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July 08, 2014

Dear Shipmates,


Not much in the way of news seems to happen during the doldrums of summer. If anyone has anything to share with fellow Minemen, please let me know and I'll be happy to pass it on. 




 The Fleet Reserve Assn. reports the death of MNCS Richard A. Woodson, who was a member of Branch 147, Sanford FL. Every time that we learn of a death through FRA magazine, I called FRA for additional details. Again, nothing has been forthcoming. I have used every resource at my disposal but have been unable to determine which Richard Woodson they list or which one appears in the FRA magazine.


Bob Hart wrote me the following: 


Gentlemen, If my memory serves, there was a Dick Woodson in Mine Project 4, but I don't remember when. I went back to my 1954 Project 4 picture but Woodson wasn't there. It may have been when I came back to Project 4 after my tour in Rota. I also checked my photos from Mildenhall in 1962. But no luck.  The name is very familiar. Sorry I can't help. --Bob


I searched the local funeral homes and found this:


WOODSON Sr., Richard A., 81, of Christmas, died Friday, December 6, 2013. Arrangements by Ammen Family Cremation and Funeral Care, Titusville. Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Dec. 18, 2013
They had no record of Senior Chief Woodson. If anyone can provide additional information so that we may be able to honor our shipmate, please contact me.



Our dear friend, mover and shaker, Toby Horn, has proposed that AOM has gone long enough without a flag to best represent our organization.




As a strong supporter of symbolism and organizational identity, I fully support the goal and implementation of Toby's proposal to adopt an "official" AOM flag. Toby writes:


    • Sirs and Madame:  
    • Eons ago (well, maybe six or seven years, anyhow) there was a question about having a dedicated AOM flag for presentation at out dinner meeting or any other appropriate function.  As I recall, several ideas were floated, but I don't know that any one was adopted.  Anyhow, to cut to the chase, since none was officially adopted and/or purchased,  I have contracted to have a flag made (which I will personally pay for) of the design I had submitted for use as a 'display' flag at out functions.  The design is based on the BRAVO flag, which is the flag that most of us lived under much of the time as it was flown to signal on-going explosives operations.  I have attached copies of the 'artist' rendering for the flag and for the first 'location' ribbon (in lieu of 'battle') which will be attached at the masthead of the flag.  I selected NSMW Yorktown, VA as the first 'location' ribbon, since that is where most of us MNs came from.  It will be Navy blue with white letters instead of the gold letters as shown.  Both the flag and ribbon will be professionally made by Carolina Flag and Banner here in Charleston and delivered in time for our reunion this year.  I will also purchase the flag pole and stand.  On-going purchase of other ribbons by an individual can be made if desired, and cost will be according to length (i.e., number of letters used).  Color of ribbon and letters is at the discretion of the buyer.  For info, the NSMW ribbon cost $66.00, but I'll write this off as a 501.c.3 contribution.  I intend to purchase one each year - haven't decided on next one, but am tinkering with KWESTEVDET Key West, FL or BUORD Washington, DC.  If you know of anyone wishing to purchase a 'location' ribbon honoring a place where they served as an MN, it can be purchased via Mr. Jason Brooke, Carolina Flag and Banner, 1375 Ashley River Road, Charleston, SC 29407.  Phone number is 843-769-4141 or there is an 800-544-8535 number for members from 'off'.  Please mention that it is for the AOM Flag and let Jason know the name and specific colors (ribbon and letters) you want.  I intend to have the flag on display at my house for the pre-reunion cocktail party, and I will present it to the AOM on the eve of the dinner meeting.  I do not intend that this usurp any effort by the BOD to adopt an official AOM flag -only to provide a display flag to memorialize places where we have served in the mine warfare capacity - some of which no longer exist.  Thanks for your understanding in advance.  Toby     P.S. - I worked with our floating mine emblem, both as an applique and with embroidery, but the figure does not directly transpose from front to back of a flag (i.e., mirror image) and would be very costly to produce. 
Please feel free to submit any comments or suggestions, regarding this topic. I will be more than happy to echo your responses to this forum.  --DSH




From time to time, I am asked by MINEMAN NEWS readers to publish experiences, happenings or events that they choose to share with fellow Minemen. This time, my close personal friend, Joe Beetar has asked me to include a couple of events that pervade his memory after more than 50 years.


Joe writes: 


 Here are two stories, which I believe deserve to be in Bill Fortner's "Rogues, Rascals, and Renegades" column. Should you decide to publish these, I ask that NO edits are to be made.




It was the summer of 1964 in Charleston, SC and two shipmates (shopmates?) with their families and I headed to Lake Moultrie where there was a private beach for Navy personnel.  We were planning to have a picnic and enjoy the water and fresh air.


