VOL 9  NO 2





Minutes of Director’s Meeting   Page 2

Minutes Membership Meeting    Page 3

Stephan Bauman Writes                        Page 4

Re-enactment of Rescue                       Page 4

R-40 Mini-Reunion                    Page 5

GIRA Luncheon Meeting           Page 6

Terrible Night East China Sea    Page 7

Foreign Lands                           Page 9

Distant Shores                           Page 9

Patton                                       Page 12

Travel Hazards                         Page 13

Book Review                            Page 14

Ira Holcommb’s Story               Page 16

Letters                                      Page 17

Scuttlebutt                                 Page 18

Lost Contact                             Page 19

Reunion Attendees                    Page 20

Silent Keys                               Page 20


Welcome New Members                                     


M-1536 R-19

Kenneth Shopleigh

59 Campbell Street #610

Woburn, MA 01801

(781) 933-1673


M-1537 R-32

Howard M. Keller

8452 Traminer Ct

San Jose, CA 95135

(408) 274-2452


M-1538 R-113

William E. Evans

94 Old Dike Road

Trumbull, CT 06611

(203) 377-1675







Submissions may be edited for length and

clarity, but as little as possible.





     Dr. Sam Hucke is fine tuning arrangements for October 8, 9, & 10 next year in Branson, Missouri.   He’s leaning towards the Radisson but will talk to some other facilities before a final decision.  October in the Ozarks features autumn’s best colors, and the relative central location makes it convenient to drive from many locations.  Branson, of course, is awash in establishments featuring myriad types of music and shows—something for every taste. Branson is only a short drive down route 65 from Springfield, and even St. Louis is within convenient range.

     Ironically when Carol and I visited nearby Flippin, Arkansas, more than a decade ago, Branson hadn’t begun to bloom with music. At the time Carol had been competing at some bluegrass festivals in the vocal category. When we asked if there were any nearby places with music, one local knew of only one, but said he wouldn’t recommend  our going there lest we’d get knocked in the head.  Things have changed dramatically in short order as Branson has become the Mecca for musical entertainment and all the related spin-offs.


On top of the century (Y2K or 2000) we’re back to where it all began in Boston (Braintree) and very appropriately on the 60th anniversary of Gallups Island radio school’s genesis. Hope that all of you youngsters (at least at heart) can make it.





SEPTEMBER 12, 1998


The following Officers and Directors were present for this meeting:  Bud Guntner, President; Ray King, Vice President; Homer Gibson, Secretary/Treasurer; Rion Dixon, Region 2; Eugene Harp, Region 8;  Ed Wilder, Region 9; John Sloan, Region 10; James Kinkel, Sam Hucke, Keith Wallace.  Bud Guntner called the meeting to order at 8:00 A. M.  Keith Wallace gave a report on the Spokane Reunion.  Homer Gibson presented the Financial Report.


A motion was made to reduce the Annual Dues from $20.00 to $15.00..  This motion was seconded and, after a brief discussion, a vote was taken.  The motion was defeated.

The Directors approved a suggestion that we should subsidize the National Reunions, from the general fund, if necessary.


Bud brought up the Reunion for the year 2000, stating that we needed to decide on the location and the Host for that Reunion.  Bud suggested that since our Association would celebrate its 60th Anniversary in the year 2000, it would be appropriate to go back to Boston once again, where it all started.  Ray King stated that he would be willing to host the reunion in 2000.


Rion Dixon made a motion that Boston be selected as the site of the National Reunion 2000, unless someone had a better idea during the General Meeting.  Motion seconded and vote carried.


A question was raised about when the next election of Directors would be held.  Bud then stated that when the by-laws were amended in 1997, Article V, Section 2 states: "There shall be no limit on the number of terms that a Regional Director may serve".  He also stated that Article VI, Section I states "There shall be no limit imposed on any of the officers".  Ray King suggested that we should establish a plan for the replacement of the Directors.  A motion was made that we should poll the Directors to see if they wanted to continue as a Director or not.  Gene Harp seconded the motion and the vote carried.


A discussion was conducted about Gallups Island becoming a National Park.  Jim Kinkel suggested that we should arrange to have a monument or something, depicting the history of our Radio School on the island.  Ray King stated that he would investigate the progress of the idea of Gallups becoming a National Park and what they had in mind, as far as a museum facility, etc.


Keith Wallace brought up the question of refunding money to Members who had signed up and paid for the 1998 Reunion, but for one reason or another, had to cancel.  The Directors unanimously decided that the Members should receive a refund.


A motion to adjourn the meeting was made and seconded.  Bud Guntner adjourned the meeting at 9:45 AM.











There were 39 Members and 19 Guests present for this meeting.

Bud Guntner called the meeting to order at 10:00 A. M.


Keith Wallace gave a report on the Spokane Reunion, thanking everyone for helping to make it a success.  Keith also announced that those who had to cancel would receive a refund.


Sam Hucke gave a brief report on the Branson Reunion for 1999.


Bud brought up the Reunion for the year 2000, stating that we needed to decide on the location and the Host for that Reunion.  Bud suggested that since our Association would celebrate its 60th Anniversary in the year 2000, it would be appropriate to go back to Boston once again, where it all started.  Ray King stated that he would be willing to host the reunion in 2000.

Rion Dixon made a motion that Boston be selected as the site of the National Reunion 2000.  Motion seconded and vote carried.


Homer Gibson gave the Financial Report and asked the members to check a list of names of members whose mail had been returned, because there was no forwarding address. (that list appears elsewhere in this issue of the "SPARK GAP")


A discussion was conducted about Gallups Island becoming a National Park.  Jim Kinkel suggested that we should arrange to have a monument or something, depicting the history of our Radio School on the Island.  Ray King stated that he would investigate the progress of the idea of Gallups becoming a National Park and what they had in mind, as far as a museum facility, etc.  Ed Wilder announced that there was an AMMV Monument in Wichita, Kansas.


Bud Guntner adjourned the meeting at 11:05 A.M.





  Members in attendance at the meeting in Spokane on September 12th 1998

Just like in school – the front rows are empty






Stephen Bauman Writes

You might note that class R-125 did not graduate from Gallups Island, which was closed shortly after the Japanese Surrender.  The top few from each class were sent to Hoffman Island and the Gallups school was no more; the other students at Gallups and Hoffman were sent home.

When we arrived at Hoffman we did everything except go to class; i.e.,  KP, painting lifeboats, cleaning the swimming pool, etc.  When I left Gallups I was barely copying 12 wpm then surprisingly in the first Hoffman tests managed 18 wpm solid.  Two weeks later they cut the classes again, and I was given the option of shipping as a messman or leave.  Having no money, I shipped out as an officer’s messman on the SS Kings Point Victory spending a year shuttling French, British, Indian, and Australian troops about Asia and Australia.  A number of Gallups classmates were messmen on the same ship.  At home I bought a Q & A and took my FCC 2nd class RT license passing on the first try.  I sailed on many ships of various companies for 25 years, retiring in 1969.  I met my wife, Audrey, on my last ship where she was a passenger at the Captain’s cocktail party.  That was 30 years ago, the best three decades of my life.  Next I went to work for a two-way radio outfit in Frederick, Maryland, spending two years repairing radiotelephones for various groups in several states.  After many comments that I had “only a 2nd class RT license”,  I subsequently got first class telegraph, telephone and Amateur Extra class in 1971.  I then worked for Watkins-Johnson in the test department working on surveillance radios, then in the calibration department.  I worked two years for COMSAT calibrating, installing and maintaining shipboard satellite terminals and other projects. In 1986 I got laid-off at COMSAT but then moved to another department.  Gallups Island plus International Correspondence School electronic courses led ultimately to working as a COMSAT engineer.  I have a photograph of R-125 of which I can, unfortunately, remember only one name.  How can I send it to you for publication without losing it?  Steve Bauman, W3FOA


Steve: We make every effort to return photographs when requested, but inasmuch as such photos are irreplaceable you should have a copy made to send. With the new digital equipment currently available, it’s simple to make high quality copies. JJ



Submitted by Bud Rines R12

One of the century’s most dramatic sea rescues occurred on January 23, 1909 when two ships, one carrying Italian immigrants to New York and the other taking Americans tourists to Europe, collided in dense fog off Nantucket. The fate of 1500 travelers was dependent upon a new technology called wireless telegraphy and a 26-year old radio operator sending distress signals as the radio shack filled with water.  The PBS producer pointed out that this disaster was little known since only six lives were lost while the Titanic fiasco got and gets endless coverage. As media cynics like to say, “bad news sells, good news smells.”  The documentary was filmed in Hull, situated on the tip of a curved cat’s whisker strip of land, about as near to being at sea as possible and still remain onshore. January 14, 1909, the SS Florida, an Italian ship, departed Naples for New York with 839 passengers, some of whom had survived an earthquake killing 83,000 in Sicily. A week later the White Star liner Republic left New York for Italy with 700 mostly well-to-do passengers for Mediterranean vacations. Shortly before dawn January 23, the ships collided in fog off Nantucket crushing the Florida’s bow and nearly cutting the Republic in two. As the Republic began to sink, passengers were transferred to the Florida which had no wireless.  It was up to Jack Binns, the Republic’s radioman to summons help. He retrieved spare batteries from the ship’s water-filled engine room, and sent a distress signal received by a Nantucket station and relayed to ships in the area.                        …continued page 12




Seated:  Maryleah Rosenberger and “Cookie” Elton

Standing:  Clair Rosenberger, Bob Schultz, Bill Corcoran, and Kirby Elton


Four ex-RO’s reunited at Las Vegas. The first time all four were together at the same time since 1943 at Gallups Island.

R-40 Mini- Reunion

by Bill Corcoran

November 11-16, 1997

MGM Grand Hotel

Las Vegas, Nevada


A good time was had by all. The food was excellent  Each of us went home a few pounds greater.  We attended three casino shows; one each evening.  In a way, these shows relived our experiences in WWII.  The first show was Radio City Rockettes.  All those who shipped from New York saw the Radio City Rockettes at least once.  The following night we saw the Follies Bergere.  Anyone going to Paris during those years saw the Follies.  (Are those the same girls?)

Las Vegas is an excellent place to hold a reunion!





AMMV Meeting in Richfield, MN  June 8th 1998

Bob Groff R-29, Don Rumark R-13, Ed Wilder R-19, John Sloan R-19, Phil Layeux R-47



Northern California GIRA Luncheon Meeting a Success







Everyone at the GIRA luncheon meeting in Auburn, California, had a jolly good time, and none more so than Rose and Jim Jolly, shown sharing a strawberry dessert.  The Jollys, married 53 years, are both amateur radio operators, CS W6RWI/E. Jim was in Gallups

platoon R-008.

The Jolly’s E-mail address is








Among those attending the Northern California GIRA luncheon meeting were: (left-to-right)

Ken Blue, Bill Johnston, Al Hadad, Jim Jolly, Bob Richelson, Walt Weiss, Gene Hammes,

and Les Addotto.  Blue, Hadad, Jolly, Richelson, Weiss, and Hammes are GIRA members.









by Paul Gatts, R-71


We sighted the flares dropped by a Japanese aircraft as we approached the distress position of the Panamanian-flag ANATOLI I.  Dusk was rapidly changing to darkness as we sighted the first lights from survivors in the sea.


But, I'm getting ahead of our story...   It early August and we were on out way to Japan from the North Pacific.  We were carefully monitoring typhoon Winnie, which was threatening our East China Sea routes.  Our strategy was to cut our calls to Yokohama and Kobe as short as possible, then duck around southern Japan and head for Pusan.  It worked for us, but the Panamanian-flag ANATOLI I was caught in the path of the storm.  Their radio operator had sent a message of flooding, but later radioed that they were proceeding safely.  We can only surmise that when they again were in desperate straits the radio was inoperative.  The survivors reported that the ship sunk about 10 minutes after it was abandoned


It was about 1620 hours on 19 August 1998, the Mate received a NAVTEX message about the ANATOLI I in distress.  Shortly after, I received a CW call from JNJ on 500 Khz, then moved to 478/480 Khz.  We immediately changed course and proceeded to the distress position.  Coordination and direction of the search and rescue operations between the President Adams and MSA Japan (Japan Marine Safety Agency) was conducted entirely on CW.  We also received messages on VHF from other ships and aircraft and relayed them to MSA via CW.  In addition, as requested by MSA, we called by voice on 2182 khz, VHF Channel 16, and 500 Khz in an attempt to contact the ANATOLI I.  There were also several Satcom calls from the vessel owners in Greece.


Our crew attempting rescue from the side ports could hear the whistles and cries of seamen in the waters, but the rough seas continually thwarted their efforts.  The seas swamped the side ports and washed men clinging to life rings under our ship and out away from the vessel.  They were too weak to hold on to a line.  At one time we had three men in a rescue basket, but a large swell tossed them out into the sea again.  In spite of heroic efforts of the entire crew we were able to bring only two men from the sea.  Unfortunately, only one regained consciousness.  Another vessel at the scene also

rescued one man.  Many of the survivors that we were not able to bring aboard clung to buoys and life rings that the crew tossed into the sea and were picked up by helicopters.  As close as we could determine four perished in the sea.


It was a terrible night.... but for the Sri Lankan sailor we plucked from the sea, it was a life restored.


Unanimous agreement prevailed that the single, most effective piece of equipment for retrieving people from the water is the rigid hull, inflatable Zodiac rescue boat with high speed retrieval gear. Had the ADAMS been equipped with a Zodiac, probably every survivor in the water could have been rescued.


Two days later when the ADAMS docked in Kaohsiung, Capt. Carney noted that the EAGLE VENUS docked at the berth ahead had a Zodiac rescue boat.






