Greetings from the Sterett Association
No matter where you live, this winter has been a strange one. Spring like one day, snow, ice and freezing temperatures the next.
Whatever your winter weather has been, we hope the season finds you and your loved ones in good health.
This newsletter contains a few items we hope will be of interest to our Sterett family.
DDG 104 continues her workups in the San Diego area.
USS Sterett (DDG-104) leads the way on a show of force transit training exercise with USS Dewey (DDG-105), USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG-108), USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) and USS O’Kane (DDG-77) on Nov. 4, 2016.
As these pictures reveal, regardless of the latest technologies, some shipboard evolutions haven’t changed over the years.
Today’s sailors still hang onto some time honored traditions:
Angel of the Pacific
I received the following email on November 30:
I hope your day goes well. Sir, the reason for this email is to find some of my Angel from the Pacific who had rescued my family and I back in 1982. I was one of the lucky Honorary that got rescued by the brave men of the USS Sterett 31 back in 1982 in Gulf of Thailand. I have been trying to get in touch with anyone still living just to say Thank You. My family and I were on a small boat which was rescued by you and your captain. There were 15 people (children and adults) on board. We stayed on the USS Sterett for 7 days before departed to the Honorary camp. I know my cousins in the past had made a trip for the reunion of the USS Sterett in Washington (Traci Phan and Keri Nguyen). Sir, if you don’t mind, can you please guide me to those brave men or the Captain so I can say Thank You. I finished up my autobiography about my journey to America. The title will be: Leaving My Homeland-A story of struggle, triumph, and faith. Thank you.
Cuong Vince Nguyen
In the days and weeks that followed, Vince and I exchanged several messages.
His story continues:
My late Father is the Captain of that boat. He is the one in the back with a cap on wearing blue shirt trying to steer the boat with the paddle. I was 8 years old boy sitting at the front of the boat with one of my uncles. My family has 5 children (4 girls, 1 boy) on the boat. My youngest brother was conceived in Thailand Honorary camp. I remembered everything during the escape, how many times we were attacked by pirates (Thailand fishermen) and how we lost our way. My late Father was the 4th generation fisherman who built the 2 boats used in the escape. One boat guided by my other late uncle made smooth sale into Malaysia with no attacks. Unfortunately, our boat was not so lucky. We were attack 6 times. After the second time, they took our engine thinking we were hiding gold in it. But God has a plan because if it were not for the USS Sterett, we would have died that night. As I recalled, that night on the ship, there was a severe thunderstorm, maybe typhoon wind speed, that would have sunk our boat if we were not rescued that afternoon.
Vince still has pictures and other memorabilia from the Sterett including the honorary crew member ID given to his father and all rescued refugees by Captain George Sullivan.
Vince lives in Pensacola, FL.
Ironic as it may be, I was planning a Sterett related trip that would have me passing through Pensacola to Jacksonville on January 14.
I contacted Darryl Stewart (ICCS/CWO3) who lives in Pensacola and arranged to meet with Vince at a local restaurant.
We spent a very enjoyable time with Vince as he told us about his family and his life since coming to the USA. Among other things, Vince has been a Border Patrol officer and a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
It was very clear, Vince has a deep love for the USA and a deep appreciation for the USS Sterett.
The truth is the real heroes in this and other similar stories are the brave men, women and children who climbed aboard those small, overcrowded rickety boats and set out in search of a better life. The Sterett and her crew were the real lucky ones who happened upon them and helped them along their way.
Yours truly with Vince Nguyen and Darryl Stewart
We look forward to seeing Vince, his cousins Traci and Keri and some of our other honorary crewmembers at the reunion in June.
Mini Reunion Tune Up for June
As the above article mentioned, I made a trip to Jacksonville, FL in mid January.
Joe Gaughan had called for a mini Sterett reunion at Dave & Buster’s. There are several Sterett veterans living in the Northeast Florida area who stopped by. We missed a couple who didn’t make it but it was a nice gathering. Actually, any gathering of Sterett sailors is a no miss event. We were so busy catching up we forgot to take a lot of pictures. Those in attendance were Joe Gaughan, Glenn MacArthur, Thomas Ossman, Dave Mikulak, Brian Cox, Barry Vitez and Danny (Doc) Smith.
Sterett shipmates in your general area? Call a muster.
As a follow-up to the article in the previous newsletter:
Navy leaders are reversing their controversial decision to eliminate sailors’ ratings and will restore job titles across the fleet, according to a Navy message set for release Wednesday.
Effective immediately, enlisted sailors will officially regain their ratings, the traditional job titles that have inspired a deep cultural loyalty and that have defined enlisted career tracks for generations, Navy officials said.
The move comes three months after the Navy stunned sailors around the world in September by eliminated ratings titles, including those such as boatswain’s mate that dated back to the founding of the service.
The extraordinarily rare move comes after a fierce backlash from the fleet that became a distraction from the Navy’s broader effort to reform the antiquated personnel system, Navy officials said.
Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, called it a “course correction” and acknowledged the overwhelmingly negative reaction from the fleet was a key factor in the decision.
