August 26, 1948Mr. D. E. Peterson
The Kiwanis Magazine
50-2520 North Michigan Avenue
Dear Mr. Peterson:
I have just received the Kiwanis Magazine for the month of August and under "Resolutions" I noticed a headline of "National Preparedness". I am a firm believer in this. Perhaps it would be very appropriate if you were to publish in your magazine an outline of a cruise in which 25 members from Kiwanis Club's of division 12 of New England participated. I will give you a brief description of the entire procedure from the instigation of the cruise, as no doubt you are probably aware the Navy Department is anxious to acquaint the businessmen with the life aboard ship, with their different maneuvers, and so forth.
I contacted Rear Admiral T. R Cooley, the Base commander of the United States Naval Base in Newport, Rhode Island, who is a personal friend of mine, in regards to arranging a three day cruise for the Kiwanis Clubs of division 12. He was very much interested and arrangements were made for 28 members to go on a three day's cruise on the U.S.S. Little Rock (CL-92), a light cruiser class mounting 6 inch and 5 inch guns. The Little Rock was under the command of Captain Henry G. Moran, U.S.N., in the cruiser division commanded by Rear Admiral George C. Dyer, U.S.N.
We left Newport on the 19th of July. On boarding the ship at 8 O'clock a.m., a delightful breakfast was served to each member of the club. After a formal meeting with the Captain and executive officers, we were each assigned a room. We were then invited on the bridge to witness the departure from the beautiful harbor of Newport. After we were underway we attended a conference which was going on in the wardroom concerning the plan of defense that would be used during the gunnery exercises while at sea. We were to be attacked during the morning by aircraft draw-targets. Live ammunition was fired at enemy targets and a number of hits were scored. This was very interesting to watch.
After lunch we all assembled on the open bridge to wittness the firing of the heavy guns at targets being towed by the towing ships, demonstrating a running attack between two enemy ships. It was most interesting to watch the guns being fired at over 15,000 yards. Then we arranged into three groups, one for a gunnery party, one for an engineering party, and one for the operations party, which were under the direction of the respective officers of each department.
We returned to port at approximately 9 o'clock that evening. After having a very delicious, roast beef dinner, in the wardroom, some of the boys saw the movies on the ship's deck.
The next morning (20 July) we left port very early. The problems for the day were shore attacks, which were carried out in the morning and we had a complete tour of the engineering department commencing from the bow of the ship to the stern. We saw the great capstans, which bring up the anchor by the enormous chains. We drifted along to the water plant which converts the salt water into fresh water.
We visited the forward engine room, the boiler room, the electrical control room, the steering room, the propeller shafts, the machine shops, the bakery (which incidentally bakes 300 loaves of bread a day), the tailor shop, the cobbler shop, the laundry, the communications center, the hospital, the operating room, the dentist, the ships service stores, the air-hangers, the gallies, and the brig, which is now air-conditioned, and which the Captain says is the best place on the ship. There was not a place on the ship one could not stop at any time of the day and have a delightful cup of coffee.
We witnessed exercises as follows: Man over-board drill; at which time the duty life boat was hauled over and the search was begun for the man who was supposed to have fallen over- board. Every man was tense at his station. The seamanship of the crew manning the whole boat was noteworthy. We proceeded on our way again, shortly after which the whistles and sirens commenced to shriek for a fire in the galley. The hose was pouring water over the sides demonstrating the nozzles and also the fog nozzle which is used by the Navy. All were very efficient. This demonstration being concluded, we proceeded under way. The next exercise to come along was a collision. This was interesting as the Damage Control crew brought lumber, mattresses, and welders who are supposed to plug up the hole in the ship and allow us to proceed.
Of course, during all these little exercises it was interesting to see the porpoises swimming along the side having a merry time with the refuse that was thrown over-board by the ships' cooks. We noticed sharks whose fins we could see very clearly in the water.
After a while the alarm sounded again ferociously. This time another ship was on fire and the crew began to get ready to assist it. As before, the efficiency of the crew was demonstrated very clearly, with very man at his station.
We arrived in port that evening and dinner was served as before in the wardroom. We all saw the movies and turned in early so that we could leave early the next morning.
On Wednesday, the 21st., orders were to be underway by 6 o'clock. Preparations were being made to sail when we were completely surrounded by fog at O.O. One could not see from the bridge to the bow of the ship. But, as in the Navy, orders are orders, we proceeded. Under the magnificent seamanship of Captain Moran and his Officers, we moved out of Narragansett Bay, which was filled with all kinds of ships of the United States Navy, and ferries going back and forth, very cautiously we sailed out of the Bay without a mishap to the ship. This shows the value of radar.
We were to meet the U.S.S. Portsmouth at sea. The exercises for the day were to abandon ship, and to be towed by the Portsmouth. We saw the Portsmouth on our starboard beam about 500 yards away. The exercises were then commenced after the lifting of the fog, at which time the Portsmouth shot a line over to the Little Rock, and the operations began with the anchor chains being connected with the cable line that had been shot over by the Portsmouth. After the lines had been secured, the U.S.S. Portsmouth proceeded to tow the U.S.S. Little Rock. During the exercises the seamanship displayed by both ships were a very efficient operation.
We then proceeded back to Newport and the Newport Club invited the members of the various clubs on the cruise from Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket, Riverside, and North Attleboro to meet with us as this was our regular meeting night. We also invited Admiral George C. Dyer, his Chief of Staff, Captain Greenacre, his Aide, Lieutenant McCord, Captain Moran, of the Little Rock, Captain Maher of the U.S.S. Portsmouth, and Captain Krick of the U.S.S. Providence, and Captain Hamilton, the Chief of Staff under Rear Admiral T.R. Cooley of the Newport Base to be our guests at a reception and dinner at the Muenchinger-King.
Admiral Dyer was the principal speaker. He spoke on "Preparedness" which is a timely subject at this particular time and was heartily endorsed by all members present. I then, as President of the Newport Club, and on behalf of the members making the cruises, presented Captain H.G. Moran of the U.S.S. Little Rock a Ronson Table lighter to show our appreciation at being his guest. Officers were then, in turn, made honorary members of the Newport Kiwanis Club as follows: Admiral George C. Dyer, Captain A. J. Greenacre, Captain H. G. Moran, Captain A. L. Maher, Captain L. Krick, and Captain W. V. Hamilton, and Lieuenant W. D. McCord. Providence Club honorary members; Comander R. S. Craighill, Commander K. S. Veith, of the U.S.S. Little Rock.
The kind of cooperation between the Naval forces and the civilian population is what we need today for our National Defense and to combat the Communistic trend which is undermining our principles of freedom, liberty, and justice for all.
Everyone of the members who made this trip was enthusiastic, pleased, and appreciative to the United States Navy for having had the privilege to be their guests on such an educational experience that they witnessed, and it is hoped that, in the near future, another trip may be arranged. Perhaps some clubs on the West Coast would like to undertake a similar cruise as enjoyed by the clubs of division 12.
If this should be too long to insert in your magazine, please condense it as you may see fit.
Very sincerely yours,
President of the Newport