             Left-to-Right: John Graykowski, Acting Maritime Administrator; Paul Gatts, MREO;

        Honorable Helen Delich Bentley, former U.S. Representative; and Captain Dennis Carney




Officers and Crew of the PRESIDENT ADAMS

American Presidents' Line

East China Sea

August 19, 1997


     The PRESIDENT ADAMS was underway in the East China Sea when MREO Paul Gatts received a Morse Code call that the Panamanian ship ANATOLI I was in distress 75 miles to the northwest.  The first vessel on the scene, the ADAMS discovered that the ANATOLI had already gone down in 30-knot winds and 20-foot swells.  Realizing that survivors were in the water on both sides of the ship, the crew tossed lifesaving buoys and life rings with water lights, then rigged the ship to try to bring the victims aboard.  With survivors so close to the ship and violent waves tossing debris and wreckage, maneuvering the ADAMS was extremely difficult.  Yet, without using its bow thruster and propeller, the ship positioned itself to rescue some of the survivors.  Unfortunately, after hours battling wind-whipped seas, the survivors were too weak to assist in their rescue.  Although the crew toiled for 8 hours, only two of the ANATOLI's crew could be brought aboard.


     Throughout the operation, the ADAMS helped to coordinate the helicopter rescue of the remaining 13 survivors by maintaining Morse communication with search aircraft and other vessels.  When faced with danger and tragedy, the crew of the ADAMS responded with skill, perseverance, and courage that saved lives and honored the tradition of the American merchant marine.






by Jim Goodwin, R19

I was a real live Yankee who had lived all my short life in a small town north of Boston. My family had visited Canada which was the extent of my worldly travels.  All of this changed abruptly after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor when the thing to do was enlist in something, anything. After many false starts I found myself on Gallups Island with the intention of becoming a Radio Officer on a merchant ship, dedicated to doing my part to deliver the tools and material necessary to win the war.

Upon graduating from Gallups Island in R19, I set about finding a ship needing me as a Radio Officer. The Union office was my next stop and in due time I became the Radio Officer, or Sparks, on a liberty ship out of the West Coast. I never learned why this particular ship sailed the North Atlantic instead of its Pacific beginning.

We departed Boston in the early bright for Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada). Not knowing what was expected of me I stayed in the shack, keeping a faithful watch on 500 kcs. Upon arriving in Halifax, I decided that the subs were no threat in this enormous harbor so I went down for breakfast.

The Captain, a stolid man, whose home was a short distance from Pearl Harbor, greeted me with a deep nod and announced to the officers, “This is our new Sparks and you will be pleased to note that he stood watch all the way to Halifax, and other than coffee breaks, we were constantly guarded by Mr. Goodwin.  I thank you for the entire crew.”

I liked this rather motley crew, although some were really odd; but who isn’t.  A prime example was the Mate named Evans, a rugged individual who had been sailing the Pacific since he was a young boy. He was convinced that he was a dead ringer for Clark Gable. In fact he walked like Gable, and did his best to talk like Gable. He had the same small mustache and cultivated as many of Gable’s mannerisms as possible. A tough guy,

                             …continued next page

Foreign Lands  (continued)

he would finish the war as a captain and a good one indeed. His sur name was Earl but

he preferred Clark especially if pretty females were around. I called him Mr. Christian, but not to his face. He once told me that I was the weakest excuse for a radio man he had ever seen. This was a complement inasmuch as it was rare indeed for him to notice anyone as lowly as the sparks.

Conversely, the Chief Engineer was a highly educated man from San Francisco who ran a spotless engine room and was worshipped by his men. He had a priceless laugh and knew endless jokes concerning sailors, engineers, deck officers, and especially U.S. Navy people. His name was Bob Cherney and insisted that the story he told about his uncle who was a general in the Polish Army was absolutely true.

With this collection of characters I went to war. Our first night in Barry, Wales, the Germans brought us an air raid that lasted for hours, scaring the daylights out of me and demolishing all my silly ideas concerning the war. I was to return to Wales time and again as the war dragged on. I found London all I expected and then some. My first air raid in London made a lasting impression and subsequent raids I suffered, in whatever location, never came near the sheer fright of that vicious air raid on London.  In Sicily a German plane machine gunned a tree I was sitting under then flew away. It was high on my list of things I can do without.

With time we all became blase about convoys and U-boats on endless North Atlantic crossings. A rumor that we would make a run to Russia was sobering. We went to Loch Ewe in Scotland to await a convoy to form. Early one morning I was dragged out of the sack to use a primitive radio system the English had loaned us to inform the Royal Navy we were taking on water and according to the chief engineer, were in imminent danger of sinking.

So instead of going to Russia we went to a dry dock on the Clyde, and failing to find the problem there, we went back to New York and subsequently to a dock in New Jersey.

                              …continued next column

Foreign Lands (continued)

Americans for encouraging the natives with gifts or overly generous exchanges.

The Captain informed us that we would be leaving at dawn for Casa Blanca but had no idea why.  The trip to Casa Blanca was uneventful, and when I went ashore I was unable to find anything resembling Rick’s Place.  While our cargo of trucks was loaded, I visited the French military. They were generally nice people feeling they had been deceived and sold-out by their politicians. They hated the Germans, and strangely, the British.  At the time I thought the French were poor fighters, but good at finding excuses to explain their poor showing in France and later in Africa.  We anchored again in Oran for three weeks and then were told that we should leave immediately for Bizerte with troops on and below deck. From there we were to sail for Sicily in general and Palermo in particular.

We departed Bizerte one hot afternoon, and in my view, just in time. I found myself in General Patton’s black book.  I had earned his displeasure by wearing home made shorts and no socks with my shoes. Also no tie. He insisted that all service people would abide by his rules and regulations.  I realized the General assumed that I was a member of the Armed Guard. I avoided arguing with his people by all means. Now that he was in Sicily it behooved me to avoid him at all costs.

The German and Italian air forces were extremely active both day and night. The German fliers were very efficient and pressed home their attacks regardless of the opposition. While the Italians were brave enough, they seldom pressed home their attacks so vigorously.

Palermo harbor was dirty and unkempt. We anchored in the harbor and unloaded as quickly as possible. The hospital unit was off by the second day. It was in this unit that that General Patton verbally abused and slapped the enlisted man. From Palermo we sailed to Cagliari, Sardinia, for unclear reasons to anchor in its small harbor for some weeks as happens in all wars.

                              …continued next column


by John JJ Ward

I never knew Bert Wayde, which wasn’t his name. He had preceded me as radio officer on a freighter, running between the west coast and Vietnam. The story was told by Captain Kean, a Canadian who was somehow the skipper of an American flagged freighter.

Unloading in Da Nang took weeks. The military stevedores were inexperienced, the stuff had to be lightered ashore, and they could only work during daylight hours. The enemy controlled the nights.

The bars in Da Nang were highly competitive and, of course, preferred American currency readily accepting coin which was then silver. But specie and small bills were difficult to negotiate internationally so the merchants would, for example, give say $1.10 for a dollar, $ 1.20 per dollar for a ten and perhaps $1.30 per dollar for a hundred bill. With little else to do, Wayde worked the Da Nang bars and other business almost daily for several voyages. Before he left for vacation he had accumulated twenty thousand dollars in silver specie. This would be at least a hundred thousand today. He sought advice from investment counselors who all said hold on to your silver even if you have to pay storage. The country was on the verge of going off the silver standard.

