56. The Bond That Lasts For Life

‘Jingles’ Richardson, HT2, R Div., USS Kawishiwi (AO-146) 1973-74

Larry Van Natta, AE2, Quality Assurance, VA-56, 1968-69

Five thousand mile trip for this reunion – Loyalty at its finest!


Everett Alvarez, LT & Ron Boch, LT, VA-144, 1963-64




Ron Jones, AMS2, V6 LOX Crew Lead, USS Hancock (CVA-19), 1966-67

Kerry Truax, OS2, OI Div., USS Ranger (CV-61), 1974-76



L: Gary Kerans, USS Ranger (CV-61) 1975-76 R: Al Gorthy, VA-122 1970-71



Steve Cragg. “Captain. We were on the 1958 Essex cruise “around the world” or most of it.”


Scratch this off our ‘bucket list.’ Cdr Ev Alvarez Capt Nick Nicholson Cdr Ron Boch


Part of the ’Sanger Gang.’ Larry Westerlund Sammy Nava Mike Quintana Lance Carr John Uyemura Lance Westerlund


Willie Ewing, our flight surgeon on Ranger and my ‘Doc’ after retirement in Lemoore.


Jingles USS Kawishiwi


Larry VA-56

Kerry USS Ranger

Ron USS Hancock


  1. Skipper,
    What a great experience for a 20 year old to sail with you WestPac ’76. The stories you tell are the same as I remember. How about dead in the water when we left Manila, and went GQ with massive smoke out the stacks. GQ tied to the pier in Subic, fire in the engine room. First typhoon tied to the pier with tugs pulling us away from the pier. Second one at sea, and on my flight deck watch, the yellow shirts tied 3 of us on a rope to check the chains on our aircraft. The pilot that hit the ramp was Lt Jones my DIV officer. Never forget that night. We had a F4 come in one evening, sun was setting, and parked just below the bridge. Pilot had fuel dump swith still on and fuel was leaking out the dump chute. I put power on the aircraft quickly, and turned the switch off to stop the fuel. You were watching from the bridge, and sent someone to the flight deck to tell me great job from the Captain. That was a big deal for a young sailor. Just wanted to say Thank You for your service to our country. What an Honor to serve under you.
    Randy Bass AMS 2

  2. Author

    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.

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