Members can login to the membership area for contact information for many of these individuals. Are you a shipmate without a membership? Click Here to become a member.
are Association Life Members
are Charter members
was/are Regular Members (opened 02/16/2001- Check Association Page for current status)
In Memory--Shipmates known to be deceased
are members of the 1942 commissioning crew
are members of the 1961 recommissioning crew
Shipmates are divided into 11 sections.
Captain Edward Thomas Alberta,
1 Jan 1924 - 17 Jan 2000
Commanding Officer 28 Oct 67 until May 1969. He died of congestive heart
failure January 17, 2000 at Columbia Reston Hospital Center at the age of 76.
LCDR Orval F. Allen, USN: Commanding Officer on 29 June 1951.
Sent 2002 reunion postcard to Rochester, WA (not him). Possibly deceased
"ALLEN, ORVAL FRANK LCDR US NAVY VETERAN SERVICE DATES: Unknown - 01/01/1952
DATE OF BIRTH: 07/02/1908 DATE OF DEATH: 03/24/1955 DATE OF INTERMENT:
03/29/1955 BURIED AT: SECTION Q SITE 924 GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL CEMETERY 1300
SNEATH LANE SAN BRUNO , CA 94066" updated 10/31/04
Captain Charles B. Almy, USN
Commanding Officer 27 October 1965 until November 1966. Deceased. "CHARLES ALMY
SSN: 212-38-8357 Last Residence: 95497 The Sea Ranch, Sonoma, CA Born: 18 Aug
1921 Last Benefit: Died: Aug 1987 State (Year) SSN issued: MD" Nick Kienic
submitted the photo/biographical sketch. updated 06/29/03
Commander Alcorn G. Beckmann, USN
Commanding Officer 11 January 1951 to unknown. Possibly deceased: "Alcorn
BECKMANN Birth Date: 23 Jul 1907 Death Date: Nov 1993 Social Security Number:
549-66-1035 State or Territory Where Number Was Issued: California Death
Residence Localities ZIP Code: 93527 Localities: Inyokern, Kern, California
Pearsonville, Kern, California"
Commander Everett H. Browne, USN (Ret)
In a 1980
letter to Bud Bessey, he wrote, "I was skipper of the AO 36 from September,
1943 to June 1946." (Probably Deceased. From SSDI: Born 12 Sep 1900 Last
Benefit: 78070 Spring Branch, Comal, TX; Died Mar 1985) He lived in Spring
Branch, TX. updated with Web site 10/19/02
AO-36 Life Member 13
Captain Frank L. DeLorenzo, USN (Ret.) Aboard 1961-62
Commanding Officer from recommissioning 16 December 61 until relieved on 18
December 62. Born in Milwaukee, WI in 1914. "Delo graduated from
Marquette Law School where he was on the staff of the Marquette Law Review. He
entered flight training as an Aviation Cadet and won his wings in May of 1940.
His first assignment was to VP-12 flying PB2Y's out of San Diego. He was
ordered to VP-13 and flew the Coronado throughout the Pacific. He took part in
the strikes on Wake Island during the F and Gilbert campaigns and was awarded
the Air Medal with four gold stars. In 1953 and '54 he commanded VP-34 flying
PBM's out of Trinidad, BWI. His squadron won the Fleet Battle Efficiency
Pennant. From 1956 to '58 he served as OPS and XO of USS Kearsarge (CVA-33). He
was promoted to captain while attending the Naval War - College in Newport, RI,
after which he was ordered to the Naval Pacific Missle Range at Pt. Mugu, CA,
where he was associated with numerous early space projects. He then commanded
the fleet oiler USS Kennebec (AO-36) and in 1963 was assigned as chief of staff
to commander, Middle East Force, homeported in Bahrain. He was also commanding
officer of NAS Corpus Christi, Texas as well as CO of headquarters support
activity Taipei, Taiwan. He retired in 1970 after accumulating more than 7,000
hours. He and his wife, Helen, reside in Pensacola. He wrote an article about
the 4 engine seaplane, The
Coronado, which you are invited to read. updated email address 01/18/05. Update 6/23/2011 from Franks daughter-inlaw, Linda, "I wanted to let you know that Capt Frank "Delo" DeLorenzo passed away in late May (May 16, 2011). At 96, he lived a full and happy life." Click Here to view Frank's obit.
Captain Ralph DiCori
Commanding Officer from 12 December 1963 until 10 December, 1964. Born on May
6, 1921 in Watertown, Mass., Capt. Ralph Di Cori was a former Merchant Marine
officer who entered the Navy during World War II and was commissioned an ensign
on April 12, 1943. From Bob Rossington, "He was skipper on our very eventful
cruise in 1964." Commanding officer of Naval Station San Diego 25 Jun 70 - 09
Feb 1972. Unable to attend 2001 reunion. Sent 2002 reunion letter. Lives in El
Cajon, CA as of April 2001.
RADM ( Rear Admiral) William Hiram House, Aboard 1962-63,
Unknown - 13 Sep 1984
Commanding Officer from 18 December 62 until 12 December 1963. Rear Admiral
William Hiram House USN (Ret) died on 13 September 1984. He was aboard
NORTHAMPTON (CA-26) at the Battle of Midway. Somewhere along the way he picked
up a Navy Cross, a Silver Star, a Legion of Merit, a Bronze Star, an Air Medal
and a Presidential Unit Citation plus three Navy Unit Citations ergo he saw a
lot of action. He was a Naval Aviator. Received an email from his son on
06/09/03, "I am the son of Captain William H. House who commanded the Kennebec
in 1962. He arranged for my brother (14 yrs) and I (16 yrs) to dress as sailors
and ride AO-36 from San Diego to SFO. It was a fun trip which has left me with
fond memories of the staff and navy life aboard the Kennebec. Captain House
passed away in 1984. Best Regards, Harry House" updated 06/09/03
CDR George Perry Huff: Aboard 1953. Possiblly deceased "SSN:
545-70-8626; Last Residence: 89702 Carson City, Carson City, NV; Born: 27 Mar
1908; Died: 25 Jun 1990" updated 04/30/05
AO-36 Life Member 12
Captain Robert F. "Bob" Hunt Aboard 1966-67
Reunions Attended: 2001, 2002
from 1 Aug 66 to 28 Oct 67. Yes, I am still alive and enjoying life. I retired
from the Navy in 1972 and went to work the next day with a small engineering
firm here in Annapolis. I am still working for them as VP. I have retired from
the engineering company twice, but they keep calling me back, ".to just take
over on this big project for a couple of months." Anyhow, I am still working
part-time and it is very interesting to me. Sometimes, it seems to demand more
time than I want to give them for a month or two, but then it settles down
again and (like this morning) I can re-connect with the world. And that is why
I tell people that, "I have retired three times now, I haven't got it quite
right, yet, but I'll get it straight someday soon." Besides, it is a job where
I can take a month to go fishing in Canada every year and three weeks to visit
our daughter in Ohio at Thanksgiving and another three weeks to vist our son
and their family in Missouri at Christmas. Yes, I would be interested in a
reunion; either location. Lives in Annapolis, MD. upated with Web sites
10/19/02. Update 12/13/2010 from Pat and Tonya Hunt: "Your friend and my father passed away on July 31st, 2010 at our home in Salina, Oklahoma.
His final resting place is next to my mother in Annapolis, Maryland at St. Anne's Episcopal Church."
AO-36 Life Member 14
Captain Richard L. "Dick" Kopps
Reunions Attended: 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009
commanding officer of Kennebec, relieving Captain Edward T. Alberta at sea off
Japan on May 5, 1969 and served until Kennebec was decommissioned on June 29,
1970. I look forward to contacting old shipmates and attending the fall
reunion. Lives in Kapaa, HI. updated 02/20/02
Remembering the Kennebec (PDF posted May 2011). Richard was the last serving Capt. of the USS Kennebec. Richard passed away on June 5, 2017, we were unable to find his obit.
CDR J.S. Lewis: Aboard 1953-54
Captain Albert Oakes Morton USN
Commanding Officer from 10 December 1964 until October of 1965. Deceased.
Interred at Barrancas National CEMETERY Pensacola, Escambia County, Florida.
Morton, Albert Oakes, b. 09/03/1919, d. 11/07/1982, US Navy, CAPTAIN, Res:
Valpariso, FL, Plot: 37 0 1150, bur. 11/10/1982. updated 06/29/03
Captain Merritt David Mullen, Sr.
Commanding Officer on March 31, 1944. Birth: 4 Aug 1898 Carrollton, Carroll, Ky
Christening: 15 Jan 1899 Death: 6 Apr 1957 Plymouth, Devon, England Burial: 15
Apr 1957 Nat CEMETERY, Arlington, Va Service Dates: 4/1917 - 4/1957; Born:
8/4/1898; CARROLLTON, KY." Received 11/28/03 from David Mullen from Covington,
LA., "My grandfather was Capt. Merritt D. Mullen, 1944. If any one knows of him
please get in touch." updated 12/04/03
CDR John M. Parker: Aboard 1953. From Ken Snyder, "Regarding
the history of AO-36, I was Aboard 1953 when we went on a refueling mission to
Icy Cape, Alaska. The history does not mention that Commander Parker was the CO
during that trip. He left the Kennebec when we returned to San Pedro in the
fall. added 01/04/02
Captain Charles W. Peckham, SC, USN (Ret.) Commanding officer
in the early 1940's. In 1980 and 1985 letters to Bud Bessey, he lived in Santa
Rosa, CA. He was 75 in 1985. "CHARLES W PECKHAM SSN: 553-20-3368 Last
Residence: 95409 Santa Rosa, Sonoma, CA Born: 12 Dec 1909 Last Benefit: Died:
Jul 1993 State (Year) SSN issued: CA" updated 07/03/03
Captain Stewart S. Reynolds Was
this his home? First commanding officer upon commissioning 4 February 1942.
Sent 2002 reunion letter to Taylor, MI (not at this address). Possibly
deceased. "REYNOLDS STEWART S 05/15/1896 M PENNSYLVANIA SAN DIEGO(37)
06/19/1975 563-66-5560 79 yrs" updated 11/24/02
Rear Admiral Forrest A. Rhoads
December 25, 1948. Sent 2002 reunion letter to Taylor, MI. Possibly deceased
"Rhoads, Forrest A, b. 01/22/1898, d. 08/19/1965, RADM USN, Plot: U 281 F, bur.
08/30/1965, *" Note conflict with birth date from www.lonesailor.com updated
CDR Nadan F. J. Stimac, USN
Commanding Officer from 14 December 1956 until 1957. Sent 2002 reunion letter
to Lemon Grove, CA.
Admiral Thaddeus Johnson Van Metre
1949-50 as captain. Courtesy Ethel Geary, "My father's (John J. Geary) memoirs
state: 1949 Reported aboard the Kennebec and was sworn in by my Commanding
Officer T.J. Van Metre, just reduced to Commander from holding temporary rank
of Captain. Shortly after that he was boosted back to rank of Captain. Capt.
Van Metre was an Academy graduate. The Captain had been given a little dog, who
stayed on the ship. The dog was named Kenny, after the Kennebec." OBITUARY:
Rear Admiral Thaddeus J. Van Metre, USN Retired, died Friday, June 6, 2003, at
Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem. He was born May 2, 1907, in Anderson,
Ind., to Thaddeus J., who died 17 days after his birth, and Sarah E. Van Metre.
Rear Admiral Van Metre was educated in the Indiana Public Schools, George
Washington University, The U.S. Naval Academy and did postgraduate work at The
Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He served on the cruiser Detroit,
Battleship Pennsylvania and various other destroyers in the Atlantic and
Pacific until 1937. He was married Nov. 20, 1938, to Madeliene M. McCormick in
Philadelphia, Pa., while serving on the staff of Commandant 4th Naval District.
He left immediately for a two-year tour of duty on the Asiatic Station on the
coastal gunboat, USS Tulsa. He was evacuated from Hong Kong in December 1940
with his wife and 1-year-old son, Brian. He was ordered to precommission detail
for the Battleship USS North Carolina at the Naval Yard in Brooklyn, N.Y., and
received favorable impressions of the N.C. Governors Delegation to the
commissioning of the battleship on April 9, 1941, influencing his decision to
retire in 1960 in N.C. He served during the war on the USS North Carolina until
October 1944 in various assignments, the last two years as Navigator. He
received the Bronze Star with Combat Citation and commanded USS Hillary P.
Jones and a destroyer squadron in the Pacific until war's end. His postwar
duties included Naval Proving Ground in Dahlgren, Va., Command of the USS
Kennebec transporting oil from the Persian Gulf to the Philippines, Japan,
Alaska and the West Coast. His shore duties include the Bureau of Naval
Personnel, Washington, D.C., Senior Naval Officer as Chief of Military
Assistance Group, Lisbon, Portugal, and the staff of CNO Washington, and
Commander Service Squadron of 29 ships. He commanded The Naval Base at Norfolk,
Va., and the U.S. Naval Station until he physically retired in November 1959.
He accepted a position with the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce and moved
there in 1960. He was appointed by the governor to establish the N.C.
Advancement School and by the mayor to chair the Citizens Advisory Committee on
Community Development. He served on the boards of Centenary United Methodist
Church, The Retired Officers Association and Rotary Club. After several
surgeries he confined activities to golf and supporting his wife, who died in
1988, Madeliene's worked on the boards of the N.C. School of the Arts, the
Winston-Salem Symphony, The Arts Council and the Ronald McDonald House.
Survivors include his son, Cmdr. R. Brian Van Metre, USN Retired; his four
grandchildren, Mike Van Metre of Greensboro, Cmdr. Christopher R. Van Metre,
USN, PCO USS Hartford, Kevin Van Metre and Michelle Pittelli of Cary and 8
great-grandchildren and granddogs. He was a hero to all. In lieu of flowers
please send contributions to The Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem or the
Duke Children's Hospital and Health Center Oncology Center. Published in the
Winston-Salem Journal on 6/8/2003. updated 06/29/03
Captain G.D. Zurmuehlen
Commanding Officer on 25 Dec 46. Possibly deceased: Fort Rosecrans National
CEMETERY, Point Loma, San Diego County, CA "Zurmuehlen, Gerald, b. 02/11/1903,
d. 10/10/1965, US NAVY, Plot: 28-E, bur. 10/13/1962, *" updated 06/29/03
LT Robert W. Addis Aboard 1957,
14 Nov 1920 - Jun 1979
Officer/Liquid Cargo Officer aboard 10/01/57. Lila Addis, his widow, called Mar
14, 2002, and reported he died at age 59 after serving 30 years. She lives in
Charles S. Allyn, Aboard 1943-45. Having run across the web
page for the Kennebec I have a correction to the page of officers. Lt. Ogletree
was the supply officer who I relieved in Norfolk in 1943. Capt. Mullen was
still aboard at that time. He was relieved by Capt. "Whitey" Browne shortly
thereafter. I will be in Los Angeles for several more weeks but when I return
to Dayton I will have access to my records. Memory is fading somewhat after
these many years. I left the Kennebec in Tokyo after the end of WWII and have
had no contact with shipmates since. She was a good ship and we sailed many
miles during my time aboard. When I find my records I will contact you. I might
have a list of the officers who were aboard at that time. updated with
ENS Albert A. Amador
Aboard 1961. Possibly deceased "Alberto AMADOR Birth
Date: 29 Jan 1938 Death Date: 5 Oct 1994 Social Security Number: 267-78-0010
State or Territory Where Number Was Issued: Florida Death Residence Localities
ZIP Code: 33016 Localities: Hialeah, Dade, Florida Hialeah Gardens, Dade,
Florida Miami, Dade, Florida Miami Lakes, Dade, Florida"
LT Richard Craig Angell: Aboard 1963-65 as Operations
Officer. Sent 2002 reunion postcard to Richmond, VA (best bet born in 1935),
Cloquet, MN (not here) and Albuquerque, NM. updated 04/30/05
LTJG Thomas Charles Archer: Aboard 1963-1965 as Supply
Officer. Sent 2003 reunion letter to Pleasanton, CA.
LCDR Vincent J. Banks
Executive Officer as of March 31, 1944. Sent 2002 reunion letter
to Phoenix, AZ. Possibly deceased "BANKS, VINCENT JOSEPH CMDR US NAVY VETERAN
SERVICE DATES: 11/30/1940 - 03/30/1954 DATE OF BIRTH: 01/04/1909 DATE OF DEATH:
09/18/1956 DATE OF INTERMENT: 09/24/1956 BURIED AT: SECTION C SITE 741AA LONG
ISLAND NATIONAL CEMETERY 2040 WELLWOOD AVENUE FARMINGDALE , NY 11735-1211 (631)
LT William Jelk Barksdale: Aboard 1968-69 as First
Lieutenant. Sent 2002 reunion letter to Huntsville, AL.
AO-36 Life Member 166
Andrew F. Barnett, Jr.
(Supply Corps) U S Navy (Ret)
My friend and
neighbor Bill Meagher has shown me the exchange of e-mails concerning his
service in SS Corsicana/USS Kennebec...I also served in USS Kennebec 51/52 as a
DKSN (I was the only DK on board!)...she was my first ship and as such holds a
special place in my memories...I later served in a destroyer, an amphibious
command ship...three carriers...three aviaton squadrons...four air
stations...five staffs...one laboratory...the Aviation Supply Office and
Director Naval Audit Service....it took me over 35 years! I would be interested
in joining the association...if you have a history of the Kennebec I would
appreciate that also. I last saw Kennebec on a Southerly course from the bridge
of my destroyer while heading north in the Persian Gulf in 1957." Lives in
Virginia Beach, VA.
ENS William Edward "Bill" Barry Aboard 1969-70
as Gunnery Officer. From wife, Jo 06/14/02 "Thank you for the E-mail. It has
been fun looking at all the names and remembering all the times in the Navy,
especially during the Vietnam War. We came aboard December 1969 with our 2
month old daughter, Pam. We were there and not too long after she was
decommissioned. The families went out on her last sail. We lived in Hunters
Point Base Housing. It was funny, we were Ensigns, it was put on our house one
day. Two ensigns on the whole base; no one would speak to us. Once Bill took me
to dinner on board the ship in the ward room, and a bad storm came. We rocked
all through dinner. Lightning came, the power went off and we had to leave the
ship. The deck was so slippery, I took my heels off. I slipped this way and
that and was I scared. You men are so rugged to have done that kind of life. We
saw HAIR The musical in 1970 there. They were building the subways in San
Francisco then, too. Once we went to the Dr Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Niteclub. We paid 80 dollars a month to live in our little house on the Base. I
remember sitting at the ramps trying to get out onto the highway. The speed
limit was so high; the cars were going 90 mph or so. We had our 2nd anniversary
there. We have been married 34 years now. We live in San Diego after living all
over the USA. Bill was in five years then left to enter the car busness. After
many jobs and many moves we now live in San Diego. Bill stripes cars and owns
his own business."
CAPT James B. "Jim" Battles, Aboard 11/69-06/29/70 as LT at the time and
the operations officer and operations department head and was on the
decommissioning team for the Kennebec. He left active duty upon decommissioning
of the Kennebec but stayed in the Naval Reserve retiring as a Capt (0-6).
He is interested in attending the 2004 reunion. He is also a Ph.D. who lives
and works in Rockville, MD. membership EXP 10//05
AO-36 Life Member 135
Robert M. "Bob" Beckley, USN, Ret.
Sent 2003 reunion letter to Robert M. Beckley in Orlando, FL 11/30/02.
Received a letter from him on 12/11/02: "I put the Kennebec in commission in
1951. I was operations and navigator (Executive Officer for a short time). I
left in 1953. I have many memories of this ship. Thanks for your letter. I am
89 years old and probably won't go to the reunion. I have a picture of the ship
and crew. If you want it, I'll try to get a copy to you." Received another
letter dated 12/15/02, "Thanks for your letter and picture and information. I'm
sorry I can't help you much with names. That is the same picture I have. I
served as Ops. and Navigator under Beckman and Huff. Also as Exec. under Allen.
