Together We Served

Life is not a journey to the grave with the expectation
of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body
but rather to ‘skid in’ broadside, thoroughly used up,
totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming,
Wow!         What a Ride!’     

  by:  Sidney Perryman          and    I agree !    Doc Rioja

Bob Rohrer Web Site
Indian River Woodcarvers: Manufacturers of Eagle Purple Heart Canes
Patt Meara
Patt Meara
Patt and Carolyn Mearea

IN MEMORIAL Class             E.C.29 






Psalm 23:4-6 New King James Version (NKJV) 
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will [a]dwell in the house of the Lord [b]Forever.

Laurel Blair Salton Clark   RIP 
1961 –  2003 

Two notable incidents occurred during the three-decade long deployment of SUBRON 14 at Holy Loch. On November 1970, a fire erupted on USS Canopus, killing three of her complement. Almost four years later, on 3 November 1974, the nuclear ballistic missile submarine USS James Madison (SSBN-627) collided with a Soviet submarine, assumed to be a Victor-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, during a dive just after departing from Holy Loch. 

The American submarine was dented and suffered a nine-foot scratch on her hull. She spent a full week at the base for inspection and repairs.[6][7] Laurel Clark, known to her shipmates as “Doc Salton”, was assigned as the Radiation Health Officer and Undersea Medical Officer at SUBRON 14. 

Captain Clark was one of the astronauts who perished in the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster on 1 February 2003.[8] New technologies and the end of the cold war led to the base being deemed unnecessary. The last submarine tender to be based there, the USS Simon Lake (AS-33), left Holy Loch in November 1991, ahead of the base closing the following June.[9]

 Joe Garrett  Home Town in Oklahoma

 Where Joe Garrett  grew up after my dad retired from the Navy( he was born and raised in Wakita) General store( Sand Creek, (suburb of Wakita, population 1) and ½ mile from my house ) hasn’t changed much, probably doesn’t sell gas anymore Wakita, Oklahoma Wakita, Oklahoma 

Joe is Doc Riojas Submarine Warrior brother.  Joe retired as MCPO Torpeadowman and lives in Groton, CN

Joe Garrett

Wakita’s water tower

Location of Wakita, Oklahoma Location of Wakita, Oklahoma 

Coordinates:°52’54?N 97°55’26?W36.88167°N 97.92389°WCoordinates:°52’54?N 97°55’26?W36.88167°N 97.92389°W 

Country United States State Oklahoma County Grant 

Area • Total 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2) • Land 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2) • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2) Elevation 1,178 ft (359 m) Population (2010) • Total 344 • Density 1,275.4/sq mi (492.4/km2) Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6) • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5) ZIP code 73771 Area code(s) 580 FIPS code 40-77950[1] GNIS feature ID 1099292[2] 

Wakita is a town in Grant County, Oklahoma, United States, founded in 1898, approximately 8 miles (13 km) south of the Kansas border. Its population was 344 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 18.1 percent (from 420) at the 2000 census.[3] Wakita is notable as a location in the 1996 feature film Twister. 

Geography Wakita is 12 miles (19 km) northwest of Medford, Oklahoma, the county seat, on State Highway 11A.[4] 

According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), all of it land.[5] 

History Historical population 





































Est. 2015 




U.S. Decennial Census 

Before the town’s founding in 1898, there was a dispute over the right to name the town. The town’s postmaster, and the owner of the first general store, and the town’s first postmaster, believed it should be named Whiteville. Local Deputy U.S. Marshall Herbert John Green motioned for the town be named after a Cherokee chief of local notoriety named Wakita (pronounced Wok-ih-taw).[4] Green and other local settlers wanted to name the town in the chief’s honor because of a protective spell cast by the chief’s tribe to protect the area around the town, between Crooked Creek and Pond Creek, from tornadoes for 100 years. The name was also favored because of a battle that had occurred in the area under the leadership of this chief.

Citing historian George Shirk, the Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture states that Wakita is a Cherokee word for water collected in a small depression, such as a buffalo wallow. The same source states that Charles N. Gould claimed it was probably a Creek word meaning “to cry” or “to lament”.[4] 

The town was founded when the Cherokee Outlet was opened to non-Native American settlement on September 16, 1893. A post office opened November 14, 1893. The population grew when the Hutchison and Southern Railroad (later the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway) built a line through the area in 1897. At statehood in 1907, Wakita had 388 residents; by 1910, it had grown to 405.[4] 

Wakita was selected as a filming location for the Hollywood blockbuster Twister (1996). In the film, the town is referred to by name, and the water tower bearing its name is shown. 

On May 10, 2010, numerous tornadoes touched down in Grant County, causing significant damage near the Wakita area. However, the town itself was not destroyed.[7] 

Demographics As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 344 people, 165 households, and 102 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,275.4 people per square mile (491.4/km²). There were 205 housing units at an average density of 622.5 per square mile (239.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.67% White, 0.24% African American, 2.38% Native American, and 0.71% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.24% of the population. 

There were 165 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 6.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.6% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.94. 

In the town, the population was spread out with 20.0% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 21.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 29.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males. 

The median income for a household in the town was $30,096, and the median income for a family was $34,792. Males had a median income of $22,361 versus $21,500 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,302. About 11.4% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.3% of those under age 18 and 22.2% of those age 65 or over. 

Education Students in Wakita went to school at Wakita Public School K-12 through the 2010-2011 school year, in which a combination of only 30 students and a lack of necessary funding resulted in the school being closed down.[8] Wakita High School has since merged with Medford Public Schools, although many Wakita students also attend Pond Creek-Hunter High School.[9][10] 

Notable people Virgil A. Richard, retired brigadier general in the United States Army and gay rights activist Ya we had one also, He wanted to be a concert pianist , but was not good enough Cindy Ross, first female president of Cameron University Popular culture Wakita was featured in the 1996 blockbuster film Twister starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton in which Wakita was destroyed by an F4 tornado that was part of a storm system later spawning an F5 tornado. False fronts were built onto the existing store fronts for some shots and then were removed and replaced with rubble in the streets after the tornadic storm hit and the rest of the building was removed using CGI. Some original buildings were demolished and never replaced,[11] with some of the bricks from the demolished buildings used to construct Twister Park.[12]

Rev. Larry Lyons, Reverand Ashley Classen MD,   Erasmo “Doc” Riojas
Ashley Classen Served Sub ops detachment aboard USS Gato SSN 615. Supported SEAL 2 Special project Detachment after Scuba NewLondon, spent orientation training at Little Creek under training for special project on GATO. I was not an operator and my SEAL duties were limited to that detachment – HMC (DV) in a support capacity only. Was on board for Larry Lyons in past Seals For Christ As physician served as SpecWarGru 2 Nedical officer 81-84 and organized 1st Advanced Hospital Coros School to train SEAL Corpsmen at NSHS Portsmouth. Have been life member UDT/Seal Association since 2010.

Richard “The Scribe” Young’s  father

USS Hardhead (SS 365)
Thames River, Groton & New London, Conn. "Block Island"

Jerrell Wright Oct 1 2017 

Hi Erasmo, 

I did not know it was a question. LOL I served in the USN from 3/54 to 6/76. Engineman A school out of B C. 
10/54 to the USS PARAIE AD-15, Small boat engineer. EN-FN 
5/55 for Pre Com school for the USS FALGOT DER-324, #1 Engine Room 
3/56 UDT School, hurt my ribs on rocks behind Hotel Del Corrido when boat flipped on landing, EN3. 
6/56 USS KENT COUNTY LST-855 with recommendation to return to UDT when physicality qualified. XO on LST did not think I should go back to UDT as he thought it was waste of my time. After fighting him for about 6 months I put in for Sub School and he approved it first time. 
1/57 Sub School. 
6/57 USS CHIVO SS-341 out of Key West, FL. EN2 (SS) 
6/58 Pre Com for USS SKIPJACK SSN-585, 
1/59 Nuclear Power School Sub Base New London, CT. 
6/59 S1W Prototype Training. 
1/60 Re Com Crew USS SEAWOLF SSN-575. EN1 (SS) 
10/62 Instructor Duty S1W Prototype. 
7/65 USS SCULPIN SSN-590,10/65 CPO, A-DIV and M-DIV CHIEF. 11/65 M-DIV CHIEF. 
6/66 AUX Package curse NL, CT. 
12/66 USS PERMIT SSN-594 A-DIV CHIEF. 6/69 COB. 
2/70 USS HALIBUT SSN 587 Special l Projects A-DIV CHIEF. 
3/70 SEANOR CHIEF, Deep selection from previous years test. 
6/76 Retired US NAVY. 

That is me DOC. 

Jerry Wright

Did you know the Sat Divers we had on Halibut? 

Fiona Sullivan and Erasmo "Doc" Riojas
Boyd Van Horn, Col, USAF, (Ret) and Carl McLleland


 Colonel VanHorn might not look very threatening in that picture at age 85, but let me add a little narrative. 

First, Boyd was one of us; he came from the enlisted ranks to become an Air Force pilot. Further, he spent his entire career flying fighter aircraft. He flew two-tours, 250 missions over Hanoi, out of TakLi, Thailand in F-105G Wild Weasels.

 I know for a fact, from personal references from any number of fellow Weasel pilots, he was one Hard Core Son of a Bitch! On one mission a SAM took off the front of his plane. He fought it and flew it in an attempt to get south of the DMZ before he ejected. By that time, he had figured out how to keep it in the air and flew it home, although he could see daylight between his feet! 

On another mission he was jumped by five MiG-21’s over Hanoi. Forced to fly north toward China, he was able to outrun the MiG’s by going supersonic at fifty-feet above the ground (865 mph)! The MiG’s could not match his speed, and at the Chinese border he went vertical, pulling it over the top in excess of 50,000 feet. By this point he was running on fumes, and only because a tanker violated protocol and came north of the DMZ to tank him was he able to get home… and avoid a room-with-a-view in the Hanoi Hilton. 

I dedicated my book, The Indomitable Patriot: the Next Generation to him… a well-deserved accolade. The cover photo is Boyd on the ladder of an F-101 Voodoo.

Thank you,    Your Warrior brother,  Carl McLelland  Carl McLelland

Joshua Brown
My shipmate: William "Dennis" Howells YN3

Below Three photos from Brian Keith on his visit to Wash. D.C.

WWII memorial

My dad is Be Nguyen, mom is Kim, wife is Nhi-Anh, kids are Dylan, Nathan, and Vy     

My father (in the picture with me) was a VNAF Skyraider pilot who
flew CAP for U.S. forces? Attached is his pic and the Skyraider 

Rick Nuygen is Doc Riojas’ warrior brother.   He is Fleet Marine Force  qualified Dental USN Officer.  Rick is also MY DENTIST here in Pearland TX.  The picture of him with his family was taken in 2015 in MyTho RVN.  My wife is Nhi-Anh, kids are Dylan, Nathan, and Vy.      Note the Mekong River and also at the very top of the photo the Modern bridge.  Back in 1967 during my tour in ‘nam that was where the hiway was connected via water ferry.   His son Dylan attends school in Pearland TX with my son Damien RIO Vasquez at Miller Middle School. 

C.L. Foley and KAGg

C.L. Foley and KAGg

I sent the original short story in the email format, maybe that is why you cannot find it. Here is the story as an actual attachment that you can download. I really did enjoy Harry Constance’s book “Good to Go.” The political problems he described at the end of his book reminded me of my adventure into the politics of the US Navy. I had similar experiences and that was one one of the major reasons I never considered reenlisting.

From: Russell White 
To: doc RioSent:  Feb 18, 2015
Subject: Your Time Snapshots;   I’m going on 76 and I’m catching up to you

Good Afternoon Doc Rio, 

My name is Russ White and I was selected for UDT Replacement B11 BUDS class back in 1958. I got injured rolled back and my foot couldn’t take it, I left and got married and started a family.  I feel a strong connection to the UDT in general. Harry Beal, SEAL2 Plank Owner, was one of my instructors and I have kept in relatively close contact during the past several years. I accessed your very cool SEAL stuff website and enjoyed seeing the photos and reading some of the sea stories, which brings me to the reason for this post. I enjoyed reading the short story from “I Remember When” about how a regular navy guy captured a navy SEAL during a security week excercise. I had an opposite experience and wrote a short story about that happening (see attached) and thought you’d get a kick out of it. Stay well and best regards,

 Russ White, RM2, 1956-1960. 

The Day I Sunk a United States Warship by H. Russell White July, 2012 

“WHO THE HELL ARE YOU AND WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING ON MY SHIP?” demanded the US Navy Commander. Standing there at a relaxed form of attention, on his quarterdeck, I declared: “Sir, you no longer have a ship, I just sank your ship.” 

You could say my attitude was a little cocky, but, I had just successfully penetrated his ship’s security and pulled off a simulated terrorist attack and damn near got away. While serving my four-year enlistment in the US Navy, I had volunteered for special forces training with the Underwater Demolition Team and was ordered to the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, Virginia for basic UDT training. It was summer, 1958 and I was 19-years old. The basic training was physically demanding with many runs and evolutions on the beach and in the sand dunes. Running on sand is great for developing leg muscles and overall endurance but it is murder on feet and lower legs. The unofficial navy creed in those days declared that there were three ways of doing things: the right way, the wrong way and the navy way. I mention this only because my real shoe size was 13-narrow, and the navy, in their infinite wisdom, figured my shoe size to be 12-wide and that’s exactly what was issued. 

So all the running on the road and in the sand dunes was done with high top “boondogger” shoes that didn’t fit. Just before the beginning of my “Hell Week” experience, the ill fitting shoes caused me to fracture small bones in my feet and causing both arches to fall, producing extreme pain and heavy bruising from my knees down. Eventually I was forced to leave training. The plan was to “roll back” to another training class after my feet and legs healed, but priorities changed, life happened and I returned to the fleet — but that’s another story. After my experience with UDT 21, I was ordered to serve aboard another ship to complete my enlistment.

 The USS Arneb AKA-56 was an amphibious cargo ship being prepared for a re supply cruise to the navy’s Antarctic bases on Operation Deep Freeze. Shortly after getting settled in my new surroundings aboard the Arneb, I learned there was to be a week-long test of ship security to begin in a few days. All ships in port at the giant Norfolk, Virginia navy base were alerted that their security could be tested in unspecific ways. The Arneb seemed to have a lot of newly commissioned officers on board. A friend of mine once speculated that Ensigns, the lowest commissioned officer rank, must have been a dime a dozen and the Arneb must’ve bought a couple bucks worth. They were everywhere and all so full of themselves, especially the Naval Academy ring knockers. I was a Radioman 3rd Class Petty Officer and fresh out of UDT training and, oh, did I mention attitude? 

My communications officer, a full Ensign, I might add, learned of my recent training and asked me to do him a favor. He had a friend, or maybe not such a very special friend, who was stationed on a ship berthed nearby and thought it would be an excellent idea to test his friend’s ship during security week. Part of my UDT training involved recon and clandestine intelligence gathering techniques and my new “special” assignment would involve penetrating the security of his friend’s ship and then prepare a summary report detailing the simulated terrorist attack. There would be complete freedom to do whatever necessary to test their security, as long as it was legal. UDT guys were famous for their unconventional and their sometimes not so legal techniques. God, how I loved this stuff. I imagined the personnel on board the target ship would be expecting swimmers climbing up the anchor chain like some Hollywood movie stunt. My plan was much simpler. A completely plain, white uniform void of any insignia, rate badges, or ship identification would be my uniform of the day. There would be no dog tags, ID card, Liberty Card, or any form of identification and I would try to blend in with other members of ships company. This mission was going to be the best; a regular James Bond-like caper. It was a peace time security test. It was fun, exciting and no one was going to be hurt. So to make a statement, I needed some concealed and, of course, simulated high explosives. Sort of a punctuation to the mission, if you will. Demolition is the UDT’s middle name after all. I found 4 regular, empty Colgate toothpaste tube boxes to simulate sticks of C4 explosives. The volume of one empty toothpaste box would approximate one pound of C-4 and when placed in a shaped charge configuration, could blow a nice “simulated” hole in the ship’s hull. The boxes were wrapped in brown wrapping paper and with a red magic marker I wrote “THIS IS A SIMULATED BOMB” on each one.

 Two “bombs” were taped to the inside of each of my legs and were concealed in my white navy uniform bell bottoms. While at it why not also test the ship’s naval communications procedures by attempting to get a copy of a classified message from radio central. I was a radioman, after all, and very familiar with ships radio room lingo and procedures. Securing a copy of a classified message would be the frosting on the cake. Fully equipped with my vanilla uniform and simulated bombs, I walked along the row of piers to the target ship. It was an Amphibious Personnel carrier or APA and very similar in size and layout to the Arneb AKA, still, I wasn’t sure how I was going to gain access to the ship. The typical first line of defense, or security in this case, was the young officer who manned the quarterdeck. He would challenge me for identification and reasons for coming aboard. I needed a good story and had to get across the quarterdeck where I had to “request permission to come aboard, Sir.” Upon reaching the ship, I walked up the gangway. At the top of the gangway, I immediately faced the rear of the ship and saluted the flag on the fantail then faced straight ahead to salute the officer-of-the-deck and guess what — there was no one there! 

My amazing cover story of who, what and why was all prepared and ready to go and here I was just going to casually walk on board without a single challenge. This was an unbelievable breach of security, especially when everyone was warned they should be on high alert and could be tested. This was also an unbelievable opportunity for me to do my dirty work. God, how I loved this stuff. The ship was basically the same layout as mine, yet the location of where the radio shack was located was different and unknown to me. So I stopped some passing sailor and asked directions. No problem. But, the first thing to do was to place my bombs somewhere important so I went to the engine room and taped the bombs to a vulnerable part of the ship’s skin in a “shaped charge” configuration that would blow a simulated hole in the hull and hopefully cause a simulated sinking. Next on the agenda was the radio shack. 

My story told to the young radioman on duty was that we had accidentally lost an important classified message. I described the message, gave him the message heading and number and off he went to get me a copy. This was so unbelievable. Waiting there for my classified message, I began to notice other sailors in the radio shack watching me. They appeared to be wondering who this sailor was without rank or insignia. Possibly one of them remembered it was security week and this may be a threat, who knows. But, leaving the ship with a classified message and actually sinking the ship without being discovered was fantastic. I suddenly decided to forget the message and get off the ship asap; made a lame excuse and took off. Writing my report and documenting all the details of this little escapade was going to be so much fun and getting away clean would be the best. Quickly walking away was so exciting and I had to remind myself not to run.

 Approaching the quarterdeck and experiencing such a rush of adrenalin I heard a man’s high pitch voice behind me yelling to “stop that man.” Damn, the quarterdeck was so close — almost off the ship. The thought of not stopping and just walking fast down the gangway crossed my mind, then I remembered the officer-of-the-deck had a 45 caliber, semi automatic pistol on his hip. I could, theoretically, be shot and not with a simulated bullet. As it turned out, the high pitched voice belonged to the executive officer. I was, after all, an intruder and some junior grade officer with an itchy trigger finger could put a permanent dent in my career. So my hands went up in surrender. The mission, after all, was successfully completed: their ship’s security was challenged and they failed. Although being actually under arrest, I was in a great mood. There was a small group of men running toward me. In the lead was an animated little guy waving his little hands and his little arms in the air and screaming like a banshee. At first I didn’t realize who this little, red faced, overweight guy in his wrinkled khaki uniform was. However his uniform told me that he was an officer but I didn’t see his insignia. He didn’t introduce himself but I quickly realized he was a lieutenant commander and the ship’s executive officer and he was having a near nervous breakdown.

 The exec had thinning hair and a fat round face with bright red blood veins in his forehead just about to burst. He was screaming at me in a high pitched voice demanding to know who I was and what I was doing on his ship. “Sir, with all due respect, you no longer have a ship, I just sank it.” I explained where the simulated bombs were located, how the radio shack had almost given up a classified message, and that I had the general run of his ship for a couple hours. At this moment I thought he was going to order the young officer with the gun to shoot me where I stood anyway. Finally I confessed who I was and how successful I had been testing his ship’s security.

 The exec held me captive until he could confirm my identity then he released me. My communications officer who orchestrated this mission was ecstatic with my preliminary report and together we prepared an extensive report. I never learned what happened to the ship and all her officers after my little simulated terrorist mission but it was the most fun I had had in a long time and with all the drama involved, I’m sure our final report could have made the navy equivalent of the New York Times best seller list.

Commander Alfred John Croft Jr. 

Date:Sep 15, 2014 From:John Croft To: Doc Riojas

Doc, My name is John Croft and live here in Virginia.

My father, now deceased, was a retired (Mustang) Commander in the USN. My dad served from 1944 until 1977 and retired from Little Creek, VA. So my dad was able to serve through all 3 wars which I thought was pretty neat.

I was born in Rota, Spain and also lived in Sangley Point, Philippines and Hawaii before coming to the US. My dad wanted me to go into the Marines (?) but I chose to become a police officer instead. I’ve just about completed 30 years here in Virginia and am still going strong.

Our neighborhood in Va. Beach was filled with great Navy personnel; retired and active. I have been fortunate to have lived next to one of the first WW II UDT sailors, Alfred Palacio who was wounded and survived D Day.

My neighbor on the other side was a Navy Ace and flew a Corsair in the South Pacific. Right around the block from us was a Vietnam POW James Mulligan. A retired Navy SEAL lives right around the corner from my new home here in Wakefield, VA. Pretty bunch of amazing war era fellows.

I wanted to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed you web site. Although I never served, the pictures bring back great memories of my earlier life. I always enjoyed every base we lived at with all the sailors and soldiers. I feel like I’m a kid again back in the P.I.

Thank you for your great impressive service and keep up the good work.

I will continue to enjoy.

With Warm Regards,


My Brother, Leo Torres and his two Daughters Tiffany and Daphne Torres Leo is our Lawyer and best friend.
James Joseph Cullen US Army 832 Signal Service Tech 5 1913-1988

William H. (Bill) Simpson 

William H. (Bill) Simpson was born in Laredo, Texas,on June 1, 1934, where he 
received his primary and secondary education. After attending Texas A&M for 
one year, he received an appointment to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, 
Maryland, from which he graduated on June 1, 1956,with a Bachelor of Science 
degree in Electrical Engineering. During the next four and a half years, 
Bill served aboard the USS Phillippine Sea (CVS-47), as an Engineering 
Officer, and the USS Dash (MSO-428), as Executive Officer. In Dec. 1960, after 
being impressed by his understanding of God’s leadership in his ife, he 
resigned his commission in the US Navy and entered Southwestern Baptist 
Theological Seminary , Ft. Worth. Tx., in Jan. 1961, from which he graduated with 
a Master of Divinity degree.

After being the pastor of three churches in Texas and Arkansas, he 
completed a year of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Baptist Memorial Hospital 
System, San Antonio, Tx., on Oct. 6, 1975. He served there until his 
retirement on May 30,1997. In 1978 he was certified as a Fellow in the College of 

During his 22 years as Chaplain, he was active in the Institutional Ethics 
Committee, and served as co-facilitator on Cancer and Grief Support 
Groups. His ministry also included leading seminars on end-of-life issues. Upon 
retirement, he became Parish Associate, Northwood Presbyterian Church. He 
also became a Director of The Samaritan Counseling Center, and the San 
Antonio Eye Bank. After serving each organization for four years, he resigned 
as a director. Bill is married to the former Gerry Forrer of Baltimore, Md., 
and they have two children, Norman and Meredith, and one grandson, Desmond.


On Thu, Oct 21, 2010 , Bill Simpson ’56 <olspice [at]  satx.rr  DOT com> wrote Doc Riojas:

Every Midshipman received a Midshipman’s pay, just like a Second Class Petty Officer received a Second Class Petty Officer pay. It was from that pay that Midshipmen paid for what they received, uniforms, books, housing, meals, etc. We never saw the whole monthly salary; it was all put into individual savings accounts and we were given a very small monthly allowance. Monthly allowances ran from $3 for Plebes/month to $15 for First Classmen/month. Each month, our savings accounts were charged with the expenses mentioned above. It was not really a free education, though some like to think of it as free.

Remember that our pay scales were early 1950s pay scales; today they are much higher.


Bill Simpson & DOc Riojas


The President of the United States
in the name of The Congress
takes pleasure in presenting the

Medal of Honor



Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, Company G, 187th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. Place and date: Near Wontong-ni, Korea, 31 May 1951. Entered service at: Fowler, Calif. Born: 14 April 1931, Colton, Calif. G.O. No.: 40, 21 April 1962.


Cpl. Hernandez, a member of Company G, distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. His platoon, in defensive positions on Hill 420, came under ruthless attack by a numerically superior and fanatical hostile force, accompanied by heavy artillery, mortar, and machinegun fire which inflicted numerous casualties on the platoon. His comrades were forced to withdraw due to lack of ammunition but Cpl. Hernandez, although wounded in an exchange of grenades, continued to deliver deadly fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants until a ruptured cartridge rendered his rifle inoperative. Immediately leaving his position, Cpl. Hernandez rushed the enemy armed only with rifle and bayonet. Fearlessly engaging the foe, he killed 6 of the enemy before falling unconscious from grenade, bayonet, and bullet wounds but his heroic action momentarily halted the enemy advance and enabled his unit to counterattack and retake the lost ground. The indomitable fighting spirit, outstanding courage, and tenacious devotion to duty clearly demonstrated by Cpl. Hernandez reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.S. Army.

Rodolpho “Rudy” Hernandez MOH

2013 Vietnam Era Frogs and SEALS Reunion from Bill Cumley on Vimeo.



R L  “Dick” PAYNE  /  My Korean  War  Pictures

From:Dick Payne 

to: Chief  Riojas

Thanks for your reply. You mention posting some pictures and story. Did you find my Picasa web site? 

That is an open site with anybody free to see it (although I originally prepared it for my family) so you have my OK. There is not much information available on the Internet about the Korean War. I like to spread the word about it. Pretty soon there will not be many of us left to do that. 

Did you know Lt. George Van Sant? He was a big, tall guy, maybe 6’5″–pants legs always above his field shoe tops. He was my 2nd Plt. Leader when I arrived in Korea in July, 1952. I just heard he had passed on a few days ago. He wrote a book, his memoirs, “Taking On The Burden Of History”, which does an excellent job of describing the fighting in 1952 for the Marines. My memory of events differs from his in some instances but, all in all, an interesting account. He really slams the Battalion commander for needlessly getting Marines killed. 

Sadly, too many of our Korean War comrades are leaving us. I attended services today for a former Dog 2/1 Marine. About ten years ago I organized bi-monthly luncheons for the former members of 2/1 that live in the Puget Sound region. We started with about 15 to 20 Marines and Corpsman. Now we are really lucky to get five and usually have just three or four that meet due to deaths and the loss of mobility. 

I appreciate having your phone number, but my hearing is very bad–too many artillery and mortar shells too close plus a hand grenade which exploded just next to me caused the problem according to the VA. My VA hearing aids do not work well with telephone receivers. 

Where did you end up after the 3rd MarDiv went to Japan? 

The last entry shows for you is: 

Name: Erasmo Riojas Muster Date: Aug 1953 Rank: E4 Station: Transients 2D Prov Cas Bn Force Troops Fmf Pac Camp Pendleton Calif, Mri Camp Pendleton 

We are both listed on the same page of the muster roll for the outfit. 

Did you also end up at Camp Lejeune? Or as I always think of it, “Swamp Lagoon”. Although I ended up with some good duty there (TAD to Sick Call at the Camp Dispensary) and had been promised the next Med Cruise, I was sure happy to be sent to a ship home-ported at Brooklyn Navy Yard. Prior to my FMF time I had been at St. Albans Naval Hospital so was familiar with the area. 

A quick story. I served on a Hydrographic Survey Ship, the USS Maury, AGS 16–a part of the working Navy. I think I was the only sailor on the ship with combat experience. During the first inspection I stood on ship the captain said, ” I see you have a Purple Heart. How did you get that?” I replied, ” I served as a Navy Corpsman with the 1st Marine Division in Korea, Sir.” He smiled, nodded his head and walked on. Every inspection after that he always nodded his head and smiled at me as he walked past. Normally he was a real stickler at inspection. I pushed things. I used to go without shaving for a couple of days, wear an unpressed uniform, un-shined shoes, etc. Always a nod and smile to me while other sailors were having their names taken. I did not push him too far, but played the game of staying at the edge. 

I had many interesting experiences with the Navy and enjoyed my time there, but since I primarily tell Marine stories, go to Marine Reunions and events, visit with Marines, wear a Marine cap, and so on my wife thinks of me as being a Marine. I do not know how she will react if they hold a US Navy service for me at the national cemetery when my time comes. I need to check into that. 


Dick Payne

R L  “Dick” PAYNE  /  My Korean  War  Pictures

James A. Greenough in Vietnam his Bio 18 Nov 2016 Semper Fi !

Submarine Lockouts by Navy Frogmen

DR Delis Negron Jr. USN Retired,  a Laredoan



NEGRON, CDR Delis Jr.Retired

…I flew with VC-62 from February 1950 to September 1951. I flew on the FDR F8F-2P photo detachment in the Med cruise January 1951 to May 1951. I was based at NAS Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida from June 1951 to September 1951…

I served with VC-61 from 1954-1955 at NAS Miramar and flew F2H-2P’s, F9F-2P’s, and Cougars. Some of my Shipmates were John Condren, Walt Zimbeck, Cliff Nord, Ted Daum. Skippers were Conatzer and Bangs. I flew off the USS Philippine Sea (CV-47) in Panthers.

 I served with VP-18 from 1962-1964. I was OinC of Air Detachments in NAS Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada and Key West. Acting XO in a Split NAS Keflavik, Iceland- NS Rota, Spain deployment. Commander Air Units for Unitas deployment to Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Ecuador.

 Served under Andy Anderson and Sam Mansfield. Would like to hear from Shipmates of that era…” [BIO Updated 25JAN2003 | 10JAN2003]


Bearcat f8f-2p
P2 Neptune

Original Message —– From: D Negron Jr
To: Sent: Saturday, June 10, 2006 6
Subject: Re: the navy log 

I tried to put in more data, but they haven’t updated yet. It’s been a couple of days ago. my dates of service: 2/12/1946 to 12/31/1966 

significant duties: USS Midway, USS Roosevelt, USS Philippine Sea member of the air group on extended cruises. Soloed 27 naval air students in Pensacola Florida. Schools: Naval Avionics, and Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey. Over 5,000 hours of pilot time with about 3,000 of them in actual instrument weather (green card certified). 

Fleet Air Wings Staff, Atlantic Communications Officer; Patrol Squadron Eighteen Executive Officer on Deployment at NAS Rota Spain; Unitas South American Cruise, Air Unit Commander; Pacific Fleet Allweather Training Unit, Detachment Air Unit Commander at Argentia, New Foundland, NAS Key West during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Chief of Naval Operations Staff in Operational Study Groups. 

If you could include the above data into my record I would appreciate it. I can’t seem to do it. thanks, Erasmo. 
12 June 2006:  

 Riojas NOTE: today, I submitted the information to the Navy Log via email.

 Hopefully in about two weeks the info will be up on their site.

 Erasmo “Doc” Riojas


CDR D. Negron, another Laredo TX, Anapolis graduate, Naval Aviator

America’s First SEa, Air, Land Commando
—Lieutenant Jack Taylor, USNR

By: Tom Hawkins

History of OSS MU A Marine Section was established in the Special Operations Branch (SO) 20 January 1943, with responsibility for planning covert infiltration operations by sea. This section was removed from the SO Branch and redesignated Maritime Unit (MU), and given branch status under the general supervision of Office of the Deputy Director—Psychological Warfare Operations, effective 9 June 1943, by Supplement 4 to General Order 9, OSS, 10 June 1943. The Maritime Unit had overall responsibility for planning and coordinating infiltration of agents of other branches by sea; supplying resistance groups by sea; engaging in maritime sabotage; and developing special equipment to effectuate infiltration by sea. MU was abolished with OSS, effective 1 October 1945.America’s First SEa, Air, Land Commando —Lieutenant Jack Taylor, USNRBy: Tom Hawkins I must confess that I’ve become somewhat obsessed with Lieutenant Jack Taylor, who is ageless in my mind. I first learned about him several years ago, and since then, he is frequently somewhere in my thoughts. I think this is because I ceaselessly regret he did not live long enough to be known and honored by the Naval Special Warfare community. We have several photos of him (all printed in this edition of the BLAST) that I frequently uncover when sorting through my piles of papers. Finding his photographs always makes me pause and reflect upon his life and WWII experiences: successes, extreme hardships, suffering, intrepidity, and distinguished service to our Nation.

All of us in Naval Special Warfare need to know and appreciate Jack Taylor. He was, without question, America’s First Sea, Air, and Land commando. He was, of course, not technically a SEAL, since there were obviously not units called SEALs during WWII, but he was in the Navy, and he was posted to the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Maritime Unit (MU), where he had no equal in the extraordinary service he performed.

To honor Lieutenant Taylor, I’ve been contemplating this dedicated edition of the BLAST for several years. The recent combat deaths of Neil Roberts and Matt Bourgeois, wounding of several more of our men in Afghanistan, and the recent article by Dave Del Giudice in the last BLAST (2Q2002), about the origins of SEAL Teams, have caused me to believe that now is the appropriate time. As you read about Lieutenant Taylor, I think the reasons will be obvious.

When World War II began, Dr. Jack Taylor was a 33-year old dentist with a well-established practice in Los Angeles, California. He enjoyed the fruits of his profession through a passion for the sea. Published stories tell about how he navigated in five California-to-Honolulu yacht races and two in Bermuda. He was a licensed pilot as well, and during an expedition to the Yukon, he had been trapped for two days in a gold mine after an earthquake struck. His life adventures before the war were a natural extension of his character, and what he experienced before the war would be no match for what he was to encounter. When the war came along, Dr. Taylor cast aside an assured commission in the Navy Medical Corps and became a line naval officer wanting to serve his nation in combat. He was at first assigned to a surface ship, but his reputation as a seaman had preceded him into the Navy, and the newly created OSS enlisted his services almost immediately. OSS needed officers and enlisted men that knew small boats and could navigate unknown coastlines in the night and slip ashore into enemy-held lands.

  In early 1942, Jack Taylor was, in fact, one of the first three officers assigned to the OSS component that would later become known as the Maritime Unit. He was enlisted from the Navy primarily to become an instructor in boat handling, navigation, seamanship, and underwater demolition. Training was set up at a secret school at an OSS base located on the Potomac River near Washington, DC. The base was known simply as “Area D.” It was located in rural Maryland almost directly across the river from today’s Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA.

Note: I have walked these grounds, which are now private property and a supreme and time consuming task to locate. There is little evidence today that anything significant occurred on the property. We have been unable to find a single photo taken at Area D. 

Jack Taylor was deeply involved in the early planning and development of the maritime school, as well as policy making for the future Maritime Unit. As the difficulty of training progressed, the OSS men expanded in to a wider variety of areas involving clandestine maritime infiltration, supply, and sabotage. Indeed, imbedded within recognized Maritime Unit training and operational activities are the pedigree and heritage of today’s SEAL Teams and Special Warfare Combatant Craft (SWCC).

In addition to amphibious small-boat training, in the autumn of 1942 OSS, men at Area D began experimenting with equipment that would provide them capabilities to perform missions involving underwater sabotage. Central to this was examination of the Jack Brow and Lambertsen Units, both experimental closed-circuit pure-oxygen underwater breathing apparatus. 

Note: Both UBAs were first tested by a Navy qualified Navy diver, Gunners Mate Third Class John Spence, who had been posted with OSS and later deployed with “L-Unit,” the first operational group of OSS divers deployed for combat. We now consider Mr. Spence “America’s First Frogman,” and he is a Lifetime Honorary Member of the UDT-SEAL Association. His story can be found in the 1Q2000 edition of the BLAST.

The Lambertsen Unit was subsequently adopted by OSS, and on 18 February 1943, General Donovan approved plans for the first underwater swimming group. The group was to be called “L-Unit,” and consisted of two smaller groups. Lieutenant Taylor would command one of these groups and Lieutenant R.J.H. Duncan, USNR the other. The men were being specifically trained in the U.S. and later in England to launch attacks against German submarine pins on the South coast of France. 

During training with Dr. Chris Lambertsen, Lieutenant Jack Taylor swam underwater for over a mile and stayed down for a period extending more than 48 minutes.) This was an extraordinary accomplishment at the time, since self-contained breathing underwater was a new concept, and combining the capability with military tactical application had only been previously attempted (with great success) by the Italians and later the British (also with great success).

  Note: Dr. Christian J. Lambertson, MD had some part in training every group of combat divers assigned to OSS and also UDT divers after the war. He is considered by us “The Father of U.S. Combat Swimming,” and is an Honorary Lifetime Member of the UDT-SEAL Association. Dr. Lambertsen is featured in the 2Q1997 edition of the BLAST. The OSS Diving Unit’s history is recounted in detail in the 1Q2000 and 2Q000 editions of the BLAST.

Before L-Unit was operationally deployed, the Maritime Unit had attained branch status, and Lieutenant Taylor was replaced in the diving unit and instead sent to organize MU operations in the Middle Eastern Theater of Operations. This region, designated METO by OSS, extended from the eastern approaches of Italy and included all of the area in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. As a Navy Lieutenant, Jack Taylor was actually one of the more senior and experienced officers in the MU and, thus, a natural if not necessary choice to send to command the MU in Europe.

  Lieutenant Taylor arrived in Turkey some time in July 1943 to serve as the first Chief of MU in the METO, and despite exceptional organizational skill and seamanship qualities, he had great difficult setting up OSS operations in the region. This resulted from of a combination of low rank (he had to stand against the bird Colonels—a familiar story!), military dominance (and Service arrogance) in the region, lack of equipment (boats and men—the military had little to spare.), and, too, lack of recognition within OSS itself.

Nonetheless, by August 1943 he had acquired several indigenous craft called “Caique” and set up an enormously successful infiltration and exfiltration operation using partisan personnel. Caiques were practically all small wooden-hulled vessels with auxiliary sails, averaging from 10 to 40 tons and powered by gasoline engines. They were manned by Greek crews almost without exception. (Note: This period of Lieutenant Taylor’s story is told in significant detail in the 3Q2001 and 4Q2001 editions of the BLAST.)

Including the summer of 1943, and for a period that encompassed about 18 months, Lieutenant Taylor conducted over 14 sorties into the hostile shores of Corfu, Yugoslavia, and Albania. On one mission he is said to have survived alone for 45 days on an enemy-held island off the coast of Albania. His most conspicuous mission, however, was yet to take shape.

  He was relieved of duties as Chief of MU the following December and largely, we can assume through personal initiative, got himself assigned with the OSS SO (Special Operations) desk in Bari, Italy, where he was to plan and participate in a behind-the-lines operation, including his now most well-known assignment called the DUPONT Mission. 

The DUPONT Mission would prove to be the most difficult and life-changing task Jack Taylor would ever experience.

  The mission was scheduled for the fall of 1944. The plan was for four men, one American and three Austrian partisans to parachute near the industrial city of Wiener Neustadt, Austria, about 25-miles south of Vienna. Here was located a major nexus of the German transportation system supplying the Italian front and the Rax Werke, a key German aviation plant. Here, as well, the Germans were said to be constructing major barriers against an Allied advance from the south, the so-called “Southeast Wall.”

  OSS planners thought that the Allies might be able to marshal a resistance movement around Wiener Neustadt from among the many anti-Nazi Austrians believed to live in the area. American military forces had not one single source of intelligence from this region of the Reich. Successful penetration of Wiener Neustadt and the surrounding country could yield an intelligence harvest, and the DUPONT Mission was the answer.

  The DUPONT Mission would depart for the Reich on Friday, October 13, 1944, and this particular Friday the 13th would prove to be tremendously unlucky day for the men involved. We have provided a complete accounting of this mission through the debriefing papers of Lieutenant Jack Taylor in the next article in this edition of the BLAST.

  The same story is also told with additional detail in Chapter VIII of a book by author Joseph E. Persico entitled, Piercing the Reich, The Penetration of Nazi Germany by American Secret Agents During World War II (ISBN 0-670-55490-1). This book was first published in 1979 and has long been out of print. The book can be found on the Internet through a search of various on-line sources specializing in out-of-print publications. Mr. Persico’s book illustrates conflicting negative and positive views of Jack Taylor’s character. Through interview and discussion with other OSS MU personnel, we have not been able to establish anything negative about Jack Taylor. Conversely, he seemed always to have been “in search of the fight,” with every desire to meet the most extreme operational challenges. (Hallmark of a true SEAL.)

You will note as you read about the DUPONT Mission that Jack Taylor and three companion partisan operatives were eventually captured, tried, convicted, and placed in prison camps. 