Right after lunch, and many frosty libations later, we rented a speedboat and took a tour of the lake.  Off to the left we noticed a bunch of skinny poles sticking up out of the water, and decided to try to grab them - like the brass ring on the merry-go-round.   I was perched up on the bow of the boat and the "coxswain" proceeded to enter the (minefield) for me to grab the sticks.  As I recall, we planned to 'keep score' with the first-place award was for the winner to chug down as many frosty libations as he could, but unfortunately, circumstances (beyond our control?) intervened.  Cox swerved the boat from side to side and, eventually, I fell off the boat into the lake.  The boat passed right over me, but miraculously, the spinning prop missed me.  Afterwards, I was extremely grateful the boat wasn't a two-outboard-engine craft!  The boat came back to pick me up and we then heard whistles blowing.  We looked over to the beach and we were shocked to find two Shore Patrolmen waving us in.


We disembarked and they proceeded to chew us out.  It seemed that the poles were attached to fish traps that the State Fish & Wildlife Service was using to study the fish in the lake.  There was a sign warning boaters to keep away, but we didn't (or couldn't) see it.


They put all three of us on report and we stood Captain's Mast before Lt. Ed Sprecher.  He chewed us out, and with the exception of confinement to quarters for one week, he didn't administer any non-Judicial punishment.  And I'm still alive to tell the story!




It was a Saturday night in the summer of 1964 in Charleston, SC and MN2 Daniels and I took the bus downtown to see the James Bond movie, Goldfinger.  Afterwards, we had a few cocktails, and then headed back to the base.  The next morning we were sleeping off the cocktails and some of the guys came into our berthing space to wake us up.  They asked what we'd done the night before and I told them.  Then from the bottom bunk - eyes still closed - Daniels announced:  "There was some broad in the movie named Pussy; I think her first name was Lotsa." (For those who have never watched this Academy-Award-winner, the 'broad's' character's name was "Pussy Galore!)








For many years, I have kept in contact with Jorgen Lorenzen, an acknowledged hero of the Danish resistance during WWII. His colorful life included graduation from the School of Mine Warfare in Yorktown, VA. He last attended the 2010 AOM reunion in Yorktown. 


I would like to share the letter he recently sent me, in his words, without any editing:


Dear Derick,


Be sure that all members of the AOM is in my thoughts and time and proud of be HO.


The Google system is filled up with photos documentation of my life also in my time with the USN. I do know that there will be much of my life in the US Google. Try Please to verify?.


When I do travel today I'm representing myself - no one think that the old man is still alive. There is so few left from the real active fighting from the last war.


Last week I went through a complete surgery on a hospital. I have had problems with breathing under strain - working too much - rest 5 minute - - I'm ready again. I wanted to be sure that there was no other reason for my problems.


My birthday year is not correct turned out to be diagnose. What do you expect for a person closing up to 90 year of age - no one at your age is doing so much work - that ought to be impossible - was the given answer.


Up to I got the answer I just pile up all what came to me of mail and other request. Thought my last days was closing up.


Travelling I have my mobile phone on me through the hole 24 hours as my safety line.

I have inserted my trip to Jutland for the 150-year battle at Dybbol - close to Soenderborg.


Denmark lost the battle against the Austrian and Prussian army the 18 of April 1864. We lost a good bit of Denmark. After that war.


In went to  Mindelunden Memorial Park for Danes killed by the Germans during the last war - the 4th of May--Our freedom day. There is not more chairs at the graves. All the old veterans have passed away for years ago - not even considered a veteran. We few left have to be a mistake.


So 2 ladies wanted to bring a chair up to all the graves.  The guard saw me - with Lorenzen all is possible he said."I do have help in the house 3 hour every second week and in garden on request."


I love my house and garden so I do hope to stay here as my last stop. Time will show it.


Try to give me a word about my photo cavalcade. As said I was representing myself as I have done so through many years. My calendar is pretty much filled up with work that I have to work with. There is few days - off duty. When the day turn up - it's not more a day off duty. My doctor knows me very well. Request me to sit down some hours in the sun to do nothing. That I try.


At least my work keeps me young. No one believe me when I'm telling them that I will just have good a year to pass 90 - if the day will turn up for me.  Sometimes I worry about myself - and try to slow down. I really think to do it. No luck.


Dear Derick - I do know that you have not chance to read my enclosure - in between there might be a change to identify me in the material. A great part of the photos is of the royal family included my Queen of Denmark.


Try Google - you might identity some of your material. I have never inserted anything of what you might find on Google of the person Jorgen Strange Lorenzen.

My mail is just to let you know that I'm still alive.


I's so sad to read about all my old friends in the AOM that have passed away.

I myself have nearly no-one of old friends around me more. Just tell my AOM members that I still alive. Few know me anymore. 


All the best from Jorgen




To those who know Jorgen, or have heard of his remarkable career, this poignant letter should serve as a reminder who those who hold dear, their concept of patriotism, regardless of the country they hold in esteem. Jorgen has occupied a prominent place on our Mineman family and has an AOM presence. In order to learn more of him and his life story, please visit his web site




 Any news of interest to Minemen will be published here. Please send me anything that you would like to share with fellow shipmates.



Respectfully submitted.


Derick S. Hartshorn
Communications Coordinator