An Amazon site has been setup to sell USS Francis Hammond pins. Here is a link to the Amazon product page for the pin:https://www.amazon.com/…/ref=cm_sw_r_em_apa_fabc… You can also go to your Amazon account and search for this Francis Hammond pin using its product identifier: B08Q7CLCKP The pin is 1.5″ in diameter. The price is $12 ea., limit 5, shipped USPS next day. Delivery in 3 – 6 days. Price includes S&H. I have 73 available as of Dec 20th, 2020.
USS Francis Hammond (DE/FF 1067) is the ninth Knox-class frigate, named in honor of Hospitalman Francis Colton Hammond, a Medal of Honor recipient.
Francis Hammond was laid down on 15 July 1967 at San Pedro, Calif., by Todd Shipyards, Los Angeles Division; launched on 11 May 1968; sponsored by Mrs. Phyllis Hammond Smith, widow of HM3 Francis C. Hammond; and commissioned on 25 July 1970, Cmdr. John E. Elmore in command.
The 16th of 46 Knox-class destroyer escorts, Francis Hammond was designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Armed with ASROC and torpedoes, her primary mission would be to patrol the Pacific Ocean, locate and identify Soviet submarines, and, in the event of armed conflict, destroy them. As Rear Adm. Douglas C. Plate exhorted Cmdr. Elmore, “Hospitalman Hammond made a tradition of being ‘in harm’s way.’ Far in advance of main friendly lines with the First Marine Division Francis Hammond laid down a gauntlet that is yours to pick up.” Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt concurred with this, but also reminded the crew that in addition to exhibiting the “resolution so well exemplified by Francis Hammond,” they also needed to demonstrate “the compassion and sense of humanity that helped to set him apart.” On the day of her commissioning, the Bakersfield, Calif., Council of the Navy League of the United States officially adopted the ship.
On Sunday morning 8 July 1972 we had just completed a gunfire mission in the vicinity of Cua Viet, just south of the DMZ. 7 minutes later we were detached from Task Unit 70.8.9 to proceed independently to the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. We were to proceed by way of the Southwest Typhoon Evasion course. This was a relief to the crew since we never knew if we would ever leave this area. This WestPac cruise of ’72 was supposed to have us visiting ports of call like Singapore, Sattahip, Thailand, Kaohsiung, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Every time we were to head to one of these destinations, we would be called back to another gunfire support mission in Military Region 1 or plane guard duties out on Yankee Station. Our presence was due to the huge invasion of North Vietnamese troops heading south over the DMZ in the spring of 1972. We were excited to be able to see a foreign port other than Subic Bay during that WestPac cruise.
So we steam in an easterly direction across the South China Sea aware that a large tropical storm had just crossed the Philippine island of Luzon and was heading in a northwesterly direction. I think our skipper thought we would just sort of chase it or follow it towards Hong Kong and it would be gone by the time we got there. The storm itself was only moving across the sea at 2-6 knots and even meandering in loops in a couple of positions.
From what I can tell of our posits and the storms tracked positions, the closest we ever got to the center or eye was around 180 nautical miles. It was really amazing the strength of the wind and the sea state even at that distance. We were sometimes taking water well over the bow of the ship. At 0750 on the morning of the 10th it was logged that the starboard gyro fin stabilizer had suffered a casualty. Without full stabilization the rough ride was amplified. During this time it was pretty dicey being in my bunk on the first deck below the ASROC launcher. That was nothing compared to being on watch up in CIC which was on the 01 level. Up there the arc of a 40 degree swing was amplified, being further from the center of gravity. So now we knew why the Chief was always pissin’ and moanin’ about “gear adrift” and “missile hazards”. Ashtrays had to be secured and you had to hold your coffee cup with one hand while working the scope or the DRT with the other. Something would inevitably have to give when it was necessary to hang on to something solid!
To watch the above video in “Full Screen” you may have to view it here.
