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July 11, 2013

Dear Shipmates,


 AOM has taken a bold step forward in communicating with its members. Between the MINEMAN NEWS, the DASHPOT and the  official AOM web page, few naval organizations have utilized printed and electronic resources to keep their members informed. We shall continue to keep our members informed about  activities within the Mine Force and the fleet Navy .


Saying that, I would like to make aware all who receive this newsletter that there are changes ahead. In the near future, we will be forced to confine our communications strictly to AOM members. Due to communication costs, we need to concentrate our efforts toward our dues-paying members. For that reason, we are urging those of you who have allowed your membership to lapse, or those who have yet to take advantage of AOM membership, to send in your dues. To determine your qualification for membership, this web site will provide that criteria. WE WANT YOU to affiliate with this unique organization. Your dues will support a scholarship program that has already allowed hundreds of college-bound students to further their education.  Our annual reunions, designed to offer a geographic balance to both coasts, offer a camaraderie seldom found in other naval gatherings. AOM merchandise offers members an opportunity to identify with like-minded minemen. We are an organization that provides an opportunity to identify with the pride that comes from belonging to an association that is more of a family than just a list of membership numbers.


MINEMAN NEWS is now equipped to illustrate this newsletter in a way that was not possible until now.  The AOM President, Gary Cleland and the Board of Directors approved an option allowing for almost unlimited illustrations. I will attempt to justify that additional expenditure.


Without input from members, this newsletter would be a notification of deaths and sicknesses and little more.  For that reason, we solicit your input; pictures, news, anecdotes--anything you think your fellow minemen would enjoy learning. The DASHPOT is our quarterly journal. It serves as a permanent record of AOM and fleet happenings.  The MINEMAN NEWS serves as a timely supplement to provide news and happenings that may or may not be appropriate for the DASHPOT. 

All navy guys have a little "bird farm" blood in their veins.  This event is shown in several videos and, if you crank up the sound, it will raise the hair on the back of your neck. Check these videos.


 X-47B drone after arrested landing


Iron Men In Wooden Boats 

The 1950 Chinnampo Sweep and the 1951 Sin Do Island Invasion of North Korea was a dramatic turning point in the war. It involved U.S. Navy Small Boat Minesweeping. This book and web site features the fascinating activities, before and after the Korean War, from 1944 to 1970.


This web site, which was given to me by our friend, Don Jones, has a nearly complete story and reference guide to Minesweeping during the Korean War, including the story of COMMINRON3 formed in Sasebo.




According to the author of the book, Wesley "Dutch" Schultz, BMC WWII & Korea,  author of the book, he "compiled this collection of photographs, posters, and cartoons and put them to music trying to show publishers that Iron Men In Wooden Boats can be enriched with information not normally included in books."


Please take time to visit this web site and leave a comment. 


Here's the video.


LCDR Harold Elston

Of particular interest to me was a video referencing the mine sweeping activities of LCDR Harold Elston, now deceased. Harold was a native of Guthrie, Oklahoma. One of the most pleasant individuals I have ever met, he was my instructor at Yorktown and was in charge of Stock Control on Azuma Island, in Yokosuka, when I was there in the 1950's. We were in e-mail contact until his untimely death in 2008. He wrote a narrative about his experiences which can be found at this web site



Harold received the Bronze Star for his bravery during the Korean War. An article written by our friend, Bill Roberts can be found in the  Winter-2010 issue of the DASHPOT. Please visit this web site to learn more about this remarkable man. 



AOM Board of Directors member, Eddie Atkins has submitted this article about the CHAMP  (Counter-electronics High-powered Advanced Missile Project) Program by Boeing and the U.S. Navy.




 This program consists of  a missile with the ability to destroy enemy electrical and data systems without affecting human resources. Please take this opportunity to view this video



Iranian Mine Target: USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) 

Ron Swart shares with us the heroic story of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) and her CO, Capt. Paul X. Rinn who commanded the ship when she struck an Iranian mine in April 1988. Addressing the Surface Navy Association (SNA), he talks about the heroism of individual sailors who were instrumental in saving  the ship. 


This is one of the most riveting stories I have ever heard from a naval officer and is well worth the time it takes to listen to the story as told by the skipper


 For a more complete story, you can read, 

No Higher Honor, Saving the USS Samuel B. Roberts in the Persian Gulf,

by Bradley Peniston, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland:  copyright 2006.  The book is more comprehensive than the personal details of the incidents Capt. Rinn relates to the SNA.  



 The story was also presented on the History Channel in the story entitled:  Surviving a Minefield: The USS Samuel B. Roberts



-- Reunion coordinator, Toby Horn is in the process of inviting a speaker for the Reunion dinner.



Knowing Toby, we can expect a dynamic representative from the Mine Force community. News to follow.




-- The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce held its 2013 Salute to the Military this week,  June 28, 2013, honoring several local service personnel and civilians for their efforts. One of the announced honorees was:


Active Duty Service Person of the Year: Mineman Second Class (Surface Warfare) Noah D. Kalemkiewicz, U.S. Navy.


AOM would like to offer its congratulations to Petty Officer Kalemkiewicz for his service and for his performance of excellence to the Navy and to the Mine Force.




If you have any news that you would like to share with fellow minemen, please send it to me. Also, if you have any photos that we would be interested in, send them along. They will be posted and you will get full credit.



Respectfully submitted,




 Derick S. Hartshorn