After a year of Viet Nam voyages Wayde was ready for a break. He quickly tired of San Francisco and headed for Reno for weeks of non-stop partying. Finally sated, weary and wary, he remarked to his girlfriend, “that’s enough of this for awhile. I’m out of here.”

She began to cry. “What about me?”

“Oh, it’s been fun. Maybe we’ll do it again sometime,” he said giving her a goodbye hug.

“But…but what about this?” She gasped, producing a marriage certificate. It was the real McCoy.

By the time he extricated himself from that relationship, his silver hoard was gone.

We, the U.S., did go off the silver standard. And, as always, bad money chased the good away. The silver, worth several times its face value, silently and rapidly faded away.

…from previous column

Apparently the leak was caused by some inadequate welding when the ship was being built. From New Jersey we went to Baltimore

to await a convoy to North Africa.  No longer did I consider England a foreign country. It was simply more of New England. My mother was English and they all talked like she did, making me feel right at home. I found Ireland to be a tad strange with Scotland more than a little so, but certainly “not foreign.”

Africa? Now we were talking. I was elated, but certainly did not say so since the officers thought me a typical sparks and would have been convinced that I was over the hill completely had they known that I was excited over our African destination.  As we sailed past Gibraltar into the Mediterranean I was really excited, walking the deck smoking my Chesterfield cigarettes and thinking of the Romans who had sailed these waters and the Greeks and Carthaginians before them. Now the Royal Navy was a scourge to the Italians. Africa, Italy, Egypt, et all. I was beside myself and floating on air. Me, in Africa.

As we approached the dock in Oran, Algiers, I strode the deck with anticipation to be ashore in Algiers, home of the French Foreign Legion and where the Roman Legions wiped out Carthage and Rommel’s Africa Corps frustrated the British again and again.

Our pier was remarkably modern in contrast to screeching Arabs yelling over and over again in French, “ cigarettes, dollars, and shoes”, repeated louder and louder. As our ship tied up they all surged forward, but the military held them in check. Our armed guard sailors stood by in steel helmets. The bosun told me that the Arabs were thieves and were to be kept away from the ship. Day and night the pier was full of screeching men and boys demanding cigarettes and anything else.

Around noon we managed to go ashore unprepared for the filthy conditions. Streets were covered in all manner of refuse. Crowds pushed aggressively to coax Americans into giving them something, anything. French officers of the Foreign Legion sent them scattering. The same officers remonstrated

                              …continued next page

…from previous column

This impoverished island certainly was the equal of Italy and Sicily in abject poverty. The natives were remarkably friendly with almost everyone claiming to have relatives in

America.  Food ability was marginal and the wine was of poor quality. Although we spent considerable time in Italian waters we all wondered how the ancient Romans had managed to become masters of the

Mediterranean and much of the civilized world.

The Arabs, or A-Rabs as the Americans insisted on calling hem, were poor beyond belief and uneducated. They had been French subjects for decades and were truly downtrodden and ripe for revolt. When it did come none of the old Africa hands were surprised.

I also visited Egypt and although the British were far ahead of the French in relations with the natives,  the same political unrest dominated the politics of the entire region. Nevertheless it was a thrill for me unequaled until I landed in France. But that’s another story.


Jim Goodwin lives in Florida where, following his seagoing years, had a long career as a  journalist.





    Jim Goodwin at Gallups Island, R-19




A Honolulu friend was Dr. Paul Withington, the former Asst. District Medical Officer at Pearl Harbor. Retired then and known affectionately merely as “Dr. Paul” he was responsible for cartoonist Al Capp’s finally marrying Lil Abner and Daisy Mae.

Years later in Phoenix when I was telling a Dr. Paul story to a fellow writer and history professor John Goff, he suddenly said, “wait a minute! What was Dr. Paul’s last name?”  Goff’s contemporary and close friend was Resterick Withington, Dr. Paul’s son. Both Resterick and David Withington (in their mid-80s) live in Phoenix, and we meet for lunch occasionally.

Most of the Pacific navy brass and many of the show people of that era (Judith Anderson stayed there often) were guests at the Withington home in Monoa Valley. Patton, then a colonel, loved squash and the Withington’s had the only suash court in the islands. The Withingtons were all athletic and David, then a teenager, beat Patton frequently at squash. Patton didn’t like to lose at squash any more than at war, and could be heard yelling all over Monoe Valley when bested.

Resterick and his wife were in New England one summer when they read that Patton’s daughter, Ruth Ellain was getting married. In the reception line, Resterick told Patton that they were in the area and had presumed to came without invitations and hoped they didn’t mind.

Patton then unsheathed his sward and said, “Resterick, if I’d found out you were within a hundred miles and not come, I’d have shoved this sword up your behind.”

Patton had two daughters. Both are dead now.

I asked Resterick about the movie Patton with George C. Scott. He has the video and watches it often. Said Scott did a great job except for the voice. Patton’s was high pitched.




Re-enactment (continued)

Several responded and headed for the scene.  It was dark before the first ship, a freighter, arrived to begin ferrying passengers across a mile of rough seas. Among the last to leave was Jack Binns brought aboard the freighter after 30 sleepless hours. A short time later the Republic sank.  The next week a bill requiring wireless on ships with more than 50 passengers was introduced into Congress which failed to act.  The Titanic’s sinking after striking an iceberg in 1912 with huge loss of life finally got action by the international community of nations. The California and other ships possibly near enough to arrive in time didn’t hear the distress signals because the lone radio man was off duty. This inspired the development of the auto alarm that served so well for many decades.

Some 24 Hull Lifesaving Museum volunteers served as lifeboat rowers and extras in the film. The PBS crew even had a fog making machine.  The documentary was titled “Saved by wireless” and shown on PBS’s “American Experience.” Call your local PBS facility for possible rerun dates.




While visiting his uncle in Chicago in the mid 1950s a friend encountered an apartment house resident soliciting  five hundred dollar investments from neighbors to start a new, bold Men’s magazine.  “I’m glad that I didn’t have five hundred to spare,” he quipped.

“Why? That was an opportunity of a life time!”

“Exactly. And I would’ve declined and have been kicking myself ever since,” he said.





by JJ

According to a Smithsonian Magazine article the most dangerous highway in the U.S. is north-south route 93 through Arizona, Nevada, and Idaho. Its worst section is between Wickenburg and Wikeiup (AZ) where it is more than 15 percent narrower than the average two-lane road and winds haphazardly through canyons and other unpredictable terrain. The state has installed huge crosses showing the location of the many fatalities in a futile effort to make drivers en route to and from Las Vegas and Laughlin, NV,  more cautious.

At a recent birthday party a lady told of surviving a head-on within that stretch. The official Highway Patrol accident report gave the cause as a suicide attempt by the other driver. He succeeded. After eight months of therapy the lady regained the use of her right hand that went through the windshield. Her doctor doubted she’d ever regain its full use. To her,  the ability to relax in the driver’s seat is gone forever.

