The Official Newsletter of the Association of ·  · 2017-07-16In a letter to the Editor, LT Blas “Joe” Hernandez, USN ... Storekeeper - [PDF Document] (2024)

In This Issue:

• 43rd

AOM Reunion

• Korea and the Minemen

• The “Dirty Dozen”

• Mine Warfare News

• Around the Fleet

• “Gunner” in the Spotlight

• Letters, Pictures and more

The Official Newsletter of the Association of Minemen

Notable Quotable

Issue #92 Summer Quarter 2017

The 43rd Annual AOM Reunion is coming up fast and this

issue of The Dashpot has all of the information you’ll need,

along with the registration form to sign up, hotel registration

guidance, an agenda for the three day event and contact

information, (in case you have questions). Remember to bring

your Mineman memorabilia, handicrafts and goodies for our

AOM Picnic Auction, with all proceeds going to our Scholarship

Fund. We hope you’ll join your shipmates, friends and family

in sunny San Diego, CA, October 13 through 15, 2017.

From The President MNCM Tracey Hays, USNR

“(What we’re) talking about is sort of a bigger

issue where … it’s just kind of not enough to

be an expert at your job, to be a good person,

to be a leader, and an exemplary … Sailor. …

Somehow you need to go off and get some-

thing more. You need to get a collateral duty.

… This whole idea …. that without a bunch of

collaterals, you’re just not going to be com-

petitive for advancement. What that does …

it waters down our mission focus. I want to

be the absolute most lethal Navy, the most

feared Navy on the face of the earth, and I

don’t need a lot of collaterals to do that. I

just need a lot of people who know how to do

their job, fight their team, fight their ship, and

defeat the enemy – and that should be

enough to get advanced in our Navy.

You don’t need a lot of collateral duties…”

Admiral John Richardson

Chief of Naval Operations

14 April 2017

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and

for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.

-W. C. Fields

Welcome to the newest edition of the Dashpot!

I have made my travel arrangements for the October reunion in San

Diego, which is one of my favorite cities to visit. I hope to see a lot of

“old” faces, and maybe some new faces as well.

Spring was rough for Minemen in South Carolina. After the loss of

Curtis Christian, we suffered the loss of MN2 Cole Spennati, along with

his Navy veteran wife and two toddlers, in a horrific highway crash

Mother’s Day weekend. Stationed in Charleston, he was slated for a

billet in San Diego, and was on the list for advancement to First Class

Petty Officer. My personal condolences to Cole’s families and friends.

On a happier note, an LTF (LCS Training Facility) has been making

progress in Mayport, with the installation of a computer lab and associ-

ated equipment. I haven’t seen it yet, but if it is anything like the LTF in

San Diego, I would be impressed. Some of my LCS MCM Sailors were

involved in the process, and it gives me hope that we are headed in the

right direction. Only time will tell.

I have seen some e-mails about the Mineman of the Year, and am ex-

pecting the message pretty soon. I will keep everyone posted.

I am looking forward to the selection list for FY-18, and hoping to see a

few familiar names. May the odds be ever in your favor. : )

In closing, I sent my very best to you and yours. Life is short, so cherish

those that are most important. Tracey


Dedicated to Serving the U. S. N. Mine Force

The Dashpot, published quarterly, is the newsletter of the Association of Minemen (AOM), a non-profit

organization incorporated in the State of South perpetuate a knowledge of undersea mine

warfare, necessary to America’s first line of defense



Tracey Hays (14-17) 114 Hidden Palms Blvd. Summerville, SC 29485

Ph.860-559-9724 [emailprotected]

Vice President

John Epps (14-17) 231 Silverwood Ct.

Richland, WA 99352 Ph.509-627-0671 [emailprotected]


Mike Femrite (11– ) P.O.Box 510519

Punta Gorda, FL 33951 Ph.850-207-9831


Board of Directors

Danny Epperly, (15-17) 123 Yorkshire Dr.

Yorktown, VA 23693 Ph.757-870-1376


Eddy Atkins (15-17) 117 Quart Meeting House Rd. Williamsburg, VA 23188-1851

Ph.757-565-3333 [emailprotected]

Philip DeChene (17-19) 1827 Broadway Dr. Graham, NC 27253 Ph.336-229-1951


Warren Savage (17-18) 10331 Settle Rd.

Santee, CA 92071 Ph.619-258-1478


Tom Hoffman (17-19) 2266 East Hurd Rd. Monroe, MI 48162 Ph.734-289-2279


G. Paul Santa Maria (17-18) 228 Kiwi Dr.

Barefoot Bay, FL 32976 Ph.772-584-0037


Dashpot Editor

Ron Swart (16-) 305 Fairview Dr. Canton, GA 30114

Ph.678-880-9008 [emailprotected]



A.O.M. Historian


Scholarship Chair

Ron Glasen (12-) 1114 Fran Lin Pkwy Munster, IN 46321

Ph. 219-838-6425 [emailprotected]

Membership Chair

Derick Hartshorn (08-) 1204 4th Street Dr., SE

Conover, NC 28613-1827 Ph. 8284644981


Communications Chair

Derick Hartshorn (08-) 1204 4th Street Dr., SE

Conover, NC 28613-1827 Ph. 8284644981





Warren Savage (17-18) 10331 Settle Rd.

Santee, CA 92071 Ph.619-258-1478


Reunion Committee Chair 2017

Warren Savage (17-18) 10331 Settle Rd.

Santee, CA 92071 Ph.619-258-1478


For Dashpot input, please send to:


Input for Fall 2017 Dashpot #93 is due NLT:

Oct 27, 2017

Gunner Jim Miller suggested I look

to the Mineman History book for

inspiration as I put the Summer issue

together…he was right! Thanks Jim!

With current events firmly in mind,

this issue looks back at the Korean

War and the role that we Minemen

played. Our active duty Minemen, like

those of us who served before, must

leverage a wide range of skills to get

the job done. True enough in peace-

time, but even more so during war.

Reflected against this period, present

day back-and-forth discussions on

“strait-stick” Minemen (those that

worked solely on mines) versus today’s

active duty Minemen, working both in

mine countermeasures and mines,

seem interesting but not necessarily

accurate historically, given our rate’s

service during the Korean War when

we did not use mines. Our history

during this conflict is recounted by

Minemen LCDR Harold Elston and

AOM past presidents CDR Lyal Striker

and G. Paul Santa Maria. We also

take a look at our current forces who

will respond to a Pacific theater mine

threat or be tasked to lay mines against

our enemies.

CDR Toby Horn provides a look back

at the “Dirty Dozen” inspection team

and what happens if mine maintenance

fails to meet the required standards for


In a letter to the Editor, LT Blas “Joe”

Hernandez, USN (Ret.) adds some

missing pieces to Bill Robert’s account-

ing of the DST and our Minemen

participation in the Vietnam War.

We also put a spotlight on one of

our most dedicated and influential

members: CWO4 Jack Smoot, USNR

(Ret) who has served the Mine Force

with expertise and exceptional leader-

ship. We also take a snapshot of what

is happening around the Mine Warfare

community and the Navy.

Happy 241st Birthday America!!!


Reunion Booklets

The 2015 Reno reunion and 2016

Yorktown-Williamsburg reunion

booklets are available through

Storekeeper Tracey Hays for $20

worth of reunion memories in

color laser print!

From our Secretary/Treasurer

The “Consolidated Order of Clock

co*ckers” plaque is awarded in recogni-

tion of those Sailors who have served

as a Mineman (MN Rating) from the

beginning of their Navy service, for a

minimum of 25 years Active Duty. To be

recognized for this award, the following

information must be submitted:

1. Full Name and Rank

2. Active Duty Base Date

3. Your Mailing Address, unless you

want the plaque presented to you during

the Annual AOM reunion.

Mail requests for recognition to:

R. Schommer, 827 N. Aylesbury Rd,

Goose Creek, SC 29445

email to rschommer

Please allow 30 to 45 days for the

plaque to arrive by mail.

