“Queen of the Mispillion.”
Penny Nelson in 1952 became an official crew member of USS Mispillion AO-105
Penny met Chris Munson, son of MISPILLION's Commander Capt. Henry G. Munson
Penny was not able to run and play with with other children because she had polio.

A 1952 dockside photo

“Mrs. Nelson, your daughter definitely has polio. Her fevers are so high that if she lives, we believe she will have brain damage. At this time, she’s completely paralyzed. You can see her now, if you’re ready.”
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I got a phone call telling me that there’s a naval ship named the Mispillion whose homeport is right here in Long Beach. The caller said the families of the men serving on the ship were a ‘support crew.’ The support crew finds a community project for the sailors and their families to sponsor. When the captain’s wife was looking for someone to help, she was told about Penny having polio, that her husband was missing in action in Korea, and they want to help us. Can you believe it?”
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click image

Little Penny came aboard the Mispillion to greet her “big brothers.” Miss Penny, after receiving a salute worthy of her station, was taken on a tour of the ship so she could see where the men ate, slept and worked. Earlier this year the men of the Mispillion joined the “March of Dimes” campaign, and, in the name of Miss Penny Nelson, con­tributed over $1,650.00 to the Long Beach Branch of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. Page 86

The ship's crew is what gave her the courage to fight her illness, all her life. Penny's story is told in the book shown left.

My name is Mrs. Donovan, and I’m your kindergarten teacher. ”Class started, and Mrs. Donovan said, “Stand up and put your right hand over your heart. We’re going to say the pledge of allegiance.

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

My eyes stung with tears, but this time they were tears of joy. I thought about my friends on the Mispillion and my daddy and all of his friends that were so kind to me. I thought how lucky I was to be at school and not in the hospital. Page 94

Chris Munson, son of 1952 ship commander, Capt. Henry G. Munson, was aware of the Mispillion Reunions. He worked hard to locate Penny and for the 2006 reunion he, she and the crew were reunited in Baton Rouge, LA.

Fun looking at those images of our ship.  I was 5 years old. The ship had a unique smell and sound and I remember her very well. I also remember what happened when Penny grabbed the mic and asked us 'to go win the war and bring her Daddy home'. A lot of eyes got wet. Chris 5-18-2011

March 14, 2006, I received a phone call from Quantico, Virginia. Chris had made it his determined purpose to find me for the reunion of the crew of the USS Mispillion to be held in October of that year. It seems that they had been looking for their queen for years without success, so Chris was assigned the daunting task of finding me. “Penny, I’m telling you I found a parking place right in front of the White House; this is impossible. I’m finding everything I’m looking for lately.” He laughed. “You won’t believe this, but Air Force One just flew over me.”  Page 327


Mispillion coordinator, Steve Dengler made this information available to this
 Navy Oiler Historian and Web Master. Photos at 2006 reunion:

      Herman Kallam & Penny 1952              Chris Munson  and  Steve Dengler                Herman Kallam & Penny 2006

                Penny  arriving at 2006 reunion                                           Sally Nelson and her subject daughter "PENNY"
“Penny Robichaux is a remarkable and amazing woman, overcoming the ravages of polio and becoming a strong and loving mentor and mother to so many hurting children. Her book is an account of her journey and will bless you as you read it.”
 —Dodie Osteen, cofounder of Lakewood Church

Save the oldest Oiler in existence - USS Mispillion AO105