My name is Mike Wysong, I served aboard the USS Canisteo from 1980 to late 1983. It was a rough time for the Aux. Fleet and the Navy over all. the Navy was at an all time low manning level. things were so bad that the C.O. Art Fredrickson went to the Norfolk news paper to state he would not be able to get underway for his next deployment due to too small of a crew to conduct UNREP details safely, and many critical jobs aboard ship being vacant. I am sure you know he was directed by the CNO to do this and it was not of his own initiative. This was I feel a deliberate political move on the part of the CNO, and /or SECNAV to put the matter before the U.S. Congress as they were voting at the time to increase defense spending. remember this was before the election that would put Regan in office. Also if Art had gone to the paper on his own, it would have resulted in the end of his career. He had been a former enlisted man who joined at 17 or 18 and later won an appointment to Annapolis. I don't want to bore you with all the details, as this was not my intent. I just wanted to let you know, that your web site is a good way for crew members and shipmates to stay in contact. I knew Ed Supik and David Bolton very well, and have emailed Ed in the hope he will contact me. I also would like to contact Tyrone Henson or anyone else from the crew that served through the zero tolerance era. We were shipmates, and had good and bad times. While I served in the operations department and maintained the ships communications and radar as an ET3 (e-4) and later was appointed to work center supervisor and LPO when I left the ship I was an ET2 (e-5), I was fortunate to be among the twenty percent of the crew that was skilled. Most of the crew were seamen-non rates. the average age of our crew was 19. Most were given assignments to the deck department to operate the UNREP/ High lines and fuel rigs. Many of the crew were young kids who couldn't make it through their "A" school training after boot camp and were a step away from a BCD when the C.O.'s story made the paper, NAVBUPERS sent a bunch of these non-rates to fill empty slots so we would be able to get underway to the MED.As you can guess, drugs and alcohol abuse were rampant and made for unsafe working conditions. I feel we served in a unique and difficult time, many of the "old Timers were from the Vietnam era and it was rare to find anyone aboard from the Korean conflict. this was way before the Navy put women aboard aux. ships. At the time we deployed we had 355 crewmen. 318 of the crew were enlisted. Many of our junior officers were wash-outs from Navy flight school. Though we were not active in any battles, we did have lots steaming and stressful days and very few liberty calls. As I recall, our best top speed before we went into the yard to have our hull cleaned was 11 or 12 knots. When the other ships in our battle group would be released to proceed into port, we were left to eat their wake. A standard liberty call in the Med was usually not much longer than 5 days at the most. We were in port and starboard while underway, and "relaxed" to three section duty when in port or anchored out and running boats in. While the carrier group went into port to such places as Athens or Naples, we would have to proceed to the NATO fuel pier in Cagliary to fill our tanks and then get underway early to make it back out to sea make ready to start UNREP and VERTREP drills. Many times the weather was too rough to run boats for liberty. I hope I haven't bored you with my sea stories, I have many more and may put them to paper some day. I look back on those times with some nostalgia. I experienced many "firsts" while aboard the Can'O Sterno, and learned much about human nature, how much people can endure. I met some of the best guys I have ever known and also some of the worst. I know the time I spent at sea aboard Canisteo had a profound and lasting effect on my life. Thanks again for the site and please add my information to the crew list. I have a cruse book and many pictures that I will try to go through and scan into the computer, and send some of the better ones to you. Mike. ****************************************
David, I served aboard the Canisteo from approximately January 1956 until November 1956. Left ship at Naples, Italy. Was in the Supply Division as a DK3. Enjoyed my time on the Cando. I also enjoyed your site. --- Lawrence Hickman
Hi David; I'm Larry Haggard from "A" Gang. 12/63 - early 1967. I was on the Starboard Throttle when we took the Canisteo to Baltimore in 1967 to the Ship Yard. I was then transferred to the Chuckawan AO-100. The Chuckawan was O.K., but their will never be another ship like the Canisteo. When you got off in 10/64 we went to the Med. We went on our NATO Cruise on May 15, 1966. On Oct 6,1965 we crossed the Artic Circle to assist cable layers repairing cable that the Russians blew up. Then on Nov. 18, 1965 we crossed the Equator and went the Cape Town, South Africa.
Larry G. Haggard Batavia, Ohio
I served on board the old cando from 83 to 88.started out as a deck seaman then became on operations specialist third and second class.As a young man in his late teens the early twenties i sure learned a heck of a lot about the meaning of hardwork disipline and friendship.A lot of the petty officers were very helpful and were great teachers.Was quite the experience for a kid from rural iowa.email me at MescherLEM@aol.com thanks.
Note from Kkkriverrats@aol.com
Dave,I took a clue from you and wrote to my Congressman Jerry Weller R IL back in march today I recieved both medals. I don't know if having my request going thru him speeded up things but it seems likely. I never noticed if you had a notice on the website regarding this issue, other than your note at the home page, but it might not be a bad idea . Until I saw your service ribbons I had never thought much about being entitled to a medal. Keep up the good work, and I havent forgot about the pictures I promised.
Note from Ralph Romano
I was a deck seaman onboard from 1984-1986. I was assigned to 2ND DIV. The Canisteo was my first ship in my navy career. I remember the night I walked on her like it was yesterday. I left Great Lakes from Seaman Apprentisship school in October 1984, with orders under my arm to report NLT 0000 15Nov84. After 15 days of leave, my folks drove me to Norfolk to meet the ship at pier 21. Driving from Maryland,Three hours later we all arrived at Naval Base Norfolk. To my surprise, she was not in port. I was then directed to go to TPU Nimitz Hall to get a port of call. The duty PN told me she was at NAB little Creek. He gave my father directions to NAB,LC. I then reported to PSD Little Creek, and they told me that the only units from the Canisteo at Little Creek were her boats, being that "the Canisteo was in the Yards in NJ, and her boats were at Sima Little Creek. I really made the duty PN's at that PSD a have good laugh. "Look at this boot-camp. Going to join the Canisteo. Comes to Little Creek and he's gonna stand watch on her boats 'till she gets back!!" Well,by this time, the duty chief stopped them laughing, looked at my orders, told the duty PN to get me a flight to Bayonne, New Jersey. He then Looked at me and said, "you'll just get there in time for mid-rats." Then he looked back at the Duty PN and the whole office started laughing at me again. Well they got me a flight and the duty driver took me to Norfolk International Airport. I said goodbye to my folks, threw my seabag into the trunk then took off with the duty driver. by the time I boarded the plane to New York, (that was the closest the navy could get me to NJ) it was about 2130. Landed at Kennedy around 2245, found a cabbie who knew where Bayonne was, and off I went.
Note from a crewman's son..
Dear Mr. Merrill, My father served aboard Canisteo from 1951-1955. His name is Charles Pulley. He was an Electronics Mate and loved his time on that ship. I recently prepared a framed collage about the ship for his birthday and used several pictures from your web site. Since I believe in giving back I am attaching three items for consideration on your site. The first is some history of the Canisteo gleaned from the 3 references listed. The second is a picture my dad received while on board. It was taken before he arrived in 1951. The third is a picture of my dad in the electronics shack. I found researching the ship fascinating and wish I had served in the navy rather than the Army Medical Corps so I could have had a relationship with such a grand ship. As a suggestion; it would be beneficial if a former crew member took information from the guest books on your site to establish more of a history time line (such as participation in the Cuban missile blockade) so that the information is organized in one spot sequentially rather than scattered throughout the various e-mails. Thanks again for a great site. My dad's e-mail is email@example.com Sincerely yours, Dr. Stephen Pulley
Note from John Connolly:
I served on the USS CANISTEO from 1970 - 1972. The picture attached is the Canisteo pulling into Malta in 1971 during our Med cruise. During 1971 we were also in a collision with the USS FORESTAL while refueling her along our port side. I was told there was something wrong with her gyros which caused the Forestal to "drift" into our ship causing damage to her stack (not to mention pieces of airplane on our decks). I was curious as to why it was not listed on the naval collisions web pages, hope i'm not letting out any great secrets. Anyway I just noticed Steve McIntyre is on your page's member list, he was on board at the time also, you might want to check with him. I totally freaked when I saw your page...THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT!!!! John Connolly 1970-1972
Note from Mitch Shepard
