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Mon, Dec 15, 2014 at 11:48 PM
Hi Glenn - I know it has been a long time since I communicated on the site. All is well with me and the family. As you may recall my Dad, Charles (Charlie) Gonzalez MM1C (1921 - 2004) was an original crew member of the USS Renshaw. He worked in the After Fire Room from 12/42 to 12/44 ( I think?).
As my research unfolds, he then traded Rank-for-Rank and was assigned to San Francisco, where he saw his first college football game - USC vs UCLA at the Colosseum. He NEVER stopped talking about that - I and my sister were in in awe - but I digress.
Your web site provided me, over the years, to be in contact with my father's shipmates. I have learned more about my father and his experiences through the true stories told by (especially), Mike (the Baker) Paige, aboard the Renshaw than all the years I was his daughter. That he was part of the "Black Gang" covered in soot, and had to take Salt pills because they lost too much electrolytes through sweating; Or that Mike felt so sorry for these poor souls ( that's what he called them) that he baked special desserts for them and that is how my father and Mike (the Baker) became fast friends. Or that Mike (the Baker) and the Chaplain had to convince my father NOT to jump ship in Australia. Mike told me that my father thought his number was up. He had been in that inferno for almost 2 years. It was the missing 50%.
I realized that I only knew 1/2 the man that I grew up with. And, here I am, a radical '60s activist - who marched against the Vietnam War (had HS friends killed there), participated in Sit-Ins for Civil Rights and Women's Rights, was on the longest Teacher's strike in US history (Newark, NJ 1971) - and now in my my 60s, after raising 2 daughters and having 3 grandsons; I am internalizing the agony of a 21 year old. The day before my father died - April 10, 2004 - I had an epiphany - it was Saturday, the day before Easter, that I HAD to see Daddy in the nursing home. He had suffered with strokes in his late 70s that he recovered from (so strong!) and the last one blinded him and escalated his Dementia. That Saturday, I fed him, I kissed him, I hugged him - knowing he did not even know me - his last words were, "Where's John Gushue???", as a tear rolled down his cheek.
I later found, through the Renshaw web site, that John Gushue was among the 19 boys killed on February 21, 1945 as a torpedo hit the After Fire Room - and my father's shipmate and friend in the After Fire Room, John Gushue was one of the boys killed. Although my father had had severe Dementia, it did not obscure his long-term memory. He kept John deep in his heart. Hopefully, you will post this. I want the children of the original crew to understand the extreme sacrifice our fathers made for us and understand the men they evolved into. Not easy.
Camille (Gonzalez) Gaeta
PS - My Dad and Mike are both "Jersey Boys" - Dad from Newark and Mike from Orange. Although dad raised us in Newark, I now live in Kearny, NJ where the USS Renshaw was built - in the Kearny ship yards. Gosh, what goes around, comes around.
17 Nov 2014
I received this from a Renshaw shipmate today. Please take a look at it and if you can help him with some information drop him an email.
Glenn: I would appreciate if you could post this email to the Bulletin Board. I have been following this site
for many years, I find the postings very informative. In fact, some of the shipmates I served with have
Thank You, Ladislaus Rak email@example.com
I am writing to you because I have been diagnosed with a medical condition that may
have been caused by my service aboard the USS Renshaw and in the waters of Vietnam.
I served aboard the Renshaw from Oct. 1967 to Jan. 1970. I am asking if you recall serving
with me and remember me, and if you recall and/or have documented information on where the Renshaw
travelled in the waters of Vietnam, I would like to here from you.
As an example, on Sept. 2, 1969, the Renshaw (along with us, the crew) dropped off/handed over 3 Vietnamese fishermen
(treated as prisoners) to the US authorities in DaNang harbor. If you do recall, can you provide any more
information and/or confirm the above.
Also, at any other time, did the Renshaw send ashore, anywhere on land in Vietnam,
shipmates to pick up mail, movies or anything else.
