The Newsletter of the USS SLATER's Volunteers
By Timothy C. Rizzuto, Executive Director
Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
Phone (518) 431-1943, Fax 432-1123
was another great month for me and for SLATER, but probably for
different reasons. The most
important news of the month is the progress we are making on the Hull
Fund. As of October 1 there was just over $500,000 in the fund. We
have a long way to go, but your response has been terrific. Having
reached out to all the DE sailors, our next step is to reach out to
the local Albany Community. To that end Michele
Vennard and Gordon
Lattey are sponsoring a Fund Raising
Cocktail Party at the Fort Orange Club to benefit the Hull Fund.
event is entitled “One Date – One Ship: Veterans
Day 2011 – 11/11/11.” The date will provide our nation with a
very special day to celebrate the contributions and sacrifices of our
American Military. Albany is home to a piece of that very important
military history – USS SLATER has made Albany her home port for the
past 14 years and provided thousands of visitors, including many
students, with a first-hand experience of World War II and the
important role played by Naval vessels like SLATER. We are combining
this one special ship with this one special date and are hosting a
cocktail reception on November 11, 2011 at the Fort Orange Club that
will honor our Veterans and help us move closer to the goal of the
much-needed USS SLATER hull restoration. Joining as Patrons of the
event are Ray & Lois Windle and Jack Bertsch of Polymer
Conversions, Inc. The Sponsors include BBL Hospitality,
Berkshire Bank, Maximum Security Products, and SEFCU.
Sunday, September 11th the SLATER commemorated the 10th Anniversary
of the terrorists’ attacks. Master
of Ceremony Steve Long
initiated the event at 0930 by ordering Ken
Kaskoun to parade the colors;
followed by Jerry Jones
playing the National Anthem on the 1MC. Dick
Walker then delivered an inspiring
invocation. Steve Long introduced the guests seated on the
Quarterdeck, including Mayor
Jennings, County Executives Mike
Breslin and Kathy
Jimino and CDR Bill
Kraus. Bill Kraus read the
Governor’s Proclamation and related his experiences during the New
York City relief efforts. He was followed by the commemorating
remarks by the civic leaders. CDR
Steve Stella played Taps, and in
lieu of firing the 3”/50 gun salute Jerry Jones piped over the 1MC
a three-minute bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace. Dick Walker
delivered the Benediction and Linda
Wruck wrapped up the program with
appropriate closing remarks.
An ambassador from
the Captain Class Frigate Association, Sid Marlar who served on HMS
CUSTIS, visited SLATER on Saturday 13 August. Sid was Telegrapher
(Radioman) in the Royal Navy. He and his son Andrew had attended the
annual DESA Convention prior to their visit. Paul Czesak gave
them a tour; they enjoyed Senior Chief Smith's lunch, and the chance
to exchange stories with the Saturday volunteer crew. Sid especially
liked Joe Breyer’s briefing in the Radio Room. Before
leaving he presented Paul a bottle of British Navy Rum and a Royal
Navy hat. Since drinking on the SLATER is prohibited, the rum will be
used by Mrs. Czesak as the main ingredient in this year’s
New Year’s rum cake to be served in the Chiefs Mess at the coffee
break for those that show up at the ship for work on Saturday, 31
December. This month we also hosted the reunion
of US Navy Attack Squadron VA65, the Amsterdam High School Marine
JROTC (an exceptionally sharp looking outfit, if I may say so
myself), the reenlistment of EM1 Chris
Blinson of the NPTU and the Fishkill
QSY Society HAM radio operators who were given the red carpet
treatment in the radio shack by Joe
Our programming for
Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts is expanding to include activities beyond
the overnight stay onboard. We offer the gangway and fantail of
the ship for Boy and Girl Scout groups to hold promotional and award
ceremonies such as Crossing Over, Flying Up, Bridge to Cadet and
Bridge to Senior Girl Scouts. Linda Wruck has joined
Jim Kuba in the ranks as a certified Merit Badge counselor.
They can help you with badges for Citizenship in the Nation and
American Heritage. Additionally, Linda can help with Citizenship in
the World, Public Speaking, Geology, Indian Lore, and Fly Fishing.
Thank you to Jim Kuba for his hard work and expertise in scouting
that brought Linda into the loop.
Konas, a teacher at Bethlehem High School invited the SLATER’s
Traveling Classroom to present the story of the Battle of the
Atlantic to the
students enrolled in the Bethlehem Lab School.
The Lab School is a school within a school. Eighth graders apply to
enter the program and are with the same class of students the entire
four years of their high school experience. Alan
Fox, Herb Marlow, and Linda spent
the morning at Camp Chingachgook on Lake George with 130 students,
discussing German aggression, the Holocaust, the United States’ and
allied response, and the affects of war on the U.S. and European home
front. The curriculum was presented through documentary film footage,
original artifacts, photographs, letters, and documents. It was a
wonderful experience, engaging with high school students who had
questions and comments about the pivotal actions that lead to the
allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.
Rotterdam Senior Citizen Association also invited the SLATER’s
Traveling Classroom to its monthly membership meeting.
