U.S. NAVAL MAGAZINE

SUBIC BAY, PHILIPPINES

Help identify these guys!


MinePac-Philippines - Subic Bay
Front row: MN1 Charlie Gouer, MN1 Elmore, MN2 John Carroll, MN3 John A. (Frenchy) Lemieux, MNC Brown, LT John W. Koerber Jr., MN2 C.K. "Skinny" Adams, MN3 Catlett  (with monkey), MN2 Riddle, MN1 Jim Kennedy, MN2 James F. McDonough. Middle row: MNC John H. Keen, MNC Melvin Konieczka, MN1 Billy Case, Barry P. Shurilla, MN1 Chin Sing Jr., MN2 Kent Kleckner {changed rate to GMT}, MN2 Dennis Linner, James, SK2 McCoy, MNC Joe McGimsey, MNC Gilroy. Back Row: MN3 Turley, ?, MN2 Ralph A. Shaw, MNSN F. L. Quick, MN3 John Troxel, ?, MNSN N.E. Wicke, MNSN Simpson, MN2 Bobby Ferrel McCoy, ?. 
[Thanks to Phil Beckwith and Jim McDonoughfor the IDs]

 


Ship's Party, Subic Bay
L-R: Mrs. PennyTurley in party dress and MN3 Turley in white shirt long sleeves,   SKC Patino in tan short sleeve shirt and wife, Sally in a printed party dress,  MN1 Sing in white short sleeve shirt with glasses and wife, Shiggi (Suzue) in white sleeveless dress, girl with husband, I believe is a GMC.  Not sure-maybe some one can verify.   Table to the left: Man with white shirt looking at the camera is MN1 Caffery, Man with dark shirt , looking at the girls and smiling is MNC McGimsey.  Sorry to say that both Caffery and McGimsey have been transferred to the supreme mine shop in the sky. (per Chin Sing, Phil Beckwith)

Can anyone help with the other names?


Here's another story that comes from Subic, from our buddy, Don Jones:

NAVMAG Subic Bay: The Early Days
By Don Jones, MNCM, USN Retired
E-Mail: jodo496Usn@aol.com

The U. S. Naval Magazine, Subic Bay, Republic of the Philippines, was commissioned on 01 July, 1955. CDR Mueller was the first Commanding Officer (CO). The CO and other officers usually wore tropical khaki uniforms consisting of khaki shorts, short sleeve shirts, and pith helmets.

I was a 19-year-old newly promoted MN3, and like my buddy Be-Bop, we had been transferred to Subic as part of a 30-man unit from Naval Ammunition Depot, Hawthorne, Nevada. Months before leaving Hawthorne many of us, including Be-Bop, had been to Truck Driving and Forklift Operators Schools. Because of my prior driving experiences, I easily got a license for trucks up to 5-tons. I remember the Forklift School was a fast-paced two-week school where we learned how to operate over 20 different pieces of equipment.

A memorable conversation took place a few days before we departed for the Philippines. Several of us, who had been given such a hard time by the “old salts” in the barracks, were sitting outside discussing how good it was going to be to finally get away from some of our worst tormentors. During a lull in the conversation, a handsome guy from back East, who had been repeatedly called “sweet-meat“ by the old salts said something that has stuck with me all these years. “When we get back from the Philippines,” he said, while nodding his head up and down as if agreeing with his own prophecy, “There ain’t nobody going to mess with us.”

When we arrived at Clark Air Force Base, wearing dress blues, the heat and humidity was oppressive. I almost staggered under the weight of my sea-bag which contained a full set of scuba gear plus all my Navy uniforms. One other sailor in our group brought his scuba gear, too. We had no idea how hard it was going to be to get those tanks filled with 3,000 psi air. Be-Bop and some others flew down to Subic Bay in a seaplane, while the rest of us careened down to Subic in a bus.

After arriving at Subic, our group of Minemen and Torpedomen were augmented by a half-dozen or so of both boatswain mates (BM), gunners mates (GM), and quartermasters (QM) prior to NAVMAG’s commissioning. We were quartered in the old Subic Bay Naval Station barracks until NAS, Cubi Point was completed in July 1956, then we moved into one of their spanking new barracks.

