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October 27, 2016

Dear Shipmates,


The 42nd Annual AOM Reunion is now history. A good time was had by all even though many folks left early ahead of Hurricane Matthew. As soon as possible, photos of the Reunion will be posted on the web site.


If you didn't attend the reunion, the chances are that your dues are in arrears. PLEASE renew your dues with membership form.

It is with regret that we inform the readership the unexpected death of a Mineman comrade.

Summerville, SC - MNCM Otto George Smith, USN (Retired) "hero extraordinaire", 80, of Summerville, SC, died Wednesday, October 26, 2016. His memorial service will be held Saturday, October 29, 2016 in the J. Henry Stuhr, Inc., Northwoods Chapel, 2180 Greenridge Road at 3:00 pm. The family will receive friends Saturday from 2:00 pm until the time of the service. Otto was born March 23, 1936 in Alliance, NE, son of the late Otto John Smith and Belle Green Smith. Otto was a retired Master Chief in the US Navy of 27 1/2 years. His last duty station was Fleet and Mine Warfare Training Center. Charleston, SC
He loved Nebraska Football and was handy at fixing things. He and his wife delivered papers for the News and Courier after retiring from the Navy. He is survived by two daughters, Sherri Smith Tahaei of Summerville, SC and Amy Louise Smith Morton of Merritt Island, FL; four sons: Ricky Lee Smith of Summerville, SC, Mark (Elana) Smith of Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Scott Duane Smith of L'Anse, MI; Drs. Alan Wayne and Rebecca Smith of Greenville, SC; 18 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; brother, Evert W. (Judy) Smith of Alliance, NE; two sisters, Della Mae Smith Sanchez of Alliance, NE and Genevive Smith Wyatt of Lincoln, NE. He was preceded in death by his wife, Pamela Smith and his daughter, Cynthia Marie Smith. Memorials may be made to the American Cancer Society , 5900 Core Road Suite 504, North Charleston, SC 29406 and Cleft Palate Project Smile, 3641 Faculty Boulevard, Virginia Beach, VA 23453. A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our guestbook.

We are saddened by news of the death of Edward Walter Moriarty. John Loonam notified us of this loss which was received from   Jerry Rogers, via Facebook. He said he posted his passing on the AOM website last week.

Edward W. Moriarty of Williamsburg, Virginia passed away at home peacefully on October 19, 2016 after an eight year battle with lung cancer. He was surrounded by his beloved wife Debbie and daughter Katie.

Ed was born on May 6, 1952 in Albany, New York. Ed attended SUNY at Plattsburgh, New York and received a B.A. in Political Science. He enlisted in the United States Navy at the age of 19 and retired after 21 years of active service. Military decorations include: Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Fourth Navy Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Vietnam Service Medal. Upon retiring from Henrico County Sheriff Department after 11 years, Ed volunteered with the Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) Department. Ed was a member of the American legion Post 39 and Disabled Veterans (DAV) Chapter 34, Williamsburg, Virginia.

Ed was preceded in death by his daughter, Erin Cathleen Moriarty; father Dr. Daniel J. Moriarty; and mother Kathleen T. Moriarty. His is survived by his wife Debbie of 36 years; daughter Katie; brothers Daniel (Mary Frances), James (Kathleen), Michael (Eileen); and sister, Mary. He also had many cousins, nephews and nieces.

Ed was a very kind, caring husband and father. He loved his family, friends, service to country and of course, rock and roll! He loved NASCAR racing and was a longtime fan of the N.Y. Yankees and N.Y. Giants. Our family would sincerely like to thank all our many friends for their support and prayers. We would also like to thank the medical team that cared for Ed, especially Dr. Christina Prillaman, Pam Freeman and Lisa Brewer FNP. 

The family has asked in lieu of flowers, please send donations to the American Legion Post 39, P.O. Box 2782, Williamsburg, Virginia 23187, to Hospice House and Support Care, 4445 Powhatan Parkway, Williamsburg, Virginia 23188 or to a charity of your choosing. 

