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Newsletter The Mariners of VP/VPB-26 Newsletter

VP/VPB-26 Newsletter
August 2009

From The Editor: BALOG, AE2 Gene bilgepump26@cfl.rr.com [07AUG2009]

The 2009 VPB/VP 26 reunion is only about eight weeks away. If you haven't done so yet and are planning to attend please send in your check and registration right away. It's very important for Ken to have a final count for the activities so sufficient transportation can be arranged for as soon as possible. Currently we have who have registered to be attending the reunion. A good time should be had by all if past reunions are any indication of the fun had.

As requested in previous newsletters, I would like to receive input from all you shipmates out there with some of the interesting stories you have to tell about your experiences during your time spent in the Navy. The newsletter can only be as interesting as you help make it. I do request if it's a story that you have to tell, that you print it on a standard 8 X 11 sheet of paper so that I don't have to retype it and can just copy it into the newsletter. Saves me a lot of work and helps prevent "typo" errors by yours truly. If it's a picture and a story, send me both and I can fit the picture into the story. But please start getting some information to me.

A big " thank you " to those of you who have sent in a donation for the newsletter. As you know, mailing rates went up on May 11 and the cost of everything else also keeps going up. The average newsletter costs about a dollar to send out including printing and postage and it's done three times a year. The January letter costs more because it's heavier and has colored pictures in it from the previous reunion. You know by now that our newsletter did not get any "bailout" money" and so we're on our own. We have some regulars that make a small donation each year and helps keep us afloat. The January newsletter will recognize all those who donated throughout the year. You can send your donations directly to the treasurer: Charlie Meadors, Treasurer, 107 Davidson Lane, Oak Ridge, TN. 37830. Big or small, it's all appreciated.

I want to repeat something I had said many times before pertaining to political expressions that are sent in to me. I will not put any of these into the newsletter as this is not a forum for that purpose and we don't want to upset anyone. I get a lot of e-mails pertaining to government and our representatives but these things are your opinion and not necessarily those of the rest of the shipmates. So in order to not upset anyone I do not publish any of them. Lets keep peace in the family.

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We have added quite a few shipmates to the roster since the beginning of the year and so I would like to let you know who is heading up this organization. This group was started 34 years ago by some of the shipmates of VPB 26 after the war. As time went on those of us who served after WW2 came into the organization and now include shipmates who have served in VP 26 up to and including 2009. We are always looking for and are happy to include the younger shipmates. We would like to see this organization continue on into the distant future but this will only be done by continued growth. So here are the names of the current officials:

Ray Dellagala, President
Joe Zannelli, Vice President
Charlie Meadors, Treasurer
Bruce Shaw, Secretary
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HAPPY 116TH BIRTHDAY, CHIEFS!

The Navy rate of Chief Petty Officer was established on April 1, 1893, and the Coast Guard created the CPO grade on May 18, 1920. Chiefs from both services are recognized as the hands-on leaders among enlisted personnel. Chiefs have had the tradition of training newly minted junior officers. " Ask the Chief" has always been the advice given to junior officers and enlisted. Repeating a quote from a magazine wishing the best to all chiefs, " May the wind always be at your back and may your coffee cup never be empty".

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NAVY WOMEN

The following information was obtained from an article written in the newsletter for the men who served on the landing craft of the U.S. amphibious forces ( The Flotilla ).

The beginning of women being taken in to serve in the Navy goes back to 1916 when then Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels said to start enrolling women in the Naval Reserve as yeoman because there was no law saying a yeoman (clerk) must be a man. So on March 19, 1917, women were enrolled in the Naval Coast Defense Reserve as part of the Naval Reserve force. They were authorized to work in the ratings of yeoman, electrician (radio) and such other ratings as the Commandants considered essential to the District organization. The outbreak of the war in April 1917 sped up the recruitment of women in order to release enlisted men for active service. By wars end, 11, 275 women yeoman were in the naval service. Between World War 1 and 2, the Naval reserve acts of 1925 and 1938 limited the Naval Reserve to "male" citizens of the U.S. In 1941 the Women's Aux. Army Corps (WAAC) was created. Later Congress passed the Navy Women's Reserve Act and Roosevelt signed it into law and the WAVES ( Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service ) were created. The first director of the WAVES was Mildred McAfee who was sworn in as a lieutenant commander ( the highest rank allowed at that time for women ) She later was promoted to captain. Training for women took place at several colleges that offered their facilities to provide housing, classrooms, dining halls and recreation spaces. Officer training began in August 1942. The first full-time recruit indoctrination school ( boot camp ) for women opened at Naval Training Station, Iowa State Teachers College. Courses included Navy ranks and ratings, fleet ships and aircraft, naval traditions and customs, naval history and physical fitness. After boot camp enlisted WAVES went to training schools for yeomen, storekeepers, radio operators. Some were sent to specialist training schools for aviation machinist, control tower operator, cryptologist, parachute rigger, electrician, operating room tech and pharmacist. There were 34 specialist ratings for women by the wars end.