About 10 hours after the gyro fin stabilizer problem, the engineers get it fixed. We are still on our course for Hong Kong. The following morning, 11 July, at about 1000 it’s announced that our port of destination has been altered to Subic Bay, PI. It was this day that the storm was officially classified as a typhoon and was now located between Hong Kong and the island of Taiwan. My guess is that even though past HK, it was still hitting them with high winds and a storm surge.
So we alter course southward towards Subic to anchor in the harbor there at 1005 the evening of the 11th. After a short period there we depart for Pearl Harbor and eventually Long Beach, CA. What a cruise! So many memories of wartime chores aboard a man o’ war, with some good times relaxing in Olongopo and then capped off riding the edge of a terrifying storm. Riding that storm was the closest that this writer came to getting seasick during my time in the Navy. Not gonna lie, I may have got a little green, but chunkage was contained.
NOTE: My motive for creating this animation was partially an exercise for myself to keep a hand in this sort of media, since I’ve been out of work for a few years. Need some practical exercises to keep the skills honed! The ship model came from a guy I met through YouTube almost 10 years ago. He had created this model and an animation based on the Jesse L. Brown (DE-1089) . I had asked the author (YouTube name “gramphamp”) if he would mind sharing his creation for some non-commercial ideas I had in mind. He agreed and exported his model in a .FBX format which took me almost 10 years to get converted to be imported and editable in my 3D application. Unfortunately, I can no longer reach this guy to thank him. Over the years I would try a different way to import his geometry, but without success. Last year I started looking at other conversion utilities that would work as a go-between. I finally found something that worked! I did some editing of the ship geometry to make it more “Hammond-like”, but it still needs a lot of work. The apps I used to create this were 3D Studio Max, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere Pro.
By SN Keith Elsberry
I don’t remember the exact date or time anymore but I can still vividly recall my days aboard the Hammond as if they were yesterday. One particular day I remember even better than the rest. We were conducting one of our standard “draw fire” missions off the coast of Vietnam during the war. This was something we seemed to do almost every day.
I was wearing a flak vest and helmet as I stood aft lookout watch up on the helo deck. The midday sun made it very hot and humid in the South China Sea. My helmet sat on the deck at my feet and my vest was wide open, barely over my shoulders. The helo deck is a wide open deck running the entire width of the ship where our LAMPS 2 helicopter lands. It offered no protection from either the sun or what was about to happen next.
I was leaning on a stanchion on the starboard side paying no particular attention to anything when a geyser of water exploded skyward just off the port side the ship. I was frozen in fear and time stood still. From the water column I saw large chunks of shrapnel flying straight at me. As the metal rained down I threw on my helmet and closed my vest. I immediately called the incoming rounds up to the bridge and gave bearing and degrees to where I thought the rounds had come from. Looking down, a large chunk of metal lay at my feet. I tried to pick it up but it was hotter than hell. To this day I cannot believe that I was not hit by that blast.
Shells started falling all around the ship. First they fell in front of the ship and then they started to fall off the starboard side. The commies had indeed found our range and began walking rounds in on the ship. Round after round landed in the ocean on the starboard side, each a little closer than the next. I knew within a round or two they would be falling where I stood. I truly believed I was going to be blown up that day. I will hear very few sounds in my life as sweet as that high pitched whine of the ship’s turbines as we kicked it into full speed. The next set of three rounds fell in our wake where we had been moments before.
As we moved a safe distance away from the mountains where the cannon roared the bridge sent a buddy of mine, Eugene Heckt, back to check on me. Gene took one look at me and just started laughing.
“Keith, you look you just saw a ghost!” Gene chided.
I was none too amused.
USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067)
July 19-21, 2019
It had been 49 years since most of us first met on board the USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067) as plank-owners and commissioning crew in 1970. The reunion idea started with a conversation between John Blumthal and Scott Gillespie after the Hammond Reunion in Branson during the summer of 2018. That’s when John “Bloomers” Blumthal created the Lisco Locker Gang FaceBook page as a seed to start some reunion conversation. A big shout out to John for tracking us all down using a background checker called SPOKEO and setting up the event at the DTC Hilton Garden Inn in Denver, CO. John was also the designated driver with a rented van to make airport runs as well as hauling us to local drinking/dining spots.
