"Mystery Photos"

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Page last updated: 19 April, 2017

Based on information furnished by diligent U.S.S. Little Rock crew members, as well as other credible sources, below is information we have received pertaining to "Mystery Photos" published on the U.S.S. Little Rock Association Web Site.

Mystery Photo #1

Mystery Photo #1

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1. The Little Rock personnel are: Robert Stangel the Ship's Photographer, and Marine LCPL Richard Roberts.

2. The young ladies.....anyone's guess.

3. Location was Izmir, Turkey, 1961

4. Source: 1960-1961 USS Little Rock Cruise Book

Mystery Photo #2

Mystery Photo #2

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1.  On 25 Sep 06 Dan Murphy wrote:

"It appears she is heading east into Cape Cod Bay, having passed under the Bourne Bridge at the head of Buttermilk Bay."

2.  On 10 Oct 06 Ed Bergeron wrote:

"That is indeed the Bourne Bridge but the ship is headed west toward Buzzards Bay. It is the Sagamore Bridge which is on the east end of the canal. ( Cape Cod Bay end )"

3.  On 18 Nov 06 Art Tilley wrote:

"In the picture the Little Rock has just completed a long slow turn to starboard. The picture shows the curved portion of the Canal to be rather long and probably covering about 45 degrees or so. There is only one place on the Cape Cod Canal where such a turn is possible, and that is at Bournedale. Bournedale is about 1 mile west of the Sagamore Bridge.  It is my opinion that the Little Rock is shown heading East through the Canal, and has just passed under the Sagamore Bridge.

In addition, in the photo high white bluffs are visible behind the ship. Chart 13236 shows these bluffs on the north side of the canal between Bournedale and the Sagamore Bridge."

Mystery Photo #3
Mystery Photo #3

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(See also Mystery Photo #10.)
This photo is unique in that it is a view of the Little Rock taken from another ship!  The picture shows an unidentified person being highlined from the U.S.S. Little Rock CLG 4 to her sister ship the U.S.S. Galveston CLG-3. This event  occurred in the Med in the 60's. The photo was furnished by Bob Rank BM2 of the U.S.S. Galveston Association.

Trivia item:   Did you know that BEFORE its conversion to a missile cruiser the U.S.S. Little Rock was a "Cleveland Class" cruiser, and that AFTER its conversion the Little Rock was a "Galveston Class" cruiser?

Mystery Photo #4

El Morro Castle

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1.    Larry Wallace on 12/28/06 at 11:48 AM said: "Pic was taken at San Juan during shakedown 1960."

2.    Bob Baker on 12/29/06 at 09:45 AM said: "I agree with Larry.....the photo was taken from El Morro in San Juan, but it might have been during the shakedown cruise in 1971."

3.    Arthur Frankel on 1/19/07 at 03:33 PM said: "The photo in question was taken through one of the arches on Morro Castle in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1961.  I have a similar picture which I took framed by palm fronds looking out at "The Rock" anchored off Port-Au-Prince Haiti.  At the time, I was on shore leave staying at a hotel from where my photo was taken.  I will try to forward it to you if I can find it.

Good job guys! Here's the scoop: The official Navy photo is #NH 98951 entitled "USS Little Rock off El Morro Fortress, San Juan, P.R., circa 1960."

The US National Park Service has this to say about the fortress (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro): "Welcome to Castillo de San Felipe del Morro Declared a World Heritage elite by the United Nations in 1933. El Morro is Puerto Rico's best known fortress. Spanish troops fortified this 'morro'. which means 'promontory', to keep seaborne enemies out of San Juan. Today this dramatic castle welcomes multitudes of arriving cruise ships and aircraft to the busiest port in the Caribbean. Over two million visitors a year explore the windswept ramparts and passageways, where the history of 400 years of Spain in Puerto Rico comes alive."

Aren't you glad we got there before the "cruise ships" ?

Mystery Photo #5
Mystery Photo #5

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1.     Bob Baker on 2/07/07 at 10:01 AM said:  "USS Fiske DD-842, USS Salamonie AO-26, and USS Little Rock CLG 4.  No clue re trivia question."

2.     Frank Berglas on 2/08/07 at 09:25 AM added:  "Haven't a clue about the crew member linkage, but that photo reminds me of the song "My Gal Sal" which the Little Rock band would play when refueling from Salamonie.  Can still hear that music today."

