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July 21, 2016

Dear Shipmates,


Less than three months to go before our 2016 Reunion in Yorktown/ Williamsburg. Dates and plans are posted on the web page. We hope to see as many members and guests as possible. This will be the last reunion in Tidewater Virginia until at least 2020 so make every effort to be there.

Mike Femrite has passed on the sad news of the passing of a shipmate and mineman that many of us were acquainted with.
Ted Newton, MNCM, U.S. Navy (Ret.) passed away July 7, 2016. He was born July 21, 1934 in Dothan, Alabama. Mr. Newton joined the
United States Navy in 1954 and retired in 1988 after 34 years service. Ted was a member of Evangel Temple Assembly of God, the Fleet Reserve, the American Legion and Association of Minemen (member #38).
Mr. Newton is survived by: daughters Lori Christenson and Tammy L. Curley; son Roy P. Newton; step-sons Ronald L. Wilson and Joseph E. Wilson; (6) grandchildren; ((11) Step-grandchildren; several great-grandchildren; brother Robert (Judy) Newton; and sister Martha Jo Shiver. Ted was preceded in death by his loving wife Marion E. Newton.
The family will receive friends Tuesday, July 12, 2016 10:00-11:00 A.M. at Evangel Temple Assembly of God. Funeral services will follow in the church at 11:00 a.m. with Pastors Garry and Cecil Wiggins officiating. Interment will be in Jacksonville National Cemetery at 1:00 P.M.
Arrangements by Giddens-Reed Funeral Home 270 U S Highway 301 N. Baldwin, FL 32234, (904) 266-2337,  and the obituary appears at the Giddens-Reed web site

Published in the Florida Times-Union from July 10 to July 11, 2016 - 


Don DeCrona has graciously shared an explanation of uniform rating badges and answers the question regarding left sleeve-right sleeve confusion.

The uniform regulations of 19 February 1841 introduced a sleeve mark for the uniforms of petty officers consisting of an eagle facing left (from the wearer's perspective) with wings pointed down, while perched on a fouled anchor. It was to be worn half way between the elbow and shoulder on the front of the sleeve. Boatswain's Mates, Gunner's Mates, Carpenter's Mates, Masters at Arms, Ship's Stewards and Ship's Cooks wore it on the right sleeve while Quarter Masters, Quarter Gunners, Captains of the Forecastle, Captains of Tops, Captains of the Afterguard, Armorers, Coopers, Ship's Corporals and Captains of the Hold wore it on the left sleeve. It was difficult to distinguish between different ratings using this system.

The uniform regulations of 1 December 1866 introduced a system of rating badges, with eight specialty marks. Depending on design and where these badges were worn, thirteen ratings could be identified.

A petty officer rating badge incorporating an eagle, specialty mark and chevrons with points down was introduced in the uniform regulations of 1886. The eagle faced left with its wings pointed horizontally to the sides. The regulations specified that petty officers of the starboard watch were to wear rating badges on their right sleeves. The left sleeve was to be used for those on the port watch.

General Order 431, dated 24 September 1894, changed the eagle's wings to point upward, though the eagle continued to face to the left.

The uniform regulations of 25 January 1913 changed the location of rating badges so that ratings badges were no longer worn on the sleeves corresponding to assigned watches. Right arm rates were to signify men of the Seamen Branch; left arm rates were to be used by personnel of the Artificer Branch, Engine Room Force, and all other petty officers. The eagle continued to face left on all rating badges.

The uniform regulations of 31 May 1941 specified that the eagle was to face to the left in the rates comprising the Seaman Branch: Boatswain Mate, Turret Captain, Signalman, Gunner's Mate, Fire Controlman, Quartermaster, Mineman and Torpedoman's Mate. All other rating badges were to have an eagle facing to the right.
Right arm rates were disestablished 2 April 1949, after having been eliminated by Change #1, dated 24 February 1948, to the 1947 uniform regulations. All rating badges were to be worn on the left sleeve with the eagle facing to the right.

For further information:
Stacy, John A.; U.S. Navy Rating Badges, Specialty Marks and Distinguishing Marks, 1885-1982. Ft. Washington MD: The author, 1982.
Tily, James C. The Uniforms of the United States Navy. New York:  Thomas Yoseloff, 1964.
Today in Gulf War History - January 16th 2013:

NOTE: Because this chronology is referenced to Greenwich Mean time (Z-time), 16 January 1991 is ascribed as "D-Day." The coalition's first weapons struck Iraqi targets at 2339Z and a commitment to hostilities occurred almost an hour before with the launching of cruise missiles at Baghdad. This contrasts with most accounts of the war, which report the war's start as 17 January, based on local Saudi time (Z-time + 3 hours or 0239L).
At weekly briefing, CINCCENTCOM announces new U.S. troop strength at about 425,000; 19 countries have deployed ground forces; 14 nations are participating in naval efforts (U.S., 100 ships [80 combatants]/50 multinational ships).
Completion of two naval exercises announced; Operation CANDID HAMMER: communication techniques/mine warfare drills in central Arabian Gulf (Participants: USN, Royal Saudi, French, British, Canadian, and Australian naval forces); Operation CAMELOT: personnel and equipment trained in various areas, to include anti-air warfare/vertical replenishment in central Red Sea (Participants: USN, Royal Saudi naval forces).

