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August 28, 2014

Dear Shipmates,


The AOM 40th Reunion will soon be upon us and the final round of fine-tuning is taking place as we speak. Up-to-date details have been added to the Reunion web site and any additional news will be added there.






In a previous newsletter, Toby Horn recently proposed that we adopt a flag best suited to our organization. Comments thus far have given overwhelming support for this tangible symbol of our AOM identity. Toby has taken this one step farther.



Toby has proposed that ribbons be made available so that members can remember favorite places of duty by purchasing a 'streamer' to hang with the flag. "This is not to be construed as being the designated AOM flag." he states.  " There was a challenge call for an official AOM flag design many years ago, but no known action was taken.  This battle flag design is simply the BRAVO flag (used to be BAKER, back in the 'Rocks and Shoals' era), which was always flown over our mine facilities when we were working with explosives.  It was an almost daily symbol that 'Minemen were present'.  I thought it would be nice to have a 'Minemen are present' flag at our annual reunions.  The streamers/ribbons are always a compliment to any official 'battle flag' - indicating various campaigns.  Our streamers will be an indication of where we - as individuals - performed our service."  Toby has also purchased the first streamer to go with the flag.  As seen in the photo, he selected the first one to be NSMW Yorktown - the origin for most of the SSM (straight-stick Minemen).  He intends to purchase a new one each year, stating, "Heck, I can write it off as a 501(c)(3) donation."  Members are invited to purchase their own streamer via Carolina Flag & Banner (in the interest of compatibility) , which can be any color of ribbon and letters.  These are professionally done, so cost is approximately $60-70 depending on number of letters.  If you want one, call Jason Brooke at CF&B at 800-544-8535.  Be sure to tell him it is for the AOM Battle Flag. 


One more thing..........


For many previous dinner meetings we always awarded a door prize.  It used to be a framed copy of Giles' 'Mining the Duck Pond' book cover, but I would like to propose a new slant for your consideration.  



How about the door prize being a 'campaign' streamer of the winners choosing at a cost of up to $60.00.  As would be explained when the flag is introduced, the streamer would have to relate to the Mine Force.  The AOM would foot the $60 coast, but I will personally pick up any addition cost each year if the streamer runs over the $60 price (due to # of letters, etc.).  This is only a suggestion.  I will also have the mine model at the reunion for display, as well as the MK6 and 'been there' placards.  Thanks, Toby 



Oh, one more thing.......


 Our AOM president, Gary Cleland has offered to supply two door prizes. They consist of two framed Gile's cartoons ("Mining the Duck Pond") for the auction,  one "regular size" one a "larger size," his donation to the scholarship auction effort.  

 Many thanks to Gary for his generosity. Gary will be driving from San Diego for the reunion. Don't burn yourself out, Gary--and drive safely!



Some old-timers may remember duty on Azuma, back in the early '50s. This was back when Chuck Tabor and Chin Sing gave the Japanese an early taste of who these 'boy-san' really were. Back then John Cushman was the MA at barracks I. Some folks may remember John, as well as Harold Christensen, Richard Grog (wide receiver for the Yokosuka Seahawks), Pat Carol, Gimarino, Henderson, Osborn, McNulty, Callahan and others. Their photos can be found at this page



John Cushman (1954 and 1957)

It has indeed been a long time. John Cushman, of So. Portland, Maine, served one tour of duty and went on to become a trooper with the Maine State Police. He died of a massive heart attack while serving in that capacity on June 2, 1958.

 A close friend of his, Ted Short, served with John and is a retired Maine State Trooper. John Cushman and Ted's father were very good friends and, sadly, John has been lost in the history of the Maine State Police. Ted is trying to put an article together to bring him back.

  On the day John died he had been at an accident scene, directing traffic. He had gone some time without water or food and at the end of his shift he and my father in law stopped by my father-in-law's house for a snack. John went home and died later that night.

 If anyone who served with John recalls details or bits of information about him that they care to relate, please write Theodor Short at <> or to me and I will relay it on to Ted.  






