Sterett Association Newsletter 2018 February
Greetings from the Sterett Association
Winter 2018 has been a rough one for many areas of the country. All of you up north will no doubt feel bad for those of us here in South Mississippi where it’s already snowed twice! Stuck for an hour!
Despite what Punxsutawney Phil might have seen, we hope your springtime arrives soon.
Sterett Web Site
We are still waiting for completion of the web site conversion to WordPress.
Much of the content is there. There may be some links that need to be fixed but the general data is there.
As soon as we can, we will start posting information about the 2019 reunion.
Having just returned from deployment in August, the USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Sterett (DDG 104) departed their homeport of Naval Base San Diego for a scheduled deployment to conduct operations in the Indo-Pacific region February 6.
USS Dewey and USS Sterett will support a Wasp Expeditionary Strike Group deployment in order to advance U.S. Pacific Fleet’s “up-gunned ESG” concept. Wasp, now forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan, has the capability to land and launch the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), a key element to the up-gunned ESG concept.
Surface ships like Dewey and Sterett enhance an amphibious force’s ability to conduct its primary mission of ship-to-shore movement in the littorals, particularly in a contested environment. Dewey and Sterett possess important sensors and weapons to detect and neutralize undersea, surface, and air threats that are vital to protecting the amphibious force.
“The men and women on board Sterett are ready to execute the mission,” said Cmdr. Claudine Caluori, Sterett commanding officer. “It is an honor to lead such a talented and hardworking team.”
“The Dewey crew is prepared, committed, and ready to execute all tasks,” said Cmdr. Anthony L. Webber, Dewey commanding officer. “We look forward to another deployment and safe return home to our love ones.”
We wish our Sterett brothers and sisters Godspeed on your deployment.
Tribute to ships named Sterett
DDG 104 shipmate Scott Rogers put together an outstanding tribute to all the ships that have carried the Sterett name.
Watch HERITAGE using this link:
DDG 104 VLS Missile shot
Thanks and BZ to Scott for putting this together.
All honorably discharged military veterans are now eligible to shop at military exchanges online.
On behalf of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, Coast Guard Exchange, Marine Corps Exchange and Navy Exchange Service Command, we are excited to announce that the online exchanges will once again serve honorably discharged Veterans of all United States Armed Forces. This lifelong benefit allows you to shop online at any and all of the exchanges. Thank you for your service.
For more information and to register, visit https://www.vetverify.org/
Vietnam Virtual Wall
The Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC contains the names of those who died during the Vietnam war.
There are 58,318 names etched in grabbo marble.
In addition to the wall, there are statues honoring the men and women who served there.
It’s a very sobering place, especially for those who lost loved ones and for those who lived through the turmoil of the Vietnam years.
You can visit the Vietnam Memorial Wall, or at least get a sense of it, from the comfort of your home.
There is a Virtual Wall which can be accessed over the internet.
It’s a pretty amazing web site.
You can easily locate individuals who gave the ultimate sacrifice through filtering by state and city; by last name; by military unit, etc.
Once a name is located, details of the person’s service, information on their death and other data is displayed.
Thanks to Larry Motz for sending us this information.
The following Sterett shipmates have crossed the bar:
SN Johnny Wayne Hardin 68-70
YN3 Chuck West 85-87
Thanks to Jim Bell for making the trip to Paducah, KY to attend Chuck’s service.
If notification of an Association member’s passing is received in a timely manner, we will arrange for flowers and/or a Sterett representative at the services. However, we generally do not receive notice prior to the services.
Facebook is a great place to exchange information and memories with our shipmates.
It also helps to spread the word about the Sterett Association and the reunions.
There are 2 Sterett groups that contain items and pictures of interest to the DLG/CG 31 veterans.
Many are members of both groups. If you only check out one of these groups, you may be missing some good stuff.
You are encouraged to become members of both Sterett groups.
USS Sterett Association: https://www.facebook.com/groups/15927790465/
USS Sterett CG-31: https://www.facebook.com/groups/205983540038/
Shipmate Dale Elhardt has recently posted a wealth of photos from his Sterett tour back in the late 70s.
Check them out on the CG-31 group.
The official Facebook page for the DDG 104 can be found here:
Lost Fathers and Amerasian Children
The following are just some thoughts on a difficult problem. Each of us must be guided by our own values and ideals.
Occasionally, we see requests on Facebook from those looking for a father they never knew.
These situations are certainly sad and tragic.
The first reaction by the majority is to check the information presented and search their minds for a link of some sort to a former shipmate.
We do this because we are good hearted people who recognize an unfair situation.
However, there are a number of factors that should be weighed about these situations before jumping in and pointing to someone who may be the individual being searched for.
In many of these cases the father was never aware he had a child. He likely went on with his life, got married and started a family.
There is real potential, in calling out an individual about an unknown child, to destroy one family life in order to assist linking a unknown child with a father.
Discretion is needed.
The descriptions of the father are generally very sketchy and the information may remind us of more than one shipmate.