MNCM (SW) Sam Dorbandt,

COMOMAG’s Senior Enlisted

Advisor, (a former Mineman

of the Year himself), is

honchoing the 2017 Mineman

of the Year call for nomi-

nees and will lead the

selection panel. A Naval

Message with the details

will be released from


contact information is:

MNCM(SW)Samuel B.Dorband

Senior Enlisted Advisor


Office: (619) 524-1758

Cell: (361) 229-2654


The Reunion is coming up soon. I am looking forward to San Diego and seeing everyone. It sounds like Warren Savage and Gary Cleland have been working hard to make this another great Reun-ion in San Diego. I would like to see all the reservation forms and money by Oct. 6 2017 so I can have tickets made, and have a final head count for the reunion committee.

I am sorry to say that we have lost 40 members due to unpaid dues. There is a place on your reunion registration form to pay your dues. Dues are always due in October for the following year, so please pay your dues for 2018.

Mike Femrite

It’s that time of the year again. The

new school year is coming up fast.

Trees and flowers are in full bloom and

Summer’s heat has set in. This means

that students need to get hot and apply

for scholarships. Where can they find

scholarship money for their upcoming

college necessities? It’s AOM Scholar-

ship Time!

Your scholarship committee is sharp-

ening our pencils, cleaning our bifocals

and getting ready for the applications to

start coming in. If you know of any ap-

plicants, let them know that all the rules

must be followed. If anything is left off

of the application, the application will be

considered incomplete and will not be

considered for a scholarship. The rules

can be found on the AOM web page,

All candidates must complete the ap-

plication Forms S-l and S-2 and provide

the following along with your application:

1. a transcript of credits earned from

applicable schools.

2. two letters of recommendation.

3. a study plan covering the scholarship

term which includes a synopsis of the

field of interest/study.

4. the courses he/she plans to


5. any other pertinent information the

candidate feels might enhance their

chances of receiving the award.

Applications are to be received by the

AOM Secretary by June 1, each year.

Good luck to all applicants!

Your Scholarship Committee is

waiting to start work on all the new

applications that will be coming in.

Ron Glasen,

Scholarship Committee Chairman

Editor’s Note: thanks to Toby

Horn for some interesting and

historically relevant “filler”

photographs, like the military

currency formerly used by our

servicemen on Okinawa

(below). You will see more in

upcoming issues!


Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer was select-ed to serve as the next commander of U.S. 7th Fleet in the Pacific, the Penta-gon announced. Sawyer, who has served as the deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet since September 2015, will also be promoted to the rank of vice admiral. A career submariner, Sawyer is quite familiar with the 7th Fleet area of operations. Before head-ing to Pearl Harbor to work at PACFLT, Sawyer commanded all submarines in 7th Fleet as commander of Submarine Group 7 -Task Force 74/54, and then all submarines in the Pacific as command-er of Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet. He also served as the Deputy for Navy Mine and Antisubmarine Warfare (the former NMAWC San Diego). The Phoenix native com-manded USS La Jolla (SSN-701) and Submarine Squadron (SUBRON) 15 in Guam. Sawyer graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1983 with a bachelor of science in systems engineering. He will replace Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, who has led 7th Fleet since September 2015. The Pentagon has not yet announced Aucoin’s next assignment.

PANAMA CITY, Florida - Mine Warfare Executives Dr. Peter Adair, Stephen Hunt and David Everhart are working to establish a culture of collaboration among the U.S. Navy’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation community to help the United States maintain maritime su-periority over adversaries. Adair, who was appointed as Mine Warfare Director for the Naval Sur-face Warfare Centers (NSWC) on April 16, 2017, said one of the objec-tives of his newly-appointed role is to coordinate with all Naval Warfare Centers (WCs) on Fleet engagement in the area of MIW, which includes Mine Countermeasures (MCM) and Mining. A native of Panama City Beach, Florida, Adair works at the NSWC Panama City Division (NSWC PCD). “Collaboration is key,” said Adair. “Working with the U.S. Navy’s Fleet, we will conduct mission engineering and analysis to identify MIW capabil-ity gaps against current and future threats. I will then partner with NAVSEA’s Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), Rapid Prototyping Directors and experts across the technical community to find potential solutions to these Fleet capability gaps. To achieve this, the Navy RDT&E com-munity’s culture must evolve into one that begins to work collaboratively across all domains.” Everhart, appointed as NSWC PCD’s Chief Technical Officer on Oct. 2, 2016, said his primary objective is to lead change in PCD’s culture to ena-ble more rapid identification of tech-nologies and innovative solutions to address Fleet capability gaps. “When I speak about finding poten-tial technological solutions, I’m refer-ring to emerging and mature technol-ogies, and those found outside of our Navy’s traditional Mine and Expedi-tionary Warfare sources that can be rapidly configured to address urgent needs,” said Everhart. Hunt, appointed as NSWC PCD Distinguished Engineer for MIW

Prototyping on Oct. 2, 2016, said he is responsible for collaborating with the entire Naval Research and Development Establishment (NR&DE) in search of technologies with the potential to be rap-idly prototyped as solutions for Fleet ca-pability gaps. “I believe we are ushering in a new cul-tural shift, a new approach that encour-ages the NR&DE community to collabo-rate as an enterprise,” said Hunt. “Adair, Everhart and I are responsible for estab-lishing liaisons across all Department of Defense (DoD) NR&DE domains. This includes Systems Commands like the Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) and agencies like the Naval Research Laboratories.” Hunt said technology is rapidly advanc-ing on a global scale and America’s ad-versaries are now able to obtain competi-tive technologies, which challenge the United States’ ability to maintain Maritime superiority. “This trend is shrinking the gap be-tween us and our adversaries,” said Hunt. “This is why we’re formulating a new cultural shift toward unifying our NR&DE community into a collaborative enterprise. This strategy will also help us to rapidly field more prototypes, which will further expand America’s technologi-cal advantage.” Adair, Everhart and Hunt agreed that initiating an expanded network of collabo-ration across the NR&DE community will also require creating new tools to support collaborative work at different locations. “There is new legal language being introduced into our DoD’s Acquisition processes which is empowering our com-munity, not only to develop more innova-tive solutions, but also to field these pro-totypes to the Fleet more rapidly,” said Adair. Everhart said by implementing collabo-ration at the NR&DE level, the Navy will be able to accelerate the fielding of solu-tions to keep pace with our adversaries. “The clock is ticking,” said Everhart. “Innovation doesn’t always mean in-venting new technologies. It is also about finding more ways to combine proven technologies and integrating them into creative configurations to effectively counter threats and achieve military objectives.” “If we empower NSWC PCD’s 1,400-plus employees by giving them tools to collaborate more effectively across our command, just imagine the increase in innovative solutions we’re likely to achieve,” said Hunt. “It stands to reason by doing the same for the NR&DE com-munity, we will expand the advantage over America’s adversaries on an exponential scale.”

Story by Daniel Broadstreet Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division

Active Duty MNC Quotas FY18

Eligible Quota

66 34

Reserve MNC Quotas FY18

Eligible Quota

15 3

Active U.S. Maritime Alerts:

2017-004A-Report of Waterborne Im-

provised Explosive Device-Southern

Red Sea. A maritime threat has been

reported in the Southern Red Sea, in

Yemeni territorial seas. It has not been

confirmed. On or about June 11th,

2017. the maritime threat reported was

the discovery of waterborne improvised

explosive devices (mines). Exercise

caution when transiting the area. Fur-

ther updates will be provided when

available. This alert automatically

expired on June 30, 2017. Any

questions regarding this alert should be

directed to:




By: Sam LaGrone July 6, 2017 • Updated: July 6, 2017 Congress is questioning the Navy’s deci-sion to phase out the peacoat – its best-known piece of outerwear – as part of its 2018 budget deliberations. In August, the Navy said it would make the wool double-breasted coat optional in sailors’ seabags starting in 2018 and replace the maritime wardrobe staple with a synthet-ic black cold weather parka. Sailors can still wear the peacoat after the transition but the uniform shift and its potential effect on U.S. manufacturers have raised concerns with lawmakers. To that end, the House Armed Services Committee’s proposed defense bill re-quires the Navy to justify their decision rooted in protecting the industrial base. The panel is “concerned this decision was made without considering upgrades or alternatives to the traditional pea coat or an impact to the nation’s domestic textile industrial base,” read draft lan-guage in the HASC bill. “The committee notes the importance of a stable domestic textile industrial base to produce garments such as these and encourages the Department to take into consideration, when making decisions about uniform changes, such an impact upon the domestic textile industrial base, including the small businesses that pro-vide critical contributions.” The concern is in part due to the money involved with the change. The manufacturer, Boston-based Sterlingwear, was awarded a four-year contract with options of up to $48 million to produce peacoats and over-coats for the service in 2015. “The U.S. Navy phase out of the traditional Navy peacoat will result in several hundred lost jobs, and could mark the beginning of the end for New England woolen manufacturing,” Sterlingwear VP and chief operating officer David Fredella told the East Boston Times-Free Press in March. “We believe that the U.S. Na-vy was unaware of the collateral dam-age of their decision to phase out the wool peacoat by replacing it with a 100 percent synthetic parka. It will not only result in the closing of manufacturing facilities and lost jobs, but it will also impact the ability of the woolen trade industry to satisfy other U.S. Military wool clothing requirements.” “A peacoat or pea jacket was historically the mainstay of the sailor’s cold weather gear and maintained its fashionable rep-utation for centuries, to today,” Daley

told USNI News. “The pea jackets of 1731 were required due to the expan-sion of the British Royal Navy into the northern Atlantic and other extreme regions of the world where cold weath-er gear was required.” For its part, the service said the parka was a more versatile and lower cost option for sailors moving forward. The decision, “as predicated on the desire to reduce current Navy sea bag uniform component requirements and reduce cost to the Navy’s annual uniform budget,” read a statement from the service to USNI News. “The Cold Weather Parka was deter-mined a suitable substitute because of its more modern appearance, light weight fabric and inclement weather (rain, snow and cold) protective quali-ties/characteristics. The parka was also selected for its versatility in being able to be worn with service and dress uni-forms and civilian clothing.” While the parka might make the best fiscal sense for the service, Daley told USNI News the change would be stepping away from its heritage by removing the coat from the seabag requirement. “If the U.S. Navy were to delete the sail-ors’ peacoat from its required uniform kit, then the Navy would essentially be deleting a part of history, a fashion that is strongly identifiable with sailors, an item of clothing that has been used for centuries as a recruitment tool,” “New sailor recruits always gladly antic-ipate their first peacoat. The Navy can still move forward with technology and strategy while still maintaining its strong sartorial past.”

Navy Peacoat Phase-out Planned

...around the NAVY

Navy COOL Today’s Sailors now have a great tool, a

website called Navy COOL, to help

them turn Navy experience into accredi-

tation that is recognized in the civilian

marketplace. On this site they can learn

how experience in the Navy could

speed up getting a promotion or landing

a civilian job. Ratings, designators and

collateral duties/out of rate assignments

are mapped to civilian credentials, and

Service members can learn how to ob-

tain these credentials and plot out their


July 5, 2017. The Navy’s new Littoral

Combat Ship USS Gabrielle Giffords

(LCS-10) completed its maiden voyage

and arrived in its new homeport of San

Diego. Giffords sailed from the Austal

USA shipyard in Mobile, Ala., to Galves-

ton, Texas, for a June 10 commissioning

ceremony, and then headed through the

Panama Canal to get to California. Dur-

ing that transit, the ship’s crew conduct-

ed Combat Ship Systems Qualification

Trials (CSSQT) events, crew certification

events and equipment and systems

checks, according to a Navy news re-

lease. “Our sailors are honored to

represent the ship namesake, its

homeport in San Diego and the U.S.

Navy,” Cmdr. Keith Woodley, Giffords’

commanding officer, said in the news

release. “Every sailor will continue,

through USS Gabrielle Gifford‘s service

to her nation, to fulfill the ship’s motto,

‘I Am Ready.'”

Ed. Note: LCS-10 and her sister

ships in SDGO may be tasked with

conducting MCM duties with

Minemen aboard.

SECNAV Nominee Richard V. Spencer Pledges Transparency, Acquisition Reform. Spencer, who lived in Wyoming, served as Marine aviator beginning in 1976, after gradu-ating from Rollins College. He left the service as a captain in 1981. Spencer served as the chief financial officer and vice chairman of the electronic com-modities futures exchange Interconti-nental Exchange, Inc., until 2008. He’s served on both the DoD Business Board and the Chief of Naval Opera-tions Board of Business Advisors. Spencer is the administration’s second nominee for the position. Spencer has now cleared the Senate Armed Ser-vices Committee (SASC) by voice vote, and now will have his nomination voted on by the full Senate.


A bit of Mineman History

Preface CDR Lyal Stryker, USN (Ret.) AOM Past President “The United States Navy did not uti-lize mines in the Korean ‘Police Action’, but the Minemen were there doing any-thing they were asked to do. Initially, they conducted some of the first small-boat (LCPV) moored mine sweeping as described…” As the Mine Warfare Forces became better organized, there were Minemen attached to Mine Squad-ron Three which was homeported in Sasebo, Japan. While in port, the Mine-men prepared Mk 6 training mines for the helicopters to practice locating the many Russian mored mines in and around Wonson. At sea, they per-formed various duties in support of the embarked staff, including supervision the Combat Information Center (CIC). When ANCHORED OUTSIDE Wonson harbor, they were assigned to work with the embarked Explosive Ordnance Dis-posal (EOD) Team and participated in the recovery of Russian contact mines. They also worked with EOD by main-taining the EOD boat, diver tending lines and hoses. Following the cease fire of July 17, 1953, Minemen were assigned to the LST’s that evacuated the South Korean Marines from islands above the 38th parallel on Korea’s East Coast. Minemen screened and inspected all of the ordnance the Marines brought aboard, much of which had to be “deep-sixed” because of their unsafe condition, for example: Hand grenades with safety-pins removed and their handles lightly taped down, demolition charges with fuses installed. Minemen helped set up the mine school at Chinhae, South Ko-rea and provided training to South Kore-an sailors as instructors. As Minemen have answered the call in the past to perform duties outside of the require-ments of their rate, they will continue to do so in the future. Minemen are well trained to meet all challenges because they are MINEMEN. The following are the recollections of LCDR Harold Elston, US Navy, Ret. Elston, a former Mineman, recounts his experiences as a young Sailor in Korea from 28 October to 30 November 1950 participating in clearing the port of Chin-nampo. “Imagine being a young Mine-man Seaman Apprentice aboard a De-stroyer Minesweeper (USS CARMICK [DMS 33]) in the Korean Theater of Op-erations and being asked to volunteer for a special task without knowing the task or the risk. I don't remember exact-ly how I came to volunteer, but the next thing I knew I was with eight or nine others and were loaded into a motorized whaleboat and delivered to a Japanese

LST [Landing Ship, Tank], that had just arrived in the approaches to Chinnam-po (now called Nam'po). We were led by a young Navy Reserve LTJG by the name of Privette, and once aboard the LST we were shown to the tank deck where we found two World War II 35-foot motor launches and a considerable pile of minesweeping gear which ap-peared to be miniatures of the type used aboard the YMSs [Motor Mine-sweepers] for sweeping moored mines. We were also shown a pile of portable radio gear and batteries to use for com-munications between the launches.” “Also aboard, was a USN helicopter along with its crew and maintenance personnel. They had to stay aboard the LST, but we were lucky enough to re-turn to our own ship each night. We had three or four qualified motor whaleboat coxswains in the group and two of them were to act as coxswains for each of the two boats. Since I was the only one with experience with the explosive minesweeping cutters we were provid-ed, it fell to me to train another man to install the cutters on the other boat. Since it was a job that didn't occupy much time we also became the unoffi-cial radio operators. Of course when it was time to let the gear out and rig it for sweeping, it was an all-hands evolution. The 1/4 inch wire rope used to stream the miniature minesweeping gear was difficult to handle when paying out and many times more difficult when it came time to bring it and stow it aboard the launch. We made ready everything the first day and returned to our ship that night. The next day, after checking the time of high tide, we left our ship for the Japanese LST and our first day of Small Boat Minesweeping. Little did we know that this was the first time this had ever been attempted. We proceeded to launch the gear and started our first sweep into the shallow waters in the entrance to the river leading to Chin-nampo.” “There is a 27-foot tidal range in that area and we could only sweep while the tide was at, or near, flood stage. When the tide ebbed, many of the moored mines that had been plant-ed there, often during the night, came to the surface and were easily avoided. We were able to sink them with M-1 rifle fire. Once in awhile, instead of just making a hole in the case so that it would fill with water and sink, when hit by a bullet from our M-1 the explosive charge would detonate. Mud, water and all kinds of other debris would be thrown all around us. We first decided to stay about 200 to 300 feet away so most of the heavier debris would go over our heads. That worked fine until the shrapnel started falling into the

boat. We changed our tactics and decid-ed to stay as far away as we could and still hit the mine with rifle fire.”

