Fall 2005
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Fall 2005

Secretary’s Corner -

Summer has come and gone, and autumn is once again with us. Christmas and the New Year are just around the corner …. where did the year go!!

    San Diego Reunion - 

With the coming of 2006, we look forward to our next reunion in San Diego. Enclosed, you’ll find information, brochures, etc. your Reunion Committee has put together.

    CO DDG-53 Column –

CO, Andy Cully, brings us up-to-date on the JPJ’s recent deployment (ship returned to San Diego Oct. 29th, and expects to be in port during our reunion).

    Hurricane Katrina relief Effort –

Shipmate Don Wall and his wife Margaret spearhead a relief effort in Destin, Florida.

    Search for Bonhomme Richard –

The National Historical Center announces expedition in summer 2006 to search for the remains of John Paul Jones’ ship “Bonhomme Richard”.

    Seabag -

This will be the last “full-size” newsletter before the reunion in San Diego. With best wishes to everyone for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.


Pete Maytham


San Diego Reunion -

Feb 16-20, 2006

Town & Country Resort San Diego (Mission Valley)
: John McKechnie 619-435-3978 jpjships@san.rr.com
TOWN & COUNTRY Hotel Website
: www.towncountry.com   (USE ATTENDEE CODE– USSJP)
: $109 per night single or double occupancy. Mention USS JOHN PAUL JONES reunion.

Golf at the Reunion –

Shipmate George Malackanich is a golfer and would like those interested in playing to contact him at georgem@penguinsfan.us, or call him in PA at (724) 378-8348. He plans on coming to San Diego before the reunion for golf on Feb. 14, 15 & 16 and is looking at Torrey Pines and Riverwalk.


    Farewell - We received the sad news that Betty Laseter, widow of shipmate Jesse Laseter, has died.

   Senior’s Discounts -

www.seniordiscounts.com can be a good resource for saving on thousands of products and services including airlines, car rentals, travel, sports, recreation, shopping, restaurants, national parks, medical services, pharmacies, museums, and much more. Search by your zip code or city & state, and the category you’re interested in. Lists include names and addresses, the amount of the senior discount, and the minimum age requirement. No promise of the best deals, but a good place to start.



14 October 2005


I realized today, after Pete Maytham contacted me about the CO’s Column, that it has been a little over six months since I have had an opportunity to write the CO’s Column.  At that time we were within a few weeks of commencing our Western Pacific deployment and now we are just over two weeks from returning to San Diego.  As with the westbound transit across the Pacific we are experiencing the same heavy weather and have been diverted a second time to avoid 24-foot seas.  Despite the weather guessers best advice, we are still experiencing 14-foot beam seas and have been living through that for the past four days and there is no end in sight.  

JOHN PAUL JONES departed San Diego on 28 April and deployed with the BOXER Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) and accompanied them for approximately one-third of the deployment.  Our first port visit was to Sasebo, Japan followed by Okinawa in order to onload the Marine Expeditionary Unit as well as Amphibious forces Seventh Fleet, RDML Guillory.  From there we proceeded to Darwin, closely followed by Townsville Australia in order to embark an Australian Army unit and their equipment.  After we left Townsville we commenced a very large bi-lateral exercise called Talisman Sabre, which took place within the Shoalwater Bay training grounds.  I have to say they had the name correct as the shallow water and numerous ships operating within kept me up at night.  During the exercise JPJ was designated as the sea combat commander and air defense commander for the duration of the activation of the Amphibious Objective Area (AOA).  The crew performed brilliantly and prevented any attacks on the numerous amphibious units operating within the operational area.  After the AOA had been secured we were called to chop over to Battle Force Seventh Fleet (CTF 70) to perform the role of air defense commander for the forward deployed naval force who was also participating in the exercise.  After another week of operations in support of Talisman Saber we departed with the Kitty Hawk Strike Group and transited to Sydney, Australia for an R&R visit.

After departing Sydney we continued operations as the Air Defense Commander for the Kitty Hawk Strike Group as we transited to exercise “Orange Crush” off the Island of Guam.  The exercise lasted four weeks in total and included a brief four-day stop in Guam.  Following Exercise Orange Crush we proceeded independently to Singapore in order to take part in exercise Deep Sabre 2005.  This exercise is a high visibility Department of Defense and Department of State  multi-national exercise designed to exercise our ability to interdict shipments of weapons of mass destruction.  The exercise involved the countries of Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and included observer nations from Russia, China, Germany, Italy and France.  The exercise took place off the busy approaches to the Straits of Malacca (OH JOY! – Another area to keep you up all night for days on end), and was tremendously successful.  Our task was to locate four suspect vessels and determine which one was carrying the prohibited cargo.  Once found we conducted a non-compliant boarding, took over the suspect vessel and escorted it into port where Singapore customs officials conducted the in-depth search.  While in port we were visited by the U.S. Ambassador as well as Under Secretary of State Joseph.

Following the exercise we transited to Hong Kong for a four-day port visit.  The crew had a fantastic time while there and enjoyed the sites, shopping and food.  Following the port visit we transited north again and joined up with Commander, Destroyer Squadron Fifteen, the USS JOHN S. McCain and USS GARY to participate in the Counter Special Operations Force Exercise (CSOFEX) which took place in the Yellow Sea.  During the bi-lateral exercise, which we conducted with seven ROK Navy unit and U.S. and ROK Army and Air Force units we conducted exercises in Naval Gunfire Support, Anti-Surface, Anti-Air and Anti-Submarine warfare.  At the beginning of the exercise, JPJ was afforded the opportunity to visit the city of Pyongtaek.

