sending signals
The Newsletter of the USS SLATER's Volunteers
By Timothy C. Rizzuto, Ship's Superintendent

Destroyer Escort Historical Museum
USS Slater DE-766
PO Box 1926
Albany, NY 12201-1926

Phone (518) 431-1943, Fax 432-1123
Vol.4 no.6, June 2001

June. The summer heat has hit. Though wilting a bit, the crew presses on. The two big events this month were the SLATER former crewmembers reunion and our DE Day memorial service.
SLATER Reunion
The original crew of the SLATER showed up on the first of June. Twenty-three shipmates made it to the reunion, and they seemed to be most impressed with the progress we had made on their ship in their absence. Following a day spent reminiscing aboard their old ship; they hosted a reception at Quackenbush Square to which the old hand volunteers were invited. It was a great opportunity for the present day SLATER crew to get to know the original SLATER crew. On Saturday night, Eric Weidman and his brother Ed hosted an overnight sleepover for the SLATER crew. Five hardy souls; Bill Svihovec, Jack Croll (accompanied by his grandson), Cliff Woltz, and Bob Davis accepted Eric's hospitality and stayed aboard. Bob found his rack forward while Cliff occupied his old stateroom above, although morning chow was served in the Chiefs' mess and no stewards were on hand to tidy up in officers' country. The guys were happy to sleep aboard their old ship and not have to stand a watch in doing so. It also did not hurt that Ed and Eric served up breakfast for everyone. Special thanks go to SLATER angels Pat Perrella and Claire Osterreich who stayed with the remaining crew at the hotel and went out of their way to make them feel especially welcome during their Reunion in Albany.

Slater ReunionSlater Reunion
Slater ReunionSlater Reunion

On Saturday, June 16, the CAP DESA Chapter honored all the lost destroyer escorts, sailors, and our own shipmates at our fourth annual DE Day Memorial Service. Skipper Don Justus and Yeoman Bob Donlon put together a touching ceremony to remember our lost shipmates. Of the fourteen departed shipmates we remembered, two were a very recent loss; both on the same day, June 11th. On that day Volunteer Doug Tanner lost his brother Raymond, who had served on the USS RADFORD DD46 during World War II and earned a Presidential Unit Citation. Gene Krott Gene Krott died of cancer the same day, much too young. Gene was very special to me. Gene had served on the USS SARATOGA CVA60 in the early sixties. A foreman with the New York State DOT Bridge Maintenance Department, Gene was assigned to help us out when the SLATER first came to Albany. Always calm, fearless, and full of practical knowledge, Gene was instrumental in helping us set up the Snowdock mooring for the first time. Listening to Gene and people like him has always made me appear a lot smarter and more experienced than I actually am. Gene guided a bunch of inexperienced volunteers through the complicated process of rigging and lifting the camels, shackling them together, securing the wires, and rigging the gangways. Like everything else, it's easy after you've had a good teacher. When you read about how fast we get the camels in the water and rigged, remember it was Gene who guided us the first few times. He probably stretched his authority and spent a little more time on this project than he should have, but the things he taught us are still being used to this day. It was thanks to him and his crew that the air search antenna got mounted on that rainy day in July 1998; the only day we were pier side under the Port's big crane. Gene took that ragged steel gangway that Marty Davis got for free and fabricated the mounting saddle, ramps and handrails to make it functional, safe, and get us open to the public. Now, I'll always think of our gangway as the "Gene Krott Memorial Bridge."

DE DayDE Day
DE DayDE Day
DE DayDE Day
Within the ranks of the maintenance volunteers much is going on. The chippers, now Smitty, Chris, Earl, Beth and Ed Whitbeck have been splitting their efforts between the main deck aft and the last big crew bunkroom C-203L. Ed in particular has been amazing. The guy is on antibiotics for Lyme disease and still chipping two days a week. With that handicap he still seems to have more energy than most of us on our best days.

The middle crew space, C-202L is coming along nicely. Tom Moore and the Albany Naval Reserves completed dressing up the insulation and Erik Collin has been completing the trim painting. Bosun Mike Muzio put out a spectacular effort. He laced about seventy bunk frames with canvas and did just a great job. That took care of a major part of the restoration that we were all dreading. Now Clark Farnsworth, Red Hume, George Irwin, Larry Williams, Bob Callender and Don Shattuck have all joined forces to get the bunks installed. They are fabricating, drilling and taping clips to hold the bunks to the stanchions and cutting and fitting the chains and hooks. Barry and Mike Clark are also at work in the space hooking up the ship's entertainment system.

