Gerald D. Jones
ET2
k2aym@nycap.rr.com
phone (518) 674 5353
near Albany, NY

Served aboard the USS Mississinewa AO144.
1957 - 1959

March 11, 2003
Because I turn 65 this year, and because the great state of New York just raised my property taxes another 27% this year, I decided to take advantage of the Veterans Tax Reduction Program. After a little research, I discovered that the Mississinewa was awarded the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal for service at Beirut, Lebanon in July, August and September 1958. We cruised just off shore and fueled a zillion Navy ships going in and out of Beirut, some of whom were shot at and hit. My DD-214 Military Service Record does not show this award because it was issued in 1959 and President Kennedy did not authorize the medal until 1962! Ok, big deal you say, that medal and $1.09 will get you a cup of coffee, well, think again, that medal gets us an additional 15%  reduction in our property taxes on top of our 10% Veterans reduction. (In New York State anyway). Also, certain persons retiring from some government services (like the post office) can receive additional credit for their military service and even more credit for duty in a combat zone which the Expeditionary Medal proves.

Incidentally, while on a parts scrounging mission on a mothballed WW2 APA in the James River Reserve Fleet at Newport News, Virginia 2 years ago, I unexpectedly found myself looking at the Mississinewa, the Truckee, I think the Neosho, and several other tankers that I couldn’t identify and they were only maybe 200 yards away! Unfortunately, even though we had permission to board one of the ships in that nest, we did not have time. I did get several hundred pictures of the other ships in the “ghost fleet”, maybe you would like a cd rom of them?

My comments to member of sister ship, USS KAWISHIWI AO-146:
USS Kawashiwi did indeed have a proud and distinguished career having earned for her crew: The Humanitarian Service Medal, The Meritorious Unit Commendation, The Navy “E” ribbon, The Vietnam Service Medal and The Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, just to mention the ones that I am aware of. The award of these medals and commendations depend upon the actual dates of service of the individual crewmembers, of course.

The USS Mississinewa also had a proud and distinguished career albeit in the shadow, perhaps, of the USS Kawishiwi just because our service was “in the wrong ponds” (Atlantic and Mediterranean) which denied us the opportunities for an even more illustrious record in the war zones that USS Kawishiwi enjoyed. We did have a very close (literally) brush with destiny when in 1958 at the height of the “cold war” we manned “the rail” on five minutes notice in friendly salute to what seemed like the whole Russian Navy which passed us (at point blank range) going the other way in the Straits of Dardanelles on our way to Istanbul. But, alas, the Mississinewa didn’t win the medals and awards that the Kawashiwi did but we did get the AE in 1958.

May 12, 2003
Outstanding sir!  Well you have done it yet again, interesting, informative and attractive additions to both AO-146 and AO-144 web pages. It means a lot to me and I hope, no, I’m sure, it means a lot to all our shipmates to see the awards which we earned so nicely displayed. The 146 smokestack with the ribbons so perfectly displayed just puts a lump in my throat, no kidding. There must be a few of the men who still wear their uniforms on special occasions like 4 July, Veterans Day and Pearl Harbor Day who may not have known of all the medals and ribbons they are entitled to. The links to the Opnav Site and the descriptions of each award work perfectly and add a lot to the websites. Thank you so much for going to the trouble and what must surely have been a good deal of work to make these changes for all of us.

I am currently a volunteer crew member on the USS Slater, Destroyer Escort 766, World War II Destroyer Escort Museum ship in the Hudson River Port of Albany, New York. Out of 565 Destroyer Escorts built, she is the very last one afloat in the US. She has been restored to her authentic 1945 condition complete with 3 inch 50s, twin 40 MMs, all of her twin 20 MMs, a full compliment of depth charges, K guns and hedgehogs. All of her radio and radar equipment, and fire control is authentic to 1945. Because there were so many DEs there are 11,000 men in the Destroyer Escort Sailors Association in the US. Except for the Slater, all of their ships were scrapped, used for targets, sunk for artificial reefs or were given to foreign navies. We have hosted 110 DE ships reunions. We wear our old uniforms (with ribbons) stand color and honor guard for each of these reunions, toll the ships bell for lost shipmates, lay a wreath in the water and play echo taps. It is all very moving for the crews and their families. Please visit our award winning website (linked above) and see what we do, Vern.

By the way, USS Mississinewa AO-144’s voice radio call sign was Gaytime Whiskey and her CW (code) call sign was NBSZ. I really regret that I do not have any pictures of the Missy except for the ones on the web site, but I have lots of stories. 

I have already received several responses (and questions) regarding the NYS Veterans tax reduction story which you put on our website.

Vern, thank you again for your service, regards, Jerry
 

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