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
Itís been a busy month as we held special commemorative ceremonies on Memorial Day, DE Day, the Anniversary of the Battle of Midway, A Navy Retirement Ceremony, and Larry Williams drove the Slater jeep in the big Troy Flag Day Parade. And then there was the arrival of the USS HUSE crew. There is some debate as to whether they tied or beat the Michigan crew for the number of attendees. Myself, I say it was a tie, 26 to 26. But the amazing thing is that one ship was able to turn to that big a group. In both cases it points out what inspired motivated leadership can do for the SLATER over time. With Michigan, it is the force of Dick Briel and Ron Zarem working together for so long. With the HUSE crew, it is the drive provided by two members of the DESA board, George Amandola and Dave Perlstein.
The USS HUSE workweek began on May 15th. As worked so well last year, George Amandola detailed several members of the crew to tend to routine housekeeping duties to make everyoneís work go easier. For the three of us in the SLATER crew who have lived in Louisiana, the best part was the cuisine provided by the two cooks, Al Smith and Ken Eidle, who had arrived on the 14th to set up the galley. Al is from New Orleans, and his cooking was in the classic Louisiana tradition. We had gumbo, crawfish etouffee, and the classic red beans and rice for the first time in years. The Yankees may have been a bit suspicious, but for anyone from the South, it was a culinary experience to be remembered. They provided an evening meal on Sunday and followed up every day with three meals a day each surpassing the other. Wally Bringslid took care of the crewís quarters, crew washroom, showers and the mess deck, keeping everything clean and shipshape. Wally figured he had taken on an easy job until he started cleaning up after twenty-four guys, but when it became apparent it wasnít so easy he never shirked, never complained and just got on with it. Lou Riccardi and Joe Colletti took care of the paint locker. Lou being a former Radioman had no experience with the paint locker. Joe, however, had been tutored last year by Roland Robbins and he got Lou up to speed on what had to be done. And done they did, an outstanding performance by both. The importance of having Al and Ken in the galley, Wally taking care of the quarters, washroom, showers and mess hall and Lou and Joe on the paint locker gave us organizational efficiency, ensured great meals, clean quarters, a continuous supply of the proper paints and clean serviceable brushes and rollers for the rest of the crew. This all paid off by delivering a smooth operation and a large savings in man-hours.
All this freed up the rest of the crew to focus on projects. Down in the engine room Doug Stricter and Bill Camp worked in the #3 engine room on the shipís service generator completing the installation of the instrument panel that the Michigan crew had mounted. Fabricating lines and hooking up gauges that will monitor engine performance. This made Gus Negus and Karl Herchenroder real happy, as they continued the reassembly of the emergency diesel generator. In addition Doug and Bill installed a seawater pump and strainer in the whaleboat. The pump and strainer is a generous donation made by Billís son, Barry Camp, who owns Camp Marine Services in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. This is the second year in a row that Barry Camp has made a major parts donation for the whaleboat, thanks to his Dadís enthusiasm. Butch Burkman, while getting the tools from the machine shop for the job in the engine room, realized the tool locker was in desperate need of being organized and put in order, so he undertook that task. You can now find things in the machine shop, which will be a big time saver for all the volunteers.
Shipfitters Clem Vaughn and Bob Kehrer finished the flying bridge windscreen, which they had fabricated last year. Clem had the six Plexiglas pieces made to fit the frame and brought them from Vermont. With the windscreen finished Clem and Bob set to work on the fabrication of the first floater net basket. In addition to working on the 3 inch mount Roy Roetzler prepared a schematic for a float net basket for the starboard side, and with Clem Vaughn and Bob Kehrer, worked on fabricating it in the time remaining before the work party came to an end. Jack Parker and Lew Shelton finished painting the flying bridge deck. The flying bridge now looks ready for sea in all respects. The closest thing we would find for Supply Officer work went to Dave Perlstein. He took on the task of trying to sort out and stow all the plumbing and pipefittings in the after steering compartment. This compartment is being used to store all kinds of odds and ends and in dire need of being put in order. Dave was able to make it more manageable and cleaner. Afterwards he joined the chipping and painting detail on the gun mounts and managed to not get a drop of paint on his clothes.
