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May 2001

Reunion Update- July 26-29, 2001 San Diego
Reservations have started to come in for the reunion and we are hoping for a great turnout.  Please send in your reservation as soon as possible. Attending the event will not only allow you to hear some fantastic speakers, have fun and restore friendships but will also give you each the opportunity to plan our future.  New shipmates are showing up on the web site nearly every day! Everyone seems very excited about the USS England reunion!  What will the future bring? A lot! But we’ll need the team work for which USS England is known world over.  During the reunion, on Saturday, July 28, 2001 at 1630, there is a business meeting scheduled at the hotel.  We not only need all of you at this, our first USS England reunion, but we need you all at that meeting! It is there that you will be able to help create the future!

All of the reunion information is available on the web site. Current details can be found at:


Remember, you must sign up as On Line Crew to receive a reservation packet.  If you have singed up but have not received your packet, please call Dina at 828-256-6008. If you have any issues, problems, suggestions, questions, needs or interests you'd like heard, then e-mail Dennis O'Brien at dennis@ussengland.net. Whatever can be done to get you to the reunion will be done! The more of us that attend, the better the event will be!

May Is USS England History Month!
Well at last it is here. Then again, every month is USS England history month around here! May 19 is the date on which USS England DE-635 sunk the first of the six submarines she sent to the bottom in May of 1944. This feat has never been equaled!  This would be a great month to read up on DE-635. Lucky for you that is easy to do because of this web site. Go read in the USS England DE-635 Library! Show your family and friends and spread the story of this great ship and her crew. Print out the story and give it to others. Keep the history alive. In 1944 DE-635's accomplishments caused Chief of Naval Operations Admiral E. J. King to say, "There'll always be an ENGLAND in the United States Navy."  Soon we'll undertake the effort to give the Navy the opportunity to make good on those words. You'll need to be completely versed in USS England so you can assist so read up today!

Video From 2000 Visit To the Fleet Reserve Now On Line
After a nearly a year delay, video from Suisun Bay and USS England is available on the web site in the video room.  It is only available in RealPlayer format for both high and low bandwidth connections. The high bandwidth version also has sound! Keep in my that the camera operator and narrator were not of professional caliber and much of the time the camera was simply perched on his shoulder while maneuvering through the ship on May 25, 2000.

The Williamson Turn
y y John A. Williamson entered the Navy as a seaman and one day found himself a Lieutenant Commander on the decks of USS England DE-635 as the Executive Officer and then as her Commanding Officer. He had the con during runs on the Williamson Turnsix submarines that USS England DE-635 sunk in May of 1944. He was Commanding Officer of the ship during the Battle of Okinawa when she was hit by a kamikaze Val and taken out of the war. 

Before joining USS England as an instructor in Florida, Williamson developed a series of turns used to bring a ship back on its own wake after a man fell overboard.  Williamson recommended they teach the turn as a maneuver for man overboard recoveries during night and low visibility conditions.

 The principle behind the “Williamson Turn” is to return a ship to the exact location where a Sailor fell overboard by using the ship's wake as a reference point. This requires that a ship first turn to starboard, followed by a turn to port that is concluded when the ship crosses its own wake. The degree of each turn can be different for each ship class because their turning radius may vary. Roughly it works as follows.

  1. Rudder hard over (in an "immediate action" situation, only to the side of the casualty).
  2. After deviation from the original course by 60º, rudder hard over to the opposite side.
  3. When heading 20º short of opposite course, rudder to midship position and ship to be turned to opposite course.

In Surface Warfare Magazine (Aug 2000), Williamson said, "I've gotten letters and seen articles where people have been picked up using (the turn). I don't have a clue as to how many. I don't know whether it's ten or 5,000. I don't feel that there's any glory to me though. It's just something I came up with that turned out to be worthwhile. I don't think I'm due any glory for it, or any fame or anything like that." He continued,  "After returning to Florida to go to destroyer escort school, I was out on a destroyer escort doing drills and having instructions when the instructor said we were going to do man overboard drills using the Williamson turn. I said 'what's that?' He said, 'well you ought to know, you developed it.”

Since retiring in 1989, Williamson has devoted himself to several community organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Central Alabama and the Birmingham Area Boy Scouts, among several others. Currently Williamson lives in Birmingham, Alabama and is helping juvenile delinquents turn their lives around.  Williamson is co-founder and chairman of Impact Family Counseling Center, a Christian ministry in downtown Birmingham that offers counseling to troubled youths and their parents. The center has counseled more than 945 youths and 750 parents since it began in 1993.  Williamson is the center's chief fund-raiser. He's raised more than half of the center's $700,000 2000 budget by seeking donations from foundations and friends. 

Where Are They Now?
Another look at a shipmate and where he is today!

Raymond Pigeon
Raymond was a Lieutenant onboard USS England from 1987  to 1989, where he was A/E/R division officer and communications officer.  He resigned his commission in 1991 after a stint on the USS Fox as the Fire Control Officer. He preceded to medical school at the University of Pittsburgh and ultimately went into private practice in Internal Medicine in San Diego (Hillcrest area). He is still married to Lisa Anderson-Pigeon and now they have have 3 children ages 14 years, 3 years, and 1 1/2 years.  He is looking forward to seeing old shipmates at the reunion.