THE "Sea Stories" of PROVIDENCE


Sent: Wednesday, April 28, 1999 2:01 PM
Remembrances of a "Salty Sailor"
To: Donald Lyons
How about the time we visited Providence, Rhode Island , Oct. 15, 1945? I have several pictures, newspaper stories on that incident. I sure remember there weren't hardly any spoons left after so many were given to the girls (as bracelets) with the USN on them. I'll bet many are still in possission as a keepsake of now old women.
Another one is the storm crossing the Atlantic when all the coffee mugs got smashed in the mess hall. One of the first things I did in Naples was buy a small flower vase and used it as a coffee cup.
How about the kids that lived in the sewer along side CL 82, Naples; and how the mess cooks would throw left over food to them.
The night we were re- routed to Stromboli Island to pick up survivors if the volcano got any worse throwing lava in the air.
How we (well, some guys including me) while CL 82 was in dry dock(Boston) would put our dress blues in the bottom of a bucket, dirty laundry on top, ask permission "to go ashore to wash clothes, sir" change into dress blues in the laundry room and take off until before muster the next day? I used my membership card in the Collegiate (San Diego) Dance Club which had a saddle shoe on the face of it as ID to get past the Marine Gate Sentry. I still got a Good Conduct medal.
The people of Providence, Rhode Island gave the officers the silver coffee service and the crew an ice cream machine. I have a photo of the coffee service (as a commissioning gift).
I kept only one record from my Dusty Dustin Show when Capt. Jackson "volunteered" me to be a sort of disc jockey. That music was very popular with the crew and I had a blast doing it. I have a copy of Vol 1 No. 1 of the Jolly Roger (May 15, 1945) which, if you want, I'll include it.
"Laugh alone and the world thinks you're an idiot"
Dusty (Carl Dustin)

USS Providence Webmaster
Wed, 28 Apr 1999 22:51:51 -0600
John Bunn <jbunn@NMSU.Edu>
To: Hi Sam,
They say the knees go first, but I think it is the memory
that goes first. My recollection of the helo crash is that the
Providence was somewhere off of the Chinese island of Hainan.
It was night time, I remember I had just hit the sack. The CPO
quarters was just below the helo deck , on the opposite
side of the ship from where the helo hit. I remember it as the
helo was supposed to have lost power just a few feet from the
helo deck, struck the side ship, flipped over and landed upside
down in the water. I heard the chopper blades digging into side
of the ship, it sounded like a BIG chain being dragged across the
helo deck. There definitely were chunks on the side of the ship where
the blades struck. I seem to remember that the crew of the helo
survived. The admiral and his staff were lost because as the helo
was coming in, they had removed their seat straps and were preparing
to disembark the helo. I think manoverboard was passed, I remember
having to go to the OE Division 'ET Shop' which is only accessed
from the weather decks, and it was dark, dark out.
I sure thought the Providence made more than one raid on
Haiphong Harbor. The ship would head north from the gunline and
the "shootin" would start around midnight. Afterwards, the ship
would get back on station in EARLY morning. The CPO mess would have
what BTC Jim Bullock called a "cowboy breakfast", plates of pancakes,
scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage. Mighty good. Many years later I kind
of thought of the cowboy breakfasts as a Pavlov's Dog drill. The one run
north I do remember, the Providence went north with the Newport News and
several destroyers. Four North Vietnamese small boats made the unfortunate
mistake of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They more than
likely were coming back from a fishing trip, but they caught hell from
everybody, even the Air Force got in the act. One or two were sunk and
the others limped away. One of the chief's who was on the bridge said
the Newport News and company looked like a fourth of July display.
I was curious if anyone remembers if "PIRAZ" and "Yankee Station"
were one in the same. Prior to the Providence, I was on the USS Jouett
(DLG-29) and the ship would be on station at PIRAZ, providing radar
survelience by steaming continously in a one mile square. I thought
PIRAZ was north of Yankee Station but can't be sure.
Really enjoy your web site, hope you can keep it live. If help
could be provided, please let me know.


John Bunn ETCM USN (Ret)

Rememberances of Captain Kenneth Veth, first CO of CLG-6
Thu, 22 Apr 1999 12:38:16 EDT
To: I remember Captain Veth well. As a PNC during pre-com training at Norfolk in
summer of 1959, I was pitching on our pre-com fast-pitch softball team, with
CDR Ken Simmons catching, and happened to pitch a no-hitter against one of
the Norfolk-based ships. Captain Veth, up at the ship in Boston, heard about
it and, being the big sports-enthusiast that he was, had me transferred up to
Boston because the 'main team' was just entering into serious competition. I
drove up to Boston with barely enough time to dig my spikes and glove out of
my cruise box and meet our coach, Gunner Hartley, and get to the diamond and
toss a few warm-up pitches before the game began. I didn't know any of my
team mates and was anxious and nervous as heck -- and promptly got knocked
off the mound!!! Embarassing to say the least -- but Captain Veth was a
forgiving sole... On 16 Dec 1959 he promoted me to PNCS on the quarterdeck
and later recommended me for commission, which I received in the captains
office after Captain Veth had been transferred as a Rear Admiral. His first
flag was as Commander of a Cruiser Division. He also served as Navy chief of
legislative affairs; as Commander Mine Forces in Charleston; and shortly
after I finished an in-country tour with Naval Advisory Group, Vietnam/Naval
Forces Vietnam, RADM Veth became Commander Naval Forces Vietnam. Had I known
he was coming, I would have asked for a back-to-back tour to serve with him
I don't know what happened to him after his Vietnam tour (heck, I hardly
know what happened to ME after my Vietnam tour), but he was truly one
top-notch officer and gentleman that any of us who ever served under him
would have followed to hell and back. With his beat-up chevy in Boston, he
was always quick to stop and pick up any Providence sailor walking toward the
gate or ship and give them a ride and ask how they were doing. I knew no man
I respected and admired more than Admiral Kenneth L. Veth.....
Lloyd Dunton, LCDR (LDO) USN (Retired)
Re: First Skipper of CLG 6
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 18:13:44 EDT
Charles Sullivan USMC Hello Don & Sam