This brought to mind an even more odious event by a former radio officer who worked for a South American airline. I don’t know if he was a Gallups Islander. He was antisocial,  and cynical to extreme. He constantly put down  the married men as suckers being taken in by women, a trap in which  he’d never be caught. Never say never.

But finally, even he fell in love with a Peruvian girl who loved swimming. He couldn’t swim a stroke but determined to learn quickly and  repeatedly jumped in despite the appearance of nearly drowning.

It was years later when I noticed his name and picture in a Time Magazine article. After the careers of flight radio officers ended, he became a licensed pilot and worked for Piedmont Airline (since absorbed by another carrier) and ultimately flew the left seat as a captain. Not surprisingly he’d had one or two failed marriages, and unrequited love for several stewardesses. Then, according to the article,  he became active with a fundamentalist religion group, diving in with the same enthusiasm as learning to swim in the futile attempt to win the Peruvian lass.

One day the twin-engine plane he was flying hit a peak in the Blue Ridge Mountain Range. The official FAA accident report determined that he’d flown the aircraft into the mountain purposely.

This would be unlikely today inasmuch as aircraft fly much higher and their altitudes are monitored closely by Air Traffic Control. In those days either the captain or the co-pilot would frequently be back in the cabin talking to the passengers some of whom might be visiting the cockpit. Now the pilots must be in the cockpit and the passengers in the cabin.





The Master, Mates, and Pilots bi-monthly magazine (November/December 1997) reported the reflagging of seven container ships under the Maritime Security Act. On December 12th of that year, the APL SINGAPORE arrived in Seattle with its new American crew.

Three C11s, APLs  KOREA, THAILAND, and PHILIPPINES were to follow by January for reflagging from Marshall Islands (imagine) to U.S. registry. These C11s joined APL C10s; President Adams, Jackson, Kennedy, Polk, and Truman. The program is a 10-year, $1 billion effort under which shipping lines would make these vessels available to the U.S. Government during national emergencies.  Imagine one billion from the latest budget of 520 billion loaded with pork and gifts to countless ungrateful countries to perpetuity. This comes to an average of 4.2 million the government spends per minute (40 hour work week, 52 weeks per year).





A book review by John JJ Ward

Edited by Bruce L. Felknor, a former MM radio officer, and published by the Naval Institute Press, is a long overdue work that chronicles the vital roles of the American merchant marine in all wars from the Nation’s founding through WWII. Subsequent conflicts not being naval engagements are not included.

Felknor’s work is well organized with excerpts from Winston Churchill, Samuel Morrison, Lowell Thomas, foremost historians contemporary to the periods described, and the stories of individual survivors of our many conflicts.

The British could blockage colonial ports and the federal navy largely close southern ports, but they could not control privateers ranging over too vast area to be controlled. Included are exploits of Capt Thomas Boyle and his Baltimore schooner that captured British craft three times its size and the phenomenal record of Raphael Semmes and his infamous Alabama that took scores of Union prizes. To escape loss by capture of their vessels, nations early began to put their craft under foreign (and neutral) flags.

The U.S. didn’t become a world naval power until near the end of the 19th Century. And between wars the merchant fleet was neglected, with a few, mostly antiquated, ships with poorly paid crews as we depended upon cheaper foreign bottoms.

The first World War found us ill equipped, by the time our frantic efforts began producing impressive results, the war ended.

As WWII approached, the Maritime Commission began building some C-class cargo ships and new tankers including a Standard Oil design (T2). The maritime unions led by Joe Curran (NMU) on the east coast and Harry Lundberg (SUP) in the Pacific made modest gains in wages.

Both unions were leaders in racial integration of crews and vigorously opposed “performing” (a euphemism for being undisciplined).

When war broke out Germany sent six  U-boats to America’s shores for what they called “the great turkey shoot.” Admiral King, who got high marks for developing fleet tactics, hated the British and almost everybody else and ignored their warnings. He did not believe in convoys although they were working well for the British in trans-Atlantic runs. Coastal shipping losses in 1942 were in the hundreds, many sinkings were within easy view of coastal residents. At one point they kept all tankers in port for almost a month.

Installing guns, training armed guard personnel, and building escort ships took time and it was well into 1943 before the tide turned significantly.

Dwight D. Eisenhower had confided to his diary “One thing that might help win this war is to get someone to shoot King.”

Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall addressed King in a memo, “The losses by submarines on our Atlantic Seaboard and Caribbean now threaten our entire war effort.”

FDR finally leaned on King who belatedly did an about face on convoys. “I think it has taken an unconscionable time to get things going,” he told the stubborn admiral.

In the ten months from July 1942 there were 989 sinkings with 686 in the north Atlantic (at the cost of 59 U-boats) but the following 10 months from May 1943 losses dropped to 359 (only 90 in north Atlantic) with 219 U-boats sunk.

One chapter deals accurately with the much ballyhooed disparity of pay among merchant seamen, the armed guard and other military personnel, proving the difference wasn’t that great even without inclusion of the GI Bill. James Mitchner and his ilk claimed the “marine” gunners (honest) got 21 dollars a month while merchant seamen averaged eight hundred, a figure he’d

                                                                                                           …continued next page


book review (continued)

heard, “so it must be true.” He claimed to have been transported on an American “Cape class” freighter to the South Pacific and knew more about navigation than the ship’s officer since he’d sailed as a deck hand on a British collier one summer.

I found the experiences told by the participants especially informative and interesting including many about radio officers. Being one of us, Mr. Felknor got the technical things correct for a change. All the facts and statistics are there. Imagine Mitchner writing such a book.

Former and current merchant mariners and sea buffs will enjoy and identify with the U. S. Merchant Marine at War, 1775-1945. It deserves a place on all seafarers and history buffs’ bookshelves.


Edited by Bruce Felknor 384 pages / 24 photographs / glossary / bibliography / index

ISBN: 1-55750-273-0 / $32.95


Bruce Felknor was a radioman in the merchant marine during World War II. He was not a Gallups Islander, but armed with solid grounding in radio theory from an exceptional high school physics teacher, got his second-class R/T license after working up his code speed. Felknor was on the T2 tanker  Sappa Creek, from 1944 well into 1945.  After the war Felknor spent a decade in public relations and was named director of the nonpartisan Fair Campaign Practices Committee and published the classic Dirty Politics in 1966. He taught at Hamilton College before joining Encyclopedia Britannica rising to executive editor before retiring in 1985. He now lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois








I was in Gallups Island class R-21 back in 1942-43. I came close but did not graduate. Approximately a month before graduation date with the FCC exams approaching, the commander summoned me to his office and informed me that I was behind, and they did not think I would pass the FCC tests so I was out of there. Their past thinking  provided for dropping back two weeks or month to get caught up. But there’d been a change in policy. He strongly urged that I go to Sheepshead Bay to become a seaman which I rejected out of hand. They took my uniform, graciously letting me keep my socks and underwear and civilian clothes. They provided no ticket home to Spokane, just the pay I had coming. I didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket home. The Red Cross and Travelers Aid would not help since I was not a “real” serviceman.  I bought a Greyhound bus ticket to the limits of my money which was to Buffalo, Wyoming, in the land of the middle of nowhere. After many miles of walking and numerous rides, I ultimately arrived in Spokane, dirty, weak, sick, and very hungry.   After a short rest I went to Seattle to work for Pan American Airways as a radio operator/technician trainee. Pan Am had a contract with the U.S. Navy to provide air service between Seattle and Alaska. But before I completed my training, the Navy dumped Pan Am and assumed the service themselves.  Again I was out in the cold. But the navy offered all the affected employees a chance to go on active duty in the naval reserves offering me ARM 3rd (Aviation Technician 3rd Class) with no boot camp. With a non-understanding draft board, I accepted readily. I got my uniforms at Bremerton, Washington, and was sent to Sandpoint Naval Air Station, Seattle. So here we were in the unenviable:  petty officers with no experience, no boot camp, knowing nothing about the navy. Feather merchants!