The DTC Hilton Garden Inn treated us well with a breakfast buffet every morning. They also had a bar that we closed down every night as you would guess old sailors will do. We also had a meeting room available for 8 hours per day supplied with bottled water, soft drinks and ice. Darcy’s Irish Pub was the local designated watering hole. On Saturday we did a group excursion to the Denver Lodo district via RTD (light rail). Watering holes visited were Thirsty Lion Pub and Wynkoop Brewing Company. On the last day (after most of us had flown home) Bloomers, Stubby and Herb did a road trip to Evergreen, Idaho Springs and Winter Park to explore some of Colorado’s beauty.
Many of us in this crew were on the Hammond’s first two WestPac’s. The 1972 cruise was a first for most of us but we had some good guidance from the “salts” that had come from the fleet to join this crew. We went through good times and bad times together. Through it all, as the radar gang bound together, we always had each others backs. We worked hard and we played hard as a tight-knit team.
As we settled into the reunion gathering, it became evident that the comradery and closeness of this brotherhood was still there. We re-lived many of the experiences, both good and bad, and filled in those gaps in our memories that helped shape us for our futures. All in all I cannot think of a better bunch of men to have served with!
The cherry on top of this reunion is that John had designed a commemorative coin to have minted for us to mark the occasion. The coin idea came to him while browsing Navy souvenir sites. He wanted something that you could hold in your hand and had volunteered to take this on himself. You can read more about this HERE.
USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067)
July 19-21, 2019
By John Blumthal
The Coin Content Identified
On the front of the coin, the ship is a 3D image of the Knox Class Destroyer Escort. The ship is positioned over a map of Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands. Subic Bay had a large Naval Station that was home port to most of the US Navy ships while assigned duties in the South China Sea. Olongapo City was located in the Northeast part of Subic Bay. This port was a sailor’s paradise, with bars, hotels and nightclubs galore. All of us in the Lisco Locker Gang will warmly remember our times in Olongapo City.
On the back of the coin, a radarman/operations specialist (RD/OS) symbol is set on top of a map of the South China Sea and the Gulf of Tonkin where the Navy fought a large part of its war effort during the Vietnam War in an area known as “Yankee Station” off shore of the South Vietnam coastal city Da Nang. The RD symbol was placed on top of Yankee Station and enlarged. The RD symbol is a circle with an arrow through and behind it. In the middle of the circle is a sine wave with two peaks. These peaks represent radar contacts from the original radar equipment developed during WWII and the arrow represents the ability to detect the azimuth or direction of the target. The map comprises a part of South East Asia where the Vietnam War was fought.
Please note that all of the Lisco Locker Gang started out as a Radarman and left the Navy as an Operations Specialist. Basically the Navy changed the name because we did a lot more than just use radar when we were out at sea.
Why a coin
The coin idea came to John while he was browsing Navy souvenir sites. He wanted something that you could hold in your hand.
The Rough Design
The design started as a circle on a piece of printer paper. An inner circle was added to define one edge of a curved text area along the edge of the coin. The inner circle would contain map of the Gulf of Tonkin & the South China Sea. The radarman rating symbol was added to this side and it was named RD side. The RD side was an attempt to define the Vietnam War part of our WestPac cruises.
The other side was identified as the Ship side. Like the RD side, this side of the coin represents the liberty port we visited most often. Olongapo City in the Philippines will remain in our memories forever.
John found an Android App that would take a JPG or a PRN image and produce a 2D coin image proof. This app was very useful to get an idea of how much detail will be recognizable when the coin was rendered. The ship needed more detail and at a high resolution to be scaled down to the coin size of 2”.
Carol, Chloe and Dennis Design Team
Once John had the rough design drawn out on paper he contacted his niece Carol Blumthal, an artist of many talents. Carol and John discussed the idea of the coin and also the division of duties. At that time it was decided to invite Chloe Kendall, also one of John’s nieces, to the team to do the graphic design work for the coin.
About half way through the design process, Carol was excused from her involvement with the coin and Dennis Clevenger was approached to review the existing design and assist with the production end of the project.