Mike MuzioGunther & Rockwood

Topside, Rich Pavlovic is back continuing the restoration of the aft three inch gun. Roy Gunther and Rocky are continuing their work restoring the interior of the whaleboat. I believe they're going for a yacht quality finish. Russ Ferrer is repairing the fuel tanks. In August, we will tow her back to Scarano's for the installation of the engine. Russ is also working on completion of the heating coil adjacent to the forward supply fan. He's pressure tested the system and is satisfied that we have no leaks. Meanwhile down in the muffler room, Gary Sheedy has come out of the electricians' lounge long enough to rewire the furnace, eliminating a lot of jury-rigging and experimentation that was done on our voyage of thermal exploration. Of course, this is not a real high priority project, now that it's ninety degrees out.

Down below the muffler room, the engineers make steady progress. Gus is tweaking the emergency Diesel generator, working on some fuel leaks, before he signs off on that project and begins work on another engine. Larry LaChance has two projects going. He's hydro testing the six hundred pound air system and working on the fire and bilge pump. And Bill Siebert and Bill Coyle are working to get the lube oil system operational to preserve the main engines.

The damage control party, Doug Tanner, Tim Benner and Chuck Teal have been working on watertight doors. They completed all the detail work on the aft motor room access, and are now modifying a watertight door to replace one that is missing at bulkhead 139 on the starboard side. They took a similar door and cut a section out of it and moved the swedges so it will fit in its new home. Hack also came back. Our old friend Hack Charbonneau came out of the woods to give us a hand. He must have bagged his limit for the season, but he got the scuttle on the fantail hatch back together.

Huff Duff DAQ Unit The radio guys are really happy. Don Bulger and Jerry Jones were anxiously awaiting the arrival of Chris Nardi. Chris came in from the Battleship MASSACHUSETTS with a couple critical donations. He brought in a complete Huff Duff DAQ unit and a motor generator set for a TAJ transmitter. These important pieces of DE gear are real important in making the SLATER complete electronically. Our thanks go out to Chris and the guys on the J. P. KENNEDY JR. for making this donation possible. We owe you guys big time for this piece of historic gear. They are all making preparations for the big historic naval ships radio event July 21st and 22nd. They are also planning to go on the net to spread the gospel of the SLATER.

You can't say too much about the tour guides & cashiers who have led all the tourists through the SLATER this spring. So, I'll say too little. We owe a great deal to Jack Madden, Bill Scharoun, Doug Schultz, Bill Goralski, Frank Perrella, Leo Baehler, Dennis Nagi, Bob Whitney, Bob Dawson, Les and Annette Beauchaine, Charlie Havlick, Russ Ferrer, Maralyn Walker, Charles Miner, Chuck Teator, Ed Weidman, Ken Kaskoun, Pat Cancilla, Chris Soulia, George Longmuir, Gordon Lattey, Claire Oesterreich, Rich Durant, Dave Floyd, Rafael Suarez, Don Kruse, Floyd Hunt and Art Dott, who along with staffers Kira Zaikowski, Beth Spain, John Druzba, Eric and Julie Weidman who have all done an outstanding job for us. Special kudos go to coordinators Dick Walker and Nancy Buxton and Deb Moore for trying to ride herd over this gang and keep everybody informed, on schedule and happy. Without the education component of our mission statement, the restoration component wouldn't really have much of a purpose.

We have been seemingly inundated with new volunteers. They seem to be falling out of the sky, or more appropriately crawling up from the river bottom. It is with some reservation that we put their names in print, because being mentioned in this rag scares most normal people away, but here goes.

Engineering has really fared better than the deck department when it comes to recruiting. Gus Negus brought in a fellow submarine engineman Ed Luther. Ed served on USS TRUMPETFISH SS425. Ed fell in with Bill Siebert working on the h.p. air compressor, and is carrying on in B-3 while Bill is away working as a marine engineer in Chicago. Chuck Longshore is a former machinist mate off the frigate LANG. He sent us an e-mail that he was interested in volunteering. The problem is that he lives in Derry, New Hampshire, about 250 miles away. He drove all the way over to check us out. He was asked one simple question. "Are you better with pumps or compressors?" He said pumps, so he spent the day with Larry and Tom pulling the fire and bilge pump apart. I bet he wished he'd brought work clothes. Tom Cintala is a young man on the navy deferred entry program. He can't wait to get started so he's been volunteering with us helping Larry LaChance on the h.p. air system and the fire and bilge pump.

