"The Sixth Fleet Music Show"

The U.S. Navy's Sixth Fleet Band,

the "Singers", the "Dancers",  and the
"Helpers"

The Band(s)

Page last updated:  01 April, 2018



Band on Little Rock's Forecastle

The Sixth Fleet Band on the Forecastle of the USS Little Rock CLG 4

The following info was received from band leader MUC Earl Romig (shown above with his band)...
... to Earl's left is MU1 Rich Heim, and behind Earl is Darryl Joswiak (spelling?)
To Earl's immediate right is MU2 Gambone (who later became leader of the Navy Band in Washington DC)
At the band's far right with the baritone horn is Bob (?) Moody, and in the back with
the trombone is MU2 Daryll "Dizzy" Gillespie. Behind Dizzy is MU2 Ron Garcia.

The individuals who performed with the "Sixth Fleet Music Show" came from varied backgrounds.
Each performer has their own unique story as to how they came to be part of this wonderful group.
This page connects us to the stories of those involved. It consists of formal resumes and informal memories.
If you were a member of the
"Sixth Fleet Music Show", if you attended a performance, or if you were a
spouse or a parent of a member, then your story needs to be told too.  L
et us hear from you.



THE 6th FLEET BANDS THRU THE YEARS
("Click" on photos for larger view)



Band on Springfield 1961



Sixth Fleet Band on board
USS SPRINGFIELD CLG 7
Toulon, France - July 1961

(Photo provided by Lee Crofts MU2)


Sixth Fleet Band on Springfield in Cartagen

Sixth Fleet Band on board
USS SPRINGFIELD CLG 7
Cartagena, Spain - January 1962

David Engel - Trumpet, 5th from the left

(Photo provided by
Lee Crofts MU2
)


6th Fleet Band 1965

Sixth Fleet Band
A FORMAL PORTRAIT!
ca. 1965

1st row (L-R)
 Frank Carducci (Accordian), Larry Denker (Saxophone),
Unknown (Saxophone), Harold Skinner (Saxophone),
Lou Sapienza (Saxophone), Larry Delorier (Saxophone)
 
2nd row (L-R)
 Paul Moyer  (String Bass), Skip Evans ( ? )
Ken Davenport (Trombone), Bob Fry  (Trombone)
Vaughn Weister (Trombone), Chief Richardson (Conductor)

Top row (L-R)
 Denny Seiwell (Drums), Tom Stafford  (Trumpet)
Unknown  (Trumpet), Roger Zancanella  Trumpet)
"Fitzpatrick" (Trumpet)

(Photo provided by Dennis Seiwell MU2)


Barcelona 1965

Sixth Fleet Band at....
BARCELONA, SPAIN
ca. 1965

The sign says "United States and Libia Day"

(Photo provided by Dennis Seiwell MU2)


Battle of the Flowers

Sixth Fleet Band
BATTLE of the FLOWERS Parade
ca. 1965

Band Conductor is Chief Richardson

"
Jolly" Gibson (Tuba),   ??? Carducci (Tuba),
Denny Seiwell (Bass Drum), Ken Havanko (Snare Drum)

4th row,
(R-L):
Tom Stafford (Trumpet), Dave Dodge (Trumpet),
"Skip" Evans (Trumpet),  ??? (Trumpet)

3rd row,
(R-L):
Lou Sapienza (in sunglasses) (Saxophone),
???  (Not apparent)

2nd row,
(R-L):
Ken Davenport (Baritone horn),
Sailor holding paper, (Larry Delorier ???)
???, Trombone
Bob Fry, Trombone

Front row,
(R-L):
John? Post, Clarinet,  ??? (Clarinet),
Harold "Clem"  Skinner (Saxophone),
??? in sunglasses (Saxophone)


(Photo provided by Dennis Seiwell MU2)








Future

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"Remembering The Coach"

by Tom Wholley - Nov 8, 2014

Back in the 1950's, Reader's Digest published a series of articles entitled, "The Most Unforgettable Character I ever met". For me that person was Vice Admiral Gerald E Miller, the Commanding Officer of the United States Sixth Fleet from 1971-1973. The article that I posted at my personal blog The Jazz Patriot was written the way it could have been if it had appeared in that venerable publication about one of the greatest friends the Navy Music Program ever had during my career as a US Navy Musician.  He loved MUs and made them his top priority at the US Sixth Fleet believe it or not, at least it seemed that way to us...