Soon as the NAVMAG commissioning ceremony was over, we quickly shifted into dungarees and piled into waiting vehicles. We were in high spirits as a convoy of 6 x 6 cargo trucks, bomb trucks, and jeeps carried us to the Ammo Pier. Commander Mueller, proudly driving his own jeep, was at the head of the convoy. Three ships loaded with ammunition were waiting offshore. Due to some protocol they didn’t come to the pier until we got there to meet them. The USS Mount Baker was one of the first ships offloaded at the Ammo Pier. Filipino stevedores helped us unload the ships in the sweltering tropical heat. Keeping enough ice-cold drinking water on hand for that many workers was difficult. And for the next 16.5 days, without weekend breaks, a half-dozen or so of us drove truckload after truckload of munitions from the pier to the magazine areas.

For the first few weeks, the naval ammunition was not palletized, everything possible was hand-loaded onto trucks and unloaded by hand. It was grunt-work, but it was rewarding work. We learned about naval ammunition by picking it up and getting the feel of it. And time permitting, we read stenciling on the items and their containers. If an acronym or color code stumped us, we asked questions of the Gunners Mates.

LT W. R. Tucker, who had come with us from Hawthorne, was in charge. He was well-liked, intelligent, and he was an energetic leader. LT Tucker, from Tennessee, had received a patent for designing a large scale to weigh 18-wheelers and he expected to make lots of money from his patent. The LT. and his able assistant Ensign Mickleberry seemed to be everywhere in their jeep, as they monitored our activities.

After working for two weeks straight, we grew fatigued both physically and mentally. One day when Be-Bop was returning to the Ammo Pier with an empty truck, he took the last curve too fast and a CO2 fire extinguisher in the cab toppled over. The safety pin wasn’t installed so the extinguisher fired a burst of CO2 that Be-Bop mistook for smoke. Afterwards, he said he immediately assumed the truck was on fire and it was loaded with ammo. We couldn’t imagine what was wrong when Be-Bop sped down the hill blowing the horn wildly, and while standing half-in half-out of the driver’s door he motioned for everyone to get out of the way. Then to our complete amazement, he ran the truck into the water alongside the Ammo Pier to extinguish the imaginary “fire.”

Be-Bop was embarrassed, and mad at himself when he realized there was no fire, and his truck was empty. But, we were sympathetic because we knew it could have happened to any of us. Since it happened at low tide and the water was shallow, it was easy to pull the truck out. Before going back to work, we made pictures of the “Baptized Deuce-and-a-Half,” to send to the folks back home. The "truck-in-the-drink" incident, plus one young, stressed-out truck driver turning in his driver's license probably got us a much needed afternoon off.

When we first arrived, the mine and torpedo shop areas were not inside a fence. Electricity was provided by several generators powered by diesel engines. At 2200 every night the generators were turned off. Since we had security watches at night, M-1 carbines were issued along with 10 rounds of ammo. Late one night, a full-grown water buffalo/carabao wandered into the compound and a startled sailor cut down on the intruder with the carbine. There was a 500 peso ($250) fine for killing a carabao, so the OOD had a bulldozer operator dig a deep hole and the poor animal was buried before daylight.

As far as we knew, there were no human intruders or thefts in the compound until after the perimeter fence was installed. One night someone making his rounds found a gaping hole in the new fence and ran to the bunk-room for help. We notified the OOD, who was several miles away at the Admin area, then went to investigate. Fortunately, the intruders had escaped back into the jungle by then and no one got hurt. Marines went into the jungle, after sunrise, and found the stolen goods hidden under a stolen Navy tarp not far from the compound. The thieves had taken the carburetors off our portable light generators, a dozen CO2 fire extinguishers, and a few other items.

