Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'Twas the Night Before Christmas (sailors' version)

'Twas the night before Christmas, compartments were still,
The sailors were sleeping, as most sailors will.
The ditty bags hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that St.Nicholas soon would be there.
The men were all peacefully dreaming in bed
As visions of liberty danced in each head.
The Chief in his skivvies, hopped into his rack,
Having just come from town and a quick midnight snack.

When out on the deck there arose such a roar,
I ran to the porthole to find out the score.
I stuck out my head and started to shout,
"Just what in the world is this noise all about?"
A moon made for boondocking showed with a glow,
It was downright cold out, 'bout seven below.

What I saw out there looked like those Mardi Gras floats,
'Twas a Captain's gig drawn by four white Navy goats.
In the boat was a man who seemed quiet and moody,
I knew in an instant St. Nick had the duty.
As quickly as Monday his billy goats came,
He whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"Now Perry, now Farragut, Dewey and Jones,
What's the matter John Paul, got lead in your bones?
A little to Starb'rd, now hold it up short,
No fluffing off now, or you'll go on report!"

He was wearing dress "Reds" that fit like a charm,
His hash marks they covered the length of his arm.
The gifts to be issued were all in his pack,
The gedunk was ready to leave on each rack.
His eyes they were watering, his nose caked with ice,
He wiped it with canvas, then sneezed once or twice.
He opened his mouth and started to yawn,
It looked like the Sun coming up with the dawn.

The stump of a pipe, he held tight in his teeth,
And took a small nip from a bottle beneath.
He wasn't so big, but he must have been strong,
I figured he'd been in SEALs early and long.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Tar,
Who said "Evenin' Matey, here have a cigar."
He filled every seabag with presents galore,
And left us all leave papers, right by the door.

With "Anchors Aweigh" he climbed back into place,
A broad smile was creeping all over his face.
One look at his watch and he started to frown,
"This mid watch is certainly getting me down."
Then out to the breakwater and into the night,
The gig started fading, the landscape was bright.
"Merry Christmas" he said, as he drove on his way,
Now I'll finish my rounds and sack in for the day."

by Fred P. The "OLD" Chief

Monday, December 05, 2005

First Sergeant of the Year 2005

Val Poss, President of the "Next Generation", is understandably proud of her son-in-law Sean Gouge, and we all share her pride in Sean's accomplishments. Congratulations Sean!

The following quote is taken from "Fighter Line" news of NAS Fort Worth, Carswell Field, Dec. 3, 2005:

301st Fighter Wing
First Sergeant of the Year 2005
Master Sgt. Sean P. Gouge

"Master Sgt. Gouge’s accomplishments: Master Sgt. Gouge deployed to Balad Air Base, Iraq for 156 days as the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron 1st Shirt. He balanced his operations and administrative duties contributing to 4500 Operation Iraqi Freedom combat flight hours. Sergeant Gouge built group and squadron recognition programs from scratch and is a teacher as well as a leader to NCOs and his peers. He is an inspirational leader and persistent morale-builder. Sergeant Gouge was also voted in as Vice President of the 301st First Sergeants Council and constructed the first NCO Induction Ceremony for the 301st."

Milford L. (Gus) Forsman

We are sad to report that Gus Forsman succumbed on Dec. 1, 2005, to the pulmonary fibrosis which he has been battling for a long time. He will be missed by all of the extended Houston family but especially by his daughters, Diane and Dawn. He passed away in Kerrville, Texas. Services will be on Dec. 9 at the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetary in San Antonio. Our prayers go up for his family.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

A Visit with Otto

I managed a visit with Otto and Trudy this week. Things are very difficult for them both, but they are both amazingly up-beat. However, Otto has given up saying "I'm fine, thanks" as a standard reply. It is NOT "fine" anymore. He is in a world of hurt. Vic's INCOUNTRY blog details this visit of NOV 30 .. with more information.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Emil Bukowski

Emil Bukowski passed away on Nov. 19, 2005, in NC, of lung cancer which was only discovered about two weeks before. There will be a memorial service on Dec. 3rd. He joins his fellow shipmates who have gone before and are now "standing watch". We send our sincere condolences to his family and our gratitude for his service to our country. He will be missed by everyone.

Friday, November 25, 2005

O.C. McManus

O.C. McManus has joined his shipmates "standing watch" as he passed away on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2005, in Pasadena, CA, of pulmonary fibrosis. He will be missed by his family and by the USS Houston family as well. We are all grateful for his service to our country.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Houston Lifebuoy Found in Australia in 1942

Mr. Brian Morris has written from Australia that his father, Cres Morris (now deceased), found a life raft and a lifebuoy with "USS Houston" marked on it shortly after the Houston and Perth had sunk in 1942, in the fishing village of Emu Park on Great Keppel Island where he lived. At that time, he was unaware of the sinkings. In 1942 or 1943, an Australian military intelligence officer came to his house and took the lifebuoy away. Brian Morris (the son) is now wondering what happened to the lifebuoy. If anyone has any information, please email the blog (see sidebar link "blog questions or comments").