By the wars end over 100,000 women served as WAVES at some 900 naval shore facilities. The integration of women into the Navy was very successful. Eighty percent of the mail service for the fleet was handled by WAVES. Also by wars end, 8,000 WAVE officers and 78,000 enlisted WAVES were on duty and another 8,000 were in training. Their services released an estimated 50,500 men for duty overseas or afloat.

With the victory over Japan in September 1945, the Navy Bureau of Personnel moved quickly to demobilize. All WAVES were to be discharged within six months. Meanwhile 444 officers and 1,610 enlisted women were reenlisted while plans were formalized to petition congress to make women a permanent part of the regular Navy-as opposed to the reserve component. In July 1948, the Women's Armed Services Integration Act was signed by President Truman and WAVES between the ages of 20 and 31 could apply to enter the regular Navy, up to a total strength of 500 officers, 20 warrant officers and 6,000 enlisted. Recruit Training Center, Great Lakes Illinois, was where the training would take place.

During WW2, the WAVES could not give orders to men. Their pay was less than that of men, the rank they could achieve was limited, and they could not serve overseas. The women at that time were not concerned about discrimination and today when asked would say, " At the time, we just didn't think about it. We just wanted to win the war." Now today we all know how much the Navy has changed. You can find women serving next to men all over the ranks and rates, overseas, aboard ships, in the air and just about anywhere men serve.

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I received an e-mail from a former VP 1 shipmate who has come across a VP 26 medallion and was wondering if anyone knew what it was issued for and what the lettering stood for. The front of the medal has the squadron patch on it with the skull and compass but on the back it has a trident fork and the letters TSOT. I assume the fork is the current Trident symbol but does anyone know about the TSOT and why the medallion was issued and when. Please let me know if you have the answers and I'll let the shipmate who inquired know.

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OBITUARIES

The following notices were received since the May newsletter was sent out.

We were notified by the daughter of William Brown, Balboa Island, CA. that her father passed away on October 15, 2008. He left behind his wife Rosemary of 60 years, three children and five grandchildren. Our condolences go out to the family.

I am sorry to report that the May newsletter sent to shipmate Wilfred Reinikka of Calumet, Minn. was returned marked "deceased". No other details were available.

We were notified by a long time friend that shipmate Eldon Lundberg passed away on May 17, 2009 at age 85. Our condolences go out to the family.

Bob Perrin notified us that shipmate Leslie C. Waters passed away on April 21, 2009 leaving behind his wife Joyce, three daughters and one son. Our condolences go out to the family.

Harold Church notified us that Virginia ( Ginny ) Gaus, wife of deceased shipmate Dick Gaus, passed away on June 24, 2009. They both had been active in our organization. Our condolences go out to the family.

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The following names have been removed from the mailing list due to their May newsletter being returned without a forwarding address.

H. Shook, Lakehurst, N.J. and Donald Vetick, Trenton, N.J.

If anyone has any contact with these shipmates please notify them of the removal of their names from the mailing list and have them contact me with the new information.

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REMEMBER, TIME IS GROWING SHORT TO SEND IN YOUR REGISTRATION ALONG WITH YOUR SELECTIONS AND REGISTRTION FEE. REMEMBER TO CALL THE HOTEL DIRECT TO MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS AND TELL THEM YOU ARE WITH THE VPB/VP 26 REUNION GROUP. THIS WILL BE YOUR LAST REMINDER AS THE NEXT NEWSLETTER IS NOT DUE OUT UNTIL JANUARY. THIS COULD WELL BE OUR LAST CHANCE TO GET ON THE BRUNSWICK NAS AS MOST OF IT IS BEING TURNED OVER TO THE CITY OF BRUNSWICK.

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