I spent the war in Sandpoint to be discharged in 1946. I joined the Naval Air Reserve on active duty in 1947 to retire in 1966. From 1967 to 1988 I worked at Fairchild Air Force Base as a civilian doing endless different jobs due to RIFS. I retired from Civil Service in 1988 with 42 years of federal service.

Naturally I felt badly not quite making it at Gallups,  but then perhaps not too badly for a small country town and school. It gave me a leg up in my life in the Navy.  Boston during the war was great. I’ll never forget the Buddies Club and the Boston Commons. The two guys I remember well are silent keys plus a couple from Portland and Seattle but no contact.       Best regards.  Ira




We’ve all  had less than sanguine experiences with seatmates on airliners. The real horrors seem to show up at the last minute. Recently on a flight from Phoenix  to Seattle, a couple with two cute infants arrived just before the aircraft’s door closed and sat directly in front of us. Both little girls were hyper. The youngest didn’t cry but screamed shrilly for the entire two and a half-hour flight. Her slightly older sister joined in occasionally. The parents who passed the youngest across the aisle a hundred times had absolutely no control.

But sometimes the sun breaks through showery skies and you behold the rainbow’s pot of gold. This happened last spring on a trip to Puerto Vallarta when I was assigned a seat between these callipygian lasses above.





Dear Homer (Gibson):

Maybe you can help me. Over the years I have tried to get a roster of the first group that boarded the Island from the SS American Seamen. Some of us were in the first class of radio training. We originally were from CCC camps throughout the U.S. We were also the first group on this ship and the SS Joseph Conrad. We were all on roster from Fort Dix, N.J. where we were discharged from the CCC. I have all those documents.

At the radio school some were licensed early and shipped out. Others enlisted in the Navy. I went full term but flunked theory then shipped out as Able Seaman finally signing up for OCS at Fort Trumbull, Conn.

Afterwards I sailed most all Atlantic runs and several beach heads and finally a trip to Manila. All these trips were on liberty ships except one tanker.

Why can’t I get a roster of my group for the first cadre on the American Seaman and the first on Gallups Island? Thank you for your kind attention. Sincerely, Ted Peterson


Does anybody have any suggestions how Mr. Peterson may get the documents that he seeks. Perhaps his congressman might help.


Hi There:

I owe you some money. I do taxes mostly for H & R Block and don’t answer mail until about June 18th.  Block knocked our commission down 7 per cent to improve their bottom line.

I don’t know why I receive a Spark Gap & The Gallups Islander, but the “Spark Gap” is best.  I like sea stories.  Some of the authors write like:  “We crossed the Atlantic, got attacked twice, made Liverpool okay.” These types infuriate me. Please tell more about the attacks!  I was in the Pacific. Anyhow, love you guys. Ed Zink R-92


There you have it—a lover of sea stories requesting more details of enemy action.


Gallups Island Radio Association

PO Box 1235

Hermitage, PA 16148


Dear Newsletter Editor:

I obtained your information from the local library using a reference book called Gale Directories. I will be located in Florida for the next several months. If you could please send a copy of your last newsletter along with any other reference material to the above listed address, I would greatly appreciate it.

Yours truly, Tracy Smith.




A forty meter (Radio, not boat) GIRA CONVOY is now forming for departure on Tuesdays & Thursdays at 1:00 PM (1300) Eastern Standard Time (1800Z) on 7267 khz plus or minus QRM.  This additional watch was picked for late risers who can’t get out of the bunk for the 7:00 am 3920 net and for those who cannot work the West Coast on 15 and 20 meters on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Also we are trying to find new participants among the 400 licensed GIRA hams who have not been active.  Once aboard and in the GIRA convoy, you are requested to keep station and round up any stragglers you know.


Once again:

Days: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Time:  1:00 PM EST, 12 noon CST,

11:00 AM MST, 10:00 AM PST      (1800Z)

Frequency: 7267 khz plus or minus the QRM.


Welcome aboard!!

Bob Halvorson, W3DOF, R-14,

Acting Commodore, GIRA 40






Remember…  Scuttlebutt can be rumors and nonsense as well as factual items or hard news. The scuttlebutt column is open to all for myriad subjects and opinions.

***William F. Banks R-117 asks if anyone may have a picture of the liberty  SS William Mulholland, his first ship after graduation from Gallups Island.  Banks can be reached at PO Box 292,  Bedford, New York 10506.

***In response to the group photograph submitted in the last Spark Gap by Hank Clark who asked for help identifying the event, James “Scotty” Ferguson identifies it as the R-19 pre-graduation party at the Boston University Club.

***From the ‘small world’ department: While traveling by train near Seattle to catch their cruise ship the Al Hadads overhead a couple in the diner at an adjacent table mention Phoenix. Since Al had once been the chief of TWA’s air-ground station there, he struck up a conversation to learn the man had also spent many years at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. When Al asked if he knew JJ, the man burst into laughter. It was former coworker and close friends Dick and Coralee Mercado. Al and I had worked together for TWA as FROs spending a number of long layovers in Cairo’s Heliopolis (Sun City) before meeting again in GIRA.

***Very appropriately, many think, we should return to Boston for the year 2000 which will be Gallups 60th anniversary. Sixty years of good memories.

***The recent Spielberg movie Saving Private Ryan is based upon WWII bunched-up casualties resulting from groups joining together and national guard units called up. The first year went poorly for the home team. But the most dramatic incident was the USS Juneau, an antiaircraft cruiser sunk at Guadalcanal with only ten survivors of the crew of 700.  Among those lost were five Sullivan brothers. My best high school friend was lost in the Battle of the Bulge—apparently frozen to death—and his only brother was immediately exempted from being drafted.

***Remember Fridays at Gallups when we were looking forward to the weekend in Boston, easily the best liberty town in the country. There was only one drawback—the week’s quiz. This may indeed be an ASMUT (apocryphal story much told)  but the word ‘quiz’ is believed to have resulted from a bet by Dublin theater manager James Daly that he could invent a new word and introduce it overnight. He paid urchins to chalk it on every wall in town. By the next day almost all Dublin inhabitants had seen it, but since nobody knew what it meant, ‘quiz’ became the word for ‘test of knowledge’. Whatever the word’s origin Friday quizzes never became popular.