Vice Admiral Kenneth Leroy Veth was some skipper. I have many fond memories of him. When I was a 20 year old Marine, I was his orderly. When he was the skipper of the Providence he was a 48 year old bachelor and drove a ratty 1954 Chevrolet. He was from Minot, SD and an Academy graduate. I was facinated by him. When he left Providence, he went to ComMinePac. When I left the Marines, we exchanged Christmas cards for a few years. When last I heard from him he was a Vice Admiral at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. When our 1998 reunion at St. Petersburg was forming up, I thought it would be great to get him to attend. I asked a friend who is on the staff at the Naval War College to try to locate Admiral Veth. Try as he did, he could only come up with an archives photo from a meeting in Vietnam during the late sixties.
We deduced that the admiral was no longer with us. I wish I had more to offer. The "Captain Veth" that we remember was one of many fine people that served as a role model for me during the rest of my 4 years as a Marine and then 30 years of law enforcement.
Charles Sullivan

Subject: Land Story
Date: Fri, 19 Mar 1999 20:07:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Michael Matteson <>
All our time in Westpac wasn't spent at sea, nor were we all the time making
Tom Grogan had enrolled in the 'Foster Child' program and sponsored a little
girl who lived in Kowloon, across the harbor from Hong Kong. Well, one time when we visited there he had made arrangements through the
'Agency' to meet with his foster daughter and he asked me to go with him.

We met an agent/interpreter and boarded a bus on the Kowloon side and
started off to visit his (Grogans) foster daughter. It seemed like we rode
for an awfully long time on this bus and both Tom and I were getting nervous
and expecting to see a checkpoint with Communist Chinese guards any minute.
We finally got off the bus and walked a couple of blocks to a large
apartment complex that was constructed of concrete and the agent/interpreter
said this was where the little girl (I can't remember her name) and her
family lived, thanks to Tom's contribution of a couple dollars a month.
There was a family of 8 living in a 3 room apartment and we learned through
the agent/interpreter that it was only because of Grogan adopting the little
girl that they were able to live so nicely. We stayed for a bit and had some
tea and invited the girl and her mother to have lunch with us the next day
at the floating restaurant at Aberdeen. They agreed and it was arranged that
we would meet them there along with the agent/interpreter.

We had a very nice lunch which the agent/interpreter ordered for us and it
was served family style and I don't think it cost Tom and I more than about
6 dollars US each.. When we were finished eating the waiter brought a bowl
of tea and set it in front of me and then kind of stood there waiting. Not
knowing what else to do I picked it up and started to take a drink when the
agent/interpreter stopped me and explained it was for washing our fingers in
to remove the fish smell from our hands. Well, blow me down! I'm sure the
Chinese had a good laugh about that!

That was a very enjoyable liberty call for me and one I'm sure Grogan
remembers too. I wonder what ever happened to the girl. She was about 10
years old at the time.
Sam, I have been racking what little brain I have to remember the CO who was on
the ship when I first got there. I finally hit pay dirt! His name was Gene
I believe he went on to make Rear Admiral and later on was president of a
Washington DC based Defense Watch Dog organization. I don't remember the
name of it any more. Anyway, he preceeded Capt. Tisdale. I remember one
evening when I had only been aboard for a month or so when I was working
late in WDS and realized that the chow line was about to secure, so I ran
down to the mess decks to eat and discovered that the mess line had just
been secured. Well I trudged back up to the 02 level cussing and fuming and
at the top of the Stbd. weather deck ladder I met this older guy in a sweat
suit who asked me what the problem was. I told him I had been working and
missed chow. He asked me if I thought it would help if the BMOW was to pass
the word "The mess line will secure in 5 minutes"? I allowed as how it would
be a good idea if there was any way to make that happen. You can imagine my
surprise the next day when I heard the BMOW anounce "The mess line will
secure in 5 minutes". I told FTM1 Hendrickson (our LPO at the time) about it
and he said "Yeah, that OLD GUY you met at the top of the ladder was the
Captain". He used to come up just about every evening and work out with a
weight set that was set up just aft of the barbette of Director 6. I
recognized him the next time I saw him!!!

Mike Matteson
Remembrance #1:
Smoking lamp was out, all white lights were off, only red light could be used throughout the ship. We were getting close to our destination in the Tonkin Gulf. It appeared that helos were landing on the fantail and dropping off personal for planning in the war room or CIC. This mission included a number of ships of the 7th fleet. That night it happened, a helo trying to land on the fantail touched down to close to the edge of the ship and plunged over the starboard side with the whole crew. It sunk like a rock. I understand there were no survivors. I remember approximately 6 small boats in the water in a slow quiet search in the dark with only red lights illuminating the sea. Providence was just floating lifeless on the sea as the search continued for several hours. I could sense our vulnerability in the water as we were in enemy waters, but the a thorough search was made just the same. It was cold that night, the search seemed to last a long time; you could barely make out the small boats under red lights. They had on those hard hats and life jackets with their eyes to the water.

Hours later, we were underway again to hyphong harbor on our mission. As we got closer I remember seeing bright lights flickering and glowing in the distance. It looked beautiful as if someone were celebrating a 4th of July or something of that sort. Then I was enlightened that shore guns were firing at the ship and that we were out of range at this time. We were approaching our target off Hyphong Harbor. It was reality time, I was on a ship somewhere off north vietnam and it was time for general quarters.
I was down in the computer room for GQ and soon could hear rocks being thrown against the hull of the ship and soon realized that it was shrapnel from exploding projectiles. I understand we made a few assaults on the mainland and inflicted good damage. All the ships then left the area in the zigzag formation till we reached safe waters. The ship was vibrating from the engine and prop noise as we steamed away. It was hard to get good info on this happening for it seems that info is given on a need to know basis and an E-4 doesn't need to know noth'in. Know what I mean?
Sam Villa Ftm-3
Subject: Ahoy again Sam
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 20:30:14 -0500
From: "Lyons" < >
To: "Sam Villa" <>
I was not familiar with the aircraft launcher. I believe it was launched with a 5 inch unarmed shell. The airplanes were SC-1s, recon type. We took them back on board with a sled them hauled in close so the crane could pick them up. The pilot always got out on the wing because if the sled hit rough water the plane could take a dive. One did, we lost the plane, but not the pilot.
Sorry to say but I didn't make any pictures of the ship while I was aboard. I didn't own a camera and if I recall correctly at that time pictures of the ship were not allowed. We also did not wear the name of the ship on our dress caps.
I am in touch with a couple of guys who were on board when I was. I will contact them and see if they have any pics. They were Fire Control men, who used to come up to the radio transmitter room to hang out. We had great laughs used a wire recorder that was in the xmtr rm, but I don't know why it was there, we never used it. I think they came up to see me 'cause I had some 100 proof alcohol used to clean radio crystals, which we tapped every now and then. I only had a gallon, which by the way never did see any crystals.
When it was nearly gone. I sent a requisition in the radio officer for more. I ordered a 5 gallon can. He came back to the xmtr rm and wanted to know why I needed so much. I told him I had a lot of crystal to clean. He cut the order to one gallon. It too never saw a crystal. I was really stingy with that gallon.
During our shakedown, a sister ship, I've forgotten her name and number, lost her bow. Chain locker and all. When we got back to port her bow was reinforced. Another thing that was wrong was she was top heavy. During the shake down we made full ahead right and left hand turns. She listed so badly during those turns I was sure she was going over. The hatch to the radio xmtr room had six dogs on it; when we were making the hard turns, I would close only one dog and would keep my life vest on.
A couple times I undogged the hatch and was out on deck knowing for sure she was going over. Of course she never did.
When we got back to port the armour plate on the five and six gun mounts were reduced. Everthing above the water line that could be lightened was. I had a work bench in the xmtr rm that had a steel top. It was replaced with plywood.
The Providence and her sister ship were the first ones to have fire-controlled 40 mm guns. I think that added to the weight too.
Nuff of that for now. Will trade sea stories with you again sometime.
Smooth sailing,
DJ (Donald Lyons)
Hi Don Harribine, I see Lee Ingraham sent you an E-mail about my query about getting on the
Providence plank owners list.
I was assigned to the Prov. while she was still under construction at the Quincy shipyards in Mass. We took her around to Boston for commissioning. I recall, the morning after we got there, looking over at the dock and seeing all those sailors waiting to board. I said to my
buddy, where in the hell are they going to put all those sailors.
Well as they went aboard, they just disappeared. Some I never did see again. I stayed
aboard during the shakedown and the training cruise. Then after VJ day took a
discharge from active duty and went home to the family.
Sometimes I wish I had stayed aboard. Have great memories of the Providence and my shipmates.
I am going to try to meet on the ProvChatRoom. My nickname is "grotey", I
tried several others but all were already used so thought no one would have
this one. So guess I am stuck with it.
Hope to see you later Don. In the meantime smooth sailing,
DJ (Donald Lyons)
Sea Stories
Thu, 11 Mar 1999 16:53:56 -0500 (EST) Sam,

I really do enjoy browsing through the Providence web site and reading the
sea stories. Reading your latest one put me in mind of the evening off the
coast of the DMZ when I came up to Weapons Control to relieve the watch.

The sun had just gone down and it was getting dark when I walked across the
02 level, (successfully stepping over all the tiedown chains of the vehicles
parked there) and as I reached for the dog on the weatherdeck door I looked
aft and there in our wake I saw a splash, and then another and another and
they were getting closer! I was kind of hypnotized watching the splashes
come up the wake and was torn between watching them and wanting to get
inside the skin of the ship. I finally had an attack of common sense and
hollered at the aft lookout and pointed at the splashes and went inside as
he was relaying the word to the bridge. By the time I got inside and got the
door dogged down we could feel the screws biting in and we hauled butt while
the 6" turret provided counterbattery fire.
I don't know if we ever found out whether we "got their range" or got "out
of range" but it was exciting for a while.
Thanks again for this great web site,
RE: ..Reunion..
Mon, 8 Mar 1999 11:55:13 -0600
From: Reighley Jack <>
To: "'Sam Villa'" <>
Right now all the information I have at hand is that the reunion is in
Covington, KY in August, 1999. It is being chaired by Bill McCubbin.
When we get past this reunion, I will have a little more information on
the one in Kansas City in May 2001. I am the chair of that reunion.
I already have a hotel picked out, but haven't signed the contract yet,
we are still in negotiations, but the dates are May 24 through 27, 2001.
There is no "official" name of the organization, but we have more or less
settled on "USS Providence (CL-82/CLG-6) Association" for now. I have
suggested that we try to nominate a board of directors at this next reunion
to get a little structure.
I was a Radarman on the Prov from when I boarded her in Nov, 1966 until my
discharge as an RD2 in Jan, 1970. I was on her when she had the gun battle
with the shore battery on Cap Lay just north of the DMZ, and when she broke
down the wall of Hue in the Tet offensive. We went to North Korea when the
Pueblo was hijacked (I also did some shore battery training in the same
building in San Diego that the Pueblo crew was being debriefed in after
their return). Incidentally, did you see the picture of the Pueblo in the
'68-'69 cruise book? Look for the picture of the Providence in Yokosuka
with her Christmas lights all strung out. The bow if the Pueblo (AGER-2) is
in the foreground. She was hijacked shortly after the picture was taken.
The pier that the Providence tied up to in Yokosuka is the hull of an
unfinished Japanese Heavy Cruiser that was sunk during WWII.
I am second from the right, with the bottle of Akamada Wine (remember that
stuff??) on my shoulder and the drink in my hand. I will have to get you a
list of the other guys later (at home also, I just happened to have a copy
of the picture of it on my PC here at work).
Re: Signed Guestbook
Mon, 08 Mar 1999 21:19:05 +0000 From:
"Jesse W. Miller" <>
Sam Villa <>