We must also be aware that there are scams of this nature. Introducing shipmates into what may turn out to be a fraudulent scheme would be unfortunate.
Bottom line is be careful. Think through each situation.
No doubt we would all like to see a successful result to any effort to join a child and a father together.
Unfortunately, it’s not an easy road to travel.
On a personal note, I have no sympathy for anyone who has knowingly abandoned a child anywhere.
Many who were not “tuned in” to the Sterett Association during its early years are likely not familiar with the efforts to have Sterett established as a museum. There were many who thought it was going to become a reality.
The story is best told in the words of the person who initiated the concept and worked so hard to make it a reality, Elden Miller.
(Elden Miller was a DS2, stationed on Sterett 1969-1973).
Saving the Sterett began when I discovered her as a backdrop in the movie “Down Periscope” starring Kelsey Grammer, when it debuted in March of 1996. By August of 1996 I and some staff members of the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum secured a visit to Sterett in the Benicia Reserve Fleet. In 1998, shortly after the first Sterett reunion in Colorado, I was contacted by Leroy Marsh of the Military Heritage Foundation (MHF) of Eureka, California. The MHF had previously attempted to acquire the USS Midway but that effort failed. They then scaled down their ambitions and started looking for a smaller ship.
Through the wonder of the World Wide Web and the relatively new USS Sterett web site, the MHF discovered Sterett. Sterett seemed to be a good candidate for their museum ship.
They then designated their effort to be the Humboldt Bay Naval Sea/Air Museum.
Sterett was part of the Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility at Benicia, CA but was not designated as “available for donation”. In 1998, a letter writing campaign was started to get the ship removed from the scrap list and made available for donation as a museum. My shipmates and I enlisted the help of many congressional members and anyone of importance that could help us save our ship.
My wife Nancy and I made several trips to Eureka, CA to meet with LeRoy Marsh and others to put together a plan for the ship. The location chosen was Field’s Landing, just off Highway 101, south of Eureka and close to the majestic redwoods of the “Avenue of the Giants, a popular tourist attraction.
On January 6, 1999, LeRoy Marsh of the Military Heritage Foundation in Eureka, CA, received a phone call from Glen Clark of NAVSEA informing him that Sterett had been removed from the scrap list and placed in “available for donation” status for one year. Normal ship adoption process takes approximately 6 months.
Military Heritage Foundation was scheduled to visit and inspect Sterett Friday, January 15, 1999.
Note: The stringent process required to successfully have a Navy ship established as a museum is designed to prevent organizations from acquiring Navy vessels and then, over time, are unable to maintain the ship’s material condition. Guarding against rusting, rotting hulls viewable to the public is what the acquisition program is designed to avoid.
I was offered the position as curator of the museum. A ship surveyor was contracted to formally inspect the ship. Joe Pecararo, Director of the Benicia Reserve Fleet was a great ally and made many trips to the Sterett available. The staff of the Vallejo/Mare Island museum was also involved. On June 17, 1999 a crew-member based ship visit and survey was undertaken. Several Sterett shipmates joined together to check out Sterett and determine her condition and what would be needed to make her a museum
L-R: Larry Sullivan, Emery Balasa, Archie Smith (D), Robert McGuire (D), Jim Faulkner, Elden Miller, Denis LaCrosse (D), and Shawn Colson. Not pictured are Steve Lapkin, Chuck Farnham, Leroy Marsh and Don Hanner.
The high-point of the visit was the raising of the flag on the fantail. This was a flag that had flown over Sterett in the mid 70’s.
The total project was budgeted to cost close to 3 million dollars. Corporate sponsorship offers were sent to Coors, Coke and several others. I had drafted plans to develop corporate retreats aboard the ship with ship evolutions and computer war gaming as well. Installation of sonic transducers under the decks and automated sounds relevant to shipboard activity were planned for the quarterdeck and on the bridge. As the Midway in San Diego became a reality, I harbored the possibility of moving the ship to San Diego opposite the Midway if Eureka was to ever become unable to continue.
The hurdles of the environmental impact studies were overcome primarily because Sterett’s last yard period had applied environmentally safe hull paint. A hotel chain had proposed to build a hotel near the site. Things did indeed look good for Sterett. At one point my wife and I were very close to selling our house and moving from Colorado to Eureka.
On May 25th 2000 a second group of former crewmen and members of Eureka’s Military Heritage Foundation visited the cruisers lying in the Suisun Bay reserve fleet. From Eureka were LeRoy Marsh, (3rd. visit) Raul Ritz and Art Lewis all of the MHF. Former STERETT crewman Larry Sullivan making his 2nd visit was joined by Greg Boyd and Tom Jacobsmeyer. Ted Merritt, former member of the USS JOUETT CG-29 was able to see his old ship after more than 20 years and Dennis O’Brien once again walked through the USS ENGLAND on which he served many years ago. We were gaining support from the crews of all the LEAHY/BELKNAP class cruisers in our effort to save one example that would incorporate items from each of the 18 ships of the two original DLG class ships.