It was an interesting and sometimes hectic tour of duty. I retired in January
1957. I joined the Navy in 1932 as an AS and retired in 1957 as LCDR. I was a
QM for 12 years and made ENS in 1943. Was on 17 ships for duty, everything from
a YP to a battleship. Was in 2 wars; WWII and Korea. Recieved lots of medals
including Bronze Star with combat V. Had 4 commands. I am very fortunate to be
here. I thank God every day for my health. I thank you for all the work you
have done and are doing for the Kennebec. If you are ever in Orlando give me a
call. Come to my 90th party next March 27th." Lives in Orlando, FL from Nov-Apr
and Dellroy, OH from May-Oct. He called on 02/23/04 and thanked me for what we
have been sending him. He sounded good and we had a brief, but enjoyable,
conversation. updated with LM90
Ltjg Don Bell: Aboard during 1951-54 era as Communications
Officer. Courtesy Bill Bonaker. added 06/02/03
LCDR J.C. Bidwell, XO: Aboard 1946.
LT Black: Aboard 1951-54 era as first Chief Engineer.
Courtesy Bill Bonaker. added 06/02/03
AO-36 Life Member 23
Charles L. (Les) Blake, Jr. Aboard
Just found your site. Have been
wondering if anyone was still around who served in Kennebec. I was the Chief
Engineer from 4/67 to 6/70 when it was decommissioned so I could finish my 18
mo tour. Believe it is still in the mothball fleet. If Kennebec is still in
Suisun Bay, waiting for a buyer, it can be identified by the 4 foot extension
we put on the inner stack (view at www.hazegray.org or link below). This shows
on the picture heading for Japan. Another item of interest is that Kennebec was
awarded the red engineering E when it was either the second or oldest oiler in
the Navy. What makes this even better is the fact that we were not attempting
to win it as we all figured there wasn't even a slim to none chance of getting
it. The main reasons for the win were the excellent Engineering crew and the
fact that we made all our commitments and even picked up a few for the newer
ships when they broke down. I found a second letter indicating we won the E the
next year also, then Kennebec was the oldest oiler in the entire Navy! Here are
two pictures. The one of the stack did not fair too well. Don't have the
know-how to clean it up. We all know the top of the stack is black. We looked
in the good book and made the E as big as possible. As it was raining and we
were underway it was painted on a steel plate in the shipfitters' shop and
welded to the stack coming into Subic. We only had one plate done and waited
until we knew which side would be toward the pier before installing it. We were
coming alongside another oiler whose engineers thought they had the E in their
pocket. Couldn't pass up an opportunity like that. Lives in Victorville, CA.
Interested in reunion. updated city of residence 08/08/03
LCDR Garth M. Blakeslee,
08 May 1910 - 25 Sep 1993. Aboard as Navigator in 1949. Phil Sinfield saw him a few
times when he was working for the San Diego Padres. "BLAKESLEE, GARTH M LCDR US
NAVY VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 04/01/1934 - 04/01/1960 DATE OF BIRTH: 05/08/1910
DATE OF DEATH: 09/25/1993 DATE OF INTERMENT: 10/07/1993 BURIED AT: SECTION CBA
ROW 1 SITE 324 FT. ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY P.O. BOX 6237 P.O. BOX 6237 SAN
DIEGO , CA 92166 (619) 553-2084 (619) 553-2084" updated 04/19/04
ENS Gary Wood Bolton Aboard 1961-62 as , R Division Officer .
LTJG Daniel Cramer Book: aboard 08/65-01/67. Sent 2002
reunion letter to Naples, FL (unable to forward) and Rumson, NJ.
LT Peter R. "Pete" Borowski. Aboard 1963 as LTJG.
Lives in Brielle, NJ. Membership EXP 07/03
LCDR Carl Thomas Braun: Aboard 1968-69 as Executive Officer.
Sent 2002 reunion letter to Chesapeake, VA.
CDR Rudolf T. Bredderman, U.S.N. (Ret.) I reported
aboard Kennebec as an Ensign in Trincomalee, Ceylon on or about the 1st of
September 1957. I was assigned the duties of Communications Officer. I believe
we had nine officers and a crew of about 90. I stayed with Kennebec until she
was decommissioned in Bayonne, NJ one or about October 17, 1957. During that
short month and a half we navigated thru the Suez, one of the first ships to do
so after Nasser allowed the canal to be reopened. Contrary to what it says in
the history, our skipper was Stimac not Stiman and we were inactivated in
Bayonne, NJ not in New York. I concede that the shipyard in Bayonne was
operated as part of the New York Naval Shipyard. The Kennebec that I sailed on
was a TAO, i.e., a ship operated for the Navy by the Military Sea
Transportation Service. There were about a dozen former Navy tankers that were
activated by the MSTS to move oil for the Navy when the Suez was closed by
Nasser in early 1957. As my first ship as an naval officer, it was a memorable
cruise for me. I did a bit of the navigating and qualified as an OOD underway.
I remember that we were very short of provisions. Thank God for the visit to
Lisbon where we picked up some real food. Our corpsman, however would not let
the Supply Officer serve the bread because it wasn't wrapped. If you wish, I
can try to dig out some of my records. Thanks again for contacting me. Lives in
Fremont, CA. updated email address 03/22/03.
LCDR Robert C. Brice, Aboard 1946,
26 Jan 1915 - 13 Aug 1998
Aboard as Navigator on 25 Dec 46.
ENS Brodie: Aboard 1942.
LT Robert R. "Bob" Broesamle: Aboard 1969-70 as First
Lieutenant. He called 10/01/02 and will try to attend 2002 reunion and will
definitely become a member. Lives in Flower Mound, TX. updated
ENS Denis Roy Brown: Aboard 1962-64 as Communications
Officer. Sent 2001 reunion postcard to Port Allegany, PA (attempted not known)
and Malibu, CA (not deliverable).
LCDR Larry J. Brown Operations Officer. Aboard 1965-67.
I left Kennebec after two cruises. The navy pushed me to LCDR and sent me to
Vietnam. Cam Rahn Bay, never saw a shot fired in anger. I went to Vega as XO,
and UNREP School TI as OINC. retired in 1979, and moved to the Spokane, WA
area. Things I remember is carrying Bosun Greenfield's coronet to the bars in
Olongapo so I could get free drinks; overloading the ship with whatever we
could carry to the ships off the coast of Vietnam; and the last UNREP off San
Francisco coming back in 1967. Seems to me we also had the fastest Captain's
gig in the fleet, didn't the snipes replace the Buda with a GMC 671. I have
been teaching high school math and science the last 15 years, and currently
hold an instrument rating on my private pilot license. Hope to become a CFI
soon. This is one fine web page. Unable to attend 2001 reunion. Lives in
Cusick, WA. added photo 07/13/02
ENS Ronald McDowell Brown: aboard 03/65-08/66.
LT Joseph Paul Buchanan: Asst 1st. Aboard 1966-67. Sent 2003
reunion to Laguna Hills, CA (unable to forward).
ENS John Edward Burnett: Aboard 1969
LCDR Frederick (possibly D.) Butterfield: Aboard 1968 as
Operations Officer. Sent 2003 reunion letter to Redmond, WA.
LTJG Bruce E. Buxton I have been recently
trading e-mails with Rex Livengood and he made me aware of the reunion. I was
TAD to Kennebec in mid 1969 for JOD qualification. Went Aboard Subic Bay as I
was stationed at Cubi Point NAS at the time. Deployed to Viet Nam and back and
remember the experience fondly to this day (despite the engineering watches).
Still admire the work ethic aboard and appreciated the inclusive spirit
extended to a TAD jg. That brand-spanking USNA ensign who caught a lift aboard
Kennebec may have a differing opinion. Is there room at the reunion for a mere
short time shipmate? Let me know. Are you of the ship's company inviting even
us TADers to the reunion? I am certainly interested. Please let me know your
sense of the scope of this reunion by return e-mail. It is such a pleasure
looking at the material on the website - I have had a picture of the Kennebec
hanging on my wall for the past decade.
LTJG Dennis J. Campagnaaboard 10/64-04/66. Frequently went on
liberty with the enlisted men, including yours truly. Lives in Santa Rosa, CA.
Membership EXP 12/04
AO-36 Life Member 141
Howard G. Castor
Reunions Attended: 2007
last had contact with him in 1950. He sailed on the Kennebec January 1949 to
August 1949 as Ensign, Ltjg, as watch officer, Assistant Navigator, Assistant
Communications Officer, Training Officer and Gunnery Officer. While aboard her,
they shuttled from Japan to the Persian Gulf with many interesting R-and-R
stops. Lives in Wilkes-Barre, PA. updated email 04/21/05
Kenneth R. Clark: aboard 1968-70. Ops-Navigation.
LT Raymond L. "Ray" Clevenger
Lives in St. Paul, MN.
LTJG Thomas James Cotton III: Aboard 1969. Sent email to
Cypress, CA on 06/23/03.
LTJG John William Cyrus, Jr. Aboard 1961-63 as CIC Officer. Sent 2001 reunion postcard to
Lynchburg, VA (not deliverable as addressed). Sent 2002 reunion postcard to
LT Calvin R. "Roger" Dick. Aboard 04/65-04/67 as Operations
Officer. Lives in Bakersfield, CA. updated 02/20/02
ENS Dunford: Aboard 1949-50. He later served with Admiral
LTJG Ruud Land Duvall Aboard 1961-63 as Gunnery Officer.Sent 2002 reunion postcard to
Wilmot Egan: Worked with Sigurd E. Swenson during late
1940's. added 08/15/03
CDR Charles H. "Charlie" Erwin Aboard 1961-63 as LT.He was the Supply Officer. He called 08/12/04
and is very interested in Association and attending a future reunion. Lives in
Virginia Beach, VA. updated 08/12/04
ENS Jonnie Ronald Fantin: Aboard 1962-63 as Auxiliaries
Officer. Possibly advanced to CAPT. Sent 2002 reunion postcard to Burke, VA.
ENS Thomas J. Farrell: Aboard 1968-69.
