made a terrible mistake this month. I misplaced a packing
slip, from an order that came in from Metal Supermarkets.
Rosehn Gipe has a job-related obsession about those packing
slips. I tried to blame the mistake on Doug Tanner, but he
swore up and down that he gave it to me. Thus, there is an invoice
filed without a packing slip, and no paper trail on our end that
the order was ever received. When our auditor does the 2016 audit,
it is almost certain that the Metal Supermarkets invoice will be
one that they request at random.
There's a lot of obsessive behavior
around here, and USS SLATER is much better for it. Rosehn's
obsession with packing slips is just one small example. No matter
what the auditors look for, she always manages to find it, and
that's why our audits go so well.
My own obsessions are numerous. The
first question I ask the guides every morning is, "Did the wheel
get polished?" Run she may, shine she must. My compulsion against
things that didn't exist in 1945 is well known. I get quite
distressed about visible plastic buckets, spray bottles, water
jugs, and Styrofoam cups. And rust. I hate rust. And metal dust,
left behind after fitting and welding, waiting for the rain to
turn it to rust. And when they forget to turn on the 1940s music
that plays in the wardroom and the messdecks. And, make sure the
ensign is properly folded, the coffee pot unplugged, and the
breech of gun one covered at the end of the day.
As electrical officer, Barry Witte
exhibits many obsessive traits, most centered on the concepts of
authenticity and conservation. No light bulbs over sixty watts
are permitted aboard, out of his concern that excessive heat will
damage the Bakelite in our antique light fixtures. His obsession
with checking for grounds, and dealing with them as soon as they
appear, plays a major role in protecting us against electrolytic
corrosion. His efforts to keep lights out and the doors closed in
the winter to conserve heat is legendary.
has spent the month completing the restoration and reassembly of
the emergency diesel switchboard. He has enlisted the help of
his students, NPTU electricians, and even Colonie High School auto
shop instructor Chris Hanley, to make the board look like
it just came out of the Westinghouse factory. And, it's just as
functional as it is beautiful.
Jim Gelston is obsessed with clocks.
A seaman off the minesweeper USS PIVOT, Jim retired from the
State, and started chipping paint with us in 2004. In 2005, a
battle with bone marrow cancer forced him to curtail his deck work
and find a less strenuous form of volunteer activity. He decided
to strike for quartermaster, and has been winding and keeping all
the clocks on time ever since. There are 14 clocks on his route.
The doctors can't explain what has kept him going, but Jim says
it's his responsibility to keep the SLATER clocks on time. He is
now backed up by Geoffrey Bullard and Werner Paul of
the Clock Service Center in Gloversville. Geoffrey had
donated several clocks back when we first got to Albany, and
recently has been putting a lot of effort into getting some of our
non-working clocks back in operating condition.
people are so obsessed with this ship that they complain that it
keeps them awake at night. Doug Tanner has often told of
laying in bed, thinking about the gangway bearings, or the marine
growth covering the anodes, or most recently, the deck drain in
the B-3 plenum chamber. Doug has another obsession. It's coffee.
Not that his obsession is of any particular benefit to the ship,
but it certainly keeps the rest of the crew cranked up. When Doug
crosses the brow, putting on the coffee is his top priority. Doug
has no tolerance for my recycled, day-old coffee, weak coffee, or
anything that has the slightest hint of flavor besides coffee.
Black coffee. And woe betide the volunteer who takes the last cup
and doesn't put on a new pot.
has kept his crew busy in the B-3 starboard vent space. Tim
Benner, Super Dave, Earl Herchenroder, and Gene Jackey
have all had a hand in removing the wasted metal. The bottom four
inches of the bulkhead, along the inboard passageway had rotten
away. The old metal has been cut out, and new pieces are in the
process of being welded into place. Again, it's complete
reconstruction of a space no one will ever see.