Much of Lieutenant Taylor’s first-person narrative is about his capture and imprisonment, but the complete story is quite compelling, and we hope you will attempt to read it in detail. The mission itself was quite successful from an intelligence collection perspective, however, it was conducted with much difficulty; resulting in the capture of all four men. Taylor, who had been given “special treatment” by the German SS, was sentenced to be executed and eventually was taken to the Mauthausen extermination camp. Although in poor physical and mental condition, he was liberated by American forces on 5 May 1945. His debrief contains the following statement:

“After the Americans had liberated us, I discovered that I should have been executed on 28 April 1945, along with 27 other prisoners from Block 13. A friendly Czech, Mylos, who worked in the political department had, unknown to me, removed my paper and destroyed it so that I was not included with the 27.”

  He had unwittingly escaped execution, but his long-term fate was to be death by starvation and body shut down unless something dramatic happened, and it did. Again, in the words of Lieutenant Taylor:

  “American P-38’s came over at about 100 feet and really gave us a thrill. Every machine gun in the camp opened up on them but nothing happened fortunately. We never dreamed that Americans would ever be near, but we heard rumors that they were in Regensburg and coming fast. The SS departed about the first of May, and were replaced with Vienna fire-police. On the 4th we could hear the American guns. No more executions or brutalities took place after the SS departed. On Saturday 5 May the guns were much louder but still some distance away, and I had no hoped that they would arrive before Sunday. Late in the afternoon, however, I heard rumors that an American jeep and half-tract were at the entrance, and staggering through the frenzied crowd, I found [U.S. Army] Sgt. Albert Kosiek, Troop D, 41st Calvary, RCN, Squad Mechanized, 11th Armored Division, 3rd U.S. Army. I could only say “God Bless America” and hold out my dog tags with a quavering hand.” 

SSgt. Albert Kosiek and seven other American soldiers on patrol were entirely unaware of the two large concentration camps (Mauthausen and Gusen) in this area and were on routine reconnaissance for roadblocks, downed bridges, and the like. These men unknowingly became the “Guardian Angles of Mauthausen and Gusen.”

You will discern as you read Lieutenant Taylor’s detailed accounting of imprisonment that he forced himself to memorize and recall an astounding volume of names and details before and following his capture. After liberation, and with extreme passion, he forced himself to return to the extermination camp at Mauthausen, where he collected every scrap of paper, diaries, and journals he could find before they could be taken by the Russians (who were to occupy this area) and destroyed. It was from these papers and his memory that he could glean information to report about German atrocities he had seen and experienced first-hand. He later collected photographs taken by U.S. Army personnel, which became a part of his report.

Note: The DUPONT Mission was downgraded from SECRET to CONFIDENTIAL on 9 July 1976 for CIA circulation and limited historian use. The National Archives declassified our copy of the document on 13 February 1999. 

Jack Taylor was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and was in Europe to testify against the Nazi’s at the Nuremberg Trials, where we are certain he provided all or more of the detail in the story of the DUPONT Mission. For his time as Chief of MU and for the DUPONT Mission, Jack Taylor was subsequently awarded the Navy Cross.

The Citation reproduced below was obtained from the Awards and Special Project Branch of the CNO staff in 1999. While preparing this BLAST article, we discovered that a portion of the Citation was missing, and we are attempting to get a complete copy for retention in the NSW Historical Center archive collection. We are struck by the fact that the Citation is a single award for separate and distinct acts of extraordinary valor. Also, by the awkward way the Citation bounces around events and facts. It is either a combination of two awards or it was a single award likely drafted by someone that did not know Lieutenant Taylor personally, and wrote from accounts taken from his records. Citation: 

“For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United States; as chief of the Maritime Unit, Office of Strategic Services Detachment, United States Armed Forces, in the Middle East, from September 1943 to March 1944, Lieutenant Jack Taylor, USNR, personally commanded fourteen separate sorties to the Greek and Balkan enemy-occupied coasts. This activity was carried out despite intense enemy efforts to prevent any kind of coastal traffic whatsoever. Lieutenant Taylor, through clandestine operations, deserving of the highest commendation and careful planning and skillful navigation effected numerous evacuations of intelligence agents, doctors, nurses, and downed airmen. Tons of arms, ammunition, explosives, and other military supplies were delivered to Marshal Tito and other resistance forces through the efforts of Lieutenant Taylor. For three months, at all times surrounded by enemy forces, and on three occasions forced to flee from enemy searching parties, Lieutenant Taylor and his intelligence team operated in Central Albania and transmitted by clandestine radio important information regarding enemy troop movements, supply dumps, coastal fortifications, anti-aircraft installations and other military intelligence of great value to the Allied forces. Parachuting into enemy territory on the night of 13 October 1944, with a team of three Austrian deserter-volunteers, he had personally trained and briefed, he began a secret intelligence mission to Austria. Handicapped from the very start by failure to their plane to drop radio equipment, living in constant danger of capture, and the physical and mental strain on his men, the courage and energy of Lieutenant Taylor prevailed and throughout the remainder of October and November, the mission collected target intelligence of the highest value to the Allies. On 30 November, the eve of their departure for Italy, the party was captured by the Gestapo. Through four months of imprisonment in Vienna and one month in Mauthausen prison camp, he was subjected to the customary interrogation methods of the Gestapo. During his capture, Lieutenant Taylor injured his left arm seriously. With this handicap and also being forced to exist on starvation rations and work at hard labor, he resisted all attempts to force him to divulge security……the brilliant results of his operations have been an essential aid to the victory of Allied Arms.

“You may actually listen to and view Jack Taylor on the day of his liberation from the Mauthausen extermination camp. This can be done by watching an extraordinary film clip that we have found on the Internet. Go to:

  The quality of the film as broadcast over the computer is not good, and much of the film has no sound, but be patient and wait for the portion of the film with real-time commentary by the recently liberated Lieutenant Taylor. Note in the film too, and in the still photos we have published in the BLAST, that Lieutenant Taylor is always dressed quite “formally” with tie and jacket (although perhaps a POW jacket). His appearance is remarkably good and belies the weight loss and harsh treatment he experienced at the hands of the German Gestapo. 

After returning to the United States, Jack Taylor quickly faded into civilian life, but became very nervous and unsettled as a result of his wartime experiences. Rather than immediately returning to dental practice, he attempted to establish “Taylor Products,” a “Marine Specialties” company and continued exploiting his love of the sea. The business attempt apparently did not work out well for him, and he eventually began to devote full time to a dental practice in Santa Monica, CA. 

For a while, he did maintain contact with Dr. Chris Lambertsen who, after the war, returned to the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Lambertsen provided us a copy of a very self-explanatory item of correspondence from Jack Taylor, which is reproduced elsewhere in the BLAST. Like many of the veterans of WWII, life was particularly harsh on the men and women of OSS, whose exploits remained secret for many years after the war, and Jack Taylor was no exception. Sadly, he was to live only 13 more years after his return home.

  Dr. Jack Hendrick Taylor at the age of 51 years was killed in a car crash near his home in El Centro, California in the month of May1959; long before he could be afforded any public recognition. His wife, parents, daughter, and sister survived him. We have been unable to make contact with any family members. We suspect that his daughter is still alive somewhere in Southern California. At the time of her father’s death, she lived in the San Fernando Valley as Sally Taylor.

Jack Taylor did it all. Under, on, and from the sea; parachuting from the air; and, operating on land behind enemy lines. Was he the “First SEAL?” Not really, but he represents the epitome of today’s SEAL Team and SWCC operator, and certainly he served in the finest tradition of any past or current member of the Naval Special Warfare community. Assuredly, he must be embraced as America’s first true maritime special operations commando.

Since we could not honor him in life, we have strived in a small way to honor him after his untimely death. A man of admirable exploits. A man of distinguished valor! A true American Hero! HooYah! Jack Taylor.

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From Skid Row to the Corps,“Machete Eddie” McCourt Becomes a “Go-To” Warrior AUGUST 2011 LEATHERNECK 31

Second Lt Ed McCourt (right) coordinates with Bird Dog pilot Capt Bob Mathews, camera in hand, atop Northern I Corps’ Rockpile in December 1966. COURTESY OF ED MCCOURT


Summer 1953 was a different time in Marine Corps history. It was “old Corps,” really old Corps. Old Corps in ways even today’s toughest, most grizzled veterans would accept as old Corps.

It was almost “other worldly” andindescribably more magnificent. Dan Daly and Smedley Butler were gone, but in the summer of 1953 a peppering of gents in the ranks had known and served with
them. Lewis B. “Chesty” Puller remained on active duty. Others, thousands really,had campaigned at Guadalcanal, Tarawa,Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and again in Korea at Inchon and the Chosin Reservoir. There were so many of them on active duty that they were almost common in an uncommon way.

By 1953, they were still young by most measures—except for those experiences. And that was and is the draw of the Corps: to be a part of something meaningful and manly and dignified.

The Marine Corps always has been a sublimating force for young men who mmight have gone astray and who might have used their youthful exuberance and energy in socially unacceptable ways. They were the ones who might have turned left when told to go right.

There is something mystical, something not quite definable that draws someone to
the ways of the Corps. Like a narcotic, once injected it can control the soul, absorbing a person in ways that never can be fully understood or appreciated from the outside. For most, once the eagle,
globe and anchor has been earned, there is no divorce, no full recovery. The Corps is all-consuming, and most go willingly, like a moth to a flame, like sheep to slaughter.

Little in Ed McCourt’s initial pedigree suggested that he would amount to much. His father had done time in prison. His stepfather had done time in prison. Both were deserters from the U.S. Army. He had a cousin, also an Army deserter, who did time in Sing Sing for armed robbery.

Growing up in one of the toughest parts of Chicago, by the time he was 13 Ed McCourt had managed to obtain a license to drive the Uptown Supermarket’s meat truck. He dealt with thugs and mafia types near his home on Clark Street, three doors north of Division. He left that job and at 15, in 1951, was managing a parking lot on Lake Street and Wacker Drive, earning the

princely sum of $135 per week (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator that is the equivalent of $1,132 in 2010 dollars). His salary supported his extended and horribly dysfunctional family.

McCourt was unable to finish ninth grade because he had to support his mother, stepbrothers and sisters. Life in the bowery offered small attraction. Living across the street from the Foremost Theater and the Gold Coast Amusement Center, McCourt could count seven bars and pubs on his block alone. Even though the money was good, he tired of waiting to be “old enough” for something more suited to his need for purpose and direction.

Well before his 16th birthday, McCourt had hatched a plan of escape from his skid-row existence. Retrieving his baptismal certificate from the few records his mother kept, he began the process of altering his date of birth. It took seven attempts before he was satisfied that the copies appeared legitimate. He canvassed all the services—first the Air Force and then the Navy, followed by the Army. Once confident those recruiters were fooled by the forgeries, he made his run on the Marines. Bang. Success.

Convinced McCourt was about to turn 18, the recruiters did not even need his mother’s approval. So, by the time he was barely 16, Ed McCourt was boot camp bound. Everything was cool. On the
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego rifle range, he was the high shooter for his entire recruit series and was among the few recruits to be meritoriously promoted to private first class due to his superior performance. He was dialed in, good-to-go and preparing for combat duty in Korea.

Had he been assigned to a different military occupational specialty, the Corps never might have discovered the deception, but at that time those in certain aspects of artillery required a security clearance. During that background investigation, Private First Class McCourt’s true date of birth was uncovered. As a result, after nine months and 16 days, PFC McCourt, minority discharge under honorable conditions in hand, was released from active duty with very little fanfare.

Figuratively bloodied but certainly unbowed, Ed McCourt did not let thatdischarge interrupt his appointment with destiny. At age 17, he informed his mothat he was going back in the Corps as soon as he was 18 with or without her consent. So why not make it 17 since a person can join the military at that age with parental consent? The next time he went in, it would be for good.

Able to reenlist legally in 1953 at 17 and keep his former rank, PFC McCourt hit the deck with all cylinders firing fully. Although disappointed that he had missed the action in Korea, he had little
time to despair. Ed McCourt was now a round peg in a round hole, the kid in the candy store, the young warrior monk seeking enlightenment. He was home. The Corps was his family, his tribe. The brothers and the father he never had known surrounded him, challenged him, embraced and uplifted him. Good things began to compound.

In assignment after assignment McCourt gained rank, education, experience and confidence. Behavioral scientists might have observed that he had fulfilled Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The Corps became his self-actualization. An outsider might have thought that if he had cut Ed
McCourt, he would have bled Marine Corps green.

The Corps can be a demanding and jealous mistress, consuming and absorbing one’s total passion, leaving little room or consideration for others. This love affair often comes at a high price, sometimes without reciprocity. During war the price may be a man’s own life or those of
cherished comrades. For others, the love affair leads not to “happily ever after,” but to marriages or families that lack a man’s full devotion. Some even buy into the adage that “if the Corps wanted you to have a wife, they’d have issued you one.” For a length of time, Ed McCourtwould fall for that line.

As America was leaving her unsatisfactory Korean experience behind and as her tastes were transitioning from Perry Como and Rosemary Clooney to Bill Haley and the Comets, McCourt was in the Band of Brothers. His lifestyle and experience would absorb and consume him 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Assuming his duties as an infantryman and later as a recon Marine, in the next 11 years, Ed McCourt would serve at seven different duty stations, not including time spent at sea or the myriad of military schools attended. Along the way he picked up a nickname—“Machete Eddie”— which he would use with panache and aplomb. When he was not improving his
fighting or reconnaissance skills at schools or in training for the next war, Machete Eddie played on various varsity football teams the Corps maintained at its major bases. In between, he found time to get married twice.

Following a successful tour on recruiting duty, Staff Sergeant McCourt was transferred back to the Fleet Marine Force in mid-1964. Deployed to Okinawa, his battalion spent time on board amphibious ships floating off the coasts of Thailand and Vietnam. In April 1965, 2d Battalion, Third Marine Regiment was part of the buildup of leathernecks going ashore at Da Nang to begin expanded operations against the North Vietnamese Army(NVA) and Viet Cong (VC).

Due to his extensive training and skills as a troop leader, SSgt McCourt served as a rifle platoon leader, a job normally given only to commissioned officers. For six months, McCourt led the men of “Fox” Company’s 1st Platoon through the jungles, swamps and rice paddies. It was the perfect prelude and workup for an even more demanding second tour.

Returning Stateside in January 1966, McCourt endured the drudgery of what appeared bland after the intensity of combat. Assigned as a senior instructor to the rifle ranges at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., he was marking time. Like any good Marine, he did the job he was given. At least he was training Marines, passing on the things he had learned.

With the American effort in Vietnam increasing, promotions came more quickly. In the early afternoon of 14 July 1966, a teletype message proclaimed his selection for promotion to gunnery
sergeant. Two hours later, before he could finish celebrating, another message announced his selection for promotion to second lieutenant.

It was difficult to enjoy the relative opulence of sunny Southern California knowing his friends were fighting and dying in Southeast Asia. The next day 2dLt McCourt went to his commanding
officer and requested orders for Vietnam. Three weeks later he was back in I Corps, leading Marines in combat.

Between the time 2dLt McCourt had concluded his first Vietnam tour and he returned for his second, the nature and intensity of the ground combat prosecuted by American Marines had changed dramatically. Before, most of the action had been against local VC, and contact with main force NVA regulars had been a rarity. By early 1967, the Marines were battling the NVA daily, virtually every time they left the wire. The VC were cunning, deceptive and fleeting, while the NVA were far better trained and more formidable than their southern allies. The
NVA did not back down from a fight, and the Marines had their hands full.

It was with India Co, 3/3 that Machete Eddie would come into his own as a warrior and troop leader. By the time of his second arrival, the meat grinder of Northern I Corps was consuming
Marines, small-unit leaders in particular, at a horrifyingly rapid rate. A problem common for all the 3dMarDiv infantry battalions operating in Northern I Corps was that constituent rifle companies and platoons were stretched thinly and always were engaged. Turnover of key personnel was a constant challenge.

Second Lt McCourt quickly made a name for himself in 3/3. He seemed bred for the moment. He was a warrior, a gunfighter, the go-to guy when the stuff hit the fan, as things were doing with increasing frequency.

When the battalion went to the field as a complete unit, his platoon was usually on point. His men rallied to him. He loved his men with the same tough-love leadership he had felt throughout his Marine Corps experience. His feelings were reciprocated. His leadership reflected their reasons for joining the Corps rather than some other branch of service. They were confident he would do nothing foolish, nothing reckless and that he would be with them in every firefight at the precise point of contact.

Shortly after McCourt’s arrival for his second tour, 3/3’s Lima Co was taken over by John Ripley, a young captain. The gentleman from Virginia quickly became known for his aggressiveness and tactical savvy. His Marines, after particularly difficult action during March 1967, would be called by “Ripley’s Raiders,” a name that still sets them apart.

The urbane and genteel John Walter Ripley, whom some would call a 20thcentury Stonewall Jackson and who would become more famous for his 1972 heroics in destroying the Dong Ha bridge and seriously dulling the NVA offensive, was in most ways as different from Machete
Eddie as the East is from the West. A friendship that transcended their different backgrounds quickly developed: a brotherto- brother kinship made possible only by their shared circumstances and devotion to the Corps that would last until Ripley’s untimely death in 2008. (McCourt still
mourns deeply for his friend, who believed McCourt was the only man in Marine Corps history to reenlist at 17.)

Machete Eddie called Ripley “an NVA magnet.” McCourt and his men were convinced that to gain contact with the enemy, all they had to do was to operate with Lima Co. Although McCourt would be awarded medals for valor, including the Silver Star and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm (the Vietnamese equivalent to our Silver Star), the praise and endorsements from John Ripley were more important.

Ripley felt his junior mate had “written the book on leadership in combat.” Ripley’s Raiders affirmed his thoughts, on more than a few occasions, when they exclaimed to their “skipper”: “Sir,
Lieutenant McCourt is on our flank. We are secure!”

All Marines have an acute understanding for the quality of leadership, especially in combat. It distills the necessary from the trivial, condenses all that is vital down to the few small issues that make the difference between life or death, victory or defeat.

An officer might coast for a while on personality or puffery; he even might convince superiors he is, in fact, the Second Coming. However, to those in his charge there are only actions and results. No amount of cosmetics or breast-beating can conceal the warts and imperfectionsof actual performance.

The young Marines, the squad leaders, the fire-team leaders, the guys humping mortar rounds and radios all know the truth. They suffer the poor decisions or survive the good ones. They are judge and jury. They are the ultimate customers of a combat leader’s ability.

T.he Marines of India Co’s 1st Plt were no different. Properly motivated and led, they would attempt anything. Machete Eddie’s Marines would do just about anything for him because they knew he would be out front doing it with them.

A poem, “The Ballad of Fort McCourt,” composed and given to McCourt by two of his Marines in November 1966, speaks in a simple, heartfelt way to that need for strong leadership and camaraderie. Taken out of context, it might seem hokey and homespun, almost obsequious, but the verse was not composed by brownnosing boys.

By the time it was written, co-authors Lance Corporal Michael Baronowski and LCpl Tim Duffy were seasoned veterans. Baronowski, who had only one month left on his tour, was killed walking point the day after the two close buddies completed their masterpiece. Duffy would go on to
serve in the combined-action program and be known for doing good things. Their poem is more precious to McCourt than medals and any other accolades.

Author’s note: Capt Ed McCourt reti

red from active duty in 1973 and spent another 25 years in law enforcement and highrisk security before his second retirement in 1997. In 1990, he married for the final time, and the third try was the charm. Like so many Marines, he married well, and he married up. His wife, Sue, has an MBA as well as a doctorate in health care
administration. The couple lives in South Texas. Machete Eddie continues to instruct in shooting and spends a great deal of time in contact with his extensive andimpressive list of old Corps Marine pals. Editor’s note: Rich Botkin is a Marine Corps infantry officer with active and Reserve service from 1980 to 1995. He is the author of “Ride the Thunder—A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.”

The Ballad of Fort McCourt

We wander through the jungles of Vietnam all day.
We find the Viet Cong dug in and chase them all away.
You’ll find no finer fighting men of any name or sort.
You’ll always find us ready here defending Fort McCourt.
He is the bravest man of all and that is plain to see.
And we’re his men of 1st Platoon of “India,” 3/3.
He’s taught us all to be Marines of very rugged sort.
We’re proud to be here fighting beside Lt Ed McCourt.
The first time here he learned the tricks to hunt the VC down.
He’s back again and meaner yet the second time around.
He leads the finest fighting men in Marine Corps infantry.
And we’re the fighting 1st Platoon of “India,” 3/3.
We patrol all day and watch all night for that’s the way he planned.
And where we find the Viet Cong that’s where we’ll make our stand.
And when you hear about us ’twill be a good report.
For here we are and here we’ll stay on top of Fort McCourt.
Although he works us very hard, he never is unfair.
He makes us feel that we’re the best Marines found anywhere.
You’ll never find morale as high at any other fort.
.There is no finer leader than Lt Ed McCourt.

by: LCpl Michael Baronowski and LCpl Tim Duffy



Annice Byers

Philanthropist Cleve Carney(SEAL) is giving the College of DuPage $700,000, plus an in-kind contribution of artwork expected to be worth at least $300,000, which combined is expected to be the largest gift in the college’s 45-year history.