CAPT Kenneth W. "Ken" Fitzgerald
Aboard 1968-70 as LtJG. Retired in 1994 as CAPT. He's a businessman in Syracuse
NY. removed email address 08/28/05
LT Harry W. Fitzpatrick: Aboard 1945 for transfer.
LCDR Ferguson: The XO that came aboard after the cruise to
Icy Cape, Alaska in 1953. Courtesy Bill Bonaker. added 06/02/03
LTJG Carl B. Flock. Aboard 06/64-06/66. Sent 2002 reunion
postcard to Cupertino, CA.
ENS Harry S. Forrest: Aboard 1945 for temporary duty.
ENS Jacques H. Fox
Was an attorney in Philadelphia, PA. Probably deceased. "JACQUES H
FOX 25 Mar 1915 08 Feb 1997 (V) 21114 (Crofton, Anne Arundel, MD) (none
specified) 197-24-1011 Pennsylvania)" Received an email from his son Jacques H.
Fox Jr. 1/19/05 "Trying to learn some things about
my father's history (Jacques H. Fox) who served on the Kennebec early in WWII."
LTJG William France Aboard 1961-63 as
LT Earl L. Gale, U.S.N. (SSN) Aboard 1946-48 as MM3. I was surprised to
find this Web when searching my name on Google. Interesting to find so many old
shipmates from 56 years ago. Am astonished to hear that Kennebec lasted as long
as she did, through three commissionings. She was old and tired when I left
her, although her turbines were still steaming smoothly. Post duty on Kennebec,
1946-1948, I served in Destroyers until 1954 when I went submarine as a Chief
Machinist Mate. I subsequently trained and served in Nuclear Submarines where I
was commissioned, qualified as a Nuclear Submarine Officer, and continued to
serve in Nuclear Submarines, Submarine Staff, Support and Training activities,
(with a short 1-year non-submarine tour in VN) until retirement in 1970 as
probably the oldest and most senior Lieutenant in the Navy! I am currently
living in Malaysia where I ultimately found myself after fifteen years of
roaming in a 48 foot ketch. Attached is photo of this mariner, taken in The
Tasman Sea in 1996. As you can see, once bitten.....always a sailor. I am
happily married and living with my wife in Malaysia while the boat sits in a
local Yacht Club and sails for half of the year in Western Malaysia and Thai
waters. updated 07/13/04
CDR John J. Geary
Kennebec 1949-1950. This e-mail was received 07/10/01, "John J. Geary was was
father. He reported aboard the Kennebec in 1949 as the Executive Officer and
oversaw her decommissioning in 1950, I think, as the CO. He retired in 1954,
and passed away in 1990 of lung cancer. He enlisted in the Navy at 17 years of
age in 1926. I'd be interesting in hearing from anyone that knew him, or would
just like to talk about the days aboard ship, as he did. I have almost finished
his memoirs of his nearly 30 years and anything someone who knew him might want
to ask will make it that much more interesting for his grandchildren. My
father's memoirs state: 1949 Reported aboard the Kennebec and was sworn in by
my Commanding Officer T.J. Van metre, just reduced to Commander from holding
temporary rank of Captain. Shortly after that he was boosted back to rank of
Captain. Capt. Van metre was an Academy graduate. The Captain had been given a
little dog, who stayed on the ship. The dog was named Kenny, after the
Kennebec. " (Note: Is anyone able to verify that LCDR Geary was the Commanding
Officer in 1950?) updated 07/11/01
ENS William R. Gibbs: Aboard 1945 for transfer.
LCDR R.W. Gillette: Executive Officer aboard December 25,
1948. Possibly deceased "GILLETTE, ROBERT WILLIAM CAPT US NAVY VETERAN SERVICE
DATES: 09/12/1941 - 01/31/1962 DATE OF BIRTH: 03/27/1918 DATE OF DEATH:
12/20/1975 DATE OF INTERMENT: 01/19/1976 BURIED AT: SECTION Q SITE 18 GOLDEN
GATE NATIONAL CEMETERY 1300 SNEATH LANE SAN BRUNO , CA 94066" updated 10/31/04
ENS Gerald E. Gnatkowski: Aboard 1963-64 as Damage Control
Officer. Sent 2002 reunion postcard to Oakland, MI and Waupun, WI. Probably
lives in Waupon, WI. updated 11/19/02
LTJG David B. Goldstein Aboard summer of 67 to summer of
69. Membership EXP 02/03. I found out about your web site from my former roommate, Rex Livengood who
called me out the blue. The last time I had been in touch with Rex was
somewhere in the late 70's or early 80's. Hearing from him after all this time
was a wonderful surprise as was your web site. I served under three captains on
the Kennebec -- Hunt (to whom I think I still owe a book that he lent me--I
hope he has forgiven me), Alberta and Kopps (Alberta the longest). I relieved
Greg Zolezzi as disbursing officer. I later moved up (or down depending on your
perspective) to supply officer. I had some wonderful men working with me. Many
like Larry Muck and Dennis Solberg advanced to an E-5 rating in a remarkably
short period and at a very young age. One incident I remember is Roy Kirkland
saving my posterior once on payday when I managed to overpay someone and he
caught the error just as the sailor was walking away from the table. There were
probably other times that the enlisted men working with me saved my butt and I
did not even know about it. I also remember being the bane of Les Blake's
existence, particularly after I became supply officer. In fact, being a supply
officer was great preparation for my post-Navy career. I went to law school at
the University of Texas right out of the Navy and then moved to Seattle
Washington where I practiced for 28 years. Supply officers seemed to be viewed
in the Navy much like lawyers are viewed by society in general. Therefore, I
was well prepared from my Navy days for the ribbing I would encounter in my
legal career. This past November, my wife Sally-Jo and I moved to the Spokane
area and are living on 34 acres. I noticed that some former crew mates are in
the area and I will try to get in touch with them, if nothing else through a
copy of this e-mail. By the way, the ship's store keeper whose picture you
showed worked for me and he was a great fellow but I am terrible on names and
cannot remember his. He went to an LST after he left the Kennebec. I am not
sure where all the time has gone. It seems only a few years ago that I had the
pleasure of being awakened at 2:00 a.m. in the middle of a tropical storm by
the call for an UNREP. In hindsight, I am amazed that we managed to carry out
these operations, successfully and usually without hurting anyone. It says a
lot for how well the crew of the Kennebec performed. They were and are a great
bunch of people. I think I should say something about the junior officers that
were inflicted on the enlisted. When I saw the movie Saving Private Ryan, the
only thing I thought that was unrealistic was the age of the officers. Tom
Hanks who must be in his mid to late thirties or even early forties played a
captain. In fact, a captain in the Army then probably would have been anywhere
in age from 19 to 25 just as we junior officers were. We were really a bunch of
kids charged with responsibility for 20 or 30 (or more) enlisted, most of whom
were not much younger than ourselves (and in the case of the senior enlisted,
were considerably older than us). That we performed as well as we did (an
allegation which probably can be disputed with respect to at least some
occasions by the enlisted who served with us) or at least did not screw up more
is amazing. I was happy to see after reading Dennis Solberg's note that I did
not ruin his life despite ample opportunity to do so. I remember Al Jenson and
I had to tell one of our men that his brother who was a corpsman had been
killed. There is no right way to do that and I think neither Al nor I felt up
to the task but we did our best and I think both of us felt very humbled by
what we had to do. In an way, I think our experience was somewhat surreal. We
listened to radio programs from home just as if we were home except we weren't.
There were lovely displays of fireworks at night except that they were not
really fireworks. In our auxiliary capacity, we were fighting a war about which
many of us did not support (and I think in the hindsight of history was a great
national mistake). However, we had not been consulted about making the war and
simply did our duty because that is the way most of us had been taught. As
supply officer, I remember most ships took a bottle or two of oxygen for
welding but hospital ships often cleaned us out of 50 or more bottles. What
struck both my wife and I is just how World War II and the Korean War were just
the experience of our parents and history for us, so the Vietnam War quickly
became that for our slightly younger friends and then our children. But for us,
it was the major event of our generation. However, I was very happy that my son
did not have to face the prospect of war. Enough rambling (also part of what
Dick Obenchain called the process of "geeserfication" or what I would call
turning into an old fart) I saw Larry Muck's name listed but no note. He was my
storekeeper and I would love to know what happened to him. He was a fine young
man and I hope his life turned out well. I cannot thank you enough for putting
together the Kennebec web site. Lives in Colbert, WA (Spokane area).
Oscar Green, M.D.
Later lived in New York City.
LTJG George Anthony Gregory Aboard 1961-63 as First Lieutenant.
AO-36 Life Member 122
LT Roger S. "Rog" Gruben Aboard 1965-67
Reunions Attended: 2001
MY HIGHEST RANK HELD
WHILE ON BOARD KENNEBEC WAS EM3 , HOWEVER I STAYED IN THE NAVY ULTIMATELY
ATTAINING THE RANK OF EMCM, I THEN WENT THROUGH THE LIMITED DUTY OFFICER
PROGRAM ( MUSTANG ) AND ATTAINED THE RANK OF LT. PRIOR TO MY RETIREMENT IN 1985
I WAS PERMANENT ENLISTED EMCM , TEMPORARY OFFICER UNTIL MY 30 YEAR RETIREMENT
FROM THE FLEET RESERVE. After retiring from the navy, he worked for a ship
contractor in San Diego, CA. Lived in Spring Valley, CA. Daugher Bret Gruben reported that Rog unexpectedly passed away June 6, 2006. His memorial service was held on June 12, 2006. Updated 06/12/06
CDR Elmon B.
Executive officer. Deceased. "ELMON GUERNSEY SSN: 565-68-7798 Last
Residence: 93041 Port Hueneme, Ventura, CA Born: 29 Oct 1897 Last Benefit:
Died: Apr 1981" updated 07/16/03
LTJG Donald J. Hale: Aboard 1945 for temporary duty.
LT William S.
