The Newsletter of the USS SLATER's Volunteers
By Timothy C. Rizzuto, Ship's Superintendent
Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
Phone (518) 431-1943, Fax 432-1123
Do you remember the old War bond Posters about buying bonds to give the men at the front the tools they needed to do the job?
While we in America enjoy the Thanksgiving Holidays with family and friends, half a world away in Seoul, Korea a lone GI sits in his sparsely furnished living room surrounded by DE parts. Patiently, the lone GI disassembles a large interior communications panel. The valuable smaller components such as fuse holders, meters and circuit breakers are boxed for shipment back to the United States. The larger components, not needed, will be discarded. Night after night, he toils away, avoiding the bright lights and attractions of Seoul nightlife, dedicated to his work. The lone GI is a United States Navy Captain. The parts he is surrounded by are parts he salvaged for an old US NAVY APD the USS CAVALLARO that is due to be sunk as a target by the South Korean Navy. The lone GI is Greg Krawczyk. The parts are destined for the USS SLATER in Albany New York. When he is not otherwise engaged as the liaison for naval reserve activities in Korea, Greg is a USS SLATER volunteer. Through the end of October, the SLATER's volunteer log showed that 21,000 volunteer man-hours had gone into the SLATER in 2002. But not all the volunteer man-hours make it into the logbook. Greg's work is an example of that.
Over the thanksgiving holidays, Greg plans to make one more run on CAVALLARO for the few things left behind. Thanks to the wonders of email and digital photography, we have been able to rapidly send Greg pictures of parts we need, and he in turn has been able to send us back images of comparable material on the CAVALLARO to see if it's a match. We can assume that this is our last be chance to secure parts from an actual DE, and Greg is making the most of it. He is using his apartment as a workshop to disassemble the parts and package them for shipping. Other arrangements will have to be made for the larger parts such as the lube oil purifiers, air compressor and the depth charge projectors. He is a very resourceful and dedicated volunteer.
Greg's work is only a small part of what the SLATER's volunteers have accomplished in 2002. Again, it's a good time to catch our breath and review what we've done this past year with those 21,000 man and woman hours. He wasn't the only one scrounging parts. Months of effort paid off when we received a load of material from Camden, New Jersey. George Amandola spent a month collecting parts from a scrapper in Camden. Volunteer Chuck Longshore works for a trucking company, and his boss let him swing down to Camden after a deliver in Manhattan. Now we have some "like new" watertight doors and ladders to replace the wasted ones aboard SLATER. And then there was that trip to get bunks for the aft crew's quarters last January.
In 2002 we brought 15,000 more visitors aboard. And working in cooperation with the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau we hosted thirty-two reunion groups. Nancy Buxton and Beth Spain led Leo Baehler, Jim Kuba, Bob Dawson, Paul Czesak, Alan Fox, Dennis Nagi, George Longmuire, Tom McLaughlin, Dennis Morrissey, Al Vanderzee, Jack Madden, Gordon Lattey, Bill Scharoun, Larry Williams, Chuck Lossi, Ken Kaskoun, Art Dott, Les and Annette Beauchaine, Dave Floyd, Rafael Suarez, Bruce Hodsoll, Dick and Maralyn Walker, Eric and Julie Weidman, Chuck Marshall, Russ Ferrer, Mike Milian, Joe VanAllen, Harold Grimm, John Edwards, Chuck Teator, Charlie Havelick, Rich Durant, Doug Schultz, Bill Goralski, Kira Zaikowski, Mike Ripley, Bob Whitney, Rosemary Williams, Steve Hurley, Claire Oesterreich, Pat Cancilla, Joe Zaikowski, Jeremy Hoyt, Tara Palmer, Moira Pulitzer-Kennedy, Bill Calhoun and Bob Bull. Even maintenance guys Chuck Teal, Tim Benner, Jerry Jones, Gus Negus, Larry LaChance and Chris Fedden had to be called out for guide duty. Together they gave tours, ran the cash register, sold souvenirs, provided color guards and even marched in parades.
We began our school outreach program. Jack Madden, Kira Zaikowski and Beth Spain went off to Donald P. Southerland Elementary School in East Greenbush and lectured over 300 school children on naval history and life in the military. Out in Michigan, Ron Zarem was doing the same thing, and we invite others across the country to join this program.
We completely restored the aft crew's compartment C-203L and set up the area as our DE museum space. Pat Perrella has really pulled the DE Museum together. Working in the heat of C-203L with help from the Michigan Chapter of DESA, she and Kira Zaikowski gave created an extensive history of destroyer escorts with all the artifacts and documents you have donated. Mike Stencil and done a beautiful job of documenting this collection on our website.