Through our new program Keep Calm
and Carry On,Jack Madden and Linda
presented the Battle of the Atlantic as the U.S. prepared to enter
the war and protect convoys across the turbulent sea lanes.
Meanwhile, the civilians at home and abroad lived through the affects
of the war which were more severe in Britain. Near the end of the
war, Brits were forced into the bomb shelters up to 17 times per day.
Jack donated three additional easels to the Traveling Classroom
program so we can clearly and easily display maps that illustrate the
convoy routes littered with sunken merchant marine ships destroyed by
the German U-boats.
Speaking of which,
our newest volunteers are Tom Cline of Binghamton and Tom Timmons of
Albany. The two Toms have joined our tour guide crew. We provide
training while you make new friends and expand your awareness and
knowledge of history. You can choose to be a guide one day a week, or
perhaps two half days, or restoration and education in the same day,
as many of our volunteers do. Additionally, you may want to help with
the overnight camping program or our Traveling Classroom that visits
schools and various organizations. There are many options to choose
from, so you can create your own volunteer experience.
For further details on
booking the Traveling Classroom or to become a volunteer for the
SLATER, contact Linda our Education and Volunteer Coordinator,
or visit us at www.ussSlater.org
and click on “Participate” to download a volunteer application.
Remember, you can always do the old fashioned thing and
Michigan Field Week was an outstanding success despite intermittent
rain. Michigan Dick
Walker once again organized the fall
event that saw a great deal of catch-up work get done. Once again
Chief Bernard Smith
donated his services to cook for the crew all week long. He was
assisted by former Coast Guard Chief Quartermaster Larry
Stiles who took care of the
messdecks and a rotating detail of messcooks who assisted Smitty in
the galley. Laird Confer
teamed up with Roy Brandon
to tackle several welding projects. First off they went down into
forward compartment A-304E which is now home to our forward sewerage
holding tank and pump. The bulkhead between A-304 and A-305M was
rotted out, which would be no big deal, unless the septic tank
overflowed. To contain the possibility of sewerage in more than one
place, Laird and Roy repaired the wasted bulkhead between the two
spaces. This necessitated four people on fire watch but they managed
to get the job completed in two days. Laird and Roy then moved
topside to the machine shop bulkhead and began repairs on the main
deck. The bulkhead was rotted out behind the work bench thanks to
in-accessibility, and many years of water build up from the leaky
expansion joint. The HUSE crew fixed the expansion joint in the
spring, so now it was time to tackle the bulkhead. Using his plasma
cutter, Laird cropped out a piece of rusted metal four feet long and
four inches high and shaped a replacement piece to go into the
cutout. By the end of the week he had it welded up and Corrosealed.
We’ll continue that job this winter.
Butch Warrender and Jim Parker teamed up to take on several jobs.
They removed a large piece of ratty looking firemain from outside the
Chiefs Quarters and dressed it up so it looked like a brand new
piece. They then worked on getting water to the sink in the wardroom
pantry. As a side project, we’ve had an ice machine sitting unused
in the pantry for about 12 years, so they are running fresh water and
a drain to it so we can put it back into use. That project is about
50% complete when they ran out of time, so they know what they will
be doing in the spring. They also installed a raised spout on the
messdecks scuttlebutt, so it is now possible to pour a glass of cold
firecontrol gang worked on two different projects.
and Gary Headworth
spent the week up on the flying bridge working on preservation in the
MK 52 gun director platform and stand. Down below Mike
Marko renewed all the compressed
airlines and electrical lines on the 20mm gun mounts that service the
MK14 gunsights. He also did a lot of preventative maintenance on the
MK51 gun directors.
Mazure and Gene
Hermanson spent the week on deck
chipping on the starboard side with our regulars. The fantail has
been completed by our regular troops so now we are moving up the
starboard side. They actually got as far as the machine shop by the
end of the week.
had two groups of painters. Ron
Yocum and Bill
LeGault went over the side to the
paint float and worked on the boottop and freeboard on the port
quarter. Monday they managed to get all the loose paint on the
quarter scraped off and Corrosealed. Tuesday they managed to get
primer on everything they had Corrosealed. Then Wednesday, despite
rain, there was enough break in the afternoon that they got the
entire boottop painted out and put haze gray over all the primer
spots. They followed up this amazing performance with a lot of touch
up painting on the depth charges, roller loaders and waterways. The
second paint crew was Jim Ray
and Ron Frankosky.
They did a lot of touch up painting topside. They repainted both life
raft racks forward, painted out the forward bulkhead of the
superstructure just behind gun two, in the rain, since it was under
the bridge over hang. They also primed the B-1 fan room on the
portside just aft of the galley.
Wednesday morning it rained hard enough to stop all outside work.
We moved all the painters into the lower level of B-4. Jim
Ray and the big guys Ron
Frankosky and John
Yocum worked along the aft bulkhead
painting the fuel oil manifolds and bulkhead, finally completing that
project. Ron Prest
worked the forward bulkhead, painting out the generator couplings and
shafts, so that the whole area looks great when looking down from the
special visitors were part of the group, retired Army Col. Robert
Nersasian came with Bill Legault.