US Navy 2016 in Pictures:
Thanks to Larry Motz for the link to this enjoyable video:
The Last Voyage of Andrew Sterett
Andrew Sterett, a rising hero of the early U.S. Navy resigned before his prime; for him, private-sector seafaring would prove far more perilous.
USS Sterett Association
2017 Reunion Information
The 2017 USS Sterett Reunion is 4 months out.
Your shipmates will be there talking about you if you aren’t there!
When: 23-25 June 2017 (Thursday 22 June for early arrivals)
Where: Nashville, TN
Hilton Nashville Airport Hotel
2200 Elm Hill Pike
Nashville, Tennessee 37214
General Hotel Information: http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/tennessee/nashville-airport-hotel-BNAARHH/index.html
Rooms (single/double) will be available for a rate of $135 (+ tax and fees).
These rates will be available three days either side of the reunion dates of 22-25 June, 2017.
Rooms must be booked by May 23, 2017 to guarantee this discounted rate.
The Saturday Afternoon Group Tour will be to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, TN.
Our group tour will depart by bus at approximately 11:00 from the Hilton Airport Hotel for a drive to Lynchburg, TN and the Jack Daniels Distillery.
You have the option of the traditional tour or a tasting tour.
The Association will provide bus transportation.
The traditional, non tasting tour is free.
The fee for the tasting tour is $16.00. The Association will offset the fee by $4.00. Cost to each participant will be $12.00.
Tour fees will be paid as part of the reunion registration process.
Jack Daniel’s Distillery is an outdoors walking tour. Those with mobility issues should consider other activities for Saturday afternoon.
Saturday Afternoon Tour Lunch
The Association will arrange to order and pick up sandwiches from Subway for the ride to the Jack Daniel/s Distillery.
All sandwiches will be 6” on Italian bread with American cheese and will include a cookie and a bottle of water.
Mayonnaise, Mustard and Ketchup will be available.
Each lunch will cost $7.00 and must be prepaid as part of the registration process.
Lunch 1: Black Forest Ham
Lunch 2: Turkey breast
Lunch 3: Cold Cut Combo
Lunch 4: Roast Beef
Lunch 5: Italian BMT
Please indicate your lunch preferences when you register.
The lunch options will be displayed when you select the number of tour guests.
Sorry, no substitutions.
Lunch orders must be received no later than Thursday, 22 June, 2017.
Registration forms are now available for the 2017 Sterett Reunion in Nashville.
Go to https://www.sterett.net/reunions/ for reunion information and follow the link provided to register.
You will find both on line and mail in forms.
If you are using the mail in registration forms, be sure to use the new address for Don Hageman, our treasurer, which was effective 01 July:
198 Golanvyi Trail
Vonore, TN 37885
Nashville Area Attractions
Nashville, known as the Country Music Capital of the World, is a major destination offering lots of interesting attractions and places of interest.
Although Nashville is called the Country Music Capital, the city is not limited to offering only country music venues.
Besides country, you’ll find bluegrass, Americana, jazz, fusion, rock, pop and classical along with a host of outdoor festivals from crafts shows to food fairs to cars (including classic and hot rods).
Check out some of what Nashville has to offer:
For general information check out: http://www.visitmusiccity.com/
Here are some places you might consider visiting or spending time at:
Grand Ole Opry http://www.opry.com/
Ryman Auditorium http://ryman.com/
Water park for children and families https://www.nashvilleshores.com/
Huge shopping mall next to the grand Ole Opry House and Opryland hotel http://www.simon.com/mall/opry-mills/stores
Museum in downtown – The Frist Center http://fristcenter.org/
Country Music Hall of Fame http://countrymusichalloffame.org/
Home of President Andrew Jackson – The Hermitage http://thehermitage.com
“World famous” Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge http://www.tootsies.net/
The Bluebird Café http://bluebirdcafe.com/
Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) http://www.tpac.org/
Concert hall and home to the Nashville Symphony the Schermerhorn https://www.nashvillesymphony.org/about/Schermerhorn-Symphony-Center
Lane Motor Museum http://www.lanemotormuseum.org/
The Corvette Museum and factory (about 45 minutes away) http://www.corvettemuseum.org/
Fort Campbell Army Base – Home to 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles
Fort Knox – Home to the nation’s gold repository and about an hour away
Local winery owned by country music singer Kix Brooks – Arrington Vineyards (about 30 minutes)http://www.arringtonvineyards.com/
Belle Meade Mansion – Southern plantation home and home to the thoroughbreds that started steeplechase racing in America http://bellemeadeplantation.com/
U.S. Space and Rocket Center Huntsville, AL – about two hours away http://rocketcenter.com/
Ascend Amphitheater in downtown on the river banks, entertainment most nights.
The Gulch – new and vibrant area on the edge of the downtown area filled with music venues and restaurants
Nashville is a great location. Don’t miss the opportunity to mingle with your Sterett shipmates at the 2017 reunion.
Remember, rooms must be booked by May 23, 2017 to guarantee the discounted rate.
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: