Kemejuk's Korner

March 25th, 2001

Hi Joe,

Recently I was thinking about those special days in the late '60s and early '70s when we would return from cruises to our homeport of Yokosuka. It was similar to coming home from any long trip or time away, when you begin to spot familiar landmarks and know you're getting close, and the excitement builds.

Some of those familiar "landmarks" of course were not on land at all - they were the other Navy ships homeported in Yokosuka that very often were in port at the same time we were. I still remember many of them: USS Benjamin Stoddert (DDG 22), Fox (DLG 33), Horne (DLG 30), Josephus Daniels (DLG 27), Mahan (DLG 11), Truxtun (DLGN 35), and even those special visits by "big guns" like the Newport News (CA 148) and the Long Beach (CGN 9) who weren't homeported in Japan, but made some special visits.

I remember others too, but I bring these names up for a special reason. All of these ships, plus the Providence (CLG 6) met their ends by being scrapped. This is a photo of the Newport News in 1993, in the process of being cut up for the recycling of her steel.

USS Newport News

It seems to be an unglorious way for a mighty warship to end her long and distinguished career. If she has to "go" at all, better to go out in a blaze of glory, serving her country, and sacrificing herself for the education of the next generation of sailors. This should, of course, sound very familiar. Two years ago on this date, our own Oklahoma City came to her final rest at 010 57' North, 142 06' East, in 20,000 feet of the deep blue Pacific she patrolled proudly for years.

Rest in peace old girl, and many thanks to you, Joe, for giving over 700 of us a virtual coffee shop to stop by and share memories of the "good old days" on board.

Jack Kemejuk