|Text of speech given by NNWA President, James Hambley, on December
11, 2009 presenting the Gray Dragon designation to CWO-4 Edward Doss
Navy Nuclear Weapons Association
Gray Dragon Presentation
VFW Westport, WA
December 11, 2009
LCDR James G. Hambley, USN RET
Gray Dragon Presentation
December 11, 2009 at the VFW Westport, WA
By LCDR James G. Hambley, USN Ret
Thank you Commander Roehr
Good evening fellow Veterans, Ladies and Guest
I am both humbled and honored to be here tonight so we can honor one of our great American’s CWO-4 Edward H. Doss USN RET. I am the President of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association commonly referred to as the NNWA. The NNWA is a Non-Profit Veteran’s Corporation made up of approximately 550 Navy veterans who at one time during their naval service served in a Special Weapons/Nuclear Weapons billet. When I mention Atomic Bomb, Special Weapon or Nuclear Weapon they are one in the same. For security reasons, in the early days the Atomic Bombs were referred to as Special Weapons. The personnel who were assigned to the Navy Special Weapons Program were the top performer in their specialty. Ed definitely falls into this category. Ed joined the Navy April 16, 1940 and after Boot Camp in August 1940, he joined the crew of the USS Enterprise CV-6 commonly referred to as the “Big E”. He remained onboard the “Big E” for the duration of World War II going from Seaman to Chief Petty Officer. As with most young sailors they fall in love with their first ship and Ed is no exception. It has been rumored that he still considers the “BIG E” as his first and only real love. But as I look around and see his lovely family here tonight I kind of question that. During Ed’s long and rewarding career he served on 8 different ships and several shore stations. He fought in three wars and was very fortunate not to be injured even though he was in close proximity of two 1000 pound bomb blasts on the BIG E. I could go on about his duties outside of the Navy Special/Nuclear Weapons Program. However, I would like to talk a little bit about this Program. In 1945 the United States had a total of three Atomic Bombs. That’s right three. We successfully tested the World’s first Atomic Bomb July16, 1945 at Trinity Site now part of the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Then on August 6, 1945 we dropped the second Atomic Bomb on Hiroshima, and three day later August 9 our third and last bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. This ultimately brought World War II to an end.
However, the United States continued to build additional atomic bombs, and by the time Ed was assigned to the program we had about seven Atomic Bombs. As I mentioned before, in those days, the Atomic Bombs were referred to as Special Weapons. Ed was one of the pioneers of the Navy Special Weapons Program when the military assumed custody of the Nation’s Special Weapons. There were three Navy Special Weapons Units (NSWU’s) the 471st, 802nd and the 1233rd, all established around the same time. These units were located at Sandia Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ed as a chief Petty officer was assigned to the 1233rd in January 1949. These units were manned with approximately 70 officers, Chiefs and a few white hats (E-6 and below). These individuals were from various specialties for instance; Ordnance, Electronics, Electrical, Machinists, Deck ratings, etc. Ed was one of the men who provided, for what we like to say, the care and feeding of these weapons. That is to say, they provided the security, assembly, testing, maintenance, storage and so forth. Once an individual was assigned to one of these units they underwent much schooling, rigorous training and certification on training weapons as a team member before they were considered qualified to work on a war reserve weapon (which is to say a live weapon). The NSWU’s were, on a constant 2 hour standby for deployment, capable of deploying to any place in the world to make ready their assigned weapons for delivery on an enemy target. On several occasions Ed’s unit was deployed aboard an Aircraft Carrier during time of crisis. For example in 1951, he was aboard a carrier in the Mediterranean during the Berlin crisis with everything they needed to deliver a Special Weapon on Moscow. In April 1952 he was promoted to Warrant Electrician and transferred from the 1233rd to the USS Skagit (AKA-105) as the Electrical Officer. His next tour of duty in the Nuclear Weapons Program was from September 1955 to May 1958 at Lake Mead Base, Nevada, which was located just outside of Las Vegas. There he assisted the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) at the Nevada Test Site in detonating several Nuclear Devices and was a member of the Lake Mead Base Navy Quality Control Inspection Team. After a five year tour of duty onboard the Ice Breaker USS Burton Island (AGB-1) he was again assigned to Lake Mead Base, Nevada April 1963 to May 1966. During this tour he was a member of the Nuclear Weapons Inspection Team (NWIT) who conducted surprise inspections on any nuclear capable command throughout the world. Also, during this tour he was one of the Base’s Quality Control Inspectors which was charged to insure that all nuclear weapons were tested and assembled in accordance with all governing documents. This was Ed’s last tour in the Nuclear Weapons Program. He went on to serve aboard one other Ship then on to the Great Lakes Recruit Training Command for his last tour of duty. There he served as a Battalion Commander until his retirement 1 August 1970 having served our Country for 30 years, 4 months and 15 days. However, he stayed in touch with the Nuclear Weapons Community by joining the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association.
Now for the reason I am here tonight. In 2008 the NNWA Board of Directors established “The Order of the Gray Dragon”. You might be wondering what a Dragon has to do with Nuclear Weapons. One of the NNWA’S LOGO’S is “Keepers of the Dragon”©™. Of course the Nuclear Weapon is the Dragon. If you think about how a Dragon is mostly shown with FIRE coming out its mouth think about the fire that occurs when a Nuclear Weapon is detonated. Now that’s what I call a Dragon. So you see Ed and many other men and women were the “Keepers of the Dragon”©™. The Gray Dragon is the member of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association, in good standing, who entered the Special Weapons/ Nuclear Weapons Program on the earliest date. At the NNWA’s last Business Meeting in Dallas, Texas we designated Ed as the NNWA’s first “Gray Dragon”.
Ed could you please step forward?
Tonight, on behalf of the Association, I want to officially Honor you as the Gray Dragon and present to you this framed certificate which reads
“Navy Nuclear Weapons Association, Order of the Gray Dragon, Avast Ye Sailors, Dwellers of the Deep, Lovers of the Seas and Keepers of the Dragon: Be Advised that: CWO-4 Edward H. Doss, USN Ret has earned the Honor of being the Gray Dragon of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Association and from this day of our Lord the Third day of October 2009 shall reign as the Gray Dragon until relieved”. Signed James G. Hambley President.
Congratulations Ed may your reign as the Gray Dragon continue for many years. Would you care to say a few words?