Sorry about the rather obscure link that "connects" the USS Little Rock with the USS Salamonie.....   it would require some research to come up with the connection, but here it is:

The USS Little Rock and the USS Salamonie both had, at one time, the same Commanding Officer!  That gentleman was none other than Richard S. Craighill who served as the 6th CO of the USS Little Rock from
01 Jul 48 to 24 Jun 49. Captain Craighill was the 12th CO of the Salamonie (a.k.a. "Old Sal") from 10 Sep 53 until 04 Sep 54.

Perhaps the connection is a little tenuous at best, but is shows "small" the NAVY really is.

Mystery Photo #6

Photo #6

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This image was added after the original Mystery Photo #6 was posted.

Mooring Buoy - Gaeta

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1. Mike Poston - FTM2, on 3/17/07 said: "This looks like Malaga, Spain in 1970-1971.....I spent a lot of time looking at it since I couldn't afford to go ashore."
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2. Mark Lehmann - LT, on 3/17/07 says: "I actually have a copy of this photo on my office wall. It's the Little Rock moored to "our" buoy in Gaeta, Italy harbor, circa 1967.  I know a couple of members who knew that buoy REALLY well!"
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3. Tem Hornaday - ETN2 on 3/17/07 adds: "Mark Lehmann is, near as I can tell, correct.  Definitely Gaeta harbor; view is to the southeast.  Photo is pre-1973 (AN/SSC-6 satcom antenna is missing on mainmast)."
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4. Ed Daly - CDR on 3/17/07 offers: "My best guess...would be Split, Yugoslavia... in 1963.  I base this on the rugged Dalmatian coast line in the back ground."
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5. Art Tilley - MT2 on 3/17/07 suggests: "I've never been to Gaeta, but the pictures I've seen of Gaeta don't have those high mountains in the background..."

Then on 3/18 tells us: "I have to take back my previous comment.... after reviewing lots of pictures of Gaeta...  I'm thinking that Mystery Photo #6 is indeed the Little Rock moored in Gaeta Harbor."
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6. Bob Forster - BT2 adds on 3/21/07: "I believe the Mystery Photo #6 was taken sometime after the Little Rock made Gaeta it's home port. (Jan. 1967)  This is the way I remember it when it was time to hit the beach."
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7. Dave Carter - SN asks on 3/24/07: "When was the upper super structure painted black? (in 62-64 it was Grey).  When was there three accommodation ladders on the same side of the ship?" (And also notes "There is a Captain's Inspection going in blues!!!!"
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8. Art Tilley - MT2 replies on 3/28/07:"I came across a somewhat better copy of Mystery Photo #6...it provided answers to two of Dave Carter's questions.

1 ) The is only one accommodation ladder (not three) shown in the Mystery Photo. It is rigged forward... (t)he other two locations...are in fact boat booms.....

2)  Judging from the good appearance of the crew's ranks, I'd agree that the picture was most likely taken during a Captain's inspection....

3) Regarding the aft mast and SPS-10 radar tower being painted black.... I do recall that there was discussion when I was aboard (62-64) of using black paint to help hide the black soot...Maybe someone can shed some light on the time period....."
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9. Tom Hallinan - LTJG on 4/01/07 has the final word: "I agree with Mark that the photo is our mooring buoy in Gaeta.  I spent a lot of time on that puppy as a member of the buoy patrol."

Don't see any choice here but to accept that this is in fact a picture of the U.S.S. Little Rock moored in Gaeta Italy. Good job guys!!
Mystery Photo #7

Olimpia with Crew On Deck

Olimpia's crew inspects the towing
line before getting underway.

Mystery Photo #7

Olimpia's crew is hoping the
towing line holds together!

Mark Lehmann - LT on 4/02/07 told us: "I confess to being intimately involved with this fishing boat as the ship's OOD on that day. For now, I'll just say that I was called "red flare Lehmann" for awhile afterward.


Frank Berglas - YN3 on 4/02/07 suggested: "....the original post - along with the Mystery Photo #7 - were entered on April 1st.....So - this obviously is a fool's joke, but of a very serious incident.

In 1967 the Little Rock was taken hostage by a Lebanese fishing fleet.  The boats surrounded our ship and, eventually, forced us to send up a red flare (done under duress by Lieutenant Lehmann).  This flare alerted the chief fisherman who immediately cast a line on Little Rock and threatened to tow us into Beirut.  The mystery photo clearly shows the fishing boat coming up along the port side and preparing to claim its prize.

Eventually, negotiations with the captors produced a truce under which a ransom was paid.  In exchange for five chocolate bars from our gedunk and a recipe for Navy breakfast delicacies the fishing fleet withdrew.

