2. USS Essex (CVA-9) 1958

“I only served one year on the Essex, December 1957 to November 1958, as an IC striker. Joined the Navy in April 1957 from my hometown of San Francisco as a know nothing 17 year old. My favorite liberty was in Italy. The song ‘Volare’ was being sung everywhere in Italy in the Spring of 1958.”
-Stephan Craggg, Ed.D.



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      Blair, need to know more about your “memory lane,” Nick.

  1. Thank you for this web page. I was in G3 Div on this cruise. We pulled out on Feb 2 and I turned 19 on Feb 3

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    After all these years, thanks for checking in, Berlyn. Good memories. Nick

  3. Very interesting to see these old pictures. I was on the helicopter crew.

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    SCPO Calhoun, I owe you, and your Detachment from HU-2, an everlasting debt of gratitude for rescuing me on 7/10/58 after ejecting over the Adriatic Sea. Thanks for checking in after all these years. Captain J L Nicholson, USN (ret)

  5. My dad was James B. McAnallen.. I was 1 1/2 when he was killed on the Essex.

  6. Mary Lou, first my condolences on the loss of your father so early in your life. I relate with your story being a father of four daughters. At the time of our deployment in 1958, I left behind one daughter four years old and twins 2 1/2 years old.

    Only those of us that serve in the military fully realize the tremendous burden families endure back home. Your few words posted on our website have opened many eyes to this fact.

    If you feel comfortable in sharing your story with the world, I would be honored to create a page dedicated to you alone. It is vital that all are aware of the sacrifices made by the military family.

    Please stay in touch, and if I can support you in anyway let me know.

    I salute you, Mary Lou, Capt Nick.

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    Good afternoon, Captain, from the AZ desert. If you find the exact date of the Shellback crossing, I would welcome the information.

    I only served one year on the Essex, December 1957 to November 1958, as an IC striker. Joined the Navy in April 1957 from my hometown of San Francisco as a know nothing 17 year old. Boot camp and A school in San Diego before going aboard in Mayport a few days after Christmas. Then, it was off to sea for the first time for eleven months, with lots of port calls in the Med, Asia, South Africa, and Rio before returning to Florida. Three months of mess cooking in the Chiefs’ quarters. And, the rest of the time learning my trade as a sound powered technician along with real telephones, gyros, telegraph system, and many other circuits.

    My favorite liberty was in Italy. The song Volare was being sung everywhere in Italy in the Spring of 1958. I wrote and told my mother about the song and its popularity. Sure enough, it migrated to the US about three or four months later. My mother was really pleased about the popular culture trend from her son in Italy.

    Of course, crossing the equator was a highlight (or lowlight) as I got beat up, humiliated, and wasn’t too thrilled about it at all then. I have mixed feelings about the old and new traditions for crossing the equator then and now.

    I got transferred one week after returning to Mayport to the USS Independence being built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. I went from the oldest carrier to the newest as a plank owner. Made IC2 before discharge in January 1961.

    The Navy helped make my civilian career as a college professor teaching International Relations and political science all the more real to me and, hopefully, to my students.

    Thank you for your long and distinguished career and service to our nation. And, thanks for your reply.

    Sincerely, Stephan Cragg, Ed.D.

  8. Captain ~ I was aboard Essex Sep ’56 (Yokosuka) ’til Jan ’59. Supply. During ’58 Med was S-1 AOCP board above my desk and had to meet nightly with CDR Jim Holloway when his A4D s were grounded. He was a ‘pistol’ – have a good short story about him on a hot July day in Rhodes. In 2009 I put together my 180 pages (8.5 X 11 in color) of Cold Warrior”. I posted it on Essex web and sent to about 50 or more to shipmates at my cost. Freebies to people like the sister of one of our pilots lost during the NATO cruise in fall of ’57 (N. Atlantic), and the McAnallens – his son had posted “did anyone know my Dad …” JUST days before I put my book on the web site. I quickly made contact. His cousin responded that night. Both guys were ten, I believe, when Red Ripper Chief James Mac (standing next to our flight surgeon by the island ) was hit by that light shield. .. packed in ice, back to Barcelona for a flight to Weisbaden. It’s all in my book. Ditto re: Dick Dietrich. He and I were in the El Greco Hotel in Athens when Essex U/W at 0400 for Lebanon. I took a picture of Dick on my room balcony that AM. I was running the ‘USO’ op atop the hotel. He was with squadron pals. We got a plane from Naples to get us to Suda Bay, Crete where an S2F got us back on 16 or 17 July. I slept in a jeep in a hangar at Suda. I’m in Morehead City, NC now – where as Cambria APA-36’s First LT (became a Line in ’60) I had Deck and we picked up a Marine Battalion several times from ’60 – 62. My book on those years is 260 pages – ‘Gator Navy’. P.S. A best friend from ’58 until he passed was Jack Fetterman. … would enjoy hearing from you.

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