Remembering the USS Satyr (ARL-23)

Last Updated December 6, 2003

Jimmy Estes     Lonnie Smith     Harold Best     Leonard L. Martin     Thomas Smith     Richard Pettit    John Photinos New

Terry Beck     Ronnie Barnes     Joe McMillan    Dr. Norman L. Crawford     Steven Nease      Sam Dong VNN     Joe Dale

Arthur Kitchen      Dempsey Bumpass     Curtis G. Altom     Capt. Grant Carson     Paul Morrison     Thomas Griffiths

Steven E. Elicker     Jim Westgate     Frank Halmsteiner     Leroy Robbins     Thomas R. Gibbons     Bob Silkensen   Ray Burton

Chung C. Pham    Joseph S. Skabialka     Dennis Therry    John C. Howard    Don Gordon    David H. Saunders    Roger Gulick

From: Jimmy Estes SN USS Satyr (ARL-23) 5/67 - 5/69
           298 Horseshoe Loop
           Columbus, MS 39701
           Home phone: 601-327-4314
           Work phone: 601-434-2203

I reported to the USS Satyr in New Orleans, LA (June 1967) when she was just returning from mothballs. I was a plank holder for the recommissioning in early spring of 1968. Sailed from New Orleans through the canal to San Diego and on to the P.I. and into Vietnam where I spent 10 months in country.     Top

From: Lonnie Smith PC3 USS Satyr (ARL-23) 67-69
           3730 Militia Drive
           Titusville, FL 32796
           Home phone: 407-268-2808
           Work phone: 407-824-1856

I was among the pre-com. group that started our tour of duty at the NavSta San Diego. From there we were all sent to New Orleans where the Satyr was once again commissioned. The long trip across the Pacific to the mouth of the Mekong Delta River was quite a ride. I was the ship's postal clerk. The original crew was divided up into three groups as far as the tour of duty was concerned. I was among the first group to be transferred to another duty station. I spent the next year at Subic Bay, Philippines. I left the Navy in Feb. 1970. I am now living in sunny Florida working as a musician at Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort. WE, MY wife of 22 years and three children, have been in this area now for twelve years.     Top

From: Harold Best EN3 USS Satyr (ARL-23) 69-70
           6750-48 Ave. N.
           St. Petersburg, FL 33709
           Home phone: 727-546-0426

I joined the Satyr when she was in the Gulf of Siam, in the fall of 1969. She was supporting operations aimed at rooting the Viet Cong out of an area called "CA MAU"-a third layer forest/swamp that could only be cleared of enemy by inserting manpower and engaging the enemy. The canopy over the area was far to thick to access the swamp from the air. This operation was being conducted by U.S. Marines and Navy Seals.

Enroute to the Satyr we sat down the DC3 we had been flying for the night ... We landed at an Army Special Forces camp on the Ca Mau peninsula. I met my first Seal Team member at the landing strip.

The Army treated us well, inviting us to their makeshift non com club in the camp to swap stories that night. While there we were introduced to their mascot-a large python the guys kept in a chicken wire cage in the middle of the camp.

Later during the night the camp was mortared by the V.C. and a firefight ensued. It was my initiation to Vietnam ... Fresh off a nuclear submarine with virtually no combat experience, I didn't know which way to run.

The next morn-after all the action was over my buddy and I passed the snake cage on our way to breakfast ... only to discover a mortar had landed very near the cage, knocking it over. The camp mascot was no where to be seen ... He had escaped.

Needles to say, I was happy to catch a helo out and get on my way to the "Green Weeny."

HARE     Top

From: Thomas Smith SF3 USS Satyr (ARL-23) 9/67 - 4/69
           5288 12th St.
           Port Arthur, TX 77642
           Home phone: 409-985-8597
           Work phone: 409-985-0942

I reported to the pre-com detail at San Diego September of 67, then went to New Orleans in Jan of 68. I guess it was better that we operated in the rivers because at sea we were a hazard to navigation. I think we ran into everything between New Orleans and Viet Nam. We hit a destroyer tender in San Diego.  We tore down I don't know how many feet of dock in New Orleans, we even ran over a mooring buoy with our on bosinmates on it. But joking aside we had a great crew and we worked very hard and did a great job. I am proud to have served on HER.     Top

From: Richard Pettit GMG3 USS Satyr (ARL-23) 9/69 - 3/71
           1581 S. Fairplay Way
           Aurora, CO 80012
           Home phone: 303-368-8474

We had an enrep - and afterwards we were sitting around the forward hatch. It was covered with an aluminum cover and we felt relatively safe around edges.  We had this one little SN that decided to crawl to the middle and going to catch some rays.  Well that cover collapsed, and the SN, myself and another guy fell into the well deck.  The SN used the cover like a sail and was unhurt, while I broke my shoulder, and the other guy really hurt
his back - I want to say that he broke it or something. 

They sent him and me to the USS Dallas (USCG Cutter) via PBR - not a fun ride in the open ocean.  We were sent to Dong Tam and he eventually went to Japan. They sent me back the best way I could.  I caught a medivac helo and ended up in a firefight somewhere in the delta.  Flew back to Dong Tam - hitched up with some Seals and went to Rach Gia, and a PBR base, then via helo to Solid Anchor, and the Satyr.  Lots of fun.