There will be a Mass for celebrating Ed's life on Friday, October 28th at 12:00 pm at St. Olaf Catholic Church, Norge, Virginia. The interment will be at Holy Cross Cemetery, Duxbury, Vermont. Online condolences for the family may be expressed at


Dick Schommer sent this recent photo of the "Retired Old Men Eating Out." It shows we are still active---well, some times. Seating left to right around the tables, John Muessig, Curtis Christian, J.B. Orr, Roger Adams, Bob Stancik, Al Bauer, and Dick Schommer. This picture was taken a couple months ago.



Dodged a bullet?

Just got out of a local hospital today,with a "stent" in my heart's left ventricle that was 75 % blocked. Too many hamburgers, steaks & bacon, per chance?
After a 1-mile moderate hike out along the rim of Savage Gulf, sometimes called the Grand Canyon of the East, last Tuesday AM, I had a hard time making it back to the vehicle.
On Friday AM, I went to a Dr's office where a nurse routinely checked my pulse. I could hardy believe it when she asked, "Did you know you have an irregular heartbeat?"
The worried doc sent me across the street to the ER. Over the next two days I had blood pressure readings as high as 217, but with pulse rates as low as 45 & 51.
At a different hospital, right before they sent me down for the cardiac procedure my blood pressure reading was 156 over 105. Yikes. 
So, for my own sake, my diet & exercise program will be changed forever.


Don DeCrona, one of our senior members, recently provided a report on the U.S. Navy pay structure and rating badges. This is Part III of a series.

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.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Chief Petty Officer Ratings on April 1, 1893
Seaman Branch
Chief Master-at-Arms
Chief Boatswain's Mate
Chief Quartermaster
Chief Gunner's Mate
Artificer Branch
 (Skilled craftsman)
Chief Machinist
Chief Carpenter's Mate
Special Branch
Chief Yeoman
Apothecary (pharmacist or druggist)
Band Masters

Don Jones relates the story of former Mineman Berry L. Cannon 1935-1969 who was with the Sealab deep sea project and died one day in 600 ft. of seawater. His dive partner that day was the young man behind him. Cannon's death had repercussions; the Sealab project was cancelled and an E-8 mineman was forced to retire. A book titled, "Death of an Aquanaut" was written about Cannon's death. 
Berry Louis Cannon (March 22, 1935 - February 17, 1969) was an American aquanaut who served on the SEALAB II and III projects of the U.S. Navy. Cannon died of carbon dioxide poisoning while attempting to repair SEALAB III. It was later found that his diving rig's baralyme canister, which should have absorbed the carbon dioxide Cannon exhaled, was empty.
Born March 22, 1935, Cannon grew up in Williston, Florida, (home of Dan Priest, former POinC of Azuma Mine Shop) where he was raised by his grandmother. He was captain of his high school football team and graduated from Crystal River High School in Citrus County, FL. Cannon joined the United States Navy after high school and served for four years, becoming a Mineman Second Class. He served at one time at the Hawthorne Naval Ammunition Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada, where he was on the boxing team. Cannon graduated from the University of Florida in 1962 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Engineering.
I was on the boxing team with Cannon at NAD, Hawthorne & he was in my corner at a boxing smoker at NAS, Fallon, Nevada on July 4, 1954. The ring was set-up on the rodeo grounds at Fallon. Cannon didn't fight that night when the Hawthorne boxers won all the matches except a split decision where one of our Marines lost a close one. I won by a 2nd round TKO & Jim Dodd won by decision. Cannon, myself & Jim Dodd would get up at 4:30 AM and run uphill to the Marine Guard Tower at the foot of Mt. Grant and back. Training at high altitude left us with good cardio. Cannon, myself, Roy Dayton, who had a car, and Ralph Padgett went to Yosemite NP over a weekend. On a pee-break, a jack rabbit ran away from us, but Cannon threw a rock that killed the rabbit and we all walked over & looked down at the dead rabbit & took it as a bad omen. But it was a fun trip and on the way back the radio was blaring and we all sang over and over, The Happy Wanderer. "I love to go a-wandering, Along the mountain track, And as I go, I love to sing, ... Join my happy song!" I wave my hat to all I meet,
 Don Jones



Respectfully submitted,
Derick S. Hartshorn
Communications Coordinator