A sharp curve in the road below the torpedo assembly area was called Python Bend. A sign located there commemorated the place where years before a Seabee had captured a 16 ft. long python. The story was that the Seabee had sold the reticulated python to a circus in Manila for $300. Some of our sailors wanted to outdo the Seabee and capture a python longer than 16 feet. They cruised the road in a Jeep at night hoping to see a big snake crossing the road. Finally, they spotted a huge snake near the edge of the road and the “capture team” leaped into action. By the time they got to the snake it had almost escaped back into a bamboo grove, however, someone grabbed its tail and told another guy to go after the snake’s head. The other guy hesitated and the tail-grabber had to let go or be dragged into the jungle. Everyone was convinced the snake was close to 18 ft. long, and they weren’t about to give up the search. A few nights later they got another chance. It was a smaller snake and someone managed to grab the snake’s head while the other guy grabbed the tail. It was a struggle to subdue the python, but getting the snake into the jeep and keeping it there was another question. Finally, out of frustration someone killed the 11.5 ft. long snake. After daylight we made a picture with guys holding the snake at waist level. Bumps in the snake’s skin turned out to be “ticks” that had crawled under the scales. An attempt to preserve the skin failed because we didn’t have enough salt.

LT H. R. Clark arrived a few weeks after NAVMAG was commissioned. He was a POW during WWII, and a survivor of the Bataan Death March. When LT Clark became the Ordnance Officer he made some major changes in the way we operated. First, all the naval ammunition was palletized before it left the pier. Second, all the naval ammunition already in the magazines was to be palletized. Third, had to do with our work uniform. No cutoff pants, or shirts with cutoff sleeves were allowed.

Our only Carpenters Mate started a wooden pallet construction operation at the storage area behind the Ammo Pier, and within days his Filipino crew could produce pallets faster than we needed them.

One of our magazines contained many boxes of old dynamite that had been left behind by the Seabees. A senior petty officer told an interesting and possibly true story about that magazine. He said one overcast day when he went inside to take the mag-temp readings he forgot to take his flashlight. Without thinking he whipped out his Zippo and spun the wheel. There was an immediate whooshing noise and for a split-second he saw a strange blue light race along the ceiling of the magazine. At any rate, the EOD officer decided to destroy the dynamite before it deteriorated any further. EOD was understaffed so they asked for some help. Be-Bop and I, jumped at the chance to work with EOD.

The dynamite was transported to the beach area west of the Ammo Pier. The Boatswain’s Mates wanted a small reef located there flattened so landing craft could be beached at low tide. The boxes of dynamite were carried out into waist deep water and placed atop the reef. To ensure a high-order detonation, EOD had rigged det-cord to 1-lb blocks of TNT that were stuffed into each box of dynamite. A crowd had gathered to watch the explosion, however, when the plunger on the hell-box was pressed the only thing that fired was the detonator. EOD was crestfallen, but on the second try the shot went off without a hitch.

When the CO wanted a telephone line installed between the Admin area and the Ammo Pier, a young Electrician’s Mate was given the job. Be-Bop, a guy called “Gropo,” and myself were also assigned to the project. Since the telephone line was to be hung on trees at the edge of the road, the Electrician thought the job could be completed in one week. But first, bamboo up to 3-inches in diameter had to be cut down with machetes in order to get the telephone line to the trees. It took over two weeks to get the line to the pier and then the phone didn’t work. The old telephone wire had a break somewhere, but the EM found it, repaired it, and the CO was satisfied.

In March 1956, the damaged USS Floyd B. Parks (DD-884) came alongside the pier to have her ammunition offloaded. A collision at sea between the destroyer and the cruiser USS Columbus had left the Parks with most of her bow missing. We heard that the Parks steamed into Subic Bay stern-first. When the ship came alongside, a young officer with a wad of cash flagged down an empty truck and went off in search of ice and liquid refreshments. The ship’s cooks set up shop on the sandy beach and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs for the exhausted crew. A Chief we talked to was lucky to be alive, he had been pulled from the water unconscious after the collision. Two Parks crewmen were missing and presumed dead.

During the collision the forward magazine of the Parks had been heavily damaged. We unloaded 3-inch rounds and 5-inch powder cans that had been cut in two. The Parks went into a floating drydock for repairs after leaving the Ammo Pier.

Soon after the Parks left, the Minemen and Torpedomen were pulled off the Ammo Pier and assigned to the Mine Assembly and Torpedo Assembly buildings. By then a large shipment of naval mines had arrived and the upkeep of those weapons kept Be-Bop and I busy until we were transferred back stateside, NAS, Whidbey Island, in 1957.