If anyone remembers this, and the guy who was hurt - I'd sure like to know.

Smooth Seas and Fair Winds to all!

November 29, 2001 Update

Response to Richard Pettit

Of course I remember your accident. We were in the Gulf of Thailand on Wednesday, 5 November 1969, 31 years ago,  anchored in the vicinity of Song Ong Doc in 23 feet of water with 60 fathoms of chain to the port anchor on VTM grid coordinates VQ 7250 9620.  We were in defense condition III and modified material condition Zebra.  The USS Garrett County LST 786 and USCG
Dallas were on the port side.  At 1815 hours the cargo hatch cover gave way when you Seaman Apprentice Richard Pettit, B741454 and several of your shipmates attempted to sit on the lip.  Your attempts at defying the laws of gravity, space and time were unsuccessful.  Your fellow stunt coordinators were Seaman Armando Romero B224794, Seaman James Tabor B284246 and Seaman Gregory L. Lowe, B224771.

As I recall you each fell 23-24 feet, landing on diesel engines. Only by the Grace of God, your youthful strength and the music of Jimmi Hendrix, did you survive. James suffered contusions to his left wrist. Armando sustained injuries to his left ankle, heel and right knee. Both of them were taken to the USS Dallas and then returned to the Satyr on 6 Nov.

Greggory suffered a fractured first lumbar vertebrae and you, Richard, suffered a fractured right upper humeras as I recall. Both of you were taken to the USCG Dallas (WHEC 716) for x rays and were med evacuated on the morning of 6 November 1969.

Do you have any on-going medical problems?  As you may be aware the Veterans Administration honors "buddy" statements which have the effect of further demonstrating your medical claim as being validated.  Your VA compensation is a tax-free benefit to you for service to your country.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance in your disability claim.

RM3 Edward Seafeldt, Seattle Washington

March 23, 2000 Update

Article:  Refugee Flotilla.  Ron Dredge, I believe it was Powell "Butterfly" and myself were out on the BID Boat, making the rounds as usual.  We were armed with a Shotgun, and an M2 Carbine and a load of concussion grenades.  It was pretty dark and little or no moon, as we about to round the stern there was this huge Black thing floating down the river towards us.  We made our normal call to the ship and all they would say was to "Stay out of their way" and "Keep Quiet".  No explanations or anything.  Needless to say everyone was alert for the rest of the night.  A couple of days later the Stars and Stripes printed the article that I sent to Bruce.  Ron Dredge signed the bottom

March 23, 2000 Update

One night after either a "Beer Party" or a "USO" show, Turner (ET3) had the forward bow watch.    He had partaken more than he usually would have, so I went forward to sit with him for a bit.  He had discovered that he could almost get an "Air Burst" by holding the grenade a little longer than just pulling the pin and throwing the grenade.  Physics says that you have to have one hell of an arm to get a grenade to explode in the air, but it sure made for some dandy geysers.  Well he was going to demonstrate how he got the geysers, and he pulled the pin, dropped the spoon/handle and reared back to throw it and as his arm was on the way forward  his hand hit the "Salt Water Wash down" pipe and he dropped that damned grenade.  He looked at it a bit and I did too before I realized what had happened.  I pulled him over the low port stantion and made a wild grab for the grenade and missed as I was going over the opposite stantion, with *#$* as it went off.  I just knew that all those cases of grenades were going to go off too.

I ended up getting bounced off the railing and onto the deck.  I couldn't see anything, (my eyes were flash burned) and I had this horrific ringing in my ears, I just knew all them grenades had blown up and I was dead.  But I could feel the deck and some guys pulling me up.  I later went back to the bow and there was this dandy 1" impression where the grenade  was when it went off.

I read a message a couple of months later, about this young sailor was on a YRBM who had dropped a grenade on the flight deck, instead of walking away he jumped on it.  Well it was "Tap" for him.

Note:  The Armory and Magazines were directly below where the grenade went off.

November 20, 2001 Update

Email from David Turner to Richard Pettit. Richard asked David if he remembered the Grenade Incident on the Satyr.

11-20-01 YEP...I sure do...Jerry Uhlman was the dude...beerbarge night...drunk as a skunk...and him yellin "Get the fuck outta here"...and me flyin over the the 40's. I have hot cardboard all over my back from the percussion grenade             Top

March 23, 2000 Update

One night after we brought the ferry from Neak Long and during the crew change for the BID Boat we noticed that the LCM was sitting kinda funny alongside the pontoon.  The LCM was loaded with LRPS & C-Rations, which we offloaded, and we started to move the LCM back to pick it up with the A-Frame.  The engine compartment was full of water, so we tried to move it with the LCVP/BID Boat but with the current and added weight we couldn't and it went down by the stern. That stupid boat would not sink.  It just moved to the middle of the River with its Bow Ramp waving at us.  The next morning, we took the BID Boat and pulled a mooring line to it, after having some difficulty tying a double bowline in it (That was as funny as a barrel of monkeys with a football watching that evolution).  We could not get the BID Boat close enough and long enough to get the line on the Tie downs, so Snuffy planted the Bow Ramp up against the LCM and I got onto the LCM (Mike O'Neal has a photo of me on the LCM) and we got the Mooring line secured to it.  We eventually got the LCM alongside, after burning up the Port Anchor Wench, and snapping a 3" Nylon Mooring Line, with the assistance of an Alpha Boat and moving the ship to position it alongside.  It was pretty interesting watching them raise the boat, but also tragic in losing the Army Diver in the process.