***America’s richest man ever? According to American Heritage magazine which lists the top forty, it was John D. Rockefeller who was worth 900 million in 1913 which translates to 189.6 billion today. The rating system used the formula GNP/ENW or gross national product divided by estimated net worth. Andrew Carnegie was second with 250 million in 1901 equaling 100.5 billion in today’s dollars. Bill Gates comes in fifth with 61.7 billion. But then Gates isn’t through yet. Surprisingly both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were in the top one hundred.

***The Desert Advocate, our local newspaper, states in the New River crime report on 10/15/98 “someone stole a glass jar with four pounds of gold from a residence”.  A century ago this report would have been enough to start a stampede (gold rush). Highly sensitive modern metal detectors makes finding overlooked gold nuggets profitable. I know several people who do it full time. One quit his machine-shop job and has lived in the foothills for 15 years where he makes more and is far happier than from his former regular job.

***Ed and Dolores Wilder were in Phoenix recently (after a trip to Tucson) only to discover he’d forgotten our phone number which is unlisted. While thumbing through Arizona Senior World


Scuttlebutt  (continued)

he spotted an article about Lil’ Abner that I’d written and called the editor for our phone number. But alas, Bonnie (our border collie) and I were trekking in the desert and missed the call. Ironically unlisted numbers have the opposite effect than intended. Your friends can’t get the number but all the aggressive promoters and fund raisers have it.

***Our recent Alaskan trip conflicted with the GIRA Spokane reunion. The Fairbanks newspapers greeted our arrival with the headline “virus sweeps state.” It swept us along with most of our fellow travelers making the gourmet  shipboard food taste like cardboard. We still haven’t completely recovered from lingering symptoms. We should  have stuck with Spokane reunion. The shipboard crew were divided equally among Indonesian and Philippinos. They work 12 hours (minimum) a day for a year without a break then get two months off. These are from the educated middle class and speak two or more languages while working for the princely sum of $2.47 per hour. Millions from both countries work abroad at such jobs of which the ships are among the better. Makes being born in America like winning the lottery as our table mates (three were sisters from St. Paul) put it.

***Thanks for all the good pictures of the Spokane reunion, the regional mini-gatherings, and other events. While pictures add a bit to a publication’s cost, methinks they add even more to interest.  We were delighted with the personal experience pieces where set-back Islanders  snatched victory from the clutches of defeat. Bravo

***Thanks to Al Hadad for Spark Gap copies volume 1, numbers 2 and 4. R19 was gone by that time and most of us had no idea a newsletter had been launched.  A lead story gives a thumbnail Gallups history. Originally it was spelled Gallop after former owner, Captain John Gallop. First a farm, it later became a summer resort, then a quarantine station during WWI.

It was taken over by the U.S. Government in 1939 with the idea of upgrade training for American seamen idled by the Neutrality Act. This scheme was abandoned due to lack of interest.   In June, 1940 the Maritime Commission set up a radio school initially administered by the U.S Coast Guard with first students entirely from the CCCs (Civilian Conservation Corps). The Coast Guard left in September 1942 when the Maritime Commission, under the direction of the War Shipping Administration, assumed control of the Resident Radio School manned by Maritime personnel with some help from the Navy.

On April 24, 1943, Thomas R. Cooper of Platoon R-033 married his hometown sweetheart Glorya Kiechle on the Island, a  first for the radio school.

In May 1943 the American Communications Association announced the Maritime Service had agreed to put a second radio operator on ships in a first step toward a continuous 24-hour radio watch. Ultimately, most ships did have three radiomen, often one or more were navy operators.

***The community of Terra Vita (neighbors call it Terra Muerta) ruled against a Purple Heart veteran installing a modest flag pole in front of his home. Terra Vita is in the extreme northern part of Scottsdale with an attitude that is becoming virtually universal throughout the country. The subdivision claimed a flag spoiled the aesthetics, ie., the view. The desert foothills view was indeed beautiful before the big, cheaply built, and overpriced tract houses covered the landscape close enough to jump from roof to roof. Now the view is endless tile roofs all the same color as are the houses themselves.  The flag pole would be much smaller and far less obtrusive than the ubiquitous lamp poles and other utilities. Sympathizers have created a legal fund for the embattled resident. The American Legion came out to perform a ceremony in his driveway on Veterans Day. Time marches on and our rights erode steadily. Some places already prohibit pickup trucks. Same color vehicles next?








Bakula, Theodore and Lola,Huntsville, Al

Brainard, Robert and Jean, Homewood, IL

Buckles, C. Nelson and Zelda, Independence, MO

Calderwood, David, Beaumont, TX

Claus, Otto and Anita, Parkton, MD

Clausen, James and Peg, Denver, CO

Clough, Robert and Elaine, Thousand Oaks, CA

Cutler, Myron and Mary, Bristol, CT

Davies, David and Charline, Englewood, CO

Dixon, Rion, Hartsville, SC

Evans, William and Terry, Trumbull, CT

Ferguson, James, Windham, MA

Garrison, Robert, Port Angeles, WA

Geiselman, Patrick and Barbara,nibbing, MN

George, Robert and Bobbie, Vashon, WA

Gibson, Thomas and Louise, Joppa, MD

Gibson, Homer, Sharpsville, PA

Gill.  Glen and Myler, Yakima, WA

Guntner, Bud and Arby, Baltimore, MD

Hadad, Al and Marian, San Jose, CA

Harp, Eugene and Barbara, Eugene, OR

Holcomb, Ira, Spokane, WA

Hucke, Sam, Fayetteville, AR

Jaworski, Bill, Nokemis, FL

Jolly, James and Rose, Fair Oaks, CA

Jorgenson, Ray and Ruth, Plains, NY

King, Ray and Jane, North Weymouth, MA

Kinkel, James and Elsie, Corrales, NM

Kroll, Orlando and Betty, Richland, WA

Layman, Jim and Lois, Yakima, WA

Maricle, Roscoe and Shirley, Rolla, MO

Morris, Ron and Gloria, Opportunity, WA

Mayhew, Robert and Josephine, New York, NY

Mitchell, James, Pasadena, MD

Munyon, Charles, Everett, WA

Opalka, William and Lotte, New Port Richey, FL

Pearson, Everett, Seal Beach, CA

Reiter, Norman, Corbett, OR

Rudat, Walter and Jan, Sun City West, AZ

Runmark, Don and Dee, Golden Valley, MN

Slabotsky, Kent and Sylvia, Oklahoma City, OK

Supplee, Ted and Corrine, Lancaster, PA

Wallace, Keith and Marilyn, Spokane, WA

Wilder, Ed and Delores, Crestline, CA

Wilson, Robert and Yvonne, Dessert Hot Springs, CA

Witkowski, Bill, Carlisle, IA

Yount, Bill and Chris, Frankfort, KY


Adela Brown

Sept 1, 1923 - May 11, 1998

Adela Brown, 74, wife of Marwin Brown, R-015, died May 11, 1998 at the Scottsdale, Arizona, Healthcare Center. The Browns have lived in Sierra Vista, AZ, for three years.

