sending signals

The Newsletter of the USS SLATER's Volunteers

Albany, NY 12207-2863

Phone & Fax (518) 431-1943
Vol.2 no.9, September 1999

Summer has come and gone but the electrical gang keeps moving on. Barry Witte, LCDR USNR and Gary Sheedy, ARL-23 have completed installation and rewiring of all the running lights, including the newly installed stern light. They even got the aft anchor light on the timer circuit. Mike Gurney, USA ran the wire for that one. Mike also spent a couple hot days in the muffler room getting the lighting fixed for the steamfitters to work on the heating system. Barry says they've done their part to get SLATER ready to get underway. He didn't want the process to be held up on account of the electricians. He has every light on the mast working except the breakdown lights, which come to think of it, might be the most important lights aboard if we ever tried to get underway.

Gun Tubs Larry Williams, DE-246, Ken Kaskoun, CVE-08, and Don Shattuck, DE-21 & 184 have had two projects going. They have been reworking the cease fire alarms on the amidships 20mm guns, and we have a new noisemaker aboard the ship. We rewired the claxons so you can sound them from the gun tubs so the kids on tours (young & old) can hear what they sound like. They have also been working to get the JX phone circuit working all around the ship, and are making a lot of progress. They have connected the IC room to the foc's'le, fantail CIC and pilothouse, and have the JP working between all the gun mounts. Ken was on the new Aegis cruiser YORKTOWN and couldn't believe they were still using the same phones. If it still works, don't change it.

The foc's'cle has been completely scaled and repainted. Bob Callender, DE-744, Mike Muzio, DD-850, Pat Cancilla, DE-441 and Gene Cellini got the whole place Corrosealed, primed and painted with fresh nonskid. (Note: After the visit of Hurricane FLOYD; several crewmembers reported that the NONSKID really works!) They even painted the anchor chain. Bosun's mate Mike has proved himself to be one of the fastest and neatest painters on the ship. He never forgot his Navy training. Dick Smith, DE-5, Dutch Hannmann, DE-530, and Earl Gillette, DE-441 continued scaling down the starboard side waterway to the fantail, and the boys followed with the paint, finishing a few odds and ends including the ready service lockers and the fantail gun tubs.
Bridge Meanwhile, up on the Flying Bridge; Rafe Suarez, DD-944, Don Bulger, AO-68, Jerry Jones, AO-144, and Dutch continue chipping with Larry Case, Sea Cadet Corrosealing and priming. Russ Ferrer, USA used some muffler pipe to repair the voice tube fittings as it was the only thing he could find that matched the diameter. Then he took a couple weeks leave for his son's wedding. We got the whole place Corrosealed and Tom Moore primed it out so it would look good for the reunions coming to town. Now it's just the detail work and topcoat left to complete.
Camels Tom Moore rigged the forestays on the flying bridge. They'd been down ever since the ship came to Albany. Roy Gunther,CDR (ret), DD-711, LSD-17, taught him how to use the spray gun and he spent a day touching up the Corroseal and primer on the superstructure. Tom has made the Camel Maintenance Duty his personal mission, and is down on them every Wednesday at 0700 picking the trash off them.

Roy has been quite busy himself. He lives up to his reputation as "bondo man" making emergency repairs in places too difficult to weld. He has been mounting all the condition tags on the watertight doors and fittings, so now the tour guides have something else to explain. He has also undertaken the restoration of the secondary conning station binnacle back aft. He has stripped the rotted binnacle stand and is installing all the degaussing and compensation gear on a new stand. He is also helping the bridge restoration in his home workshop, restoring the sound powered phone storage boxes. He can't believe how many layers of paint are on those boxes.

Wrench Chuck Teator, USMC continues to keep us supplied with Troy spring water for the coffeepot. He worked with Chris Soulia polishing the galley and then moved on to the wardroom pantry and the messdecks.

The Naval Reservists from Albany and Glens Falls were back in force. This month they replaced two wasted stanchions that hold up the gun 22 gun and tub, mounted the stern light, worked on mounting the quick acting strainers on all the main deck fireplugs, mounted the expanded metal vent screens that Hal Hatfield made on the vent intakes, fabricated tie down clamps for the forward refueling hose, and mounted the wrench for the prop shaft nuts on the exterior bulkhead.

