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December 2000

The holiday season is here again and another year passes.  May you all have a wonderful and happy holiday season! As we move into 2000, we will be preparing for our first reunion!  Finally old friends will be reunited and the sea stories will fly!

During the past year hundreds of shipmates have written to me as they learned of the web site and reunion.  A year ago I could keep track of everyone and reply at length to each message and letter. Now with so many of you, this is not possible.  In these letters and messages I have read of both triumph and defeat, happiness and sorrow, and of shipmates all still very much devoted to ENGLAND. These communications come from all over the world, Commanding Officers of ships on deployment, retired Admirals, officers and crew who now walk many different paths in life.  All of them write of ENGLAND as the star and their shipmates as the best men they have known.

In 2000 I was able to visit our ship in her retirement.  She was tied in a nest with the other Guided Missile Cruisers along with other ships large and small.  In that nest was Hoga, the last vessel afloat from Pearl Harbor!  She was the one who nudged NEVADA to ensure she ran aground during her failed attempt to escape the attack and fight at sea. There they were together in the gentle waters off Benicia, CA where hundreds of sailors once lived and worked, but now only the sound of the wind could be heard.  The ships groan sadly, eerily and mournfully as they lay awaiting their fate.  As I walked ENGLAND's decks I could feel that she missed us all and her days at sea.

2000 has been a successful year in this effort.  We have found much of the history that is ENGLAND.  A lot of this is now on the web site.  I have a large box of items and writings to go through.  It seems I never catch up!   We have found hundreds of shipmates, more than I imagined when we started.  We are well on our way to a successful reunion. So the past year has been great and 2001 promises more!

Please be safe this Holiday season! See you all in July!

Happy Holidays!

Your shipmate,

Dennis O'Brien

Operation Reunion - July 26-29, 2001 San Diego
Adm Henry H. Mauz Jr. USN (ret), CO of USS England from 1980 to 1982, has been added to the list of speakers for the reunion. Adm Mauz's last job in the Navy was CINCLANTFLT in Norfolk. As you know Adm Mauz was the first former Commanding Officer of USS England that was tracked down! E-mailing every Mauz that could be found eventually caused a member his family to forward an e-mail about the web site. Adm Mauz joins RADM (ret) Hugh Webster and CAPT (ret) Coenraad van der Schroeff on this list of speakers for the banquet. 

Remember, you must sign up as On-Line Crew to have information about the reunions mailed to you.  In 2001 we will be putting the finishing touches on our reunion plans and we need all of you to help! How? by being a part of the reunion! sign up as On-Line Crew today!

Honoring WWII, Korean, & Vietnam Veterans
A message from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation
Washington, D.C., December 6, 2000 --- Did you serve?  The United States Navy Memorial Foundation in Washington, DC has established the "Navy Log" in an effort to honor all naval veterans that have served our country.  The Navy Log includes Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Merchant Mariners. The Navy Log has thus far collected the names, service information and photographs of over a quarter of a million service personnel.  All enrollments form a part of America's enduring naval heritage, a permanent and publicly accessible video register available for reviewing at the Naval Heritage Center next to the Navy Memorial on Pennsylvania Avenue, midway between the White House and the Capitol, or on the Memorial's Internet web site, http://www.lonesailor.org.

Write, U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation,
Attn: Navy Log, (Dept R)
701 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Suite 123,
Washington, DC
20004-2608 or call 1-800-821-8892 ext 730.

Media Contact: David J. Michael, NCCM,
USN, (Ret.)
Director, Navy Log


Shipmates are encouraged to send in sea stories for possible publication here.  The news in last month's newsletter concerning the passing of Capt. Ammerman stirred many.  Here are a couple of the stories sent in.

Captain Ammerman
By Terry Varljen

I was sad to hear about Captain Ammerman passing on. He was CO when I came onboard in 1977.  I have a light-hearted story to share about him that many aboard at the time will recollect.

We had an ancient electrical safety movie that was required to be shown to the entire crew a couple of times a year.  The movie was made sometime in the late 50's/early 60's and was incredibly outdated and stupid.  They used real sailors as actors (who couldn't act - while supposedly drilling through a live wire they'd become "dead."  Then they'd keep opening their eyes to see if their part was done!!!!).  The whole movie was incredibly fake and was a shipboard laughingstock.  We were at sea on Local Ops, and while watching it for the umpteenth time on the ship's closed circuit TV, the screen suddenly went blank.  A couple of minutes later, a warning came over the 1MC: "ALL HANDS STAND CLEAR STARBOARD SIDE WHILE CONDUCTING SMALL ARMS FIRING"! Another couple of minutes passed, and then a familiar voice (Captain Ammerman's) came over the squawk box informing us that we'd never have to watch that movie again - he'd sent it to a " watery grave."  Captain Ammerman had the movie thrown overboard from the bow and used it for target practice as it floated past the starboard bridge wing!!! He earned a whole lot of admiration from the entire crew that day!

Captain Ammerman
By Joe Coulter

Boy do I remember Capt. Ammerman's M-14!  Funniest was when we had a gun shoot with the 3" 50's once and they used 3 oil drums tied together as a target. The gunners fired a couple short then a long one to get the range then opened up big time on the barrels. When the water spouts cleared the barrels were still there. I was watching from under the bridge wing by the light locker near the 48 passageway. We went back for another pass with the same result. Then, over my head I hear POP, POP, POP and Ping, Ping, Ping from the bullets hitting the barrels! The gunnery officer called the captain everything you could think! But not loud enough to be heard on the bridge. On the next pass I was on the bridge wing next to the captain. They let loose about 20 rounds from the 3 inch, all misses, and once again the captain made 3 direct hits. Then he let me shoot my 45 (I was roving patrol) and I hit the barrels 2 out of 3 shots! He called the gunnery officer to the bridge wing as we made another pass. Once again with the gunnery officer there he went POP, POP, POP, Ping, Ping, Ping! Then he had me shoot again with the 45 and I got 3 hits too! On the next pass they finally sank the barrels with the 3" 50's. I got it from that Lt. for a long time after that! But it was worth it... The Capt. had a habit of having that M-14 on the bridge wing when he was up there to shoot sharks! The gunners mates treated that M-14 like it was made of gold. That was the only time I ever got to shoot the 45 while on rover watch. We made the captain a matching pair of lamps from the 3" brass, and I still have an ashtray I made from another one of those shells!