Welcome to DESA
The Newsletter of the USS SLATER's Volunteers
The Volunteers' Retribution Issue

Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
PO Box 1926
Albany, NY 12201-1926

Phone (518) 431-1943, Fax 432-1123
Vol. 3 no.8, August 2000

Well readers, it finally happened - THE OLD MAN took a Liberty! Orders of the Day were: "Whine all you want!" and "Take frequent coffee breaks!"

No sooner had the jet trails from Tim's flight cleared the sky over the Albany International Airport and the SLATER Volunteers were declaring a liberty too! Don and Mary Alice Kruse brought a full roast turkey dinner with all the fixings (including lemon meringue pies) down to the ship & The Sunday Gang got the first crack at it followed by sandwiches for the rest of the crew all week!

Tim's on Leave Wicker furniture and deck chairs started appearing on the fantail & foc's'le, bathing suits & towels were hanging off the life lines, golf clubs & fishing gear were propped up against the fantail 20's and the "uniform of the day" became "dress down - resort". Somehow, Tim's jumpsuit appeared on the halyard accompanied by the "THIRD SUB" signal flag just in case anyone doubted he was absent.

The Aft Head "tree" was seen at different locations on the ship as no one really dared to throw it overboard! There was a lot of talk about "putting the ship on auto-pilot" and heading for the track at Saratoga to try to win some money towards the dry-docking fund. We won't even mention the music that was blaring from the 1MC!

Finally, Nancy Buxton, as Officer In Charge , calmly informed the crew that she would "write everyone up" if a "cease fire" of the chaos didn't happen soon and gradually the crew got back to following the long WORK LIST left by Capt. Rizzuto.

Seriously, all of us were glad Tim & and his wife Nancy (not to be confused with our Nancy) finally took his first vacation since the SLATER came to Albany. It was a much-needed vacation and Tim's payback to his wife for spending three l-o-n-g winters in Albany. Of course the rumors were flying when we heard it was to be in HAWAII. Scuttlebutt had it that Tim was being offered a job as Towel Boy at the Royal Hawaiian Resort and that had everybody wondering! He had left us much to accomplish during the two weeks he would be away and we didn't waste much time in getting back to the business at hand after our brief fling of "onboard Liberty".

Starboard finished All hands are working full bore to get the SLATER ready for the big DESA convention the second week of September. The weather has been miserable. It seemed to rain as many days as we've had sun. Despite this, the hull painting gang has completed scaling priming and top coating both sides, port and starboard. They have finished scaling and Corrosealing the boot-top, and are about half done with the black. The hull numbers "766" have been painted port and starboard. If we don't get two weeks of straight rain, we promise the job will be done for the DESA Convention.

Up on deck Rafael Suarez took charge of the deck force, and has really turned those guys to in Tim's absence. The chipping crew has continued scaling the waterways, decks and stanchions. Dick Smith and Earl Gillette (returning after being on the binnacle list) took advantage of the favorable weather to finish their work. Erik finished the work Corrosealing and painting the starboard waterways. Raf took his job seriously and really beefed up the deck force to include Chris Fedden, Dick Pavlovic, Ed Whitbeck, Pat Cancilla, Dan Wing, Erik Collin, Mike Muzio and Gene Cellini. Talk about a crew. That's almost as many guys as the deck force would have if she were in commission. And these guys are more motivated!

Ed Ehitbeck Aft Head Together, they continued the priming and touching up paintwork along the main deckhouse and deck areas. Gene really came through with his power sprayer and sprayed a light coat of haze gray over the whole portside main deckhouse from the foc's'cle to the 20m tubs on the fantail. They even did the 01 level gun tubs. They are now cutting in and rolling out nonskid on the whole maindeck. Mike Muzio repaired the snaking, and Dan Wing is getting ready to restencil the lettering on the main deckhouse. Tom Moore continued painting the boot top while keeping the camels clear of debris and strange looking vegetation. They even got the aft head with the trough painted white. Things will look great for the Convention!

Gary And Barry wiring The electricians continued their campaign on the after Crews quarters - Barry Witte & Gary Sheedy removed dead ended cables and continued the lighting work in C-202L. Gary has also started a little side job. He wants to restore the reefer deck, and rework the lighting circuits down there. Bob Callender, Ken Kaskoun and Larry Williams (also returning from the Sick List) completed work on the phone lines and fine tuning the 1MC. They have turned to on the lighting in berthing space C-203L, replacing the fluorescent light with the original incandescent fixtures. Ray Lammers keeps all these guys supplied with fuse boxes, junction boxes and fixtures that have been restored to factory fresh appearance.

The welders continued their fabricating & patching work on the deck and starboard side breakwater areas. Russ Ferrer, Doug Tanner, Clark Farnsworth, Red Hume, Tim Benner and Jude Gosh kept right at it . The side painters put a chisel right through the starboard side of the ship in compartment C-203L at the forward bulkhead. It was a spot where standing water had been laying on the deck; fortunately, two feet above the waterline. That turned into a 2"x18" patch that Russ and Doug cut and fit. Doug keeps saying, "I've got to get a Saturday off! You don't know what my wife is saying. Don BulgerStop making these holes!" He will repair the hole in the deck when he finishes his "honey- do" list at home. Ed Zajkowski of Pennsylvania supplied us with blueprints for the stern letters and Doug cut out the name "SLATER" out of 1/8" plate, according to Navy specs. He says his next project will be to weld them on.

Russ, Jude and the Glen's Falls Naval Reservists continued the work with running the hot water heating lines aft. The supply and return runs are almost finished. They are now working on the heating coil and the circulating pump.

The radio gang completed the installation of the exterior metal trunk for the longwire radio antennas on the aft bulkhead of the deckhouse. Hal Hatfield's crew at Hillside Ironworks did a beautiful job of fabrication. Jerry and Don mounted two bright red insulators on the end of the trunk and connected the longwire antenna through it. For some reason all the guys find this thing very sexy?
Donated vacTAJ Tube
Whaleboat caulking
Davits readyMeanwhile down at SCARANO's Boat Building, Roy Gunther and Larry Rockwood have continued the work on the Motor Whaleboat. The inside repairs have been started and the boat was inverted so all the seams could be caulked and sanded. It has received a topcoat of grey on the hull and should soon be seaworthy once more. Rocky spent his whole career working in boatyards in Maine. He has been putting five days a week volunteering on the boat so we can try to have it back aboard for the DESA Convention. He can pull and replace caulk twice as fast as any two of our other volunteers. His wife is wondering where he's been, so that makes another SLATER spouse Tim better try and avoid! Back on the SLATER 01 level, the davits have been rerigged with new nylon line in preparation for receiving the boat.
Portside patchestopcoat hull

SLATER Bear Dick Walker cleaned out sickbay and brought down the extra gift shop stock and informational brochures for temporary storage while the topside work is completed. Nancy has been receiving boxes of souvenir items in anticipation of the DESA Convention's visit and has been enlisting the help of Maralyn, Julie, Les, and Larry Case in folding and bagging shirts for the shop table. She has several new items featuring SLATER. Maggie Grasek, from the CAP DESA Auxiliary has been bringing the miniature "Sailor" bears that sell out immediately! Maggie makes these herself and has donated all proceeds to the ship and we are very appreciative of her efforts on our behalf.

August means it's grant deadline time again, and Nancy has been working hard on a grant to design and construct the permanent mooring dolphins and the ice deflection system so we can stay at the Snow Dock year round. This is our second try to get funding for this project. Last year we got shot down. She has until August 31, to get it in. This in addition to getting the gift shop stocked for the big Convention.

