Our Constitutional rights?

April 20, 2020

We the people

In light of the current health crisis I was curious if, as citizens, we had any protection by our government to our health and welfare. I thought I would look into the provisions of our Constitution to see what rights existed. So I started at the top. What is the president’s promise to protect us?

Every president has taken the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

OK, so he’s sworn to protect and defend our constitution. Is there anything in this “rule book” that says a president has to protect his people? Let’s look into the U.S. Constitution. Don’t bother going through all the wordy articles, sections and amendments, it’s very simple as it’s all in the Preamble, right up front.


“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

OK, so let’s look at the line that says “promote the general Welfare”. What does that mean?

The concern of the government for the health, peace, morality, and safety of its citizens.

Providing for the welfare of the general public is a basic goal of government. The preamble to the U.S. Constitution cites promotion of the general welfare as a primary reason for the creation of the Constitution. This is the way it has been for over 200 years! Promotion of the general welfare is also a stated purpose in state constitutions and statutes.

By the way, over 50 years ago I took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America just as anyone else in the Armed Forces has done. I was Honorably Discharged and relieved of duties after completing my enlistment, but am still on watch until the day I die and will call out those who prefer to shit on our constitution. “See something, say something.” Well, I see, and I say. Whether a real politician or a faux politician, you are held to a higher standard. Live it! Yet we have this current guy that can say and do whatever he wants knowing that most folks will go for it and if challenged, there are enough high-paid lawyers to extricate him from any jam. This president’s sense of patriotism is just simply abominable and hollow, he only cares for numero uno and his TV ratings. I’m not sure if he’s seeking the title of a monarch or dictator, but it sure looks that way with the constant disregard for our constitution.

So does a president have the right to endanger the health and welfare of their citizens by ignoring warnings of an impending disaster that may kill tens or hundreds of thousands of those, the very people he is sworn to protect? I think not! It’s hard to deny, deflect and blame others for what has been in the rule book for longer than any of us have been around. Accountability, folks!

Typhoon Susan – 1972

March 20, 2020

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.


Typhoon Susan track as published in the 1972 Annual Typhoon Report by the Naval Weather Service and Air Weather Service.

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.

Incoming! June 21st, 1972

December 15, 2019

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.

SN Keith Elsberry

Lisco Locker Reunion 2019

August 7, 2019

USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067)
Radarmen/Operation Specialists
July 19-21, 2019

Lisco Locker Reunion 2019

L-R, Scott Gillespie, Patrick “Archie” Ellis, John “Bloomers” Blumthal, Dennis “DC” Clevenger, Bobby “Stubby” Daniel (lower), Herb Helpingstine, Bebie Lisco, Ray “Marvelous Marv” Martin, Jeff “Z” Zavada, Ken Lisco (lower), Boyd “Stanley” Thomas and Paul Haldaman.

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.

Ken Lisco and wife Bebie

Ken & Bebie Lisco

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.

Scott Gillespie & Paul Haldaman

Scott & Paul

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.

Boyd & Patrick

Boyd & Patrick

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!




Dennis, Herb, Boyd & Patrick


Bobby, Ray & Jeff





Lisco Locker Reunion 2019 - Partial Group

Partial group – L-R, Ken, Bebie, Dennis, Patrick, Jeff, Scott, Paul, John, Aileen (Kens daughter).

Group photo at hotel

L-R, Ray, John, Dennis, Scott, Bobby & Paul. Sitting is Boyd, Jeff & Herb.

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.

The Coin Story

August 7, 2019

USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067)
Radarmen/Operation Specialists
July 19-21, 2019

By John Blumthal

Lisco Locker Gang Tribute Coin

Lisco Locker Gang Tribute Coin.

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.

USS Francis Hammond history

April 8, 2019

At this link HERE you can find out all the history on the man, the ship and her many missions throughout her +20 year “life”.  You can download a PDF version HERE.

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.

USS Francis Hammond 2017 Reunion

June 26, 2017

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.

DE crew only.  Back row L to R: Jerry Anderson, Jeff Zavada, Scott Gillespie, Dennis Clevenger and Harold Nichols.  Front row: Bobby Daniels, James Bunce, Raymond “Marv” Martin, Dave Seiffert and LTjg Kent Grealish.  Believe it or not all 10 of us were on board together at some point during 1972-73.


All 27 attendees, DE & FF crews.


Radar Gang 2017 L to R: Bobby “Stubby” Daniel, Jeff “Zee” Zavada, Marv “The Saint” Martin, Dennis “DC” Clevenger and Scott Gillespie.