Franklin G. Shuler 
                                                  April 8, 1925 – June 4, 2012

  SANTEE – Franklin Grady Shuler passed away on June 4, 2012, at his home after a long illness. He was born on April 8, 1925 in Bowman, He attended Bowman High School and, shortly after graduating in 1942, enlisted in the United States Navy. His desire to fly was thwarted by colorblindness, but he went on to become a member of the second class of the Scouts and Raiders, the Navy’s first special warfare commandos, and forbearers of today’s Navy SEALs. He served with the Sino-American Cooperative Organization (SACO) in the China-Burma-India theatre. Frank was discharged from the Navy as a Gunner’s Mate, First Class, on December 24, 1945. The fitness principles he learned as a Scout and Raider served him well in later life, as he continued to walk up to 10 miles a day until age 84. After

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Pete “The Pirate” Carolan SEAL artist

Beltran, and Jim Watson & Buddies at Jimbo's Bar
Gulfcoast SEALs at Airshow Display
Damien RIO Vasquez & Rudy Boesch
Arthur M Downes Jr.
Richard Dick lawrence Hinson Jr.
Fred "Doc" Cox
Bill Garnett,Bob Gormly, Doc McCarthy, Charlie BUmp, Pierre Birtz
Glen Grinnage Roy Dean Matthews Erasmo Riojas
SEALs at ST-2 50th Anniv Reunion
SEALs at ST-2 50th Anniv Reunion: ?, ?, David Hyde, Rudy Boesch, Tom Sholders
Cuchi 'nam : Roy Dean Matthews & Doc Riojas 2009
Rio Chico and Rio Grande
John Cullet RIP
Bengal Tiger in 'nam
Emery Lee Martin Jr.
Adm. E. Olson
SEALs Pacific NorthWest

Frank “Bud” Yuric, UDT

IMPORTANT:  Please start reading from the bottom of this page upwards.  Thanks 

from: alan_pricealan_price  [at]  mac DOT  com
to:     jw <jequus  [at]  earthlink  DOT  net>nadoman  [at]  gmail  DOT  com, Franklin Anderson , Tom Juric ,      “Erasmo  “Doc” Riojas” <docrio45  [at]  gmail  DOTcom>
date: Sun, Jan 1, 2012 

Hello Tom and other commenters – 

I was in Class 17 at Coronado, then in UDT 12 and then back to UDT  training  as an instructor from 1957 – 1960.  Frank  had been an army paratrooper at Normandy. According to Don Belcher’s “Fifties Frogs “Journal Obituaries , Frank  was in UDT One, Three, and Twelve. That probably put him in Korea with Team One. 

  As an instructor he taught lots of the land warfare classes, putting his army experience to good use. In order to improve our UDT training in land warfare I went in March 1960 with Frank and Alonzo Price to a concentrated  5 day USMC Scouting and Patrolling course conducted at Camp Pendleton by the USMC Recon  Battalion. At the end of the course, Frank was named as the honor graduate. 

 Upon our return to Coronado, we immediately were able to incorporate many things we had learned during our Recon Marine training  into the Coronado UDT Training course – including a more intensive INLAND recon operation in unknown territory in the San Clemente Island phase of BUD/S training. Like Jack Sudduth, I remember Frank (and Alonzo) as outstanding UDT instructors.    

Aloha, Al Price 

From:  Jack Sudduth
To:Franklin Anderson , Tom Juric , “Erasmo “Doc” Riojas, Al/Maureen
date :Sat, Dec 31, 2011 

 Hello all, 

Yes, Bud Juric was an instructor during my tour with BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition Seal) Training. Was also in UDT 12 with him prior to going to the Training Unit. So knew Bud Juric well and had a very high regard for him, both s a fellow Team member/Instructor and as an individual. Always liked his calm, mature, professional attitude. Good man! 

Jack Sudduth 

From: Jack Couture 
to: Al/Maureen, Jack, Franklin, Tom, Doc Rio

Dear Tom: Your father was an impressive man with whom I served at UDT-12. He was in the Intelligence Department and was a great Cartographer ( doing the charts after conducting hydrographic reconnaissance – measuring the depth and  checking for obstacles prior to amphibious landings). 

That time frame was between 
1957 and 1960. Dad could have participated in a recovery mission, but I have no first hand knowledge of that. As to Vietnam service, I draw a blank and my experience is as reported above. 

Al Price, who may have served with him as an Instructor or Jack Sudduth may be able to share UDT 12 experiences. So I have copied Al and Jack, so they may contribute to your quest for information about your Father. 

from: Franklin Anderson 
to: Jack Couture , “Erasmo “Doc” Riojas” , Tom Juric
date: Fri, Dec 30, 2011
subject: Web Page Questions mailed-by

Jack —
Can you add to Frank Juric being in Vietnam—I know he wasn’t in SEAL’s and he would have had to be in UDT -12– Was he with you- Franklin  

From: Tom Juric
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2011
To: Franklin Anderson
Subject: Re: Web Page Questions

Thank you so much for your input. I do get these little stories about his teaching but they are few and far between. I DO know dad went to Viet Nam as I saw his orders and award. THAT was interesting.

Once again, thanks for your input.

Sent from my iPad

From: On Dec 30, 2011, “Franklin Anderson”
To:  Doc Riojas, Tom Juric, Jack Couture, 

Tom – Doc  ; has forwarded your e-mail to me. I was a Student in Class 18 (Feb 57), and your Father was one of the Instructors.. He was an excellent Instructor and taught stealth and concealment and Sentry disposal. “ You hit them over the head with a half-melted G-dunk Bar”, was a favorite expression. 

He was well qualified, as having been a POW for a time during WW II. I do correspond with your sister, Deni on occasion. When your father left the training unit- he returned to Team 12 and if I recall correctly, he retired shortly there after. 

As to his going to Vietnam, I am not sure unless it was with a Team 12 Deployment from WESTPAC—I am copying Jack Couture on this e-mail, as he served in Team 12 and may be able to answer questions that I am not familiar with.

 As to the space recovery program I do not believe that your father was part of the recovery team—Team 11 and 12 each had a space recovery group; and to my knowledge Frank Juric was not on it (Jack can you answer this). 

Bill Wetenkamp (sp) was in charge of the UDT-12 Group and Eugene Dunn was in charge of UDT-11 Group most of the actual group were young studs. Sorry, that I couldn’t be of more help . 

Franklin Anderson 

From: Erasmo “Doc” Riojas [
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2011
To: Tom Juric
Subject: Web Page Questions  about your Father JURIC UDT in photo on

You wrote: ” On the picture below on page eleven, it has the name Juric… that my dad? ”  

Sorry Tom, I did no know your dad. I could not find the photo with his name on it. I wish you could have included the URL to it (right mouse photo and then click on properties and copy the URL.)  

I am forwarding this email to some of the West Coast Frogmen that may have known him and hopefully they will answer this , your email, because as I said i did not work with your father. I was a member of SEAL Team TWO in Little Creek Virginia.  

thank you for visiting, it is always changing as my hobby is to search for SEAL pictures and add them to it. I am mostly interested in the REAL men and not only pictures of SEAL Training.  

Thank you very much. Happy New Year !  

Erasmo Riojas       aka: Doc Rio  

date: Fri, Dec 30, 2011
From:Tom Juric <  [at]   gmail  DOT  com>
To: Mr Rojas,   docrio45 [at] gmail  DOT  com

My name it Tom Juric. Frank (Bud) Juric was my dad and I was wondering if you served as an instructor with him? I once started asking anyone and everyone for stories of my dad because he never talked about what he did. As a kid I KNEW he went to Viet Nam but was told no. Later I saw his records and found that he actually did go. I have a few questions that you or members of your unit may know:  

1. On the picture below it has the name Juric… that my dad?  

2. Do you have any stories about my day that you would like to donate?  

3. My dad once showed my mom a picture in a book while in Oregon and told her that it was he and a fellow member and they were recovering one of the space capsules. Any pictures out there?  

4. Anything you want to add?  


Tom Juric  

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from: Kieran MacDonaugh capt.squint [at] gmail  DOT  com
to: docrio45 [at] gmail DOT com
date: Fri, Jan 20, 2012
subject: Helo Freefall

Doc Riojas, Here is my brother on a helo, he jumps at sec 9! I can see in his aproach “gate” that he is super excited! I try not live vicariously through him but damn! I did not get much info about the crash but my mom said he called only a few hours ago!

Doc Donel Kinnard
Scott Allen O'Neill
Rick Woolard
Mark Divine
Brad Mc Leod
Don Shipley and Wife
Don Shipley and Wife
Hershel Davis& Daughter
Ev Barrett & Joe Dimartino
"Pee Wee" Nealey
Phil Blak
Glen Doherty
Ranger Ricardo Cerros Jr
Ranger Ricardo Cerros Jr
Chris Smith Dan Cerrillo
Mark Devine Dan Cerrillo

2011 MUSTER Photos by Lowell Gosser:  HERE! and

 his movie is  HERE !  great Job Lowell!

255 confirmed kills: Meet Navy SEAL Chris Kyle


 the deadliest sniper in US history Served four tours of duty in Iraq, where he gained the nickname ‘The Devil of Ramadi’ from insurgents Longest shot was a 2,100-yard strike against a man armed with a rocket launcher Prefers a bolt-action .300 Winchester Magnum custom sniper rifle Left the Navy after 10 years to ‘save his marriage’

Daniel Leary
Frank Toms
Frank Toms
Marcus Lutrell Jack Lynch
Adm McRaven

From: Thomas Campion
to: Doc RIojas
I’ve attached a couple pictures from this year’s muster at Fort Pierce. That’s Herschel with my wife, me and my swim buddy Rick Sisk with Eric T. Olson, and one of the 15 members of Class 114 that came for our 30th reunion. I’m in the left of the photo with ADM Olson and front row 2nd from right in the class photo!
Have a wonderful Christmas 2011!!
R/ Tucker

Photos compliments of Thomas Campion; Thank you very much.

Thomas Campion, Rick Sisk, Eric T. Olson,
Mrs. Campion & Hershel Davis

Iam trying to find a picture of me at the Escape training tank at New London CONN while we were stationed there together. Yes I was on the pistol team with you. the picture of me in the upper left was the day I made W-1 at 1966. Th picture of the LTCOL is my son. The ASAF Acadamy kid is one of my grandsons a d the Navy guy is onother one of my grandson. I will try and find a picture of some of the tank guys.              Jack  Barnes                         WebMaster NOTE:  Jack and Doc Riojas were instructors at the SubEscapeTank, New London Conn. in the 1960’s

Art Jones AVCM
SEAL Team ONE KIA list

From: Lt. Cmdr. D.R. Davis MSC USN (Ret.<Sealdoc  [at]  aol  DOT  com>
Date: Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 1:50 PM
Subject: Re: Were you a Navy SEAL?
To: docrio45 [at]  gmail  DOT  com 

Hey, Doc Rio.

Nice to hear from a fellow Corpsman!
I was sent to DaNang as a diving HM to be a part of MTT 10-62. I had no idea where I was going or what the unit designation stood for. Did you go through BUDS? I was independent duty qualified, a first class diver and medical diving tech. I was not jump qualed or other special training that early SEALs received but…I got the job and did it anyway. Do you think they would want me in their archives if I didn’t go through BUDs? I look forward to hearing from you. 

DR Davis 

In a message dated 2/17/2011 11:41:07 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,
To: <Sealdoc  [at]  aol  DOT  com>
From: docrio45   [at]  gmail  DOT com writes:

Subj: “
Your name is NOT on the Corpsman SEAL data list. “

Perhaps you should talk to the SEAL Archives and correct that error. 

Thank You      DR Davis


Dr. Davis, What you ask me to do will not automatically make you an HM-8492 (Special Operation Tech.)  I believe only the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery can do that. 

 Being  TAD to a SEAL MTT unit makes you no more of a SEAL than the few Corpsmen that were attached to the UDT/Replacement units at Little Creek and Coronado back in the old days before BUD/S came into being.

I have not read your book I don’t buy those SEAL books until they are for ONE PENNY on or the authors send me a free copy.

Erasmo Riojas aka: Doc Rio HMC (SEAL) retired

From: “pt-doc” <pt-doc [at]  tampabay.  DOT rr   DOT com> 
Date: Mon, Feb 21, 2011 7:37 pm
Subject: Re: I got your email address from Mr. ALan Routh
To: <docrio  [at] sealtwo  DOT  org>

Good to hear from you. As I told Al I think he is just out for the money as his book is classified as fiction and not for real. 

He may have got some of the information from one of the MTT guys back in the states, a few drinks will loosen up anyone. In the book he never classifies himself as a SEAL but that he operated with SEALS.  His memory has to be the worlds best to be able to remember word for word some of the things in the book. 

The wife and I are doing real well, both healthy. So is our 1 year old spoiled rotten dashound I play golf 3 times a week. Not bad for a 76 year old f**t Sorry to hear about dickie Cyrus. 

wish I could help out. Keep in touch. 

PT Schwartz, Navy SEAL 

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from: MmeDefarge      mmedefarge  [at]  comcast  DOT  net
to: docrio45  [at]  gmail  DOT  com
date: Mon, Jul 18, 2011 

subject: US Navy SEALs 
Dear Doc Riojas: 

Please forgive me for just jumping into your inbox uninvited, but I feel the need to thank you – over and over – for the wonderful, incredible photographs and other information you have gathered regarding the USN SEALs. 

As a bit of background, I was married to a Surface Warfare officer,  Michael B. Booth, from 1967 to 1976, who served primarily in “tin cans”. In July of 1979 he was the XO of the USS Barry as it was pulling into port in Mayport, Florida after a six month deployment. The ship was lacking a Weapons Officer at the time (having flown off the ship earlier to attend some school) and the crew was having some difficulty in securing the lines. My ex-husband (having been a Weapons Officer previously) offered to go down to the deck and assist with the lines. While on deck, one of the lines parted and whipped across the deck and severed both of his legs. They sent down divers in an attempt to recover same, but were not successful. However, thanks to using the uniform web belts as tourniquets, they were able to control the bleeding and his life was saved. I still remember having to tell our two sons about the loss of his limbs as the single hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I only tell you this story as a way of saying “I understand” when it comes to the immense sacrifices that Naval men have always made for their country. 

In 1974-1975, we were stationed in Panama City, Florida at what was then called the Naval Coastal Systems Laboratory. My husband was the CO of one of the last three remaining minesweepers in the USN, the USS Fidelity. Our next door neighbor was Jack Ringelberg, who became the CO of the Experimental Diving Unit in June 1975. At that time, the Experimental Diving Unit was transferring all of its personnel from the Naval Shipyard in Washington, D.C. to Panama City. (I believe the EDU’s CO was Colin Jones.) Thanks to Jack Ringelberg being a neighbor, we were invited to all the events associated with EDU. 

As a result, I was extremely fortunate to be able to know both Jack Lynch , the former President of the UDT SEAL Assn, (whose passing in 2010 has left me extremely saddened) and Tom Hawkins. Both Jack and Tom exemplified all that a Navy SEAL should be and I have always had the utmost respect for both of them. In addition, they each possessed an outrageous sense of humor and I have so many fond memories of literally laughing myself silly at their antics. 

As the years have flown by, I think back fondly to my memories of Navy life and Navy days and all of your wonderful photographs and other memorabilia bring back such a sense of nostalgia and of “being there.” God bless you for all that you have done to preserve the memory of it all! 

You are such an incredible human being yourself with all of the service and devotion you have given to our wonderful country. Again, I apologize for intruding into your inbox, but I just wanted to let you know how much your wonderful photographs and memories are appreciated by we “old-timers”. 

Nancy Booth

from: MmeDefarge      mmedefarge  [at]  comcast  DOT  net
to:: “Erasmo \”Doc\” Riojas” docrio45  [at]  gmail  DOT  com
date Tue, Jul 19, 2011 
subject: Re: US Navy SEALs 

Dear Doc Riojas: 

Thank you so much for the pictures of the 50th SEAL reunion! You look absolutely wonderful and I need to know your secret for continuing to look so young. I have to confess my favorite picture of you is still the one from 1949 when you were 17 years old. What a handsome young man you were with that dapper “pencil-thin” mustache. 

At your request, I am attaching a photograph of my ex-husband, Michael B. Booth, which was taken when he was XO of the USS Barry (DD 993). After the loss of his limbs, he was promoted to full Commander which is the rate at which he retired from the Navy due to complete disability. We are both residing in Jacksonville, Florida and are blessed with seven beautiful grandchildren. 

I am not sure why you would wish to post about a surface warfare officer to what is essentially a special warfare web site, but you have my permission to do so, if you wish. 

Again, I thank you so very much for all of the wonderful pictures and memories. 

Carry on. 

Nancy Booth

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Thank you very much for the kudos, Nancy.  I wish to post your story and Mr. Booth’s picture because has pictures and stories , and readers, of OTHER THAN  U.S.Navy SEALs.  You are the prime example!  You and all the rest of the fans that visit this web site is my reason for continuing to add, and to edit
Again, My sincerest Thanks,
Your friend, Erasmo “Doc Rio” Riojas, USN Retired

From:  klk7   [at]  smunet  DOT Net
To: Doc Riojas
Wed, Jul 6, 2011

Thank you for your reply. 

I do appreciate you putting me on your web site. HOOT was one of my most favorite shipmates, although I didn’t know him on the ship. He made several reunions, and he found out about them through my putting the notices in the VFW & Legion magazines. Thanks again for your service, and if there is a doubt of any kind about putting me on the web, I will understand. You Seals are the best special operative group ever organized. Take care & be well. 

Lane Kunath RM2/c
USS Hinsdale APA-120
Iwo Jima & Okinawa survivor

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source: Fire in the Hole Vol XXIV No. VII Spring 2009

These are some old pictures from my family back in Vietnam

Thu, May 12, 2011 

Quang Nguyen
Creative Director/Founder
Caddis Advertising, LLC
quang [at] caddisad  DOT com    Office


🙂 Howdy, Rio ~
Good hearing back from you.

Glad to hear you folks are going to be in attendance for the 50th. That’s great.

Yes, I served with ST-2 from 1984 to 1987. Rick Woolard was the skipper when I first checked aboard, and, of course, Rudy was the MCPOC and senior Bull Frog then. I sure did enjoy the time there. A bunch of hard-chargers to learn from, for sure.

Billy Hoffmann

from: John Stevens
to: Doc Riojas
Mon, Apr 18, 2011
subject: My Dad

Doc Rio,

Recently, I was led to your website by a link in a message from a friend.  On page 15 .     I was surprised to see a copy of the email that I sent to Pat Park and a number of other friends, informing them of the death of my friend Ryan Job.  I am honored that you and Pat thought it worthy of inclusion on your site.  I often think of Ryan and give thanks I had the opportunity to meet him.


I have, of course, read through the site and learned about you, sir, and your service to our country.  I thought it almost eerily coincidental that my father, who was only four years older than you, managed to catch the tail end of WWII by joining the Navy at age 17.  Appropriately enough, he served on Okinawa as a Corpsman for the Marines.  I have attached a copy of the memorial page I set up for him in the National WWII Memorial Registry.


I believe you would have liked him.  He graduated from the University of Miami of Florida and became the second college graduate to join the Florida Highway Patrol in the early 50’s.  Some of my best memories are of him coming home to our little house in Orlando in his gray uniform with the Stetson hat and the Sam Browne belt, looking about ten feet tall.  Sometimes his friend Chuck Saunders (the first college graduate to join FHP) would drive him home and I got to sit in the black and cream pursuit car.  Dad left FHP and became chief of security at the old Martin Orlando missile plant in Orlando.  A football fanatic, he quit that job and founded the Missile Bowl, the armed forces football championship back in the days when the services fielded teams, often filled with pro-ball ringers who had been drafted.


He did a lot of other things, but he was always first and foremost a great dad.  I guess the craziness ran true in the family because I became the first lawyer to join the Metropolitan Police Department in Nashville, Tennessee.  Now I am a trial attorney with the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.


I hope you don’t mind my writing and sharing this story with you.  I do want to thank you for all that you have given the rest of us through your service and for sharing it on your site.  If I can ever be of service to you, I hope you will call on me.


