August 2014

Greetings from the Sterett Association
Hope you're all surviving the Dog Days Of Summer. Seems we were just complaining about the long cold spring. Trying to cope with the South Mississippi temperatures isn't easy but I'm trying my best to beat the heat. The morning commute hasn't been too bad!

Reunion 2015

As we announced in the previous newsletter,
the 2015 reunion will be held 17-20 September 2015 at the La Quinta Inn in Tacoma, Washington.

There are many Sterett veterans residing in the Puget Sound area so we anticipate the 2015 reunion will be a great one.

Put the reunion on your calendar and start making plans to attend.
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

The Puget Sound area is full of great things to do and see. The Association will be sponsoring a tour on Saturday afternoon so stay tuned for information on that event.

Here are some areas of interest in the Tacoma area you might want to visit:

Visit for other areas of interest in Tacoma

In future newsletters, we will try to provide other areas of interest in the Tacoma, Seattle and Puget Sound areas. Come a few days early and stay beyond the reunion to take advantage of all the area offers.

If you're interested in hopping over to British Columbia for some whale watching, be sure to have your passport up to date.

Reunion Dinner

We plan to have a plated dinner at the 2015 reunion. In order to ensure everyone gets the entrée they requested, we will require each reunion attendee to make their choice known during the registration process. At reunion check in, each guest will be provided a name tag and a colored card indicating their entrée choice to be placed at their seat prior to dinner. Food choices must be settled a couple of weeks prior to the reunion so the hotel can prepare the correct number of items. Watch future newsletters for information on the dinner menus and available entrées.

Ship Store Changes

We have added PayPal as a payment option for ship store purchases. This will streamline the ship store operation and allow us to better serve you. Keep in mind, the ship's store is operated as a convenience to our members and is not used as a source of revenue.

New Item:

Sterett Challenge Coins
Thanks to shipmate Tim Trend, the Sterett Challenge coins are now available through the ship's store. These coins are stunning and are available for only $11 each, including shipping. Visit the Sterett store at

Blasts from the Past

Being at sea for long periods of time was not easy. Sailors, as a breed, have extra special coping skills that allowed us to get through the at sea periods. Along with that, there were some very special people that had a great knack of keeping us entertained, whether it was crazy antics, an ability to tell a good sea story or, in the case of OI Division in the early 80s, a guy that had a superior ability to not only come up with some very funny spins but also had a special talent to draw these ideas in cartoon form. OS1/OSC Dave Brgoch was the guy and here is one example of his wit: (you may have to zoom in to read).

There were dozens of these drawings made for every reason you can imagine. Most have not survived and others are specific to a time, an event or maybe, possibly, even a reflection on a certain officer or senior enlisted leader. No doubt all of us have known a shipmate like Dave Brgoch. A guy who could brighten our day and make a long at sea period seem a little shorter. Navy life was easier because of them.

Thanks to Dave and all the others that entertained us.


I recall an old adage:
"The US Navy – 200 years of tradition unhampered by progress". Not sure if progress is the reason but many Naval traditions we might remember have gone by the wayside. However, there is one Navy tradition I hope is still maintained and it's one not everyone on board may even have been aware of: Traditionally, the first entry in a ship's official Deck Log on January 1st was written in verse. These entries had to contain all the elements of the normal mid watch entry which presented a challenge to many watchstanders. No doubt many hours were spent coming up with an acceptable entry.

The following was posted on Facebook recently by Tom Jacobsmeyer: "This is one of the artifacts that I've been working on for the historical side of the website and I'm having a devil of a time deciphering this. It is a poem written by LT. J.B. Adams at New Years, 1970 - time: 0004. I got this (and a number of other log entries) from the Naval Archives."

A lot of the page Tom posted was difficult to read and he asked for some help in deciphering the parts that were unreadable.

Chuck Gooden found a way to improve the readability and he and Bob Cook did their best to come up with the most logical interpretation of the log entry. There are still some TBDs but here is the copy Chuck posted on Facebook, followed by the entry with the best guesses and remaining TBDs in italics.

We would love to figure out the complete and accurate log entry so take a shot and let us know what you think.

Log Page

For a historical poet lowerit to invoke a muse
Would be a travesty act for this evening of booze
So inspire me to honored words, my fmr Nereid
As I log part of Sterett's far eastern TBD

(For those with no TBD here rides a nymph of the sea
Not as in a TBD, But TBD Grecian mythology
She is the daughter of Neptune, the ocean magnificent,

Between the Okie City and Camden are Charybdis and Skylla
Sterett rides gently in the waves loving kiss
Those on the beach with party hats and horns
Might laughingly call her a rose between thorns.

The Jamestown and Oxford I've failed to mention,
For like others this eve, they're out of commission
That the Bonefish is here bring us elation,
For she almost abbreviated Sterett's vacation.

But no more rhetoric! Let's get to the facts
We're moored to berth ten, Yokosuka ComFleActs
Portside to the pier with mooring lines doubled.
The wind and waves will cause us no trouble.

