From: Association of Minemen <>


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December 18, 2015
Dear Shipmates,


Another year is about to be behind us. A new year is on the way. May each and every AOM shipmate and their families have a blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year. Hopefully, all that read this newsletter will be able to be with us in Yorktown for our 42nd annual AOM Reunion in October, 2016.

Recently, John Loonam notified me of a shipmate's passing in the Fleet Reserve magazine. It listed only the following: MNC John P Cooper, Branch 159, Houston TX (Richmond TX). 

Nobody, it seemed, knew John. I contacted the Editor of FRM and he responded to my request for more information with the following:

"I'm sorry, but we have nothing on Shipmate Cooper.  He was a member of FRA Branch 159 but lived in Canton, TX near Dallas so he never attended any of our meetings and we never heard from him.  FRA National Headquarters is the ones who notified us of his death and I have not been able to find an obituary or any information on next of kin."

I exhausted my sources on the Internet and in newspapers. I asked around and found one shipmate who was familiar with John Cooper. This comes from my good friend B.E. "Rebb" Rebbetoy:

"Upon graduation from MN 'A' school (Mar 1956), Hank Villwock and I got stationed at the Mine Shop, Naval Station Key West (not to be confused with Mine Evaluation Center, Key West. The LPO (MN1) of the Mine Shop was John Cooper, former UDT and had changed his rate to Mineman.  Some 3 or 4 months after reporting there, the shop was shut down and all us unlucky MN's got put in the Torpedo Shop and assigned all the nasty jobs they could find.  They just didn't like the shore duty MN's.  I don't recall what happened to Cooper, as he didn't come to the Torpedo Shop with the rest of us, so he was the lucky one and I assume he got orders to better duty.  I don't recall is he ever was EOD qualified.

I got a reply from an EOD Shipmate who confirmed that John P. Cooper that you were in question about is in fact the same one that both he and I knew.  He was referred to as J.P. and he was also EOD besides UDT.  What was confusing it the date of his UDT-12 duty of 1951 to 1957.  He was LPO of the Mine Shop (MK10-3 Drill Mines) there in Naval Station Key West in April of 1956 when I reported aboard.  As I said, don't know what happened to him after the Mine Shop was suddenly shutdown.  He had been a BM before changing to MN.  He was one heck of a good man and was a lot of fun to be around.  Everyone in the mine ship liked him.

For the short period of time that I had the opportunity to work for Cooper, he was one great guy to work for.  In my EOD career, I have found that any EOD, UDT, or SEAL that I have had to opportunity to know of work with have always had the same type personality as that of Cooper.  He just didn't lead as would the typical Mineman type.  I think that anyone who knew him will say the same."

If anyone who knew Chief Cooper can add to this, please notify me.


CDR Gary Cline, USN(Ret) FOLLY BEACH - On November 30, 2015, Commander Gary K. Cline, USN (Ret.), 77, the quintessential raconteur, whose wanderlust and thirty-year military career included sailing nearly every one of the world's oceans and seas, who held court in ports-of-call across the globe, who lived in six countries but chose Folly Beach, SC for his home, has, after a long illness, made his final journey. Born October 19, 1938 in the small mid-west city of Coldwater, Kansas, young Gary was known around town as a mischievous, yet amiable entrepreneur, who loved listening to the exploits of veterans, and dreamed of travel to exotic places. 

Gary Cline was the son of life-long Coldwater residents Raymond E. and Mary Waneta (Tucker) Cline, and grandson of James M. and Minerva F. (Metzker) Cline and Harvey Monroe and Eva Louise (Cummings) Tucker, all deceased. He is survived by his wife of 41 years, the former Sylvia Hindle of the United Kingdom; sister Rebecca Setterstrom (John) of Emporia, KS; son, Stephen M. Cline (Carol); grandson, Jacob Cline (Brooke); granddaughter, Sydney J. Cline; Godson, Jacob Uriccio; and several nephews and nieces. 
Gary Cline's remarkable experience of serving in three military branches: Air Force, Army, and Navy- holding 13 ranks from Airman Recruit through Navy Commander-is chronicled in his candid and engaging memoir, "Tours of Duty". After completing one college year with the Air Force National Guard, he enlisted in the Army in 1959. He trained as a helicopter mechanic before selection to flight school. As a Warrant Officer, he flew H-21 cargo helicopters. He was one of four pilots who completed a record 32-day cross-country flight from Corpus Christi, Texas to Fort Richardson, Alaska. 

