USS Noxubee AOG56

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19 October 1970 Family Gram

By Dudley Cass


USS Noxubee (AOG 56)
Fleet Post Office
New York, N.Y. 09501
19 October 1970


From the Commanding Officer

Dear Friends,

I last wrote to the NOXUBEE family In April, For those of you who have joined us since then, I extend my personal welcome, and wish to introduce myself and tell you about our ship and crew. To you who have received my "family grams" before, I will try and bring you up to date on what is going on here.

My name is lieutenant Commander Dudley E. Cass. I am 36 years old; was born and raised in Missouri. I met my wife in high school there, we were married and have 3 teen age children. I have been in the Navy 16 years and have served on 3 other ships before coming to the NOXUBEE in May1969 as Commanding Officer. I am proud of my country, my Navy, and my ship and feel privileged to serve. I am particularly proud to serve on the finest AOG in the fleet, and it is the hard work of your sons and husbands who have made it that way, and will keep it that. I am doing all I can to make the tours of your men on Noxubee interesting, challenging and rewarding so that when they leave, they will have the satisfaction, and pride, of a job well-done on a good navy ship. I would to ask you to encourage your sons and husbands on the NOXUBEE to make the most of the training and education available to them in the Navy. These include college and high school correspondence courses, Navy courses, formal Navy Schools and even the opportunity to obtain up to four years of college leading to a degree. I am personally concerned about the welfare and advancement of each man on NOXUBEE. I want you to feel to write me personally if at anytime I can be of assistance to you, or answer any questions you may have.

Today is the 25th anniversary of NOXUBEE's commissioning! Although she's getting "mature", she's still a "charger". This is attested to by the fact that she won her second Battle Efficiency "E" this year. She may have a few aches and pains, and is perhaps a little stiff in some of her joints, but she still has her youthful shape and curves and she's not about to quit.

Why do I call NOXUBBE "she?" Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz once said "A ship is always referred to as 'she' because it costs so much to keep one in paint and powder." George L. Moses, a writer for the Falmouth, Mass. "Enterprise" stated it this way: "A boat is called a she because there's always a great deal of bustle around her… because there's usually a gang of men around… because she has a waist and stays… because it's not the initial expense that breaks you, it's the upkeep… because she is all decked out… because takes a good man to handle her right… because she shows her topsides, hides her bottom and, when coming into port, always heads for the buoys."

What has NOXUBEE been doing for 25 years?

A brief chronology:

19 October 1945 - Commissioned at Algiers, Louisiana

1946-1949 - Operated out of Norfolk and Newport transporting fuel to such places as New Foundland, Iceland, the Azores.

1950-1955 - Made several deployments to the Mediterranean supplying fuel to U. S. Navy units in the Med and in ports such as Casablanca, and Naples, Italy.

1956-1959 - Conducted minor operations out of Norfolk along the East Coast and down to the Caribbean Sea area.

1959-1966 - De-activated and decommissioned

10 September 1966 - Recommissioned at Norfolk, Virginia

1966-1970 - Panama Canal and became a unit of the Pacific Fleet, homeported at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, made three deployments to the Western Pacific, providing logistics to U.S. and Allied Forces in Vietnam won her first Battle "E" and the Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1968-69. She encountered hostile enemy action on several occasions during this period; the last Incident occurring in September 1969 when she was mined by enemy swimmers off the coast of Vietnam at Cua Viet.

18 May 1970 - Departed Hawaii for return transit to Norfolk, Virginia via Long Beach, California, Acapulco, Mexico and the Panama Canal.

So you can see NOXUBEE has been a busy gal, and will continue her work in the Mediterranean very shortly. NOXUBBE is a small ship, relative to Navy Oilers, Reefers and Ammo ships but she still is a "big girl". She is longer than a football field and is about 50 feet wide. When loaded, 16 feet of her hull is underwater and her highest point is 70 feet above water. She carries 600,000 gallons of fuel. (Enough to fill your automobile gas tank 30,000 times. If you refill once a week, enough to last you 600 years!)

Now I would like to tell you about NOXUBEE's men. She has nearly 100 men and officers assigned who transform her from a floating metal platform into a living ship of the U.S. Navy and enable her to carry out her mission. Teamwork is vital and every man aboard contributes significantly to the continued ability of the ship to do it's job.

How does each man fit into the organization? The Commanding Officer (myself) and the Executive Officer (LT Van Sant) are charged with the responsibility of carrying out the directives and missions assigned by higher authority, and for the effective administration, operation, and safety of the ship and all the man assigned.

The remaining officers and men are assigned into four departments: Engineering led by LTjg Hugh Flick, and ENS. Elder; Operations led by LTjg Saiki; Supply, led by ENS Elzie and Deck led by ENS Reed. A brief description of each department's tasks follows:


The ship's mobility as well as the ability to handle cargo depends on the expertise and efficiency of NOXUBEE's engineers. They must operate, maintain and repair, when needed, main propulsion and power generation diesel engines, electrical power generation and distribution systems, alarms and warning systems, salt water and fresh water piping, compressed air, steam and heating systems, galley equipment, air conditioners, laundry and refrigeration equipment, steering equipment and gyro-compass, and the boilers and evaporator. The ratings involved include Engineman, Electrician's Mates, Shipfitters, Interior Communications Technicians, Boilermen.