“We proceeded that first day to launch the gear from both boats and entered the approaches to the Chin-nampo River. In less than an hour the engine in one of the launches suddenly died. The load was just too much for it. We retrieved the gear for that boat with much difficulty, since we were unable to control the boat's heading without en-gine power. Before the end of the tidal period we lost the engine in the second boat as well. We managed to attract the attention of the helicopter crew and they sent a boat from CARMICK to tow both boats back to the LST.” “We returned to CARMICK where we awaited the arrival of replacement boats. A few days later, several US Navy ships appeared on the horizon, including a destroyer, a destroyer es-cort rigged to carry Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Underwater Demolition Team personnel, and another destroyer escort fitted with electrical generating equipment. Following them was a rela-tively large ship which we soon identi-fied as USS CATAMOUNT (LSD 17). In its well deck were a large number of World War II LCVPs [Landing Craft, Vehicle and Personnel], at least 12 to 15, as well as several larger LCSMs [Landing Craft, Mechanized]. As soon as the group arrived we were told that we were going to be put aboard CATA-MOUNT temporarily, to conduct small boat minesweeping. As soon as we were aboard we were allowed to select any two of the LCVPs to use as our minesweepers. After careful selection by LTJG Privette, we loaded and launched the boats from the well deck and returned to the Japanese LST to retrieve our minesweeping gear. Re-turning to CATAMOUNT, we prepared our gear for the next high tide. When the tide came in we launched our boats and, after streaming our minesweeping gear, commenced sweeping into the entrances to the Chinnampo River. The entrance was very wide at high tide with two islands almost side by side creating a narrow entrance.” “Once past the two islands the river widened out to a width of a mile or so (at high tide) so we had an area inside the two islands about a mile wide and about 3 miles long before it became a narrow channel leading to the pier at Chinnampo, two miles up river. We swept in and around the two islands and up the river at each high tide, dur-ing daylight, for the next 15 days. Dur-ing this time we had the helicopter from the Japanese LST firing on mines which

Wonsan Korea Mine Clearance, October-November 1950


A bit of Mineman History con’t

surfaced because the tide went out or because they were improperly laid in water too shallow for them.” “Occasionally a USN PBY would fly by and use the waist machine guns to ei-ther sink or explode mines that came to the surface. One day there was a line of eight mines floating on the surface when the PBY came by. As they fired on the mines the entire line exploded all at the same time. The plane was making a turn at that moment, crossing the line of mines. A wall of water was sent skyward as all of the mines fired simultaneously. The wall was higher than the PBY was flying and when they hit it they lost alti-tude. They were almost to the surface before they managed to get the aircraft under control. Watching from our boats, we were sure it was going to crash but somehow the pilot was able to get the plane back into the air before hitting the surface.” “On another occasion, the EOD folks gathered up a large number of the mines which had surfaced and been towed to involved, but large fish were killed in the area we were one of the islands in the entrance. Without letting us know, they suddenly detonated all of the mines at one time. We never did learn how many mines were located, almost 3 miles away. As we neared the island were the detonation took place, we noticed fish up to 24-inches in length had been killed.” “After we had streamed our gear from the LCVPs and found they would be able to carry the load, we convinced the shipfitters aboard the CATAMOUNT to assist us in designing and constructing a winch system we could use to stream and recover our minesweeping gear. They were some of the best and most willing folks we could have met. Many times they worked during the entire time we slept, in order to have the equipment ready when we needed to go about our minesweeping tasks.” “The nearest we came to being shot, was by our own YMSs, when they fired at a mortar battery set up on one of the small islands. They were on the South side of the island and we were on the North. The 40-mm shells came through the trees and almost hit us. One of the projectiles did penetrate the boat I was in but simply came in one side and went out the other, thankfully without explod-ing. We could also hear them passing overhead, but since we had no radio contact with the YMS we could not tell them of our situation. We just scooted out of there as fast as our boat would take us.” “During the time that we worked we had swept some 12 to 20 mines, we

weren't absolutely sure because often when we thought we had swept one or more, upon pulling in the gear, we found none of the cutters had fired. We had also fired on and either sunk or exploded at least another dozen or more.” “The day before Thanksgiving, we were told to report to the APD [High Speed Transport], and we were all looking forward to a nice hot Thanks-giving Dinner aboard CATAMOUNT. They lifted our boats aboard and we were assigned temporary quarters for the night. The ship got underweigh sometime in the evening and we trav-eled north all night. At first light they woke us and gave us breakfast. Then we manned our boats, and were low-ered into the water. We were provided with two escort boats with armed per-sonnel and told to sweep up a river from its mouth. We swept up the river while Korean folks on the banks waved US or South Korean flags. About noon we were signaled by radio and told to return to the ship. As we turned, a few rifle shots went over our heads and we noticed that the same peasants along the riverbanks were now waving North Korean flags and every once in awhile would direct rifle fire at us. It was difficult, but we found a way for four or five of us to get be-hind the diesel engine that was provid-ing our power. We knew the sides of the boat would not stop a rifle bullet. To make matters worse it was so cold that the salty water of the river froze on the gunwales of the LCVP. The water, which splashed into the boat, froze on everything it contacted, ex-cept the engine. We took turns, even when they were not firing at us, to hud-dle next to the diesel engine in an at-tempt to get warm. As soon as we were spotted by the APD they came alongside and picked us up and we left, heading south, as fast as we could go. We later learned that the North Koreans and Chinese had overrun the area, but we never were told for sure what river we were operating in. The only river of any size North of the Chinnampo is the Yalu. We thought that was where we were.” “During the time we swept, using the LCVPs, we fortunately lost only two engines. They were much more capa-ble of towing the sweep gear than the motor launches we first used. The diesel engines on the LCVPs provided considerably more horsepower.” “After our return to the CATA-MOUNT from the APD we were given our Thanksgiving dinner and then re-turned to CARMICK. I've often won-dered what became of the LCVPs, because CATAMOUNT did not remain with us after that day and we had no further contact with her or the LCVPs.

CARMICK proceeded to Inchon Harbor where I was transferred to the Hospital Ship USS HAVEN [AH 12] when it was suspected that I had contracted tubercu-losis. I was hoping for an appointment to the Naval Academy, but the possibility that I had TB brought that hope to an end. Later, given a clean bill of health (it was scar tissue on my lungs, not TB), I was transferred to the Navy Beach Mas-ters unit in Inchon, awaiting transporta-tion to rejoin my ship.” While there, I spent several days assist-ing refugees to board LST's at high tide so they could be taken out to the AKAs [Assault Cargo Ship] and APAs [Assault Transport] for transportation to some other area of South Korea. It was known at that time that the North Koreans were going to overrun Inchon within a matter of days. A few days after New Years Day, I was put aboard the Oil Tanker USS ASTABULA, bound for Sasebo, Japan, where I rejoined CARMICK.” “We immediately left Japan heading for the East Coast of Korea, to an area near Wonsan. For several days we would stream our minesweeping gear before daylight and sweep at a speed of 15-20 knots North towards, and perhaps past, the port of Wonsan. When it be-came dark we would recover our sweep gear and anchor for the night. The next day would be a repeat except we go south all day, spend the night, and then resume our sweep on a northerly head-ing.” “After this operation, we returned to Sasebo, Japan where I was given orders to report to the Commanding Officer, Naval Ammunition Depot, Oahu, Hawaii for further duty. The crews of the two LCVPs were awarded Bronze Star Medals with combat "V"s. CARMICK was also awarded a Navy Unit Com-mendation for the period 28 October to 25 November 1950.” LCDR Harold E. Elston, USN, (Ret.) AOM Member #299, passed away November 19th, 2008 in Guthrie, OK


A bit of Mineman History con’t

Which Mine Warfare

Forces may be called upon

should hostilities erupt in

the Western Pacific today?













G. Paul Santa Maria

AOM Past President

“When the Korean War started on June

25th, 1950, I was a Mineman Seaman

working at the Marine Armory in Yoko-

suka, Japan cleaning Navy weapons:

rifles, carbines, machine guns, etc.