Served on the CanDo from 74 to 78. B division as a BT2. Had alot of fun and was the oil and water king aboard during the later part of that timeframe. We won the Golden E in the carribean during the games. I met alot of great people and learned alot. Anyone remember an aircraft carrier hanger coming down and hitting our stack after they lost their gyros?. How about getting one of our cables wrapped up in our screws in the North Atlantic? How about a fuel tank rupturing over our ship Servis turbo generators? Would like to hear from fellow crew Members. So send a note and I hope this finds all well. Mitch
HI my name is Harvey Trader I served aboard the canisteo from Nov 61 untill just before the med cruise in 1963 at that time i transfered to the Cadmus AR14.I came aboard out of MM A school as a MMFN and left as a MM3 spending my time in A gang while on the Canisteo i shiped over under the star program. My secound tour of duty was from Aug 1974 untill the summer of 1979 I came aboard as a MMC and left in 1979 as MMCS the crew in M DIV was the best i ever had the honor of serving with.The entire crew knew how to work hard and play hard. I retired from the navy as a MMCM in sept of 1982 I live in Sturgeon Bay Wi Would like to here from that Eng crew from 74 to 79 Address Harvey H. Trader 5784 Bunker Hill Dr. Sturgeon Bay WI. 54235 E mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Thompson 16/Jan/2001:23:17:17 Served on board "Can-Do" from 2/60 to sometime in 62 (having memory problems, getting old)as EN3 in "A" gang; will dig out some information and pictures in near future. Glad to see someone mention the collision with a submarine off Nova Scotia, no liberty that month. Survived the "Hurricane" and the guy who was washed overboard, his last name was Cubes, I believe and was in "A" gang, I may have a picture of him; be nice if we came up with a memorial to him. I'll try to get in touch with Harvey Trader and maybe we can jog our memories. There are a lot of "Can-Do" sailors here in Ohio, will try to contact some of them and spread the word on your outstanding website. I have pictures and stories to share, but need to dig them out and try to place dates with them. I was in on the "pirates at sea" episode and have pictures of the Capt'n, Exc. Of, and me(Can-Do Shellback, no less) with the Santa Maria in the background. Add me to the crew list and I'll be in touch with more info.
Howard Trant 10/Jan/2001:02:38:13 I served on board the great ship Canisteo from '85 to '89 as a Personnelman. Ive even recognized a few names on the crew list. Lord knows Ive seen so many written out in clear handwritting along a personnel file. My days aboard her were mixed as Im sure they were for all of us. Some good..some bad. But I often look back to those days and remember the fondly. Growing up for the most part and finding out who you are at the core. To all my shipmates with whom I served, fair winds and following seas. May you get everything you have ever wanted and may your children live free and happy.
Sheridan Nettles 09/Jan/2001:16:09:19 I served on the Canisteo from 1984 til 1988. I was fresh out of Operations Specialist "A" School. I basically grew up on that ship and will always remember the friends I made onboard. I feel that I couldn't have made a better choice for a first ship. The shipmates I had onboard are the best I have ever had. We all should be so luckly. Heres to the Canisteo. email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org If you served at that time please feel free to drop me a line. I would really love to hear from anyone.
I was just looking at your website and would like to thank you for your efforts. I served on the Canisteo from November 1950 until January 1952 when she was getting ready to leave for the Med. for 6 months. My enlistment was up before she was due to return so they put me on the Cadmus (AR14) until March. My enlistment wasn't up until May, but they let me out in March. My rate was SH2 and I was in charge of the ship's laundry. I would like to get in touch with anyone who served aboard in 1951.Add me to the list of crew members if you will. Thanks-Les Turnage
Note from Jerry Presley
"Served on board the Canisteo for only 7 months from November '55 to June '56 and was a QM2. Another sailor and I, QM3 Kenneth Hunt, came from the USS Alstede AF-48 which had just returned from a summer Med cruise and was headed for the yard. Our presence filled the QM billet for the upcoming Med cruise. Captain Murphy was in command, and CDR Guiess was the XO. We had an excellent crew for that cruise, and most of the time things went well, except the bad winter weather. It was absolutely miserable in the Northern Med, but pretty good to the South. We were rewarded though. We came home via Bermuda and that was a Hoot.
The Canisteo left Norfolk in November '55 with a squadron of 4 Minesweepers. During the first unrep one of the ships collided with us and had to return to port in Norfolk. This crossing of the Atlantic in the winter was really rough on the Minesweepers and sometimes they would all 3 disappear in a trough and we couldn't even see their mast light. One of the other Sweepers collided with us, but sustained only minor damage. We dropped them off at Gibraltar and stayed in port for nearly 30 days for minor repairs. (From reading other accounts the Canisteo must have some kind of record for collisions.)