After six years with the Army, he graduated from the University of Nebraska, Omaha and subsequently enrolled in US Navy Officer Candidate School. Gary Cline saw duty as navigator aboard the Navy tanker, USS Mispillion, making several deployments to Southeast Asia. His next tour was as Executive Officer aboard the minesweeper USS Woodpecker, home ported in Sasebo, Japan. Following orders took him to Charleston, SC, where he was the Chief Engineer aboard the USS Vesole. His first Command was Captain of the USS Beacon, a patrol gunship home ported in Little Creek, Virginia. The Beacon was deployed to the Caribbean to protect shipping in the vicinity of Cuba. In 1973, he was assigned as an Exchange Officer with the Royal Australian Navy, serving with the Australian Mine Warfare and Patrol Boat Forces, headquartered in Sydney Harbor. 
After a two-year stateside deployment at the Surface Force Pacific in San Diego, he was given a shore command: Commanding Officer, Military Sealift Command, in Pusan, Korea. Gary Cline was the Operations Officer for Naval Station and Naval Base Guantanamo Bay Cuba, before returning to Charleston for a tour as Chief Staff Officer of the Mobile Mine Assembly Group. He also served in the Office of Defense Representative, Pakistan, attached to the American Embassy in the capital city, Islamabad, during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Pakistan President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq awarded him the "Sitara-I-Imtiaz" (Star of Excellence), the highest medal awarded to foreigners. He is the first US Naval officer to receive this recognition. After completing a distinguished military career, Gary, with Sylvia, established a successful import business. In 2001 they retired, but continued to travel the world, mainly on passenger cruise ships. 
He excelled at carpentry, making useful items until commandeered by neighborhood children to make toys! He enjoyed Dixieland Jazz and found an interest in antique cars. His first entry at the Charleston British Car Club Day was an Austin Seven, which won 'Best in Show.' Gary Cline had a great regard for the Catholic missionaries he encountered in his travels, particularly the Salesians who operate orphanages around the world. He was impressed with the manner in which they live simply among the people and provide job training for the young adults. 

In 2006, the Clines entered full communion with the Catholic Church, becoming faithful members of Our Lady of Good Counsel on Folly Beach. For the past 20 years, he endured treatments for several kinds of cancer. Special thanks must be made to the Charleston medical community who cared for him during his multiple procedures. Dr. Milton Costa, his longtime GP, was especially attentive over the years and thought of as a friend. Dr. Arthur Smith and his team, including Tina Bunke at the MUSC pain clinic, made the visits almost 'pleasurable.' Also Dr. Harry Drabkin, Stacy Stewart, and the oncology team at MUSC were equally supportive, as was Dr. Joel Cook in MUSC dermatology. Drs. Lee Leddy, Zeke Walton, and Barrett Willis at MUSC will also be remembered with gratitude. The lab techs and valets at Hollings Cancer Center contributed greatly to making the many visits less stressful, and we thank them all. 
Gary Cline embodied the American spirit. He was generous, gregarious, pragmatic and prudent. He treasured the memories of his 'old buddies', schoolmates, and now will be spinning yarns with the many friends who are hid with him in 'death's dateless night.' 'To the world he was just one person, but to his family he was the whole world.' The funeral Mass for Commander Gary K. Cline will be held at Our Lady of Good Counsel, 56 Center Street, Folly Beach, SC on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 11 a.m., followed by a reception at Fr. Kelly Hall, 106 West Hudson, Folly Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations are kindly referred to Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, (OLGC) P.O. Box 1257, Folly Beach, SC 29439; or Salesian Missions, 2 Lefevre Lane, New Rochelle, NY 10801-5710. Visit our guestbook at [Published in Charleston Post & Courier on Dec. 14, 2015]
A Guest Book has been provided for those choosing to leave a message.
A lot of folks don't have Facebook so I will take the liberty of re-posting the latest news from our good friend, Tom Hoffman. He writes to say that things don't seem quite right on the insides. He writes:
"Wednesday my cancer doctor is going inside to remove another growth that he could not visually say it was cancer. I started taking shots of Enoxaparin twice a day this morning before surgery Wednesday. I ask for your thoughts and prayers that the growth is not cancer." (Dec 13)
"I am home from U of M cancer surgery. The doctor told Marta he resected/biopsied 2 areas. He said the kidneys looked good and have to wait about a week for pathology report. I spent about 4 hours in the recovery room. Had 3 liters of fluid pumped into me, 3 large cups of water and a can of Vernors. Had to stop 7 times on way home for relief. Now the big wait for pathology. Want to thank all for thoughts and prayers. The long wait for the pathology results is important. Thoughts & Prayers requested." (Dec 16)

Should you choose to offer thoughts and prayers, Tom can be found on Facebook under "Thomas Hoffman." 
E-mails will reach Tom at

MINWARA recently published an eye-opening article of particular interest to Minemen. This was forwarded to us by our friend, Ron Swart. The article was written by Capt. Scott Burleson, the speaker at our 2012 AOM Reunion in Panama City, Florida. His article was published in INSIDEFENSE, 17 December 2015.