The rest of the crew worked on chipping and painting all of the 40-millimeter anti-aircraft gun mount tubs and the number three, 3-inch gun mount tub. The 40-millimeter mounts were attacked by Ernie Aeschliman, Jim Larner, Robin Larner, Bill Mehan and Dave Kehrer. They put in long hours chipping, priming and painting the inside of the mounts. While they were taking care of the inside, Jeff Kehrer and Guy Huse were attending to the outside of the 40mm mounts tubs. Dave Kehrer's son Jeff deserves special mention. He worked off a scaffold outboard of gun mount 42 the whole time he was here. I thought he may be uncomfortable working with the safety harness we required him to wear, but he mentioned that his Secret Service training required him to rappel off buildings much higher than the fourteen feet he was working above the water. Prior to leaving he also mentioned he was a sharpshooter. Had I known that he might have gotten an easier job. Armed with pneumatic chippers these two went on automatic, those gun shields were rust free when they were finished. Itís great to have youth in the crew. Meanwhile Jaye Robbins and Roy Roetzler took on the interior of the number three, 3-inch gun mount. They chipped, primed and painted the entire interior under a hot Albany sun. Needless to say they did an outstanding job and the mount is ready for action. Lou Riccardi and Joe Colletti while attending to the paint locker did double duty and painted the exterior of gun 3 tub. Bill Archibald and his son Bill Jr. worked on the locking hardware in the after officer's stateroom. Finally, Guy Huse, who is the grandnephew of Admiral Huse, whom the USS HUSE is named after, attended. Guy spent the week chipping some of the most miserable spots, primarily under the overhead on gun tub 41. The last day found him working for Doug Tanner in C-201L chipping paint from the deck in preparation for installing a holding tank.
Special thanks to Jaye Robbins for being there when we needed him. The morning Pat Cancilla had a dizzy spell, Paramedic Jaye was close by and was able to provide first aid and correctly diagnose the problem as being low sugar. A glass of orange juice was administered. Shortly after the volunteer was feeling better and, as it turned out, he was a diabetic and had not eaten breakfast prior to coming to the ship. Jaye is the son of Association member Roland Robbins, who, because of his wifeís illness, had to cancel his trip to the Slater. Itís great to have a paramedic on duty
The Second annual USS SLATER night at the Ft. Orange Club was held on the evening of Saturday, June 4th. This was the second year our Fort Orange Club members have sponsored the event to raise awareness of the USS SLATER in the Albany Community. The Dinner Committee, Doris Fischer, Geoffrey and Thessaly Bullard, Paul Czesak, Tony Esposito, Rosehn Gipe, Gordon Lattey and Frank Lasch outdid themselves again this year. Iíll leave mention of our gang out of the event except to say that ET1 Jerry Jones did an excellent job as the ceremonial Bosun. We decorated the Fort Orange Club with nautical artifacts to remind them of their sea going past. The program featured noted author Joe Persico as the speaker who talked about his experiences writing biographies of such dignitaries as Colin Powell, Franklin Roosevelt, William Casey, the Nuremberg Trials and the end of World War I. Not counting our own, the SLATER family who were all in town for our annual board meeting, the guests included Sheridan and Susan Biggs, Tony and Lu Esposito, Bob Malesardi, Barnaby Bullard, Michele Vennard and Gordon Lattey, RADM Marty and Milena Leukhardt, John Nigro, Dr. Martin and Peg Davis, Deborah Onslow, Craig Farley, Jim and Joanne Lenden, Jim and Rhea Clark, Chuck Liddle, Sally Carter, Jim Gwynn, Norman Rice, Bishop Ball, and William Redmond and many more. It was a grand party, and we all had a wonderful time. It was nice to see the "After Glow evolve the way Doris had anticipated. The piano was great. The "After Glow" went on much longer than last year, and my favorite moment was watching Tommy Moore sing the classics with the Fort Orange Singers. I so wish I had a picture of that! It was fun to see so many of some of us in formal wear who are not ever seen in such attire, testament to the persuasive powers of Doris Fischer.
On a final note about the dinner, the banquet kept alive the SLATER tradition of scrounging. That Saturday afternoon while we were setting up the dining room, a large mysterious box arrived at the front desk of the Fort Orange Club, full of vases with beautiful floral arrangements. We naturally assumed that some anonymous donor had wanted to dress up our event even more than we could afford, and had great fun trying to guess who our secret benefactor was. It wasnít until late in the evening that we found out that the bouquets had been delivered for a Sunday event at the club, which precluded giving the arrangements away to the ladies at each table. Our "borrowing" the arrangements actually constituted the typical misappropriation of property that has kept this project alive for so long. Even in a place as dignified at the Fort Orange Club, we canít help slipping back into our old ways.
