattle are driven down the street over by the stockyards,  Billy Bob’s  (the world’s largest honkey tonk), a rodeo in Ft. Worth.

The 26th 2010 annual reunion will be held in Nashville, Tenn. area.  The host will be Alex Gabbard.

The 27th 2011 reunion was discussed.  It will be held in the western region.  Albuquerque, San Diego, Reno, Denver, Laughlin and Las Vegas have been suggested so far.  We are always looking for volunteers to host one of our reunions.

Board of Directors e-mail meetings was discussed.

There being no other new business, the President asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion was made and seconded.

The Chaplain offered the closing prayer.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:25.

David L. Cobb




Spalling and Exudate


The NNWA Historians Report of January 2009


 We met in Bremerton this past September.  It was the first time I've had the opportunity to explore that part of the country and enjoyed it thoroughly.  I arrived about a week before the NNWA reunion, found a pleasant campsite and enjoyed uncommonly brilliant weather.  As I drove into Bremerton from the south I passed the lower end of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard where three big aircraft carriers lay quiet and fading, awaiting their fate as scrap, targets or reefs.  One of them, USS Independence (CV [formerly CVA] 62), had been my place of business for more than a year in the early 60's.  Seeing that old ship brought less than fond memories.  A mile away at the other end of the yard was USS Kitty Hawk (CV [formerly CVA] -63) and a completely different set of memories.  She remained lit with people aboard scurrying about the tasks of laying her up.  She is there for her scheduled January 31, 2009 decommissioning.  Kitty Hawk is the last of the steam powered carriers and has flown the "Don't Tread On Me" flag for many years, indicating she is the oldest active ship in the Navy.  Along with several thousand of my closest friends I was privileged to commission Kitty Hawk in Philadelphia in April, 1961.  W Division was among the first fully organized units to go to Philly from the Pre-Commissioning detail in Norfolk.  I was an NWSN then, soon to be promoted to NW-3.  What an amazing experience to walk aboard that giant, confusing, noisy ant hill of a hull still in-building at New York Shipbuilding and Drydock Co., Camden, NJ.  The construction quality and schedule were troubling however and resulted in her ultimately being taken from the builder for completion at PNSY.  That was 1960, shortly after the deployable Special Weapons Units from Norfolk, San Diego and Albuquerque were made ships company.  Standing at divisional quarters each morning were a scattering of very young NW's among a sea of hash marks associated with rates such as MR, ET, EM, GM, BM, AO, SD, SK, YN, and others.  Most were first class and chiefs with perhaps eight Warrant Officers standing tall before us.  And "OLD"!  Some were more than 40, having served in WWII!  Without benefit of my cruise book, some of the senior’s names that easily come to mind include McKinney, Severence, Hohe, Lesson, Callahan, Beckham, Eisenhauer, Wheeling, Roche, and Franz.  Among my contemporaries in age and rank were Grizzard, Cucinitti, Beard, Markin, Dykoski, Paul, Krenk, Kernagis, Slempa and more.  There were about 40 all tolled split between the forward and aft spaces.  We took the ship out on trials, put her in commission, transited Cape Horn via Guantanamo Bay, crossed the equator, spent six months at Hunters Point NSY San Francisco, visited Hawaii, viewed a high altitude nuclear detonation, and went off to WestPac on her maiden deployment.  Our decks were loaded with AD-1's, A4's, A3's, F8's, A7's, F4's, propeller driven COD's, and at least three versions of helos.  It was wonderful and exciting! 

The experiences of those first few years and the influence of those good men, many gone now, I'm convinced are what caused me to make the Navy my career.  Next week I fly to Seattle with my son, and then drive to Bremerton to attend the Kitty Hawk decommissioning ceremony.  The rush of emotions has already begun.  Ed Krenk and his sons will be there as will many of the thousands of sailors who served aboard one of the finest ships the Navy has known.  It's hard for me to think of her being placed down in the graveyard among the other hulks awaiting disposal.  She deserves better company . . . a better end.  She was my first.  

Mike Snyder, NNWA Historian / Memorabilia Custodian

58 West Crescent Drive

San Rafael, CA 94901


Webmaster Report

Hits continue to pile up and we may be to 100,000 when the reunion rolls around.

We are considering adding a new section to the web site - specifically a list of books and publications that our members may find of interest.  Jim Little's "Brotherhood of Doom" is a good start, but I am sure there are many others that our members would like to read and we request that if you know of any such book that you send the title to me.  We will not be selling or deriving any profit from the sales of any of these books, nor will we necessarily be recommending purchase of any of these books.  We will simply provide information about them and let you go from there.

