Rich Angelini

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Subject: USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr DD850 Restoration report for February 2011

All Hands

It has been a rough winter in Fall River Massachusetts this year with an amount of snow fall that we havent seen in a long time.   Ice forming around the hull of DD850 makes even the most optimistic volunteer a bit nervous.  Through the high winds, punishing snow, and ice, USS Joseph P. Kennedy Jr DD850 rides out these weather conditions with her volunteers in anticipation for warmer weather and the tourist season.

We have taken on a few interesting projects over this winter aboard this Gearing class Destroyer:

 1.  Since the end of November 2010, we began the restoration of First Division Berthing (enlisted quarters under the Mess Decks) with the intention to bring back the look of the late1960s with the correct paint scheme and the addition of missing equipment/items.  With the removal of the bunks, a three month effort of  intense chipping, cleaning, and masking was accomplished by volunteers, NAPS students from NAVSTA Newport, and employee Dave Stawicki.  The removal of paint from original labels revealed references to the old MT 52 and its systems.  While the work went about with good progress, it wasnt without bad news.  While removing decades of tile glued together behind some lockers, we found that the steel deck of the old ship had rotted through in some areas to a store room below on the Stbd side.  Work immediately stopped as we scraped out the remaining rotted areas.  Plans are to have a team of staff and volunteer welders put new decking in during the May field day (we Hope!).  Moving forward and one step back, we primed the entire space in preparation for a top coat that will be applied after the metal work is done.    We hope to complete this overall project within the next few months as welders become available.

2.  The Motor Generator room on the main deck starboard side is being prepped for primer and painting to restore this space to its early 70s in Port Electrical shop/MG Room configuration.  Prepping is well on the way and we hope to have it completed within the next few months.

3.  John Bisbano and Bob Ledux mentioned to me that though they love working on the Radar repeaters, they have gotten them all working and even restored the signal switching gear in the RADAR room to send target information to any repeater from RADAR.   I was asked, "What else is interesting that we can looked into?".  Over a week ago, I mentioned how great it would be to activate the 1MC stack in the IC Room to use the General Quarters, Chemical, and Collision alarms.  While our 1MC loudspeakers have always operated, we have not had the alarm system operating in at least a decade.  Fast forward to last weekend, volunteers were quietly going about there business when "Clang Clang Clang" came over the speaker system.  It seems that John and Bob fixed a wiring problem in the No 1 Signal generator over the week and got the system operational.  All I can say is excellent work to them both.  They are reworking Signal Generator No 2 and then plan to trace down and fix all the alarm actuators throughout the ship.  It was a exciting time to hear the ship come to life and all the volunteers went home with a smile on their face.

4.  Bob Washburn (USS William R. Rush )and a group of NAPS students are reworking the Bridge wing teak railings at Naval Station Newport for a spring installation.  Bob is instrumental in organizing our monthly NAPS program.

5.  We have a excellent weekly crew of Owen Hayes (USS Waldron), Tom Publicover (USS Robert Owens), Maury Crotteau (USS Harwood), Jim Mulvihill (USS Waldron), Al Lundgren (USS John Paul Jones), Dana Reed (USS Laub), Mike Angelini (USS J.P. Kennedy Jr), Ted Hayes, and Bobby Young (USS Patterson) that meet the maintenance and on-the-spot issues aboard this 60+ year old ship. 


1.  Our sister ship, USS Orleck DD886, is planning for a early April opening in Lake Charles LA.  We wish them great success and look forward to a working relationship with the new organization.  Visit them on the web at:

2.   Many of you have seen the Ernest Borgnine video that we have posted on our YouTube channel for Tin Can Sailors' effort to "Save our Historic Destroyers".   I would like to thank all that have viewed it and have contributed.  Our Destroyers desperately need help for their long term survival.  I would ask you to also mention to your friends about joining the membership of theTin Can Sailors Association.  TCS is organization dedicated to the preservation and historical recognition of destroyers.  A strong TCS means a strong Destroyer fleet.  Enlist a shipmate today at

3.  For the past few years,  we have provided a US Navy video about Destroyer life at Sea aboard DD850 for our visitors.  This video is a 15 minute film produced by the US Navy in 1970 aboard USS Gearing DD710.  It is a excellent representation of the period in time that the KENNEDY represents and the traditions of our sailors at that time.  So, as a service to our sister ships and friends, this video is now available on our YouTube channel at: .  Let us know what you think of this movie.

4.  Ever wonder what these Sumner-Gearing class Destroyers looked like in the 1940s when first built?  Ed Zajkowski (USS Keppler) has provided us a unique opportunity to view images of these as-built CANS on navsource at .  It is well worth a look!

5.  Lastly, our busy field day season is soon upon us with the Major May field day on May 19-20-21-22 .  Please start planning to come aboard and help us with our restoration.  If you have any questions, please drop us a email.  We hope to see you all aboard in May!   

Fair winds and following seas,

Rich Angelini

Asst. Curator, USS J.P. Kennedy Jr DD850