I was surprised to learn this week that the Admiral, who many believed was in line to become the next Chief of Naval Operations at the time, suspected he might be killing his own career when he began criticizing CNO Admiral Zumwalt's Z-grams because he didn't like the effect they were having on appearances and discipline of sailors in the early 1970s, according to interviews he gave in the years following his retirement from active duty.

In an informative email he sent me recently, which is included at the end of this post, he  said: "One of the few regrets about never being the Chief of Naval Operations was the fact that it deprived me of an opportunity to do something special for Navy Music.

If only there were more Senior Officers like him today that realized how valuable the "power of music could be if they added it to their arsenal of weapons as "The Coach" did, perhaps there wouldn't be as many bands disappearing at the hands of the budget cutters.
_____________________________________________________

"Oh Hi!", the handsome US Navy Admiral with the pleasant demeanor said, as I timidly entered his cabin. Have a seat.,  pointing to the chair by his desk, which I did as I looked at a half filled glass of soda, probably left over from his lunch,  I surmised.

It was 1:00 PM December 19, 1971, and I had actually met Vice Admiral Gerald E Miller, the Commander of the United States Navy's Sixth Fleet, briefly the evening before at a Christmas concert at the old Community Center in Gaeta, Italy about a mile from fleet landing, where the Command Ship of the US Sixth Fleet, the USS Springfield was tied up at the pier.

It was the first performance of the newly inaugurated Sixth Fleet Singers, a chorus of enlisted sailors and officers from ship's company and the Admiral's Staff along with their wives, accompanied by the experienced professional musicians in the Sixth  Fleet Band, for which I had reported for duty, as the one and only piano player.

I had been impressed when another young Navy pianist, Bob Leketa, temporarily on loan from the Navy Band in Naples, Italy, introduced me to Admiral Miller just prior to the start of the concert. Bob, like myself, was a Seaman Apprentice, which is about as low as you can go in the Navy food chain and perhaps the last person among those who defend the United States of America on the world's oceans who was likely to have a casual conversation with a 3 star Admiral, who most members of the Navy believed had a seat reserved next to God in heaven, while young ones like us believed he actually was God. 

But that didn't stop Bob from brazenly approaching the Admiral who was grabbing a cup of coffee at the snack bar, from saying, "Admiral, I'd like you to meet, SA Tom Wholley, your new piano player. The Admiral quickly lit up with a smile and extended his hand, welcoming me aboard, as if he had been anxiously waiting for this moment his whole life.  

So anyway, here I was looking at this amazing looking man with movie star looks and unmistakable charisma, who was responsible for my quick departure from the School of Music's basic course, which normally takes 6 months to complete, but in  my case took 6 weeks, as the Admiral was demanding, apparently, that the bureau send a piano player NOW to fill an unexpected vacancy. So here I was.

Immediately he began talking enthusiastically about the first performance of the Sixth Fleet Music Show which we had both witnessed the night before, and telling me how he had been dreaming of having a group like that to work with his entire career.

Not knowing any better I assumed that having a conversation like that with a US Navy Admiral was common place for low ranking enlisted men. It wasn't.

In fact, I  later learned  that  this was a very unique individual, who had grown up in a sod home in Montana, enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17, graduated early from the US Naval Academy at the outset of World War II in 1941, flew the type of aircraft that could carry the Atomic Bomb, among others,  became an expert in nuclear warfare systems, and commanded 2 aircraft carriers, introduced mainframe computers to the Bureau of Personnel, commanded the Second and Sixth Fleets, and later, after retiring, participated in nuclear disarmament talks in the Soviet Union and oh yah...  wrote two books!

Now he was telling me about his dreams and his own personal reasoning behind starting a Music Show that would promote the US Navy overseas. For years he had been aware that there was a lot of talent in the Navy He had seen it first hand during crew talent shows on the aircraft carriers he had commanded and now that he had  his own Navy Band he thought he could put together something really special,  especially in the Sixth Fleet area of operations, which included all of Southern Europe, North Africa, and the volatile Middle East.

Once the Sixth Fleet Singers were off the ground as it now was, thanks to a third class petty officer and trumpet player in the band, John Mattison, who had a background in music education, the Admiral was now ready to put his plans into motion by starting the Sixth Fleet Music Show, which he hoped to send all over the region at the height of the Cold War with a message of friendship, peace and good will delivered through the most powerful weapon he believed he had in his extensive arsenal of weaponry: Music.

That's right...  Music.  And I'm telling you, this guy really believed that.

The Admiral who loved music and played two instruments himself, understood the power of music and how it could knock down barriers and bring people together.

"If they want me to fire those guns..." he said,  "...then I will.  But if they'd rather listen to music being performed by a nice looking group of American Navy young people, we can do that too."

Now, as I mentioned, this conversation was taking place in the closing days of the Vietnam War where some of the members of the Sixth Fleet Staff had fought nobly, like the young commanding officer of the Helocopter detachment, LT Gordon Peterson who was awarded the Navy Cross for flying 500 missions in Vietnam, and whose wife, Diana, a music teacher from Florida, became one of the featured vocalists.

It was also a tense time for the Navy, when ships of the US Sixth Fleet played cat and mouse games with ships of the Soviet Union on a regular basis, and submarine hunting aircraft and American nuclear submarines played a dangerous game of hide and seek with Soviet submarines armed with nuclear warheads in all the oceans of the world, including the Mediterranean Sea where the US Sixth Fleet was deployed.

But there was something in the way he said those words, that convinced me that this veteran of three wars really believed what he was saying and was anxious to put his plans into action. He had his band, under MUC Charlie Cardwell. He had his piano player. He had his chorus. A Chief from the Sea Chanters (MUC Bob Sisson) was on the way who would take over the Chorus. And a Master Chief, (MUCM Jerry Clemens) who would travel Europe finding gigs for us, would be here soon, as well. Now he wanted to make sure everyone was eager to support his plans. 

So we had a meeting and he told the band that if they were willing to give it their best efforts he would take them off watches at sea, as well as refuelings for which Navy Bands traditionally played for, something the band really appreciated. He'd also allow them to stay back in Gaeta when the Springfield went out on two week operations cruises and rehearse. So to say we had a great deal, is an understatement.
 
There was no question he was a master politician, oozing with charisma, who made you feel like you were the most important person in the room. Every time we performed with the music show in countless countries including Spain, Portugal, France, Monaco, England, Germany, Belgium, Andora, Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Gibraltor, Portugal and probably a couple of other countries I've forgotten about, we would look out at the audience and see the Admiral sitting in the front row, smiling like a proud parent smiles at his child's first recital, no matter how it sounded.

And we understood that performing music was only part of our job. He wanted us to be "ambassadors" and "diplomats" for the US Navy as well as the United States of America. In fact a couple of years later the name of the big band was changed to the "Sixth Fleet Ambassadors" and the rock band was changed to "The Diplomats".

He sent us to the 1972 Olympics in Munich Germany to perform just down the road from where the great concert pianist  Arthur Rubenstein was performing a recital.

And the next day we experienced what was to become one of the most memorable moments of my entire career when we performed inside the Olympic village for the athletes themselves including members of the Israeli team who would be massacred by 1970's style jihadists a few days later as we headed back to Italy.

And then there was the time when the mayor of Palma de Majorca (who was vehemently opposed to allowing US Navy ships into his beautiful island resort off the coast of Spain for liberty) was imvited by the Admiral to a performance of the Sixth Fleet Music Show, arranged on board the flagship, specifically for him.

The next day the mayor had a change of heart and agreed to allow ships of the Sixth Fleet to visit his beautiful city, including a 5000 man aircraft carrier, filled with sailors in need of a little fun, relaxation, and great Spanish food, following a tense six- month "Med" deployment.

After I left Sixth Fleet I went on to continue what would be a 26 year career as a US Navy musican in many great Navy bands worldwide and in the United States as well, working for many other Admirals.

Being a piano player I usually spent many hours performing at VIP receptions and dinner parties, where we became familiar with each other to a certain degree.

Most all of the Admirals I knew, enjoyed having their own bands, though none of them used them to the extent Admiral Miller did, as part of a public relations program to uplift the image of the US Navy overseas.

It was a source of pride for them. But with Admiral Miller, you had the feeling it was much more than that. It was a source of joy. In fact I heard him tell the band more than once during my tour in Sixth Fleet: "If you're not having fun at whatever you are doing, then you're not doing it right."

And when we looked down from the stage and saw him looking  up at us, smiling, approvingly...  or saw him hitting golf balls off the upper deck of the USS Springfield into the Mederterranean Sea, or "sitting in" on piano whenever the Sixth Fleet combo played anywhere, you could tell that he really did practice what he preached."

One of the trumpet players in the band, Alan Gaumer, wrote an original jazz composition entitled "The Coach" which summed up the way the band felt about the Admiral.