From the glamorous to the mundane. Now that all the out of town help is gone, weíre back on our own. The tour guides continue to do an outstanding job. Jack Madden, Tom McLaughlin, Bob Donlon, Gordon Lattey, Russ Ferrer, Al Van Derzee, Bill Goralski, Floyd Hunt, Leo Baehler, Alan Fox, Chuck Teal, Nelson Potter, John Edwards, Paul Czesak, Dick Walker, Jim Kuba, Glen Harrison, Bill Scharoun, Joe Burke, Ken Kaskoun, Fred Sirois, Chuck Marshall, Chuck Lossi, Chris Soulia, Mike Milian, Les Beauchaine, Bob Bull, Bob Dawson, Dan Goldstein, Joe Van Ullen
Bob Whitney, Larry Williams, Amanda McLaughlin, Michael Long, Michael Collins, David Athay, Bridget Stevens and the usuals Iíve forgotten, have held up through a rainy May and then through one of the hottest, most humid Junes weíve seen in years. Special thanks to the overnight crew, Penny Welbourn, Amanda McLaughlin, Gordon Lattey, Paul Czesak, David Athay, Les Beauchaine, Tom McLaughlin, Jerry Jones, and Dick & Maralyn Walker. Doug Tanner, Tim Benner and Chuck Teal finished the work on the new septic tank. Barry Witte and Gary Sheedy got it wired in and it is now up and fully functional, so we now have our onboard head back in operation and tied into the city septic system. The next project is making some modifications to the accommodation ladder and get that rigged for another season, and then continue work on the floater net baskets. Clark Farnsworth put in his first full day of work since the knee replacement, working on another chock. California board member Earl Johnson went back to his old rate and gave us two days of pipefitting, repairing leaky fresh water lines in the aft head. Don Shattuck keeps the clocks wound with Bill Coyle. Rich Pavlovik, Andy Desorbo and Bernard "Smitty" Smith have been repainting the gun mounts. Pat Perrella continues to catalogue the new artifacts and keep the museum area shipshape. And Frank Peter has now almost completely catalogued the library and is now doing the twelve books of ordnance drawings.
Rocky has been sanding, caulking and painting the whaleboat for the past month. When he had everything done but the outboard side, we lowered the boat, turned it around, and hoisted it back up with the starboard side inboard so Rocky could sand, caulk and repaint the side without having to use a skyhook. Lowering and raising the boat took longer than planned, but actually went flawlessly with yet another experimental way of leading the falls to the capstan. This was the most successful attempt yet. I played no role in the rig. A volunteer was needed to go down with the boat to release, turn and reattach the falls. They looked around for the most expendable man in the crew, and some how I was selected.
That left them free to figure out the best rig to the capstan without my interference. While being lowered in the boat, I depended pretty heavily on the new monkey ropes Gene Jackey has spliced on. Roy Gunther is back and is in the process of making the new oak rudder for the boat. And one of our most valued volunteers has moved on. Dennis Nagi and his wife Candice have started a new career with Dennis being ordained a Greek Orthodox priest. They have sold their home and are moving to a parish in Worcester, Mass. They will be missed. Dennis said this calling has been a lifelong ambition of his, but we canít help but worry that the winter working in the trailer classroom and the econflicting instructions between Barry Witte, Tommy Moore and me may have finally pushed him over the edge.
Barry Witte has been continuing on the battle lantern project, replacing the modern style with the WWII style throughout the ship. Larry Williams, Bob Calender and Ken Kaskoun worked on the signal lamps and IC gear on the flying bridge. Bob Dawson and George Erwin have been taking care of CIC. Gus Negus and Karl Herchenroder have been getting the emergency diesel back together. With the help of Russ Ferrer theyíve also redone the gauge board for the B-3 high-pressure air compressor. Les Yarbrough is making more flameproof mattress covers. Nelson Potter is making more fenders. We got the bosunís locker sprayed out, just forward of the anchor windlass room and weíre restowing the gear and line. Our chippers, Chris Fedden, Ed Whitbeck, Peter Jez, Jim Gelston and Dave Hamilton have been working on the starboard side gun tub overheads and the bridge overhang by the boat deck. Rotten hard work. And finally, USS SWEARER motormac Don Martin is back with us for a month. Don has parked his motor home across the street in the overflow parking lot and is spending a month with us chipping paint daily. Heís started at the stern chock and is chipping the whole fantail. Every morning, I arrive aboard ship to the sound of Donís needle gun. To me, itís a sweeter sound than hearing birds chirping.
See you next month.
Return to the SLATER Signals page.
Return to the Homepage.