Sam. I remember all too well. I was in the Chiefs Mess which was just
forward of the flight deck.
Found your pic in the Cruise book. It's nice to be able to put a face to a
name, especially after so many years. If you have a Cruise book, check out
pages 185 and 189.
Stay in touch. Seems like we have a lot of things to swap sea stories
Re: ..Where?
Sun, 7 Feb 1999 09:48:08 -0500 (EST)
Michael Matteson <>
Sam Villa <>
Well, I found my picture after you gave me more specific directions.
You asked me if I had any recollections of the Providence's participation in
the Pueblo incident. I used to have pretty much of a day by day diary that I
kept while we were over there but I lost it somewhere along the way. My
memories aren't going to be accurate down to the day.
We had gotten underway from Yokosuka in early January of '68 and went down
to the gun line for a couple of weeks.
The day we pulled off the gun line we were supposed to head south for a 6
day stay in Subic Bay and then we were scheduled to steam up to Hong Kong
for 5 days of liberty. Our usual transit speed was about 12 knots and we had
set condition IV steaming watches and were headed for Subic.
About supper time we felt the ship increase speed and wondered what was
going on. It didn't take long for the word to leak out of the radio room
that one of our ships had been attacked by the North Koreans while it was in
international waters and we were going somewhere in a hurry.
Without ever actually saying 'why' the word was put out that we would be
stopping in Subic just long enough to take on fuel and supplies and then
getting underway again. There would be no liberty call.
As I recall, we were in Subic about 18 hours and then got underway again
heading northeast at a high rate of speed. (Prov could do about 35 kts at
full power & with a clean hull) Still no official word about what was going on!
We steamed for several days, I can't remember just how many, and were
instructed to winterize all our topside equipment and all topside
watchstanders were issued cold weather gear, but no official word on where
we were going.
We rendezvoused with an oiler in the vicinity of Okinawa and I remember
hearing that we had taken on 750,000 gallons of fuel. Anyway we were advised
that the oiler would take our mail and it would be the last mail that would
leave the ship for an undetermined period of time. After the mail had
transferred and we left the oiler, the Captain came on the 1MC and told us
we were going to be heading up a Task Force to go into the vicinity of North
Korea. (Big suprise!)
As we transited closer to the Japanese islands there was a news helo that
came out and over flew the ship and took pictures. It wasn't a big secret to
the rest of the world where Providence was anymore!
Very soon we hooked up with USS Canberra CAG-2 and a couple of destroyers (I
can't remember which ones) set condition III watches and went up north. Of
course I didn't know exactly where we were but it was cold and it snowed a
lot. I remember I had to go to the bridge one day and I asked the Captain if
he thought we would have to put chains on. I was never sure if he saw the
same humor in that, that I did.
Max output from the rumor mill was the only thing we ever saw happen for the
next couple of weeks and pretty soon we headed south west again headed for
the Gulf of Tonkin because the Commies had launched their Tet Offensive.
Well, we missed our 6 days in Subic and 5 days in Hong Kong and were headed
back to the gun line. (I'll never forgive those North Koreans for that)
For some reason during that time FTM2 E.Z. Moore and I were the only two WDS
technicians aboard so we relieved each other watch on and watch off whenever
the ship was at condition III and in addition to that I was Safety P.O. on
the forward rearming station during underway rearming. At that time we were
shooting all the 6 inch ammo we could get and it was hard to come by.
Sometimes we would have to rearm two or three times in one 24 hr period if
we could find AE's that had 6 inch ammo and it always seemed like the
rearming detail was set when I was off watch. I don't know how many rounds
we fired in support of the Marines at Hue but I do remember that our fire
was needed at just about the Max range of the 6 inch guns and there were
times it seemed if we got any closer to the beach we would need wheels! I
was one tired puppy by the time we headed back to Yokosuka.
When we pulled back into Yokosuka toward the end of February we had been 50
days without liberty call. Of course some of the old Chief's said that was
nothing, "Why, back in the Old Navy---"
I beat that record myself a couple of times later on when things got stirred
up in the Middle East but it was enough of an excuse to go over and drink a
beer or 8 at the time!
Hope this helps out in filling some room for the Providence Web page. Maybe
one of the other addees can supplement my memory too.
Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Wed, 3 Feb 1999 16:48:50 EST
In a message dated 2/3/99 4:03:52 PM Eastern Standard Time,

<< Subj: Re: Yankee Station During Vietnam War
Date: 2/3/99 4:03:52 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (John Paul Rossie)
CC: (Steve Robbins), eemoise@CLEMSON.EDU (Edwin Moise), (Ann Kelsey)

Per your note to Bill McBride:
> >I need to get a good definition of what "Yankee Station" was at that time.

I'll give it a shot, as throughthe foggy memory I recall that Yankee
Station was located in the Gulf of Tonkin and was (among other possible
things) the location of several air craft carriers what launched strikes
against North and South Vietnam targets. I believe it a constantly
changing location but was relatively stable once assigned. Eg., it may
have been located directly east of Ninh Binh and xx miles out to sea
(sorry, I don't have a coordinate lat/long map handy), and the ships on
station may have steamed in a 1 mile radius circle.... then it might
move southward 10 or 20 miles and at that station, the ships would steam
in a circle pattern.