The men assigned are: EMC Shoults, EN1 Prettyman, EN1 Christenbury, EM1 Mize, SF1 Clothier, ENCS Bailey, EN3 Boyden, SN Breneiser, EN3 Gaspord, FN Gonzales EN3 Kerns, SF3 King, SN Lafranchi, SFFN Moore, FN Mullins, DCFN Montague IC3 Sapp, EM2 Seigle, FN Vann, FN Vining, FA Tafta EM3 Yancey, EMFN Robinett, PNSN Lynch.


The basic function of the Operations Department is the collection and dissemination of operational information and intelligence, for external communications, safe navigation of the ship, and the operation, maintenance and repair of electronic equipment used in navigation and communications. Administrative and medical personnel are also assigned. The ratings include: Quartermasters, Radiomen, Radarmen, Electronic Technicians, Signalmen, Yeomen, Personnelmen and Hospital Corpsmen.

The men assigned to Operations are: QMC Short, SM1 Beaudin, RM1 Hughes, HM1 Tompkins, RM2 Leporati, QM2 Pederson, QM2 Himebauch, YN2 Hall, ETN2 Gabrisch, PN3 Alersmeyer RM3 Loney, RM3 Wentworth, QM3 Willis QM3 Edmonson, RD3 Wofford, RD3 Clayton, SN Dosch, ETRSA Willems, SMSN McRaven, SN Justice, RMSA Sawall, QMSN Milhulka.


The Supply Department is responsible for Obtaining and managing the "beans, bullets, and bolts" required to keep the ship (and the men aboard) in operation. They order, receive, store and issue thousands of spare parts, equipment, food, and cargo. They provide the barber, the cooks, the laundrymen vital to the health, comfort and welfare of the men. The ratings include Ship Servicemen, Commissarymen, Storekeepers and Stewards.

The men assigned are: BM3 Blake, SA Dreher, SA Roberson, H., TN Caccan, TN Medina, TN Bernal, SD2 Timones, SN Carroll, FN Vining, SK1. Diuco. SK1 Applewhite, SK3 Caine,. SN Saufferer, SHBSN Barsell, SKSN Ledenican, CSI Robideaux SA M. Palmer, SN Ramero


The Deck Department is responsible for the planning and execution of all seamanship operations and evaluations. Painting and preservation of the whole exterior of the ship falls to these stalwart men. Handling fuel and cargo rigging, vital to the mission of the ship is done safely and efficiently by Deck Department. Maintenance and operation of all NOXUBEE's armament is included in their responsibility. The tasks assigned Deck Department have strong roots in Navy tradition, having evolved from tasks assigned seamen hundreds of years ago. Much terminology remains in our modern Navy deck force Ratings are Boatswain Mates, Gunners Mates, and Fire Control Technicians.

The men assigned to Deck Department are: BMC Hickey, BM3 Sabouri, BM3 Farrington, SN James, SN Maier, SN Landers, SN Dunnigan, SA Schultz, FN Armstrong, SR Allen, SA Miricle, SA Hammons, SA Roberson, D., SA Wise, SA Fundingsland, SA Palmer, SA Erhorn, SN Sigford, SA Sorrell, GMGl Hendrickson, FTG3 Moore, GMG3 Ganade, GMGSN Gryniewicz, SN Seaman

What of the future? NOXUBEE is scheduled to complete our repairs in early November. An abbreviated, but intensive period of training, loading out, and final tests and inspections will follow to insure that we are ready to deploy. We plan to depart little Creek, Virginia in early December and will return in mid-June. Our operations while deployed will be in support of US Naval Forces in the Mediterranean and we will visit ports in Spain, Italy, France, and some of the islands in the Med. Your men should have some interesting experiences to relate when we return.

At times, mall service may be poor while we are gone -- so don't be alarmed if several days pass without mail. Please don't stop writing if this happens. Mail from home is extremely precious to a sailor! It you should have need to inform your men of an emergency while we are in the Med - send a telegram to: *

(Name) (Rate)
USS Noxubee (AOG 56)
c/o naval Communications Station
Washington D.C.

The address for regular mail remains the same:

USS Noxubee (AOG-56)
FPO, New York, N. Y. 09501

It has been a real pleasure to write to you. I will continue to do my utmost to insure the welfare and safety of your Navy men on NOXUBEE. Again, please feel free to write me personally if I can be of any assistance.


D.E Cass

P.S. Christmas is coming! For those mailing Christmas Packages, I recommend you mail them before 15 November - to insure their arrival on the ship before Christmas. We will be at sea during December and surface-shipped packages sometimes take several weeks to reach the ship.

*Contact the nearest chapter of the American Red Cross for assistance in emergency communications or in cases involving emergency leave.