Within a very short period of time, I was

assigned cleaning and mounting 20mm

anti-aircraft guns on LCTs (Landing

Craft, Tank) along with ammo and drum

magazines for that ammo.”

“Immediately upon completion of that

assignment, I was designated as

‘Ordnance Officer’ for the LCTs and

was soon on my way to Korea, via

Camp McGill, to pick up a tank and per-

sonnel of the 1stCavalry Division. We

were towed to Pohang Dong, Korea by

sea-going tugs, stopping overnight in

Sasebo, Japan.”

“Upon arriving at Pohang Dong, we

unloaded the tank and Army personnel

and were detailed to unload the supply

ships as they arrived. There were

about 35 assorted Navy personnel: a

Warrant Officer, Boatswains Mates,

Gunners Mates and myself, the only


“The North Koreans continued push-

ing South and within several weeks,

they were a few miles North of Pohang

Dong and its airfield. At this time,

several of us Sailors were dispatched to

the front lines to fight along with the 1st


“As history states, the fighting be-

came bitter and intense. Unable to

withstand the continued onslaught, we

all withdrew back into the city. As the

situation continued, we were ordered to

turn over all the LCTs to the South Ko-

reans. My job was to instruct the offic-

ers and crews on the operation and

maintenance of the 20mm anti-aircraft

guns. All U.S. Naval personnel boarded

an LST and returned to Yokosuka,


Commander, Task Force/Group


Theater Mine Warfare Commander












Tails from the Poopdeck… Minemen Sea Stories

The “Dirty Dozen” In July 1969, the Joint Chiefs and CNO had decided on the campaign for mining Haiphong Harbor and other critical waterways in

Vietnam. A special team was convened by CNO to inspect and declare the readiness of our Pacific mine facilities to support this

campaign. Captain Donald “Don” Hihn had just taken the helm as CO NWS Charleston after transferring from NAVORD (Ord-

054-Mine Warfare/EOD/UDT). He was given the task of assembling and heading the personnel for the readiness inspection

team. He contacted LCDR Earl Roberts (senior LDO mine type at the time), who was still at NAVORD and had worked for Hihn

there. Earl was told that he was to be a member and was asked him to recommend others for the team. Earl knew of my reputa-

tion via Mine Project FOUR and the Port Lyauety pullout (which resulted in the creation of Sigonella, established our mine readi-

ness system, and upgraded mines located at Malta, Souda Bay, and Andenes) so he called me at NMEF and asked me for my

recommendations. This is essentially how the Inspection Team was formed. Members decided upon a standard mine assembly

rate based on mine readiness reports submitted by each facility twice a year. The team first inspected the mine facility at

NAVMAG Yokosuka. Mine assembly there failed to meet reported rates and quality. The Ordnance Officer was relieved by Cap-

tain Hihn on the spot. We then went to NAVMAG Subic and the mine assembly there was similar. The Mines Officer there was

relieved of duty and replaced. MN1 Briggs and I were flown aboard the two Yankee Station carriers and we reported high readi-

ness for deployment there but with a high failure rate due to mines we inspected which failed to pass operational tests. The

mines aboard had come from both Yokosuka and Subic. I was temporarily ordered in-country to report to COMNAVFORV,

NARDUV and then to CTF-115 to assist and advise with ongoing DST-115 operations. When I reported back, I learned that the

CNO ordered the ‘readiness’ team to remain and conduct directional schooling at both Subic and Yokosuka.

What was supposed to be a twenty day TAD assignment for the team turned into almost four months.

Our team became known as “The Dirty Dozen” and members are shown in the attached photo. (Names are left to


Back row: MNCM Fred A. Reid, NAD Bangor; MNCM William Brooks, NAD Earle; MN1 Billy W. Luker, COMINEPAC;

MNC Frank A. Eck, COMINEPAC; CDR Arthur R. Yingling, COMINEPAC Observer; MNCS J.D. “Jimmy D” Stoker,

COMINEPAC; and LT Maurice “Toby” Horn, NMEF.

Front Row: CAPT Donald “Don” E. Hihn; “The Bull” (another long sea-story); LCDR Herbert “Ed” E. Sprecher,

COMINELANT; LCDR Earl “The Pearl” L. Roberts, NAVORD; LCDR Lyal M. Stryker, NMEF; MN1 Charles W. Briggs,

COMINEPAC; and CDR William “Bear” E. Everhard. The photo was taken 5 August 1969

By CDR Maurice “Toby” Horn, LDO/USN (Ret.)


Look out San Diego, here we come !!! The 2017 AOM reunion preparations are well in hand and the reunion registration,

agenda, hotel information along with a San Diego map have been completed and will be published on the AOM web page

( and in the July 2017 Summer Dashpot. I have it from good sources that the weather will be beautiful, the

food will be delicious, the beverages will be cold and the conversations among old friends will be lively! We'll be headquartered

and lodged at:

Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside

4875 North Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92106, Phone: 619-224-3621, Website:

A special room rate for AOM Reunion of $129 per night is available for October 12 – 17, 2017. The total amount per night

including taxes and fees is $145.24. (Includes 10.5% occupancy tax, 2% tourism marketing, district tax and .09% California

Tourism Tax). The AOM Reunion group code is AMM and the group rate is valid for bookings made through 9/22/17.

On the Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside website (above) you can click on the link Association of Minemen Room Reserva-

tions to proceed directly to your reservation desk. The link goes to the standard reservations page with the AOM group code of

AMM preloaded. Guests need to input their arrival and departure dates which need to fall within the group contract dates

(October 12 – 17, 2017) and click “Check Availability” to go to the group’s specific rate and availability page. From there select a

room type that you prefer and input your personal details to complete the reservation (please scroll down to see all available

room types). Guests may also use their IHG Rewards number with the group rate. You may also contact hotel reservations di-

rectly at Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside. Call 1(619) 224-3621, ask for reservations (Ext: 701) or call toll free (in USA only) 1

(800) 662-8899.

The hotel has waived the $14/day parking fee for our reunion group! Complimentary airport shuttle pick-up is available 24

hours a day. If you are using the shuttle, after picking up your luggage, call the hotel at 619-224-3621 to request the shuttle ser-

vice. Personnel from the Holiday Inn will give you instructions on where to meet the shuttle. Check-in time is 4:00 p.m. and

check-out time is noon. A 10% discount will be given in the Holiday Inn Bayside restaurant, the Pt. Loma Café, for everyone

who asks, and is 55 years or better. Hope to see you in October! Warm regards, Warren Savage

Reunion Committee Chairman

Friday, October 13, 2017 – Tours

9:30 a.m. - Tour of the Mine Warfare Training Center

Afternoon - 2 Tours are available: 1. USS Midway museum ship and 2. a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) (or an MCM Class Ship if

an LCS is unavailable). Sign up for one or the other.

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – BOD and General Business Meeting (Holiday Inn Pacific Room)

Banquet: (San Diegan / Presidio Room) No Host Bar: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Banquet Dinner and Program: 6:30 – 10:00 p.m.

Banquet Menu: Tossed Green Salad - Tri Tip Steak - Chicken Breast with Wild Mushroom Sherry Glaze - Fresh Seasonal

Vegetables - Rolls and Butter - Carrot Cake - Fresh Brewed Kona Coffee, Decaf and Assorted Hot Herbal Tea

Sunday, October 15, 2017 – Picnic Lunch and Auction - Noon to 4:00 p.m. (Harbor View Room)

Picnic Lunch Menu : Tossed Green Salad - Hamburgers - Hot Dogs - Potato Salad - Baked Beans Potato Chips - Iced Tea

and Fresh Brewed Kona Coffee, Decaf and Assorted Hot Herbal Tea

The Hospitality Room will be in the Holiday Inn’s Pacific Room located on the ground floor in Building A, beginning at

12 noon on Thursday, October 12, through 10 a.m. on Monday, October 16, 2017.

43rd Association of Minemen Reunion



Association of Minemen Reunion





OCTOBER 13 – 15, 2017

Please return this form to the address below to complete your registration for the reunion

events. Your tickets will be made available at the Early Bird, Business Meeting, Dinner or Picnic

as appropriate.