I also recall Zulu Station, which I believe was a constantly moving
(mission designated) rendeszous spot for special operations. I seem to
recall that as located, at least one time, due east of Dong Hoi in line
with the southern end of Hainan Island and centered in the straits. But,
again, I suspect the coords changed several times, depending on the
mission, etc.

You'll probably get a more accurate answer from the others, but that's
from what I recall. I was on a Destroyer (RADFORD DD446) during 1969,
and we had assignments at each of those two locations. We need to find a
QuarterMaster for more accurate info...

Rossie: Thanks much for your expert help on this. Your comments, if you
don't mind may be used at USS PROVIDENCE (CLG 6) home page run by Vietnam vet
Sam Villa.
(CL-82/CLG-6)</A> the Line
Appreciate your help on this.

Don Harribine

Sam: These guys that gave us this information on "Yankee Station" are Vietnam
vets and
have been very helpful to us in the past. Hope this helps you out on
PROVIDENCE homepage.



Your Great Web Page
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 18:21:34 -0500
To: <> Sam,
Although we have not yet communicated, I felt I had to write you and let you
know what a great site you have created. Being an old Providence sailor, I
started at the beginning and clicked my way to the end. I alternated
between outright, side-splitting laughter to a lump in my throat the size of
a golf ball. The crowning touch, I thought, was the picture of Bosn Craft.
I loved that old guy. I worked with him at the forward refueling station,
which he was in charge of. Being an IC man, I was the sound-powered phone
talker who relayed to the tanker, whatever Bosn said. He sometimes said
things that I wouldn't repeat in front of most audiences. However, he would
go to great pains to listen to what I said, to be certain I was quoting him
verbatim. I always did quote him absolutely--I was afraid not too!

But he had a great sense of humor. Once, when things were going smoothly
during refueling, I was talking to the tanker, just BS'ing I think, and I
demoted Bosn Craft to Chief Craft. He heard what I said--I was
intentionally loud--and he turned to ream/straighten me out and saw me
smiling. He just grinned broadly and shook his head. Probably thinking,
"where do they get these guys." But he was a great guy and I admired and
respected him more than any officer aboard the Providence.

I did thirty-nine months aboard the ship during the years of '65 to '68.
Although not a career navy man, I remember my time aboard that vessel
fondly. It was good duty, indeed. The best friends of my life were begun
there. Although I haven't kept up with all the guys, not a day goes by that
I don't remember them.

Anyway, I just wanted to say "Great Job." Keep it up. I like to come down
to the computer, in the middle of the night, when my wife has turned in,
and log on to your web site. With beer in hand, I can sit and get as
nostalgic as I want. No one there to see me. Relive the old days and good
times of being a United States sailor aboard the USS Providence. My God!
What memories! Thanks, pal.

Jim Broyles


IC3 Plumlee
Mon, 22 Feb 1999 17:23:58 -0500 (EST)
Michael Matteson <>


I was relating this story to Jim Broyles and thought you might enjoy it too.

I remember one morning in Yokosuka when I met IC3 Plumlee coming up the
after brow with his laundry in his hand and shaking his head. I asked him
what the matter was and he told me he had put his blue working jacket in to
have his name embroidered on it. He said he had written on the laundry
ticket "SEW NAME ON LEFT BREAST 'PLUMLEE'" and sure enough, that was what
was embroidered on the left breast of his working jacket.
I saw him in Jan 1989. He was a LCDR and was Chief Engineer on the USS EMORY
S. LAND AS-39. We were in a meeting together and had seen each others name
tags and something clicked and after the meeting I asked him if he was "Sew
name on left breast Plumlee" and he responded " I hoped nobody would
remember that". He transferred off the Land soon after that under some kind
of a medical situation and I wasn't able to get much more info about him. He
still looked a lot like he did in '67/'68 and he lied and said I did too.





Thu, 4 Feb 1999 21:20:13 EST
From: To:


How goes it? Mike Matteson found me about a year ago and we have been in touch
via Email. He mentioned you and gave an Email address a while back. Have
been getting Email via CLG6 info and see you name in the addressee list.

Hope all is going good for you.

I still have night mares about the MK100 and the SPQ5.

Tom Grogan


Re: Signed Guestbook
Tue, 2 Mar 1999 15:50:11 EST
We ran the steam turbines and kept the ship underway probably the hardest
job in the navy next to a BT boiler tech. The CLG-6 had 4 engines 2 forward
and 2 aft. Off Nam the heat could get up to 150 degrees. It was hell
on earth.
Later Jim


Sun, 21 Mar 1999 12:05:03 -0500 (EST)
Michael Matteson <>
CC: Sam,

I wanted to tell you about the time when the ship made a port call in
Malaysia and a bunch of FT's went on liberty (they will do that you know) in
Kuala Lumpur. I think there was Steve Daggett, Ron Cate , Tom Grogan and me.
Anyway we found a real neat little bar/cafe and spent a very pleasurable few
hours in there and had a very nice dinner before we went back to the ship
which was tied up in Port Swettenham, several miles away. On the way back to
the ship we decided we'd like to go back there the next day as most of us
had liberty again and we were worried that we might not be able to find it
again. Grogan said not to worry, he had remembered to look at a street sign
and remembered the name of the street we were on.

The next day after liberty call we caught a cab and Grogan told the driver
to take us to Jalan Street.

Well, the driver laughed so hard we thought he would run off the road! It
seems that Jalan is the Malay word for street and in their language "Main
Street" would be written "Jalan Main" Well, we all got a pretty good laugh
out of that, even Grogan and the driver asked us what bar we were in and
someone remembered it was Marco Polo's and he said he knew right where it
was and took us back there. We did a little checking and sure enough, Jalan
was on all the street signs.