Hall: Navigator aboard December 25, 1948. Died in San Diego sometime in late
LTJG Paul T. Hanson
officer aboard 1966-68. Lives in Pasadena, CA. Membership EXP 08/04
ENS John H. Happy, Jr. Aboard 1951-52 as
Communications Officer. Received email 07/01/03, "Got your mailing the other
day and was pleased to see the web site and dredge up OLD memories of my 1+
year on the Kennebec. That was a long time ago. I'm
glad to share my address with anyone who might remember me. Lives in Spokane,
WA. added 07/01/03
LT Edward S. Haugen: First Lieutenant aboard 10/01/57. I
called him 09/11/02 and he is interested in Association. Lives in Carlsbad, CA.
Captain John F. , Jr. Aboard 07/65-06/67. He retired
from the Navy in 1991 as a Captain and is now with FedEx as a flight
instructor. updated 08/09/05
AO-36 Life Member 124
LCDR Richard F. "Dick" Heffernan Aboard 1964-65
Reunions Attended: 2002, 2006
I SERVED AS
COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER 2/64 TIL 7/65. THIS WAS MY FIRST TOUR IN THE NAVY. I
REMEMBER DRIVING ACROSS COUNTRY WITH MY WIFE AND 2 KIDS AND REPORTING TO THE
SHIP BROKE; THE OOD TOLD ME TO COME BACK THE NEXT DAY BECAUSE THEY WERE HAVING
A CHANGE OF COMMAND CEROMONY. CAPT RALPH DICORI WAS RELIEVING CAPT HOUSE. THE
NEXT DAY I WAS TOLD THAT IN 4 WEEKS WE WOULD DEPLOY TO WESTPAC FOR 8 MONTHS. I
HAD TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH MY FAMILY. WE FOUND A VACANT QUANSIT HUT IN
HUNTERS POINT THAT WE CALLED HOME UNTIL WE COULD GET REGULAR BASE HOUSING. MY
FAVORITE OFFICER ON THE SHIP WAS OUR XO, TOM KELLEHER. HE WAS FROM MASSACHUTES,
AS I WAS,. HE TRIED TO SQUARE ME AWAY AS AN OFFICER. I GUESS HE DID OK.I
RETIRED AS A LCDR IN 1983. UNFORTUNATELY, CAPT KELLEHER WAS KILLED ON ACTIVE
DUTY AROUND 1976. HE FELL WHILE BEING LOWERED FROM A HELO ONTO A SHIP AT SEA IN
NORFOLK, VA. I AM NOW THE OWNER OF A MORTGAGE COMPANY in Chesapeake, VA.
updated with life membership 03/10/05. Richard's memories of the USS Turner Joy, submitted 02/19/2013
LT Paul Helmick: Aboard 1950 as 1st Lieutenant. Last known
address in Florida - probably deceased)
ENS Thomas Newton Hibbs: Aboard 1963-64 as Auxiliaries
Officer. Sent 2002 reunion postcard to St. Louis, MO.
ENS William N. Hoadley: Aboard 1945.
AO-36 Life Member 70
CDR William L. "Bill" Hodgskiss Aboard 1961-63
Aboard 1961-63 as LT in Operations Officer/Navigator. Letter
received 10/05/02, "Thank you for the newsy letter of 12 Aug outlining the
plans for the Kennebec Association. I was part of the original commissioning
crew in 1961 in the Red Hook area of Brooklyn. As Operations Officer/Navigator,
I was most fortunate to have had some fine officers and some truly outstanding
P.O.'s in the department. In 40 years or so, most are lost to memory but some
of the following will always be remembered: LTjg Bill France, Comm Off; ENS Ray
Rentfro, CIC Off; Saint, RMC; Smith, RMC; Smith, ET2; Clark, ET3; Taylor, RD1;
Varner, SM1; Arthur, RM1; Ponton, HM1 (later HMC); Johnson, QM1; and Markham,
QM2. My C.O.'s were CAPT Frank DeLorenzo followed by CAPT Willie House and XO
was LCDR John Kron. We had what would be characterized as a very happy ship
with a spirit and an attitude most difficult to surpass. Would love to hear
from any of them. I wish you and all of the other shipmates a most pleasant
reunion; my thoughts will be with them. Perhaps the next get-together will see
me there." Lives in Powell, WY. updated city of residence 08/23/04
LT Lloyd A. Huck: Aboard 1961-63
LTJG Robert Gene Jacobson: Aboard 1969-70 as Auxiliaries
Officer. I called him 09/11/02 and he is interested in Association. Lives in
Long Beach, CA.
Ens Harrison R. Jahn: Aboard 1952. Lives in Hickory, NC.
Courtesy John Happy. added 12/24/03
AO-36 Life Member 100
LCDR Albert L. "Al" Jensen Aboard
Reunions Attended: 2003, 2004
Supply officer aboard Kennebec 1966-1968.
Lives in Hot Springs, SD. updated email address
LTJG P.B. Jones: Gunnery Officer on 25 Dec 46. added 06/07/02
AO-36 Life Member 16
Captain Thomas E. "Tom" Kane, USNR (Ret.) Aboard
I served aboard the "Rust bucket"
(our fond name for her during period 07/63-07/65). She was my first duty
station after JAG school as an Ensign. Made jg before leaving active duty.
Served as 1st Division, CIC, Asst. Navigator, legal officer, .....laundry and
morale etc. during my stay. Stayed in reserves for 30 years. First time I have
seen any reference to Kennebec in "Shift Colors" or NRA or anywhere, so was
excited to get your e-mail addresses. Question: Do you have any contact with
anyone who served aboard during the above period of time? Would love to contact
them. Thanks a bunch. Lives in Sarasota, FL. updated email and Web page
03/04/05 Update 7/25/2011: Tom and his wife Toula now live at High Point, NC. Contact info is available in the membership area.
Captain Thomas A.
Kelleher, Jr. Aboard
07/64-07/66. Executive Officer (and popular with the enlisted men and officers)
From Richard F. Heffernan in April 2001, "Unfortunately, Capt. Kelleher was
killed on active duty around 1976. He fell while being lowered from a helo onto
a ship at sea in Norfolk, VA."
ENS George E. Kennedy: Aboard 1945.
LCDR Donald G.
Lieutenant aboard December 25, 1948. Deceased. "Residence: Seattle, WA; Born 21
Jun 1912; Died 26 Jan 1993." updated 07/03/03
LT Richard B. Knighton: Aboard 1965. Was interested in 2001
reunion. Lives in Shelley, ID.
LCDR John Allen
Kron: Executive Officer
1961-63. Service dates 08/38-07/63. Deceased. Residence: Pope, AR; Born: 28 Mar
1919; Died 12 Mar 1999.
LT Philip H. La France: Supply Officer aboard 1957. Sent 2002
reunion letter to Rockledge, FL (no such number) and Fall River, MA.
ENS J.A. Lennon: Communications Officer on 25 Dec 46. added
ENS Edward W.N. Little: Aboard 1945 for transfer.
AO-36 Life Member 10
CDR Rex L.
ENS "Pinky" Lyon: Aboard after 1942 commissioning.
LCDR George Edwin MacCubbin: On board 1969-70 as Executive
Officer. Probably promoted to CDR. Sent 2002 reunion postcard to Alexandria,
VA. updated 03/08/05
ENS Miller L. MacMillan: Aboard 04/65-09/66 as Communications
Officer. Unable to attend 2001 reunion. Sent 2002 reunion letter. Lives in
LTJG Anthony Frederick Marincic Aboard 1961-63. I was the supply officer assigned to recomission
the Kennebec in Sep. 1961. What a job that was. I served as disbursing officer
until Jul 1963 as Assistant Supply Officer. Sent 2003 reunion letter to Solana
Beach, CA. Lives in San Diego, CA.
LT C.A. Martin, Acting XO: Aboard 1954.
ENS C.J. McCormick: Assistant Navigator on 25 Dec 46. added
AO-36 Life Member 132
William J. "Bill" Meagher, USNR
Aboard 1942-43 as LT
LCDR when separated
from active duty. Just saw the notice of the planed reunion for the USS
KENNEBEC AO-36 and thought you might like to have the early history of this
ship. I was the original 3rd MATE on this ship and was with it from day
one. The KENNEBEC was originally the SS CORSICANA built at the BETLEHEM
STEEL SHIPYARD near DUNDALK MARYLAND and completed in August 1941. I was aboard
for the builders acceptance trials. It was the first of six ships of this class
built for the STANDARD OIL COMPANY and named after a town in TEXAS. The FEDERAL
GOVERNMENT aided in the cost of the ship so that in time of war they would have
the right to take it and put it in FEDERAL SERVICE. The first MASTER of the SS
CORSICANA was T. O. JONASSEN, a NORWEIGAN. Our first trip started on AUGUST
15th,1941 was to BEAUMONT TEXAS to load gasoline and take it to NEW YORK. The
SS CORSICANA was the FLAG SHIP of the SOCONY VACUUM fleet. The ship
was engaged in the coast wise run from TEXAS TO NEW YORK making the run in 4
days 7 hours. AS 3rd mate I stood the 12 to 4 watch. I was 21 years old at that
time. I was a graduate of the NEW YORK STATE MERCHANT ACADEMY AT FORT SCHUYLER
NEW YORK CLASS OF 1940. In APRIL 1941 I accepted a commission as ENSIGN in the
UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE. On DECEMBER 7th,1941 the ship was in a BROOKLYN
shipyard for some minor storm damage when the attack at PEARL HARBOR occurred.