NAME _____________________________________ AOM MEMBER #____________

STREET ADDRESS/P.O._________________________________________________

CITY __________________________ STATE __________ ZIP CODE _____________

PHONE ( ) __________________ EMAIL_________________________________

Buffet Dinner Tickets @ $50.00 each X ____ (includes tax and gratuity) Total $______

Buffet Picnic Tickets @ $30.00 each (Adult) each X ____ Total $______

Buffet Picnic Tickets @ $15.00 each (Child - 12 & younger)

each X ____ Total $ ______

Reunion Fee (Membership Approved for Incidental Costs) Total $10.00

Annual Dues $15.00 as applicable – (Check your DASHPOT address label for dues status.

Pay ahead (5 year max). Add $5.00 for new or member reinstatement fee). Total $ ______

AOM Scholarship Donation (tax deductible) Total $______

Other Donations (indicate which one) ________________________ Total $______






Please let us know if you plan on taking the Friday, October 13, 2017 tours:

Morning Tour @ 9:30 – Mine Warfare Training Center: Qty _____

If interested, sign up for one of the following afternoon tours:

Afternoon Tour #1: USS Midway Museum Ship tour: Qty _____


Afternoon Tour #2: a Littoral Combat Ship (LCS): Qty _____

(Note: if an LCS is not available, tour #2 will be an MCM ship)



Association of Minemen Reunion


Around the Mine warfare Fleet

By MN1(SW) Jonathan Wampler

Greetings from Mobile Mine Assembly Group! From all of

us at COMOMAG, we would like to first congratulate all Sail-

ors who advanced throughout the Fleet. Here at COMO-

MAG, our very own MN1(SW) Levi Schmid was selected for

advancement to First Class Petty Officer. To the left, pic-

tured is MNCM(SW) Samuel Dorbandt “Tacking on the

crows.” Tacking on the crows is a tradition that dates back

to the early days of the British Navy; where Sailors, would

take turns sewing a stitch into a newly promoted sailors in-

signia. Often the patch was given to them from a Shipmate.

This tradition is an uplifting event; that not only immerses

Sailors into Navy tradition, but also gives sailors a sense of

belonging. It’s a great way to commemorate such an

achievement in a Sailor’s career.

Another significant achievement in a Sailor’s career is, the

day they decide to reenlist. We had the pleasure here at

COMOMAG; with the help of the MK-5 Marine Mammal

Program, to reenlist MN3 Guevara. Depicted in the pic-

ture is CWO2 Montero, administering the reenlistment

oath to MN3 Guevara; while MK-5 Sea Lion “Rex” super-

vised the ceremony in the background.

Congratulations, to MN3 Guevara, and special thanks to

the MK-5 Marine Mammal Program for allowing Rex to

participate in the ceremony.

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our newly reported Sailors; MNC(SW) Warren, MN1(SW) Cowen and IT2

(SW) Hollingworth. With new Sailors arriving, there are always those who are leaving. IT1(SW) Brown is departing CO-

MOMAG, and returning to sea duty onboard the USS RUSHMORE (LSD-47). Fair winds and Following Seas Shipmate!


Around the Mine warfare Fleet

From the Mine Warfare ‘Schoolhouse’

MNCS (SW) Ed Sandoval

As the Mine Warfare community and mission changes, we

are constantly updating our capabilities to provide mission

readiness in the form of well-educated and motivated Mine-

men. From the V4 upgrade of the SQQ-32 Mine Hunting SO-

NAR Set to the SLQ-60 SeaFox, the warfighting technologies

and efforts continue to increase. One significant development

is the procurement and employment of the Littoral Combat

Ship (LCS), but more importantly, the incorporation of female

Minemen crewmembers on these platforms. MNSN Lyons, a

recent “A” School graduate, expressed an interest in this pro-

gram while in school. She was subsequently selected for

these orders and was very excited to get to work. “I can’t wait

to learn about my rate” she said in an interview with MN1

Card. “I’ve already got my Non-Resident Training Course

books to study for my exam, but I’m excited to do my job.”

MNSN Lyons is the one of six females selected for LCS

orders in the past six months. As the influx of students contin-

ues, the possibility of more female Sailors becoming members

of the LCS community increases. This is just one of the many

ways Mine Warfare Training Center is leading the charge on

mission readiness within the fleet.

MNC (SW/EXW) Andrew Fillebrown our Mineman Detailer,

has just returned from a detailing trip to our Minemen in Bah-

rain, Sasebo and San Diego. He reports that he enjoyed

visiting the ships and Sailors in each location and expresses

his thanks to all for the excellent reception and hospitality at

each location.

Winner of the 2017 Mine Warfare Essay Contest Sponsored by the Mine Warfare Association Rethink Mine Countermeasures By Dr. Scott Savitz (printed with permission) Here is an excerpt from his article: Naval mine countermeasures (MCM) face major challenges. Traditional MCM platforms, such as the wood-and-fiberglass Avenger (MCM-1)-class ships, are in the process of being decommissioned. Their intended replacements, the littoral combat ships (LCS) and their associated mine warfare mission modules, have been delayed and face various development issues. Despite efforts to reduce the timelines, costs, and risks associat-ed with MCM operations, mines remain cost-imposing weapons that can deny access for protracted periods or inflict unacceptable losses on the U.S. Navy. Given these challenges, it makes sense to think about alterna-tive concepts of operations for conducting MCM in time-sensitive circ*mstances or contested environments. Tra-ditional approaches remain relevant in permissive envi-ronments where timelines are long. Such circ*mstances can allow for the use of minehunting systems to methodically detect, classify, and identify mines and then eliminate them. Moored minesweeping (in which tethered contact mines are torn from their moorings) and influence minesweeping (in which off-board equipment emulates the signatures of a ship to prematurely detonate influence mines) are faster, though there is

greater uncertainty about whether they have eliminated all of the mines. Moreover, all these approaches require the use of scarce, visible, slow-moving assets, which would be threatened in a hostile or contested environ-ment. Conclusion: The emergence of increasingly capable unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) may enable mine-fields to be cleared to acceptable levels of risk more quickly than traditional MCM approaches while putting fewer people and valuable assets in harm’s way. The idea is simple: develop a set of inexpensive, expenda-ble USVs that can sweep for mines while enduring high rates of attrition. These are challenging times for the United States and its allies in naval mine warfare. Nu-merous potential adversaries have mining programs that could impede naval operations while also damag-ing or sinking U.S. warships. At the same time, the U.S. Navy has a dearth of emerging and legacy MCM capa-bilities. In this context, it makes sense to develop rela-tively inexpensive, expendable minesweeping USVs to enable more rapid, cost-effective mine clearance. Lim-ited investments in such capabilities today could enable the U.S. Navy to enter hazardous waters more quickly and deter potential aggressors who might employ mines. You may read the whole essay in the July 2017 Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine - Ed.


By MN1(AW) Courtney Crank

Greetings from the Navy Munitions Command Pacific CONUS West Division Unit Seal Beach, Underwa-ter Weapons Department (UWD) in sunny California! With Summer firing up, UWD met that heat with our own. Here’s a look at what we’ve been cooking up …


Unit Seal Beach launched into this year’s Mine Readiness

Assist Visit (MRAV). With unprecedented eagerness and an

open mind, we conducted a final series of in-depth program

and building inspections to ensure we had an honest state-

ment on areas that needed improvement. Over the course of

the last 3 months, UWD fine-tuned program details and tight-

ened some our procedures. Upon COMOMAGs arrival, we

presented ourselves confidently, and were rewarded with a

positive training event from the experts. Bravo Zulu, guys!

Amidst this highly charged event, we continued on with the

missions at hand as well. Over the Quarter, UWD shipped

over 40 mine shapes and their applicable equipment in sup-

port of multiple exercises. UWD also received over 280 items

from various other commands for refurbishment needs, and

performed maintenance and refurbishment of over 200 addi-

tional mine shapes and equipment to those that were earlier



This Quarter, we took morale to new heights, proving yet again that we are family no matter what. With that spirit, let us congratulate MN3 Cruz and his wife on the birth of their son, Daniel Luis! We celebrated each other as well with the 3rd Quarter Birthday Bash and a gender reveal for MN1 Crank and MNSN Ruiz (they’re both having girls!).

MNSN Ruiz learning, for the first time, that she is having..... A DAUGHTER!