The Search for the Ship Image
The initial design for the ship was built from scratch by Chloe. Her ship was actually pretty good for someone who had never draw a navy ship before. As good as Chloe’s ship image was, we still needed more detail and building the ship image from scratch would be to labor intensive. John recalled a Frannie Maru (our nickname for the Hammond) Christmas card with a reasonably good image of the ship.
Chloe worked with the image long enough to determine that it was too low res for our needs with the coin design. She decided to finish the coin maps and edge lettering while John looked for an alternative hi-res ship image.
Dennis stepped up to help with the ship image. The Francis Hammond Christmas card which was re-posted to the Francis Hammond group on FB, was the image we wanted, but it was too low-res. The image was a silhouette of DE-1067 done in green for the holidays. Dennis had 3D geometry for a Knox class DE (USS Jesse L. Brown DE-1089) that he received from someone on the web and modified it to become the Hammond and then rendered the 3D data out in the perspective view that the coin needed. Now all the coin pieces (layers) were in place and ready for the challenge coin companies that would produce the coins.
The Coin Attributes
The 2” coin with antique gold finish was picked for look and feel. The diamond cut along the edge was something approaching a roped edge. No color was used to simplify the design. We considered using one of the Vietnam Veteran ribbons but without color, it was determined that the ribbon would not be recognizable. So this idea was discarded.
The Coin Manufacture
The final drawings were vector images using Adobe Illustrator. These images were sent to 4 different vendors and Noble Medals produced the best proof images using our AI file. The coin design was sent to China to produce the 30 coins requested. It took about 4 weeks for the production side of the project. On July 3rd, John received 30 coins in plastic cases.
The Coin Project Duration
The design started mid January 2019 and the project was completed when the coins were delivered in early July or about 6 months.
Also, here is a previously classified document that is a command history narrative of our activities in 1972 written and submitted to the CNO, Dept. of the Navy by our CO, CDR P.J. Doerr. Download the PDF HERE.
The reunion was held in Branson, MO June 15-18. A good time was had by all. The above video tribute was assembled by Bob Collins. It was shown at the reunion with “period” music, but had to be stripped for YouTube use to avoid copyright infringement, so no audio with this. Was great to reconnect with old shipmates after almost 45 years. Below are photos of just the DE crew and one of all the attendees, DE and FF crews.
I recently received this photo from William Morgan of the signal gang off the coast of VietNam in 1972. We don’t need no stinking sunscreen! Good times!
A shipmate recently forwarded to me copies of some of our deck logs for some dates during 1972. He had acquired these through either the National Archives or the Naval History and Heritage Command. Deck logs are the Navy’s way of documenting ships movements, weather conditions, musters, gunfire, casualties (both material and personnel), readiness status and any other notable occurrences. The entries during a watch are signed by the OOD at the end of his watch on the bridge. Included here are only for a few select dates. The latitude and longitude logged on any page can be plugged into Google Earth to see our location at a certain time. The only editing I did to them is on 2 occasions where casualties/injuries were logged with the crew members social security number, so I obscured those for their security. The handwriting is hard to read on some of these, but will give some insight to just what we were doing during that memorable summer of ’72.
NOTE: Thanks to Stubby (CPO Daniels) for providing the deck logs. The transcribed version is much easier to read than the original handwritten deck logs. The only omission in the transcribed version is the name and signature of the OOD at the end of each watch. Reading these sure shows me how the memory fades with time. I cannot believe how many vertreps, unreps, refueling and re-arming we did! That spring and summer of ’72 had us quite busy! In reading this, I was also surprised how many times we shut down for a gun malfunction in Mount 51. Those Gunners Mates always found a solution to get it back online. The transcribed versions are not to be used for any legal purposes, but rather to ease reading and using a search capability to find any certain events or activities. The scanned logs ARE admissible in any military or VA proceeding as evidence.
