Thursday, November 29, 2007

Insightful Notes from Lynn Drees

Dear Friend, Survivor John Hood - As many of you know, John passed away Friday, November 23, 2007 - I wrote the following to his sister, Carol, via email: "If ya'll reminisce, please tell (or have your sister, Alberta, tell) the hair dryer story. One year John forgot to get reservations for the reunion; he arrived @ the hotel; it was full, but they had some small apartments next door - and offered John an apartment. Well, on Sunday, as everyone was leaving, John came up to me - and said - 'Wonderful wk-end, but I have one complaint.' Shocked, I said, 'yes, John, what was wrong?' He said 'the hair dryer in my room did not work!' - and, knowing his hair status, we both started laughing. That became a joke each year - with me, always asking John if the hair dryer in his room was working this year! I loved him!!!! Thanks for sharing him w/ us, Next Generationers"

Carol responded with "Lin, Oh, we do know that story, John told us about that, and he always laughed."

John will be missed as are all our loved USS HOUSTON men who are now standing watch at Sunda Strait. We also miss the men who cannot now attend the reunions - and remember, fondly, when they were able to attend.

BUGLER - With Internet, Val receives many questions - one recently related to the ship's bugler - I asked David Flynn what he remembered. Here is what he said: "The ship's bugler was Joseph G. Alleva. He was killed on a Japanese prison ship 24 June 1944 in the South China Sea. Aboard ship (the Houston) he'd occasionally hit a wrong note, blowing taps, etc. When criticized, he'd say, 'for 32 bucks a month you don't get Benny Goodman.' Prior to entering the Navy, he worked in a bank as a sort of doorman, director, etc. He and Gene Crispi were great friends and would argue at length. .....'and that's all I have to say about that'....."

I remember Jim Ballew, Navy, telling me that he and my cousin, James Raydell Wilson, Marine, aboard the HOUSTON, would spend some of their POW time arguing, just to pass the time of day. Once, he said that the argument led to fighting - he said, "here we were 2 'skinny' POWs, trying to fight!" Sadly my cousin passed away as a POW before I was born - but with reminiscing with Jim, I came to know some about my cousin.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Dive Team News - March 09 Dive

I just received word that the U.S. Navy permit for VideoRay ROV to entered the USS HOUSTON CA-30 to take photographs of the inside of the ship, has been approved and I will be receiving the Official letter in the mail in a week or so. I would like to Thank Val for her help getting the information and blue prints to me when we were in the last stage of completing the permit with Barbara Voulgaris in Washington. I would like to thank Barbara and Wendy for there help in getting this permit through there office in a timely manner. Most of all, I would like to thank VideoRay WWW.VIDEORAY.COM for supporting us on the last dive in 2006 and the upcoming dive in March 2008. With out VideoRay donation of airline tickets, equipment and two Rov operators, this upcoming dive trip would not be possibly. I would like to thank the above USS HOUSTON FAMILY for their donation. We were able to paid for the dive boat again so that the dive team could stay out over the USS HOUSTON supporting the VideoRay Rov operators while they entered and photograph the USS HOUSTON. I still need more donations to help with other items of the trip to make sure that we can support the VideoRay ROV operators to make this dive trip a success in getting the photographs of the inside of the ship for the Survivors and Houston’ family.

At this time the USS HOUSTON DIVE TEAM is made up of the following people:
Jerry Ranger, team leader. Jolene Ranger, diver. Brad Gift, assist team leader, Eunju gift, diver, David Phillips, lead VideoRay Rov operator/diver, Tom Crossman, VideoRay Rov operator/diver, Daniel Tangguh, diver

If anyone else is thinking about joining the team or being there onboard the dive ship while operations are being conducted, I needed to know so I can make sure there is space and transportation out to the dive boat for you. Contact me at: or Phone number 850 623 3399.

As it looks now, the dive team will be over the USS HOUSTON on March 1. 2008 to March 10, 2008.

I will be working on dive tee shirt for the upcoming dive. If you would like to order one, please send me your name and sizes so I can sure you get a dive tee shirt when I order them at .

We are still working on a DVD form the 2006 dive and hope to have it down to an hour, so that the Houston’s family can see it at the reunion.

There is still a lot of work to be done for the dive trip to make sure it goes off, so I will be busy right up to the time we put our gear on the airplane and head to Java. I hope to see ya’ll at the 2008 reunion in Houston. Dive team out for now.

Jerry Ranger USN RET Son of the late John W. Ranger
Survivor off the Uss Houston CA-30
Uss Houston Dive Team Leader