Shipmates- Vietnam Era



The Captain most of the time when I was aboard back in '69 was CAPT CAPT J.R. Sanderson, who later went on to command the USS Saratoga.Captain Sanderson was about twelve feet tall and all business, at least as far as this QM was concerned. Come to think of it, he probably wasn't aware I existed until that episode when some JOOD screwed up and I had to stand "Navigation Assistant" watch with all the junior officers. (Some deck ape dropped a magnet into the compass binnacle and nobody noticed it for about six watches. They were gundecking the logs. Naughty !)
Never saw him get too chummy with anyone. He was a Naval Aviator, spending his time aboard Rainier to get some "deep draft" ship experience before going on to command a carrier. Cool as a cucumber he was- a great sailor...for an aviator. He eventually became a Vice Admiral.
The Captain when I came aboard was J.C. Smith. I understand the Captain before him was Commander O'Rourke, who wouldn't take command until the rather inexperienced Navigator at the time figured out where the ship was...just a rumor.
The XO in '68 was LCDR Talbott, followed by LCDR Tollinger. LCDR Tollinger was Captain at the time of the decommissioning.
"The Boss", as Joe Friday used to say, was LT Robert Ryland, (fresh from Navy Staff Intelligence in III Corps) the Ops officer and LTjg Larry Butts, the Navigator. (Just had a visit to the page from Larry Butts, who is now an air pollution regulator in Texas ! Here's another picture of Navigator LTjg Butts. Wonder whatever happened to Mr. Ryland? He couldn't bring himself to drink coffee from anything other than a cup and saucer, never mind the weather, time of day, etc. A true aristocrat...a Boston Brahmin of the first rate.
There was Lt. William F. Goodin, the First Lieutenant and an LDO of exceptional ability as a seaman. There's a picture of him somewhere else on the main page. He was awarded the Navy Achievement medal for his work as Cargo Officer on Rainier.
I also recall a LTjg Kelsey, LTjg McAvoy,LTjg McNalley, ENS's Nixon and Vanderstoep(sp?), LT Giles and several other officers of note- mostly basically college kids like me, at the time. (We heard from Mr. Nixon, and Mr. Giles, but neither has sent a picture- must look as old as the webmaster!) This picture of Ensign Vanderstoep makes you wonder why they issued those funny brown suits to third graders ! Who's that freckle faced QM straining at the wheel ?
The Chief Master-at-Arms, Chief McCollum... I never knew him as other than "The Judge"... never did approve of the multi-color paint job we did on the QM shack (made from a dozen different and BRIGHT colors of enamel we had used to paint the ships medals), the collection of pin-ups or much else that went on, for that matter-...and when we painted the man-overboard smoke flare containers on the bridge with their proper name- "SMOKE POT", he really went nuts!-
Hey- it was the SIXTIES !- Thanks to Larry Butts for reminding me of that one.
The Sixties... Was that why we never went in for the WW2 custom of painting messages like "Good Morning, Uncle Ho" on the bombs ? Just a thought... Did they do that in WW2 ?..."NUTS TO YOU, TOJO !" ??? Guess it was a different time and a different place.
A while ago we heard from Chief Gunner Neil Long who was retired and happy in Vallejo, CA. His brother in Virginia was showing off his computer to Chief Long and lo and behold the Rainier page popped up ! He'd like to get back in contact with you gunners from '68, especially GM2 Rose and GM2 Tolliver...probably owed the Chief money ! He also reminded me about Warrant Gunner Davis...another great officer with whom to share the bridge.) Unfortunately, a few months later we were informed of Chief Long's untimely death.
And...How about those barbecues on holidays ?- Out there on the fantail, the cooks would set up grills made out of half of a cluster bomb canister ...then there'd be a skeet shoot. XO Tollinger was usually the winner... no wonder he always organized those shoots. Captain Sanderson was a fair shot too...used to shoot skeet with Chief Long in Subic.
One of my favorite memories is learning to sleep anywhere anytime in any conditions- on top of a pile of bombs in the summer heat, on a pile of wet lifejackets in the rain at midnight, or on that cool tile under my rack at lunch time. That skill has served me well in the days since.
The sad thing is, after all these years, I have lots of pictures in my album that I can't identify...My immediate boss was QM1 Bill Callahan,the leading QM and on deck it was the (in?)famous Charlie Brown, BM3. Of course, in those days EVERYONE was my boss ! Steve Etter, BM3 the world's best forklift driver and the most interesting BMOW with whom to share the bridge - remind me to tell you about the six-pack of 500 pounders he nearly dropped on me while I was running straps thru it ...and Arnold Hider, SKSN and Leonard Layne, QM3... Phil Roesner QM2 another picture of Roesner and Bob Sommerman,SN, Rick Scheible, QM3, QM Harold Hickman, QM Bob Henke and...
how about ET3 Lacey Sutherland ?


He always "found time" to hang out in the QM shack.


Gunner's Mate Ted Edge, with a local lady- Ted, take that evil grin off your face ! And who was this sleeping IC electrician or these two sailors after a long liberty in Hong Kong ? Here's a Yeoman a bit out of his native habitat, and two hardened deck apes waiting for the next carrier.
These three deck types Etter, Brown and Kurt "What's His Name?" are skylarking in the berthing spaces. Here's another shot of Steve Etter and Willie "Ski" Zukosky, by Ski himself. Where's Etter now ? Should have been a Congressman.
Here's RM3 Cable,(left) formerly a Riverine type who was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal for that service, RM DeWitt and QM Schible, all at Alameda in front of the USS New Jersey- 1969.
John Hayden, the world's SECOND fastest Signalman, viewed from above. His cohort SM3 Temple, the FASTEST SM was never far away. "Spanky" Temple's Memories.
Here's ace Radioman Third Ed Manion,(That's him on the left in the photo, accompanied by QM Rick Scheible at Grande Island) who apparently shipped over once or twice- retired after 25 years or so as a Chief Warrant- and is now doing communications for the Army at Fort Leavenworth- on the right side of the bars, we presume. We OPS types were always the bane of LT Ryland and LTjg Butts' existence. We're looking for lots of contributions of memories and pix from Ed.
And Seaman Cordero, who got pinched between the hatch cover and a 6-pack of 500-pound bombs when the deckload shifted during heavy weather- can't ever forget that day. He was high-lined to a hospital ship, but came out of the experience without any serious injury.
What a crew !
NEW !! Here are some miscellaneous Vietnam-Era photos sent in by shipmate Resendez...Who do you recognize?
If you have some Viet-Era pix- send them in...
Liberty Boat - The Boys in Blue

The Bridge Crew
Manning the Quarterdeck

Unrep With the Kilauea(?)

The Fantail- Everyone's Favorite Pic Spot
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