March 27, 2000 Update

There was a crewman named OSBORN (don't remember his rate).  One evening when I
didn't have too much to do, He was on watch and we got to BS-ing about the world
and Home in general.  The conversation naturally went to family, and our back
grounds.  I asked about his dad and he said he was Air Force, that was
interesting cause my dad was AF too.  I asked where his dad was stationed -
Germany.  This was getting really interesting cause my dad was in Germany too.
Where in Germany was his dad - Wiesbaden, Oh boy small world, My dad was in
Wiesbaden too.  A couple of weeks later I got a letter from my dad and very
regular after that.  It seems that my dad worked for Osborn's dad.  Small World
isn't it.

March 27, 2000 Update

I remember watching these three UH-1 Helos buzzing down the river, about 25 feet off the deck.  They were coming in close formation when all of a sudden the first two helo's pulled off hard Left.  Well when they did that it just sucked all the air from under the third one and it went straight down into the river. There were ARVN's bobbing in the river like wet rats.  Really very funny to see it happen and the UH-1's and LOHC's buzzing around the scene     Top

From: Terry Beck EM2 USS Satyr (ARL-23) 5/70 - 5/71
           17 S Caln Rd.
           Coatesville, PA  19320
           Home phone: 303-368-8474

I remember standing a lot of DC Generator watches in that hot engine room with some crazy Enginemen-wish I could remember that ENC's name, He really knew his job. O'Neal-I believe we stood a lot of watches down there. We dimmed the lights on the ship quite a few times-usually because your diesels kept crapping out-hope I hear from somebody from E Div.    Top

From: Leonard L. Martin HTC (USN Ret.) USS Satyr (Vietnam)
           17205 Monterey St.
           Morgan Hill, CA 95037

I came, I saw, I left, and while I was aboard Satyr I learned a lot about people. Anyone remember that stupid little dog? and who threw it over the side? How bought chief Oby (Nickname) PNC  Greenstreet, Harramen, Souchocky, Tibidoe, So many I cant remember the names, At that time I was DC-2 Martin, R-DIV. Now I'm ret. HTC Leonard L. Martin.

Best to all

From: Ronnie Barnes RM3 USS Satyr 1970
           105 Elizabeth St.
           Abbeville, SC 29620
I served aboard the USS Lredell County (LST 839) in 1969 and finished out my tour aboard the USS Satyr in 1970.    

From: Joe McMillan MM3 USS Satyr 1967-1968
           P.O. Box 2103
           Trinity, TX 75862
           Home Phone: 409-594-9474
           Work Phone: 281-687-0700
I played the guitar in a small band with Stephen Luke and Tommy Hildebrand and went on a three month tour with CMTS ( Command Military Touring Shows )out of Saigon. My primary job on the Satyr was to make water and clean the boilers. I was with the Satyr when it was commisioned at Buck Krieths Ship yard in New Orleans.    

November 26, 1999

From: Dr. Norman L. Crawford MM3 USS Satyr (9-52 8-54)
           11576 Heathcliff Drive
           Santa Ana, CA 92705
           Home Phone: 714-544-0909
           Work Phone: 714-832-9459

I left U.S.S. Satyr in August, 1954 to spend three months in the hospital,  followed by three months of limited shore duty at Long Beach Naval Station (my only shore duty except MM School at Great Lakes); I was then assigned to the George K. MacKenzie D.D..836., MacKenzie was on "Formosa Patrol" at the time so my journey to the ship involved a flight to Hawaii on MATS, then on to Tokyo via Pan Am, then one week at the Naval Station at Yokosuka, bus to Tachkawa AF Base, Flight to Kadena Okinawa, bus to Naha USN/USAF flight to the USS Bennington in a WWII TBM, then hi-lined to the MacKenzie.  QUITE A TRIP! I left active duty in April, 1956 as a MM1.  On to College, with the help of P.L.550, BS in chemistry, Enrolled in the University of Southern California School of Dentistry, graduating in June, 1962.  I have been in practice for thirty seven years and am rapidly approaching retirement--maybe.    

November 26, 1999

From: Steven Nease FN USS Satyr (1970)
           PO Box 901 2 Marty South Drive
           Wapato, WA 989951
           Home Phone: 509-877-6458
I was barely 18 when I flew in country aboard Braniff and stayed a few days at Annapolis Hotel. Didn't receive any kind of briefing. We drank and ate at the Montana Club. I left the Hotel with several other sailors in dungarees and white hats. We found ourselves dropped off somewhere in a wide open area that had Vietnamese soldiers in one man pill box type sentry stations. We were told to walk to the river and hitch a ride up river to Satyr. We were lucky to get a ride aboard a PBR. I felt so proud roaring up river with the stars and stripes waving off the stern of that fiberglass rig decked out in green with ordinance up the kazoo! I had grown up in Alaska as a commercial fisherman, and my Dad had tried a Berkley Jet pump powered with a big Packard gas engine. I knew I was on the state of the art jet boat and the thrill was great. Not too long after arriving on Satyr we were "trained" on the M-60. That was OK. I recall later in my tour going up forward and shooting debris in the river and tossing concussion grenades. As an Engineman our dept took care of the AC's and the LCVP. One night's grenades was a sight. Mostly though it was hard awful work under horrible conditions that I am proud to done at my young age.