Hope to see many of you in Dallas - and if you have never been to the DFW airport you are in for an interesting experience - one of my more favorite airports.

Ray C. Margeson


Treasurer’s Report January 2009

As the keeper of the membership roster and Treasurer let me welcome our new members who have joined our organization since the last newsletter.

Charpentier, Leo F.

Summers, Jack A

Reiger, Edward J.

Young, Raymond D.

Nickel, Arthur T.

Raposa, John A.

Palmer,Harvey M.

Weatherholt, Bobby G

Thompson, Michael E

McGlynn, Michael J.

Legard, Edward N.

Perkins, Thomas M.

Robinson, Walter C.

Shely, Joseph S

Cuellar, Manual

Marcusso JR, Paul L.

Clark, Brian

Gerant III, Joseph

Hartmann, Orland L.

Sprague, Michael

Shotsberger, Robert D.

Bortmas, Willis R.

Grokowsky, Dennis R.


We now have 610 members listed on the membership roster. 414 Members in good standing, 43 Life Members (spouses of deceased members), 152 past members and 1 Honorary member (NAAV)Past members will not be sent newsletters or reunion information until the dues are brought up to date. If you are unsure if your dues are up to date and receive your newsletters by mail, the date on the upper right corner of the mailing label show the month and year to which your dues are paid. If you receive your newsletter electronically and wish to know your dues date log onto our web-site ( your dues date will be listed in the dues date column on the right of your name. Some of our members find it convenient to pay dues several years in advance, this can save you postage and the TREASURER lots of time. Membership is still $10.00 per year, if you are listed in the past members section and wish to reinstate your membership, Send $10.00 reinstatement fee plus $10.00 for each year you wish to pay your dues. This is an effective policy due to the cost of mailing new letters and reunion information. A current membership roster is posted on our web-site. Member not on line may request a hard copy of the membership Roster by calling or E-Mailing or writing Frank M. Kelly, 1087 Frank Kelly Rd, Society Hill, SC,2029593, 843-378-4026. For our survival it is imperative that we keep our membership roster and dues up to date. Please review the roster and notify the Treasurer or any member of the board of any changes to your current status.

Financial Report

We now have $13,457.50 on Deposit with Wachovia (Wells Fargo) and no outstanding Debt.

Frank M. Kelly

Treasures and Keeper of the roster 


Dallas, Texas September 30 thru October 3, 2009


The Sixth Floor Museum and Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza From Reunion Tower.jpg

The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is located on the sixth and seventh floors of an early 20th-century warehouse known in 1963 as the Texas School Book Depository. Opened on Presidents Day 1989, the Museum has since welcomed more than 6 million visitors from around the world—people of all ages seeking information and understanding about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Museum tours are self-guided.


Ewing’s Southfork Ranch


Visitors are welcome to run loose on the grounds, too. Check out Jock Ewing's original 1978 Lincoln Continental and shop for Texas-inspired apparel and more at Lincolns and Longhorns. Hungry? Grab a bite at Miss Ellie's Deli. Southfork T-shirts, Texas collectibles and other souvenirs can be found in the Ranch Roundup gift shop at the visitor’s center. 




The World's Largest Honky Tonk



Get more than just a taste of the Lone Star State at Billy Bob's Texas. You can dance the night away to a performance from the rockin' house band, or one of the visiting artists. Billy Bob's even offer dance lessons for those with two left boots. If you've still got a hankering for some fun, head to the casino arcade and try your hand at a few video games!


Stockyards Championship Rodeo

For thrills and spills, this is one of the best rodeos around. Events include bull riding, team roping, barrel racing, calf roping, and more... Rodeos every Friday and Saturday night in the Cowtown Coliseum


Fort Worth Longhorn Cattle Drive

DON'T MISS OUR TWICE DAILY CATTLE DRIVES AT 11:30AM AND 4:00PM! Heritage Village and City Bus Tour

Dallas Heritage Village is a living history museum that portrays life in North Texas between 1840 and 1910. Spread over 13 acres, the village contains 38 historic structures including a bank, church, farm, hotel and a saloon. Costumed interpreters make the village come alive through their stories of life in that era.



Texas State Fair

Sep 25, 2009 - Oct 18, 2009

(Optional Side Trip)

The State Fair of Texas runs for 24 days. With more than 70 rides-- including the 212 foot Texas Star Ferris Wheel, and a parade through the park every night.

The Fair covers 227 acres and would do nicely for a side trip on your own…