Muffler RoomWe welcomed a new group aboard SLATER; The Brotherhood of Plumbers and Steamfitters, Local 7 - Albany. They have volunteered to install the heating system on the ship. Led by Red Newell and his five helpers Joe Colletti, Tom Battaglia, John Blair, Fred Wilson and Vinnie DeMuira work is progressing to install a brand new hot water boiler. Bob Snyder from FPI Mechanical, Inc. over in Cohoes has donated the boiler which is a big ticket item for our project! Vince Donnelly from Main Care Energy also donated a 275 gal oil tank and that installation is also in progress. It looks like the winter months aboard Slater won't be quite as frigid as before thanks to these donations.

This month's unsung heroes are two different support groups. First is the accounting group at Mercer Management. For those who don't know, Mercer, under the operation of Bill Bantz and Barb Higbee, provides us with an open office and all the modern provisions needed to conduct the ship's business. Led by Tony Almaviva, the guy who always has the answer to the questions, "How much money do we have? Are we broke yet?" His answer is always; "You're doing okay." Tony is a very busy man, yet whenever I drop in unannounced to ask him a question, he drops what he's doing and makes you feel like the most important client he has. His helpers include Deb Stickle (the check's in the mail) girl who keeps tabs on our bills and cuts the checks. Tonya handles all the special projects including keeping track of the grants and paying our taxes on time. Jennifer is very near and dear to our hearts. She handles the time sheets and payroll, for those few of us that are on the payroll. Finally, there's the girl that made us realize how we take all these folks for granted, Sharon Burdick. Ever since we opened, Sharon has been handling our deposits and accounts receivable, and always letting us know if things didn't look right to her. She kept us on our toes, but now she is leaving for a new job. We'll all miss Sharon, and we want to take this time to thank her and all the accounting folks at Mercer for making keeping track of the money; one less thing we have to worry about. All we have to do is keep the money coming in, and be very careful about how we spend it.

The other group of people we are indebted to are the folks at the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau. They play a major role in helping us make the money. President Michele Vennard was instrumental in helping bring the ship to Albany, and getting us a $20,000 startup grant from the Albany Local Development Corp. ACCVB allowed us to put their phone number on all our brochures before we had a phone and Beth answered hundreds of calls about SLATER. They continue to help us with free advertising, mailings and getting the word out at travel shows. They are a major reason why the DE reunion business is booming in Albany. Gina Mintzer and Shannon Jayapal are always available to help reunion coordinators get acquainted with Albany and answer their questions. All the reunions are making this fall a great time for the SLATER, and we couldn't do it without the Bureau.

As a result of all this effort, we are hosting the following ships this fall: USS GEORGE JOHNSON, JAMES E CRAIG, CROUTER, JOSEPH E CAMPBELL, BERMINGHAM, REEVES, DONNELL, HOPPING, BUNCH, RICHARD M ROWELL, AMICK, DURANT, WILLIAMS, MELVIN R NAWMAN, MICKA, LANNING, EMERY, WEAVER, FESSENDEN, STURTEVANT, FRANCES M ROBINSON and ENGSTROM. The legacy they have left us is over $3,000 in donations to date to help us restore the SLATER. We hope that your group will visit Albany and SLATER next year.

Dog Tags NOTES From Nancy: As the summer tour season is over I would like to especially thank all the Thursday and Friday tour guides and pier crew who have always been there for me. Julie Sussin has joined us at the Ticket and Ships' Store table. Alan Fox has also joined us as a tour guide. He is the son of Samuel H. Fox who served aboard USS HAYTER DE-212. Samuel Fox was a crewmember present during the sinking of the USS FREDERICK C. DAVIS DE-136, 24 April 45. He also assisted in the rescue of DAVIS's crew and has given his photographic and written records of the event to SLATER's DE Archives. We are very appreciative of this very historical gift.

We are busy ordering new items for the Ship's Store and hope to give you a "Sneak Preview" in the next SLATER SIGNALS so you can prepare your holiday "gift or wish" list. Of course, you can always bring your "DOG-TAG" list over to Les and Annette Beauchaine, DE-509 at Crossgates Mall. They staff the booth Friday and Saturday afternoon & evenings for your convenience. The Slater Booth is located by the lower Filene's Entrance so allow yourself enough time before your movie starts so you can browse the booth.