April 6, 2001
You guys remember in 1970 when a bunch of newbies rebuilt a diesel in the AC's and when we lit it off big drops of oil rained all over the decks top to bottom? Both Diesel Dan (Artie Kitchen) and Torque (Dennis Swansby)and myself were horrified! Man...I didn't even know we had a Chief.  He sure showed himself that day! We had put the cylinder rings in backwards and and it sucked oil up the stack. We had to tear that puppy down again. The Chief was okay about it from what I seen. He knew he was lucky to have three hard working sailors to make it right. Never ever made that mistake again. LOL    

November 28, 1999

From: 2nd Lt. Sam Dang (S. Vietnamese Navy, 42 River Patrol & HQ-802/ARL-23)
           7443 Dallas Drive
           Austin, TX 78729
           Home Phone: 512-335-3996
I was South Vietnamese Navy/2nd lieut. I had served in Brown Water Navy and HQ 802 (originally Satyr 23-Mekong Delta region) from 71-74.We turned over the ship to US Navy during the last trip to Subic Bay (Philippine) on those last days of the Vietnam War and later transfered to Philippine Navy.    

November 29, 1999
On March/1975 the HQ 802 on the mission of evacuated Vietnamese refugees from Danang to Vung Tau. The crews of HQ 802 gave a birth to a little girl ( COs of Hq802 was issued a birth certificate to the baby girl and name her after the name of the ship - VINH LONG. After the ship dropped off all refugees at Vung Tau, the girl's family disappeared into the crowd. Twenty-four years later, two months ago a friend of mine (he is an editor for a Community Newspaper in Austin received a hand writing letter from a girl who name VINH LONG ). Amazingly her family somehow came to US. In a letter she is expressing whereabouts of HQ 802 crews and would like to keep in touch with anybody from that ship. I will definitely follow up this story and let you know. I hope someday we will all meet "The Daughter of Satyr - HQ 802". Keep in touch. Thanks, Sam Dang    

November 28, 1999

From: Joe W. Dale SF1 USS Satyr (7-14-67 to 2-9-69)
           P.O. Box 32
           Winona, MO 65588
           Home Phone: 573-325-4372
           Work Phone: 417-934-2048
Reported aboard in New Orleans for pre-commisioning duty. Worked very hard playing pool and drinking beer for 7 months of hard duty. One little bar down on the waterfront was freqented for tough games of pool. Space was limited, we had to open the window to find room for the corner shot. Chief Rosenberg worked us very hard. We had to work until Wednesday each week before we could take off. Then we went to vietnam and played.HA It was a great ship the crew was the best.    

December 6, 1999

From: Arthur Kitchen EN3 USS Satyr (5/70 - 3/71)
           1595 Holly Blvd.
           Mansquan, NJ 08736
           Home Phone: 732-528-1971
           Work Phone: 718-948-1902

December 26, 1999

From: Dempsey Bumpass GMG3/SWCS 
           COMSTABRON 20 - Racing Danger 001 (10/69-10/71)
           214 Kathryn
           Daingerfield, TX 75638
           Home Phone: 903-645-3016
I spent over 20 years in the Navy and my tour of duty in RVN was the highlight of my career. The men( we were young but we weren't boys) who served in Nam are the only true friends I have. Hundreds I've never met but friends/brothers just the same. I was a gunner on Strike Assault Boat 001. If I can locate enough Stab brothers and collect enough pictures I will start a Stab web page. Your web site is great. Thanks for the memories. 

December 31, 1999

From: Curtis G. Altom SKC (USN Ret.) USS Satyr (9/67-7/69)
           2755 Edgemont Rd.
           Quitman, AR 72131
           Home Phone: 501-589-4012

I have many memories about my tour of duty aboard the Satyr. Some I would not share here, this one I will share. Do any of the shipmates remember when the repair crew who worked on the small boats on the barge alongside got a chicken for a mascot and the CO (LCDR D.C. Rutherford) made them get rid of if, because he was afraid that it might bite some one and they would get rabies, and that night some one placed chicken bones outside his stateroom. How about the beer parties on the barge. Enough said if you want to hear more e-mail me at     Top

December 31, 1999

From: Capt. Grant Carson (USN Ret., served 7/57-5-85) Naval Advisory Group (Vietnam)
           9030 Drumcliffe Lane
           Dallas, TX 75231
           Home Phone: 214-503-7497

I visited your ship incidental to conducting an investigation of a friendly fire incident between the River Transport Escort Group, a VNN rice convoy with USN advisors, and Vietnamese forces ashore.  Unfortunately, the investigation revealed that the USN advisors were drunk and initiated the incident.

I was grateful for a bunk without bedbugs and real chow, served hot.  Your ship performed a service that many of you may not appreciate, servicing us visitors.