Very respectfully,


John E. Stevens

Vienna, Virginia





Thank you very much John. I will meet your father in the future of in heaven in the Hall of Heroes.

—Original Message—–
From: Larry Bailey [mailto:larrywb [at]suddenlink  DOT net]
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011
To: john.edward.stevens [at] usa  DOT  net
Subject: Re: Thanks 

John, I couldn’t open the attachment. Could you send it in the body of an e-maill? Thanks! 

My address is  Chocowinity, NC 27817. 


On Apr 20, 2011,
John Stevens wrote: 

Hi, Captain Bailey! 

It is good to hear from you. Doc Riojas has been kind enough to post the email I wrote about Ryan Job back in 2009 and to put my Dad’s WWII Memorial page on his site. 

When I was about 6, I used to wear Dad’s steel pot and march around with my Trainer rifle. Once, I asked him why he had scraped the Red Cross off the helmet (I could see where it had been), and he answered in kind of a grim way, “Because it was just a target for the Japs.” (This was in the 50’s before we had to be culturally sensitive.) 

He also explained to me how Corpsmen are pretty much the only Navy personnel that Marines will tolerate. Right after he finished advanced training for independent duty in the Pacific, he was at a bar with his buddy knocking a few back before they shipped out (to Okinawa, as it happened). A very large Army sergeant began to hector him, trying to pick a fight. My Dad was not a small man, but he said this guy had him worried. Just when he thought he was going to have to swing, a little Hispanic Gunnery Sergeant pushed him away, saying, “Stand aside, Doc. I’ll take care of this prick.” And the fight was on. At this point in the story, Dad would smile and say, “We took care of the Marines, and the Marines took care of us.” 

I hope you are enjoying life. Maybe I can get out to Phoenix the next time you visit, and you, Mac, Steve, and I can all get together. 

Stay frosty, 

P.S. I attached my contact info just in case you need to reach me for anything. Don’t hesitate. I’m only two years from retirement and I don’t give a @#$!

This email was cleaned by emailStripper, available for free from


By Sylvia Riojas-Vaughn

Father’s screams wake us again,
maybe the neighbors, too – thin walls.
We children huddle at our bedroom doors,
watch him thunder downstairs,
flailing his arms,
shouting, Get down, get down!
Mother rushes behind him, yells,
Wake up, wake up! You’re safe!
Their low voices soon drift from the kitchen,
Mother hollers to go back to bed,
but sleep eludes me.
I remember the stories of the slain recounted
over arroz con pollo,
\wonder which firefight
Father relives tonight.

Nils Berger Olsen

U.S. Army

Brooklyn, NY

CTRCM Thomas H. Helvig USN (Ret), Nephew









NOTE: This narrative is being included in the World War II “Book of Remembrances” at the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.   Entries such as this one for Nils Berger Olsen are available to all World War II participants.      CTRCM Thomas H. Helvig USN (Ret), Nephew

Rear Admiral Gary W. Rosholt

Deputy Commanding General, Special Operations Command,
U.S. Central Command

Rear Admiral Gary W. Rosholt, the son of a career U.S. Air Force officer, was commissioned through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Upon graduating from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training, Class 106 in February 1980, he was assigned to Underwater Demolition Team 12, where he made two Western Pacific deployments with Amphibious Ready Groups. He was then transferred to SEAL Team 1 as the command’s diving officer, and then completed another deployment to the 7th Fleet as a strike platoon commander.

Rosholt’s shore duty assignment was as the training program coordinator for Naval Special Warfare officer and enlisted training with the Chief of Naval Technical Training in Millington, Tenn. During this time, he also completed his Master of Science degree in Operations Management from the University of Arkansas. In his next assignment, he served as the executive officer of Special Boat Unit 20. There he completed two deployments as deputy commander to Mobile Sea Base Hercules in the Northern Persian Gulf during Operation Earnest Will.

During his first assignment in the Reserve Component, Rosholt was a special projects officer with the Naval Surface Warfare Center, White Oak, Mass. He then served as an action officer for Joint and Navy Special Operations issues on the OPNAV staff in Warfare Policy. He was then assigned as commanding officer of NR SIMA Norfolk Detachment 406. With NR OPNAV N85/N86 106, he served as a requirements officer in the Expeditionary Warfare Division, Naval Special Warfare Branch. He also commanded both NR Special Boat Unit 20 and NR Naval Special Warfare Unit 4. As a Navy emergency preparedness liaison officer, he served with the Director of Military Support and as the Navy liaison within the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense. He then served as commanding officer of NR U.S. Special Operations Command Detachment 108 and commanding officer, NR Naval Special Warfare Command HQ.

Rosholt is currently serving as the deputy commanding general of the Special Operations Command, U.S. Central Command.

Rosholt’s personal decorations include two Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Meritorious Service Medal, four Navy Commendation Medals, the Army Commendation Medal and permanent award of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge.

In his civilian career, Rosholt is a consultant specializing in Special Operations-peculiar research, development and acquisition programs. He is licensed as a professional engineer by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Updated: 15 October 2008

Chuck Newell Jr. & his Kids
John Eric Branchizio
Steve Waterman, Navy Photographer
"Bad Bo"

 17 Oct 1924 – 02 June 2011

Rear Admiral Roop was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1924, and enlisted as a Naval Aviation Cadet in 1942. He was called to active duty in July 1943, and discharged as a seaman first class in January 1946, following various naval ground and flight schools.

He entered the University of Southern California on a football scholarship and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in commercial aviation. Upon graduation, he received a direct commission to Ensign. Recalled to active duty in during the Korean conflict, he was assigned to the USS Logan (APA 195) as assistant boat group commander. Prior to release from active duty, he completed training at the Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, joined Underwater Demolition Team FIVE, and served as Operations Officer.

Rejoining the Naval Reserve, he served in the air intelligence program from 1954 to 1967, as executive officer and, ultimately, Commanding Officer. In 1959, he achieved an MS degree, and in 1971, a Doctorate in Education, both from the University of Southern California.

Following promotion to Captain, he transferred to the Naval Air Reserve Staff, Naval Air Station, Los Alamitos, and ultimately was selected as the Commander. Following a brief tour with the Los Angeles Recruiting Office, he rejoined the intelligence community and, after transfer to Volunteer Training Unit 0994, continued in the intelligence program on a TAD basis until promotion to Rear Admiral in April 1980. At this time he took charge of the Reserve Command of Region 19. In 1982 he went on active duty as the Deputy Director of Naval Reserve at the Pentagon. Admiral Roop retired from the Navy in 1984 and returned to southern California.

Rear Admiral Roop has received the Meritorius Unit Commendation, WWII Victory Medal, American Theatre, China Service, Korean Conflict with one battle star, National Defense, Good Conduct, as well as several United Nations medals and awards.

While in retirement the Admiral was a consultant at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California, assisting in the training of the candidates for the SEALS. In 1987 Admiral Roop returned again to the Washington area as the Commandant of the Defense Intelligence College until he retired in 1990.

In civilian life, the Admiral was an educator for 32 years, serving as teacher, coach, counselor, high school assistant principal, intermediate school principal, high school principal, and assistant superintendent of the Bellflower and Huntington Beach, Union High School Districts in California. Active in community affairs including Rotary and the Long Beach Boy Scout Council, he was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by the Huntington Harbour Rotary Club. He served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the World Affairs Council of Orange County.

The Admiral was a consultant for the Commander, Thirtieth Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, and to a directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He taught Leadership at the Marshall School of Business, USC, and was also employed for leadership training by a number of businesses.

 Howard is survived by his wife, Harriet B. Roop, daughters Catherine Grey and Darla Haller, grandchildren Anne Grey and Ryan Basden.


Celebration of Life June 17 at 12 PM-Fairhaven Memorial Park, Santa Ana-in lieu of flowers the family requests donations to Education Outreach of the World Affairs Council OC, the United States Navy League Orange County Council, or the Orange County Philharmonic Society.

Seal Team Zero T shirt

A native of East Texas, where he graduated from Marshall High School and Stephen F. Austin State College, Larry Bailey was raised on a dairy farm, where he milked an estimated 300,000 Holsteins and Jerseys. Upon graduation from college, he went to Navy Officer Candidate School and was commissioned an ensign in 1962.  After a less-than-stellar eight months as a destroyer sailor, he volunteered for Underwater Demolition Training at Little Creek, Virginia, and graduated therefrom in January 1964.  After spending a year at UDT-22, he transferred to SEAL Team TWO, where he spent the next three years.  Among his deployments at that command were combat tours to the Dominican Republic and Viet Nam.

Larry’s 27-year Navy career saw him stationed in Panama, Bolivia, Scotland, the Philippines, and Viet Nam, in addition to various stateside postings, which included Little Creek, VA; Coronado, CA; and Ft. Bragg, NC.  He commanded Naval Special Warfare Unit TWO in Machrihanish, Scotland, and Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado.  He retired from the US Special Operations Command in 1990.

Since retirement, Larry has worked as a consultant, speechwriter, fundraiser, and general gad-about.  His most notable activities included presiding over Vietnam Vets for the Truth, which campaigned against John Kerry in 2004, and over Vets for the Truth, which unsuccessfully tried to deny John Murtha a 17th term in Congress.

Larry and his wife Judy are the parents of two adult children: Tucker and Hallie.


Wayne Jacobs
David Godshall, David Kohler, Tom Norris Adm. Olson
Dick Young
Rich Young, Dick's son

What do you look for in a person when building a team?

I like to deal with people who have a degree of humility about themselves and who express themselves with a quiet confidence. I don’t like a whole lot of high-fiving in the end zone or when people overstate and under-deliver. I like people who can understate and over-deliver. The great military men and women I’ve been around have had a great degree of humility in them even though they are great Americans that accomplished great things.

                              John Morgan, senior global strategist, Toffler Associates;     said that !

SSGT Bruce Cullen USMC


 That’s from spending to much time in the goat locker…LOL  Alright let me ID those for you. Use your best judgment Doc. Again I think I have some UDT pictures or may  not have any I really can’t remember I know I have some of us working the Mike boats in the Dominican Republic..So let me pull out the old seabag.  Best…To you my friend,

 bruce  cullen   


LT. R.W.Peterson USNavy SEAL

 DOc, Still kickin ass after all these years. The one in civilian cloths was taken at my bunker this year. The other posed shot was taken at Camp Pendleton in 1968-9 I was E4 then and on my way to PI for school then RVN. 

Hey if you ever get to San Antonio Stop in at the Drop Zone Café it’s owned by Hope & Ed Fernandez. My picture is on the wall. I am a life member of the “Alamo Silver Wings Airborne Association” 

Email:   Bruce Cullen    [at]   charter   DOT  net


SRU announces 2013 Athletic Hall of Fame induction class Rick Allen, Louis Hanna, Cheryl Levick, Fred Lucas, Robert Peterson, Steve Rihel and Lucy Sack will be honored Sept. 28 during The Rock’s home football weekend vs. Mercyhurst University

  Robert W. Peterson (SRU Class of 1961) earned All-America honors in swimming and lettered four years in track and field before starting a distinguished career as a Naval seal and intelligence officer.


Every Marine is  a rifleman

This is my rifle.
There are many like it, but this one is mine. .
It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. .
Without me my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless..
I must fire my rifle true..
I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me. .
I must shoot him before he shoots me..
I will..
My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make..
We know that it is the hits that count..
We will hit.

My rifle is human, even as I am human, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other.

Before God I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy

Bruce and Cheryl Cullen


James W. “Doc” Myers,  (1941 – 2010)

October 25, 1941 – July 29, 2010
James W. Myers, 68, of Edgerton, passed away on Thursday, July 29, 2010, at his home with his loving family by his side. He was born on Oct. 25, 1941, in Edgerton, son of the late Donald and Bernadine (Holmes) Myers. He was united in marriage on July 14, 1988, to Joan Dallman in Lake Tahoe, NV. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Edgerton. 

He retired from the Navy after 20 years of service in Special Warfare. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, Kayaking, taking his dog for rides and watching Jeopardy. He was a life member of the V.F.W., the Military Order of The Purple Heart and Vietnam Veterans. He was also a member of the Marine Corps League and the UDT/Seal Association, Knights of Columbus and past Grand Knight, a Eucharistic Minister and an Usher at St. Joseph Catholic Church.

He is survived by his loving wife of 22 years, Joan of Edgerton; two daughters, Stacy (Josh) Finn of Edgerton and Sara Lund of Janesville; two grandchildren, Madison and Brooke Finn; and many cousins, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by one daughter, Trisha; and one son, James.
Mass of Christian Burial will be at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2010, at ST. JOSEPH CATHOLIC CHURCH, Edgerton, with Father David Timmerman officiating. Burial will be in the Fulton Cemetery. Friends may call on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010, at the EHLERT FUNERAL HOME, (US HWY 51 S) Edgerton from 4 until 7 p.m. and at the CHURCH on Tuesday from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Full Military services will be held at the Cemetery by the Edgerton Memorial Squad.

Pepe Lopez
Daniel Guzman (Nephew)
"Temo" Rocha
David Riojas JR.(my nephew's son)
Chris Tolentino (nephew)


Father in Heaven, watch over America’s sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, in their hour of peril. Bring them home safely to their loved ones. Wrap your loving arms around the wounded, and bring to your side the ones who have lost their lives. Let their loved ones know peace of mind from the pain of having lost those who were so dear to them. Let their children learn wisdom as they grow up without their mothers and fathers. Amen

click on graphic

Dear Members of the Community  ,

September 11, 2001 was a day of great sacrifice for Americans.

 No group has better understood that, nor has acted in such a manner as to make that sacrifice a more meaningful page in our nation’s history, than the United States Navy SEALs. The SEALs have taken the fight to the enemy with extraordinary result. But their success has not been without cost. 

More SEALs have made the ultimate sacrifice in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom than in any other conflict since Vietnam. Please join me in honoring the memories of Naval Special Warfare’s fallen heroes in the Global War on Terror. 


Keep their families in your thoughts. And let their examples of selflessness and sacrifice be an inspiration in your own lives. 

Kind regards, 

Mark Divine
Founder and CEO
BUD/S 170

Norman K. Ott, Jr.
1931 – 2009

Ott, Jr., Norman K., 78, of St. Petersburg, died , March 25, 2009. 

Born in Allentown, PA, he came here in 1988 from Vienna, Virginia. He was a graduate of Allentown High School. He was also a graduate of Lehigh University with a BS degree in Electrical Engineering as well as competing on the school swim team. He was a United States Navy veteran. 

He worked for Sylvania Electric as well as Westinghouse as a Sales Engineer in Pittsburgh, PA. From 1962 to 1991 he worked as an Operations Officer for the Central Intelligence Agency conducting operations in Turkey, Africa, Vietnam, Cuba, Persian Gulf and the Near East areas. His last assignment was as the CIA Intelligence Advisor to General Schwarzkopf at CentCom Headquarters in Tampa, FL during Operation Desert Storm. 

He was Protestant. In his youth, he attained the rank of Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow in the Boy Scouts. His reserve SEAL team helped train the original Mercury 7 astronauts in water landings. While serving as scout master in Istanbul, Turkey, he led an annual swim from Asia to Europe across the Bosphorus Strait. 

He was an avid tennis player and worked as a league coordinator for the USTA and played in numerous leagues. He was a loving husband and father, scout master, football coach, soccer coach, basketball coach, advisor, provider and family comedian. Upon moving to St. Petersburg in 1988 and retiring in 1991, he spent his time playing with his granddaughters, sailing, playing tennis and was President of the local chapter of the UDT/SEAL Association. He is survived by wife, Ruth Ann Ott, St. Petersburg, FL.


Roy P. Benadvidez, M.O.H., Vietnam
Roy P. Benavidez & Erasmo "Doc" Riojas

MSG Roy P. Benavidez Vietnam R.I.P.

On 2 May 1968, 12 Green Berets were surrounded near Loc Ninh, South Vietnam, by an entire battalion of NVA. They were thus outnumbered, 12 men versus about 1,000. They dug in and tried to hold them off, but were not going to last long. Benavidez heard their distress call over a radio in town and boarded a rescue helicopter with first aid equipment. He did not have time to grab a weapon before the helicopter left, so he voluntarily jumped into the hot LZ armed only with his knife.

He sprinted across 75 meters of open terrain through withering small arms and machine gun fire to reach the pinned down MACV-SOG team. By the time he reached them, he had been shot 4 times, twice in the right leg, once through both cheeks, which knocked out four molars, and a glancing shot off his head.

He ignored these wounds and began administering first aid. The rescue chopper left as it was not designed to extract men. An extraction chopper was sent for, and Benavidez took command of the men by directing their fire around the edges of the clearing in order to facilitate the chopper’s landing. When the aircraft arrived, he supervised the loading of the wounded on board, while throwing smoke canisters to direct the chopper’s exact landing. He was wounded severely and at all times under heavy enemy crossfire, but still carried and dragged half of the wounded men to the chopper.

He then ran alongside the landing skids providing protective fire into the trees as the chopper moved across the LZ collecting the wounded. The enemy fire got worse, and Benavidez was hit solidly in the left shoulder. He got back up and ran to the platoon leader, dead in the open, and retrieved classified documents. He was shot in the abdomen, and a grenade detonated nearby peppering his back with shrapnel.

The chopper pilot was mortally wounded then, and his chopper crashed. Benavidez was in extremely critical condition, and still refused to fall. He ran to the wreckage and got the wounded out of the aircraft, and arranged them into a defensive perimeter to wait for the next chopper. The enemy automatic rifle fire and grenades only intensified, and Benavidez ran and crawled around the perimeter giving out water and ammunition.

The NVA was building up to wipe them out, and Benavidez called in tactical air strikes with a squawk box and threw smoke to direct the fire of arriving gunships. Just before the extraction chopper landed, he was shot again in the left thigh while giving first aid to a wounded man. He still managed to get to his feet and carry some of the men to the chopped, directing the others, when an NVA soldier rushed from the woods and clubbed him over the head with an AK-47. This caused a skull fracture and a deep gash to his left upper arm, and yet he still got back up and decapitated the soldier with one swing of his knife, severing the spine and all tissue on one side of the neck. He then resumed carrying the wounded to the chopper and returning for others, and was shot twice more in the lower back. He shot two more NVA soldiers trying to board the chopper, then made one last trip around the LZ to be sure all documents were retrieved, and finally boarded the chopper. He had lost 2 quarts of blood. Before he blacked out, he shouted to one of the other Green Berets, “Another great day to be in South Vietnam!”

This battle lasted six hours. He had been wounded 37 times.

Hoo-Yah, Master Sergeant Roy Benavidez ~

Talk about a small world here, man: Roy’s young nephew, Jesse
Benavidez, was a young Petty Officer who served at SEAL Team VI as a
support technician in the 90’s. After I left RED Assault Team and was
serving as the command Chief Master-at-Arm’s Jesse was one of my
assistants (-as a Disbursing Clerk) and he told me of his uncle Roy.
Of course he was very proud of him.

That was an outstanding video and I plan on forwarding it to some

William F. Hoffmann (SEAL), October 25, 2010

Roy P. Benavidez, Recipient Of Medal of Honor, Dies at 63

Published: December 04, 1998

Roy P. Benavidez, a former Green Beret sergeant who received the Medal of Honor from President Ronald Reagan for heroism while wounded in the Vietnam War, then fought to keep the Government from cutting off his disability payments, died on Sunday at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He was 63.

Mr. Benavidez, who lived in El Campo, Tex., suffered respiratory failure, the hospital said. His right leg was amputated in October because of complications of diabetes.

On the morning of May 2, 1968, Mr. Benavidez, a staff sergeant with the Army’s Special Forces, the Green Berets, heard the cry ”get us out of here” over his unit’s radio while at his base in Loc Ninh, South Vietnam. He also heard ”so much shooting, it sounded like a popcorn machine.”

The call for aid came from a 12-man Special Forces team — 3 Green Berets and 9 Montagnard tribesmen — that had been ambushed by North Vietnamese troops at a jungle site a few miles inside Cambodia.

Sergeant Benavidez jumped aboard an evacuation helicopter that flew to the scene. ”When I got on that copter, little did I know we were going to spend six hours in hell,” he later recalled.

After leaping off the helicopter, Sergeant Benavidez was shot in the face, head and right leg, but he ran toward his fellow troops, finding four dead and the others wounded.

He dragged survivors aboard the helicopter, but its pilot was killed by enemy fire as he tried to take off, and the helicopter crashed and burned. Sergeant Benavidez got the troops off the helicopter, and over the next six hours, he organized return fire, called in air strikes, administered morphine and recovered classified documents, although he got shot in the stomach and thigh and hit in the back by grenade fragments.

