Sterett Association February 2015

Greetings from the Sterett Association

Thoughts go out to our friends and shipmates in the Northeast who are digging out from the recent series of major and incessant snow storms.

This edition of the newsletter contains some items of interest for the Sterett community and some updates for the 2015 reunion.

Sterett Association Support
With our attention turned to world events, family, work or the weather, it's easy to lose track of things like Sterett Association dues. The turn of the new year is a good time to take a look.

Members In Good Standing (MIGS)
The following MIGS list is effective as of 31 December 2014
(Does not include dues received in 2015)

Last NameFirst NameDues Paid Year
AntonStephen 2013-2018
BellMark A.2009-2015
BlountThomas E  Jr2006-2015
BoltonJames E. "Jim"2009-2016
BondCharles A.2006-2015
BuchananMichael2008, 2013-2016
ClineGeorge A.2006-2014
CookDonald 2014
CowanVan 2007-2014
De Vinney JrLloyd2012-2014
DeanDennis 2006-2015
EarneyJerald D.2006-2020
FarnhamCharles G.2014-2015
GenetRichard P2014-2015
GroenerRobert "Duffy"2006-2016
Haley Joel2011-2014
JohnsonHarold "Howie"2009-2015
JohnsonTrey "Dewitt"2013-2014
JoubertOswaldo (Rob)2014-2016
KincaidHomer2008, 2014-2016
KingJohn E.2008-2014
MallowWilliam2007, 2013-2014
MarcusRichard B.2004-2015
MaresCarl R.2006-2015
McGuireRobert V.2006-2014
MillerEldenMember Emeritus
MotzLawrence 2006-2021
PhungLe T2008-2015
RainsDavid 2006-2014
RobinsonJames E. "Robbie"2011-2015
SandbotheBradley S.2013-2016
SchultzDanny2008, 2014
SportsWilliam (Bill)2014
StevensRichard 2006-2015
SullivanGeorge E2006-2015
ThayerDwight E.2009-2015

Many Association supporters’ dues expired at the end of 2014. Please take a moment to update your dues.
To renew using PayPal, go to

To use the mail in form go to

Attendance at the reunion and payment of the reunion fee will include annual dues for the following calendar year, i.e., attend the 2015 reunion , dues are paid for 2016 .

Why Become A Sterett Association Member?

If your Sterett tour was nothing special and just like other Navy tours you had, there is no good reason for you to become a member of the Sterett Association and no reason to read further.

However, if you have ever allowed your mind to drift back to your Sterett years and started to think about some of your shipmates and thought about all the things you did back then and you suddenly realize there’s a smile breaking out on your face, or you feel nostalgic about the good old Sterett days, then read on.
There are many of your former shipmates out here who feel the same way. A lot of them are Sterett Association members.

I see activity on two different Sterett Face Book pages. On them, former Sterett crewmembers share messages, pictures and memories of days past. Days spent in Subic Bay, Yokosuka, Pattaya Beach, Hong Kong, Sydney, Perth and even Shanghai. Also a few days spent at sea!

Whether you spent 4 years, 6 years or had a full Navy career, these are days that most of us cherish. These are the years we grew up, found out who we were and formed the attitudes that made us who we are today. For most, the people we spent so many days with helped to mold us into the men we have become. Special times, special people.

With these thoughts in mind, the Sterett Association serves an invaluable service. It is an organization made up of people just like ourselves who have fond memories of our Sterett years. The Sterett Association provides the opportunity to locate former shipmates, correspond with them and, every two years, visit with each other face to face at the reunions. The hours I have spent discussing old times over a few drinks at the reunions have been some of the most enjoyable times I have had. Hearing about some long forgotten "liberty events" bring rolls of laughter that literally can hurt. Looking across the room and seeing a former shipmate that you spent liberty time with many years ago will warm your heart.

A Sterett crewmember who attended a recent reunion for the first time had this to say," Seeing all my old shipmates was the icing on the cake. I wish I hadn't waited so long to attend a reunion."

This is a fairly typical reaction.

Why dues??
Like any organization, the Sterett Association has operating costs. The Association is a registered Non Profit organization and all Association officers serve voluntarily.The membership dues of $20 each year take care of operating expenses like maintaining and hosting the web site, providing inventory for the ship’s store, covering reunion start up costs, etc.

For those that do attend a reunion, your membership dues for the following year are included with the reunion fee. Reunion fees are based on actual estimated costs for the reunion events which include the banquet, tour transportation, DJ, hospitality room and refreshments, audio and visual equipment, and a myriad of other fees and charges.

The location of the reunions is selected at the reunion business meeting. We do try and move the reunion site around the country to accommodate travel expenses. However, if you plan early, travel can be less expensive.

So, why become a member?

Being part of the Sterett Association will provide you the opportunity to reconnect and remain in touch with old shipmates who share that special feeling about the USS Sterett. It will also give you a chance to spend a couple of days rubbing elbows with old friends who have gone on to different things in life but will always be part of your life back in the day.

Visit the Sterett Association web site at and click on the Join or Renew Membership link.

We hope to see you in Tacoma.

DDG 104

U.S. and China Conduct Anti-Piracy Exercise

In a rare bilateral exercise, the U.S. and China conducted anti-piracy training off the pirate-prone Gulf of Aden, the Navy said in a Thursday statement.

The guided missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG-104) joined at least two of People’s Liberation Army Navy ships for the exercises that included visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) exercises, communication exchanges and "various other aspects of naval operations," read the statement from U.S. 5th Fleet.

"Approximately 700 personnel from the U.S. and China navies will participate in the exercise, and it gives Sterett sailors the opportunity to engage in a shared mission with other surface platforms," read the statement.

USS Sterett (DDG-104), left, transits alongside the Jiangkai II CNS Yun Chang (FFG571), right, and the Fuchi-class replenishment ship CNS Chao Hu (AOR 890) during U.S. – China Counter-Piracy Exercise 15 on Dec. 11, 2014. US Navy Photo

DD 407

I received the following message in January from Mr. William Gates:

My father was a gunner aboard Sterett (DD 407) during WW II.

He kept a diary of his Sterett experiences from his entrance into the US Navy at Sampson until his ship was decommissioned in Brooklyn on 2 November 1945.

Although one man's story, it contains a detailed account of life aboard Sterett at the height of the war in the South Pacific while also dealing with kamikazi attacks and missing home.

I realized the historical value of this compelling war diary the moment I discovered it in our old Gates family Homestead. The 36 page diary also contains photographs and copies of my father's treasured Sterett and WW II documents.

The late David W. McComb, former President of the Destroyer History Foundation, endorsed this diary on the book's back cover.

It is my wish to make this book available to all Sterett and WWII history lovers who may wish to have it.

If you’re interested in obtaining a copy of this WWII and Sterett artifact, use the order form provided.

A couple of days after I received that input, I received information about another fascinating gem from the DD 407.
Those who attended the Branson reunion will remember Chuck (Frenchy) LeFebvre, a DD 407 veteran. His son, Steve LeFebvre (LtCol, USAF, Ret) attended with him.

Steve sent me the following:
"Charles"Frenchy" LeFebvre (DD 407) is still living in Columbus Ohio, and of course, I speak with him frequently.

During a recent visit, he pulled out an old file folder and asked that I read the papers and if possible, forward them to you for archiving with the USS Sterett DD 407 history documents. I must tell you I was surprised by what he gave me. The documents are of the final inspection given to the Sterett on 11 August 1945. There are about 30 pages of originally typed onion skin paper documents. They are absolutely fascinating. I will be sending all of the documents to you electronically. The first installment is attached. It is a "ship's history" from commissioning in 1939 to the final inspection in 1945. Much of this, of course is found in Calhoun's book, "Tin Can Sailor". The attached are the "original" documents.

The inspection summaries are fascinating reading of inspectors writing up equipment and cleanliness issues, and sailors needing haircuts and shoeshines. Attention to detail was the word of the day in these write ups. I'll send the other groups of papers electronically so as not to overwhelm the system.

Please, enjoy the documents. Let me know if there is interest in having the originals. They are very delicate.

Dad indicates he may not attend the next reunion. I live in the Seattle area and I am looking at my calendar to see if the dates work. I'll continue to work on dad to change his mind and attend the reunion. Not many 407 guys left."

History, Page 1

An example of an inspection report

Even at the close of WWII, haircuts, shaves and shined shoes were important.

We are investigating how we can best package and display these interesting and important documents. We may make them available for viewing on the web site as we did for the Sterett cruise books.

Standby for more information as it develops.

A major Thank You to Steve and Chuck LeFebvre for providing them.

Pacific Historic Parks/ World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument

Many of us have had the privilege of rendering honors as we passed by the USS Arizona Memorial.

Few of us realize the Arizona Memorial is just one of several locations that make up the
World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument,a United States national monument honoring several aspects of American engagement in World War II. It encompasses 9 sites in 3 states totaling 6,310 acres.

The monument was created on December 5, 2008, through an executive order issued by President George W. Bush under the authority of the Antiquities Act of 1906. The proclamation date was selected in anticipation of the 67th anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 2008.

Serving as the Chairman of the Board of the Pacific Historic Parks was Capt. George Sullivan (Sterett CO 82-84).
"We will continue to preserve and support these historical landmarks to ensure visitors for generations to come will have a full appreciation and understanding of the events and sacrifices of the people involved in the sites we serve."

In addition to the USS Arizona, the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument includes other sites located in Hawaii, Alaska and California.

Pacific Historic Parks is a private non-profit organization which supports the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, American Memorial Park on Saipan; War in the Pacific National Historical Park on Guam ; and Kalaupapa National Historical Park on the island of Molokai, Hawaii through sales in their book stores at each location and other fundraising activities.

Check out for additional information

Sterett Spotlight

The vast majority of Sterett veterans go on to very interesting and productive lives inside or outside the Navy. They represent a complete cross section of business and industry around the country. We like to think their Sterett tours were instrumental in the development of both manual skills and the willingness to do a good job. We have highlighted a few of these shipmates in previous newsletters. We are happy to shine the spotlight on another Sterett shipmate who recently completed a very interesting and storied career.

Command Master Chief
United States Navy (Retired)

Command Master Chief Bond was born in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico, and moved to the United States in 1976. He grew up in Tucson, Arizona, graduating from Tucson High School in 1983.

He reported to recruit basic training at Great Lakes, IL, in September 1983. After boot camp, he completed Hospital Corpsman "A" School and Field Medical Service School.His first duty assignment was at Naval Hospital Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, CA.Other shore duty assignments include Branch Medical Clinic, NAF El Centro, CA, and Afloat Training Group Western Pacific, Yokosuka, Japan.

His sea duty assignments include USS STERETT (CG 31) Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines; 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines, Kaneohe Bay, HI; USS CURTS (FFG 38), Yokosuka, Japan; Commander Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN, Yokosuka, Japan; and USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC 19), Yokosuka, Japan.

He was selected to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in 1993 (Class 100), to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer in 1999, and to the Command Master Chief Program in 2005.

In March 2006, he reported to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 at NAS Whidbey Island, WA.While assigned as the Wizards’ CMC, the command earned two Battle "E" awards and two Commander Electronic Attack Wing Maintenance "Golden Wrench" awards while completing three arduous deployments to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.In addition, the command earned their first EAWS Pennant and maintained 100% qualification during his entire tour.

On 1 April 2009, he reported to USS SHOUP (DDG 86) at NS Everett, WA. While assigned to SHOUP, the command earned a Battle "E" award, the Golden Anchor award for retention excellence and completed a deployment with the ABRAHAM LINCOLN Battle Group, spending over two months in the Somali Basin and attending eleven Theater Security Cooperation Events in the FIFTH, SIXTH and SEVENTH Fleet area of operations including the 2011 Avalon Air Show in Melbourne, Australia.

On 1 April 2011, he assumed the duties as CMC of Fleet Readiness Center Northwest leading over 870 Sailors across five shore/sea UICs. While assigned to FRCNW, the command has earned three consecutive Golden Anchor Awards for retention excellence, three "Outstanding" scores on the ISIC Career Development Program Reviews, and achieved a 2013 Naval Air Forces Aviation Maintenance Inspection grade of 38 "on-track" and ZERO "off-track."In addition, the command earned the Whidbey Green Seal certification for environmental sustainability efforts!

He qualified as an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist (ESWS) 07 December 1987 aboard USS STERETT (CG 31), was assigned the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) designator in 1991 during Operation Desert STORM while serving in combat with the First Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), and qualified as an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist (EAWS) 04 July 2006 while assigned to VAQ-133.

He is a Top Graduate of the Surface Force Independent Duty Corpsman School (SFIDC), attended the Senior Enlisted Academy (Class 122 - Brown), and completed the CMC/COB Course (Class 24).He holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree from Columbia University of Missouri and is currently a graduate student at University of Southern California (USC)’s School of Social Work.

His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (six awards), the Combat Action Ribbon, and other unit and campaign awards to include the Korea Defense Service Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.

He is married to the former Gerlie Deleón Mamaril from Las Pinas, Philippines and resides in Oak Harbor, WA.He retired from the United States Navy October 1, 2013, after more than 30 years of faithful and honorable service.

Since retirement, Chuck has enjoyed time with his family, has travelled to re-connect with many STERETT Shipmates, and is currently in training to complete a half-marathon in the spring.He leads two adopt-a-road clean-up groups and is in training to become a volunteer VFW Services Officer in order to assist Veterans file for VA benefits.

"Without a doubt, my tour on STERETT had a significant contribution in building the foundation of my success in the Navy!!!I am proud to be a member of the USS STERETT Association and am really looking forward to our reunion near my home in Tacoma, Washington."

Sterett Passings

We learned of the following Shipmate passings since the previous newsletter:

Jack Darveau FTG1 1967-1970

Mike Pickens DSC 1988-1991

The Sterett Association Memorial Page ( has been re-organized. If you learn of the passing of a Sterett shipmate, please notify one of the Association officers.

Binnacle List
Your thoughts and prayers are requested for shipmate FCC Jay Mills who is bravely fighting a tough battle with cancer.

Reunion 2015

We are 7 months out from our 2015 reunion in Tacoma, Washington - September 18-20 .

Arrangements are well underway.

It’s destined to be a great event. Don’t miss out. Start making your plans now to be there.

If you’re not there, you will be the subject of many sea stories!

Watch the newsletters, Facebook and the Sterett web site for updated information about the reunion.

Please register as early as possible.

An accurate headcount is essential to ensure required services are available.

Hotel Information

La Quinta Inn
1425 East 27th St
Tacoma, WA 98421-2200

Rooms will be available for $99.00.

Registration Phone: (253) 383-0146

General Hotel Information:

This will be our anchor hotel where Reunion functions are to be held.

Hotel reservations can be made by calling the La Quinta at : (253) 383-0146

Specify your reservation is for the USS Sterett Association Reunion.

To be guaranteed the discounted room rate of$99.00, reservations must be made not later than August 17, 2015

Travel to Tacoma

If you’re flying to Tacoma, be sure to make your reservations as early as possible to get the best rates.

The destination airport for Tacoma, WA is the Seattle–Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac).

All major US air carriers and many international airlines fly in and out of SeaTac.

See for specific airline information servicing SeaTac.

The La Quinta Inn is approximately 23 miles (25 mins) from SeaTac via I-5.

There are many types of transportation to and from the airport, including Buses, Shuttles and Courtesy vans. The La Quinta Inn does not provide shuttle service.


Shuttle Express

(425) 981-7000

Capital Aeroporter

Seattle: 206-244-0011
Olympia: 360-754-7113
Tacoma: 253 927-6179
Outside Western WA: 1-800-962-3579


Yellow Cab

Available on the third floor of the parking garage. Sedans and large vans are available.

Call (206) 622-6500 or you can also visit their website at

Car Rentals:

Like many major airports, the SeaTac car rental facilities are located away from the main terminal.

Upon arrival at Sea-Tac Airport. after picking up your checked baggage:

Exit the sliding glass doors near carousel #1 or #15 and walk to one of the two designated shuttle bus pick-up areas.
Shuttle buses depart frequently for the rental car facility.

If you are returning a vehicle, take SR518 and follow signs for the Rental Car Facility.

For those driving to the reunion, use the following directions to the hotel once in the general area.
Driving Directions from the North:Head south on I-5 to Tacoma. Take exit 135, Portland Avenue exit. Go straight ahead 2 blocks, across Portland Avenue. The hotel is on your right.