Later I was fortunate enough to command an LSD (USS Thomaston) at the evacuation of Saigon.  Having been a VNN advisor, I was happy to see 27 little ships of the VNN Fleet Command put to sea with all the VNN and their dependents, several thousands.

Thanks for hosting me on the river when I needed it.


CAPT, USN (Ret)     Top

January 7, 2000

From: Paul V. Morrison EM USS Satyr (3-69 3-70)
           41206 Cog Hill Drive
           Temecula, CA 92591
           Home/Office Phone: 909-506-5335

It's been some time since I spoke to you on the phone and since I received your E-mail in regard to the above subject.  I apologize for the delay in getting this to you. I have reconstructed this from letters which were saved by my Wife and by my Mother.  I believe it to be accurate but one can never tell since ships electricians were not privy to the inside scoop but relied on scuttlebutt to get the picture. I hope this helps and would appreciate any corrections or fill-ins that I don't have.

March  29, 69   I depart Saigon arrive Dong Tam and Satyr (Charlie says "HELLO")
??? Long Xuyen ???
April 6, 69 Rach Gia
April 19, 69 Depart Rach Gia
April 20, 69 Arrive Vung Tau, Depart for Sasebo
May  1, 69 Arrive Sasebo
June 4, 69 Depart Sasebo
June 15, 69 Arrive Dong Tam
June 24, 69 Depart Dong Tam, Arrive Ben Tre
June 26, 69 Ben Tre
June 30, 69 Dong Tam (Army artillery friendly fire Incident)
July 19, 69 Depart Dong Tam, Arrive Can Tho (Satyr alone)
July 30, 69 Binh Thuy
Aug 12, 69 Chau Doc ( Met Miss America @ MACV)
Aug 20, 69 Chau Doc
Sept 1, 69 Long Xuyen
Sept 10, 69 Long Xuyen ("A" Frame Incident)
Sept 24, 69 Long Xuyen
Oct 24, 69 Rach Gia
Oct 31, 69 Depart Rach Gia for R&R
Nov 7, 69 Arrive Rach Gia from R&R
Nov 11, 69 Song Ong Doc
Nov 28, 69 Song Ong Doc
Dec 8, 69  Song Ong Doc
Dec 23, 69 Song Ong Doc
Dec 31, 69 Song Ong Doc
Jan 10, 70 Depart Song Ong Doc, Enter Bassac River
Jan 12, 70 Arrive An Long ("Barrier Reef")
Feb 18, 70 An Long
Feb 19, 70 Tan Chau ???
Feb 27, 70 An Long
Mar 7, 70 Depart Satyr for the Real World

Hope this helps                        
Best Regards, Paul    

January 10, 2000

From: Thomas Griffiths EN3 USS Satyr (1-68 3-69)
           1515 Pebblewood Land
           Williamsport, PA 17701
           Home Phone: 570-322-4303

I wound up in New Orleans on the Satyr in Jan. of 1968 after being sent to Assault Boat Engineering School and Swift Boat Training in Coronado, Calif. and a few more schools in San Diego. I think it took us 33 days to reach Vung Tau. I worked in the D.C. Gen. room then the A. C. Gen. room. My brother, Joe, requested duty with me on the Satyr and upon the completion of boot camp was sent over. I think we were in Dong Tam at the time. I left the Satyr the end of March 69. I finished my enlistment on the USS Orion, a sub tender stationed in Norfolk, Va. in September 1970. A few of the guys I remember are Bob Lerch, Ben Wojtas, Joe McMillan, Bob Bonner, Mike "Shorty" Bronnenberg, Bob Silkensen, Rick Dalton, Sheleton, and Chief Fisher.     Top

April 8, 2000

From: Stephen E. Elicker  SN USS Satyr (12-69 11-70)
           2974 Hanover Pike
           Hanover, PA 17331
           Home Phone: 570-322-4303

From what I can remember LCDR R.T. Fellis was Commanding Officer when I came on board and later was assumed by LCDR Giganti.  While going thru pictures on this site I was amazed because I saw pictures almost duplicating what I have.  The pictures sent by Pettit and O'Neal were uncanny.  I remember Pettit, Fiola, Fisher, Manning, Lackey and Brown.  I am also sure I served with Swank and Stapleton.  I have many good slides and coincidently one of Richard Brown and Ron Fisher (Snuffy) and pictures of the USO show with the girls in pink, white and black dresses.  Also have one of Wes Compton.  I was assigned to the First Lieutenant's office as the deck yeoman.  Most of my pictures are on slides so I'll need to figure out how to send them to you.  Who can tell me the black sailor's name that we used to call sugar bear?  He was a lot of laughs.  I will send you more if my memory allows. Thirty years is a long time. I was 18 years old at the time.  By the way, my favorite service related story now is that after spending 12 months in Viet-Nam, my next duty was with VP-24 (based at that time in Patuxent River, Maryland) which was deployed to Keflavik, Iceland."  Talk about going from one extreme to the other! Also, Sam Crawford was somewhat responsible for my going there.  If I remember correctly he left the ship in 1970 (not 1979) right before me.  He told me his next duty station was in Patuxent River, Maryland.  I asked him how I could get a gravy train like that and he recommended I put in for Yeoman A school and then ask for Patuxent River on my dream sheet.  Yea, like all of that was going to happen.  Well, I put in for the school, I was accepted, and I got my first choice on my dream sheet and I was off for Patuxent River which is only 150 mile from my hometown of Hanover, PA.  I was home every weekend for two years except when we were deployed to Iceland for 4 month intervals (annually) and when I was on call for the weekend. Thanks, Sam.     Top