We returned to Norfolk in June of 1956 and I was transferred while on leave to Charleston to join the crew putting the USS Courtney DE-1021 into commissiion. I exited the Navy in July of 1957 and went to college in Texas. Spent the next 40+ years in Aviation and now reside in the Kansas City area."
Note from Joe Mineo
March 5, 2001--Served on the CAN-DO from 85-89 in M and A Div. making my way to MM2. I was part of the decommishioning crew. Had a reuionion with Ray Odell and Mike Tucceri this very weekend. We had a blast reliving all the wild times aboard the old ship. It was 10 years since we last seen each other and after the weekend was over it felt as if we never left. If your a "Dirty Dog" from this era drop me an e-mail. Thanks AO-99 for all the memories and most of all the great friends.
Note from Bill Gardner
11/Mar/2001:13:21:05 I served on the Canisteo from boot camp starting in Oct 1954. was onboard for about one year. I was a MM striker working in the engine room. I made some good friends onboard often wonder what ever became of them. I was transferred to Littlecreek Anfb. base for two years (tough Duty) Ha Ha. Then to USS Aucillia AO-56 home ported in Barcelona,Spain. More tough duty! Thank you for adding my name to the list of cando sailors.
Note from John Watt 04/14/01
Surfing the Net and looked through some of my old ships and found the Web Page on Canisteo. Good looking page. I served on the Canisteo 1953 and 1954 in the Engineering Dept. and was a BT1 in the Fireroom. Was also the "Oil King" for ships oil. (not cargo oil) Made the Navy a career (25 years) and advanced through the ranks and retired as a Lieutenant Commander. (Mustang) Canisteo was one of my best ships and many good memories of the time on her. Will keep in touch with your Web Page.
John Watt (BT1 on Canisteo)
ELLIS M. ALGER 17/Apr/2001:23:48:11
Came aboard i think september 1970, in or at "PORTSMOUTH". I was told they were just running a skeleton crew during dry dock up till then. I remember it was a pretty dismal place. Norfolk was better, middle of the ocean was better still!
Got off ship on 3RD. Med cruise, Suda bay Crete about 15 May 1974. discharged out of Philli.
I started out on deck 1st. div. then went to Boatwains locker, got
fired happily, then got recruited to a newly formed division called
STREAM. Life got a whole bunch better. Good quarters, and some of the
best guys i ever met. What a thrill it was to see all the familiar
names and Butches pictures.
What a kick!
5/5/01 Note from Rafael Gonzalez
I am Rafael V. Gonzalez and served from 1959 to 1963 first in M division and the in A division. I was discharged in 1963 as MM2 and worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard until it closed.
I now live in Southern Pines NC and work in Raeford NC for Unilever as Senior Packaging Engineer.
My son Rafael is in the 82nd Airborne and is a sergeant. My daughter Alicia is married to Sergeant Corrigan, a drill instructor in Columbia South Carolina.
I would like to hear about any of my shipmates who served during the Bay of Pigs invasion, the Cuban Missile Crisis or the chase of the Santa Maria which was high jacked and we followed to Recife Brazil.
Best regards "Speedy"
Note from Tom Nouza 7/10/01
I served in her from Feb. 65 to Sept. 68. Went from FA to EN-2 while on board. Was eventually assigned to the A-Division upon selecting my Rating. I am very happy that I stumbled upon this site as it has and does bring back lots of memories. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the Old "Can-Do". Tom Nouza
Robert Portacio 13/Oct/2001:22:19:49
Hello shipmates! I served aboard the USS Canisteo (AO-99)from 1 Nov.1963 to Apr. 1965."Can Do" was my first duty station,I was then only 19 yrs.old.I remember vividly as we pulled in to Craney Is.pier, Capt. Charles Longino announced that JFK was assassinated in Dallas. We went on Carribean Cruise in Feb.64, the Beattles record "It's been a hard days night" was always being played on the 1MC.Port of call in San Juan and Ponce, Puerto Rico, St.Thomas, Aruba and Trinidad, Curacao. Capt. Longino, then the most senior captain in the navy was relieved by the most junior captain Capt. Philip Cole, a submariner, prior to Med Cruise in Nov. 64. We hit a very rough sea that our main mast broke off in the middle of the Atlantic. Visited Rota -&- Cartagena, Spain; Naples, Italy; Marseilles, Gulf Juan -&- Toulon, had a ship's party in Cannes, France.