It's surprising that our resident photo finder was able to unearth this one - since the international community, at the request of COMSIXTHFLT, hushed up the whole affair and no press coverage ever existed.  When one resourceful reporter from The Enquirer (who happened to be a stowaway on one of the Lebanese boats) questioned the unnatural connection between the fishermen and the Little Rock officers. Mr. Lehmann (who, besides being in charge of launching flares, also was the ship's Public Relations Officer) stated, "We simply were replenishing our stocks of anchovies for the XO's salad bar."  This quick thinking averted what could have been an eternal blotch on the good record of CLG 4 in the Mediterranean."

Frank.... are you putting us on????  (Ed.)


Tom Hallinan - LTJG on 4/04/07 further confused us with "I can corroborate the fishing boat incident as described by Mark and Frank (more or less) but there is no truth to the rumor that this incident caused Mark to give up a promising Naval career for an even more successful civilian career although I've always been surprised that he didn't go into fireworks."


For some clarification...  here is an article from the Spring 1967 issue of LitComs:

"At some point in the late 1960's, the Gaeta, Italy-based guided missile cruiser, Little Rock, came to the aid of an Italian fishing boat that had been adrift for two days, about 65 miles north of Palermo, Sicily.

Little Rock was steaming to rendezvous for underway replenishment near the Straits of Messina, when a red flare was sighted early in the morning by the OOD. Upon seeing the flare, he called the commanding officer, Captain WaIter F. V. Bennett and ordered the ship's course changed toward the source of the flare. About 15 minutes later, a second flare went up and soon Little Rock took under tow a 50 foot fishing boat named Olimpia from Catania, Sicily.

The ship' s Chief Shipfitter, SFC Vince Di Mauro (R Division) was summoned to translate so the four-man crew of Olimpia could tell their story . It seems that they had been adrift for two days with what was thought to be dead batteries. They had made contact with a French fishing boat only the day before, and the captain of Olimpia had gone with the Frenchmen to get help. The captain had not returned when Little Rock was spotted by the crew and the flares were fired. Little Rock personnel went down to examine Olimpia's engine and soon it was discovered there was something more serious than just dead batteries, and might take some time to repair. Captain Bennett decided, if repairs could not be made to the ship, that he could tow the fishing craft to the nearby island of Lipari where repairs could be made at their leisure.

Later that morning, Olimpia was left in the hands of the harbor authorities at Lipari. "

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The truth is that on 12 July 1968 the Little Rock came to the aid of the "Olimpia", an Italian fishing boat, which had been adrift for two days 65 miles north of Palermo, Sicily.

Here are some links to two corroborating documents that were graciously supplied by our own shipmate LT Mark (a.k.a."Red Flare") Lehmann.

World Press Article
Ports O' Call Article

And for more details on the Olympia incident, here is the text from the July 1968 ship's newsletter "The 4 Caster": Headline: "little rock aids italian fisherman" (Yes, lower-case lettering was used.)

"Little Rock, early July 12, came to the aid of an Italian fishing craft which had been adrift with engine trouble for two days about 65 miles north of Palermo, Sicily.

Little Rock had been steaming enroute to rendezvous for an underway refueling near the Strait of Messina, when at about 2:20 a.m. a red flare was sighted and the Officer of the Deck, LTJG M. A. Lehmann, called the Commanding Officer, Captain Walter F. V. Bennett, and ordered the ship's course changed toward the source of the flare.

About fifteen minutes later there was another flare and Little Rock soon pulled up and took under tow on the port side the 50-foot Italian fishing boat Olimpia, out of Catania, Sicily. The ship's Chief Shipfitter, V. Di Mauro (SFC Vince Di Mauro - R Division), was summoned to translate and the four-man crew of the small vessel told their story.

They had been adrift for two days with engine trouble - - dead batteries they thought - - and only the day before had made contact with a French fishing boat. Olimpia's Captain, Mariano Mirabella, 36, of Catania, had gone with the French fishermen to bring back help. He had not returned, and when Mariano's father, Orazio, 62, saw the Little Rock's lights, he ordered the red flares to be sent up.

As the crew explained their problem, First Class Engineman T.E. Allen and Third Class Electrician's Mates R.L. Pope and B.L. Straber went down to examine Olimpia's engine. They soon discovered it was something more complicated than dead batteries and that it might take some time to repair the trouble.