April 8, 2000

From: Jim Westgate EN2 USS Satyr (9-67 5-69)
           8667 24th St.
           Fremont, MI 49412
           Home Phone: 231-924-2521

Assigned to Satyr 9-2-67 in San Diego where crew was assembled, went on leave on 12-10-67 and returned home to Michigan. Reported to New Orleans after after leave. Stayed with Satyr until enlistment up 5-1-69     Top

May 5, 2000

From: Frank Halmsteiner RMC USS Satyr (6-69 7-70)
           424 Chelsea
           Fairfield, CA 94533
           Home Phone: 707-429-4639


May 13, 2000      June 5, 2001

From: Leroy Robbins SF1 USS Satyr (7-67 5-69)
           12702 Greenshire Drive
           Houston, TX 77048-4012
           Home Phone: 713 738 3847                                                         
           Work Phone: 281 497 7295
           E-mail: or        

Hi there fellow Shipmates. I have some good memories and I have some that's not so great. But thanks to God, I am able too bury the bad ones and will just share one or two of them here with you. I was assigned to the USS Satyr in July of 1967 where it was undergoing repairs. I was fortunate to meet some very great guys as the commissioning crew was being formed, we had a ball in my home state of Louisiana but I found New Orleans to be a bit WILD! We finally got the GREEN MONSTER (SATYR) underway for San Diego, Ca. We came through the Panama Canal which was exciting to me. I remember watching the ships antennas hitting the tree limbs as we pass thru some narrow spots in that canal But we made it to San Diego then to Long Beach and back to San Diego, Ca. One Saturday evening while in San Diego, our Eng. Officer was on the main deck when he spotted this female coming down the pier clad in a short mini skirt. He calls out on the 1mc
"ANYONE WANTING TO SEE A MINI SKIRT, LAY UP TO THE MAIN DECK, STARBOARD SIDE"! Needless to say, the Satyr took on a heck of a starboard list. We left San Diego, Ca. headed for the war zone but somewhere in between San Diego and Vietnam, the GREEN MONSTER quit on us, and left us powerless until a chopper brought us the repair part. Our first night in country was a scary one. That night the entire crew, Officers and enlisted got the scare of our lives. It was later learned that the bid boats would drop concussion grenades in the water to wad off swimmers. No one told us anything  like  that was to be expected  thus we thought we had been mined. GQ was set and damage control crews went thru out the ship looking for damages and flooding. The crew of the bid boat knew it was our first night there and it was their  thing to scare us by throwing the grenade as close to the ship as possible. I am sure they were bursting their sides from laughing so hard. I left the Satyr in Japan where  she returned for repairs to one of her screws. I reported on board the USS PRAIRIE AD17 where I advanced to Shipfitter Chief. I was later transferred to the USS YELLOWSTONE AD27 and from there I was assigned  to the start up crew at FMAG in Mayport FL. where I called it quits SEPT. 11. 1975. I married a wonderful woman in 1971. We have two daughters and two grand kids. yes I am spoiling the grand kids but that's my job and I am good at it. We now live in Houston, Texas and I am still working. My phone number, E mail and home address are listed here. Feel free too use any or all of them. I would like to hear from you guys.

                              Leroy Robbins HTC USN RET
.    Top

June 5, 2001

One of the things that  used to  get me  up tight was when ever I stood quarter deck watches (in the war zone) at night I would feel pretty safe up there with it being dark (no lights) as pitch and then here comes a squadron of choppers and they would drop flares all over the place and making it look like day. Charley could have plucked me off had he wanted too! and I remember  our  donkey boiler blowing up too! No one was hurt but the little fireman that was on duty was all shook up. I remember  the 1st class that fell off one of the boats and fell into the  drink and drowned. His body floated pass our ship and UDT  recovered it. Another horror story was the time  the little Vietnamese girl floated down river and got wedged between the barges and the ship. Those were just some of the horror stories that stick with me. I often wondered what happened to Davenport EN1, Washington  EN2, Young EN2, Dawkins SN, Harris SH1 and others that I just cant remember their names. I would like to hear from you guys. My current e mail a or  well that's it for this segment!       Robby     Top

June 5, 2000

From: Thomas Gibbons SF3 USS Satyr (3-46 9-47)
           P.O. Box 757
           Tellico Plains, TN 37385-0757
           Home Phone: 423-253-7066

To those that may have been aboard when I was----- the trip from China to Japan escorting a yard tug, crossing from Kobi, Japan to Pearl towing an APL and escorting Yard Patrol boat.  If you remember any of these things please contact me!     Top

October 20, 2000

From: Chung C. Pham DC2 VNN Ship Ving Long (HQ-802, former USS Satyr ARL-23)
           7631 Hickman Rd., Apt. 245
           Urbandale, Iowa 50322-4546
           Home Phone: (515)-252-0781

Urbandale, IA Oct.16, 2000

Dear Mr.Schulze:

Thank you for your interest to know about me. I was among the South VNN personnel that was trained by the USN crew of ARL-23. After training, the ship was transferred to S. VNN, ARL-23 had a new name, HQ,802 Vinh-Long. I served on the HQ.802 until the summer of 73. I left for Cam-Ranh Bay for the brushed-up skills. After trainings, they sent me to the River Task Force 75th in Binh-Thuy,Can-tho. Until Apr.30,75 we, the South VN Armed Forces, received an order from our commander in chief to lay down our weapons and to stand-by in the transitions to turn over S.VN to the N.VN forces. That was it, the end of my career in S.VN Navy.