WE were informed the NAVY would take over the ship and we wereto take it to the
KEY HIGHWAY PLANT BALTIMORE, MARYLAND to turn it over to the NAVY. ON arrival
in BATIMORE the NAVY came aboard to see if there were any NAVAL RESERVE
OFFICERS aboard. Both the chief engineer and I the 3rd mate were NAVAL RESERVE
OFFICERS. He was a full Lieutenant and I was an ENSIGN. WE were immediately
ordered to active duty and to serve on the same ship now to be called the USS
KENNEBEC AO 36 named after a river in MAINE. As the SS CORSICANA the
entire ship complement was 39 total which included the officers and men. As the
KENNEBEC we had about 250 in our compliment. We added guns ,cargo deck,and
fueling at sea gear to round us out as a FLEET OILER. Our first trip was from
NORFOLK to BATON ROUGE to pick up a load of fuel oil and take it to
BAHIA SOUTH AMERICA for fueling a task firce operating in the SOUTH
ATLANTIC chasing GERMAN RAIDERS. OUR first trip was quite eventfull.This is now
MARCH 1942 and the SUBMARINE MENACE is now making itself noteworthy. On leaving
BATON ROUGE headed for BAHIA we had the DESTROYER JEWETT as our escort. On our
first day into the CARIBBEAN the JEWETT suddenly blew the danger signal on her
whistle and signaled us that a torpedo had just gone across our bow and that
she was circling us at 32 knots. We went to flank speed and the JEWETT dropped
several patterns of depth charges while we got out of there. When we reached
RECIFE the JEWETT left us to continue on into the SOUTH ATLANTIC alone. That
evening just as the 8pm watch was being changed we had a collision with a
YUGOSLAVIAN ship carrying bauxite. We had a strong following sea, fully loaded,
and making turns for 17knots so with the following sea we must have been making
about 18 or more when we hit . she was crossing our bow from starboard to port
and we hit her amidships and went right through her. Her bow went down our
portside and her after section passed down our starboard side and when they
reached our stern they had sunk out of sight. With no radar and running with no
lights it was just one of those unfortunate accidents. We saved 7 out of a crew
of 24. Most of the ones saved had been on the bridge when we hit. We had
considerable damage to both sides of our bow which became apparent when we
reached BAHIA and were able to pump out our load of oil and raise the ship to
see the damage. We had a large round hole on the port side and along gash down
the starboard Side of the bow. You could look through the hole and the gash
from one side to the other. We went up to RECIFE and with the experience of our
FIRST LIEUTENANT V.J.BANKS we made temporary repairs went on to ARUBA took on a
load of oil to take back to NORFOLK and underwent permanent repairs from our
collision. From then till OCTOBER 1942 we made numerous runs from TEXAS to
BERMUDA, NORFOLK, BOSTON carrying oil for shore tanks. In OCTOBER 1942 the
build up of ships in HAMPTON ROADS , NORFOLK was such that it did not take that
much imagination to realize something big was in the wind, but just what no one
knew. The troop trains came into NORFOLK all night and day. The troop ships
came into the piers loaded up then went out to the anchorage in HAMPTON
ROADS.The 2nd week of OCTOBER the convoy sailed out of NORFOLK with the USS
KENNEBEC AO- 36 as part of it, and what a convoy it was. When we finally formed
up off of the VIRINIA CAPES we had Nine columns of ships with about six ships
in each column. The number one ship in the 1st column was the BATTLE SHIP TEXAS
and the number one ship in the 9th column was the BATTLE SHIP NEW YORK. Five
miles ahead of the convoy was a Division of light cruisers and three miles
astern of them or two miles ahead of the main body was the heavy cruiser
AGUSTA, FLAG SHIP of the TASK FORCE. Trailing the main body about 10 miles
astern was 4 aircraft carriers. The RANGER and 3 CVES the BLOCK ISLAND ,
SANTEE,and the BOSE. Surrounding this entire convoy was an inner ring of
DESTROYERS and An outer ring of DESTROYERS. Operating within 200 miles of the
convoy was the new BATTLE SHIP MASSCHUSETTS with their own destroyer escort.On
the 2nd day out we learned our destation was NORTH AFRICA. The task force was
made up into three Task groups. The SOUTHERN GROUP WAS TO LAND AT
SAFI THE CENTRAL GROUP AT CASABLANCA and our group THENORTHERN
GROUP AT PORT LYAUTEY. If you review your history you will know that we did not
know whether we would be Opposed or not because of the POLITICAL situation with
the FREE FRENCH!!!!!!!!!!. THE voice code word for commence firing
because the landings were being opposed was PLAY BALL. On arrival
off PORT LYAUTEY the KENNEBEC off loaded the two 50 ton control boats we
carried on the cargo deck. After the landings were completed we proceed to
CASABLANCA and offloaded our oil into shore tanks retaining enough to refuel
our destroyer escorts on the return home . From then OCTOBER 1942 till
aboutJULY 1943 the KENNEBEC made a number of convoy runs from NEW YORK to
CASABLANCA. In JULY 1943 The KENNEBEC was assigned to TASK FORCE 22 and was on
8 hours sailing notice for 4 months while at ARGENTIA , NEW FOUNDLAND.This TASK
FORCE was formed to assist the BRITISH in case the GERMAN FLEET tried to
breakout of TRONDHEIM. Nothing ever happened so the TASK FORCE was dissolved in
DECEMBER 1943. In the middle of DECEMBER I received orders to proceed to NEW
ORLEANS and put in commission a brand new ship as commanding officer and to
proceed to the SOUTHWEAST PACIFIC and join the 7th FLEET for operations in that
area. After 26 months and the war over I was relieved And returned home. After
4 months leave I was assigned as navigator of the USS MT OLYMPUS AGC 8 FLAGSHIP
OF OPERATION HIGH JUMP the NAVYS ANTARCTICA EXPEDITION to the SOUTH POLE with
ADMIRAL BYRD.On our return from this trip I went to inactive duty staying in
NAVAL RESERVE and retiring in 1980. Lives in Virginia Beach, VA. updated with
LT A.J. Meisner: Engineering Officer on 25 Dec 46. added
Ens M.L. Mitchell: Aboard 1952. Courtesy John Happy. added
Loren I. Moore: Aboard 1963-65 as Executive Officer. I called
him 06/29/03. He is interested in attending the 2003 reunion. Lives in Carmel
Ens Paul Moore: Aboard 1952. Courtesy John Happy. added
AO-36 Life Member 193 LT Richard F. "Dick" Obenchain
LT, Aboard 1967-70
Reunions Attended: 2006
I heard about this site from Gary Schlaegel and Russ Burnard. The engineer on
the right (red beard) in the who's this engineer question is Don Smith. I have
about 80 or more slides of crew and cruises during my time aboard, most of whom
I can still identify. I will send you these if you want a few at a time to save
download time, and because I am a neophyte at this infernal machine, to save me
time preparing them. I recently visited Allen Tooke, QM2 at his home in
Portland, Oregon along with Charlie Howell, QM2, who lives in San Francisco.
About myself, I served aboard the Kennnebec from 1967 to 1970 just before
decomissioning as auxilliaries officer, DCA, and navigator. I spent my fourth
and final year on active duty as an advisor in Viet Nam. Since the navy I have
lived in Santa Cruz, Ca., San Francisco, Fort Ross, Ca., Hilo, Hi., and
currently in Bisbee, Az. I am currently a professsional artist, selling my
paintings mainly out of the Suzanne Brown Galleries in Scottsdale, AZ.
(Webmaster note: Out of curiosity, I visited the gallery's home page and found
one of his paintings. It's definitely worth looking at!)
Thank you, I am glad to have found this site. I was A and R divisions officer,
and served for a spell as navigator. I now have a small ranch in Bisbee, AZ
where we currently have six head of dog. Civilian life has been more congenial
to a person of my temperament than military, but my memories of the Kennebec
are good ones, and I am surprised to say that I would probably be glad to
attend a reunion of AO 36. Perhaps this is part of the process of
geesersification. removed email address 05/19/03 Membership LM 10/07
LT Robert Ogletree,
Unknown. Relieved Captain Peckham
(who thought he was deceased by 1985) in early 1940's. Lt. Ogletree was the
supply officer who Charles S. Allyn relieved in Norfolk in 1943
LT Chris Pabst
Mailed 2002 reunion letter to Cedar Falls, IA. From 1930 Census:
"Pabst, Christopher; Age: 31; Birthplace: New York; Race: White; State: New
York; County: Rockland; Township: Spring Valley" updated 12/11/02
LT George B.
Palmer: Operations Officer/Navigator aboard 1957. Guest book signed 08/16/02 by
son, George, "My father was LT George B Palmer (on in the 50's.) Found this
site when I did a google search for my name. Same as father's. Anybody remember
him? Love to hear something about him. He passed away in 83 when I was 19.
Luckily got to still hear some good sea-stories. I went in the Navy, too." He
did not leave an email address. updated 08/16/02
Lt. Perrine: Aboard 1951. Courtesy John Happy. added 12/24/03
LCDR W.F. Pieper, XO: Aboard 1952-53.
Herbert T. Pine: Executive Officer during the 1944-45 era.
Sent 2003 reunion letter to Primos, PA.
ENS James Robert "Bob" Pullen: aboard 11/63-06/65 as Gunnery
Officer. Probably promoted to LCDR. Sent 2002 reunion letter to Santa Rosa
Beach, FL. updated 03/08/05
LTJG Stephen James "Steve" Quirk: Aboard 1968-70 as
Navigator. In 1970 he signed orders to leave the ship; must have been the last
personnel officer. He was living in Honolulu in the early 70's and teaching
elementary school. Lives in Wailuku, Hawaii.
Captain Robert William Reighley
09/64-12/65 as Damage Control Officer. He entered the Navy and was commissioned
Ensign on June 19, 1964 at Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.
He attended Damage Control School at Treasure Island, followed by assignment as
Damage Control Assistant aboard USS Kennebec (AO 36), deployed in Southeast
Asia. When the ship returned to its San Francisco home port, school continued
in San Pedro, CA at the Navy POL school, and at Fleet Training Center San Diego
to learn Engineering Administration. Sent 2002 reunion letter to San Diego, CA.
Raymond L. "Ray" Rentfro
Reunions Attended: 2011
Aboard as Assistant Communications
Officer. Lives in Topeka, KS. updated 09/30/04. Ray became a Life Member 2012.
Ens Sam Rogers: Aboard 1952. Courtesy John Happy. added
LTJG Joel Raymond Rosenblum: Aboard 1963-65 as Supply
LTJG Donald J. Rowan Aboard 01/64-07/65. I received in the mail a
few days ago information on the USS Kennebec (AO-36) Association. To say the
least I was surprised to receive the information. I was an officer on the
Kennebec in the 1964-1965 timeframe, then went to Viet Nam. After Viet Nam
[operated in the lovely, friendly, Delta area of IV Corps], I went onboard the
USS MACDONOUGH (DLG-8) after which went to the Office of Naval Intelligence as
the Engineering Branch Head [later Division Head] in Electronic Warfare.
