22 MAY 2004

Welcome to the first newsletter for the USS HULL DD945 ASSOCIATION.

The purpose of this Association is to promote a periodic reunion for the enjoyment of shipmates who have served onboard the USS HULL DD945 and their friends and relatives.

This reunion effort started in December 2003 when my shipmate George Tomek found me (John McKechnie) and called to reestablish our friendship. George and I were on USS HULL DD945 when she deployed in early 1965 to Vietnam for the first time. George was in CIC and I was the Supply Officer. One thing led to another and we decided to try to run a reunion. Our email address and phone numbers are in the letterhead. The Association has a group site on YAHOO with pictures and sea stories about DD945. -

We also have a web developed by shipmate
Dave Vrooman.

Last September I attended the USS HULL DD-350 reunion at the FOUR QUEENS in Las Vegas, NV. My wife Barbara had an uncle who was CO of DD-350 during WWII but he missed all the DD-350 excitement of Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and her loss on 18 December 1944 in Typhoon COBRA. It was good to meet our shipmates from the previous USS HULL and to hear stories from Pearl Harbor and subsequent WWII battles as well as survivors of the Typhoon. See attached story of the USS TABBERER DE-418 and the heroic skipper Captain Henry L. Plage.



The details of this, our 1st ever DD945 reunion, are as follows:

When: Check-in --> Tuesday 14September 2004.
Check-out --> Friday 17 September 2004.

We will have our own DD-945 HOSPITALITY SUITE separate from DD350. They are welcome in our Suite and we have been welcomed to theirs.

Fee: Reunion fee is $20.00 to cover the rental of the suite and to stock the suite to offer Hospitality. Fee can be mailed to the letterhead address made out to the



Each of these newsletters will feature your experiences and time aboard our HULL, if you send them in.
This space this time will be dedicated to crewmembers from the earlier USS HULL (DD-350), and their miraculous rescue thanks to a tenacious, never-say-die CO - CAPT Henry Plage from USS TABBERER (DE 418) who refused to take the easy way out and follow fleet orders and by doing so saved 62 men from a howling typhoon. Their numbers have dwindled with the decades, but you’ll meet those survivors and others who served on (DD-350) because our reunion will take place at the same time as theirs at the


Short History of HULL (DD-945)

The fourth HULL (DD945) -- Commissioned 3 July 1958, was a Forrest Sherman-class ship and one of the last destroyers designed and built with an all-gun configuration. As the US Navy test ship for the experimental Mk 71 8-inch/55 major caliber lightweight gun from 1975 to 1979, Hull was the only destroyer ever to mount an 8-inch gun. The veteran of 20 Vietnam combat patrols made her final sacrifice on 7 April 1998, not in the breaker's yard, but in the eastern Pacific Ocean as a test bed in the development of new weapons employment tactics. She served her country well.


Short History of HULL (DD-350)

Specs: dp 1,395; 1. 341'4"; b. 34'3"; dr. 8'10", s. 37 k.; cpl. 100; a. 5 5", 4 .30 car., 8 21" tt.; cl. Farragut.
The third Hull (DD-350) was 1auncehed by New York Navy Yard 31 January 1934, sponsored by Miss Patricia Louise Platt; and commissioned 11 January 1935, Commander R. S. Wentworth commanding.
Following the DD350 shakedown cruise that took her to the Azores; Portugal; and the British Isles, Hull arrived in San Diego via the Panama Canal 19 October 1935. She continued operations there until the outbreak of the war, moving to her new homeport, Pearl Harbor, T.H. 12 October 1939.
The pattern of fleet problems, plane guard duty, and patrolling was rudely interrupted on 7 December l941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. HULL was alongside tender Dobbin undergoing repairs, she suffered no hits and departed the next day to join carrier the Enterprise and escort her into Pearl Harbor.
Next she took part in the assault on Guadalcanal. In 1943 upon completion of repairs in San Francisco she moved to the bleak Aleutians, arriving off Adak 16 April, and she took part in numerous bombardments and in the landings on Kiska.
Later she was involved in strikes on Wake Island. HULL bombarded Makin during this assault 20 November 1943. Next on the island road to Japan were the Marshall Islands. Then the veteran ship next participated in the devastating raid on the great Japanese base at Truk 29-30 April 1943 then bombarded Saipan, 13 June. HULL then participated in the "The Great Marianas Turkey Shoot” 19 June
During July 1944 the destroyer operated with carrier groups off Guam, and after the assault 21 July patrolled off the island. HULL departed Pear Harbor 20 November 1944 to rendezvous with fast carrier striking forces in the Philippine Sea. Fueling began 17 December, but increasingly heavy seas forced cancellation later that day. The fueling group became engulfed in an approaching typhoon next day, with barometers falling to very low levels and winds increasing above 90 knots. At about 1100 18 December Hull became locked "in irons", in the trough of the mountainous sea and unable to steer. All hands worked feverishly to maintain integrity and keep the ship afloat during the heavy rolls. The ship remained over on her side at an angle of 80 degrees or more as the water flooded into her upper structures. The USS SPENCE DD-512 and the USS MONAGHAN DD-354 went down that day with a total of 92 survivors from the three ships.
Valiant rescue work by USS Tabberer (DE 418) Captained by Harry Plage and other ships of the fleet in the days that followed saved the lives of 55 enlisted and 7 officers from HULL.
Of special note was the action of HULL's BMC Ray Schultz who had provided each shipmate with a new kapok life jacket, a whistle and a single celled survivor light. As a result of this action many lives were saved.
USS HULL DD-350 received 10 battle stars for World War II service



Pass the word about our Reunion because with the anticipated turnout we have the beginnings of a great organization.
See you in Las Vegas!

John McKechnie & George Tomek.

(619) 435-3978 OR (405) 348-0455


AS OF 22 May 2004.

Bisesi Ferstl Millis Smith
Boehm Gallegos Modell Thiese
Banal Givins Moya Tomek
Caffrey Hammonds Olsen Tribble
Colella Henkel Ovrom Ward
Couch John Parker Wellnitz
Decker Johnson Parsons Welsand
Dimel McDowell Paul Whitfield
Draper McKechnie Rangen Williams
Ericson Meisenheimer Reimer Zuelke