Driving Directions from the East:I-5 S-bound: exit 135-Portland Ave.: I-5 N-bound: exit 134-Portland Ave. , turn left .

Driving Directions from the South:Head north on I-5. Take exit 134, Portland Avenue exit. Turn left onto Portland Avenue. Turn left onto 27th Street. The hotel is on your right.

Driving Directions from the West:I-5 S-bound: exit 135-Portland Ave.: I-5 N-bound: exit 134-Portland Ave. , turn left .

Saturday Tour

Saturday Afternoon Group Tour to the USS Turner Joy and the Puget Sound Navy Museum

(The Puget Sound Naval Shipyard is not accessible).

Our group tour will depart by bus at approximately 11:30 from the La Quinta Inn for a drive to Bremerton and the USS Turner Joy Museum Ship.

The USS Turner Joy (DD-951), famed Navy destroyer from the Vietnam War, is now maintained and administered by the Bremerton Historic Ships Association. The museum ship and memorial honors not only the men and women of our modern US Navy, but also recognizes the accomplishments of those who help build and maintain the Navy's ships as well. An active and educational facility makes the USS Turner Joy a unique and lasting legacy to Puget Sound's maritime heritage.

Sterett and Turner Joy are forever linked in a incident that is less known than the Gulf of Tonkin Incident.
In June 1982, Sterett, in company with Turner Joy and Lynde McCormick were making a transit from Thailand to Subic Bay following Exercise Cobra Gold. As they traveled around the southern Vietnamese island of Con Son, they took machine gun fire from a small boat. One round struck the Turner Joy and penetrated the superstructure. Lynde McCormick fired some 50cal rounds over the boats and Sterett fired a couple of illumination rounds. The ships remained in the area overnight until first light determined the boat that fired was an alleged "fishing boat" and posed little threat.

Following the tour of the USS Turner Joy, we will travel a short distance to the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

The Puget Sound Navy Museum collects, preserves, and interprets the naval heritage of the Pacific Northwest from 1840 to the present for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and the people of the United States.
Beginning with approximately 600 objects, the Museum's collection now numbers more than 18,000. Building 50 provides the Museum with 7,909 square feet of exhibition space and 4,392 square feet of collections storage.

Tour Fees:
The Association will provide bus transportation.

Admission to the USS Turner Joy Museum is $10 prepaid. The fee can be paid as part of the reunion registration process.

There is no admission fee for the Puget Sound Navy Museum.

Tour sign up must be completed during the reunion registration. We apologize for this inconvenience but we must avoid the situation we had in Branson with late sign ups which compromised our tour bus arrangements.

Saturday Lunch: We are in the process of making arrangements for lunch during the tour. Details will be published as soon as they are known.

Things To Do

The Tacoma, Seattle and Puget Sound area abounds with interesting things to do and see.

We encourage all our reunion guests to arrive early and stay beyond the reunion to take advantage of all the area offers.

A few suggestions:

American Car Museum

Tacoma Art Museum

Seattle Asian Art Museum

Museum of Glass

Pike's Place Market

Seattle Space Needle

Center for Wooden Boats

Museum of Flight

Gig Harbor - Discoveredin 1840 and incorporated in 1946, Gig Harbor is one of the most picturesque small cities in America. It is located on Gig Harbor Bay in Puget Sound across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma.

Whale Watching – there are a number of whale watching tours available, both from the US and the Canadian side. Be sure to have a valid passport if you plan to cross the border.

Washington State Ferry:
The Washington State Department of Transportation runs numerous ferry routes around the Puget Sound area. Looking for a leisurely way to spend a few hours?
Check it out at

The Washington State Department of Transportation also hosts a great web site for general tourist information.

This article from 2013 lists the 25 most attractive tourist attractions in Washington (according to the source):

Reunion Registration

Reunion Registration is available on-line at:
Reunion Regitration

A Mail in registration form is available at

We Need Your Help!

What do you do these days? Where has life taken you after Sterett?

How did your Sterett tour influence your life?

You might be surprised to discover what you do holds interest to others.

I know those that attend the reunions do a lot of catching up about their lives since their Sterett days.

Let’s start sharing some of that in the newsletters as well.

Your life is more interesting than you realize.

Send your stories to me at

We really do want to hear from you.

For the Sterett Association:

Steve Hayes