Sick Bay Update on Otto Schwarz

Otto Schwarz is back in the hospital with unstable vitals. His wife Trudy is pretty exhausted also. Please keep them both in your prayers.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Update on Gus Forsman

Gus Forsman is getting stronger everyday. He still gets tired easily but is able to get around a little more and has even managed a couple of trips outside the apartment. What great news!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Veterans' Day thanks

To our beloved USS Houston men:
On this Veterans' Day, we give you our heartfelt thanks for your service to our country. None of us can fully understand or appreciate all you have suffered and endured, but we are grateful. Thank you for your part in making this country free and for your sacrifice and heroism. We salute you today and fly our flags in your honor.
Jo Klenk (on behalf of all the "'Next Generation")

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Dive Notes from Jerry Ranger

You can read about Jerry Ranger's exciting experiences diving on the USS Houston in 2004 at:
2004 Dive on USS Houston - Notes by Jerry Ranger.
Jerry is the son of USS Houston survivor John W. Ranger.

Here is an excerpt from Jerry's notes:
"As I hung on to the anchor line and looked around at the island, I was wondering what the survivors where thinking as they swam toward it. I pulled myself together and took a breath off my regulator and started down to the USS Houston. We had to go down 60 feet to the edge of the ship. I started to see the edge and the hull around 40 feet from the surface. Then we stopped at the anchor line. We were around the aft mast area. Brad started to look for a good spot to tie up at. I just floated there thinking to myself. three years in the making, 36 hours to get to Jakarta, 4 hours to drive to Brad’s house, two hours drive to the village, 45 minute boat ride out to the USS Houston and now I’m touching the USS Houston. Then I took a few minutes to remember the Officers, Sailors and Marines that did not come back. I said to myself: fair winds and following sea's.”

Friday, October 07, 2005

Sickbay Update Again

Here's an update on the men we mentioned on Sept. 27th who were on the sicklist:

Ray Goodson - home from the hospital where he's been recovering from pneumonia; in a jovial mood!
Gus Forsman - improving daily from pneumonia and expects to come home from the hospital next week; he will be in an apartment near from his daughter.
Gene Wilkinson - healing slowly from hip surgery.
Otto Schwarz - has moved into the VA Medical center in Lyons, NJ, and is getting adjusted to a new lifestyle.
Howard Brooks - apparently recovering okay from a fall down some stairs in his home on Sept. 16th in which he broke 2 ribs (this was right after he took a trip to S. Korea and China!).

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Dale Tiefel

One of our dear Houston survivors, Dale Tiefel, passed away on August 29, 2005 and was buried in Linwood Cemetery in Dubuque, IA. Our sincere sympathy to his family as he has now joined his shipmates "standing watch in Sunda Straits".

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Houston monument not damaged by Hurricane Rita

We can be very thankful that the USS Houston monument in downtown Houston was not damaged from Hurricane Rita. However, it has suffered from the extremely hot and dry conditions in Houston this year and some minor repairs will soon need to be made.
-- phone: 630-653-6286

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

U. of Houston Library and Cruiser Houston Collection

A note came from Pat Bozeman, Head of Special Collections, at the University of Houston Library where the Cruiser Houston Collection is archived. She reports that the library sustained no damage from Hurricane Rita!  Great news!

Sicklist Update

We have several men on the sicklist. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Ray Goodson (Jacksonville, FL) has been in the hospital with pneumonia.
Gus Forsman (recently moved to Kerrville, TX) has also been hospitalized with pneumonia.
Gene Wilkinson (Santa Barbara, CA) is recovering from hip surgery.
Otto Schwarz (Union, NJ) is still recovering from a procedure done several months ago.
Howard Brooks (Mount Laurel, NJ); ill, but no info available.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thanks to the people of Houston

Many USS Houston survivors and Next Generation-ers send their thanks and appreciation to the people of Texas and especially Houston for their kindness and generosity to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Sue Kreutzer, daughter of Paul Papish, writes "This is not the first time the great and honorable people of Houston have rallied behind their fellow Americans in a great time of need. What would America do without you? What an example of courage and generosity you are to us all! While we who live far away can only watch and agonize with the victims of Katrina, you all have physically "stepped up to the plate" once again! Thank you so much for easing the suffering of our fellow Americans in need. We salute you!"

Gus Forsman

Gus Forsman is in the VA hospital with pneumonia. There is concern about his oxygen levels since he has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) as well, but he has been on mega doses of antibiotics and his daughter Diane says he is doing much better.

Jim McFarland

Jim "TJ" McFarland peacefully passed away on 9-2-05. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Jim McFarland (NG-er; son of Tommy McFarland)

Jim McFarland (@ age 60), son of Tommy and Gwen McFarland, went into the hospital for liver transplant surgery, but the doctor found he had cancer and did not do the transplant. He subsequently got a staph infection and is now in his second week of a coma. Prayers greatly appreciated.