He was bayoneted by a North Vietnamese soldier, whom he killed with a knife. Finally, he shot two enemy soldiers as he dragged the survivors aboard another evacuation helicopter.

When he arrived at Loc Ninh, Sergeant Benavidez was unable to move or speak. Just as he was about to be placed into a body bag, he spit into a doctor’s face to signal that he was still alive and was evacuated for surgery in Saigon.

Sergeant Benavidez was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1968, but a subsequent recommendation from his commanding officer that he receive the Medal of Honor, the military’s highest award for valor, could not be approved until a witness confirmed his deeds.

That happened in 1980, when Brian O’Connor, the Green Beret who had radioed the frantic message seeking evacuation, was found in the Fiji Islands. Mr. O’Connor told how Mr. Benavidez had rescued eight members of his patrol despite being wounded repeatedly.

President Reagan presented the Medal of Honor to Mr. Benavidez at the Pentagon on Feb. 24, 1981.

Shortly before Memorial Day 1983, Mr. Benavidez came forward to say that the Social Security Administration planned to cut off disability payments he had been receiving since he retired from the Army as a master sergeant in 1976. He still had two pieces of shrapnel in his heart and a punctured lung and was in constant pain from his wounds.

The Government, as part of a cost-cutting review that had led to the termination of disability assistance to 350,000 people over the preceding two years, had decided that Mr. Benavidez could find employment.

”It seems like they want to open up your wounds and pour a little salt in,” Mr. Benavidez said. ”I don’t like to use my Medal of Honor for political purposes or personal gain, but if they can do this to me, what will they do to all the others?”

A White House spokesman said President Reagan was ”personally concerned” about Mr. Benavidez’s situation, and 10 days later the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Margaret M. Heckler, said the disability reviews would become more ”humane and compassionate.”

Soon afterward, wearing his Medal of Honor, Mr. Benavidez told the House Select Committee on Aging that ”the Administration that put this medal around my neck is curtailing my benefits.”

Mr. Benavidez appealed the termination of assistance to an administrative law judge, who ruled in July 1983 that he should continue receiving payments.

When President Reagan presented Mr. Benavidez with the Medal of Honor, he asked the former sergeant to speak to young people. Mr. Benavidez did, visiting schools to stress the need for the education he never had.

Born in South Texas, the son of a sharecopper, Mr. Benavidez was orphaned as a youngster. He went to live with an uncle, but dropped out of middle school because he was needed to pick sugar beets and cotton. He joined the Army at 19, went to airborne school, then was injured by a land mine in South Vietnam in 1964. Doctors feared he would never walk again, but he recovered and became a Green Beret. He was on his second Vietnam tour when he carried out his rescue mission.

Mr. Benavidez is survived by his wife, Hilaria; a son, Noel; two daughters, Yvette Garcia and Denise Prochazka; a brother, Roger; five stepbrothers, Mike, Eugene, Frank, Nick and Juquin Benavidez; four sisters, Mary Martinez, Lupe Chavez, Helene Vallejo and Eva Campos, and three grandchildren.

Over the years, fellow Texans paid tribute to Mr. Benavidez. Several schools, a National Guard armory and an Army Reserve center were named for him.

But he did not regard himself as someone special.

”The real heroes are the ones who gave their lives for their country,” Mr. Benavidez once said. ”I don’t like to be called a hero. I just did what I was trained to do.”

Arron Justiss
Amir Pishadad
Dave Bird
Dave Phelan
John barttelson
Danny Dietz
Welt Doc Gary
Dave Phelan
Rick Nuygen , LCDR Dentist
Neil Roberts
Joe Baimbridge (with the cane)

Routine and Offbeat Exploits that Team Members have been Talking and Laughing about for Years
— New Second Edition!

Navy Seal Nick Nickelson (KNMF Chair!) relives brutal Hell Week that broke most men’s spirits while strengthening others. Learn what SEALs go through and find out if you have what it takes. You will be surprised by who passes and who fails to make it through Hell Week, and you will laugh at preposterous situations that young Navy SEALs find themselves in.

The Book Contains:

One of the missions Nick was charged with as a UDT/SEAL was the rescue of Astronaut Gordon Cooper in the Faith 7 Landing.

Nick is standing on the right, after placing the floatation collar on the capsule. Astronaut Cooper is inside the capsule (see photo to right).

The new Second Edition of HOOYAH! includes many new stories plus all the stories from the First Edition. The Second Edition contains 43 stories and 22 photos related to Naval Special Warfare and the men who belonged to the Navy’s elite UDT/SEAL teams during the 1960s. Some stories are humorous and some are not. Most of the stories relate to West Coast BUDS Training and Class-28. The remaining stories relate to specific events supported by the Teams during the 1960s. Historic events such as “The Cuban Missile Crisis”, “Project Mercury: Faith 7”, and “Naval Pentathlon” are but three examples. This book contains many stories that are humorous and depict the style or character of the individual capable of surviving training and life in the Teams. Other stories relate to historic events and the men from Naval Special Warfare who supported them. All stories document events Team members have been talking and laughing about for years.

The Author, Nick

Routine and Offbeat Exploits that Team Members have been Talking and Laughing about for Years

— New Second Edition!               

Navy Seal Nick Nickelson (KNMF Chair!) relives brutal Hell Week that broke most men’s spirits while strengthening others. Learn what SEALs go through and find out if you have what it takes. You will be surprised by who passes and who fails to make it through Hell Week, and you will laugh at preposterous situations that young Navy SEALs find themselves in.

The Book Contains:

One of the missions Nick was charged with as a UDT/SEAL was the rescue of Astronaut Gordon Cooper in the Faith 7 Landing.

Nick is standing on the right, after placing the floatation collar on the capsule. Astronaut Cooper is inside the capsule (see photo to right).

The new Second Edition of HOOYAH! includes many new stories plus all the stories from the First Edition. The Second Edition contains 43 stories and 22 photos related to Naval Special Warfare and the men who belonged to the Navy’s elite UDT/SEAL teams during the 1960s. 

Some stories are humorous and some are not. Most of the stories relate to West Coast BUDS Training and Class-28. The remaining stories relate to specific events supported by the Teams during the 1960s. Historic events such as “The Cuban Missile Crisis”, “Project Mercury: Faith 7”, and “Naval Pentathlon” are but three examples. 

This book contains many stories that are humorous and depict the style or character of the individual capable of surviving training and life in the Teams. Other stories relate to historic events and the men from Naval Special Warfare who supported them. 

All stories document events Team members have been talking and laughing about for years.

The Author, Nick Nickelson, will receive $2.50 in book sale proceeds for each book sold by Heritage Books, Inc. Nick is donating all his book sales proceeds to The Kenny Nickelson Memorial Foundation for Homeless Veterans (KNMF), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt charity for each sale they make. 

There is no extra charge for Shipping and handling (S&H is Free). If you order the book directly from KNMF, approximately $5-8 from the sale of each book will benefit this charitable organization (see “To Order a Book” below).

No further copies of the First Edition will be printed. Sales by JoNa Books do not benefit KNMF or the Author. KNMF is selling the remainders of the First Edition that they have in stock.


Bob Kelley

I ran out of reading material yesterday so I am again reading your HooYah book. I never read a book twice but your book is like visiting an old friend. The 60’s were a time in our lives that seem like yesterday. What some people may consider PTSD we regard as great memories and a high point in our lives. Hope to see you at the reunion this year. Take care.

Larry Nelson, Cdr USN (Ret); UDT 22, UDT 21, SEAL Team 2, SBU-12, CNO (OP-954G)

I’m a retired SEAL from the VietNam era, and though I’m a little abashed to say that the deployment of my platoon from UDT 22, which was supposed to augment UDT 13 in country in 1969, was canceled, I am pleased to support you and your son’s memorial fund. He sounds like a terrific guy. I know if I were you I would be asking myself the same question: “How can I best honor my son?” You are doing him GREAT honor by continuing his selfless service. I look forward to reading your book and knowing that in my buying it, I will be supporting you in your most heartfelt expression of the love you have for your son. Hooyah!

Hadji “Jim Foley,” B.U.D.S. Class 28, 1962

For those true “Teams” enthusiasts this second edition rendered by Mr. Nickelson is a must read! His talent for reliving “Our” past, some 40 plus years ago is truly heart warming. Nothing but more truth, emotion, and devotion. His related events are not pumped with hype nor sensationalism–but simply the “GRIT” which each “Team Mate” possessed. “Simply basic, thorough, and natural easy reading!” Thank You, Richard G. “Nick” Nickelson and family – “A Hearty Well Done!” Love You Brother.

Dennis McCormack

I enjoyed reading your book, and discovered that we share friendships with some of the same people. Bob Wagner was a good friend and, I in fact, relieved him at DaNang in 1964. As there were only 60 of us in the first Seal team, we got to know each other rather well in a short period of time. 

Tom McDonald, Frank Waton, and I went through training together in class 23. Ted Mathison, R.E., Roger Sick, Roger Moscone, Tiz Morrison (by the way, like Beartracks, Tiz was the ultimate pickup man), Richard Allen, Beartracks, and another Allen who was a welter weight boxing champion, whose first name escapes me, Roscoe Thrift, Layton Bassett, and the list goes on and on of people I knew in a way that only another team member would understand. I think of my teammates often. 

I was on the All-Navy Boxing team, certainly not at the same level of expertise as Richard Allen or Bob, for that matter, but between being a boxer as well as being combative measures instructor for ST1, suspect that was why Bob and I had a close affinity with one another. I enlisted in the Navy in 1956 at 17, spent 2 years on a destroyer before I could get into the teams. I was a RM1-P1 in 1963, and was leading Petty Officer for 37A ops out of DaNang in 1964. 

I was in UDT-12 from 1959-1962 (4th Platoon with Paul McNally and Lloyd Cobb, who seemed to snatch up all of the jocks right out of training. Did you ever work with Delmar Fredrickson? David Wilson? David was the 2nd Seal killed in combat), and Seal Team ONE from 1962-1965. Ah, for the good old days!!! I did not know Bill Robinson while on active duty, but became good friends with him after he retired. He was one of my biggest fans, and would constantly brag about my academic exploits. Cathal (Irish) Flynn was and remains a good friend of mine. We went to Vietnam together.

 I decided to take advantage of a scholarship and got out of the Navy in December 1965 and ultimately became a clinical psychologist, after a stint as a high school football coach and math teacher. I just retired in 2005, finishing up my career as Chief, Department of Behavioral Medicine for Winn Army Community Hospital. Impresses the hell out of me. Ha-Ha!!

 General Webster would introduce me as the SEAL Shrink, as he said that would give me instant credibility with his troops, and it did! I also worked with the 160th out of Hunter, if you are familiar of their work with dev group. We might have met, who knows, but I don’t recall you by name. Sometimes I would instruct UDT personnel in karate and judo, or we could have met on the rugby or football field. 

It was sad, but at the beginning of the formation of Seal Team ONE, “they” moved us away from the strand to a nondescript supply Quonset hut on base, so we had little contact with our former teammates. At any rate, it is entirely possible that we ran into each other. 

Your book brought back a flood of memories; can’t you tell? Take care.


Pamela J. Russell NSW Archives (Fort Collins, CO)

A highly readable collection of short stories about one man’s experience as a member of the Navy’s elite Underwater Demolition Teams, specifically UDT-12, during the tumultuous 1960’s.

 The author does not attempt to paint a broad historical overview of the Teams but rather presents an intimate insider’s perspective of one boat crew, seven men, who train together and forge a bond of friendship and trust that lasts a lifetime. 

Nick Nickelson writes with a keen memory for detail, an understanding of his fellow man, and an obvious love and respect for his teammates. I enjoyed his recall of the 1963 operation with astronaut Gordon Cooper and the Mercury Capsule, a part of UDT history that is seldom told. I hope he has more stories to tell.

Jim Foley, UDT-12, (62-65) Class-28 West Coast

I thoroughly enjoyed your book from cover to cover. Picked it up and never laid it down, in spite of the tears rolling down my cheeks. Ha Ha Your recall is remarkable, only your face was absent it was as if we were sitting across from each other. You have a wonderful playful way of weaving your stories, coupled with the candid humor. 

Nick, I can’t say enough about your renderings even if I knew none of the characters, I do now. Above all, no macho crap but valid nuances which will entertain all those who indulge as it pyramids to one of the most personal, insightful readings in the S.O.G. realm.

Rev. Thomas P. Rausch, S.J., Loyola Marymount University

I’m enjoying your book: amazed that while I was going through my novitiate at Los Gatos (1960-62) you were doing Hell Week and all that other punishment; don’t know how you did it. But it’s good reading, good stories, well told. Didn’t know you were a writer. Nice going! You have much to be proud of.

Dave Walker, Seabee Team 0311, Vietnam Combat Veteran

I finished the book over the weekend and enjoyed it immensely! Like a breath of fresh air to finally read something about the teams that wasn’t a lot of hype. I like the way that you put photos throughout the book and didn’t clump them all together. I also appreciate your style. It is refreshing to read.

Anyway, thank you again for your book. I really did enjoy it and plan on buying some for Christmas presents. I have never bought a book about the teams for myself or anyone else. This will be a first. Thank you again for all that you did in putting these stories in book form.

Chris Bent, UDT-21 (64-66), Class-31 East Coast

I gave up going to the Cher Concert here last night as I was curled up with your wonderful book. The language of the teams floated throughout my being and I savored your journey just cannot remember any pain, just camaraderie. We did stand in sleet in the surf with our shirts off and our rock portage was over an ice-covered jetty but all that for later. Loved your book and got to like you Godspeed & Hooyah.

Chief Don Belcher, UDT-12/UDU ONE

Started reading your book last night and finished this a.m. It brought back a lot of memories of UDT-12. Your book is great; it’s easy reading and sheds a lot of light on the teams and their customs! Take care.

Tom Copeland, UDT-12 (62-66) Class-28 West Coast

What a great walk down memory lane! Your book brought back many memories good and bad of Class-28 training. I am so glad you have a good memory and could put the training in the right prospective. Your right about the bond we all have through the years, the teamwork and brotherhood. Thanks for the memories.

Mr. and Mrs. John B. Kilroy, Kilroy Properties

Your well-crafted Book emphasizes facing challenges without yielding, as an individual, and more particularly, as a team. Mutual respect, mutual protection, mutual support, THE TEAM, that’s what it’s all about!! Total interdependence! the ULTIMATE BUDDY SYSTEM. We translate these guidelines to the base unit, THE FAMILY, and to the foundation of our magnificent Country. GOD BLESS THE FAMILY. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

For more information regarding HOOYAH!, please contact Doris Nickelson:

Telephone (310) 545-2937

FAX (310) 939-7738

or Email for HOOYAH! Info –> Click Here

Bret Lynch
Rick Powers
essie (Janos) Ventura
Mike Manello
Nick Rocha (SEAL)
Dave, Susie & Morgan Tannery
Chris, Key West FL
Dave "Doc" Tannery
Doug Taylor
Steve Anderson
T.C. Cummings
Rick Blackwood
Rudyh Boesch
D. P.
P.T. Schartz 'nam
James White
Hershel Haynes
C Dock Hooks
Gerry Flowers, USMC
Riojas, Paul Rump
Henry "Gutz" Gutierrez USMC Korea

“Thereare only two kinds of people that understand Marines:
people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy.
Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.”

  Victoria Hotel MyTho RVN Navy Cook

Lewis B. "Chesty" Puller
Cpl. Joseph Vitorri MOH Korea on Hill 749 Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Mar.Reg., 1st Mar.Div.(Reinforced)
Minh, he looks very much alive
Liberty in Olongapo P.I. with the "LBFMs" PBR Sailors: Lowell W. Dickey
Herschel Haynes
Herschel Haynes
Joseph Scho Walter
Jim "Mad Dog" Madison
P.T. Schartz
Robert Smith
Capt. Jack Menendez
Dave Phelan
Steve Anderson Robert Smith
michael a strenk.
Gary Wignall YN2 ST1
Tommy Cox and David LeJeune

  Curt Gibby Leon P. “Pepper” Tagle Dan Potts

Adm.Hyland & Capt.Paul Gray                     CDR.Thieu Ta Hiep LDNN


Jack Menendez & Jacklynne
Our Father
Alan, Kyle, Brain Kruppa
Steve Waterman
Linda Hubbell, John Hobbs, Pappy Hewlitt,Mike Driscoll, ???
Lourdes Tolentino Al ALberts John Hobbs Erasmo "Doc" Riojas
Joe "Red" Coyle Bernie Campoli
Joe Kruppa Ron Douglas
Harold Christensen

Doc Riojas;       I was stationed at Little Creek in SEAL Team 2 from April of 1968 to January of 1970.  Worked in the operations department handling messages, and assisting wherever needed. 

When i went to Vietnam, it was from Feb-Aug 1969. I think with Lt Yeaw was the platoon officer. I remember Harry Constance in the platoon, and somone named Bull. Not sure of the others.
I live in Connecticut, still employed (work at IBM), and am glad that i was able to find your website, and appreciate if you would post my pictures. Here they are:  

Thank you,  Harold Christensen

Harold Christensen

Picures of Harold Christensen from 1969 on deployment in Binh Thuy, Vietnam with ST2 platoon ~Feb-Aug 1969.

Doc Rio,      We traded notes a while back, and you asked me to see if i had any pictures of when i was attached to the ST2. As i searched some of my old antique boxes of memorabilia i did find some that i am attaching to this note. All three are from Binh Thuy, during the period Feb-Aug 1969. A long time ago. Take care, and i hope all is well with you.   Harold CHristensen

  Harold Christensen pointing to sign:  OIC NSAD, Binh Thuy ;  I do not know those two guys at the window.

Hi Doc Rio,

I can’t remember if we’ve ever bumped into one another at the reunion beer truck (Little Creek) over the years, but I was looking for information on the Gulf Coast Chapter (South Carolina in that one?) and ran across your website.

Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed perusing the photos.  A couple of the Afghanistan heroes were my platoon mates at one time when I was their platoon Chief at ST-8.  They sure made us proud, along with all our other fallen brothers. 

Seal Two was my first Team after jump school in 1986 and I got the real deal “welcome aboard”.  I don’t know how, what seemed like the whole Team mustered on the Quarter Deck, happened so quickly, but it was quite a surprise to get stripped, pink bellied, thrown off the pier, and told to check the watch bill so fast.

 So, after us FNGs learned proper “Welcome Aboard” and Team “check in” procedures, my Teammates and I carried on tradition in fine form, striving to outdo one another with deviant games and “pays to be a winner” competitions, always vigilant to spot a trio of FNG’s in starched cammies, holding a manila envelope with their boots shined, standing around out front or on the Quarterdeck. 

Later on as a platoon Chief, I even had the boys paint two sets of FNG (mandatory on the check in sheet) footprints in our platoon hut so they could get to know the new guys out of sight of the XO.

Anyway, Cheers mate!!  Enjoy the photo, I took it at the ST-10 QD last Feb when I went to Koch & Hardy’s memorial svc.

