The Mike Blackwell's Story

Mike Blackwell SN and Postal Clerk Writes:

It has been years since I thought about the York County. But out of the blue Ron contacted me last week. I've read all of the material here, and read all of the crew names. The best way for me to write down anything is just to go through all of the names of those that I can remember and say something about them.

I came aboard the York County the same day it returned from its Med Cruise, 19th Oct. 62, and departed 17th Sept. 65 as the ship left for Adak Alaska.

I came aboard the York County after a year at the NAS at Memphis, TN. We just got aboard ship and a BM herded us down right away to our compartment to change into our dungarees to sweep the deck. No time to put anything away or even to get anything to eat. He said the cook would save us some food. He didn't. We got crumbs. What a way to start off.

It was Saturday evening when most of us returned from liberty in town, when we saw several big trucks being unloaded. That was our first taste of a working party, not knowing until days later at sea what it was all about. (Cuba). We loaded all night and left the next day. No sleep.

What was supposed to happen when the Ship returned from the Med Cruise, was to come into Little Creek first, then later sail on down to Moorehead City to drop off the Marines and their gear. It didn't happen. Surprise. We came back in December. Most of you know all of the other places the York County has been, so Iíll pass here.

I only knew most of the Crew by their last names or a nick name. So I had a real hard time reading this list to find a name of someone I knew. There is many I wished I remembered so if I missed any during the years I was with the York County, I apologize. (Maybe someone reading this e-mail can help. My email is printed below...)

I was assigned to the Deck Group (After Deck) as an SN. Until I was the PC, Iím not sure of the date, probably 1964.

Amigh SN Deck Aft. Interesting person

Atwater, SN. Aft Gunnery I believe

Averill, Signal Bridge, from Forward Deck

Bacon, SN Deck Aft. Interesting person

Barbee, CS2 One of the 2 Cooks that I messed cooked under.

Berry, Henry (Hank-Hammer Hank) CO. The Crew put the fear of God in me, so I stayed clear of him. He left when LCDR. Pray came aboard in Moorehead City, NC. Their was no Transfer Ceremony because of a storm coming.

Betts, PCSN. The Mailman. I got his job when he left.

Boehm, SA Deck Aft. Interested person

Bush, BM2 Deck Aft, a very interesting person. Good BM though.

Caravita, (Frank-Jaw), LTJG, 1st LT. Interesting person. I had no problems with him, but some folks did.

Chaunt, YN3, We worked together a lot with The Hot Mail

Childers, BM3, Deck Forward. a very interesting person.

Davis, BM2, Deck Forward, I cannot remember his first name, he got injured pretty bad on the Bow Area. Came back later on. He had a Brother on board, Davis SA, in Aft Deck. This is when the Service was letting Brothers serve together.

Ellis, LTJG. 1st LT. Deck Officer. We didn't do well together, to say it mildly.

Frankel, LTJG. Ops Officer. Interesting Officer. Not too much contact with him.

Gilbert, BM2, Deck Aft. Very interesting person, He was brought aboard to straighten up the Deck Crew. He had a lot of deals going himself, and left shortly after I got transferred to the Radar Crew.

Goodreau, CSC, became Chief shortly after I arrived on board. A great guy, he will fight for you, and he did.

Green, there were LTJG's with the last name of Green. And I cannot remember which is which. I had great experiences with both. One was the Ops Officer, my boss, and the other was the Supply Officer, which in a way he was my boss also, because of the Postal Work.

Hendricks, SN, Deck Forward, a great BM, he was the BM for the watch at sea. He sure knew how to blow the Boatsman Pipe.

Hines, LT. XO. A good Officer. Worked with him a lot.

Johnson, GM1, Gunnery, great man

Kaplan, YN3

Kirk, LTJG. After Deck Officer under Ellis. Become a very good friend later on.

Lamoureaux, SN, Deck Forward, A good Sailor.

Lenahan, LCDR, CO After CDMR. Pray left. Became a great friend. He helped me a lot. Some of his efforts helped me later on in my Navy Career. A Great Officer.

Marsh, BM3, Deck Aft. When BM2 Gilbert came aboard, he needed to shake up the group, so we drew lots, and I went forward until my transfer to Operations. He sent Marsh forward with no chance to draw. I guess he thought Marsh was a problem.

Maxwell, BM1, Deck Forward, A great BM. The service needs more like him.