Haggart has the same problem, laying awake, but his obsession is
rigging. He lays awake at night, thinking of a better way to
lower the accommodation ladder, improve the davit guy, rigging the
rat guards, or worrying about the chaffing gear. More recently,
he's worried that there is no one aboard he can pass his bosun's
mate knowledge on to. He and Walt Stuart are presently in
the process of rerigging the davit guys and monkey ropes with new
manila. Walt has teamed with Angelo Bracco, going through
the flagbags, and making sure all the flags and pennants are
there. And, making repairs as necessary. Rocky Rockwood has
a similar concern to Boats about someone to carry on following his
retirement. His concern is the whaleboat. Having obsessed over the
boat for almost 20 years, he worries that no one in the crew will
give it the same loving care that he has given it. However, it
looks like carpenter Tommy Moore will be stepping up to the
plate to give the whaleboat the same care that Rocky has.
who has seen the reefer deck knows that Gary Sheedy's obsession is
attention to detail and perfection, no matter how long it takes.
He put fourteen years on that project. Now immersed in the
steering engineroom and adjacent spaces, Gary puts in more hours
than any other volunteer. We're hoping that since he is now
retired and can devote more time to this project, perhaps he can
cut the completion time in half of his previous project. August
has seen him making repairs to the port depth charge hydraulic
lines, the installation of the sump pump and the shipfitter shop
cabinets. Thomas Scian seems to be following in Gary's
footsteps. Over the course of the past couple months, tutored by
Barry Witte, our resident photographer has carried out a
painstaking restoration of the gauge board for number three main
are obsessed with making things work. At the end of the month,
they teamed up with electricians Barry Witte and Larry
Williams to do a quarterly test run of the 200KW generator in
the aft diesel space. It was very satisfying to see that smoke
plume come out of the stack. The event marked the first successful
use of the new starting air compressor that they installed in B-1.
Having been dissuaded from trying to get a main engine running for
the time being, Karl Herchenroder, Gary Lubrano,
Mike Dingmon, and Ken Myrick have turned their
attention to cosmetic restoration of the mains, with a big assist
from Sailors from NPTU in Ballston Spa. The result has been
a thing of beauty.
one who follows us on Facebook knows Cathy Wheat is obsessed with
cleaning, which is of great benefit to all of us. She has
brought in all her own cleaning supplies, so when she opens the
cleaning gear locker on Saturday morning, all her stuff better be
there, or I will hear about it. As many people are in and out of
the cleaning locker over the course of the week, and things don't
always get put back, Cathy's taken to the old trick of hiding
certain critical items in secret locations, so she can find them
when she needs them.
Jerry Jones seems to have succumbed to his obsession with
restoring and showing Chrysler muscle cars, another fixation that
is of no use to us. The operation of the radio shack has
fallen to Joe Breyer, Mike Wyles, and new volunteer
Paul Hintz. We'll have to wait and see what Paul's
unrelated items seem to be objects of endless controversy, the
whaleboat and the galley grill. Several people have different
ideas about how the whaleboat should be secured to the paint
float, including me. For a while, every time I looked at the
whaleboat there seemed to be another new line on it. I had my
opinion, but stayed out of it. Some compromise seems to have been
reached, because the current arrangement of lines has not changed
over the past month. Likewise, there seem to be several different
opinions on how Smitty's galley grill top should be cleaned and
maintained. However, I have no opinion on that, because I know
better than to have an opinion that might be different from our
Benner is obsessed with texting on his smart phone. That
doesn't do the ship any good. He also shares another obsession
with Super Dave Mardon--making sure that they get their
pictures on Facebook and in SIGNALS. They may not always
accomplish a lot, but they are very photogenic when they are doing
it. More often than not, they end up on the cutting room floor.
guides are not immune to this line of thinking. Alan Fox is
obsessed with sound effects, namely the Morse code emanating from
the radio shack and the sonar pinging coming out of CIC. He wants
his visitors to have the full SLATER experience. He's been known
to use his cell phone to call the office and get the sound effects
turned on, should they have been forgotten. Like Tanner, Tom
Cline is obsessed with fresh coffee on Sundays, and tuna
sandwiches. Bob Herbst is obsessed with Magic Emu Cream. We
hope he won't need it anymore after his impending knee surgery.
British Expat Will Trevor is still recovering from Brexit.