We took possession of a worn out 60' mobile home and converted it into a gift ship, classroom and office space. Mayor Jennings and Bob Cross agreed to give us this asset. Don Norris from Pennsylvania came up and took the project under his wing. Volunteer Charles Miner, a contract carpenter by trade, agreed not only to oversee the construction, but also to go to all the area lumberyards to beg for material. He was assisted by Dennis Nagi, Jim Fowler and Paul Clow, Larry Williams, Bob Calender, Ken Kaskoun and Don Shattuck. Russ Ferrer loaned scaffolding. Erik Collin loaned his table saw. The gang from Michigan DESA and Key Bank volunteers painted it. Then Larry LaChance took over to build the deck assisted by the aforementioned gang plus Bill Coyle, Dave Blostein, Gene Cellini, and Earl Johnson. The result is a completely rebuilt, rewired, repainted shore facility that will be ready when we move back across in the spring. We are even getting sewerage hooked up so the portajohns may finally go away.
We have rolled every engine in the aft engineroom. Engineers Gus Negus, Bill Siebert, Larry LaChance, Bill Coyle, Chuck Longshore, Russ Ferrer, David Merkel and James Motani have gotten the HP air compressor and starting air system hydro tested and working. They rolled Main Diesel number four, two complete revolutions on air. They have jacked number three by hand proving that neither is frozen. Tom Schriner, Emmett Landrum and John O'Leary went to work checking out the 8-268A 200KW ship's service generator. They put the starting air to it and surprise, it fired on the first shot. The engine ran for about half a minute before they got it shut down. The crew is also working on the effort to restore the fire and bilge pump in B-4.
We completed the restoration of our wooden 26' motor whaleboat and now have the only known operational restored whaleboat in the country. Lawrence "Rocky" Rockwood, Roy Gunther and the folks at Scarano Boatyard get the credit for this one. But it's been Beth Spain who treated it like her baby all season. The big event of October was getting the whaleboat out of the water. We planned to pull it while the weather was good, but the last half of October and November have been as cold as anyone can remember. Not only cold but the day we pulled the boat, it poured rain. Just like the real Navy. This time we rigged the boat falls to the capstan based on a photo of the operation Pat Stephens had put on the DESA website. Those guys must have known what they were doing, because it came up like a dream. Only problem was we couldn't get it to sit right on the chocks. The following Monday, Roy Gunther, who was smart enough to stay out of the rain, came in and with the help of Rocky and Bob Lawrence, straightened us right out.
We continued replacing wasted and missing parts. The shipfitters, Clark Farnsworth, Doug Tanner, Tim Benner, Chuck Teal, Red Hume and George Erwin continued repairing watertight doors and scuttles and replacing wasted metal. Their present continuing project is repair of all the wasted chocks on the starboard side. They are also heavily engaged in the restoration of the flying bridge area. Aided by Roy Lustinader and Hal Hatfield, they have pooled their resources to build the rangefinder platform and stand. "Michigan" Dick Walker Dave March and John Clark have nearly finished restoring the fire control shack. Bob Donlon and Ron Mazure have made considerable progress in the upper sound hut, assisted by the rest of the welders, painters and electricians. Ray Lammers continues to make our electrical fittings look like new.
We received forty MK 9 depth charges and loaded all the rack and roller loaders. Our thanks go out to the folks at DESA that made this happen, namely Tom Kidd, Sam Saylor and Dr. Rod Spier of Naval Sea Systems Command for making that happen. Hack Charbonneau, Dick Smith, Dick Walker, Ed Whitbeck, Les Beauchaine, Paul Czesak, Chris Fedden and Rich Pavlovic all showed up. Richard Andrian was on hand to document the event. The truck was unloaded by 0930, and by 1000, all the charges were neatly lined up against the sea wall. Later in the summer Doug Tanner, Chuck Teal and Tim Benner got them all aboard and loaded.
We continued major topside repainting. The Deck Force of Ed Whitbeck, Dick Smith, Chris Fedden, Erik Collin, Earl Gillette, Tom Moore, Don Martin, Rafael Suarez, Mike Muzio, Gene Cellini, Peter Jez, Buzz Surwilo, Peter Schick and Daniel Harkenrider collectively chipped and repainted the whole 01 level, the flagbags, all the decks, all the gun tubs, touched up the hull, repainted both breakwaters repainted, and did all the depth charge racks. We also got the machine shop chipped out and repainted thanks to the volunteers from Michigan and the USS HUSE Crew.
