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November 2002

November brings Thanksgiving with its football and feasts! It is the start of the holiday season! It is when we consider all that is good in our lives for which we are thankful while also being charitable to those less fortunate. Hopefully this Thanksgiving finds you and your loved ones doing well with a wonderful holiday season to come.

It is also a good time to think of your shipmates and your friends from long ago. Keep in touch with them. If they've not been to the USS England web site, send them there or get their contact information submitted so we can get them to our reunion! More importantly, make sure they are doing well, as we are still the officers and crew of the USS England and therefore, responsible for and to each other.

Please have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Eat well and enjoy the day!

"Sighted Subs, Sank Six! Never repeated combat record of USS England and the destruction of six subs in just eleven days." January 2003

USS England DLG-22 on the cover in July 1971. Inside is DE-635's story.

USS England In Sea Classics
This month's issue of Sea Classics magazine features an article on DE-635 with mention on the cover! Sea Classics had published this story back in July of 1971 and even had CLG/CG-22 on the cover! This is an interesting magazine and they have obviously stepped forward to ensure the thread of England history is presented and preserved. Please write them and thank them for keeping England history alive!

Challenge Publications, Inc.
Editor - Sea Classics
8381 Canoga Ave.
Canoga Park, CA. 91304

Or e-mail them a thank you at office@challengeweb.com. Be sure to mention USS England and Sea Classics in your message.

We are also advertising in Sea Classics Internet section with the URL to our web site. Get a copy and check it out! Sea Classics target audience is obviously people who enjoy Navy and ship history so this will bring interested parties to our web site where they'll learn about England history. Since many of these people are also former sailors, we can hope that this will bring former shipmate to us!


How To Add Your Items To The Web Site
If you have items for the web site they can be easily added. This will make the web site grow and be more interesting and educational for those who come to visit.

 If you can send flat items or pictures, do so at 75 DPI, RGB Color and save them in TIFF format. Go to http://www.winzip.com and download their software that will allow you to compress you file(s) into one small archive file. E-Mail this file to dennis@obriens.net. Please provide a text file that gives the file name and caption for each file.

Supporting Vets
A Veterans Day has come and gone so you might be considering your fellow brothers in arms. Those who are eligible for membership, please join a veterans group and help out. I provide the website for the local American Legion Post 277 (www.obriens.net/post277). You can also help and meet new friends in your community. Check these out:


Status and Current Operations
This is usually a slow time of year for the USS England and 2002 is no different. Around the holidays most of us are very busy with family, as it should be. So this is a good time to let you know where we are as a group.

The mildly bad news! Some start and stop efforts for mini-reunions have ultimately resulted in no events but we'll move to correct this in early 2003. If you'd like to volunteer to arrange a mini-reunion, please e-mail dennis@obriens.net ASAP. It really just means selecting a location and letting folks know you'll be there! Interested San Diego and Los Angeles shipmates contact me so we can do something in February!

There was some very limited interest in saving our ship but not enough to form a committee to work a plan and manage the effort. There is very little time as the old CGs are being used one by one in SINKEX exercises. The effort is flagged dead. Unless some folks step up it will remain so and our mighty ship will be lost to the torch or a missile at sea.

And the last item on the negative side of things is this newsletter. Obviously we missed the October newsletter. Sometimes I run out of things to say, something my wife and friends will find so unlike me! We very much need you, the officers and crew of the USS England, to step up and write articles for this newsletter. These can be about your experience on board, naval history, autobiographies, and other items of interest to your shipmates.

Enough bad news, though as far as bad news goes that was pretty painless! On the bright side there is considerably more good news than bad news!

We have steadily been finding more and more shipmates. Many shipmates whose contact information was incorrect have updated it! This is important for us to have a successful reunion. Reunion plans are also right on schedule and there is a large amount of interest in 2003's event. Please, find your shipmates and get them here!

Operation King is still on going. We've an up hill battle here but they are very much aware of our efforts. We must ensure that the "England" file is full, even bulging and overflowing! Write letters! Get your family to write letters (you'll see many of them this holiday) http://www.ussengland.net/cg22/operation_king.htm.

Next month a new "operation" will be announced here in which you can all participate and test your memory of you duties on board our ship. Dust off your manuals and pictures!

If we are to grow in 2003 we'll need to find more ways to reach out to shipmates. We need to find places we can advertise or get mentioned so as to be noticed by those who served with us. We also need to look at strengthening relationships with the DE635 group and institutions of historical

The USS England Forum was retired on 02/03/07.

significance to our thread of history such as Pasadena City College and Alhambra High School. Perhaps some members of our group will volunteer in both discussion and action on these and future endeavors. If you have any ideas or input, please write to me at dennis@obriens.net or start a conversation in the forum.

We are in great shape as a group. Many folks have provided pictures and more. It seems as the spirit that made our ship so great continues in our group! Thank you. We are a large group, very much so compared to other Guided Missile Cruiser groups and our future looks great. We'll start gearing up more next year as we get ready for the reunion in June. Some of you will be called upon to assist and all are encouraged to attend, so budget and plan for it now. In June 2003 we will get together again and have a lot of fun!