Captain Bennett, after considering the alternatives involved, decided that if repairs by the Little Rock's crew were not feasible, the ship would tow the fishing craft to the nearby island od Lipari where she could have repairs made at her leisure. This was done, and later in the morning Little Rock left Olimpia in the harbor."

 (The above was added on 09
Jan 2013, and modified 14 Nov 2013.)
Mystery Photo #8
Tiger Patch

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Square Tiger Patch

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Shipmate Jim Sklarz has presented us with a subject for "Mystery Photo #8.

On the left (top patch)  is a photo of a patch that has shown up on the U.S.S. LITTLE ROCK's web site as well as the "NAVSOURCE Naval History" web site. The patch seems to have originated in the 1970's.  

And, we recently had an inquiry from Frank Jackson, who is a collector of ships patches, regarding the lower left patch.

The patches seems to have originated in the 1970's. Note that the patch on the left
has CLG 4 on the ship's wheel, whereas the patch on the right has CG 4.

Can you help us determine:

     1.  Who was the designer of this patch?
     2.  Was it an "official" ship's patch, superseding the
          "Pride in Achievement" patch?
     3.  What is it's symbolism?

Jim later offered these comments on the Message Board:

On 4/12/07: "Sort of looks home made, if you get a close up look on the lettering."

And on 4/28/07: "OK, Art. I've been thinking about this a long time and I think I get it!......It's Navy "folk art!" Some sailor with a sense of humor sat down and stitched "USS Little Rock CLG 4" on a patch that came out of an Italian frosted flakes cereal box! That's an Italian Tony the tiger!  I'd almost bet American money that you couldn't possibly locate more than three of these patches in the entire world..."

The Mystery Photo Editor, on May 14, 2007 said: "We're going to table Mystery Photo #8 for the time being. If we get additional input we will post it on our website."

Bob Wilkins DS1 1972-1976 added
on 06 Dec 09 : ".... I don't know anything about the second picture, but the first is an unofficial patch created in 73/74 when Captain Peter Cullins was the CO.  I don't know who created it.  It could not be worn on uniforms, but you routinely saw them on civilian windbreakers and jackets.  Captain Cullins was big on sports and organized a number of teams, particularly basketball, around the Tiger theme.  Check out the team shirts on pages 31 and 32 of the 1974 cruise book and you'll see the emblem on the team shirts.  Another thing I remember about Captain Cullins is that he always used to play the Tiger Rag over the 1MC whenever we were breaking away from an UNREP.
Mystery Photo #9

Mystery Photo #9

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Here's an interesting shot. Can you tell us:

(1) Where it is?
(2) Whether or not you have been there, and when?
(3) If you have any "Special Memories" of this famous place?

From Dan Murphy on 16 May 07:

"Could it be the EM Club at the Army / Navy Base in San Juan?"

Editor: As the man at the Carnival used to say: "Close..! But no cigar!"  You are partially correct though. It IS a picture of an EM Club, on a Naval Base. But it isn't in San Juan.
On 22 May 07  Tim "Boom Boom" Hartley said: "I think it's the club on the base in Rota Spain. I could be wrong. Only been there at nite."
On 23 May 07 Lt. Mike Manning correctly asked: "Could it be the EM club at Guantanamo Cuba (refresher training site)?"
And verified on 27 May 07 by Everett Pearsall with: "I agree, GITMO"
For more thoughts on the Gitmo EM Club see additional comments on the Message Board under the thread for "Mystery Photo #9". (Ed.)
Mystery Photo(s) #10
Photo 10B

Phot 10A

Shipmates, we're looking for information here. Can you help us out?


Some time back I received a photo taken from the deck of the USS Galveston CLG-3 of a hi-line transfer to what I was sure was the USS Little Rock. (See picture at left above.)
The photo was furnished by Bob Rank BM2 of the U.S.S. Galveston Association.
I had no other information to confirm this event other than the picture which pretty clearly shows the Little Rock.

I some time later received a photo from Little Rock shipmate Bob Forester (BT2, 1964-1968) which shows the same event as viewed from the Little Rock. (See
picture at left below.) Most likely this event took place in 1967 when we know that both the Little Rock and Galveston were in the Med at the same time.

The "Mystery Question" is:  Does anyone have any of the specifics regarding this event? As noted above, we are looking for things such as:
Who, What, Where, When, Why?
Let us know what you know!


After some sleuthing and after receiving several photos from USS LITTLE ROCK and from USS GALVESTON  shipmates we've been able to put together a collection of photos that pretty well sums up the meting of these two cruisers. Check out the "Other Ships We've Met..."  page.

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