Sterett Association Fall 2014

Greetings from the Sterett Association

We hope you all survived the harsh summer temperatures and severe weather that has plagued many areas of the country.

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

Being Green

Occasionally I run across something I think may be entertaining to our Sterett community. This item has been floating around a few years but I believe it rings true to those of us who are at or approaching our "golden years"!

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. I apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days".

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations".

She was right about one thing–our generation didn't have the green thing in "Our" day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on "Our" day, here's what I remembered we did have...

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby's nappies because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn't have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she's right. We didn't have the green thing back then.

We drank from a water fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the green thing back then?

Sterett Family Visitation

Towards the end of August, Captain George Sullivan and his wife Roberta were visited by the family of one of Sterett's honorary crewmembers. Lien Phan and her family were on a visit to Hawaii when they met up with the Sullivans for dinner. Regardless of the years, Sterett people remain close. Lien Phan on the left with her sister Chi and children Derek and Natasha with Capt. and Mrs. Sullivan


Here's a little known tidbit of US Naval history:

The U.S.S. Constitution (Old Ironsides), as a combat vessel, carried 48,600 gallons of fresh water for her crew of 475 officers and men. This was sufficient to last six months of sustained operations at sea. She carried no evaporators (i.e. fresh water distillers).

However, let it be noted that according to her ship's log, "On July 27, 1798, the U.S.S. Constitution sailed from Boston with a full complement of 475 officers and men, 48,600 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,600 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum."?

Her mission: "To destroy and harass English shipping."

Making Jamaica on 6 October, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 68,300 gallons of rum.

Then she headed for the Azores , arriving there 12 November. She provisioned with 550 pounds of beef and?64,300 gallons of Portuguese wine.

On 18 November, she set sail for England . In the ensuing days she defeated five British men-of-war and captured and scuttled 12 English merchant ships, salvaging only the rum aboard each.

By 26 January, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nevertheless, although unarmed she made a night raid up the Firth of Clyde in Scotland . Her landing party captured a whiskey distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of single malt Scotch aboard by dawn. Then she headed home.

The U. S. S. Constitution arrived in Boston on 20 February 1799, with no cannon shot, no food, no powder, no rum, no wine, no whiskey, and 38,600 gallons of water .


DDG 104

The USS Sterett (DDG 104) departed San Diego on 22 August as part of the USS Carl Vinson Battle Group.

The battle group is on a scheduled 10 month deployment.

The world is a volatile place - we wish our DDG 104 shipmates fair winds as they move on to do our Nation's bidding.


I consider myself fortunate if I can successfully conquer the routine maintenance projects around the house. I have no talent for building things. I'm the guy that gets finished with a project and has three screws left over.

I didn't originate the following but I can certainly relate:

A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.

Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, 'Oh sh --'

A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.

An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle... It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub out of which you want to remove a bearing race.

A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops tomcut good aluminum sheet into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside edge.

A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids or for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.

A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50-cent part.

A tool used to make hoses too short.

Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit. Also for smashing thumbs and/or fingernails

Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

Son of a bitch TOOL:
Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling 'Son of a bitch' at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.


The following was written by the founder of the Sterett Association, Elden Miller. I believe it expresses what many of us feel:
As shipmates together we went out to sea,

Those were the days, many good times we did see.

Fond memories prevail of those long hours at sea,

Where duty came first before we were granted any liberty.

Sea stories and tall tales we have now embellished so very easily,

And share with any who will listen of our time spent in the U S Navy.

Our shipmates are friends forever and so it will always be,

But time has taken its toll upon the ranks we pause now to see,

Muster was called but now there are holes where our friends used to be.

For those who have passed on and who now rest in the lee,

I wish from my heart - Fair winds and a following sea!

Sterett Passings

We were informed of the following passings since the previous newsletter:
Dave Bilak
FTM2 1970-1974
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Gary Bush,
Lt. Plankowner Weapons Dept
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Dan Almazan
(need additional info)

Binnacle List

Prayers and good thoughts are requested for Sterett shipmate FTMC Jay Mills, who is in round 2 of his battle against intestinal cancer. Stay Dauntless Jay.

Reunion 2015

We are under one year remaining before our 2015 reunion in Tacoma, Washington. 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.

Hotel Information

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

Rooms will be available for $99.00
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

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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 approximitely 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).
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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.
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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.

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: 2015-Reunion Registration Online

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

I 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

I state it in each newsletter but we really do want to hear from you.

Image 10.jpg 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.

For the Sterett Association:
Steve Hayes