Since most of the USN crews left the ARL-23 after VNN took over ARL-23 in 71, only a former USN commander and a few of his crew stayed with the ship until we headed back to Sai-Gon. After we celebrated Christmas, we were ready to cruise to Guam for an overhaul of the ship, the USN commander and the rest of his crew left the ship for good, that was the last time I saw Kirkland-one of the USN crews. We headed home on Apr.72, and we stayed in Sai-Gon for a short while, then we cruised down South to Logistics Supported Dong-Tam for our missions. I lost contact with USN crews since 71 .I really do not remember their full names, only their last names. They are: Cambell, Freezell and Kirkland. Those men were my trainers, and we worked together on
the pontoon of the ARL-23 as welders. It has been 29 yrs, since we lost contact with each other. I know they are out there somewhere. Hopefully I will see them again some day.   

Once again, I would like to thank you for adding my name to the roster of ARL-23. Please feel free to contact me at 7631 Hickman Rd., apt.245 Urbandale, Iowa 50322-4546. My phone number is (515)-252-0781.


Chung C. Pham DC2 (ARL-23/HQ.802/RTF.75th)    

October 29, 2000

From: Joseph S. Skabialka Carpenters Mate 3rd Class USS Satyr (11-45 6-46)
           1635 Missouri State Road
           Arnold, MO 63010
           Home Phone: 636-296-1014

I was on the U.S.S. Pencicola CA24 when they found out I did some carpenter work when I was a civilian they transferred me to the Satyr. I was no hero but I did fix a few Higgins Boats so I guess I did my little bit.    

November 22, 2000

From: Dennis Therry (aka "Rocco") SF2
           425 Snug Alley #3
           Eureka, CA 95501
           Home Phone: 707-296-0525

I served on the green wennie from New Orleans through the Panama Canal (remember a DC1 named Snyder?), PI and eventually in country where I departed the green bucket on 4/69 on orders from Lt. Provosnik.  Where is everyone? I remember Smitty from Texas, Vanderveer from Iowa, Al Lott and our I&I in Thailand where we caught some action on a little alpa boat on our way to Saigon for our flight to Bangkok. I hung around with Kenny Ribble, Frank Kropp, Ray Knight (we crewed the 40mm and had the BID patrol and thanks to your dad for the coors), Tom Smith (mom says hi and thanks for painting the living room),  Unfortunately Ton Son Nut was mortared that evening and we (Al and I) were ordered to get out of the barracks and took a room at the Victoria Hotel.  With babes in arm we watched the airport get clobbered and as I recall we pretty much blew what little cash we had that night. But Bangkok is still Bangkok Al, and the dollar still goes a long way.  I also remember taking James Westgate to SFO for his flight home

Later I entered the Merchant Marines for 10 years but came close to Vietnam.  Perhaps next year. I hope all my shipmates are well.  We did good.  Rocco

December 16, 2000

From: John C. Howard (Satyr's 1st Lt)
           521 E. Prospect
           State College, PA 16801

I was the 1st lt on Satyr from recommissioning in New Orleans til about Oct '68. I was supposed to serve a full tour, but the recommissioning took so long that I had only a few months of my hitch left to serve in Nam. My replacement was Mike King. I served under Capt. Ruthford (no "er" in there), and the next CO, who's name I don't remember. The XO was Mr . Pilcher (LCDR). I was a jg, but got promoted without realizing it while I was traveling back to the world. I remember a lot of things to tell about, like a steward cutting his po's throat (both survived), investigations for various offences, the loss of an anchor in the middle of the night when the troop ship (name?) dragged into us and turned over its screws. The old man was afrais of losing time in the Philippines getting another, so he sent three of us dragging at night for it. Somehow we found it and took better care of that sucker. (There's more to that story, as well as some humorous ones about Ruthford whose favorite terms of endearment were "fuckhead" and "blivet.")