Steve Messer, ENCS(SEAL) – USN RET

BUD/S 140, ST-2, ST-6, ST-8, SERE, NSWC Det Hurlburt

Assistant Training Director   Government Training Institute  (GTI)

1349 Locust Ave    Denmark, SC  29042     Phone:  208-608-3983   Fax:  803-793-0060     email:  steve [at]      Web:

webmaster’s NOTE:      Thank you Steve.  You remined me of the my experience as a FNG at ST-2.  I was welcomed by Rudy Boesch at the quarterdeck.  He said, “welcome aboard, don’t unpack your bag, you will be going to Ranger School monday and you got the weekend watch.”    Doc Riojas

Happy Birthday to the United States Navy!
There was a time when everything you owned had to fit in your seabag.
Remember those nasty rascals?  Fully packed, one of the suckers weighed
more than the poor devil hauling it.  The damn things weighed a ton and
some idiot with an off-center sense of humor sewed a carry handle on it
to help you haul it.  Hell, you could bolt a handle on a Greyhound bus
but it wouldn’t make the damn thing portable.  The Army, Marines, and
Air Force got footlockers and WE got a big ole’ canvas bag.
After you warped your spine jackassing the goofy thing through a bus or
train station, sat on it waiting for connecting transportation and made
folks mad because it was too damn big to fit in any overhead rack on any
bus, train, and airplane ever made, the contents looked like hell.  All
your gear appeared to have come from bums who slept on park benches.
Traveling with a seabag was something left over from the “Yo-ho-ho and a
bottle of rum” sailing ship days.  Sailors used to sleep in hammocks, so
you stowed your issue in a big canvas bag and lashed your hammock to it,
hoisted it on your shoulder and, in effect, moved your entire home from
ship to ship. 
I wouldn’t say you traveled light because with ONE strap it was a one
shoulder load that could torque your skeletal frame and bust your
It was like hauling a dead linebacker.
They wasted a lot of time in boot camp telling you how to pack one of
the suckers.  There was an officially sanctioned method of organization
that you forgot after ten minutes on the other side of the gate at Great
Lakes or San Diego.
You got rid of a lot of the ‘issue’ gear when you went to a SHIP.  Did
you EVER know a tin-can sailor who had a raincoat?  A flat hat?  One of
those nut-hugger knit swimsuits? How bout those ‘roll-your-own’
neckerchiefs…the ones girls in a good Naval tailor shop would cut down
& sew into a ‘greasy snake’ for two bucks?
Within six months, EVERY fleet sailor was down to ONE set of dress
blues, port & starboard, undress blues, and whites, a couple of white
hats, boots, shoes, a watch cap, assorted skivvies, a pea coat, and
three sets of bleached-out dungarees.
The rest of your original issue was either in the pea coat locker, lucky
bag, or had been reduced to wipe-down rags in the paint locker.
Underway ships were NOT ships that allowed vast accumulation of private
Hobos who lived in discarded refrigerator crates could amass greater
loads of pack-rat crap than fleet sailors.  The confines of a
canvas-back rack, side locker, and a couple of bunk bags did NOT allow
one to live a Donald Trump existence. 
Space and the going pay scale combined to make us envy the lifestyle of
a mud-hut Ethiopian.  We were global equivalents of nomadic Mongols
without ponies to haul our stuff.
And after the rigid routine of boot camp, we learned the skill of random
compression, known by mothers world-wide as ‘cramming’.  It is amazing
what you can jam into a space no bigger than a bread-box if you pull a
watch cap over a boot and push it with your foot. 
Of course, it looks kinda weird when you pull it out, but they NEVER
hold fashion shows at sea and wrinkles added character to a ‘salty’
There was a four-hundred mile gap between the images on recruiting
posters and the ACTUAL appearance of sailors at sea.  It was NOT without
justifiable reason that we were called the tin-can Navy.
We operated on the premise that if ‘Cleanliness was next to Godliness’
we must be next to the other end of that spectrum…
We looked like our clothing had been pressed with a waffle iron and
packed by a bulldozer.  But what in hell did they expect from a bunch of
swabs that lived in a crew’s hole of a 2100 Fletcher Class can?  After
awhile you got used to it…You got used to everything you owned picking
up and retaining that distinctive aroma… You got used to old ladies on
busses taking a couple of wrinkled nose sniffs of your pea coat, then
getting and finding another seat.
Do they still issue seabags?  Can you still make five bucks sitting up
half the night drawing a ships picture on the side of one of the damn
things with black and white marking pens that drive the old
master-at-arms into a ‘rig for heart attack’ frenzy?  Make their faces
red…the veins on their neck bulge out…. and yell, ‘What in God’s
name is that all over your seabag???’
‘Artwork, Chief…It’s like the work of Michelangelo…MY ship… GREAT,
“Looks like some damn comic book…”
Here was a man with cobras tattooed on his arms…A skull with a dagger
through one eye and a ribbon reading ‘DEATH BEFORE SHORE DUTY’ on his
shoulder…Crossed anchors with ‘Subic Bay-1945’ on the other
shoulder…An eagle on his chest and a full blown Chinese dragon peeking
out between the cheeks of his butt… If ANYONE was an authority on
stuff that looked like a comic book, it HAD to be the MAA…
Sometimes, I look at all the crap stacked in my garage, close my eyes
and smile, remembering a time when EVERYTHING I owned could be crammed
into a canvas bag.
(Author unknown)

BlackHawk Hires Director


Stephen “Mato” Matulewicz will assume the new position of Executive Director of Operations for BLACKHAWK!

Command Master Chief (SEAL) Stephen Matulewicz retired with distinction from the US Navy after serving for 23 years.He has been a member SEAL Team TWO, SEAL Team FOUR and SEAL Team SIX.
   Matulewicz retired from the United States Navy with the rank of command master chief. A Navy SEAL since 1985, he served in Afghanistan and Iraq. His personal decorations include the Bronze Star.

He also served as a Master Chief of the Research and Development team at the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (NSWDG) and served as the Ninth Command Master Chief of SEAL Team TWO in Little Creek, VA. 

Stephen “Mato” Matulewicz will assume the new position of Executive Director of Operations for BLACKHAWK! In this new position, Mr. Matulewicz will manage the day-to-day operations across all functional business groups, which include four US facilities and a sales and marketing organization supporting more than 2500 dealers world wide. Mato’s demonstrated leadership abilities and his intimate knowledge of the core business processes within BLACKHAWK! and their customer base uniquely qualify him for this position. Prior to his new position, he has served as BLACKHAWK!’s Director of Special Operations Business Development since 2006.




  2004 FO/UWSS Photos

Webmaster docrio45 [at]

Four old retired GIs are walking down a street in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. They turned a corner and see a sign that says, “Old Timers’ Bar – all drinks 10 cents.” 
They look at each other, and then go in, thinking this is too good to be true. 
The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, “Come on in and let me pour one for you! What’ll it be, Gentlemen?” 
There seemed to be a fully-stocked bar, so each of the men ask for a martini. 
In short order, the bartender serves up four iced martinis… Shaken, not stirred, and says, “That’ll be 10 cents each, please.” 
The four men stare at the bartender for a moment, then look at each other… 

They can’t believe their good luck. They pay the 40 cents, finish their martinis, and order another round. 
Again, four excellent martinis are produced with the bartender again saying “That’s 40 cents, please” 
They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity is more than they can stand. 
They have each had two martinis, and so far they’ve spent less than a dollar. 
Finally one of the men says, “How can you afford to serve martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?” 
“I’m a retired GI from Boston,” the bartender said, “and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery for $25 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime – wine, liquor, beer, it’s all the same.” 

Wow!!!! That’s quite a story,” says one of the men. The four of them sipped at their martinis and couldn’t help but notice three other guys at the end of the bar who didn’t have drinks in front of them, and hadn’t ordered anything the whole time they were there. 
One man gestures at the three at the end of the bar without drinks and asks the bartender, “What’s with them?” 
The bartender says, “Oh, they’re retired Navy Chiefs. They’re waiting for happy hour when drinks are half price.”

Admiral Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr., USN

Photographs of Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt, Jr. 
Biographical Summary

Full Name: Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr.
Date of Birth: 29 November 1920
Date of Death: 2 January 2000
Prominent Assignments:
Nominated on 14 April 1970 by President Nixon to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. Became CNO with rank of Admiral from 1 July 1970 to 1 July 1974.
Served as Commander U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam and Chief of the Naval Advisory Group, U. S. Military Assistance Command , Vietnam , from 1 October 1968 to 15 May 1970.
As Director of the Chief of Naval Operations Systems Analysis Group from August 1966 to August 1968, he organized and directed the Systems Analysis Division and served as Deputy Scientific Officer to the Center for Naval Analyses.
Served as Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla SEVEN from July 1965 to July 1966.
Education: Elmo Russell Zumwalt, Jr.
Date of Birth: 29 November 1920
Date of Death: 2 January 2000
Prominent Assignments:
Nominated on 14 April 1970 by President Nixon to serve as Chief of Naval Operations. Became CNO with rank of Admiral from 1 July 1970 to 1 July 1974.
Served as Commander U. S. Naval Forces, Vietnam and Chief of the Naval Advisory Group, U. S. Military Assistance Command , Vietnam , from 1 October 1968 to 15 May 1970.
As Director of the Chief of Naval Operations Systems Analysis Group from August 1966 to August 1968, he organized and directed the Systems Analysis Division and served as Deputy Scientific Officer to the Center for Naval Analyses.
Served as Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla SEVEN from July 1965 to July 1966.


Valedictorian of Tulare High School , Tulare , CA


Rutherford Preparatory School , Long Beach , CA


Cum Laude Graduate of U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis , MD


Naval War College , Newport , RI


National War College , Washington , DC

Other Highlights:
Eagle Scout.
Served as Commanding Officer of the first ship built from the keel up as a guided-missile ship USS Dewey (DLG-14)Was prize crew officer of captured Japanese gunboat Ataka, captured at mouth of Yangtze River near end of WW II.
At age 44, the youngest naval officer ever promoted to Rear Admiral.
At age 49, the youngest four-star Admiral in U. S. naval history, and the youngest to serve as Chief of Naval Operations.

Larry Lyons (click on photo to see Mike & Connie Baumgart)

SEALs for Christ Web Site              

A. "Nasty" Nash
Hofelich family

Robert C.  Machen  emails SeaStory

—–Original Message—–
From: Erasmo “Doc” Riojas []
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001
To: Machen,Robert C
Subject:  thank you 

you must be having a senior citizen moment. Bob, you signed the ASR-ARS Assn guest book. 

I am the webmaster for the erasmo doc riojas go to: and see about me. 
doc riojas class 4/55 DSDS i am also a Navy (SEAL) usn Retired. 

—– Original Message —–
From: “Machen,Robert C” <rmachen   [at]>
To: “‘Erasmo “Doc” Riojas'” <>
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001
Subject: RE: thank you 

Could you take a minute to identify yourself, and what your background is? Thanks, 


— Original Message —–
From: “Machen,Robert C” <rmachen   [at]>
To: “‘Erasmo “Doc” Riojas'” <>
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001
Subject: RE: thank you 

I was on ASR-8, ASR-20, AS-11, AS-19, AS-33, and all diving billits in my naval career. I became a SEAL in 1966, but we got demolition pay and parachute jumping pay, no diving pay but we did a lot of SCUBA diving. 

I made two trips on the USS SEALION for sub lockouts down in FL for practice and the real thing down in south America. 

being troops on a boat was great, we had open galley, and were allowed to go topside on calm days. Boy did that piss the crew off. 
Doc Riojas

—– Original Message —–
From: “Machen,Robert C” <rmachen   [at]>
To: “‘Erasmo “Doc” Riojas'” <>
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 
Subject: RE: thank you 

Sorry, didn’t make the association. Navy Seal eh? My respects, Sir! 

—–Original Message—–
From: Erasmo “Doc” Riojas []
Sent: Monday, October 08, 2001 
To: rcjcmachen  [at]
Subject: thank you 

R. Machen, you wanna share some of your navy experiences? I’ll post them on the web site maybe some of your old buddies will see it and respond to you. thank you, spread the word about the web site.     tu amigo,    doc riojas 

—–Original Message—–
From: Erasmo “Doc” Riojas 
Sent: Thursday, October 11,
 To: Machen,Robert C
Subject: Re: thank you 

hehehheheheh, do you have any pictures or stories from your diving ship history to contribute to the web site? 
visiit it again at: 

thank you very much
doc rio 

—–Original Message —–
From: “Machen,Robert C” <>
To: “‘Erasmo “Doc” Riojas'” 
Sent: Friday, October 12, 2001 
Subject: RE: thank you 

Hi Doc, while I was aboard Corporal (no idea what year) we operated with Sea Lion, making practice deposits along the coast of southern Puerto Rico. We carried some troops, but had none of the other abilities of Sea Lion. Our troops had their rafts stored in the superstructure, and lived a very cramped life, as we had no extra berthing. Fortunately they didn’t stay aboard over about 2 days at a time. We were prepared to put teams into Cuba as well, but instead took part in the “blockade”. I gotta tell ya, I always respected those guys, and for the most part I think they appreciated what we did for them. I’ve read of submarine skippers that put their crews, and boats, in harms way to ensure they never left a single man in peril. No doubt in my mind that we were part of the greatest Navy on earth. I’m proud to have been a part of it. 


—–Original Message—–
From: Erasmo “Doc” Riojas []
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 
To: Machen,Robert C
Subject: Re: thank you 

thank you Robert, great sea stories. 

i sure would like a copy of that torpedo and maybe a little story? 

thanks doc riojas 
tu amigo doc rio 

—– Original Message —–
From: “Machen,Robert C” <>
To: “‘Erasmo “Doc” Riojas'” <>
Sent: Thursday, October 11, 2001 
Subject: RE: thank you 

I have a couple of pics of 2 of the boats I served on, which you would be welcome to. Funny how it worked back then, I had 4 kids, and couldn’t afford a camera, or much of anything else either. I’m sure you recall that we didn’t make near the money they do today. My kid made more money for sea pay, than I did as EM2(SS). And he didn’t hot bunk or stand port and starboard watches! 

Stories? Well yeah, we all have stories. My problem is that they are getting pretty dim, and everything is beginning to run together. You know, things like which boat was that on?, which ocean were we in?, who did what to whom?, etc. I recall picking an aircrew out of the sea, but can’t recall which boat, or when. All I remember is that they wanted off that stinkin’ submarine at the earliest possible time. Hell NO!……they weren’t interested in going to Bermuda with us, get us OFFA here! Buncha pussies! 

I remember getting a practice ASROC stuck in our sail, during fleet exercises with some tin cans, but don’t remember the details, except that it hit our main induction, and caused some flooding in the boat. 

I remember operating with Enterprise in the Med, in 64, and landing a smoke flare on their flight deck. We were supposed to fire a flare when our Skipper had reached a torpedo firing solution. He tracked them, got inside their air cover, outwitted their destroyer escorts and the Skipper got a good shot at them. So we fired the flare, the wind caught it and it landed on their airplane floor. Guess that pissed ’em off! We got reassigned that same night. 

Another thing I remember was when our Cap’n made full Commander. We got the word when we pulled in to St. Thomas, V.I. We were tied up across the pier from some Gator boat, full of Jarheads. CO came up the forward room hatch, decked out in full dress whites, with sword, going to some big shit meeting with other ranking officers. His crew met him topside, and promptly threw his ass over the side. A congratulatory ceremony for us “bubbleheads”, and the Skipper accepted it as such. Never lost his composure and even managed to throw his hat back on deck before he hit the water. Seems the duty officer up on the gator boat, saw this happen, and sent a squad of Marines over to help the Skipper control his mutinying crew. We had the skipper back on board by the time they got there, and he was some kinda pissed. Not at us, but at the skimmer duty officer. He explained it real plain to the ensign that he didn’t need any #^$(()6$@^* help. He was having a party with his crew, and get his $#%%^%$&* Jarheads off our boat!! 

As I recall, I was on a boat in company with Thresher, when she went down, in 63. We were her surface contact, and our sonarman is the one who initially made the call she was in trouble. Details of that are real hazy. The SO was a guy named Paul Waters. He is mentioned in the book Blind Man’s Bluff, as a Chief Sonarman. He was SO2 when I knew him. 

I’m sure there’s other stories that come up, but like I said, it’s getting hard to sort them out. I recently visited with some of the guys I served with, and our wives got sea sick, or tired of the smell of BS, maybe. But we had a great time reminiscing the old days. Your Sec/Treas, Charley Micele, is an old friend and shipmate, from USS Corporal. He was one of the guys visiting. 

I’ll try to attach pix to this e-mail, but please Doc, bear in mind that I am the original Cro-Magnon man when computers are the subject. I have a lengthy download of pictures of an Australian Mk 48 torpedo attack 
(practice) on an old ship. Are you interested? 

Regards, Bob 

PS, did you go in to Cuba?

Hershel Davis
Capt. Patt
Who is this Dude? email: docrio45 [@]
Miguel Yanez & Doc Luttrell
Hung Larry Bailey Kiet Nuyen
Christopher L. Zevallos
L to R: Pauson, Bill Earley, "French" Boisevert, and Callahan
Fred Frankville
Photo by Joe Singleton UDT WWII from Angelton TX
Ted Sampley
Sidney Perryman

———- Original Message ———-
From: “Doc Rio” <>
To: “Will Randall” <>, “Tom Schmitt” <>,
Subject: Emails that have come my way from these folks. Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 14:15:02 -0500 

Please give me your name if you have an email listed only as ; Example: 
I would like to separate the SEALs from the other Veterans. 
Thank you. 

Please respond with the word in SUBJECT line: 
CIVILIAN SEAL BOAT SUPPORT(or whatever it is called now) PBR EOD DV UWSS USMC 

Thank you very much. Erasmo “Doc” Riojas SEAL Team TWO notoriaty 
“NO” class number; My hell weeks in the korean war as USMC “Leg” 

Thanks doc RIojas 

Sent: Thursday, September 24, 2009 4:58 PM
Subject: Re: Emails that have come my way from these folks.

Rio: You’ll have to tell me why you need to know, first. I am real cautious who I give out personal infomation to. Sorry. ~Jack Schitt

P.S. Please don’t feel bad about it. You’re not the only one, there’s a lot of guys who don’t know Jack Schitt.

From: “Doc Rio”
To: <ahoyxfrog1 [at]>
Subject: Re: Emails that have come my way from these folks. Date: Thu, 24 Sep 2009 18:00:57 -0500

LOL! sure, my web site is unclassiefied. so is my email list. don’t give anything if you feel unsecure about it.

Jack Schitt (you smell like that too?), you may already be on my web site I got so much shit in there i can not remember who or where.
respond with REMOVE in subject line and i’ll paint you gone.

no problemo,

Ahoy X Frog 1 if you are a SEAL: HooYah

doc Riojas retired ST-2 ‘nam war games
bio on navy Log, usn Navy Memorial ,
search Erasmo Riojas —–

From: Robert Berry
To: Doc Rio
Sent: Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:07 AM
Subject: Re: Emails that have come my way from these folks. 

Mi..o..mi..o…I am the one that lives down the bio…..My photo is in the Navy Memorial Log, also. Been there nylon 20 years now. I am the only son of Awe Schitt. You see, Awe Schitt was the only ferilizer magnate in the south that was knee deep in the business. So it was only natural that he would marry, Noe Schitt, the daughterof O. Schitt, owner of Needeep N. Schitt, Inc. They got together to keep the dynasty heir strong. They had only one son, Jack. Thanks to my genealogy efforts to provide you with “clues” —you can now respond in an intellectual way. ~Jack 

ahoyxfrog1 , “A 50’s Frog”

From: “Doc Rio” >
Subject: Re: Emails that have come my way from these folks. Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 18:51:20 -0500 
Jack Schitt is not enrolled in the Navy Memorial’s Navy Log. 

Adios and Up yhour ass with mobile gas and happy motoring. 

doc Rio 

 From: ahoyxfrog1
To:  Sent: Saturday, September 26, 2009 10:22 AM
Subject: Re: Emails that have come my way from these folks. 

Thanks, Rio…..I try to be nice to you and this is what I get back. I’ll try a little harder next time. By the way, it’s MOBILE EXXON now….merged a long time ago. I liked your website. I know it took a lot of doing on your part to get it up and running. You get lots of Yahoo’s for that. It’ll a nice thing that will keep you busy for a long time. Most of your friends will tell you that the Navy didn’t know Jack Schitt back then. That’s why the name isn’t there. But the creator of the character is and he was one of the first on the log many years ago when the log was first established. Lighten up a little, Rio, else you’ll get old fast. Losing your sense of humor has caused your San Antonio memory to fade a little. You see, a sense of humor will keep your memory sharp…take me, for example, I remember you very well…I pulled your rip cord every once in a while back then but your chute never opened…you didn’t seem to be offended by it on the surface. –Of course, you were younger then. I can’t hep it, it’s the Irish in me…that’s just the way it is.


btw: I sent you a few names of frogs who have passed over the past few years…some of them, you may remember. 

From: Robert Berry
To: Doc Rio
Sent: Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:07 AM
Subject: Re: Ryan Job, WIA, SEAL, Dies after surgery

Thanks Rio. That was a terrible way to die. Bet it was the onset of Staph infection that did it. Here are the names of several original ” 50’s Frogs” web footed friends who have passed over the previous three(3) years. Bobby Dalrymple
Trevor “Moose” Heard
Steve Bourecsky
Bob “Frogfoot” Weller 
* John Hebert 
* Billy Hilton (Team 3) Rick Waller None were SEALS. All were graduates of UDTraining Classes 4,5 and 6. and assigned to West Coast Teams. 

There are several others who have passed whose names are not coming to the fore of my mind at the moment….I’m having a Senior blank moment. I believe Don Marler has a complete list. 
* = Recently.

SAS Australian worked with ST-1
Richard Young Sr.

