USS Mahan Association 2007 Reunion
Charleston, South Carolina
31 October - 4 November, 2007
The 2007 Mahan Association reunion was held in the Ramada Charleston Hotel in North Charleston. The first day was again for check-in and reacquainting with old friends and shipmates, as well as meeting new ones. We had a great contingent from the DDG-42 this year for the first time. Being Halloween, we had a lot of treats but no tricks. As usual, we had a lot of memorabilia on display in the hospitality room, and Russ Owens also had the ship's store items on sale. I understand that he ran out of DLG-11 hats early and other items were going quite rapidly also. We also had some photos Russ provided of the transformation of the DLG-11/DDG-42 transom that some of our shipmates contributed to the purchase of. When it is completed it will be on display in the Tin Can Sailors Library in Somerset, MA. Russ also had small replicas made for all of the donors and Plank Owners present at the reunion, and will have some made available for purchase to help defray the cost of restoration and shipping. We also unveiled the new Mahan Association banner that was donated by Colonel John Mahan Brooks. We want to thank John for this great addition to our reunions, and also Russ Owens for getting the banner manufactured.
Thursday was our first full day of touring, etc. We had a tour of the city of Charleston with its 18th Century homes, plantations and buildings. Charleston was the first city in the country to enact a strict preservation code, so most of the homes and buildings appear as they were originally built. We made a pit stop at the new Visitors Center which had been constructed using old railroad buildings. We also got to spend a couple of hours in the old market area with many stalls selling all sorts of merchandise from jewelry to baskets being hand woven as you watched. After having lunch we boarded our buses for a ride back to the hotel for much needed rest and relaxation.
Friday we had a very busy day. We started by visiting the site where the submarine Hunley is being preserved. In 1864, the CSS H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink an enemy ship in combat. The sub was lost that night as well; and has remained a mystery until now. The Hunley wreck was discovered in 1995 and was raised during the summer of 2000. The study and conservation of the submarine is ongoing.
From there we went to Patriots Point where we had an opportunity to visit the USS Yorktown CV-10, where we had lunch served on our beloved Navy trays, and ate in the CPO Mess. We then toured among the Yorktown's many displays and aircraft. The Yorktown is one of the Essex Class carriers and was built in 1941. Originally, CV-10 was to be known as the Bon Homme Richard but was renamed in honor of the only American carrier lost in the pivotal Battle of Midway, USS Yorktown (CV-5). Launched by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, this new Yorktown would take on Japanese forces in epic battles; the Battle of the Philippine Sea, the Marshall Islands, Truk, The Mariana Islands; Iwo Jima, to name a few. And in the open waters of the Pacific Yorktown became a target of desperate Kamikaze missions. In the years that followed WWII, continued to play a vital role for the Navy including involvement in the Vietnam War. Yorktown even earned a place in space exploration history with the recovery of NASA’s Apollo 8 crew in 1968.
Also moored at the same pier were the USS Clamagore SS-343, a cold war era diesel submarine. This gave most of us a chance to see how the bubbleheads lived. I still don't know how they bunked in the racks above the torpedoes! Clamagore is a Balao Class submarine that was in training when WWII came to an end. In 1947 Clamagore became a faster, more impressive force following the GUPPY II conversion (Greater Underwater Propulsion Power). The submarine would go through modification once again in 1962 with GUPPY III. Clamagore was decommissioned in June of 1975.
Next on the pier were the Sumner Class USS Laffey DD-724, which has well preserved by the restoration volunteers. Commissioned in 1944, USS Laffey (DD-724) is a Sumner Class destroyer named for the first USS Laffey (DD-459) of WWII, sent to the bottom by a Japanese torpedo in 1942 while taking on two enemy battleships. USS Laffey (DD-724) is the only surviving American destroyer from WWII to have served in both the Atlantic and Pacific campaigns, and she is the only preserved Sumner Class destroyer. She was known as The Ship That Would Not Die. After training in early 1944, the second Laffey immediately headed for the coast of France and on the morning of June 6th opened fire on Normandy’s Omaha Beach in support of D-Day. Unscathed, Laffey's good fortune was again tested when later that month it was targeted by a German battery and hit with a shell... that didn't explode! Laffey was then ordered to the Pacific where on the morning of April 15th a wave of fifty Japanese planes launched an attack on the Okinawa invasion force with half those planes going after Laffey. The destroyer took punishing blows from four bombs and was hit by five Japanese Kamikaze. Incredibly, the crew not only managed to keep the crippled ship afloat but shot down nine attacking planes. The legend of The Ship that Would Not Die was born. After five WWII battle stars and two more for Korean service, Laffey was decommissioned in 1975.
Across the pier was the USCG Ingham WHEC-35. The Treasury Class Coast Guard Cutter Ingham is the oldest vessel in the Patriots Point fleet with the longest service record. Ingham would battle through what was called the "Bloody Winter" of 1942-43. German submarines were having their way with allied supply ships until the camouflaged cutters turned the tide. On December 17, 1942 Ingham located what appeared to be a prowling U-boat. Dropping a barrage of depth charges, Ingham recorded its first victory. U-626 went to the bottom with all hands. Ingham would serve in the Pacific as flagship for several troop landings on islands such as Panay and Tigbauanan. Her long history included dozens of naval gunfire support missions in the Vietnam War and in 1980 rescued at least twenty Cubans in the waters between Florida and Cuba during the Mariel boat lift. Ingham's 52 years of service ended when she was decommissioned on May 27, 1988.
