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.