We restored all the three-inch gun mounts and repainted all the forties and twenties. The gun gang of Dave Floyd, Andy Desorbo, Frank Beeler, and Bob Lawrence and Rafael Saurez were heavily engaged in the process of trying to free all the guns in train and elevation. gun three in train. They used a lot of penetrating oil and elbow grease. All the guns are now free. Rich Pavlovik, Don Martin and Erik Collin worked over the forties and twenties. Up above him, Ed Whitbeck and Peter Jez scaled and painted the directors.
We moved the website to a commercial server. Mike Stenzel and Erik Collin have expanded the website, and are now planning for an online gift shop and credit card access. If all goes well, you will be able to buy your SLATER Souvenirs and make you contributions with a click of your mouse by the time we open in April. Mike created an exciting new section on the museum collection.
We took over publication of the Trim But Deadly newsletter. The DEHM newsletter is now largely written, laid out and published here in Albany. Our thanks to Victor Buck, Richard and Catherine Andrian and Sam Saylor who make that happen.
We continued the major renovation work in the Radio Room and CIC. Leading Radioman Jerry Jones now has one of the largest volunteer contingents in one of the smallest spaces. In this small space Jerry K2AYM works with volunteers Joe Breyer N2LL, Don Bulger WB2VJC, Walt Stolte KE2MU, Don Montrym W1IBJ, and Stan Murawski. We got a permanent ship's radio call sign. We are now WW2DEM, "World War Two Destroyer Escort Museum". SLATER's operators have talked to some 50 stations including 10 other ships in the US and several foreign countries. When they aren't transmitting, they continue to restore their equipment in an attempt to get as much of it working as they can. Outside of the space, Stan Murawski has done a beautiful job of restoring all the antenna insulators and long wire antennas. Above them, lone radarman Bob Dawson has kept CIC and the pilothouse immaculate. Finally, Jerry teamed up with Bosun's Mate Mike Muzio to record Mike doing all the traditional 1MC calls and announcements. Now Jerry's computer program and SLATER come alive with all the sounds of a DE in commission.
We stopped the leaks in the shaft alleys and dried out all the water tanks and voids aft. Doug Tanner teamed up with Barry Witte and Mike Clark and they tackled the miserable job of getting the shaft alleys and water tanks below C-202L bone dry. They are circulating air through all the tanks to arrest the corrosion. Since it is a well-known fact that these old ships rot from the inside out, this little paragraph represents the most significant and difficult piece of restoration work done in this whole newsletter. Keeping this to four pages meant that a whole lot of stuff has been left out. I apologize to all who weren't mentioned, but none of us really know what Gary Sheedy's been doing down in the reefer all year. Why I'm telling you all this should be obvious to anyone who knows me.
It's Winter Fund Drive Time again! This issue of SLATER SIGNALS is being mailed, for the first time, to all of you who are Museum Members, and not just the volunteers. Thus, a lot of you are hearing about the Winter Fund for the first time. An explanation is in order. The SLATER SIGNALS is a small gossipy rag designed to keep the SLATER volunteers in touch with each other. Each year, the ship closes in December, and we lose our main source of revenue for the winter months, our visitors. Early on we appealed to the local volunteers, those who already give the most, to help us through the winter. We asked those who could afford it to give some more, namely a hundred bucks more, and they have come through. These folks, who give their time, also give over $10,000 a winter to help pay the heating bills and keep us afloat.
You can see that terms of accomplishments, this has been a great year. In terms of finances, it has been tough. In previous years we have been lucky to have restoration grants to help balance our budget and keep the cash flowing. We went through 2002 without any of these large grants. This year I expended $60,000 from our working capital fund to cover operating expenses and expenses on the trailer. But on a positive note, this year we put $90,000 into the endowment fund, our cash reserve for the future. But I don't count what I can't spend now. We've cut back staff, turned down the heat, and dimmed the lights. But we need your help to keep from dipping further into our working capital to get through the winter, so we will have funds for the dolphins and dry-docking and other projects that will come up down the road.
For those of you who receive this newsletter online and don't get the little return envelope, you can participate in the winter fund drive but down loading our donation form and simply mark it winter fund. Place it in an envelope address to USS SLATER, PO Box 1926, Albany, NY 12201-1926. I might add to those of you getting this newsletter for the first time, SLATER SIGNALS is available on line. If you're not online and you want to receive this newsletter, for your $100 donation to the winter fund, we'll be glad to put you on the list.
Several of our most dedicated volunteers have already dropped a C-note on us without waiting to be asked. As he did last year, Chief Art Dott, tour guide extraordinaire, was the first to contribute. He was followed in rapid succession by Les and Annette Beauchaine, Paul Czesak, and Stan Murawski. As I have every year, I will be sending in my $100. from my next check. As I said at the beginning, let's hark back to those bond posters and make sure the sailors on the front line of this restoration have the money and the tools to do the job.
As always thank you so much for your continued support.
See you next month.
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