MORE OF SUBIC


Confined to base? Monkeys and puppies
provide a great distraction and pasttime.

Franklin Delano Cole (of Chattanooga) fishes off the
NAVMAG ammo pier. Four hours and not a single nibble.

John Edward Banks ("Jeb") Mobley, Jr. swims off the NAVMAG
ammo pier. In background is Ens. Mickleberry, div. officer.

Party time! Jim "Bebop" Box, Ken Morton, "Sniffer"
Novak, Merriam and Gammel enjoy female company.

photos courtesy of Don Jones



photo courtesy of George Clark
Subic Bay MOMAT Teams 0304 and 0301, February, 1968

4th Row (left to right)
MNSN J. Dean, SN S.M. Nemcek, TM2 J.E. Eyman, MN3 R.W. Holley **, MN3 S.J. Durst, MN2 J.E. Miller, TM3 J.L. Boggs,
MNSN M.G. Weixelman, MN3 W.R. Beffert *, MNSN P.E. Appleton, MN3 P.E. McCumber *, MN1 W.G. Phillippi, MN2 W.R. Bash
MN2 J.R. Defrees, MNSN R.P. Kidd, MN3 D.L. Rodrick, MNSN T.L. Bateman, MNSN W.D. Halfacre, MN3 J.L. Leopard,
TM3 D.J. Beeby,
3rd Row (standing-left to right)
MNSN R. Mead, SN L.D. Depping, MNSN J.W. Peterson, MNSN J.L. Carson, MNSN K.W. Crawley, MNSN ?.G. Buerger,
MNSN H.W. Goff, MNSN A.F. Ross *, MNSN S. Wheeler, MN3 A. Wiatrak, MN3 G.L. Dyer, MN2 W.E. Dixon, MNSN J.T. Knight,
MN2 C.E. Wright, MN3 R.N. Stevens, MN1 J.D. Lindquist, KN2 D.C. Wright, MN2 J.D. Madole **.
2nd Row (sitting-left to right)
MN2 J.H. Coers *, ET1 M.J. Flynn, MN2 R.R. Davis, MN3 R.C. Fairchild **, MN3 J.K. Scanlon **, MNSN P.D. McKinney,
MNC M.H. Baird, MNC B.N. Johnson *, CWO G.W. Russell, W> S.A. English, TMCM J.W. Hermsen, YN3 A.D. Franklin,
MNSN J.C. Rogers, MN3 RJS. Taylot *, MN3 D. Johnson, MN3 A. Albrecht, MNSN D.L. Mack, MN3 T. Kopecky„
1st Row (kneeling-left to right)
MN1 R.C.H. Davis, TM2 D.W. Hook, TM3 F. Delgado, MN2 G.A. Clark, MN3 M.W. Whitener, MN3 F.D. Grisham,
MN3 H.R. Nagel, MN3 R.L. Barker, MN2 D.R. Todd, MN3 R.C. Keck, TMSN B.M. Blaskiewicz.
Missing M & T Division personnel;
MNC J.J. Dwyer, MN3 D.L. Echroth *#, MN1 F.J. Cline *, MN1 T.F. Carter **, LTJG W.A. Roberts **, TM2 M. NAAB,
MNSN M.H. Fritzshall *, MN3 J.O. IDIAQUEZ *, MN3 L.D. Reese *, MN2 E.H. Wilder **, TMSN P. Saltsman.

* MOMAT 0304 ** MOMAT 0301

 


Tom Tom Club - 1968
I was stationed at NAVMAG Subic form May 1967 to May 1968. Worked in the admin office as communication yeoman. I have attached a photo of some of the guys I worked with. We were at the Tom Tom Club in Olongapo. If you hear from anyone else stationed 67-68 please let me know I would like to get in contact with them. N. Steven Larsen USN Ret.<nslarsen@gmail.com>

[Photo by Steve Larsen, passed on by Don Jones. Can anyone identify the guys?


Those were great times but here's what Subic looks like today
A Trip Down Memory Lane

(courtesy of Bill Roberts)


[Due to space limitations, this movie is available only on request.
Write me if you would like a copy]


 

More sea stories and photos? Send 'em in!

 

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