Providencen work detail
Mon, 22 Mar 1999 22:08:16 EST
We had a rearming detail and had this FN sailer named Ray, he probably weighed
135 lbs which was about the same weight as the 6 inch shells; he drop a round down
the ladder and we all scattered and that was the last rearming detail he ever did.

One other time I remember we were off the coast of Nam and had a shell lodge
in the barrel. The officer of the deck called for two snipes to come up and hose
the gun barrel down. Myself and another fellow by the name of Smiley went
up with a ten foot snorkel on the end of a hose and sprayed that gun turret down.

Everyone was afraid that the magazine might go so we soaked it good. I don't
remember if they told us before or after when the danger had passed. I always
wondered why they never used gunner's mates or deck apes.

Did I tell you that I was the seventh fleet heavy weight champ? Fought four
fights on the CLG-6.




Can you share some history and photos of the Decommissioning of Prov.
Details on where, what, when, why, and how.
Share what you can.
(In Missouri now?")


RE: Signed Guestbook
Mon, 17 May 1999 09:22:03 -0500
"Bruce S. Gebbeken" <>
"'Sam Villa'" <>

Can share some. I was divorced in 1992 and "lost" all of my pictures and
stuff from the Providence, with the exception of a booklet of all the ships
spaces and my ship liberty card.

The Providence went through it's decomm starting around March 1973 (date no
longer remembered.
I remember just about everything at that time because it was my first ship.
I arrived on the ship Dec 18, 1972. At Pier 6 in San Diego's, Naval Station.
We set to sea only once during the time I was aboard, and that was to go to
Seal Beach to offload ammo (both 6 inch and 5 inch). A incident I remember
well while at Seal Beach was the dropping of a Willy Peter round from one of
the crew onto his foot. Since this scared the crap out of everybody and the
guy broke all the bones in his foot, it is hard to forget. I was offloading
5 inch rounds at the time and I remember everyone just about jumping out of
their skin. Being a new recruit at the time, all I remember doing is looking
The Prov upon return to San Diego moved to Inactive Ship's Maintenance
Facility (ISMF) in San Diego about pier 11. I was assigned to E Div and work
upon the ship until finishing decomm (around Nov?). The Captain and most of
the crew left in groups during the inactive period. The Providence, USS
Bowers (DD) and the Ticonderoga all were placed inactive at the same time.
The ISMF headquarters was aboard USS Klondike across from us. I remember
looking out and seeing that rust bucket everytime we would get up in the
ISMF had quite a few ships in San Diego at the time and it was interesting
to look out while working on the Providence at those other ships sitting
there. I remember seeing the USS Blue, the USS Galveston and one heavy
Cruiser there. ISMF mission was to preserve the ships in pristine order so
that the ship could be used again in time of war. To that end everything had
to be rustless and well conditioned prior to decomm date. We to clean rust
and spread preservation on everything. Those ISMF inspectors would roughshod
us with inspection mirrors and flashlights daring us to paint over the rust
(which sometimes happened). If rust was found, the components or item was
removed, sandblasted and repainted till we dropped. I remember the M gang in
fuel spaces for months and B Div living in boilers. Once we even had a fire
from a welding dropping into the bilge's. I spent time in just about every
space on the ship because our equipment was everywhere. I remember going
down to a space on the second platform call the Atomic Warhead handling room
and was astonished that the Prov could have carried Nuclear weapons, but do
not know if it ever did.
Another time close to the end, I remember going down to the second platform
again in some space, and hearing nothing but the water splashing on the
hull. At that time only four people were on the ship for security and what
was left of the crew was either gone or aboard the Klondike. I was securing
a controller and have never heard quiet like that before or since on a Navy
ship. I think it was then that I realized that the life of the ship was its
crew, and this ship was dead.

My shipmates I remember well in my division; EM3 Royce Brown, EM2 McCune, FA
Liddell, FA Goodo, FA J.R. Williams, IC2 Knappe, etc. Many fine people that
taught me well. I later left the Navy as an EM1.

The last of the crew went though decomm ceremony and were sent off to
various stations and that was it. The Providence underwent vacuum pumping.
In example, the machinery spaces doors were welded and the space pumped out
of all air. I seen this happen to only a couple of spaces while onboard,
most of this was done after we left. The superstructure like the missile
room, etc was covered with sheet metal and then vacuumed out. All external
ships hatches but a few were welded shut and air was pumped out of the
interior. I also recall E Div having to install hundreds of these floating
mercury switch alarms in all spaces so that if water came into the hull for
some reason it would trip an alarm. We strung LOTS of wire to the monitoring
station outside the quarter deck.
Upon sealing the ship was towed I think to National Steel And Shipbuilding
in San Diego for a sealant to seal the hull. That is the last I saw of the

Shortly after, in 1973 or early 1974, ISMF was decomm'ed and all the ships
left at once to parts unknown. The Klondike was scrapped and the piers
opened to expand the Naval Station. I do not know what happen to all those

Hope this helps. I still remember one hell of alot about the people, spaces
and stuff about the ship. I certainly got around because of the decomm, that
normally would never happen.



Re: Decommissioning of Prov email message
Mon, 17 May 1999 16:30:24 -0400 (EDT)
Michael Matteson <>
Sam Villa <>
CC: Sam & Bruce,

I went aboard the Providence for a few minutes in probably June of '73,
while it was being deactivated. GMMC Rodriguez was the only one I ran into
whom I knew from when I was on board.
I suspect it was the St. Paul CA-73 that was also being decommed at that
time. They both wound up at Mare Is. in the In Active Ship Facility there. I
remember seeing them both tied up near the North gate when I was there in
'75. I came to the East Coast in Dec. of '75 so I never saw them again.