Following that I went on the USS ZELLARS (DD-777); then got out of the Navy. I
am currently a Vice President of a Defense Contractor here in the Metropolitan
Washington, DC area. My wfie [whom I met in Washington here] and I own homes in
Potomac, Maryland [a DC suburb] and on the beach at Ocean City, Maryland. We
have four children and one grandchild: (1) Scott, age 32, who graduated from
Virginia Tech and works for Triumph Books [a sports book publisher]. He and his
wife [she is a University of South Florida grad and a Senior Editor with the
Chicago Tribune] live in Chicago; (2) Mark, age 28, who graduated from James
Madison University and is the Manager of the Newhouse Theater of the Lincoln
Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. He lives in NYC; mainly
chasing starlets and dancers; (3) Lisa Rowan Furlow, 26, and a graduate of both
the University of Maryland for undergraduate and Howard University for
graduate, is a Licensed and Registered Dietitian and the Managing Dietitian for
Charles County Maryland. She and her husband [who works for the National
Institutes of Health] live in Crofton, Maryland with their 13-month old son;
(4) Lori Rowan, age 17, is a senior in high school; planning on matriculating
at the University of Maryland or The Johns Hopkins University in DNA. She who
works part-time for a DNA research firm in Rockville, Maryland. (5) Conner
Furlow -- Grandson -- age 14 months, just learning to walk and has his
Grandmother "wrapped around his little finger". I would love to attend the VA
Beach convention but have other plans for that time frame -- probably the next
one that is in the East Coast area. Lives in Potomac, MD. updated 08/05/02
AO-36 Life Member 3
Aboard Kennebec: 9/66 thru 11/68 as LTJG.
After I left the Kennebec I spent 1 year aboard USS Sterrett (DLG-31)
homeported in Yokosuka, Japan. Discharged 1/70 at Treasure Island. Subsequently
retired from Reserves as a Commander. Stayed in the Bay Area, first in SF for
10 years and then Pleasant Hill (35 miles NE of SF). Civilian career in
Banking, currently VP-Business Banking at Greater Bay Bancorp (GBBK-NASDAQ)
plus Real Estate investing. Married to Linda for 33 years; 2 sons David (27)
and Robert (23). Many fond memories of Kennebec. Attended the decommissioning.
WEB site a great idea. Looking forward to a Reunion. "Romeo at the Dip". Lives
in Pleasant Hill, CA. updated 11/10/03. Earl's USS Kennebec Memories
AO-36 Life Member 8
2001, 2002, 2003, 2005
Aboard 01/66-05/67. He was very
interested in attending reunions to revisit some of the best days and memories
that he has had. Passed away Oct. 1, 2006, Concord,
AO-36 Life Member 187
CDR Robert D. "Bob" Schoeckert
Reunions Attended: 2002, 2003
Officer aboard 1967-69. Lives in Coeur 'd Alene, ID. updated 04/06
LT William J. "Bill" Scolari:
I joined Kennebec in Subic Bay in Jul 1968 and left in Oct 1969 as LTJG, to
report to the USS Guadalupe (AO-32) as Chief Engineer. Moved on to recruiting
duty in Portland, OR, in 1971. Left the Navy in 1973. Now live in Boulder, CO,
with my wife Carol. Winding my way towards retirement from the roofing industry
as I pursue my passion for practicing and teaching yoga. removed email address
Lt. Bob Seawright: Aboard 1963 with LTJG Pete Borowski. From
Arkansas. added 09/05/02
AO-36 Life Member 151
LCDR Charles P. "Phil" Sinfieldt
Reunions Attended: 2005, 2006
went aboard the Kennebec in October of 1948 as Communications Officer. I was an
Ensign, but awaiting confirmation as a LTJG. I boarded the ship in Nagasaki,
Japan, and we immediately left for the Persian Gulf. Our job was to bring oil
back to Japan for the Japanese fishing fleet. As a matter of fact, we spent the
next 10 months going back and forth from Japan to the Gulf (mostly to Bahrain).
While I was aboard we went thru the Panama Canal to Norfolk, Aruba, Houston,
and other ports - then back to the West Coast. Spent some time in Bremerton,
Oakland, and Long Beach before finally coming to San Diego for decommissioning.
When the Korean War broke out we were ordered to put the ship back in
commission. I left in August of 1950 to put the USS Bairoko (CVE-115) back in
commission in Alameda, California. I can confirm that John Geary was the acting
Commanding Officer when I left, because he signed my orders. I believe he was a
LCDR at that time, but my orders don't show his rank. The CO when I went aboard
was CAPT Rhoads. He was relieved soon thereafter by CAPT Thaddeus J. Van metre,
who remained CO until relieved by Geary for decommissioning.
I do remember the dog Kenny, and I also remember one time in Sasebo, Japan when
Captain Rhoads came back pretty soused and fell into a flooded Pontoon. Merle
English dived in and pulled him out. I don't know if Merle regretted that, or
not. I intend to register as a member of the Association. I can't make this
reunion because it conflicts with a Destroyer reunion I am committed to in
Orange, Texas. I didn't hear about the first reunion. I retired as a LCDR,
after tours on the CVE, DD's and MAAG Taiwan, along with some shore duty. I'm
glad you contacted me, and I would like to hear from you again. Lives in San
Diego, CA. updated email 02/05/05
ENS John R. Sisco. Aboard 10/63-06/65. Thanks for the 2002
reunion notice. I served aboard the Kennebec from October 1963 until sometime,
probably the summer, of 1965. I was an ensign in the Engineering Dept. Perhaps
our paths crossed during 65. I will be not be able to attend the reunion in
Virginia. However, I would like to hear about any future reunions, especially
on the West coast. Lives in Olympia, WA. updated 08/06/02
ENS Donald Hawthorne Smith Aboard 1966-68 as Main Propulsion Officer.
AO-36 Life Member 203
Philip A. "Phil" Smith, CDR
Reunions Attended: 2002
I served onboard mid
1967 - late 1969 as First LT and Operations Officer. The Kennebec was my best
sea tour. Hard work but great crew and moral. Onboard mid 1967- late 1969.
Please add my name to the list. Am very interested in efforts to have a
reunion. Lives in Portsmouth, RI. updated email address 05/27/03 Charter Membership EXP 12/02. Became a Life Member 10/30/2008.
ENS James "Os." Spitzenberger: Aboard 1969-70 as Supply
Officer. Probably promoted to LTJG. "Name: Spitzenberger, James O Birth -
Death: 1944- Accession Number: 4017456 Source Citation: Dun & Bradstreet
Reference Book of Corporate Managements. 1988 edition. Parsippany, NJ: Dun
& Bradstreet, 1988. Use the "Principal Officers and Directors Index" in the
Cross-Reference volume to locate biographies." Sent 2002 reunion postcard to
Omaha, NE. (later research indicated this man is 94) updated 03/08/05
LCDR Joseph F. "Joe" Sporer: Executive Officer aboard
10/01/57. Daughter Beverly Mallon's email Lives in Pasadena, TX. updated
LT Donald B. "Don" Squires, Aboard 1968-70 as LTjg.
Communications. I relieved Earl Rupp as Communications Officer and have mixed
feelings about my time aboard Kennebec; I remember it mostly as a "growth
experience" with both memorable and best forgotten experiences! I loved finding
this site unexpectedly and have spent much of the evening reading up on lost
shipmates. A fine site! Like Dick Obenchain, I found civilian life more
satisfying to the soul than was the Navy but, like him, I find myself surprised
that a reunion seems like fun. Geezerfication indeed! Lives in Fremont, CA.
updated 04/25/02 Membership EXP 04/05
LT Marcellus P. "Mark" Steffens, USN (Ret) Chief Engineer aboard 1965-67. Lives in Ocean
Shores, WA. Membership EXP 06/03
LTJG W.F. Stengel: Medical Officer on 25 Dec 46. added
Mr. Stoltze: Aboard 1951. Courtesy John Happy. added 12/24/03
LTJG Charles Lawrence Stuart: Aboard 1962-63 as Gunnery
Officer. corrected last name from Stewart 08/12/02
Justice of U.S. Supreme Court 1958-81. Died 12/07/85. From ancestry.com
"Residence: Washington, DC; Born 23 Jan 1915; Died Dec 1985." updated 02/15/02
LT Robert A. Studwell. Aboard 1952-54 as
"R" division officer. Lives in Amelia Island, FL. updated with membership
06/29/03 Membership EXP 06-03
AO-36 Life Member 169
CDR Sigurd E. Swenson, USN, Retired Aboard 1948-50
Supply Officer aboard
December 25, 1948 - 1950. He wrote and Dick Hawkins called him 08/07/03. He is 87-years
young and is already attending three reunions this year. He retired in 1967
after serving as Commander Defense Personnel Support Center at San Antonio. He
remembers Phil Sinfield and Rich Fehr. Lived in San Antonio, TX. Life Membership 08/15/03. 4/27/07 update received: He had passed away on 4-16-2006.
LTJG James M. "Jim" Tamarelli Aboard 06/65-11/66 as Gunnery Officer. Lives
in Boise, ID. Membership EXP 04/02
Mr. Tate: Aboard 1952 as Engineering Officer. Courtesy John
Happy. added 12/24/03
LCDR W.H. Taylor (possibly William): Aboard 1945. Executive
Officer as of April 1, 1945.
Mr. Terschak: Supply officer during the 1944-45 era.
LCDR John Julian Teuscher
Aboard 1961-64 as Engineering Officer. Probably
promoted to CDR. Sent 2002 reunion letter to Sacramento, CA and Woodburn, OR.
LT Thicken: Aboard 1952-54 as engineering officer. added
LT Thompson: Aboard 1950 as Chief Engineer
CDR Phillip M. Trujillo
What a great suprise! I served aboard Kennebec in late 67
through 69 as SN and retired in 1999. I remember the day Lloyd Randall and I
(boots) came aboard for the first time-after we cleaned the pier for some salty
old first class. I am looking forward to the reunion. Thanks. I am now an
education consultant with the Wyoming Department of Education. Lives in
Cheyenne, WY. removed email address 05/19/03 Membership EXP 03/02
Deceased. From 1930 Census "Vieweg, Frederick; Age: 6; State:
Massachusetts; County: Essex; Township: Methuen" updated 12/11/02
LTJG H.M. Volkman: Supply Officer on 25 Dec 46. added
ENS Walsh: Aboard 1942.