Bob Dixon BM2 18/Oct/2001:11:02:45
You can imagine my surprise to find after nearly 30 years after joining the U. S. Navy to become nostalgic and find that the only ship I served aboard had a web site. My tour of duty started in December of 1968 and ran through August 1972 just after my 22nd birthday. I never new what to expect after boot camp and soon learned that being on a ship was not like boot camp at all. I was assigned to the 2nd Deck Division and worked for BM2 John Free who soon became my mentor and I never left 2nd division. I eventually to be the 2nd division LPO which I enjoyed very much.
Note from Bob Kelly 12/19/01
I served on the cando in 52 -53 in operations radarman 2nd class
I have found two members that worked and traveled together on 99 . thank you the information you have provided .
I am an industrial plastic manufacture in York, Pa. and provide parts to oem across the US and Canada .
I employ 12 people
I was an ET2 and served on the Canisteo from 1964 - 1966. I did a Med cruise, NATO cruise, Caribbean cruise and a trip to South Africa. I reported on board as an ETSN right out of "A" school and was glad to see that there was another ET on board. Unfortunately, the other ET (Hugh Daley ET3) got out just before we left for the Med a few days later, and I was on my own. For the next two years I spent a lot of time fixing that old SPS-10 radar and the gear in Radio 1 and Radio 3. I remember all the officers in Robert Portacio's guestbook comments and recognize a few of the other names in the guestbook who were on the "Can Do" with me. I now live in Franklin, (Nashville) TN and would be very interested in hooking up with some of the other guys who served with me. I've heard from Fred Fahrner (RD2) and Ernie Honas (RM3) since leaving the Navy in '67, but have lost track of them too. Best wishes to all my old shipmates.
Bob Rounds, ETR2
You have done a terrific "Can-Do" job for our past misfit crew members. I have already heard from several of my old snipe mates and we're seeking several others at our site.
Here are some pictures from the Navy Ship yards in Brooklyn, NY back in 1981. Notice the lush tropical feel of the surrounding area. We actually had to leave in groups so we didn't get mugged crossing the street to the makeshift barricks. Ah, what memories...
Also attached are a picture of one of our infamous liberty boats and a PR shot underway. Keep up the good work...
Mark McDowell / MM3 / M&A Div 79-82
I was surfing the net and ran across the Canesteo web site. What a pleasant surprise. I didn't know it existed until today.
I served onboard from Jun 5, 1971 to 31 Dec 1973. I came onboard as an MMC and was assigned to "A" division by Lt. McDaniels, one I would just as soon forget. After the Med cruise of '71, I was assigned to Stream division and spent the rest of the time on board there.
My memories of the Canesteo are among the best of my Navy career. The crew I had in Stream division were among the very best. If you could add me to the crews list, I would greatly appreciate it.
J.M. Smith USN (ret)
I was only on board for about 7 months but certainly remember spending a lot of time at sea. I was a FTSA when I reported aboard in Sicily in late August of 1976. I can still remember my anxiety when approaching the ship via motor whale boat and wondering how I was going to maneuver myself and sea bag from the boat to the stairway.
My unrep station was the starboard bridge wing shooting the shot line for the bridge to bridge phone line. Capt. Martin had challenged myself and Rob Sanford (he was port side) to hit the ships bell on the ships coming along side. I did it in January of 77, it was the Koelsh FF1049. Capt. Martin bought me a bottle of Crown Royal which I got on our return to Norfolk. I remember the skipper as being one hell of great guy, we would be down in a magazine cleaning bilges and he would come down 3 decks in his whites and shoot the breeze with us. Last I heard he got his deep draft carrier command, I believe it was the Saratoga. Does anyone know if he got his Stars?
It sure was a lot of hard work and long hours, especially when we off loaded ammo before returning from the med. And the unreps, they were always at night it seemed, after midnight and going to just before reveille. Funny how we complained about it then but now it doesn't seem so bad.
Got off the ship when the FC equipment was being removed, did the rest of my time on a reserve can in Newport RI, that was choice duty. Have real fond memories of the Can-do even though it was only for a short time. Would like to hear from anyone that remembers me. Also if anyone has some pictures to share, I would be very grateful. I lost mine during a transition period in my life (divorce, rotten B*!$%H). Talk with you soon hopefully. Email is email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org .