Tom Jacobsmeyer (second from right) joined other Sterett veterans and MHF representatives on the second ship survey team 25 May 2000
At the end of 2000, the project began to languish due to several issues, money being the primary one. Humboldt County detractors were many. Many of the dot-com folks fleeing the SF Bay area were relocating into the area and were pushing a no-growth agenda. Many of the long-term residents were under false hopes that the timber industry would return. To that end, many resources such as docks and other infrastructure were being hoarded. Eureka was suffering hard times under these delusions. Selling tourism was a very difficult sale. Anti-military sentiment also ran high.
The effort to restore Sterett was dependent upon continued support from NAVSEA and availability of the other ships in the reserve fleet as donors. Sterett’s 5” gun was gone and her decommissioning was lot more brutal than her sister ships. As time went on, the other ships of the class in the reserve fleet began to be towed off. With the advent of 9/11, the Navy shifted many NAVSEA contacts to other roles and responsibilities. The Navy grew weary of the lack of progress.
Due to the lack of progress in satisfying the requirements and guarantees the Navy required for museum donations, the Sterett was removed from the available for donation list and placed back on the scrap list.
in October of 2005 Sterett was towed out the under the Golden Gate on her final voyage to International Shipbreakers near the port of Brownsville TX.
I contacted the shipbreakers and attempted to get some parts of the Sterett for the crew. They told me that they were not allowed to let anyone remove anything off the ship per their Navy contract. Shortly thereafter a number of items from Sterett showed up on eBay at a price I could not afford. I protested to the shipbreaker and they gave me the excuse that they had no knowledge as to how the items such as the Bridge and quarterdeck 1MCs got off Sterett. Later, a Colorado company did manage to get some copper off the ship and for a while minted coins commemorating Sterett. They eventually sold out of coins and quit business.
My goals throughout it all were always kept high. The disappointment in losing the ship took a heavy toll on me. I will never regret the effort despite the outcome. I am especially thankful for everyone who endeavored to help and to try and make this dream a reality.
In 2003 Elden wrote the story about saving Sterett as a museum and submitted the story and pictures to “Sea Classics” magazine. They accepted the it was published in the October 2003 issue.
At the time of publication, things were still looking good for Sterett.
This story does not provide a proper indication of the tremendous amount of work that went into creating a package of information that was required to make the Sterett museum a reality.
The findings of the ship surveys were compiled into a 45 page document that detailed the material condition of every space on the ship and every item necessary to make Sterett topside and internal spaces presentable for the visiting public.
There was also a 22 page proposal document that outlined the minute details of the what, where and how of establishing Sterett as a museum.
It’s certainly unfortunate we don’t have a Sterett museum today.
Elden Miller and the others who worked so hard to make it happen deserve our thanks and appreciation.
That the effort came up short was in no way a reflection of their devotion and diligence towards making it a reality.
BZ to all
So, we don’t have a physical museum today.
However, we do have a Sterett museum that lives in our minds and in our hearts.
We can visit our Sterett Museum anytime by visiting the Sterett Association web site and/or the Sterett Facebook groups.
Our Sterett Museum comes to life every two years when we gather with our shipmates to reminisce about the good times and the rough times we had when we walked her decks.
We will make the museum related documents available for viewing through Facebook and through the web site when possible.
We have been unable to update our web site with the new Sterett polo shirts that are now available.
These polo shirts were introduced at the Nashville reunion and were well received. They are available in both DLG and CG variants.
Our store custodian, Duffy Groener has created a temporary web site so the polo shirt and our other items can be made available.
If you are interested in ordering a polo shirt and/or any store item, please visit:
To order an item from this web site, simply click on the item(s) and it will be added to your shopping cart.
The following Members in Good Standing list is as of 31 December 2017.
Dues payments made since 01 January are not relected in this list.
Remember, dues are effective January 1 – December 31.
|Blount||Thomas E Jr||2006-2020|
|Bolton||James E. “Jim”||LIFETIME|
|De Vinney Jr||Lloyd (Jim)||2009-2010, 2012-2018|
|Harper||Thomas J.||2007-2012, 2017|
|Robinson||James E. “Robbie”||2011-2018|
|Sterett||Deborah A. “Debbie”||LIFETIME|
|Wright||James N. “Pappy”||2016-2018|
After sitting in a state a abandonment and disrepair for decades after the base closure, the former “168 Bar” on Magsaysay Drive, has just recently been completely torn down. ( November 2017 Photo)
USS Sterett Association 2019 Reunion Information
When: 19-22 September 2019
Where: Jacksonville, FL.
Marriott Jacksonville Hotel
General Hotel Information: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/jaxfl-jacksonville-marriott/
The room rate for the reunion will be $92 (+tax & fees).
This is a great rate that should be attractive to many shipmates across the country.
It’s never too early so start planning now to join your shipmates in Jacksonville.
We will provide hotel reservation and additional reunion information as we move towards the Jacksonville event.
We want to break the 200 guest mark in Jacksonville. Get in touch with some shipmates and encourage them to attend.
Watch future newsletters and the web site for more information as it becomes available.
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: