Sterett Association December 2014

Greetings from the Sterett Association

The temperatures have dropped, the Christmas lights are up, stores are packed and the kids are excited. It must be that time of the year.

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

You may notice a change in the newsletter format. We have been forced to utilize a new development tool. If this poses a problem for you, please let us know.

Our Webmaster

If you click on the link for Sterett Association Officers, you will see a list of people who facilitate the Sterett Association. You will not see the name nor a picture of our webmaster, however he is absolutely vital to the Association. The Sterett web site is the engine that makes the Association run. It is the heartbeat of the organization. Newsletters and Facebook are great communication tools but the internet and web site are the key ingredients necessary to keep this going. Our webmaster isn’t a Sterett veteran; he wasn’t even in the Navy. He is however, someone who cares a great deal about US veterans. JB dedicates many long hours formatting the data for proper display on the site, and he does it for little or no compensation. The cruise book project, the PayPal conversions and all the ongoing site updates require a considerable time investment, which we sometimes take for granted. So, whenever you visit the Sterett Association web site, give a mental nod to the person who keeps it all going, John Badeau.

Ship’s Store

Many of you are aware of the Sterett Association ship’s store. However, there have been some changes to both the product line and in the process used for purchases. Following the 2013 Reunion, Duffy Groener
took over the store operation. He took the initiative to streamline the purchasing process and fully integrate purchases, payments and the shipping process with PayPal.

For those who are skittish about using PayPal mail in order forms are still available.

The newest and hottest product, Sterett challenge coins, were first offered through Facebook. These challenge coins are stunning. Designed and initially sold through Facebook by Tim Trend
the coins honor the DLG/CG 31. Made of brass, each coin is approximately 1.75". The front contains the ship’s crest while the reverse contains the impressive silhouette, identifies the owner as a proud Sterett crewmember and displays the ship’s service years.
The Sterett Challenge Coins and other products are available at: Store/

  • USS Sterett Baseball Caps
  • USS Sterett 31 Zippo Lighters
  • USS Sterett Coffee Mugs
  • USS Sterett Windbreakers
  • USS Sterett Window Stickers
  • USS Sterett Logo Sew On Patches (inventory donated by Mike Smith)
Remember, the Sterett Association store is operated as a convenience to Association members and friends.

DDG 104

The DDG 104 is well into their deployment. According to a recent exchange with CMDCM Gilmore
the ship has been staying very busy and staying at sea. Liberty ports have been few and far between.

You can keep up with some of the activity by checking out the DDG 104 Facebook pages

Congratulations to the parents of these new babies born since the ship deployed.

Congratulations and a Well Done are also in order for those recently selected for advancement.

Despite the long hours and tough at sea schedule, CMDCM Mark Gilmore was thoughtful enough to send Christmas greetings to the Sterett Association members. We appreciate his thoughtfulness and the dedication of the fine men and women who continue to excel and follow the legacy of Andrew Sterett and all the Sterett ships that have preceded the DDG 104.

Many of us know the hardships of being deployed during the Christmas season. Our thoughts and prayers for a peaceful deployment go out to the men and women of Sterett and all those standing watch around the world this year.

Sterett History

The newest Sterett has been making her mark and writing her history since 2008. We know there will be many proud milestones throughout the course of her service years.

Each of the Steretts that have preceded the DDG 104 have a rich history in service to our Country. You can read that history here:

DLG/CG 31 earned the following awards during her 27 years of active service:
  • 9 battle stars for service along the coast of Vietnam
  • Sterett and her crew also earned the Combat Action Ribbon
  • Naval Unit Commendation 2 times
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Navy "E" Ribbon
  • Naval Expeditionary Medal 3 times
  • National Defense Service Medal 2 times
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal 2 times
  • Vietnam Service Medal 8 times
  • Humanitarian Service Medal 3 times
  • Sea service Deployment Ribbon 12 times
  • Korean Presidential Unit Citation
  • Philippines Presidential Unit Citation and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

The award "rack" would look like this:

Capt. Cal Calhoun
I made a recent effort to gain communication with Capt. Cal Calhoun, one of our DD 407 WWII vets. The author of "Tin Can Sailor: Life Aboard the USS Sterett, 1939 1945", Capt. Cal recently celebrated his 102nd birthday. Although I was unable to make direct contact, I was assured Capt. Cal is doing fine and still living independently. I also stumbled across an interview with Capt. Cal from 2002 which is a fascinating account of his experiences before and while stationed aboard the Sterett. Of special interest is his recounting of the action during the battle of Guadalcanal which saw the loss of 29 Sterett sailors. Anyone interested in WWII US Navy history should read this interview.

Too long to include here, the interview is in two parts and can be found here:
Part 1
Part 2

Wear your Sterett Gear

Larry Motz, one of our Officers at Large, submitted this example of why we should all wear our Sterett hats and other gear when out and about.