January 16, 2001

From: Bob Silkensen
           9 Pickering Rd
           Fredericksburg, VA 22405
           Home Phone: 540-371-9253

There were a number of us that went through A school and other schools and wound up together on the Saytr in New Orleans. People like Jim Bonner, Robert Leach, Tom Griffiths, and Ben Wojtas. Had many good time with this group. That year in Viet Nam is pretty much a blur but I do remember the people. I also served on the USS Camp DD-251 and the USS Pitkin Cty LST-1051.  I got out of the Navy for a while, got a degree, and came back in as an ENS in 1976. Finally retired as a LCDR in 1994 after 13 years in the reserves.     Top

February 2, 2001

From:  Don H. Gordon ENFN (69-70)
           Olympia, WA

After a nine week boot camp I reported aboard the Satyr in March '69 I worked in the D.C. generator room. At the time I thought I know enough, but I didn't know _ _ _ _. I was one of those guys that everybody got together and told me to use soap. One time when I was on watch the 1st class engineman was with me I accidentally let the switch panel railing fall against the panel, I freaked out and left my station ran forward and lit off the emergency fire pump. The pressure broke a fire main in the officers quarters, but I never heard anything about that incident ever. One night when I was on the BID patrol we were crossing the bow we saw a tango boat bearing down on the ship. The coxswain wondered if we should tell the ship to call them, I said no they must know what they are doing. They didn't, the next time we came around we saw that they had rammed the ship head on an were sinking. Remember when the engineering officer came through the compartment drunk on his ass hollering about the ship was on fire, the engines were broken and so on. He had just made JG and was leaving the next day. Remember when we ran aground in the delta returning from Japan. Remember the Vietnamese junk with a small block Chev mounted on a swivel with a ten or twelve foot prop shaft. Remember the fifteen foot long two foot wide small block Chev powered boats at Chow Doc. Well anyway I can't hear you laughing at me over the net. 

Web page    Top

February 2, 2001

From:  David H. Saunders, Motor Machinist Mate 2nd Class (1945)
           Eureka, CA

I went aboard the SATYR January 3rd, 1945 and stayed until about November 1945. I was a second class motor machinist mate. Because of the end of the war and some enlistment's ending men were being shipped back to stateside. Our first class that was in charge left so I was put in charge of the repair shop. I really loved what I was doing. We were anchored in Yokoska Bay and had lot's of liberty. I had the name and address of one shipmate but my computer messed up and I lost everything    Top

March 9, 2001

From:  Roger Gulick, ET1 (April 69)
           Houston, TX

RMC Frank Dahlqiist and I, Roger Gulick ET1, traveled about the Brown water navy, including the Mercer, some helo rides in Navy Sea Wolf choppers. Barges in the river (what is the name of that Barge?) and many convoys and flights from our base, Nav Com Sta, Cam Ranh.  We worked with the ComRivFlot One Dong Tam Communications folks to set encrypted comms up, an early network for combat communications and other reasons. 

During that time I spent a whole lot of time in the first class club just off the mess decks.  The ship was full of ARVN and USN boat crews and many boats being worked on for various reasons. An operation was in progress. 

I spent one night shooting sea snakes (very deadly) to prevent them from crawling in the riverboat bar armor.  My shoulder to my elbow was black and blue from those pumped "00".  I think we went thru a case of shells that night and the snakes never went away until daylight.  Seems there was a major mating going on and the water almost was boiling with them.  With the pieces of the snakes flying, Its a wonder one of us (a couple of boat crew members and a couple of ships company) did not get nicked by a flying fang. The results would have been death.  All of us in short sleeves too.  That night is imbedded in my mind.  I only wish I could remember the names of the folks I met.  All were great brothers and some real heroes for sure.
The shotguns and ammo came from the boats.  I guess the reason I was there was because the ships crew didn't have much sleep as it was and I was just hanging for coms problems which we never had.  I recall running some signal strength measurements and documenting the setup.  All very co-operative. I am looking at my orders, They are signed by ships crew,PN3 Gent.
Salute Satyr,
Roger Gulick    

June 3, 2001

From:  Ray Burton, EN3 (7/70-7/71)
           618 East Maize Ave
           Ulysses, KS 67880

Remember the beer parties on the pontoon and sitting around afterwards drinking CWO Strange's Saki his wife sent him from Japan?  I was the guy in the Fuel Injector Shop after Pistone left, and may have recorded  music on reel to reel for anyone that ask me to... I remember sleeping many nights on the main deck because of the heat in the berthing area and the constant bursting of the concussion grenades all night long... I was one of the guys at reveille that got their kicks by throwing a grenade as close as I could to the side of the ship!!!!Loved it....  Of course the officers Dog Pisser,,,,,,ugly dog,,,,should of been ate... Does anybody know what happened to the crews dog KO?  I think one of our older divers spent the money and brought her back to the states.... Speaking of Divers,,, I had just came aboard when the boat sank along side and a diver drowned.. I was talking to a diver on the deck when it happened and as I recall,,,, the victim was a Navy diver from up-state New York by the name of Wemeth.    

December 6, 2003

From:  John J. Photinos, EN (7/70-7/71)
           N34 W23716 Five Fields Rd. # 111
           Pewaukee, WI 53072


I went from boot camp to San Diego and stayed until the New Jersey's crew came to town. We were sent home for 30 days around Christmas and had to report to New Orleans and wait for the ship to be commissioned. We than went through the Panama Canal to San Diego. We left and it took 35 days to get to Vietnam. We went on duty station right away. I believe that was around June of 68 and I on board till we went to Japan for repair in 1969. I went home and got married and returned to the ship in nam. Stayed till January of 1970 ( New Years Day ) left and had 5 days to get to Saigon. We found our own rides from base to base. I worked in outside repair on the river boats. I just found this site and was pretty excited to see some names and photo's like the ones I have. Thanks, John

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