Adela was born September 1st, 1923, in Wessington, South Dakota to John and Anna Betik Zvonek. After college in Mitchell, S.D., she taught at rural schools in the area. During WWII she worked at the Air Corps Base in Sioux Falls, S.D.

After the war she met Marwin Brown and the couple were married Oct. 26, 1947. They owned and operated Brown’s Red Owl Agency Grocery Store for 10 years. Marwin began working for the First Bank System and they lived in a number of towns in South Dakota and Minnesota where Adela was active in community organizations and the Catholic church.

Adela and Marwin Brown moved to Sierra Vista in 1995 to be near their two daughters and four grandchildren. Adela’s creative talents included painting, wood carving, and decorating. She will be missed as a loving wife, mother, and grandmother and remembered for her warmth, humor, and energetic spirit.

She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Marwin; two daughters, Vicki and Paula Brown; four grandchildren.  Our warmest condolences to brother Marwin Brown.


How fast the sands

of time sift down.

Turning days

to months

to years.

How slow is grief

to fade away,

And take with it

the tears.



Silent Keys:

No additional Silent Keys reported





Bill Evans, Zelda Buckles, C. Nelson Buckles,

Jim Jolly, Rose Jolly, Bob Brainard


David Calderwood, Mr Roscoe, Mrs Roscoe (bottom), Sam Huckle (top), Arby Guntner, Bud Guntner


Mary Cutler, Myron A. Cutler, Barbara Harp, Eugene Harp, Jan Rudat, Walter Rudat




John Sloan, Ray Jorganson, Robert Wilson , James R. Ferguson, Ed Wilder  -  All R-19




Al Hadad, Robert Mayhew, Homer Gibson



Bill Yount, Anita Claus, Otto Claus, Ted Supplee, David Davies (back), Charline Davies










Bud Guntner, Preseident, Arby Guntner



Bill Evans, Bob Brainard



Walt and Jan Rudat


Shipmates Bob Wilson R-19 and Gene Harp R-91



Ray King, Vice President, Jane King



Al Hadad,  Marian Hadad







The following is a list of members with whom we have lost contact.  Homer Gibson, Secretary-Treasurer, would appreciate anyone who knows the whereabouts of (or any other information you can offer on) these members, to please contact him.


            NAME                                                 LAST KNOWN ADDRESS


            Abell, E. Franklin                   2404 Old Westminister Rd. Westminister, MD 21157

            Avera, Alexander W. 2765 Woodland Dr. Orange Park FL 32073-6536

            Bartlett, Charles W.               17414 Bothwell Way SE #651 Mill Creek, WA 98012

            Dippold, Charles S.              10592A Fuqua St. Houston, TX 77089-1402

            Doyle, Paul J.                        127 Cafeto Ct. Walnut Creek, CA 94598-3712

            Fells, William E.                    402 W. Waterway N. W. Lake Placid FL 33852

            Grossman, Max                     5043B Spencer St. #B Las Vegas, NV 89119-2167

            Hinz, Herman, Jr.                   250 E. Royal Palm Dr. Boca Raton FL 33432-5001

            Holden, Stanley E.                8302 15th Ave. Langley Park, MD 20873-2430

            Huett, James C.                    11454 Grille Court San Diego, CA 92127

            Lesage, Robert H.                101 Rainbow Drive Livingston, TX 77351

            Matheny, James Robert       150 Islander Ct #196LK Longwood, FL 32750-4972

            McCarthy, Joseph P.            2426 SE 17th St. # 101-A Fort Lauderdale FL 33316

            Miller, Lowell G.                     19915 Saticoy Canoga Park, CA 91306-2647

            Resnick, Selig J.                   7847, Trenton Ave. St. Louis, MO 63130-1227

            Rowland, Henry B.                9 Cannonball Path Ticonderoga NY 12883-1331

            Tanner, Thomas                    10626 Hempstead Rd. Trlr 16 Houston, TX 77092-8428

            Tistan, Kliment                       49 Warwick St. Iselin, NJ 08830-1864

            Vinson, Robert L.                  3992 25th St. Columbus IN 47201

            Johnny Barbar                       East Osborn Road, Phoenix, Arizona



*Pictured on P15, the T2 tanker Sappa Creek often was the first ship into Narsarsuaq (Bluie West 1 or BW1), Greenland, as soon as the ice broke up in early summer. In the officers’ club bar, a sign proclaimed “The ice in our drinks is a million years old.” When he needed more ice, the bartender would take his bucket and ice pick and chip ice from a glacier just outside the back door. Whether from the old ice or poor quality whiskey, it made me so sick I spent most of the next day in the base hospital.

*In a Jacksonville shipyard an electrician, his first time working on ships, climbed the main mast to replace a burned out running light. Placing his safety belt around the pipe supporting  the light, he leaned back and kept going, his shrill scream ending with a thud. It may have been a poor weld or likely deterioration from years of salt spray.

*In Port Said we were overwhelmed with the usual bum boats and 40 thieves. The scotch they sold was similar to the quality I got in Greenland. We anchored in Bitter Lake to let the northbound convoy pass, but the windless malfunctioned and the engineers were in no condition to repair it. Working in 110degree heat they got it up in time to join the next southbound convoy losing 12 hours. Neither the captain nor the pilot was amused.

*Out of Ras Tanura we sailed through Indian Ocean waters boiling from horizon to horizon with porpoises. The greatest number of living things I’ve ever observed, before or since,  had gathered in the warm water for mating.






Non Profit Org.

U.S. Postage


Newington, VA

Permit # 66




      Post Office Box 1235

      Hermitage, PA 16148-1235



      Urban A. (Bud) Guntner, President

      (410) 377-5316


      Raymond E. King, Vice-President

       (617) 331-6154


       Homer  N. Gibson, Sec-Treasurer

        (412) 962-4213


      John JJ Ward, Editor      

      Carol Zimerman49220 North 26 Avenue

      New River, AZ 85027-8080

      (602) 465-9256


      The Spark Gap is published by the Gallups Island Radio Association (GIRA).  Basic circulation is

      confined to Association members and Gallups Island Radio School graduates, instructors, and

      administrative personnel during World War II. This alumni newsletter is dedicated to the men who

      went to sea as Merchant Marine Radio Officers, school instructors and support people assigned to

      Gallups Island. Opinions expressed herein are those of contributors or the editor, and do not

      necessarily reflect the position of the Organization, Officers, Directors, or Association members.





Dr. Sam Hucke of nearby Fayetteville, AR, is busy arranging the myriad details. October is a pleasant month in the Ozarks and are within non-stressful driving distance of many sections of the country. The Springfield, MO, airport is within about 50 miles. St. Louis is a bit farther but a good alternative. More information upcoming is future issues.


Vern D. Hegge, R015, of Sierra Vista, AZ, tentatively plans a second bi-annual regional reunion in Tucson next February (1999). The 1997 get together in the Embassy Suites on the airport (but away from the noise) was a remarkable success.


The Spark Gap editors and GIRA officers wish all a happy holiday season and the best gift of all -- Health and Happiness.