Call me corpsman, call me ‘Doc’

By KEITH POUNDS  Saturday, February 13, 2010 

Perhaps to the surprise of some, I won’t blast President Barack Obama on his 
inability to pronounce the word “corpsman” (which he pronounced “corpse man”). 
Instead, I’d like to take the opportunity to give much-needed praise to 
Navy/Fleet Marine corpsmen who are, as you will see, a special breed of 

During my own service as a corpsman, I served at the Naval Hospital, Camp 
Lejeune, N.C., as well as onboard the USS Joseph Hewes (FF-1078) home-ported in 
Charleston, and with the 4th Marine Division, New Orleans, La. My specialties 
included combat casualty care and nuclear, biological and chemical warfare. It’s 
fair to say I know what I’m talking about.

After initial basic training (boot camp), perspective corpsmen are sent for 
medical training at the Naval School of Health Sciences in San Diego, Calif. 
From there they can specialize in any number of medical ratings including X-ray 
technician or pharmacy technician.

Corpsmen act as health advisers and emergency first responders for the Navy and 
the Marine Corps. They treat a variety of illnesses from the common cold to 
decompression sickness requiring hyperbaric treatment.

Many attend Fleet Marine Service School, where they are trained in all aspects 
of Marine Corps operations. From there, they can further specialize as a Special 
Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsman or FMF Recon.

Corpsmen stationed with a Marine unit or far out at sea on a Navy warship often 
find themselves in volatile, life-threatening emergency situations. There are 
often no sterile operating rooms and equipment. Doctors and nurses are often 
miles, if not hours, away. As one author wrote, “Bunkers become operating rooms, 
shirts become tourniquets, and corpsmen become miracle workers.”

For a corpsman, being stationed with the Navy means serving in a Navy hospital 
or clinic or onboard a U.S Navy ship. We call this being “on the blue side.” For 
corpsmen stationed on “the green side,” it means serving as a specialist in 
emergency medicine and combat care with the Marine Corps.

Ask almost any Marine who has been in combat what the phrase “Corpsman up!” 
means and he’ll tell you it’s a cry for what the Marine Corps calls the “angels 
in green.” These are U.S. Navy hospital corpsman specially trained for combat 

Combat corpsmen are trained in patrols, tactics and navigation and wear the same 
grungy, dirty, sweaty uniforms as Marines and serve as the front-line emergency 
medical response personnel, very often under enemy fire with little regard for 
their own safety.

As many corpsmen share a space on memorial walls with the Marines they tried to 
save, they have adopted as one of their mottoes, “Where angels and Marines fear 
to tread, there you’ll find a corpsman dead.”

In World War II 1,170 corpsmen lost their lives. In Korea it was 108. In 
Vietnam, 638. Fifteen died as a result of the bombing of the Marine barracks in 
Beirut in 1983. Seven corpsmen have been killed in Afghanistan and 31 have died 
in Iraq.

As further testimony to the bravery and commitment of our corpsmen on the 
battlefield, they have received 1,582 Bronze Stars, 946 Silver Stars, 31 
Distinguished Service Crosses, 174 Navy Crosses and 22 Medals of Honor.

There have been 20 Navy ships named after corpsmen. Corpsman John “Doc” Bradley 
was one of the six men photographed by Joe Rosenthal raising the second United 
States flag on Iwo Jima during World War II.

As any corpsman will tell you, few honors sit on one’s heart as well as being 
called “Doc” by your Navy and Marine buddies.

Quoted in the Navy News Service article, “The Making of a Fleet Marine Force 
Corpsman,” Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Richard Lister said, “A doc is someone you 
can count on. He’s someone in your platoon that when something happens to one of 
our fellow Marines, you can call on him and not have to worry. He’s your buddy, 
a comrade in arms, a person who you count on to cover your back, to lay down 
fire, dig fighting holes or do whatever the hell Marines are doing. That’s who a 
doc is.”

As Herschel Smith wrote in “Captain’s Journal,” “they carry a rifle, they engage 
in combat, and they do all the things that Marine infantrymen do. When the 
Marines go on 20-mile humps with full body armor, backpacks and weapons, the 
corpsmen do all of that and more. The corpsmen take all of their medical gear in 
addition to their other load.”

In his 2005 book “Corpsman up,” Paul Baviello tells of the anguish that all 
corpsmen carry with them. He writes how corpsmen “journey into a living hell and 
experience the thrills and horror of combat, the agony of the wounded and dead 
and see foxhole relationships develop between blacks and whites, farm boys and 
city kids ... when friend after friend is wounded and he knows that their lives 
are in his hands and then wonder for the rest of his life if he did the right 

Yes! Our corpsmen are among the most respected, revered members serving in the 
U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. If you know a past or present corpsman, call him 
“Doc” and thank him for his service. He deserves it,

Keith Pounds served as a hospital corpsman 2nd class (SW) during the 
Lebanon/Grenada-era. He is the author of “The Psychology of Management” and 
holds an MBA with a concentration in organizational psychology He can be 
contacted at

CDR Don Gaither

Jake – So glad to hear from you. So far I have received two great responses to Doc’s call to help us out. 

Don’s widow’s name is Burtis (Burt to some). I have attached a couple pix that were taken at the fifties frog reunion she attended in Louisville, KY in October 2009. Don Belcher put together a book of info about Don’s navy career and made the presentation to her. She is now 88 years young and just as beautiful as ever. 

We would be so appreciative if you could jot down your memories of your time with Don. He was a man of few words and I think many in the family have found out the last few years what a great Navy career he had. And also if Jean has stories about Burt and some of the other team wives, I know she would love to get them. 

My home phone number is 295-2406. I usually get home from work around 6:00 pm. And weekends you just never know when you can find me home. 

If you would rather send pix and info via USPS, my home address is: 

Dawn Walton 
 Loogootee, IN 47553 

I would gladly reimburse the postage. 

A little background on Don: he was born and raised in Washington, Indiana (west side of Daviess County). He married Burtis who is from the east side of the county. They bought a farm and built a house just a couple of miles down the road from Burtis’ mom and dad. Don’s last shore duty was at Crane Naval Base about 20 miles north of there. After that, he worked as a civilian as chief ordnance officer at Crane. He later was diagnosed with mesothelioma cancer and passed away in 1983. 

I married their nephew (my MIL and Burtis were sisters) in 1984. I did not know Don very well but my husband did as he and Don’s son, Paul, are the same age so they spent a lot of time together and still do since he and his wife live next to Burt which is a few miles from us. 

If you know of others who could share their experiences, please pass their contact info to me. 

Thanks again for taking the time to write to me and also for your service. 


—–Original Message—–
From: Jake Rhinebolt 
Sent: Saturday, February 13, 2010 11:56 To: Walton, Dawn M CIV NSWC Crane; doc riojas
Subject: Fw: Info request on a CDR Don Gaither 





From: Doc Rio 
Subject: Fw: Info request on a CDR Don Gaither
To: “UDT-SEAL Association” 
Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010, 

DOes anyone know him and can answer this woman?> 

thank you Rio 

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Walton, Dawn  
To:  Doc Riojas
Date: Thu, Feb 11, 2010 at 11:31 AM
Subject : Info request 

I am married to the nephew of CDR Don Gaither. I am trying to help his widow with locating information or pictures of Don during his Navy career with UDT. Just wondering if you crossed pathes with him either at Little Creek or Coronado? 

Thanks for your time. 

Dawn Walton 

Billy B  Boy GAither sure shook some ghost up.. That was Team UDT 21 there should be some more guys around..  That knew him Officer types.. they take pictures.. Funny I forgot to ask Rudy..  He has a ton..


From: “William R. Daugherty”
To: “Doc Rio”
Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 5:25 PM
Subject: Re: Info request on a CDR Don Gaither

 Oh yea. My 1st udt CO. We called him obstacle course pine cone lunch. 
He ran the o course every day and those who pissed him off had to go 
with him.

Sent from my iPhone

Rogueman Don Gaither is old history  may be the 50 frogs might have something.. I knew him but never got his picture.. He is the one that took us on the death run over the mountain in St T. and made Rip Collins and me go the obsticle course with him every lunch break..  also a keeper of the ladies in St T..  Tough guy but squared away..

Bilklya burbank

<style=”background: #e4e4e4;=”” font:=”” 10pt=”” arial;=”” font-color:=”” black”=””>From: trident33To: Larry Bailey ; Doc Rio ;</style=”background:>

Cc: UDT-SEAL Association ; Jim Cook ; Tom Blais ; Bill Bruhmuller ; chuck newell

Sent: Thursday, February 11, 2010 8:09 PM

Subject: Re: Info request on a CDR Don Gaither



    He relieved Frank Kaine as CO, UDT-21 in 1957, and I was his XO for about 1-1/2 years. I’ll followup with more, as well as a few photos of his change of command when he relieved Frank Kaine.

when you left Team 21 was the C.O. Don Gaither. I remember a
LCDR Gaither in “60 when we were in St. T. was this him?. I remember
CB Thomas being locked in a conex and Sam B reporting him AWOL to the
C.O.                                                     Gerald T. (Jerry) Hammerle


Posted by Gerald T. (Jerry) Hammerle on Thursday, February 11, 2010 

Kerry, when you left Team 21 was the C.O. Don Gaither. I remember a
LCDR Gaither in “60 when we were in St. T. was this him?. I remember
CB Thomas being locked in a conex and Sam B reporting him AWOL to the
C.O. while CB was hollering the whole time from in the box but no one
would acknowledge him.
This was also the year someone nailed his wood shower shoes to a 2×4
to keep him from making so much noise at night when he was up walking
There are many more CB stories out there, have any?

Jerry, 22 (EC)

Posted by Ken Abasolo on Thursday, February 11, 2010 

Check of the database shows that this man is among our ranks.

Gaither, Donald G, Lt – Lt. Cdr.
Class: 0 Early
Teams listed: UDT21, UDT5

Rio asked me to post this for him.




— On Mon, 2/15/10, Harry Humphries  wrote:

From: Harry Humphries 
Subject: RE: I would like help in IDing all the ST-2 guys: thank you
To: “Erasmo Riojas” , “Jake Rhinebolt”  Doc Martin
Date: Monday, February 15, 2010, 6:48 PM

Klaus Kratky sp? to left of Jessie. Stan Janeka to chuck’s right.  Pierre Burts to Jake’s Left.  Harry Humphries to Jakes Right, left of Doc Martin.  The short Lt. is our skipper, Tom Tarbox (TNT) and the Captain is NOSEGROUP commander, not sure but Jake would know.

FYI Jack Lynch passed away at 1640 ET.

best mates,





— On Mon, 2/15/10, Doc Rio wrote:

From: Doc Rio 
Subject: I would like help in IDing all the ST-2 guys: thank you
To: “Harry Humphries” , “Jake Rhinebolt” , “Richard Martin”
Cc: “Doc Rio” 
Date: Monday, February 15, 2010, 6:39 PM




I found this picture on the set of GI Jane we shot back in 90s.  The set decorator found a collector of SEAL memorabilia and used the collection to decorate the set.  I was perusing the stuff and had to look twice holy Shit, a shot of our old Assault Group 2 with you in the lead, Gallagher, Piere Burts, Myself and Doc Martin.  Also Tom Tarbox, Rudy Chuck Jessie, Peewee Nealy.  The old original Team 2. Those were the days.  Oh by the way the French Commandos and the follow on trip to Toulon! Wow.

Doc you should post this one on your collection this was just before we deployed to VN.

Best to you both,


Harry Humphries,

—– Original Message —–

From: Harry Humphries

To: Erasmo Riojas ; Jake Rhinebolt ; Doc Martin

Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 5:48 PM

Subject: RE: I would like help in IDing all the ST-2 guys: thank you


Klaus Kratky sp? to left of Jessie. Stan Janeka to chuck’s right.  Pierre Burts to Jake’s Left.  Harry Humphries to Jakes Right, left of Doc Martin.  The short Lt. is our skipper, Tom Tarbox (TNT) and the Captain is NOSEGROUP commander, not sure but Jake would know.

FYI Jack Lynch passed away at 1640 ET.

best mates,


Harry Humphries,
President, Global Studies Group

Capt. William A. “ Bill”  Robinson

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Doug Robinson  Date: Mon, Feb 15, 2010  
Subject: My Father;  Capt Bill Robinson
To: Doc Rio

Dear Doc, I hope this email finds you well. I tried emailing you before but had no success. Please sir, if you have anyone that has or if you have any pictures of my late uncle, Capt. William A. “ Bill”  Robinson (1931-88), I would sincerely appreciate it. Even if you have any stories on him, that would be very appreciated. Thank you.

  Best, Doug Robinson 

From: Larry Bailey 
Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 5:36 PM
To: Doc Rio
Cc: Rudy Boesch
Subject: Re: Capt Bill Robinson (1931-88): looking for pictures and seastories about him  

I knew Bill fairly well.  In fact, it was Bill who provided a home and a job and a car (his Aston-Martin, I think it was) to my Australian girlfriend in 1970. 

A story I heard, but I wasn’t there.  Bill was CO of an amphibious ship of some kind in the Norfolk/Little Creek area and encountered problems with loading some kind of cargo.  He thereupon had his sailors cut a hole in the side of the ship to make things easier.  The admiral did NOT like that, because he had technically accomplished a “ship alt” (ship alteration), which was a BIG no-no.  I think he skated, though. 

I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of Bill, nor any more stories than the two snaps above. 

Larry Bailey 

—- Original Message —–
From: Doug Robinson
To: ‘Larry Bailey’
Cc: ‘Doc Rio’ Sent: Monday, February 15, 2010 8:23 PM
Subject: RE: Capt Bill Robinson (1931-88): looking for pictures and seastories about him
Capt William A. Robinson was his name but he was called Bill. He was murdered in San Diego while looking at real estate in Feb 1988, in broad day light. It was most likely a professional hit and they never found the perp’s. Over 1000 people attended uncle Bill’s service, it was a sight for my eyes. Thanks for all your kind and generous time, Doc, sir. Best, DAR

Doc Riojas,

  The Christmas Cards begin from 1946 when Dad entered the US Naval Academy (Bill followed to USNA in 1949), so Bill was still in High School in Arlington Heights, IL. The cards are small, old and in black and white photos that were copied onto the little paper 4” X 4” Christmas cards. I scanned the pix you now have, and that was the clearest and best resolution I could get. That is the best we can get from these old paper, printed copies. Sorry. That is why I pray that some of your fellow patriots can help. Best, DAR

My uncle Bill. Lt. James A Robinson (1927-2002) USNA 1950

Smitty wrote that: “Having done about all the advising for the LDNNs that I could do, I was getting anxious to leave the Cam Ranh Bay peninsula and go someplace where I could get involved again in actual combat missions.”   Page 62.

Smitty was my good buddy.  We were advisors at the LDNN training Camp at CamRanhBay Vietnam in 1970.  I am contradicting the above entry on page 62 of his book “Death in the Delta; Diary of a Navy SEAL” because his transfer down to SeaFloat did not go down the way he tells it in his book.  Please, I am not calling him a liar, after so many years, he remembers those events different than I do.  I have LT. Kuhn’s email if anyone wants to challenge my contradiction.

It is not true.  I was there when Smitty got orders from CDR John O’Drain to go to SeaFLoat and take the place of a USMC LCPL that was working with TuTa Al. Sphinx EOD.  That Marine was the second advisor along with TuTa Sphinx that were in charge of riding two swift boats that were escorting the civilian sand barges being towed by USA civilian tug boats.  They were hauling sand from down the South China Sea to build up the marsh on the banks of SeaFLoat where Solid Anchor was to be constructed.  This was happening every day, and sometimes twice a day.

Erasmo “Doc” Riojas worked for/with LCDR Al Sphinx for about 45 days. I relieved an airdale sailor that hated that job a lot worse than I did.  In order for him to get out of that shitty job, he put a smoke grenade in one of his leg cammie pants pocket.  He then duck taped the pants leg so that he would not be able to stop the grenade from burning after he pulled the pin on it.  He burned a hole so large in his leg that the Corpsmen from seafloat were speculating that he may have to have his leg amputated.

Now do you believe that working with Al Sphinx escorting those sand barges was a shitty job?  Riding a Swift Boat, hot deck, no place to hide if the did hit the boat  with an RPG!  The deck on those metal boats got so hot we could not sit on it’s deck.

I was  relieved by that LCPL USMC Negro marine.  That kid lasted about two weeks before he got wounded on one of his arms.  That job was the shittiest job that Rio was ever assigned to while in Vietnam.  While Al Sphinx was living in a tent,  Rio had to sleep on a plywood hootch on six foot stilts because of the rising tide.  The Viet Hi and the Kit Carson Scouts lived on hootches that were built on top of ground that was raised by the SeaBee bulldozers.  There were hundreds of rats where we lived and when the tide came up, they would crawl up anything available including Doc Rio’s hootch.

When LT Kuhn told Smitty that he was going to go work at SeaFloat he became a very unhappy camper.  In the book, Smitty said he asked to be transferred, but who would want to leave a safe and secure area in the rear with the whiskey and beer for a shitty hole like Sea Float?  We were in one of Vietnam’s paradises.  It was as if we were in Key West FL.  White Sandy beaches, clear blue water, tons of lobster and fish and the base had a large Mess Hall and EM and CPO and Officer’s Clubs.  We had a Post Office and a large Navy Exchange.  Life was good there.   No incoming fire, and no V.C.  Smitty did not want to leave.  He was forced to leave.

The best thing about Smitty going to SeaFloat is that he lived on SeaFLoat with his buddies from SEAL Team ONE.  I had to live on the beach next to AL Sphinx’s tent.  I was very much disliked by the SEALs from Team ONE because I was an East Coast Puke.  I would not go eat on SeaFloat.  I would either eat “C” Rations or go eat with the Viet Hi.  I had to use the shower on the beach from Sea Float but I would try to make it when the SEALs were not using it.  I did not want to get into fist or verbal fights with them because I was totally outnumbered.   I hated every day I spend on that gig with LCDR Sphinx escorting the sand barges on board the Swift Boats.

You must go read Gary’s Smith’s adventures with Tuta Sphinx.  I know he was in a shitty job, Smitty did not bad mouth LCDR Sphinx in his book.  That is good.

Al Sphinx gave orders that if we got shot at or we received VC rocket fire, we were to beach the boat and jump off and go kill all the VC.  As if the VC, usually a few sappers were going to wait for us to land on the beach and kill them.  The VC were very clever at how they fired their RPGs remotely from a ways into the swamp.  While I was there we got fired at but they never hit the boats or inflicted any personnel casualties.  God, I hated that job with a passion and the day I left, after about 45 days, I gave God thanks for getting me out of that shit hole.  I had to take a Jolly Green Giant to Soc Trang.  I stayed there in a SeaBee Camp for two days awaiting a fixed wing flight to Saigon.

I had a great time being a guest of the Seabees.  They treated me very friendly.  I had a place to sleep and plenty to eat and drink.   They made me an honorary Master Builder after I showed them that I could do something they could not do.  The ole breaking the web belt in two pieces with one’s bare hands. Yes, I showed them how I did that trick.

They had a movie every night and they would bring in girls from the nearest village to work in their clubs and to do hootch cleaning and such tasks.  Those guys had it made.   The day I left Soc Trang, on the way to the airfield, there was a VN pheasant selling small baby Rock Pyton snakes.  I bought one and named it “Frito.”  I made it back to Saigon safely, back to my hotel room at the LeiLi.  I was given time off and took off for R&R to Thailand with two PBR CPO buddies from the Lei Li.  Two weeks in Bangkok was exactly what I needed to forget my days with AL Sphinx and the Sand Barges and the Team ONE SEALs and the rats.

SEA STORY:  We were having a steak cook out by our hootch.  It was LT. Kuhn, Chief Willits, Doc Marshall, Frency Bosivert, and Doc Rio.   We noticed coming through the gate to our camp “Smitty.”  We were being visited by a Navy Journalist doing a story on our camp.

We told him to invite Smitty for a picture of us around our BBQ drum.  We all had made plans to take a very deep breath and push out our chests at the time the picture was to be taken.  We did not tell Smitty about that.

When Smitty saw the photo, he said, “guys, I got to start working out, look at me.”  The photo showed Smitty slouched with his gut hanging out.  We all had a great laugh.   There is that picture on my website  somewhere.

Quan and Journalist at LDNN Camp
Doc Riojas sitting in Front
DaiWee Kuhn got us special permission to visit that village.

US Navy 1944 berthing chart for the Northern Anchorage of the Ulithi Lagoon, Caroline Islands:   great photoso of USNavy gathering to attack island of Japan 

                                                                             SEARCH  Engine

E. “Doc” Riojas Combat Veteran: 
Korean Police Action and Vietnam War

Joe Garrett
Robert Wayne Hajek 04