First and foremost, congratulations to our frocked Petty Officers this Quarter: YN1 Williams, MN2 Tri, MN2 Young, MN2 Rincon, MN2 Butler, MN2 McFarland, MN2 Chrisp, MN2 Copple, MN3 Blake, MN3 Chapman, MN3 Huey, and MN3 Rivas. Let us welcome aboard our newest family members to the UWD; GM1 Maltese, GM1 Sager, MN2 Tejada, MN2 Rincon, and MN2 Haskell. Unit Seal Beach would also like to wish fair winds and fol-lowing seas to our brethren; MN1 Schwartzybarra, MN1 Colla-zoluciano, MN1 Morse, MN1 Brown, MN2 Hipol, MNSN Wipf, MNSN Jackson, MNSN Mayette, MNSN Sannicolas, and MNSN Scalf. Your next command is lucky to have you!

We also had our Quarterly Departmental Picnic, where we went head to head with softball, volleyball, and kick-ball. With the intense competition, we also spent good quality time just relaxing with plates of ribs (made by MN3 Perkins), burgers, and dishes made fresh from each of our homes.

LS1 Mactal and LS2 Moreno firing up the grill.

UWD didn’t stop there, though. We also went out into the community, participating in various events such as Pageant for the Arts at McGaugh Elementary, and Armed Forces Day at Torrance Del Amo Fashion Center, where we presented the Quickstrikes, missiles, and torpedoes that we work with here at Seal Beach.

Left: MNC Sisson and MNSN Parson showcasing the MK 63 Quickstrike mine.

MN3 Honesty and MN3 Sannicolas with their newest 3rd Class, MN3 Blake.

Around the Mine warfare Fleet



This article was released by Navy

Public Affairs in February 1978 and

is reprinted with Jack’s permission.


The observation that “you can’t go

home again” certainly does not apply to

the U. S. Navy Reserve’s Chief Warrant

Officer Jack F. Smoot. “I never really

left Yorktown’s Naval Weapons Station

since I was born there…” says Smoot.

And today, his ties with the station are

even closer. Consider that his wife, the

former June Elkins, was also born and

raised on the station and that today, he

works there as a civilian during the

week and as commanding officer of a

highly-regarded Naval Reserve Unit one

weekend a month. Further, his wife is

the station Commanding Officer’s sec-

retary and, at one time or another, all

five of his brothers also worked at the


When Jack Smoot was born in 1929,

one of six boys and three girls, his fa-

ther was a civilian electrician at what

was then known as the Naval Mine De-

pot. His wife’s father was the facility’s

maintenance carpenter. When Jack

graduated from Poquoson High School

in 1946, he immediately enlisted in the

Navy and was sent to Electrician Mate’s

school at Great Lakes, IL. Following

graduation, he spent the next 18

months aboard the amphibious repair

ship USS Krishna ARL-38.

After mustering out in late 1948, he

simultaneously joined the Navy Reserve

and went to work as a civilian at the

Naval Weapons Station. His progress

in both pursuits over the years has been

remarkable. In his civilian capacity, he

has risen to head of the management

division of the station’s Quality Assur-

ance Department with a GS-13 rank. In



Dave Buswell, Navy Public Affairs Center NORVA

the Navy Reserve, he has been pro-

moted over the years from Mineman

First Class to Chief Warrant Officer with

an Underwater Ordnance Technician

specialty, one of the few, if any, in the

Navy Reserve Program. As a reservist,

Chief Warrant Officer Smoot com-

mands Mobile Mine Assembly Group

Unit 1006 with a compliment of 16 en-

listed personnel, the first of 27 units in

the U. S. Navy Reserve. “I was on

active duty at the Mine Warfare School

in Charleston, SC in 1971” recalls

Smoot, “and became aware of the need

for continued Navy Reserve readiness

in this highly-specialized and technical

field of mine warfare.” He wrote a

memorandum to the appropriate au-

thorities in Washington D.C. and out-

lined what he thought such a unit could

accomplish. “Not only did they like my

idea,” says Smoot, “but they asked me

to set one up here at the station and

ordered me to it as Commanding Of-

ficer.” Jack Smoot has been CO of NR

MOMAG Unit 1006 since 1971, except

for two years on another assignment.

“Our task as a unitis to have every man

up-to-date in every respect of the tech-

nical aspects of mines and mine war-

fare and to be ready to integrate with

the regular Navy should such a contin-

gency arise.” I can say categorically,

that we are ready.” And, that statement

is no exaggeration. In addition to two

days of drilling one weekend every

month, the men of NR MOMAG Unit

1006 go on active duty for training for

two weeks every year. Recently, they

were sent as a unit overseas to work

with their active duty counterparts at a

mine staging site in Europe. As an aux-

iliary activity, the unit also maintains a

most impressive and historic collection

of mines in a museum housed in the

drill site building at the Weapon’s Sta-

tion. With obvious pride, Smoot com-

ments that “The collection of mines we

have represents virtually every type of

mine used in the history of modern mine

warfare. Some of them date to World

War I and include enemy mines as well.

They were obtained by both reservists

and civilians over the years and serve a

training function as well.” While mines

clearly take up a great deal of Jack

Smoot’s time and attention, he also

finds time to pursue golf and fishing. He

and his wife have two married daugh-

ters, Connie Reynolds and Pamela

Worthy, both of the Yorktown area.

Whether pursuing his career or his

hobbies, there is probably no one who

knows mines any better than Jack

Smoot. The Navy is proud to have his

services both as a civilian and a Navy

Reserve Officer. Jack served as the

second President of the Association

of Minemen after our inaugural

President “Foxy” Fischer, (Ed.)

“Mr. Mineman”

The Naval Mine Engineering

Facility referred to CWO4 Jack

Smoot by this name as a result of

all the RUDMINE reports he




Guy Henry Hall, age 95, of Lenoir, NC passed away Wednesday, April 12, 2017. He was born July 27, 1921 in Orangeburg County, South Carolina to the late Bob and Jessie Suddreth Hall. He had served 20 plus years in the U. S. Military and was the last Pearl Harbor survivor in Caldwell County. MNC Guy Hall, one of the last remaining of those Sailors selected for the Mineman rate after it was first cre-ated (from Gunners Mate (Mines). Very few Sailors who would later be-come designated as a Mineman had enlisted before Pearl Harbor and Guy was one of the very few to attain the Mineman designation. He not only enlisted before World War II but was at Pearl Harbor during the Japanese attack. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by two brothers, Earl Hall and Hal Hall; and one sister, Joyce Profitt. Mr. Hall was a wonder-ful husband and Christian man. He had served 20 plus years in the U. S. Military and was the last Pearl Harbor survivor in Caldwell County. He was a member of Fairview Presbyterian Church. Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Kathy Hamby Hall of the home; one daughter, Peggy Hall Walsh and husband Benny of Lenoir; and one grandson, Chuck Pearson. Funeral services were held April 17, 2017 at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home Chapel. Interment followed at Blue Ridge Memorial Park with full military honors provided by Caldwell County Honor Guard. Thank you for your service and may you rest in peace Chief Hall. His hometown newspaper, the Lenoir (NC) News-Topic published an account of his life, as follows:

MNC Guy Henry Hall, USN, (Ret)

"Guy Hall survived the worst military attack on U.S. territory in 1941, when he literally saw death all around him, but it was after the war back in Lenoir that he came to something hard to face: asking a pretty woman out on a date. Her name was Kathy Hamby. She was a waitress at a restaurant in Whitnel and after his death, she shared memo-ries of their lives together. "He was kin-da shy. So he left the restaurant and called back the restaurant and asked to speak to me because he was too shy to ask me in person, she said. He had naturally curly hair. He had a lot of hair. And he had like these steel-blue eyes, real pretty blue eyes." They went to a fair in Shelby on their first date. You want to know the truth? I went to sleep (in the car) and slept all the way home, she said with a laugh. He was a very nice gentleman. And he was always thoughtful. He's really took care of me all these years as long as he was able. Guy and Kathy Hall celebrated their 51st wedding anniversary on April 10, and two days later he passed away. He was 95. He was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina, but grew up in Lenoir after his parents moved. As soon as he graduat-ed from high school, he enlisted in the Navy in 1939, fulfilling a childhood desire, Kathy Hall said. He said since he was a little boy, (when) he saw this sailor in a ... I guess in a magazine or something, and he said, I always want-ed to join the Navy. That's what he told his mother, I'm going to join the Navy, when he got old enough, she said. Kathy said he didn't talk about his service often but was always open to a conversation if someone asked him. For 20 years, Guy served his country in the Navy, including at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, when the Japanese staged a sneak attack on the American fleet there. Hall had been at Pearl Harbor for at least two years. His job was to plant mines in the wa-ter. Shortly before Dec. 7, though, he was transferred. He said one of the chiefs came down and they were lined up or something. And (the Chief) said, You, you, and you, and you, come with me. And that saved his life," Kathy said. Those men went to the USS Phoenix (CL-46), a light cruiser that survived the attack without severe damage or casu-alties. Because had he been on the boat that he was on before the Phoenix, -- all of them got killed. So it wasn't his time to go, Kathy said. Though the Phoenix survived the attack, those aboard saw its effects. He said as they were trying to get out of the harbor, there was a lot

Past-President Gary Cleland recently

underwent a successful spine surgery

and reports he’s a new man and now

able to walk around without serious

pain. We are all very happy for you

and wish you a speedy and full

recovery Shipmate!