 Deliberations over the Navy's fiscal year 2018 budget will include what one official sees as a key decision point in the service possibly pushing more money toward offensive mining capabilities.
The Navy has only just started to develop its five-year spending plan for FY-18, referred to as the program objective memorandum (POM). As the service considers what and what not include in POM-18 over the next year, officials will likely grapple with whether to build a dedicated funding stream for a new offensive mining program, according to Capt. Scott Burleson, director of maritime mining programs (N952H).
"To get where we're going, I see the upcoming discussions and our deliberations with POM-18 as being a critical decision point in that longer term, advanced mining program of record," he said during a Nov. 3 industry day organized by the Mine Warfare Association in Arlington, VA.
The majority of the service's focus in the mining realm in recent years has been on developing and fielding countermeasures to defeat enemy explosives. At the same time, the Navy has demilitarized many of its legacy offensive mining systems. What the service has left, according to Burleson, are a suite of shallow-water explosives, called "Quickstrike" mines, most of which are delivered using aircraft. Older deep-water mines, meanwhile, have been retired.
A recently completed "Maritime Mining" analysis of alternatives recommended the service regain its mining capabilities in mid- and deep-water regions, according to Burleson.
"That's threat-based," he said. "It's looking at the areas that we're operating in and wanting to make sure we have a credible capability to go for that."
According to Burleson, increasing offensive mining capabilities is favored within the defense secretary's office. He said the next step is now getting Navy leadership onboard.
"We're aligned right now where we've got an OSD push-down, an interest in what mining capabilities can bring to the table, but we've really got to get Navy interest," Burleson said. A program of record, he added, would involve integrating mining capabilities into the various platforms the Navy plans to field in the coming years.
While a major program of record is not in place, the service allocated $13.2 million in FY-16 for its Quickstrike mine program, which includes a number of nascent efforts aimed at advancing mining technology.
The Navy has just started to develop the Clandestine Delivered Mine, which is a modified MK-67 submarine-launched mobile mine meant to be delivered using an unmanned undersea vehicle. Burleson said the Navy successfully launched an inert shape representing the CDM from the service's Large Displacement Unmanned Undersea Vehicle Innovative Naval Prototype in 2014.
The Navy is also developing a new Target Detection Device (TDD) MK-71, described in budget documents "software-programmable device capable of being programmed to optimize detection of new threats."
In addition, Burleson said that the service also recently started to develop a way to detonate the mines using remote control. The capability would be integrated into the TDD-71 device as part of the CDM, he added.
A North Carolina neighbor of mine, Hawk Lindley of Marion, NC, recently inquired if I was aware of the passing of David "Higgy" Higgins. I have not been able to find any mention of his passing. If anyone knows otherwise, please contact me.

Also, in my mail, I received a note from Phil Smith who writes:
I also would like to be in touch with former shipmates - Hawthorne 1954, Yokosuka 1955-56. where I ran the Test Set Repair Shop and was known as "Prof" and by my initials, "PeeDee" -- there were four "Smiths" in the Ship's Company then. 

Phil Smith, ex-MN1, Cookeville, TN 38501.
Telephone 931-526-6194, email at <>

While the Mystery Minemen is known to one and all, his magnificent steed is less well know. About him, he writes:

"He never rode in the Derby, Preakness, or the Breeders Cup. This photo was taken while this MN3 was home on leave in the summer of 1960 as he reverted, for a little while, back to his old fun things to do. He was getting ready to take her around the county fair track a couple of times and then giving her a good blowout for the last 3/8 mile or so. This little mare went on to the track in Wheeling, WV where she wasn't a great horse but her winnings did pay for her oats!!"
Our mystery Mineman is Cecil H. Martin. Nobody got the right answer.

But wait a minute, a last minute news flash provides details about an unexpected nighttime event that recently occurred "in" the Martin
Cecil writes:

"An under-the-influence "Jack-ass" parked his red pick-up in our spare bedroom and bath last night at about 2200. We are both OK but our house is classified as uninhabitable because of the damage he caused. As you can see in the photo the truck was into the house up to the windshield. You can see where he didn't hit the brakes in about 75 yards as he took out the neighbors trees. He tried to back out of the house and drive off but that didn't work (left the front coil spring, bumper and other parts in the bedroom when the wrecker pulled the truck out) so he tried to run away but was caught by the police and hauled to jail. He was un-injured so no trip to the hospital. We had just gone to bed in our bedroom, which is at the other side of the house, and were just about asleep when the, what sounded to be, an enormous explosion blasted us out of bed. I thought it was a gas explosion until I saw the spare bedroom door blown off and the bathtub jammed into the closet across the hall. We are not happy campers today but will get through it!! We're at our Daughter's house now which is about 3 miles away.  --Cecil"