That was an interesting letter Bruce. Thanks for sharing that with us.

Mike Matteson

Subject: Picture of CL82.
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 09:16:27 -0400
From: "A.L. Blanks" <>
Good morning, Sam. That was definitely a shadow and not camouflage. During W.W.II ships were camouflaged. I was an
enlisted man in USS BOISE (CL47) in the Pacific when Pearl Harbor was bombed. As I recall we took some precautions
even before war was declared. The sun whitened teak decks topside and lifelines were painted dark gray and all the
brightwork topside was painted over to prevent any light reflection. In fact, as I recall, all surfaces as seen from above were
painted dark gray. At that time only the engineers were permitted dungarees as a working uniform. So we dyed several suits
of whites in coffee. Dungarees and khaki shorts came later for all hands. In fact I don't recall wearing khaki shorts as an
enlisted man and not as an officer until after the war. All linoleum deck covering was removed and a lot of the extra paint
below decks chipped off. In those days all the paint was oil based - no water base paint. All this was done to reduce fire
hazards. We burned or threw a lot of inflammable furniture over the side after breaking it up. In other words we stripped ship
ready for possible action. I HAVEN'T THOUGHT OF MOST OF THE ABOVE FOR YEARS. However, it did influence
my attention to Damage Control measures after I received a commission on through my tours as commanding officer of three
ships and a division of destroyers.
See what happens when you get me started. Have a nice day. Sorry I missed the Chat Room......sooner or later. Al


Re: Terrier Missile
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 17:25:44 -0400 (EDT)
Michael Matteson <>
The photo following this mail was of a BW-1. (Beam rider, Wing controlled
missile) The wings on the sustainer and the fins on the booster were
manually installed in the "Wing & Fin Assembly Area" before the missile was
run out onto the launcher. The type of missile the Prov was shooting when you were on there was the
BT-3a (Beam rider Tail controlled) The booster fins were installed and the
sustainer tail fins were unfolded manually before the missile was run out on
the launcher. The BW missiles didn't last very long before they were
replaced by the BT type missiles. They had a habit of wanting to turn around
and come back to where they were launched :-).

Sun, 04 Jul 1999 11:57:00 -0400
howard e graham <>
Sam Villa <>



USS Providence
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 20:57:01 -0400
"wayne" <>
"Sam Villa" <> The following three ships are Galveston class cruisers with 4 and 5 having flag quarters and
the Galveston was a straight CLG

The following 3 ships are Providence class cruisers with 6 and 7 having flag quarters and the Topeka was just a straight CLG
They were all built on Clevland Class frames with 3,4 and 5 had Talos and 6,7 and 8 had Terriers.
A short history can be found at I haven't been able to find the site I found recently that gave information. I just searched again and found what I was looking for It was where I looked the first time. Also that is ET not FT. Does the Rate still exist? Or did Firecontrolmen replace Electronic Technicians. The reason I asked was I saw somewhere that a FT showed that he had worked on firecontrol radar (don't remember the specs) and on an SPS 42 which was the aft tin can just forward of the Missle -Search Lights- (at least that's what the looked like). Your site has really got me remembering. Also
concerning cruise books I still have the first 2 issued. Got to go. Later

