England DE-625 Reunion Report
San Francisco from September 25 to 26, 2002 the officers and crew of USS
England DE-635 gathered for their reunion.
We were able to attend part of the reunion and were honored to be a
part of the event. The group met each day in the Hospitality Room for great
discussion. My wife and I were welcomed, as was Dennis Vied, from DLG-22,
and his wife who attended the banquet.
Francisco is a great town! There are plenty of excellent restaurants,
beautiful hotels and historic places to tour. It was also were USS England
DE-635 was built at Bethlehem Steel at 20th and Illinois Street.
After launching she also spent time at Mare Island were some of the crew met
her for sea trials in 1943. That this was the ship’s birthplace made San
Francisco an excellent location for the reunion!
DeHaven organized this event and I must say it was flawless! Robert McCleary
writes the DE-635 newsletter and has been wonderfully helpful keeping me in
the loop for their events. Thank you to them both and to all the attendees
who made us feel completely at home!
of the most interesting information came directly from Captain Williamson,
who attended. Among the many topics he discussed were the submarine runs
that resulted in the six enemy submarines sunk and the kamikaze attack
during the Okinawa campaign. He indicated he is in the process of writing a
book! He gave an eloquent speech at the banquet about the importance of
teamwork. He said that the success of USS England was because of the
excellent teamwork and knowledge that was beyond what the other ships had. He also presented the importance of history to our country’s
future. He explained that what is often taught in schools today is not “history
as we know it.” We must make an effort to preserve the truth and teach
that to subsequent generations so they understand our country’s
contribution to freedom and liberty around the world.
my opinion part of this responsibly falls upon us. We are responsible to
carry forward the thread of history that connects John Charles England, USS
England DE-635 and USS England DLG/CG-22 as well as all that surrounds them.
This means ensuring we have a new ship carry the England name to sea for our
country and ensuring its crew and officers are completely versed in our
history. It also means ensuring our children and grandchildren learn the
true history of our nation and the sacrifices that have brought to them the
great gift of freedom. We can do this by encouraging them to read history,
by taking them to historic places and to events where history can be passed
directly by the participants. The later would include our own reunions!
concept of teamwork it something we all know well from our time on USS
England DLG/CG-22. The example of DE-635, their wartime success, in carrying
on, promoting their history and bonding their group is one from which we can
to say the USS England DE-635 was an inspirational event. These men and
their families are a part of our collective England family. I have formally
invited them to attend our reunion in 2003 and all of those in the future.
Our events would be greatly enhanced with them there and I hope we see them
in San Diego, June 12-15, 2002!
The USS England
few have written about their interest in saving the USS England CG-22 as a
museum. This has been brought
up and investigated to some extent in the past. Currently USS England is in
the reserve fleet, MARAD, Suisun Bay. This is near Benicia, California. She
is scheduled for scrapping, though she might be used as a target. Scrapping
ships is not as profitable as it once was and the government is having a
hard time finding companies that can complete the task, even when paying
them to do so. From what I have heard 2005 will be USS England’s end.
you know there are many efforts to save ships and some successful museums.
On the west coast USS Hornet is berthed at the former NAS Alameda. USS
Midway will soon be on display in San Diego and there are efforts to make
USS Sterett a museum in Eureka, California. USS England was in excellent
condition when I boarded her in 2000. She was in better shape than the other
CGs and was the ship the Navy initially recommended to the Eureka group
because of her condition. The Eureka group selected Sterett partially
because of her aft gun mount being interesting to potential visitors.
is very open to the concept of museums of this type. They will essentially
give the ship away provided there is a location for her, a plan to maintain
her and funds to accomplish the effort. The two major stumbling blocks are
finding a location and funds, which can be as high as 4 million dollars just
to move and place the ship in a museum location.
acquire the ship and to maintain her we’d need a tremendous team effort.
We need to form a group to handle the project from beginning to end. That
group would need to act very quickly to find a location willing to assist
and establish the museum. They’d also need to secure funding and complete
the necessary processes with the Navy to place the ship on donation hold and
then to have her transferred.
it possible to acquire the ship? I’d say it is a long shot at best.
However, Disney had looked at adding a Naval vessel to the Queen Mary
location. Perhaps there would be some similar possibility for USS England.
A group of very dedicated individuals would be necessary. If you are
interested, please let me know and I’ll put the group in touch with each
other. This is likely our last chance to consider this.
In Your Backyard
in Northern California we also took a trip over to the former NAS Alameda
and the USS Hornet Museum.
the afternoon of October 27, 1942 off Santa Cruz Island near Guadalcanal,
the aircraft carrier USS Hornet CV-8 was sunk by Japanese forces. At that
time on Slipway Number 8 at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company,
the same slipway that USS Hornet, CV-8 had been built less than two years
before and from which USS Essex, CV-9 had just been launched, the keel and
frame of hull number 395, USS Kearsarge, was quickly being constructed. On
January 21, 1943 Hull Number 395 was renamed USS Hornet, CV-12. USS Hornet
would participate in every major action in the Pacific for the remainder of
the war and do so without ever being hit. She spent 16 continuous months in
action. She participated in the sinking of the battleship Yamato on April 7,
1945. According to her cruise book, She fired 534,549 rounds of ammunition
from her decks, her aircraft fired 4,878,793 more along with 18,034 bombs,
132 torpedoes and 5,790 rockets. She sunk 73 ships with 37 probable sinkings
and damaged 413 others. She destroyed 1,411 aircraft both in the air and on
land. She went on to serve in Vietnam and the Cold War. She was placed in
mothballs in 1970 and stricken in 1989.
she is a museum and you can visit her, climb through her various spaces and
out on the flight deck. What a great way to learn about carrier operations
and World War II!
was also a great way to relive a little Navy life with that oil-metal smell
that only a sailor can love, hatches, scuttles and ladders . . . it is a lot
has been repeated here often, our reunion is June 12-15, 2003 in wonderful
San Diego, California. It will be at the Handlery Hotel and Resort. Pricing
will be in the ballpark of the previous reunion, maybe slightly higher and
you’ll need to make you own flight arrangements. There will be plenty of
events and things to do along with a great banquet the final evening. A few
have written about the desire to get in some golf. If you’d be interested
in this, please let me know. If you’ve not done so already, please fill
out and mail your reunion survey.
also be having a meeting again this year to make plans for our future. This
includes future reunion times and locations. As for locations I have a few
in mind for which I’ll gather information. To be involved in the process
of selecting the location, you must attend the reunion. If you have ideas
for locations, dates and activities, please send them to me. I’d like to
keep a Navy theme to the reunions, keeping them in locations with Naval
history nearby. You may have different ideas and an open discussion is
encouraged. Consider using the USS England On Line Forum for this.
|The USS England Forum was
retired on 02/03/07.
next newsletter will be near the end of October, spooky huh? I’ll try to
keep the “History In Your Backyard” going in each newsletter with either
a look at a place’s history or its current status. Does it matter if it is
you have stories to contribute, please send them ASAP. These would be very