|USS Noxubee (AOG 56)
Fleet Post Office
New York, N.Y. 09501 19 October 1970
NOXUBEE FAMILYGRAM 2-70
From the Commanding Officer
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
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
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
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: *
USS Noxubee (AOG 56)
c/o naval Communications Station
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
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.