In the communications department, we've had several new recruits. Dick Engler is a former GE engineer who knew Don Bulger from the old days in Schenectady. He's back working with Don and Jerry Jones on the radio room restoration trying to get the power supply for the TCS up and running again. He joins another new radio room vet, Don Montrym who comes in from Leominster, Massachusetts. This Don was an ET2/c assigned to the Naval Air Station at Olathe, Kansas. Not much sea time, but savvy on ancient electronics. The perfect guy for a ship that never leaves the dock. Bill Wyld is a former Chief IC man who spent time on COATES, FRYBARGER and KYNE as reserve trainers. He's making a home in the gyro room, cleaning up and helping out with the IC gear.

Peter Jez is another one who travels a long way, from West Holyoke Massachusetts. He's a former Communications Technician who is now perfectly content chipping and painting. He's been helping Dick Pavlovic on the gun three restoration. Chuck Teal and Dan Kuba have been with us a couple months now. Chuck is a fire equipment technician and former army Spec 4. He brings some needed talent to the operation. He's been working as a welder's helper on Saturdays, assisting Doug Tanner and Tim Benner on the watertight door work. Dan Kuba is an ex- Tin Can Gunner's mate. He got involved because his son was doing an oral history project for the Boy Scouts, and has become one of our steady tour guides.

Our youngest volunteer is Mike Clark. Mike came in with an excellent recommendation. His grandfather said Mike was a mechanical electrical genius. His grandfather is none other than our board chairman, Frank Lasch. We were naturally a little suspicious, as all grandparents think their grand kids are genius material. We kind of kept an eye on Mike when he started, and put him under the tutorage of Barry Witte. Barry teaches industrial science at Colonie High, and is a good judge and tough taskmaster. And you know what? Mike is really pretty savvy, learns fast, and only has to be told once. Must be his Grandpa's influence. There may be hope for the MTV generation after all.

Two active Navy personnel have joined us. Andrew Hunter is an active duty MM3 assigned to the Nuclear Power training unit at Ballston Spa. He's been working down in B-3 with Bill Siebert on the h.p. air system. Joanne Farrell is a yeoman in the reserves attached to the Albany reserve center. She has joined Nancy's crew as a tourguide.

Larry Williams's wife Rosemary has joined us a gift shop cashier. We're not sure how he talked her into it. Maybe he acted like he was having such a good time that she wanted to join in. But it's more likely that she figured she'd better come down here to keep an eye on him and defend him when the other guys start picking on him. Richard and Catherine Andrian have joined us in a special role. Richard took up computer photography as a hobby after retirement, and has a very strong interest in the SLATER'S ongoing restoration. He and Catherine have spent two days a week aboard doing a detailed photographic study of the ship, and providing us with CD ROMs and indices for future reference. You'll find Richard's picture of the week in the CPO mess on the bulletin board. He also contributed several photos for the "Internet" SLATER SIGNALS on the website.

Finally, you remember that Gary Sheedy is still trying to con some poor unsuspecting soul into chipping and painting the reefer spaces. That space now referred to as the electrician's lounge and sauna Gary has no takers. And being an electrician, he says he has no knowledge of how to operate a chipping hammer or a needle scaler. Well, it seems last month my wife needed to have the fan fixed in a little portable electric heater she's fond of. Gary graciously agreed to fix it. When it came back it had a tag attached that said, "You owe me two hours of paint chipping on the reefer deck". There was some discussion as to whether the note was meant for me or my wife. This month my wife is going camping with her girlfriends. She has never been camping. She has no camping equipment, so she needed to borrow it. Or rather she needed me to borrow it for her. Now, who do you think was a Boy Scout leader, raised two Eagle scouts, and has a garage full of camping equipment. None other than Gary Sheedy. He has fully equipped my wife for the wild. I'm just not sure how many hours of chipping they have agreed I will have to perform in return for Gary's generosity. This could be a very expensive camping trip.

In closing I would like to apologize to any volunteer who I've left out. I'll be in the office at 800, ready to handle any complaint while wearing my helmet and life jacket. SEE YOU NEXT MONTH.

Return to the SLATER Signals page.

Return to the Homepage.