ENS Peter Kirk Watt: aboard 12/65-01/67 as Assistant Supply
Officer. Sent 2002 reunion postcard to Eugene, OR.
LTJG Richard F. Wells: I
served aboard Kennebec as an Ensign/LTJG from Feb., 1968 to Oct., 1969. I was
Gunnery Officer and subsequently Acting 1st Lt. for several months. I remember
many wonderful folks from the Kennebec and I'm looking forward to renewing some
old friendships. I'm married (Mary) and have three children, Sarah 15, Evan 13,
and Emily 8. I work as a hydrologist responsible for dam and reservoir
operations with the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation and live in Meridian, ID.
LT H.J. West:
Engineer aboard December 25, 1948. Died in San Diego several years ago.
CDR Elbert Ervin
1963-1966 as First Lieutenant. Deceased. OBITUARY from Seacoastonline
Elbert "Mike" Wheat, Comm. USN, Ret., 76, of Berwick, died Monday, Nov.
6, 2000, at the Langdon Place of Dover, N.H. He was born Dec. 30, 1923, in
Coxville, Ind., the son of Elbert E. and Nellie (Ogborn) Wheat, and grew up in
Indiana before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. He was a Navy veteran, having served
during World War II, the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War. He enlisted in
the Navy in 1942 and continued his service for 37 years, up until his
retirement, Dec. 31, 1979, when he retired as commander. While in the Navy, he
was recommended twice for the Bronze Star along with several other awards for
his many accomplishments. After his retirement, he decided to make his home in
New England and most recently, he resided in Storres, Conn. Just after his
retirement from the Navy, he was hired on as a civilian with the Military
Sealift Command and held a captain's license with the Merchant Marines. While
in Indiana, he was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Rosedale and was a member
of the Knight Templar of Bloomington. Mr. Wheat was a member of the American
Legion, the V.F.W. and the D.A.V.; a member and secretary of the Sub-Vets of
World War II; a member of the Fleet Reserve Association, the Retired Officers
Association, the USS Chickasaw Association, the USS Atule Association, the USS
Fisk Association, the USS Epperson Association and the A.A.R.P. Members of his
family include four sons, Elbert E. Wheat III of Dover, N.H., Michael Wheat of
Berwick, and James Wheat and Mark Wheat, both of Dover; two daughters, Deborah
Sousane and Mary Michelle Kay, both of Dover; 12 grandchildren; one
great-grandchild; his close friend, Joan Quarto of Storres; one brother, James
Wheat of Brazil, Ind.; one sister, Mildred Bland of Rockville, Ind.; and
several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his son George
Wheat in 1957; two brothers, Bill Wheat and Bert Wheat; and one sister, Mary
Alice Jeffries. updated 06/29/03
CDR G.I. Whaley: Executive Officer on 25 Dec 46. added
LT Herbert Conrad Wheeler Aboard 1961-64 as Main Propulsion Officer. Sent 2003 reunion letter
to Kelseyville, CA (no such street).
LT J.A. Williams: First Lieutenant on 25 Dec 46. added
LCDR Paul E. Yarbrough: Aboard 1942-43 as RM2. Glenn Cantrell
advised he made E-8 before becoming an officer. Originally from Jacksonville,
FL. updated 09/05/02
ENS Gregory A. Zolezzi: aboard 01/66-05/67 as my Disbursing
Officer. Lives in Indianapolis, IN.
CHBOSN R.H. Corbett: Ship's Boatswain on 25 Dec 46. added
Ch. Bosn "Dave" Davis: Aboard during 1951-54 era as Deck
Division officer. Courtesy Bill Bonaker. added 06/02/03
CHSCLK William E. Egan: Assistant to Supply Officer aboard
December 25, 1948. May still be living in San Diego. Phil Sinfield last saw him
about 15 years ago (1987).
CWO3 Merle L.
English: Assistant Engineer aboard December 25, 1948. ENGLISH, MERLE L CWO3 US
NAVY VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 05/15/1936 - 10/31/1956 DATE OF BIRTH: 11/29/1915
DATE OF DEATH: 06/25/1979 DATE OF INTERMENT: 06/27/1979 BURIED AT: SECTION 2
SITE 211 NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF ARIZONA 23029 NORTH CAVE CREEK ROAD
PHOENIX, AZ 85024 (480) 513-3600 updated 04/19/04
E. Fickett Aboard 1961-64 as Ship's Boatswain. Per Ray Romani on
May 25, 2001, " I spoke to Mrs. Fickett in San Diego, a very nice woman who
told me Mr. Fickett passed away in 1996, after 33+ years in the Navy. He
retired as a WO (BM). His widow wished us all the very best.
Honorary Life Member CWO4 William G. "Bill" Greenfield
Aboard 1965-68 Bebe Fletcher
Reunions Attended: 2001
1965-January 1968 as Ship's Boatswain. He retired from the Navy in 1971 at
Bayview, ID. Born: March 9, 1923; Died: February 1, 2002.
CWO3 Billy J. Harshman: Main Propulsion aboard 10/01/57. From
son, Royal "He and his wife(Dorothy), my father and mother, still live in
Venice, FL. I was 9 years old when he served on her during the Suez Crisis."
J.F. Johnson, Ship's Boatswain: Aboard December 25, 1948.
CWO3 Ivan Gale
1968-70. Deceased " MATHERS, IVAN GALE Volume: 006840 Certificate: 28440
Autopsy: Gender: Male Date of Death: February 17, 1991 SSN: 235428242 Birth
Date: June , 1929 Father's Surname: MATHERS Time of Death: 09:40 pm Age: 61
Years Birth Place: West Virginia Marital Status: Married Residence: Ohio
Hispanic Origin: Non-Hispanic Years of Schooling: Elementary or Secondary
Certifier: Referred to Coroner: Branch of Service: Method of Disposition: Place
of Death: Race: White" updated 07/04/03 Son Micheal left post on our guest book on 3/10/2010
CHBOSN Rainey. added 07/31/02
CWO Thomas Tate: Aboard during the 1951-54 era as M Division
officer. Courtesy Bill Bonaker. added 06/02/03
Aboard 1942 as BM2. Enlisted 12/11/41 in Los Angeles, CA. Deceased "WILBER,
CHARLES E CWO3 US NAVY VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 12/17/1941 - 12/11/1945 DATE OF
BIRTH: 07/14/1920 DATE OF DEATH: 02/08/1990 DATE OF INTERMENT: 02/14/1990
BURIED AT: SECTION 43 SITE 2101 RIVERSIDE NATIONAL CEMETERY 22495 VAN BUREN
BOULEVARD RIVERSIDE , CA 92518" updated 04/23/04
Jim Whatley (Lt., USNR, Retired).
I was assigned to
the Kennebec as Chief Engineer (MSTS Merchant Marine). I found the old paper
work that assigned me on loan to the Navy to activate the Kennebec during the
Suez Canal crisis in 1955 and I was assigned on December 7, 1956, (Pearl Harbor
Day 1956). I believe she was recomissioned a week later. I was picked for the
job because I had been Engineering Officer on the USS Taluga AO62 1952--1954
and they needed someone readily available and I was sitting for my Chief
Engineers Licenses at the time and rushed though the final days of the exam.
When I completed the exam I was sent directly to the Kennebec. She was laid up
in San Diego and was a mess. When they laid her up they just "walked away" and
everything was rusted, frozen or inoperable. I not only headed up the engine
room activation, but, also the Liquid Cargo systems, needless to say, I had my
hands full as the Navy crew, including Officers and Chiefs were all combat
warship sailors and knew little about Auxiliary AO's. We were pushed pretty
hard by the Navy Dept. to get her up and running. I did have some good Chief's
and rated Petty Officers. Our first Captain was a Commander off of a Submarine
and he was very unhappy about being given the command of the Kennebec. The
Engineering Officer was a Lieutenant off a diesel DE and Knew "crap" about
steam. He took care of all the Military things and left the reactivation to me
and the Chiefs and Petty Officers We finally got her up and running like an old
worn out lady she was. We took her out on sea trails and the reduction gears
"howled" so loud that the Factory Rep. was concerned but he OKed them anyway.
After a questionable sea trail we were ready to join the fleet. We took our
first load of "black" out of Chevron refinery at El Secundo destination
Honolulu. I was scared to death that we were going to have a spill as we had
all "green" men manning the valves, we opened all the valves to all the tanks
and I stationed a man at every tank ullage opening and said when the oil gets
within two feet of the top close the valves. We had some scary moments but did
not spill a drop. I was supposed to leave before her first assignment, but, the
Captain raised hell with the MSTS Admiral and said he wanted me to go with them
as a MSTS Engineer. He got his way and I made the first trip to Honolulu. We
had a hell of a voyage, everything went wrong and we got in a storm and lost
the plant and all the boiler feed pumps. We "floundered" for a few hours and
the Captain was about to send out an SOS, May Day, when we finally were able to
get steam up with "Jury Rigs" and a small "in Port" aux. steam generator. We
"limped" into Honolulu and off loaded what we could and our stripping pumps
broke down and we were left with 5,000 bbls of oil we could not pump. She then
went right into the shipyard for more repairs. I guess they thought I had done
enough damage by then and sent me home. When I left the XO followed me down the
gangway and was trying to get me to go back on active duty as I was still in
the ready reserves. I said no as I had a MSTS Passenger/Troop ship waiting for
me and that was the last I heard of her until now. I always wondered how she
made out after I left her in Honolulu. For me that was the most exciting and
harrowing voyage of my 14 years sailing. I will never forget how close we came
to being a "disaster," What a trip, what a ship. I wonder if any of the
Kennebec old timers remember that "harrowing" voyage? Love to hear from any of
the crew. Lives in El Dorado Hills, CA. updated email address 12/30/02