Dick & Maralyn Walker, USCG were welcomed back after their road trip. Actually, they received a reminder as they were driving about 20 miles NE of Des Moines, Iowa. All of a sudden they saw a large water tower with SLATER painted in bright red. This identified the town of Slater, Iowa . Should we try to encourage them to place a model of the ship on top for us?

Fall tour guides are needed so please call me if you can help!

The MINNOW The biggest adventure we had this month was when Clark Farnsworth, CV-32 and Chuck Ray, DE-1033, brought Clarks boat down from the Schenectady Yacht Club. The boat is a classic 1912 - 32' cabin cruiser. Clark lay alongside SLATER for three nights, and invited the Tuesday crew out for a lunchtime cruise down river .It was a pretty eclectic crew. There was Clark, the Skipper, Chuck Ray, the mate and engineman, Raf, Bosun Mike Muzio, Bosun's mate Gene Cellini, Commander Roy Gunther, USN, SC Ret., Sea Cadet Larry Case, Tour Guide Coordinator Nancy Buxton, her son Gabe, and my wife, the other Nancy. But that depends who your talking to. Confused? I've been warned that there's no confusion as long as I don't get confused.

We left Yeoman Al Vanderzee, Ph.D. aboard to swab passageways, and Pat Cancilla to paint the foc's'le. Clark adjusted the carburetor, and we left around noon for a three-hour tour. If this starts to sound a bit like Gilligan's Island, this boat looked an awfully lot like the MINNOW, and Clark began looking a lot like Alan Hale. We headed down river to Castleton. Gene had to be back by 1400 to relieve the babysitting watch at home. The trip down was pleasant. The two Nancy's arguing about who got to play Ginger, and who was Mrs. Howell. Raf took over the helm, which made a few of us nervous since he doesn't even have a driver's license, but he was a quartermaster. Anyway, we ran south for an hour and about five minutes and just after we turned around, the 1948 Ford Flathead engine started to overheat. We shut the engine down and drifted north in the channel with the wind and tide.

Chuck the engineman got into the engine compartment and soon determined that the belt on the water pump was loose, but there was no way to take out the slack because the bolts were already up against the stops. We filed the holes, cut away metal and took it apart and put it together three times. Still too much slack. After about an hour we finally got the idea of sticking a couple piece of wood under the water pump mount to try and raise it up instead of out.

Meanwhile, Gene used Raf's cell phone to call home, and we all had to admit, saying he was stranded on a boat off Castleton didn't sound very believable to any of us, either. We also ended up dropping the hook to stay off the beach. It held. We cranked the engine back up, the temperature held, and we were back on our way.

Not everyone picked this up, but a gruff voice came over channel 16 on the marine radio, loud and clear, "Captain Ralph calling the MINNOW, over" We ignored the call and pretended it wasn't for us. The FRANCES was at the pier, seemingly unattended. Is there anything that happens on this river that Cap'n Ralph doesn't know about. You think he knew it was us?

Meatball Stew Finally, one little detail that made me just a little suspicious about the whole thing; Chuck tinkered with the engine for the better part of an hour and seemed to be getting nowhere. Nowhere that is, until Skipper Clark announced that we were almost out of beer. Chuck had that engine up and running five minutes later.

We got back to the SLATER about 1500, ironically making it a "three hour tour". Gene tore off in his truck, and within 15 minutes everyone was back to work. The foc's'cle got Corosealed, Clark finished welding his scupper, Chuck finished cleaning the machine shop, Larry swept the passageways, Nancy restocked the gift shop, and Roy Gunther finished mounting the condition tags on the portside WTD's. Gabe learned that the word "adventure" means that you just aren't sure what the outcome is going to be. Kind of like towing a DE back from Greece sight unseen and trying to restore it. For us it turned out to be just another day on the SLATER. We lost an hours work. We'll make it up next month.

Just as we are sending this to the printer ,the MICHIGAN DESA crew is crossing the gangway with their tools and seabags. They weren't certain just when they were coming but the availability of Cook Bill Kramer DE-366 decided the matter for them! Now we know we'll make up for LOST TIME!

Return to the SLATER Signals page.

Return to the Homepage.