Do you have any ideas? Speak up!


History In Your Backyard: Mare Island Naval Station and Shipyard
Though some may not know about it, USS England had a link to Mare Island in Vallejo, California in that all of the Data Systems Technicians, those that maintained and repaired The Naval Tactical Data System (NTDS) in CIC, were trained there. The area has a very rich history and more than one connection to USS England.

Prior to contact the area was home to the Suisun Indians of the Patwin Indian tribelet and Karkin Indians of the Ohlone tribe. Those that survived initial Spanish contact were scattered and eventually brought into the mission system at Mission San Francisco Solano (Sonoma), Mission San Rafael Arcangel, and Mission San Francisco de Asis (Mission Dolores).

Vallejo's namesake is General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo whose father arrived in Alta California as a soldier with the Father Junipero Serra and Captain Gaspar de Portola when the Spanish Mission System made its way north under Franciscan direction. Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo was born in Monterey, California on July 4, 1807 where he was raised and educated at the Presidio of Monterey (later to become Fort Ord). He was 17 when Mexico gained its independence. He spent much of his military time in Indian Wars in Northern California and a large area that included the land around the Carquinez Straits was deeded to General Vallejo in reward for his service. General Vallejo created a large ranching empire on his lands. In 1835, General Vallejo's horse had fallen from a ferry and averted drowning in the Carquinez Straits by swimming to an island that Vallejo then named, "Isla de la Yegua" or Mare Island.

In the American era and statehood for California, General Vallejo was one of the framers of the California Constitution and then worked very hard to create a city and state capitol in the area of his rancho from 1851 to 1853. He donated land and money to this cause and for two years the new city of Vallejo served as the capitol of the new state of California before moving to Benicia. Benicia, California is named for General Vallejo's wife, Dona Francisca Maria Felipa Benicia Carillo de Vallejo.

Today, USS England is in MARAD, in Suisun Bay near Benicia. There is more of a connection to USS England than the reader may have thought. There is more!

During the early 1850s the United States Government was looking for potential locations for military bases to protect the new state. In July of 1852, the U.S. Congress purchased Mare Island from General Vallejo for $83,410. It was only 950 acres then but grew in size with continual dredging. On September 16, 1854, Naval Magazine, Mare Island became the first permanent U.S. Naval installation on the West Coast. In 1854 Commodore David G. Farragut was sent to California to establish and to take charge as first commandant of Mare Island.

Naval Magazine, Mare Island in 1911.

Eventually the facility covered 4,351 acres including the ship yard, support facilities, training facilities, a hospital, barracks and housing. There were 996 buildings with 10.5 million square feet of space, 4 dry docks, 20 ship berths, 2 shipbuilding ways, 3 finger piers, 21 large industrial sites, a school, 2 day care centers, medical clinic, 3 fire stations, a golf course, 2 athletic fields, 3 swimming pools, 9 tennis courts, riding stables, and 416 housing units. Mare Island Naval Shipyard built 512 ships during its tenure as a Naval base. It also repaired and overhauled thousands more.

Arial view of Mare Island the the 1990s.

In 1859, the first ship built at Mare Island was completed. This was a wooden sidewheel steamer, 150 feet long, named USS Saginaw. During World War I, employment figures reached 10,000. In World War II 46,000 people were employed at the base who quickly set a record that was never broken, building the destroyer USS Ward, in 17 1/2 days. In addition to the Ward, Mare Island built 17 submarines, 4 subtenders, 31 destroyer escorts, 33 small craft, and more than 300 landing craft for World War II. USS England DE635 spent time at Mare Island while fitting out and some of her crew arrived on board via the gates at Mare Island.

In the 1960's the decision was made to build nuclear submarines at Mare Island. The USS Sargo was the first, with 16 more following, ending with the launch of the USS Drum in 1970. Activities supporting nuclear power propulsion systems were performed in accordance with the requirements and authority of the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program, a joint DOE and U.S. Department of Navy program responsible for all activities relating to naval nuclear propulsion.

Mare Island in the 1970s.

During the time of military downsizing that brought USS England to the reserve fleet, in 1993, the Department of Defense recommended the closure of Mare Island and the operational closure of Mare Island was completed in April 1996. The City of Vallejo is now redeveloping the property and the golf course is open!  The California Conservation Corps, Touro University, and numerous commercial and industrial businesses are currently leasing property aboard the former naval shipyard. In May 2000, the Navy completed the transfer of a former housing area called Roosevelt Terrace using an economic development conveyance. An economic development conveyance is a method to accelerate the transfer of BRAC facilities back to civilian communities for their economic benefit. The Navy is also transferring property at the shipyard to other government agencies such as U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service refuge, a U. S. Forest Service office building, an Army Reserve Center, a Coast Guard communications facility, and a Department of Education school.