"I try to wear my Sterett hat whenever I am out and about. Just today I was at a fly-in sponsored by AOPA in Frederick, MD and someone came up and asked me if I was on the Sterett. Turns out he was a Sterett sailor. I was able to tell him about the Sterett Association and the upcoming reunion. There have been three other occasions when I have met Sterett sailors because I was wearing my hat. The others were a while ago before the Sterett Association got started. So wear you USS STERETT hat with pride you will meet some of the nicest people."

USS Colorado Planking

This is not directly related to the Sterett but it should be of interest to those attending the reunion and coming through Sea-Tac airport. This info was submitted by Gary Don Nichols:

The USS Colorado (BB-45), decommissioned and sold for scrap decades ago, has a new home at the USO Northwest SeaTac Center, as its teak decking will now serve as the new center’s entry floor.

Donated by Boeing, the flooring arrived at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Feb. 7.

"The Boeing Company has been the guardian of this precious USS Colorado teak decking for the last 54 years. We are overjoyed to transfer the guardianship to the USO for the next 50+ years. We honor the USS Colorado sailors and marines by never forgetting their sacrifice on behalf of our country and our freedom," said Pamela Valdez, Boeing KC-46A Tanker Support & Training IPT and USONW Board Member.

United States Navy Petty Officer 1st Class William McKenna carried the ceremonial piece of teak decking from the Boeing Development Center to the location of the new USONW SeaTac Center on the airport’s mezzanine level.

"We are very excited the Boeing Company has chosen the USO Northwest to be the recipient of this great piece of history," said Executive Director Don Leingang. "Our organization truly understands the significance of this donation and is honored to be the new caretaker of this teakwood planking for as long as the USO exists at SeaTac Airport."

The decking and McKenna was escorted by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Color Guard through a flag line provided by the Patriot Guard Riders, active-duty service members and USONW volunteers.

"I am in awe of the fact thousands of guests every year will be able to stand on the same decking used by WWII sailors fighting for our country on the high seas," said SeaTac Center Manager Bill Baker.

Two years after the USS Colorado had been sold for scrap; Boeing purchased the teak decking, then installed it on cafeteria walls in 1961. Upon completion of the new USO Northwest Center, the decking will cover 1,500 square feet. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class William McKenna carried the ceremonial piece of teak decking from the Boeing Development Center to the location of the new USO NW SeaTac Center on the airport’s mezzanine level.

NC1 William McKenna poses with USS Colorado veterans Larry Clements and Whittaker "Moose" Hernion Stop by the SeaTac USO and see a piece of history on your way to or from the Sterett reunion in September.

Binnacle List

FTMC George Cline
continues the fight in the recovery from his stroke. There's been lots of progress but he's had some setbacks as well. According to his wife, Dotty, George loves to hear from his friends and shipmates. Drop George a note or a message:
George Cline
6360 E 100 S
Lebanon, IN 46052-9614

Sterett Passings
We learned of the following passings since the previous newsletter:
Richard B. Marcus

DS2 1968-1971

Cesar Herrera MSCS

CG 31 1987-1989


I often wonder why Sterett remains so special to so many of her former crew, especially those who did not remain in the Navy and moved on in many different directions. Here’s one example:

Lt(jg) John King served on Sterett 1968-1971 as the MPA and division officer. He had one Navy tour, then went on to a highly successful career with EDS and later co-founded Perot Systems.

John has been involved with the Year Up National Capital Region site since 2006. Year Up is a one-year, intensive training program that provides low-income young adults, ages 18-24, with a combination of hands-on technical skill development, college credits, and corporate internships. The graduates receive 18 college credits and 85% go to earn a livable wage in corporate America.

John commented on his STERETT ties:
"At the end of my STERETT tour a shipmate told me that Ross Perot's first company, EDS, was hiring officers leaving the service to join a training program called the SED Program - Systems Engineering Development. The program taught us to code on 360 computers and prepared us for the challenges of the business world. Ross recognized the value of the military experience from his own time onboard ship and sought out men who had the shared experience of duty, honor and leadership. Coming full circle, the Year Up program is a little like my SED experience - part technical and part professionalism . When I came across Year Up towards the end of my business career I thought it was a good fit for my experiences and a good way to give back to others who needed a hand-up, not a hand-out."

Most Association members did not remain in the Navy. Most just did their four year hitch, got out and went on to pick up their lives and new careers. They served on only one ship, the USS Sterett. Those who remained in the Navy and saw other ships or duty have a means to compare their Sterett experiences against other aspects of their Navy life. Sterett was special to all of us but for many different reasons. I invite you to share your thoughts about why Sterett was special. Should make an interesting section of future newsletters.

Reunion 2015

We are 10 months out from our 2015 reunion in Tacoma, Washington - September 17-20.
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 head count is essential in arranging the best possible reunion.

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 - Discovered in 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. See:
  • 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:

A Mail in registration form is available at 2015 Reunion Mail In Registration

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