Wayne (Wilky) ETR2

Wed, 25 Aug 1999 16:32:13 -0700
I see you remember that song. We played a lot of crazy music with the
guitars and and "Crusher" on the trash can. Remember the Daly Court
Apartments where we all lived. It was another time. Also with Everette
with his flute and we on guitars in the bathroom at the FT School in
Mare Island. Got good acoustics there.
Will share memories in small doses now that we have each other's email
address. Glad to make contact again after so long a time.
Sam wrote:
> Sam,
> Just a quick note?
> It was good to hear from you last night. I had received the message that you
> had called earlier in the day from my son. He called me at work and said that
> ?some buddy of your from the Providence had called.? He wrote down the name but
> it was on my desk upstairs and he couldn?t remember. I immediately thought of
> Ozzie, since I think he is the only one that I could think of that could have
> had my telephone number. I was pleasantly surprised that it was you! I have
> tried unsuccessfully for a couple of years now to locate your mailing address.
> I occasionally would scan the address pages on the Web looking for new Sam
> Villa?s. Not much success.
> I found the CLG6 website this morning and spent way too much time scanning all
> the pictures and reading the Guest Book. The reunion looked like it was a
> success and I guarantee that I will make every effort to attend the next one.
> We have all grown a little older ? it was interesting to read the comments about
> ?not being able to stand for long periods of time? and discussion of the food
> and accommodations. We ARE a bunch of ?old farts? aren?t we?!
> You were fast in adding my name to the website!
> A lot has happened in the last 27 years. It would take a week of continuous
> talking to just highlight the events. I guess we?ll just have to get together
> over a few beers!
> Do you travel much? How is your brother?
> You know, just last Saturday I came across my U.S.S. Providence Sailing Club
> membership card. It must have been an omen. I still have my sailing club
> windbreaker with patch attached. It doesn?t quite fit ? must have shrunk!
> My oldest son, Marc, is now a Sgt. in the Army reserve. (Actually he is in
> Wisconsin this week going through a two-week long sergeant training program). I
> tried to interest him in the Navy, but to no avail. He will do his EIGHT years
> of duty (the army gave him a good training package ? 56 weeks of electronics)
> and then get out. You know, he couldn?t even spell ?resistor? when he started,
> now he is a LAN Network administrator, versed in UNIX, NT and LAN/WAN
> operations. I?m proud of him! He is also a Reserve Deputy Sheriff, an adult
> Scout leader, an Scout Explorer Post advisor, going to DeVry Technical School
> for a degree, and still has time (an energy) to backpack and rock climb.
> Next is Nicolas. He graduated High School last year and has been taking courses
> at the Junior college. His major is Computer Graphic Art, although he would
> rather work with clay. He is at an age where he is unsure of his future. He is
> an experienced camper and backpacker, and was a Camp Counselor this summer at a
> Scout camp in Michigan. I think he would like to be an Outfitter for High
> Adventure outings (like a Colorado River guide) but doesn?t know were to start.
> He works different hours at a major Sporting Goods specialty store in the
> Camping/Canoeing department. If I were ever going into uncharted area I would
> definitely want to have him along.
> My youngest son Timothe? this year is a sophomore at Lake Zurich High School.
> His is in the top 10 percent of his class and enjoys the band. He plays
> Baritone in the Jazz Band, Tuba in the Symphonic Band and Sousaphone in the
> Marching Band. He also is an avid outdoor person and tries hard to compete with
> his older brothers!
> Penny, has been working as a Data Entry person for GE Capital Leasing dealing
> with car lease approvals. Ironically she is responsible for the West Coast
> District (your part of the country)! It was a change for her to switch from the
> Food Service industry (Marriott) where she had been for the past eight years
> dealing with grade-school kids in the cafeteria to an office job punching in
> numbers into a computer worksheet. She is active in many projects, mostly
> within the Boy Scout organization, trying to keep up with ?me and the guys?.
> I have been with IBM for the past three+ years having been laid-off
> (down-sized?) from a graphic arts computer company. I was there for eight
> years. Prior to that I worked 15 years in the Medical equipment industry with a
> few companies, working my way up to Regional Manager for Customer Service in the
> Midwest. Times change and you have to keep your eyes open. There is no such
> thing as company loyalty to their employees anymore. I would like to retire
> within the next seven years, in fact tonight I have an appointment with my
> financial advisor to make sure we are ?on-track? with this goal. We have
> purchased property on a lake in Northeast Illinois where we plan on building a
> house and moving to in the future. I really do miss the Northern California
> area around Santa Rosa, I don?t think I?ll ever get back there though.
> I have done a number of exciting things in the past years and I hope to get
> involved with white-water kayaking in the future. It?s too bad we have to
> travel a great distance to reach ?fast water? from here. Maybe I?ll try flying
> an ?Ultralight? aircraft next (Penny hates me bringing up the ?flying? subject.)
> I did complete some time ago, my ground school and instrument flying classes in
> the classroom ? I just don?t have any time in the air. My life has revolved
> around the Boy Scouts. I have been an active adult leader for the past 13 years
> and held many leadership positions. I have been recognized with many awards but
> I think the greatest reward I have is my family - a family that shares their
> adventures and ambitions. A family that cherishes the time together, even if it
> is only to have supper. We all have diverse and busy schedules and sometimes we
> only see each other as we are leaving the house to attend a meeting or go to
> class, even though we all live in the same house. We are all involved in
> Scouting in some form so we usually get together at some Scouting function ?
> dinner, campout, backpack trip, etc.
> So Sam, how the hell are ya?!!??
> Victor C. L'Heureux
> Order Fulfilment
> IBM Global Services


From: Osredkar, Florian
> > Sent: Monday, August 16, 1999 10:59 AM
> > To: ''
> > Subject: A voice from the past
> >
> > Ahoy Shipmate and Honored Drill Team Leader!!!!
> > What a surprise it was to find out that PROVIDENCE has a web site
> > dedicated to her and that the guy tending it is my shipmate and friend
> > from the best days of my life. Much was said about you, Sam, at this past
> > weekend's CL-82/CLG-6 reunion in Covington and I felt honored to tell the
> > guys that you and I were once in the same division and also members of a
> > one-of-a-kind drill team. I guess I was basking in the glow of some of
> > your accomplishments.
> > I looked up PROVIDENCE'S (your) web page and was really impressed by
> > it. As I recall, you never did anything half way. I'm glad you included your photo
> > on the page. The years have been kind to you, contrary to what my
> > brother-in-law Bob Wein ( FTM2) and I had expected.. Is it your lovely wife that set you
> > on the right path? Well, both Bob and I have good wives. Time has not
done nice things to either of us- I
> > have half the hair I had in the service and Bob has twice the girth he had
> > in his Nav days.
> > You may not remember me and I don't have a way of sending you a photo
> > to refresh your memory so maybe I should have written and sent you a
> > picture but e-mail is faster. I hope this won't be the last of our
> > correspondence so perhaps there will be a chance to exchange some photos
> > along with memories.
> > Mike Matteson, who apparently has been in touch with you, said that
> > you are dealing in real estate. Judging by the fact that the web photo
> > shows you sailing you must be doing well. That away to go, Sam!! Got any
> > children? Are you a grandfather yet? How long were you in the Navy before
> > you decided to bail out. I saw a cruise book at the reunion that was put
> > out shortly before the ship's decommissioning and your picture was in it
> > along with some other guys' that I remember (Krakow, Matis etc.) so I'm
> > assuming you went to WestPac. Whatever became of the drill team? Do you
> > keep in touch with any of the guys? L'Heurex and I kept in touch for a few
> > years after we got out and then sent Christmas cards to each other for a
> > few more but that ceased also and there has been no communication between
> > us for several years now. Bob Wein married my sister and lives about two
> > miles from me. He's become a brother to me and we reminesce whenever we
> > get together. You've been enshrined in both of our memories.
> > Sam, I could fill a book with questions and reminescences that
> > involve you and the life we had aboard the PROV but I'm a dismally bad
> > typist and it would take me forever to do it. So I'll wait for you to
> > reply and then I'll call you and we can shoot the "s." Maybe I can get
> > Bob on a conference call and then we can really let loose. Looking forward
> > to hearing from you. My home phone is (216) 486-5245 and my e-mail is
> >
> > Adios muchacho,
> > -"Ozzie"








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