Lastly, can you recall any other event (s) that led the Renshaw to enter the brown waters of Vietnam.
Even if you cannot help me, it would be a pleasure to talk to any shipmate of the Renshaw. Its been a long time.
Thank you and the best of health to you and your family.
Ladislaus (Laddie) Rak firstname.lastname@example.org
Received from Don McElfresh this week
We heard from Dick Post and now reading on the Renshaw bulletin board that there will probably be no future reunions.. I'm sorry but travel complications and costs have pretty much curtailed our travel. It was a real pleasure meeting all of you, and as I wrote Dick Post yesterday, what we did off Korea in no way compared with what they did in WWII. I always felt that I was a guest of the WWII bunch, and honored to meet them. As a young teenager I expected to be in WWII and then it was over.
Thanks for all your efforts on the webpage and the reunions. Without the reunions I would never have met my 499 buddies from a very important time in my life, a very long time ago.
Our best to you and yours for the future,
Don & Becky
Here are some additional photos from Reunion 2014. These were provided by Jane Ellen Young.
So much to see!
Time to rest for a bit...
Jim Wendell and grandson, Aaron
Bill Pyla and sister, Shirley Trader
Tom and Poulet Green
Jan McCurry and Sandy Smith
Jerry Vandenberg and Ed Keegan
Another shot of the Renshaw Shipmates attending
The Photo Gallery team at work
Posted by Webmaster 26 Sep 2014
Bill Pyla has initiated a Facebook page dedicated to Renshaw and you will find a lot of information and pictures there. When you log in to Facebook, do a search on 'USS Renshaw' and the page will show up in the list. It is an open (public) page, so everyone can join and check it out.
Note from Sheldon Preville
The news of Bill Geary's passing left me with a heavy
heart. Over the years he was not only my shipmate but
I was fortunate enough to have him as a good friend.
I, like many others, will surely miss him.
Posted by Webmaster 24 Sep 2014
We just learned of the loss of another friend and shipmate this year. Bill Geary passed away on July 6, 2014. Bill has attended many Renshaw reunions in past years. Here is his obituary from the local paper near his home:.
THORNWOOD, N.Y. - William H. Geary of Thornwood died July 6. He was 89.
Geary was born Sept. 13, 1924, in New York City, to William and Sarah Geary. He served in the
U.S. Navy in both World War II and Korea. He was a retired stereotyper with the N.Y. Post.
Geary is survived by his children, William P. (Elizabeth) Geary of Smithfield, R.I.., Michael T. (Colette) Geary of New Rochelle, Kathryn M. (Walter) Moran of Hawthorne and Patricia A. Tighe of Bridgewater, N.J.; sister, Mary (Steve) McLaughlin of Mahwah, N.J.; 10 grandchildren; two great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents; wife, Catherine (nee Burke) Geary; daughter-in-law, Pamela; son-in-law, Michael Tighe; and brothers, Harold and John Geary.
Note from Webmaster 21 Sep 2014
Jerry Vanderberg received some information regarding one of our shipmates. Ed Brown is a former crew member who lives in Summerville, SC. He has attended a number of reunions over the years. Ed was on the Renshaw late 1950's and early 1960's time frame, along with me, Jerry Vandenberg, Ed Keegan, Harvey Wise, and others. Ed's health has been deteriorating over the past few years and we've learned now that he is about to be transferred into a Veterans' assisted living facility. His brother, Dennis, informs us that Ed has accepted this and knows that his wife was no longer able to give him the care he needed at home.Ed Brown has been a good shipmate and friend to many of us on the Renshaw and we will all keep him in our thoughts and prayers as he goes through this.
Note from Webmaster 21 Sep 2014
We just came back from the 2014 Renshaw Reunion at Virginia Beach. Turnout was light, but a good time was had by all attendees. Jan, along with her sister, Jane, and Jim Giddings did all the planning for an outstanding program. The tours were excellent and the hotel facilities made it a pleasant stay. There will be some important news coming out shortly to all hands. There will be a letter detailing future plans for reunions. If you missed the 2014 reunion, it may just mean that you missed Renshaw's final reunion. I don't have specific details here, so please wait for the official word from the committee.
