1956
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A 19 year old smart-ass kid. Assigned to a radiation decon team. Operation Redwing in the Marshall Island nuclear weapons tests. I was "ship's company" in ESTES and assigned with the decon team to KNUDSON and CURTISS at various times during Redwing.  USS Estes AGC-12 || USS Knudson APD-101 || USS Curtiss AV-4
Click for links from the MarshallIslands website
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Ship photos from the NAVSOURCE Photo Archives
[ AGC index ] [ APD index ] [ AV index ]

Many more AGC links via USS Pocono website

Nuc Weps Test Additional Info HERE And HERE

Operation Redwing - Pacific Proving Grounds 1956
[ Ships On Station ] [ USS Estes Plan of the Day
[ Redwing LINK-1 ] [ Redwing LINK-2


1957-1959
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For some unknown Navy reason I was transferred from San Diego and assigned to two years at the US Naval War College in Newport, RI.

A dream of a duty station where I ran the audio/visual support for the Command and Staff Department. I was as an IC3 (Interior Communication Electrician 3rd Class petty Officer). 

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<<< Click for magazine cover copy --- All SEVEN ORIGINAL ASTRONAUTS were there at the same time but I didn't know who they were (no one did at the time) until later when I saw them featured on the cover of LIFE MAGAZINE.


1959-1962
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Plank owner: USS Little Rock CLG-4

As one of the first crew members to be assigned to her I was part of the nucleus crew at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard. Little Rock was a converted Cleveland class light cruiser (formerly CL-92 ). Modified to a guided missile cruiser (Talos) at New York Shipbuilding in Camden, New Jersey.

She had the tightest crew, other than submarines, that I ever served with. I attribute that to an extensive pre-com period when all 1300 of us lived and trained together. That carried forward to her operational life and continued to her final decommisssioning in 1976. During her first 13 months after re-commisioning, Little Rock's can-do spirit contributed to her winning all Atlantic fleet competitive awards except for the Engineering Red-E ; she was edged out by the USS Canberra by only 0.46 of a point.
She was a flag ship throughout much of her second life, spending much time
with the US Sixth Fleet in the Med. She not only met every mission but had that spit and polish appearance that was in keeping with the "old surface Navy" men-o-war.
Today she has a close knit roster of over 2000 association members that include many WWII shipmates from her CL-92 days. I am as proud of my duty in Little Rock as anything I ever did in the Navy. A fine, beautiful old warship that is now thankfully a part of the Buffalo NY, Naval Musuem. Thank God she missed the scrapman.
Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park

USS LITTLE ROCK - LINK-1
USS LITTLE ROCK - LINK-2
USS LITTLE ROCK - LINK-3

USS Little Rock CL-92

US NAVY CRUISER SAILORS ASSOCIATION some great photos

Former USS Little Rock CLG-4 crew member dies on 13 October 1999
JAMES E. WILLIAMS BMC USN(Ret) (Medal of Honor - Vietnam)
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