Mclaughlin, RM1, Communications. I'll tell an interesting story here, where he was involved, but not involved. (While I was still in the Deck Force.) We had the Marines aboard a lot. Lots and lots of them. And their was not too much love for them. They just lounged around the decks all day long, doing nothing. Always in the way in sweeping and swabbing down the decks. We had these big air vents on both sides of the ship, with a small area between them and the walls. So someone could squeeze in where its cool and lay down. Get the picture. Several times I noticed while on watch far above, I would see someone crawl in. I mentioned this to someone a couple of times with this great idea. So one day I took action. With a bucket of dirty swab water, I went up a few decks, one above where RM1 McLaughlin was relaxing outside the Comm Area, and dumped the whole thing over the side on the Marine, who was sleeping below. Imagine a couple of gallons of water coming down on you from two decks above while you are sound asleep. I disappeared immediately, because that marine came out of his slumber in a flash. The first person he met, guess who, RM1 Mclaughlin, who did not see me dump the water, and te Marine jumped all over him and on to the bridge to cuss out everyone else too. (I never heard anything more about that incident to this day.) I tell the story to my family and a couple of people, and they just roll on the floor with laughter. I do not know whatever happened to that poor Marine, but if he reads this e-mail, I apologize to him. It was a stupid thing to do. By the way, my oldest son is a US Marine and has served over in IRAQ.

Mitchell, Don LT. XO. A very Good Officer. ( A short story here.) We had a new Officer, ENS, but I don't remember his name. He was the After Deck Officer. Somehow he got the nickname of Baby Huey. The CO tagged him with that name. He was a friendly Officer, but had issues. He stood his watch with us in the Radar Combat Area.

Don Pugh, ETSN, was also there at the Loran Area, where the XO comes in positions. The XO comes in without anyone noticing because of the darkness. We all are kidding around and this officer not realizing that the XO is near, thinking that he is talking with ET Don, keeps saying Don your _ _ _ _ or whatever he was saying. Finally the XO canít take anymore of his remarks and comes over and gives him a talking to, with a foot in the butt to boot. (I'll give more info. on ET Pugh, below.) LT. Mitchell left for his own command later on. I really liked the guy. He was a great officer.

Morrison, CS2. The other cook. A great friend of mine. I mess cooked under him and Barbee.

Ocampo, TN, one of the Filipino cooks. A good friend. We used to sneak food out of the Officers cooler.

Petronellis, (Greek) SN, Forward deck. A very strong person.

Pray, Robert, LCDR. CO. Before LCDR Lenahan. A great Officer. I liked him very much.

Pugh, Don, After Deck. Transferred to Operations later. A great friend.

Ramsey, RD3, a very interesting person

Rawley, BMSN, Deck Aft. Avery interesting person.

Robinson, BM3, Deck Aft, Transferred off, because of problems in the Aft Deck area.

Gilbert BM2 came aboard to settle. Robinson was a good BM, he was not the problem.

Seymour, BM1, Deck Forward, A hard person to get along with or work for.

ST.Germain, EN3, Engineering, Snipes. Since I had very little contact with those below. He ran the movies I believe. But who in deck force had time to see movies anyway.

Stevens, Philip. LTJG, Communications Officer. A very good Officer. Later on became my boss. When I was on watch, I was the one to get his coffee. He liked the way I mixed it. No one else did it liked I did. Lots of Sugar and Cream. One day we fixed him a special, half cup of sugar, a little cream for color, the rest coffee. He said it was a little sweet, but he drank it anyway : ).

Taylor, John, QM1. A very, very good friend. he helped me out a lots. (John if you read this e-mail, just want to let you know I really appreciated all that you did for me, you were a great asset to the Navy, God bless you.)

Terwilliger, LTJG. Supply Officer. We had our differences.

Vanderwauker, HMC. Got his promotion some time after I was off mess duty. A great Corpman. Good friend.

Veith, SN, Deck After, Interesting person, He was in charge of the Aft Deck Storage, and he let everyone know that he was.

Weaver, BMC, Deck Forward, just got promoted shortly after I arrived on board, and was transferred soon after to a bigger ship.

Wywias, BM2, Deck Aft. Great BM. Need more guys like him.

Thatís it. I did 8 Ĺ years in the Navy. Had lots of great experiences. Retired last year from the US Forest Service. Retired with 44 years of federal service. Home now enjoying life with my family.

Mike Blackwell
Gresham, OR

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