And a comment left on a post I left on Gerald Millers Facebook page, which the family has decided to keep going as a tribute to him confirms that impression:  "The Admiral spoke of you all and great times aboard the Springfield. His eyes always lit up, and he spoke a little faster when recounting the tales of the Music Show. It is definitly at the top of his list for "Best Times of my 38 year Naval career."

Ours too Admiral!

I think one of my old shipmates from the Sixth Fleet Band, lead trumpet player Vic Smith, made perhaps the most eloquent comment I've heard saying: "When you met Admiral Miller you knew you were in the presence of greatness. He was a true renaissance man and easily the most impressive man I've ever met.  Our country was fortunate to have him.

Unfortunately very few other senior officers have embraced Navy bands the way Admiral Miller did. Right now the Navy Music Program is in disarray and is being reduced at an alarming rate due to severe budget cuts. I wrote the Admiral a few years ago when articles began appearing quoting US Congressmen who believed military bands were a luxury the military could no longer afford and this is what his response was.

Dear Tom,

Many thanks for sharing the word about funding military bands. I am not surprised. It has always been this way. Cut the perceived "frills. while spending billions on questionable big ticket items. The plan to spend $80 billion in the next ten years on nuclear weapons infrastructure is an example.

I am sure there will be some cuts in military music. What does the Navy do? Answer- the same as always. Rely on the crew. For example in the carrier I commanded, we had 5000 sailors. The entertainment that came from that crew was amazing. The crew entertained themselves with their own talent.

Thanks again for thinking of me. One of my few regrets about never being the Chief of Naval Operations was the fact that it deprived me of an opportunity to do something special for Navy music.

On the recent Midway Memorial day, I was a speaker at the Naval Academy and had an opportunity to meet with members of the Naval Academy band. One Master Chief Musician had bought a copy of my new book and wanted an autograph....

Musicians interested in nukes. Good stuff. All the best.
Jerry Miller, old sailor.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

A side note: Senior Chief Wholley, in a note to us recounted: "I was assigned as a pianist (NEC 3814) but did a good share of the arranging of music for the Band and Music show as well.  If you were a pianist or guitar player back then you were required to play base drum and cymbals on Ceremonial jobs...  which I did my share of. "


Below are some great photos from MUCS Tom Wholley's collection.
(Click on a photo for a larger version.)


Admiral Miller

VADM Gerald E. Miller
"The Coach"


Singers with Band

Sixth Fleet Singers
perform with the
Sixth Fleet Band

The Band

Sixth Fleet Band

Gaumer and Peterson

Trumpeter Alan Gaumer
and
Singer Diana Peterson


Jazz in Tunisia


The Band's Musicians
discuss Jazz with
some local
music fans in
Tunisia

Bass Drum Player

Tom Wholley playing Bass Drum
with un-named
Trumpet Player
Ethiopia - Feb 1972

Vic Smith with Children

Vic Smith (Trumpet)
with some
school kids

The Dancers

The Sixth Fleet Dancers
perform with the
Sixth Fleet Band


Tom Retired

Tom Wholley MUCS (Ret.)




Use these links to go to the pictures, stories and memories of the Band Leaders and Conductors,
the Musicians and the Memories of  "Sixth Fleet Music Show"



The Musicians
The Memories



Leaders & Conductors


Names (by last name)
Years Served
Charles Cardwell, MUC
?
Jerry S. Clements, MUCM
?
Ralph Gambone, MUC
?
Larry Gatewood, CWO
?
Jon Mattison, MU3
Singers Group Start-up
John Reinhardt, MUCS   (2)
1974-1976
 Roy Earl Romig, MUC  (1)
?
 Robert L. Sisson, MUCS Aug 1973 - May 1974
Harold Skinner, MU1  (3)
?
Burroughs A. Waltrip 1960-1961

(1)  Band
(2)  Chorus
(3) "The Diplomats"