Bob is doing research on the loss of the Coast Guard DE USS LEOPOLD
in 1944. His brother served on the ship and survived and was awarded
a Purple Heart. Bob is working to document the history of the ship
and her loss. His participation in the Field Week gave him the chance
to talk to DE sailors and to kind of experience the things his
brother experienced on the LEOPOLD, the steep ladders, crowded
berthing spaces, narrow hatches, eating on the messdeck, the hum of
the ventilators and riding in the whaleboat.
work week was a success despite the weather.
Special thanks to Jim Ray
who pulled the final messcook detail and did an awesome job cleaning
the galley, “boldly going where no man has gone before.” And to
for taking such good care of the messdecks and, of course, Smitty
for his culinary skills that made it
Our own crew haven’t been slackers either. Super Dave, Tim Benner,
Clark Farnsworth, Chris Fedden and
finished up the chock over the CPO mess with Boats
Haggart hanging Dave over the side
one more time to do the outboard welding. They now have moved up to
working on the 02 level radio direction finder platform that has been
hanging unfinished for three years. The chippers Bill
Wetterau, Ron Mazure, Don Miller, Earl Herchenroder
and Walt Stuart
finished the fantail and are moving up the starboard side. Parachute
rigger Angelo Bracco made new covers for the MK52 director, the
rangefinder and is now working on new covers for the MK14 gunsights.
The radiomen continue to struggle with the TBL motor generator. Jerry Jones, Joe Breyer and from afar, Tom Horsfall, are dealing with the latest problem, an open winding in the high voltage section of the motor generator. The thread-sized wire burned up in two places. Of course, my first instinct is to revert back to my old nature and think in terms of cumshaw and piracy. I immediately made a mental list of all the ships that have TBL motor generators, and which ones are charitable, and which ones have the weakest security, with the idea that a swap for our old armature could be arranged. Then Jerry dashed my hopes reminding me that having the only RCA TBL in the historic naval ship fleet means that nobody else’s armature will work. Thus fellow shipkeepers, you are all safe.
We will investigate the possibility of rewinding of the generator and gather some cost estimates. Our problem is complicated by the fact that this generator is not only very high voltage at low current (small wires) but also has two separate direct current windings with two commutators and an alternator winding with slip rings. Jerry is also thinking that it looks like this was a failure of old insulation and not an external current overload. Using a microscope Jerry may try to cut away burned insulation and splice new pigtails between the windings close to where they emerge from the laminations and the commutator segments and reinsulate with Formvar. If there are no internal shorts between the windings and or the laminations, it possibly may be saved that way. Or, alternate approach may be to just snip back and reinsulate the burned open wires, and leave those few windings and commutator segments disconnected and floating, and if they are not shorted internally to the laminations check to see if the generator still works with the few missing windings. The DC output would be reduced and would have some bad ripple, but the filter capacitors would take care of that. The final alternative is to build a new power supply, but as purists, we hate to go that route. Jones reports that we are not planning to abandon hope yet.
Down in the engineroom, our motormacs Karl Herchenroder, Gus Negus, Gary Lubrano and Mike Dingmon have met with more success than the radiomen. They have run the 8-268A ships service generator in B-3 for half an hour and actually generated DC power that could ultimately be used to power up 24” searchlights. Barry Witte and George Gollas handled the electrical side of the project. The AC side of the generator is working, but there are some switchboard issues that will have to be resolved this winter when we can take power off the board. Rocky has also spent a lot of time down there cleaning the main engines and prepping them for painting.
On the binnacle list this month is recently retired tour guide Les Beauchaine, former signalman aboard FROMOE DE509. He and Annette were actually on the pier waiting for SLATER when she arrived in Albany in 1997. Les went to the doctor for a checkup, and they sent him directly to St. Peter’s Hospital once they had a look at him. He had a quadruple bypass three days later and a replacement valve. He is recovering well, but apparently he retired just in time. However, his doctor says he’s going to fell twenty years younger when he recovers, so we can’t wait till he gets back aboard.Finally, the Executive Director missed several of these events while attending the annual Historic Naval Ships Conference. The fact that I was missing would normally not have raised a single eyebrow (“Were you gone?” is the normal response) except for the fact that this year the conference was held in Honolulu. I would have considered this conference out of reach except for the fact that I had enough Delta Skymiles to make the trip, which made the whole experience cheaper that the conference in Baltimore I attended last year. The most significant seminar for me was a lecture on the drydocking of the Battleship MISSOURI. It’s amazing what can happen when you have a Senator pulling for you. There was much to be learned that will be applicable to SLATER. It was also great to spend time with former SLATER volunteer John Whalen who is now an MM1 stationed aboard the attack submarine GREENEVILLE. We got a personal tour of the boat thanks to John, and it’s amazing how much still feels familiar. One of the events I missed was the annual DESA convention, but I am indebted to Trustee Ron Zarem and Eva Fox who did a presentation on the status of SLATER to the DESA members that included pictures of Hurricane Irene. Not that I’d ever leave my beloved SLATER for a warm tropical climate, but when I offered to clean heads on the MISSOURI, they said there was a five year waiting list for that job. I’ll be here for a while.