I blushingly mention one extra breast lines
(Unlike the boys on the beach are trying to find)
Our condition yoke does not mean egg nog
But only the hatches we had to dog

Our readiness condition four may not seem enough
To ward off those who've drank too much barley stuff.
But we wish the fresh water we take from the pier
Was spiked as befits this day of the year.

Above our Forty-Foot Christmas tree
We fly the flag of COMDESRON three
To say he's SOP is not really insane
For I don't mean floating from too much campaign.

Nereid my muse, and you've failed me at this time
As I've rhymingly logged the seventies Genesis

These New Years Deck Log entries are gems and certainly provide a little fun while either at sea or on duty as the New Year arrived. If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Lt. J B Adams, let us know.

Here's something to contemplate while we're thinking about those days aboard Sterett:

My Heart's at Sea Forever

Long ago I was a Sailor.
I sailed the Ocean blue.
I knew the bars in Singapore...
The coastline of Peru.

I knew well the sting of salt spray,
The taste of Spanish wine,
The beauty of the Orient...
Yes, all these things were mine.

But I wear a different hat now,
A tie and jacket too.
My sailing days were long ago...
with that life I am through.

But somewhere deep inside of me...
The sailor lives there still.
He longs to go to sea again,
But knows he never will.

My love, my life, is here at home,
and I will leave here never.
Though mind and body stay ashore...
My heart's at sea forever.


I received the following from Larry Motz:
I was going through some old boxes and came across an interesting piece of Sterett memorabilia. I have not seen one at a reunion, I wonder how many are let out there?

I also came across a Sterett Commissioning lighter unused and still in the box, articles from the Washington Post dated in April 1969 that mention the Naval Armada off the North Korean coast and specifically mention the Sterett. Also pictures from the Sterett Commissioning in the Seatle Post Intellingencer, from Sunday 9 April 1967.

We will set up a table for Sterett memorabilia at the reunion hospitality room. If you have some special pieces from Sterett's past and are attending the reunion, think about bringing it along and sharing it with your shipmates.

DD 407

I received the following from FTG1 Dwight Thompson, who was aboard CG-31 from April 1976 to December 1980:

I was at the War of the Pacific Museum (WWII) recently and noticed a plaque in a garden set aside for memorials donated by family members and friends of WWII veterans. The first one at the entrance is of a Chief Quartermaster that was on DD-407.


James "OD" O'Donnell
We recently heard of the untimely death of RM1 James O'Donnell. OD served aboard Sterett during the early 80s. He was a well respected shipmate. OD had been living on Guam for many years.

Capt. Claude L. Tyler:
Whenever any DLG 31 Sterett veterans that served under the Sterett's second CO get together, the subject of Capt. Tyler usually comes up.

It's a good bet that Capt. Tyler isn't on many "best COs" lists but he had a long, distinguished Navy career serving during WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Capt. Tyler was CO of the USS Willard Keith during the Cuban Missile Crisis:
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Willard Keith steamed in Destroyer Squadron 22. She deployed on quarantine line "Walnut" on 24 October as an escort to the fleet flagship, heavy cruiser Newport News (CA 148). Under the command of Commander Claude L. Tyler, Willard Keith served on quarantine duty until 15 November 1962. Tyler and his crew received the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for their service during the crisis.

Tom Jacobsmeyer was the Captain's driver and as such, had differing opinions:

"I have two perspectives on Claude, one as the ships captain where I didn't like him and one as his driver where he was always very fair with me. We even had an odd personal connection. My uncle who at the time was a Colonel in the Army was on staff as the military liaison to the Shah of Iran. Claude wanted that post and my uncle got it over him. We found this out one day when he was chatting in the car about his temp assignment in Iran and I then told him about my uncle. Uh,oh...he got all excited and I thought I was dead but he ended up saying that my uncle was a good guy but that he (Claude) sure did want that position. Interesting. He always treated me pretty well."

Capt. Claude L Tyler passed away in 2002 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Dave McComb:
Dave McComb was not a Sterett crewmember. In fact, Dave McComb never served in the Navy.
However, Dave was well known in Navy circles and was considered to be one of the world's foremost experts on US Navy destroyers.

Founder of the Destroyer History Foundation, Dave spent most of his life chronicling the history of US Navy destroyers.

He was an associate member of the Sterett Association. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Sterett Association Support

Recently, I sent a notice to the distribution list we use for these newsletters.
The purpose of the mailing was to provide everyone an opportunity to opt out of receiving future newsletters. The database used for distribution contains about 678 email addresses.

I am happy to report only 5 people requested to be removed from the mailings.
Nice to see you all remain interested in Sterett news.

Of those 678 shipmates who enjoy the newsletters, approximately 120 are members in good standing.

Dues are $20 annually.
Help support your Sterett Association: take a moment to visit the Sterett web site and update your membership.

The Sterett Association has been a strong organization since its inception. We can only remain strong with the continued support of our members.

Watch for Reunion and Puget Sound information in future newsletters and start thinking about attending.

You talkin to me? You got somethin' to say?

The Sterett Association welcomes any and all input from its members and supporters. Please don't hesitate to submit comments or other items of interest for inclusion in our web site or our newsletters, including pictures. We want to hear from you.

For the Sterett Association:

Steve Hayes