Following CSOFEX we transited to the city of Sendai, Japan, which is located in the northern part of the island of Honshu, for a short port visit and then conducted operations in the Sea of Japan off the coast of Korea.  From there we proceeded to Yokosuka, Japan to get stores and fuel and then start our transit back.

This will be my last newsletter input as my Change of Command is scheduled for 2 December in San Diego.  The last two years has flown by.  My relief, CDR James J. Housinger, stands ready to pry my hands from the brow and take over Command of the Navy’s greatest warship.   He is an outstanding Officer, whose reputation is second to none.  I am confident he will continue to lead the mighty JOHN PAUL JONES to greater heights.  For myself, I can say that there is no greater honor than leading and serving the outstanding Sailors that comprise the greatest Navy the world has ever known.  From here I will take over as the Executive Officer of the USS BONHOMME RICHARD (LHD 6) in December and can see no place more fitting for a former CO of JPJ to go.

I would like to thank the Association for the tremendous support you have given this great ship and crew.  It has been an honor and privilege to participate in the association through the newsletter.

Thanks for all your support and keep us in your thoughts.

Andy Cully
Commanding Officer, USS JOHN PAUL JONES (DDG 53)


Historical Center to Search for John Paul Jones' Ship

WASHINGTON - The Naval Historical Center (NHC) announced in October it is joining the Ocean Technology Foundation (OTF) in spearheading an expedition in the summer of 2006 to search for the remains of American Revolutionary War naval hero John Paul Jones’ ship Bonhomme Richard.

“Finding Jones’ ship will vividly bring to life an inspiring chapter in America’s past using ocean technologies that are vital to America’s future,” said Dr. Sylvia Earle, a member of OTF’s board of directors. Other project collaborators include the University of New Hampshire Center for Coastal Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center, the College of Exploration, and English Heritage, which advises the British government on the historic environment.

One of the most memorable battles of the American Revolution took place off the coast of England Sept. 23, 1779, between the British ship HMS Serapis and Bonhomme Richard, captained by Jones. It was during this three-and-a-half-hour battle - most of it taking place at point blank range - that Jones shouted his legendary words, “I have not yet begun to fight,” in response to an offer to surrender. Ultimately, he emerged victorious and took control of Serapis, and 36 hours later watched his own ship sink into the North Sea.

"This expedition is a natural fit for OTF’s capabilities," said retired Capt. John Ringelberg, president of the OTF. “Our partners are the best and the brightest in their specific fields, and they form an exceptional team.”

One of the search team members, Peter Reaveley, is considered an expert on the battle between Bonhomme Richard and Serapis. Reaveley has spent more than 30 years compiling and analyzing eyewitness accounts, deriving the historical weather, wind and tidal data, and determining damages inflicted on the ship in the course of the battle.  OTF has also created a computer model of the ship, which will simulate how it may have drifted after the battle. With the benefit of all this information, the project team has pinpointed an area where they believe the wreckage lies.

OTF and its partners will conduct surveys of the ocean floor using a magnetometer, which can detect large amounts of metal ballast underwater, and high-tech sonar systems that can identify anomalies on the ocean bottom. When found, the wreck of Bonhomme Richard will be one of the most important archeological discoveries in U.S. naval history.

“You cannot find a more important underwater archaeological site to the U.S. Navy than that of John Paul Jones' Bonhomme Richard. Discovery of the shipwreck will shed new light on the horrific battle between Bonhomme Richard and Serapis, what life was like on board Bonhomme Richard for the officers and crew, ship's armament and weaponry, and the construction of the ship itself,” said Dr. Robert Neyland, head of the NHC Underwater Archaeology Branch. The Surface Navy Association is also a key supporter of the project. "This is an initiative that we are proud to be involved in," Capt. Robert D. Jenkins III, member of the Surface Navy Association’s National Board of Directors said. "John Paul Jones and his crew set the standard for the future of surface warfare.”

An important component of the project will involve teachers, students and the public, who can share the search through the Internet. Lesson plans, an online workshop for teachers, and an interactive Web site will help raise awareness in the public and the education community of one of the most fierce and pivotal battles in U.S. naval history. “Advances in science and technology have made it possible to find any ship that has been lost and buried in the seabed," said Neyland. "However, with the ability to discover comes also the responsibility to manage, preserve, and interpret for all."

Hurricane Katrina Relief Effort.
Don & Margaret Wall

Every Aug./Sept., Margaret and I spend 4 to 6 weeks in Destin FL., sitting on the beach, shopping, and checking out the seafood. This year was a little different. The Destin Church of Christ decided to become a shelter for the evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. This started a 21-day ride of a lifetime. It was gut-wrenching to see and hear these people and their stories. There’s not enough space here to begin to tell them all. Most of these people arrived in Destin with only the clothes on their back. The Methodist, Baptist, and Church of Christ fed and clothed them. The Church of Christ served as a shelter. Every day, we had about 200 people that came through the doors for food, clothing and housing. We had 60 or so on cots in the gym. Most of the congregation was involved in this effort.  Margaret’s organizational and people skills were put to work. I was “Mr. Fix it” and “Go For”.

The Elders of this 225 member church set a goal of $100.000 to raise for relief efforts. GOD thought the goal was too low. On Sept. 19-20, 2005, Stan Newton (Minister), Jim Allen (Elder), his wife Linda, Margaret, and I delivered $195,000 CASH to 39 needy families on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  We put $5000 directly into the hands of each family. It was tough to see big “John Wayne” types break down when you handed them the money. At this time, they are in the process of raising another $100,000 to be delivered in October. This story could go on for pages. Below are a few pictures:








Riggs, Jr