The Musicians



Name (by last name)
Year(s) Served
Rank / Instrument(s)
Bill Albert
64 -65 Saxophone
Carl Allmon ?
???
J.F. Altensee
68-69 MU1
Jack Angus ?
???
Bob Anthony
67-69
Tuba,  Electric Guitar,
String Bass
Ken Berglund
73-75
Trumpet
Joe Blades
67-69
Trombone
W.A. Bracht
68-69
MUSN
Doug Broward ?
???
David "Pogo" Burbank 
64-65
Saxophone
Frank Carducci
65
Accordian / Tuba
John Carlson
?
???
Leonard Childs
?
???
Jerry Clements
?
Trumpet
D. L. Codrey
68-69 MU3
Lee Crofts
61-63
Bass / Tuba
Ken Davenport
65
Trombone / Baritone Horn
Harry Davies
74-76
Baritone Sax / Audio Tech.
Larry Delorier
65
Saxophone
Howard Denker
75
Alto Saxophone
Larry Denker
65
Saxophone
David Dodge
64 -65 Trumpet
David Engle
61-63
Trumpet
Paul Evans
75
Trumpet
"Skip" Evans
65
???
Steve Fisher
75
Guitar
??? Fitzpatrick
65
Trumpet
Steve Flinchbaugh
73-75 ???
Bob Fry
65
Trombone
Ralph Gambone
73-75
Clarinet
Ron Garcia
75
Tenor Saxophone
Alan Gaumer
70-73
Trumpet
Mike Genrty
64 -65 Tuba
Samuel Gentile
63
???
"Jolly" Gibson
65
Tuba
Daryll "Dizzy" Gillespie
73-75
Trombone
Joseph Hadden
?
???
Thomas C. Hart 69-70 MU1
Ken Havanko
65
Drums
Rich Heim
?
Clarinet
B.C. Heller
68-69 MU2
George Hintze
67-68
MUSN
Rick Hixon
73-75
???
Paul Holbrook
68-69
Tuba, String Bass
Hank Howe
?
???
Lee Hudson
73-75
Bass
Arthur D. Jacobus
67
Piano
S.T. Johnson
68-69 MU3
Daryl Joswiak
74-76 Trumpet
E. Joy
67-68
MU2
J.B. Kite
?
MU2
Richard "Dick" LaDue
63 - 64 Drums
Brad Lewis
?
???
James Lochray
75-78
Drums (also Diplomats)
W.D. Lyle
68-69 MU2
Gene "Charlie" Maloy
67-69
Trumpet
R.R. Martin
68-69 MU3
Steve Martin
67
Singer
Jon Mattison 70-74
Trumpet
K.A. Mauldin
68-69 MU2
H. McDermott
?
MU3
Wayne McDermott
68-70
Accordian
Bob Moody Jr.
73-75 Baritone
 ??? Morse
73-75 MUSN
Paul Moyer
65
String Bass
Bob Murphy
74-75
Tuba
R.L. Meyers
68-69 MU2
Gary Nash
64 - 65 Trumpet
Greg Perkins
73-75
???
T.M. Pesses
68-69 MU1
John Post
65
Clarinet
D.M. Rader
68-69 MU3
J.N. Reiland
68-69 MU3
??? Reynolds
73-75
MU2
Roy Earl Romig ?
Trombone
Ralph Salloe
65
???
Lou Sapienza
65
Saxophone
Jim Schell
73-75 ???
Denny Seiwell
64-65 Drums
Steven Shelly
67-69
???
Harold "Clem" Skinner
65
Saxophone
Vern Silversten
75
Bass
Vic Smith ?
???
H.H. Snow
68-69 MU2
John Sobus
67-68
Alto-saxophone
Tom Stafford
65
Trumpet
James Stanfield
?
???
Chris Stengel
75
Drums
Vic Swanson
73-75
Keyboard (also Diplomats)
Tim Von Duyke
73-75
???
Victor Vanacore
67-69
Keyboard,  Xylophone
Richard N. Vance
67-69
French Horn
Raymond A. VanCour
70-71
Drummer
Gary Wages
75
Keyboard / Vocals
Bill Ward
?
???
A.N. Wermager
68-69 MU3
Jim White
75
French Horn
Tom Wholley
73-75 Piano, Bass Drum, Cymbals
Vaughan Wiester
64 -65 Bass Trombone
Steve Wohlferd
?
???
Roger / Mike  Zancanalla
64 - 65 Trumpet
James Zarzycki
73-76 Piano

If your "Name", "Years Served", rate, or "Instrument" data is missing or incorrect, please contact the Webmaster.




"Other"
U.S.S. LITTLE ROCK BANDS


Here is a brief list of small bands that consisted of LITTLE ROCK crew members over the years. If you know of others,
please let the Webmaster know.    And....   if you can provide us the names of any of the band members, please do.


"January"  (late 60's - early 70's)
"Barful's Backwater Boys"  ('71 - '72)
"Crowleg"  (1974)
"Drift Factor"  (1975)
"The Little Rockers" (???)






The Sixth Fleet "Music Show"

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