Deck Logs Scanned
Deck Logs Transcribed
1. Buy a steel dumpster, paint it gray inside and out, and live in it for six months.
2. Run all the pipes and wires in your house exposed on the walls.
3. Repaint your entire house every month.
4. Renovate your bathroom. Build a wall across the middle of the bathtub and move the shower head to chest level. When you take showers, make sure you turn off the water while you soap down.
5. Put lube oil in your humidifier and set it on high.
6. Once a week, blow compressed air up your chimney, making sure the wind carries the soot onto your neighbor’s house. Ignore his complaints.
7. Raise the thresholds and lower the headers of your front and back doors so that you either trip or bang your head every time you pass through them.
8. Once a month, take all major appliances apart and then reassemble them.
9. Disassemble and inspect your lawn mower every week.
10. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, turn your water heater temperature up to 200 degrees. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, turn the water heater off. On Saturdays and Sundays tell your family they used too much water during the week, so no bathing will be allowed.
11. Raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling, so you can’t turn over without getting out and then getting back in.
12. Sleep on the shelf in your closet. Replace the closet door with a curtain. Have your spouse whip open the curtain about 3 hours after you go to sleep, shine a flashlight in your eyes, and say, “Sorry, wrong rack.”
13. Make your family qualify to operate each appliance in your house dishwasher operator, blender technician, etc.
14. Have your neighbor come over each day at 5 am, blow a whistle so loud Helen Keller could hear it, and shout, “Reveille!”
15. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she’s going to do the following day, then have her make you stand in your backyard at 6 am while she reads it to you.
16. Submit a request chit to your father-in-law requesting permission to leave your house before 3 pm.
17. Empty all the garbage bins in your house and sweep the driveway three times a day, whether it needs it or not.
18. Have your neighbor collect all your mail for a month, read your magazines, and randomly lose every 5th item before delivering it to you.
19. Watch no TV except for movies played in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch, then show a different one.
20. When your children are in bed, run into their room with a megaphone shouting that your home is under attack and ordering them to their battle stations.
21. Make your family menu ahead of time without consulting the pantry or refrigerator.
22. Post a menu on the kitchen door informing your family that they are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line for an hour. When they finally get to the kitchen, tell them you are out of steak, but they can have dried ham or hot dogs. Repeat daily until they ignore the menu and just ask for hot dogs.
23. Bake a cake. Prop up one side of the pan so the cake bakes unevenly. Spread icing real thick to level it off.
24. Get up every night around midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on stale bread.
25. Set your alarm clock to go off at random during the night. At the alarm, jump up and dress as fast as you can, making sure to button your top shirt button and tuck your pants into your socks. Run out into the backyard and uncoil the garden hose.
26. Every week or so, throw your cat or dog in the pool and shout, “Man overboard port side!” Rate your family members on how fast they respond.
27. Put the headphones from your stereo on your head, but don’t plug them in. Hang a paper cup around your neck on a string. Stand in front of the stove, and speak into the paper cup, “Stove manned and ready.” After an hour or so, speak into the cup again, “Stove secured.” Roll up the headphones and paper cup and stow them in a shoebox.
28. Place a podium at the end of your driveway. Have your family stand watches at the podium, rotating at 4 hour intervals. This is best done when the weather is worst. January is a good time.
29. When there is a thunderstorm in your area, get a wobbly rocking chair, sit in it and rock as hard as you can until you become nauseous. Make sure to have a supply of stale crackers in your shirt pocket.
30. For former engineers: bring your lawn mower into the living room, and run it all day long.
31. Make coffee using eighteen scoops of budget priced coffee grounds per pot, and allow the pot to simmer for 5 hours before drinking.
32. Have someone under the age of ten give you a haircut with sheep shears.
33. Sew the back pockets of your jeans on the front.
34. Every couple of weeks, dress up in your best clothes and go to the scummiest part of town. Find the most run down, trashiest bar, and drink beer until you are hammered. Then walk all the way home.
35. Lock yourself and your family in the house for six weeks. Tell them that at the end of the 6th week you are going to take them to Disney World for “liberty.” At the end of the 6th week, inform them the trip to Disney World has been canceled because they need to get ready for inspection, and it will be another week before they can leave the house.