Just before the commencement of hostilities, France announces that its troops will be placed under American command for "pre-determined missions" to liberate Kuwait.

Iraq maintains 24 committed and 11 reinforcing divisions in the KTO which, while remaining on alert for a possible coalition attack, do not show signs of unusual dispersal. Air transport sorties dominate Iraqi Air Force operations, possibly in support of munitions build-ups at dispersal airfields.
Fifteen of sixteen Patriot and all 22 ARCENT Hawk SAM fire units are operational.The Elusive Concept Force (Special Operations Forces) and the first echelon of the Joint Task Force (Proven Force) Headquarters arrive at Incirlik AB, Turkey.
Deployment of the Air Force (AFFOR) augmentation package of 48 aircraft is initiated with the arrival of four F-111E from Sigonella AB, Italy.
Desert Shield cargo requirements now exceed the combined capabilities of available MAC organic aircraft, Civil Reserve Airlift Fleet (CRAF) Stage I, and volunteer civil aircraft, leading the SECDEF to approve activation of CRAF Stage II.
A total of 396,378 passengers and 362,631 tons of cargo have been moved in support of Desert Shield to date. The total number of missions offloaded in the AOR to date is 9,194 and the total number of missions completed to date is 10,693.
The JCS authorizes the evacuation of American citizens and their immediate family members from Eastern Saudi Arabia and Bahrain on DOD owned or controlled aircraft.
The Desert Storm air campaign begins at 2339Z (170239L),when USARCENT AH-64s, led by USCENTSOC MH-53s. deliver their first ordnance against two Iraqi early warning radar sites, located about 50 nautical miles north and north northeast of Ar'Ar.
This article was first posted on Facebook
For information regarding the role the Mine Force played in Operation CANDID HAMMER, see the DTIC web site (This opens a PDF document)


Eddie Atkins shares this news bit about Ed Oyer, our host for the 2010 Reunion in Yorktown:
At JCC Supervisors meeting, tribute to long-time speaker Ed Oyer
Ed Oyer has well-organized notes and materials, some of which he carries in a sturdy old leather briefcase given to him by his mentor. In the military, he could never be political, so he's making up for it now; Ed Oyer has attended nearly 600 county meetings, he's a government watchdog that has a background in the Navy. Virginia Gazette reporter Austin Bogues chats with him about what he's observed over the year. (Judith Lowery / Daily Press)
Ed Oyer rose to the lectern at the James City County Government Center Board room Tuesday evening.
As always, he asked board members and attendees in the audience to keep the families of U.S. military service members in their thoughts and prayers.
He also took a little bit to give his input on the ongoing discussion on school buildings, namely the design of the fourth middle school.

"I don't know how many people have a memory but I'm here to tell you this dude right here has one," Oyer said, referring to himself. "1972, Lafayette High School was going to be opened up and this gentleman -- maybe that's not what others would say, but i don't care -- decided to go up and go through that school."

"I saw this partition, and I said "What is that?"Oyer said. He said he was told the partitions were made to adjust the size of classrooms.   "Why am I mentioning it? They want to make the fourth middle school like that with partitions in it to adjust the size of the classrooms State of the art?That was the state of 1972." A few audience members started to chuckle.

 "I got to tell you, I've been around this town, and I've asked a few people who are graduates not to mention my two sons, do  they want to do this again?  Cut the purse strings. I get a little testy sometimes, but we're talking money here, maybe too much money."

 Ed Oyer has been to around 600 county meetings since 1973. On Tuesday night, the Board of Supervisors dedicated a plaque in his honor where he usually sits in the pews of the board room. Supervisors have come to respect him over his tenure as the unofficial dean of public comment in James City County for his candid views, occasional criticism and mastering of policy.
Oyer has been in poor health recently, and has not been able to attend Board of Supervisors meetings for several weeks.
Supervisors left the dais to come and greet Oyer during the meeting, Supervisor Kevin Onizuk even snapped a photo as he spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting
"When I was 11 years old in 1973 Mr. Oyer first came to this board. He has always watched out for our military, and has advised us when military partners were moving back and forth," Board Chairman Michael Hipple said. "Even if a member didn't agree with what he was talking about, he was always respectful. He would also come back to you when he thought you were right," Hipple said.
Copyright 2016, The Virginia Gazette
Communications Coordinator