Saturday found us back to Patriots Point for a boat ride out to historic Fort Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War were fired. We had had very nice weather up until this day. The wind was blowing and it was quite chilly for our ride out to the fort. We got an excellent description of the events surrounding the fall of Fort Sumter by our tour guide, as well as the park ranger at the Fort. Decades of growing strife between North and South erupted in civil war on April 12, 1861, when Confederate artillery opened fire on this Federal fort in Charleston Harbor. Fort Sumter surrendered 34 hours later. Union forces would try for nearly four years to take it back.
Saturday afternoon we had to fend for ourselves, it was time for relaxation and some shopping, or watching football. In the evening was the banquet, which we had a great turnout for. Many of our shipmates in the Charleston area joined us for dinner and conversation. Our guest speaker was our old friend and shipmate, Command Master Chief Mike Conran, formerly of the USS Mahan (DDG-72), currently unemployed, but heading for a prestigious billet as Command Master Chief of all destroyers, both Atlantic and Pacific. Mike gave us an inspiring talk on what it means to be an American citizen above all other things. I have to say that I agreed with him 100%. After dinner and speech we had a raffle for items provided by Tin Can Sailors Association and we then withdrew to the hospitality room where many goodbyes were heard from the folks leaving that evening or early in the morning.
A business meeting was held by the Board of Trustees on Friday afternoon and Corpus Christi was selected as the site for the 2008 Reunion with Jim Storey and Gary white volunteering to be the hosts. The minutes from the 2006 meeting were read and approved and they will be available soon on the web.
Front: Al James, Jim Mullen, Bill Sumner
Back: Michael Fleming, Joe Permatteo, Ed Young
Front Row: Donna Wilson, Eiko Hallowell, Jin Heili, Jessica & Tom Voorhees
2nd Row: Maureen Fosberg, Kay White, Sandi Storey, Robert Wilson, Dick Hallowell, Geraldine Odeen, Evagene Emmett, Bonnie Christian, Debbie McGee Bill Pospisil
3rd Row: Danny Fosberg, Gary White, Jim Storey, Rita Casner, Loretta Cain, Harold Odeen, Jerry Emmett, Vernon Christian, Tom McGee, Tommy Pospisil
4th Row: Ann Lynch, Ron Lynch, David Casner, Tom O'Halloran, Marion Krumlauf, John Cain, Dave Krumlauf, Mal Wiseman, Bob Moe, Diane Tracey, Dale Tracey, Mitzie Heydt
Back Row: Russ Owens, Bob Heili, Sandy Bartling, Lana Winkowski, Dave Winkowski, Mike Haloski, Bob Heydt
Front: Frank Fitzpatrick
2nd Row: Kenneth Poor, Michael Leonardo, Brian Tee, Scott Taylor, Billy Watson, Ken Bobbitt, Jim Dillard, Joe Lofy
3rd Row: Leo Shortsleeve, Rob Leblanc, Russ Gailhouse, Daniel Beth, Eric Miller, David Coates, Ron Taylor, Tim Charous
Back Row: George Reinl, Tom McDonnell, Richard Jones, Jeff Sweet, John Brown, David Belding, Lee Samuelson
Shipmates from DD-364, DLG-11 and DDG-42 in attendance. (There were a couple more who were not available for the group photo)
Mahan collage created by the Jeff Sweet's son, now hanging in the Tin Can Alley section of the Ramada Hotel. (Photo was not straight so it cropped lopsided.)
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|364 shipmates waiting for our bus in downtown Charleston.||Ed & Elizabeth Young. (DD-364)||Jerry Emmett, John Cain, Robert Wilson, and Harold Odeen swapping lies. David Casner checking out a cruise book.|
|Dave & Rita Casner, Donna Wilson and Evagene Emmett.||Crew members representing DD-364, DLG-11 and DDG-42 with the Mahan collage. All BTs, with one Watertender.||Ron Lynch giving dancing lessons while waiting to board the Yorktown.|
|Leo Shortsleeve,Judith Jones, Scott Taylor and Richard Jones on Yorktown.||Bev & Jeff Sweet, Dave & Marion Kaufman and Sandy & Herb Bartling having lunch in the Yorktown CPO Mess.||Two of The Citadel chapel's stained glass windows.|
|Ron Lynch in front of the huge flag in the Yorktown hangar bay.||Jim Storey manning the shaft of the Hunley.||Fort Sumter Monument.|
|USS Yorktown from the Fort Sumter boat.||Col. John Mahan Brooks (Nephew of Alfred T. Mahan) under the banner he so generously donated to the Association.||Russ Owens and Col John Mahan Brooks under the Association banner. Col Brooks funded and Russ had it manufactured.|
Slide show will be available as soon as bugs are worked out.
Click here for a complete slide show, photos contributed by Dave Winkowski, Bob Moe, Dick Hallowell, Russ Owens and Ron Lynch.