Chief Art Dott is obsessed with fresh fruit. "A banana a
day keeps the bad TripAdvisor comments away." And then there's
Bob Dawson who has been obsessing about the location of the
CIC status board for so long, I can't even remember what his
Then there are those who aren't
mentioned here, who appear to be so well-adjusted that they have
no obsessions, or haven't been diagnosed yet. People like
Shanna Hopson, Chuck Boone, Larry Williams,
Don Cushman and Paul Guarnieri fall into this category.
We'll be watching closely to see how they develop.
are under new leadership, after Vince Knuth had to forfeit his
position of Sunday Duty Officer. Albany Law School has rules
about how much a student can work outside of class, and an
internship with a local law firm was just too good to pass up for
our favorite aspiring lawyer. He leaves his post in the capable
hands of Claire Burgon. Based on the Facebook reviews,
Claire is inheriting one of our best teams of tour guides in the
form of Chief Art Dott, Grant Hack, Tom Cline,
Bill Goralski, and Aidan. We will miss Vince's quick
wit and endless supply of knowledge, but he assures us he will be
back as a volunteer. Thanks for all your hard work over the years,
month we have had many scheduled tour groups. The 4th of the
month we had 20 youngsters from Pai's Tae Kwon Do visit. Their
tour guide, Dan, led them safely around the ship without coming
under attack. The Trail to Eagle Boy Scouts came for their annual
visit on the 19th, after they solved the old "getting the buses
stuck in a parking garage" dilemma. On the 28th we had Girl Scout
Troop 2238 come in for a tour, and Grant Hack taught them how to
fold an American Flag properly.
Tim Hard and the New York State Police Dive Team were back aboard
this month, and provided us with our first video of the underwater
hull since our shipyard overhaul. Thanks to the efforts of
Dick Walker, Charlie Poltensen, and the local Coast
Guard Auxiliary, we commemorated the 226th anniversary of the
United States Coast Guard. And, Bill Wetterau was back from
Denver for a visit and joined Ron Mazure and Ron Prest
to give us three days of quality chipping. And we have received
several calls regarding a recent letter sent out by Tin Can
Sailors indicating the we have relocated to Corpus Christi. Though
the idea of escaping another Albany winter has a certain appeal,
we remain firmly moored at the "Snow Dock" in New York's capital.
have two special upcoming events. We're looking for working
volunteers for our fall work week. It is scheduled for Sunday,
October 2 through Friday, October 7. You'll sleep aft in the old
ship's bunks, eat on the messdecks, with chow prepared in the
ship's galley. We divide up the food costs at the end of your
stay. We make the work assignments on Monday morning, depending on
your skills and what fits you best. If you have a special skill
such as welding, electrical or mechanical talent, please let us
know. The age limit is 14 years old (with parent or guardian) and
everybody should expect to bear a hand. This can be a great
intergenerational experience, and you don't have to be a DE Sailor
to participate. You just have to want to help the SLATER.
Pre-registration is required. Call Michigan Dick Walker at
616-676-1392 or email him at
CascadeWalker@cs.com, or you can call the ship directly at
518-431-1943 or email Tim Rizzuto at
Bring a sleeping bag, towels, toilet
kit, medications and clothes for a week. It's Albany so plan
for cool weather. Bring work clothes that you don't mind getting
paint on. Also, bring a bucket, sponge, rags, paintbrush, paint
roller and any special tools you think you may need. Showers are
available aboard, but laundry is not. Bunks are rigged with
mattresses and vinyl covers. For some reason, the lower bunks are
preferred these days. Plan to arrive on Sunday between 1000 and
1700. Departure is Friday at 1600. You don't have to stay for the
The other event is our annual USS SLATER
Night at the Fort Orange Club that will be held on Saturday,
November 12 in Albany from 1700 to 2000. Museum members will
be getting an invitation to this event, which raised $20,000 last
year. The event includes the food and drink that the Club is
famous for, as well as a special program and update on our
progress. Mark your calendars and we hope to have a great turnout
for this event.
Can't believe the summer is over already.
Maybe I stuffed that missing packing slip into my wallet.
Don’t forget the donate button on our
www.ussslater.org and to like us on
Facebook for daily updates.
See you next month.