For the early weekend arrivals, Toby and Janie are planning a cocktail party at their home on Sunday, October 5th, starting at 1700. Beer and wine will be available along with cocktails, as well as some delicious "Southern Cuisine" finger foods available for the hungry. Weather permitting, there will be an outside oyster table for those bi-valve imbibers. There will be charts available at the hotel giving driving directions to their home on James Island. For planning purposes, Toby would like you to call (843) 762-3552 or email him at <> to help them plan and let them know that you are coming, especially if you have transportation needs.




Successful candidates for Mineman of the Year for 2014 have yet to be selected. They will be announced at the reunion. The procedure for making nominations, as directed by COMOMAG, is as follows:



SUBJ/ECT: AOM MINEMAN OF THE YEAR request for nomination packages

(1) Since 1980, the Association of Mineman has supported and recognized sailors

contributions and tireless efforts toward mine warfare readiness by awarding
three Mineman (Sea, Ashore and Reserve) E6 and below, who best represent the
entire mineman rating.  In keeping with this time-honored tradition, commands
are encouraged to submit nomination packages to recognize sailors whose
contributions exemplify service with honor.


(2) Nomination packages should be in the following format:







1. copy of last two evaluations (PII information blacked out)

 2. 2012/2013 PRIMS results.

 3. Biography (narrative format, starting with date and place of birth, education, military service, history of assignments, personal awards and medals, immediate family members, ect.) limit to two typed written pages double spaced.


4. 5x7 color glossy photograph (2)(front full length, front waist up) plain background, service dress blues, uncovered.

 IRT ref (a), the following pertinent information is provided:

A. Name
B. Rate with warfare designator (if applicable)
C. Summary of all personal and professional achievements during 2014 justifying nomination.
D. Commanding Officer's endorsement.

(3) Nomination packages from all commands, active or reserve, must reach COMOMAG NLT 26 September 2014.  Submit packages electronically to MNCM Allen Alt (NIPR email):


(4) Final selections will be announced via naval msg from COMOMAG and recognized at the Annual Association of Mineman conference in October.


(5) Commands with Naval Reserve components are requested to facilitate reserve





Most of us are aware of the fact that the current U.S. Navy functions differently than the navy we old-timers served in. Without comment, here is just one such example:

 Destroyer CMC sacked after grabbing sailor by uniform


The command master chief of the Everett, Wash.-based destroyer USS Shoup (DDG-86) was fired Monday after being found guilty at captain's mast of assaulting a junior sailor.



The command master chief of the Everett, Wash.-based destroyer USS Shoup (DDG-86) was fired Monday after being found guilty at captain's mast of assaulting a junior sailor.

 Command Master Chief (SW) Rick A. Helwick was relieved of his duties Monday following a substantiated allegation that he grabbed a junior sailor by the uniform blouse because he was not wearing the proper uniform, according to a Navy statement.

 A Navy official confirmed Helwick was found to have committed assault, which falls under Article 128 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Naval Surface Forces Pacific spokeswoman Cmdr. Tamsen Reese confirmed that Helwick has been flown off of the ship, which is deployed to 5th Fleet, and will be temporarily reassigned to Destroyer Squadron 9 in Everett.

 Helwick's replacement has been chosen and is expected to arrive aboard Shoup in November, a Navy release said. It did not name the replacement; officials could not immediately provide a name.

He reported to Shoup as command master chief in June 2011, according to Navy personnel records.

 Helwick, 43, enlisted in April 1988 and previously served aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln; destroyers Stethem, McCampbell, Higgins and Benfold; cruisers Chancellorsville and Shiloh; and dock landing ship Comstock. He also served in shore assignments at Naval Weapons Station Concord, Calif., and in Sydney as a training instructor at the Australian navy base HMAS Watson, according to his online bio.

 He has received the Meritorious Service Medal twice, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal twice, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal four times, in addition to various unit and campaign awards, his online bio says.


Attempts to reach Helwick through DESRON 9 were unsuccessful.

 Courtesy of the Navy Times