The Binnacle List

of dead bodies on top of the water, she said. Guy later was stationed Charleston, South Carolina, in charge of the military police at an Army depot. After a few years, he moved back to Lenoir. That's when he met Kathy…Throughout his life, Guy remained a member of Fairview Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, and his faith continued to grow through the years, Kathy said. He was a good Christian man. That's the most im-portant to me, she said. He was a good Christian and a loving husband."

Honoring those we have

lost… Praying for those

who are suffering



On Tuesday, May 16, 2017, near Lum-berton, North Carolina, Cole Allen Spen-nati. his wife, Elise Ann Larson Spennati, and their daughters, 4-year old Aila Elise and18-month old Gianna Rose Spennati, tragically died in a motor vehicle acci-dent. First Class (Sel.) Cole A. Spen-nati, 25, was born in Lewistown, PA. Cole was a graduate of Mount Union Area High School in Mount Union. He was a multi-sport athlete participating in track, basketball and cross country. He was a loving son, brother and father who loved being outdoors, especially fishing or pitching horseshoes. Upon gradua-tion, he enlisted in the United States Navy in 2011 and was serving as a Mineman, stationed in Goose Creek, South Carolina. He was the son of Louis Spennati Sr. and Jenifer Worthy Spen-nati of Mount Union. In addition to his parents, Cole is survived by three broth-ers, Louis Spennati Jr., Gene and Blake Spennati, all of Mount Union. Elise Ann Larson Spennati, 31, was born in Keflavik, , Iceland. Elise was a 2004 graduate of Cary High School and enlisted in the United States Navy in 2011, serving almost four years. At the time of her discharge, she was stationed on the USS Stout and was Sonar Tech-nician 2nd Class. She was the daughter of United States Navy military parents, Gregory Robert and Marla Elise Wike Larson of Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Cole and Elise met and married while serving in the United States Navy. They were patriots who loved each other and served their country with extreme pride. In their married life together, they were blessed to be the parents of two daugh-ters, Aila Elise and Gianna Rose Spen-nati. These “angels" were loving, joyful young ladies and will always be in the hearts of their families. As a family, they enjoyed the mountains, camping, fishing and fitness training. It is with heavy hearts that we return Cole, Elise, Aila and Gianna to our Lord, but we know they are among our family and friends who have preceded them to heaven. They were loved by all who met them, and there exists a resolute peace and certainty that they are present and safe

MN1 (SW) (Select) Cole Spennati,

Wife Else Ann and Children Aila

Elise (4) & Gianna Rose (18 mo.)

in their eternal home with God and their savior, Jesus Christ. A memorial service was held Saturday, July 1, at Robert D. Heath Funeral Home, Mount Union,PA. Final inter-ment of the family will be scheduled at a later date in Arlington National Cem-etery in Washington, D.C. Memorial contributions in memory of the family may be made to Shelter to Soldier, 2665 Fourth Ave, San Diego, CA 92103. Ed. Note: Cole Spennati’s uncle is MNCS David Fazenbaker, USN (Ret.) who kindly provided this obituary for the Dashpot with permission from the families. Thanks Dave!

We mourn the recent and untimely

passing of MNC (SW) Patrick ‘Pat’

Brady who passed 7-7-17 at his home

in Fredricksburg, VA. He leaves

behind his family: sister Stacy Brady,

mother Francine Brady, niece Shannon

Connolly, and his sons Joseph Dominic

Brady and Patrick Anthony Brady,

who miss him dearly.

Funeral services will be conducted as

follows: the viewing on Sunday, July

16 from 1400-1700 and 1900-2130 at

Scarpaci Funeral Home.

On Monday, July 17th, The mass

service will be at 1030 at the Roman

Catholic Church of St. Patrick, followed

by the ceremony at Greenwood

cemetery, Brooklyn, NY.

The unexpected loss of Chief Brady

has shocked and saddened the entire

Minemen CPO community and all of his

shipmates who worked for and with

him. We pray for healing and comfort

for his family, friends and shipmates.

Rest in peace Shipmate.

We have the watch.

MNC (SW) Patrick Brady


Dear DASHPOT Editor

“Ditto on the New Dashpot… Great Job”

“CDR Roberts did a very thorough job

on the Destructors, but he didn’t men-

tion the origin of the idea when LCDR

Ben Randle of COMSERVPAC learned

what had happened to some Mk 50

mines. He had MOMAT 0302 set up

some magnetic induction mechs and

test sets at Westlock. His idea to con-

vert bombs to mines was confirmed and

you know the rest of the story.” Joe

also added some more names to the

MN deployer’s list , as follows:

USS Midway (CVA-41)

Re-seeded the minefield at Haiphong

Harbor on 18 Dec 72. The final prep

was performed by MOMAT 0304:

MN1 Charlie Dunn

MN2 Michael Milen,

MN3 Jim Anderson

MNSN Don Healer

Minemen from MOMAG Charleston

USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63):

MN1 Yancy

MN3 Delozier


MNSN Kennedy

USS Constellation (CVA-64)

MN2 Allen

MN3 Dufrain

MNSN Dubois

MNSN Hinton

USS Coral Sea (CVA-43)

MN3 Gill

MN3 Pusher

MN3 Buris

MN3 Murcier

“ All received Navy Commendation

Medals for performing final prepping 36

Mk 52 Mines for Haiphong.”

Signed, Joe Hernandez LT Blas Palma Hernandez, USN (Ret.)

Has anyone heard from Fred???

MN1 Kenneth D. Willingham (US Navy, Ret.) is looking for a former shipmate.

Anyone knowing the current location or knowledge of MN1 Fred Reed (Ret.) is

urged to contact Ken at kennethd53 Ken says that Fred is African-

American and served at MOMAG Unit 5, Sigonella in 1983.

Editor’s Note: The Dashpot used to

have a column year’s ago entitled:

“Where’s Charlie” with the objective

of finding old shipmates with whom

we had lost touch. Ken’s inquiry

above reminded me of that effort

and I’d welcome input, inquires and

feedback on adding such a feature

to future issues. I know there are

quite a few Minemen I have served

with, who for one reason or another,

have ‘disappeared’ from view. (like

this guy to the Left…) Let me know

what you think.

All the best, Ron Swart

Who are these Minemen? What Unit is this?


Association of Minemen

P.O. Box 510519

Punta Gorda, FL 33951

Non-Profit Organization

U. S. Postage


Punta Gorda, FL

NO. 270


1974 - 2017


NAME______________________________ RANK/RATE/TITLE__________



DATE________________________ EMAIL___________________________

TEL_________________________ SIGNATURE______________________

ELEGIBILITY ________________ APPROVED_______________________

Application Fee: $5.00 - Annual Dues: $15.00 - NOTICE: To maintain membership, dues must be paid

annually by the month of October. The dues expiration date is printed on the mailing label above your name.

Mail checks to the Association of Minemen, P.O. Box 510519, Punta Gorda, FL 33951

The Official Newsletter of the Association of ·  · 2017-07-16In a letter to the Editor, LT Blas “Joe” Hernandez, USN ... Storekeeper - [PDF Document] (2024)
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