Note from Webmaster
14 Jul 2014
We have just learned that we have lost another shipmate and friend. Clyde Mason, best remembered for his support (and shirts) of the Univ. of Tennessee Volunteers, passed away this past year. We'll miss him at our Renshaw reunions. Here is a copy of his obituary that appeared in the local newspaper near his home in Tennessee.
Clyde Mason, 76, of Andersonville, Tennessee, passed away May 9, 2013, at Tennova North in Knoxville.
Born November 15, 1936, he was preceded in death by parents, Felin and Stella Griffith Mason.
He was an avid Tennessee Vol fan and attended all UT football games and especially loved the Lady Vols. Wearing orange was his trademark and you would never see him unless he was wearing something orange. He entered the U. S. Navy in July of 1956 and retired after 20 years of service. He served aboard the U.S.S. Renshaw and the aircraft carrier Enterprise and saw service in the Vietnam War as a medic attached with the Marines. He also worked many years with the postal service in Memphis; was a member of Norris First Baptist Church. He was saved in 2010 and you would never talk to him unless he would mention the Lord.
He is survived by his daughters: Cynthia, and Diane Mason, both of Bartlett, Tennessee; niece, Janis Owens and husband, Odis, of the Fairview community; nephew, Ralph Mason and wife, Pat, of Norma; sisters-in-law: Bernie Mason of Norma, and Irma Lee Mason of the Smokey Junction community; special friends: Greg and Kim Smith and their children, and Ellen Goodman of Clinton; several nieces and nephews, and many other relatives.
Funeral service was conducted May 17, in the chapel of Four Oaks Funeral Home-Huntsville with Bro. Jeff Lloyd and Bro. David Seiber officiating. Music was provided by the Mason family. Interment followed at East TN Veterans Memorial Cemetery with full military honors.
Four Oaks Funeral Home-Huntsville had charge of arrangements.
28 Jun 2014
I saw your ad in Military for a reunion of the USS Renshaw and this name rang a bell. My father, Lt. Walter C. Drill was a fighter director officer (FIDO) in WW II and his first cruise was on the USS Renshaw starting June 24, 1943? for a total of 6 days.( This date may be off ) HIs personal records say "this was for a bombardment mission to Rabaul&Kavieng(sp) in Bismarck Archipelago-experienced first "FIRE" from ship. " He jumped from destroyer to destroyer as a FIDO and I remember him telling me he was unliked by the Captain and the crew because they became picket destroyers to deflect Japanese planes from attacking the large number of troops during amphibious landings.
I have his original FIDO log during 1944 with original maps of these islands.
I would be most interested if anyone would know anything about my father on the Renshaw and if the ship was involved with picket duty at all.
Walter J. Drill
USS RENSHAW SHIPMATE
Ward Collier Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 6:51 AM
I hope this email finds you well. I was writing at the request of my grandmother Nell Bowie to inform you that her husband and my grandfather William Clifton Bowie passed away this past Friday, February 21, 2014. William or how he was known to us Dub or Gramps was aboard the Renshaw from 1943-1945. I can still remember his stories of the torpedo hitting the ship and him firing the guns at enemy aircraft. He was so proud of his time on the USS Renshaw serving this great nation during the "Big One" as he referred to it.
His funeral is today at 11am. He will be buried at the West Tennessee Veterans Cemetery in a funeral with military honors. GM3c William Bowie loved the reunions and will be missed by us all.
To all Renshaw shipmates:
Happy New Year 2014. With this, we start our info notes file for the new year. Let us hear from you. We don't have means for you to post your note here directly, so just send it to me in an email and I'll put it up.
Glenn Barbee, Webmaster
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