Ship reunions and DE Sailors continue to visit SLATER and several former DE and DER sailors have come to Albany a few days early just to lend a hand with the work. Vilnis and Ellie Pakalns, USS Thomas J. Gary DER-326 came in from Michigan, and Joe Thorne, USS Calcaterra DER- 390, from Florida. They worked wiring in fans and helping with the installation of the radio antenna cover. Buzz Surwilo from Montpelier, VT, also came back for a day and helped with the scaling & painting. Arthur Filete, USS Jacob Jones DE-130, from Massapequa, L.I., also spent a day in Albany. He also visited ACCVB and Danielle DeAmelia assisted with planning for a possible Albany Reunion of DE-130. Another familiar name to visit SLATER was Joe Rugani, USS Harveson DE-316, the NYC volunteer who was famous for his climbs to the top of the mast. And, last but not least, we want to recognize Richard Clapp, USS Snowden DE-246 from Long Beach, CA. Richard was part of the Michigan DESA work crew but somehow he & Tim never crossed paths & he was inadvertently left out of the SIGNALS report. Thanks, Richard -we know you were here but sometimes Tim gets his faces confused behind the paint masks & goggles -he'll recognize you next time! (Especially if you wear a LA Dodger's hat)

As we said, the big push right now is to have SLATER presentable for her most honored guests the DESTROYER ESCORT SAILORS during their 25th Annual Convention in Albany. Deb Moore has been working hard with Sam Saylor to make sure everything goes smoothly for the big event. So far, over 800 DE sailors and their families; representing 177 Destroyer Escorts are registered which includes over 100 first timers! We will be hosting their Memorial Ceremony on the morning of September 12th and quite a few will be touring the ship at that time. Kevin Lynch, Pat Perrella and Mike Stenzel have arranged for a Commemorative Postal Cover to be ready for the DESA visit . Mike designed the cachet and cancellation and the USPS has authorized a SLATER POSTAL STATION to be staffed dockside to issue the covers for the occasion.

The contributions for SLATER'S ENDOWMENT FUND continue to roll in from the Destroyer Escort Commanders and it is very gratifying to see this support from the past DE Commanders. They led us through some very difficult times during the 40's and our hats are off to all of them.

This far, contributors include Commanding Officers from: EVARTS DE-5, WYFFELS DE-6, BRENNAN DE-13, DALY DE-17, LE HARDY DE-20, THOMAS DE-21, EMERY DE-28, STATFIELD DE-29, FAIR DE-35, DONALDSON DE-44, DECKER DE-47, GANTNER DE-60, ODUM DE-71, CHRISTOPHER DE-100, PEARY DE-132, MOORE DE-142, BLAIR DE-147, PETERSON DE-152, BARON DE-166, ACREE DE-167, SWEARER DE-186, THOMASON DE-203, SOLAR DE-221, FOWLER DE-222, SPANGENBERG DE-223, TOMICH DE-242, SNOWDEN DE-246, BROWN DE-258, BRAZIER DE-345, RUTHERFORD DE-347, MANUEL DE-351, NAIFEH DE-352, FREDERICK C. DAVIS DE-357, NAWMAN DE-416, TABBERER DE-418, BERMINGHAM DE-530, ENGLAND DE-635, SPANGLER DE-696, GEORGE DE-697, CRONIN DE-704, and VARIAN DE-798. To date they have collectively donated over $35,000.00 towards the long-term preservation of the SLATER. They led the way fifty years ago and they're helping to lead the way today. Dockside, painting done

Meanwhile up in the Captains Cabin, computer guru Erik Collin worked his magic on the computer donated last year by Louis Nagi. Mary McMahon, daughter of former (deceased) volunteer Frank McMahon, USS Hemminger DE-746, donated a group of outdated equipment from her office at Heslin & Rothenberg, P.C.'s and Frank Lasch hauled down another unit from his office at DeGraff, Foy, Holt-Harris & Kunz, LLP's. Erik combined the cables, bytes & megs to report the computer is "twice as fast as before with double the memory!"

AT LAST something around here is approaching FLANK (or WARP) speed - - - -

Anyway, we know no matter how much we bust our butts, when Tim gets back it won't be enough. We're kind of hoping he'll come back wearing an aloha shirt, sporting a lei and sipping a Mai Tai. If he ever relaxes, we may never get him wound up again. We can only hope.

We'll see how we did in next month's edition. See you then.

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