Jim's Dad, Tommy McFarland, was a Marine on the Houston.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Max Poss home

Val and Max Poss are home now after having spent 5 days with Max undergoing tests in a San Antonio hospital. The results showed he has high blood pressure and 3 ulcers - all of which are treatable. They express their thanks for many prayers.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder article

Dana Charles, son of Robert Charles, a USS Houston Marine survivor, has written an article on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for the July bulletin of AXPOW (American Ex-Prisoners of War). This article is currently on the AXPOW website which is:

Monday, August 01, 2005

Max Poss in hospital

Max Poss is currently in a hospital in San Antonio undergoing tests following a fainting spell on Saturday. Max is the husband of Val Poss, President of the Next Generation of the USS Houston Survivors Assoc. Please remember him and Val in your prayers.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Picture of Skip Schilperoort

Skip Schilperoort

Skip Schilperoort

When Skip Schilperoort and his wife, Mary, were on a recent trip to Portland, OR, Skip fell and broke his hip. He had surgery there and spent some time recuperating. They have now returned to their home in Phoenix. Please keep them in your prayers.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

George "Corkey" Stoddard

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of George "Corkey" Stoddard. He fought bravely to beat the lung and bladder cancer which were just diagnosed a little over 3 weeks ago. He died with dignity in the company of his family on Thursday, June 30, 2005, at 7:55 a.m. the actual cause of death was massive kidney failure brought on by the bladder cancer and the attempts to control it.

Visitation was Wednesday, July 6th, and burial on Thursday, July 7th, in Citrus Heights, CA.

Please keep his family in your prayers as George has now joined his fallen USS Houston shipmates.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Picture of Otto Schwarz

Otto Schwarz

Update on Otto Schwarz

Otto and Trudy send their love and thanks for prayers - - - -
Otto is still in the hospital. His surgery went well. The doctor thinks that he found and removed some tissue that may have been giving Otto problems. But Otto has been in bed now for 4-5 days and therefore, is somewhat weak.. When he is released from the hospital later in the week, he will probably go to a rehab facility in order to rebuild his strength and walking ability.

His wife Trudy said that Otto is somewhat disoriented. You can imagine how difficult it is being blind and in a room where nothing is in a familiar spot. We need to pray for a speedy recovery for Otto so that he can get back home where he remembers the placement of the furniture and feels that he can see because he knows the lay-out of the house. Also pray for Trudy's continued good health. She leaves early every morning to go to the hospital and returns late in the day.

Their son, John, is with them now, but he will have to soon leave to go back to work and will update us later in the week on Otto and Trudy.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Otto Schwarz

Otto Schwarz is scheduled to have a cystoscope on June 17th to check for possible internal bleeding (kidneys, bladder, prostate). Continue to keep him in your prayers also.

George "Corkie" Stoddard

George Stoddard was recently diagnosed with bladder cancer. The doctors are developing his treatment regimen now. Please remember to pray for him.

George sends his love and greetings to all the crew and wishes everyone a safe and happy summer.

Gene Wilkinson

Gene Wilkinson was diagnosed with a fractured vertabra (about June 3rd) and his son said he is/was to have surgery soon. Keep him in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Does anyone recognize this coin? It was dug out of the trash can at Hintok River Camp by Rod Beattie a few years ago. He says that there is a strong possibility that the coin was owned by one of a very small number of Americans in the "H" Force. If anyone has any information on it, please email Rod at .

Scholarship applications being accepted now

Now Hear This!
All college-bound seniors, all college undergraduates, and all relatives and friends of these seniors and undergrads who have an interest in the USS Houston CA-30: If you would like financial assistance with those overwhelming college bills, the USS Houston Scholarship Committee has good news for you. Requests for scholarship applications from those planning to attend college in the fall of 2006 are now being accepted. Only actual college students--or those anticipating being students--may request an application. The 2006 scholarship requirements are that the student request a form by October 15, 2005, and submit an application along with an essay on one of three topics listed in the application packet by Nov. 1, 2005. Full details and requirements are in the packet, which may be requested by contacting Ron Drees, 14219 Wickersham Lane, Houston, TX 77077 or .No telephone requests, please. Those of you who know potential or current college students should encourage them to request an application. Requests must include a return physical mailing address.

Another library case at the University of Houston which will house the Houston special collection.

Library display case at University of Houston where Houston special collections will be housed.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Link to Prime Minister of Japan

Heres a link where you can write the Prime Minister of Japan.

New York Times article

A note from Val Poss on 5/21/05
Hello friends and family,
I opened my mail today and found an article from the NY Times dated 5/3/05 (Late Edition-Final, Section A, Column 2, Page 13) titled JAPAN: APOLOGY FOR DUTCH P.O.W.'S
While pleased that the Dutch finally received an apology from the Japanese Prime Minister, I'm still wondering when the Americans, Brits and Aussies we all have come to know will receive THEIR apology. Soooooo, I emailed the NY Times and told them of our men that were POW's in Far East that have NOT received an apology. Now, it's up to YOU to email them with the same question. Send to

Thursday, May 26, 2005

USS Houston blog begins today!

We have started this new blog primarily for the benefit of the members of the USS Houston (CA-30) Survivors Association and their families (the "Next Generation"), but all are welcome. We hope it will be a good source of information, communication, and help for all.