Patrick J Griffin
Walnut Creek, CA
I first met Admiral Welsh when my father, Captain Donald Griffin, was transferred to Sangley Point Naval Shipyard in the Philippine Islands in 1960. My father and my mother, Cecilia Griffin, both became closely acquainted with Admiral Welsh from previous duty in Bermuda. Having no children of his own and being an avid sports fan, he would frequently attend my almost year-round baseball games on Sangley Point. I was thrilled to have the base Admiral cheering me on. He invited me to his home for dinner on several occasions and we became fast friends.
My father passed away shortly after returning from the Philippines and retiring in 1964. Admiral Welsh retired as Commander of Alameda Naval Air Station in Northern CA in 1965. He retired in Walnut Creek, CA at Rossmoor with his wife Frances Welsh. My mother and I kept in contact with the Welsh's over the years and we visited each other from time to time. After caring for his very ill wife for her last four years, Frances Welsh succumbed and passed away in 1986 and "Red" Welsh was widowed. After a respectable period of time (6 months) Admiral Welsh began to court my mother, who had been widowed for some 22 years, they married in 1987, sold their respective homes and bought a beautiful townhouse in Rossmoor. They enjoyed each other immensely. I'll never forget the time that Admiral Welsh asked me for permission to marry my mother. Of course, permission was granted!
They took several cruises together, including a 3- week cruise to Brazil and a trip across Canada on the Canadian Pacific. In 1991 "The Admiral" as we affectionately called him, and my mother took my family to Hawaii for vacation. We stayed in the Halekulani--on the beach! He enjoyed his family more than anything else in his life. He always waited until after 1700 to enjoy a cocktail, a policy I've adopted myself.
He related many, many stories to me over the years: of just leaving a fortified gun turret to enter the alternate command center on ship (name unknown to me) during a Kamikazi attack in WWII as a Japanese plane smashed into the ship, killing the men he was just with and earning him the Purple Heart; of his time spent with Correspondent Ernie Pyle during WWII before he was gunned down by an enemy sniper; of the time he and another pilot were in fog off the Baja coast with only compasses for navigation---unable to locate the ship they were to return to---and heading west to eventually hit land, only to be confronted by Mexican Federales' and their rifles as he and his partner topped the cliff they were climbing.
We loved and enjoyed Admiral Welsh as patriarch of our family more than I can even say here. He loved having my two small boys around him, never having children of his own. He was the most wonderful, kind and caring man I have ever met. He passed away in Walnut Creek, CA on August 30, 1993 at the age of 86 years. My mother passed away on June 15, 1998. She missed Admiral Welsh terribly after his passing, but enjoyed my family a lot until her death.
I miss The Admiral, and of course my mother very, very much. The only consolation I have are the wonderful memories of the time we spent together. I will never forget them.
Signed Patrick Griffin, Proud stepson of Admiral David J Welsh
Captain David J Welsh
USS Curtiss AV-4 -- Skipper 7/51-7/52
This article from Gordon Smith, Port Allen, LA. Gordie was aboard from /43-/46.
CLICK ON PHOTO
Can anyone help Brooke?
My Grandfather, Timothy A. Johnson, was aboard the USS CURTISS. Do you have any info or pictures about him?
I believe he was a Lt. That is all I really know.
1609 Martha Berry HWY
Rome Georgia 30165
Right after the Kamikaze attack 06/21/45
From: Charles McBride
Hi, here are some more tidbits from this monster you have created.
About 4-5 days after the hit, we and 3or4 smaller and slower ships
left for Gaum.
While we were in the harbor at Gaum waiting to go into the floating dry
dock the word was passed to look to port and see the bow of the
Pittsburgh being towed in by a seagoing tug. Some 20/50 feet had been
sliced off in a typhoon , was upside down and being towed in,
interesting but sad.
We were put in this large drydock with an LST behind us and lifted
up. Now that's large. While they evaluated our damage they also removed
the big crane on the fantail to be given to "another" tender that had "
We then sailed to Pearl, docked right in front of the Arizona. There
was a navy band and 15/20 Waves on the dock playing and singing----
just like the movies!!!!!
We left there and got to Mare Island/Vallejo on Aug,3rd. The ship was
put in dry dock,we were put in barracks and repair began. We would go
onboard every day to overhaul pumps,turbines etc.
There were two 20 day leave groups, I was in the second one so was
still there when VJ day announced. Wild but fun time.
Repaired and left in Nov.
From Andy Adams
While on liberty in San Diego,a group of sailors came upon the Chaplains car parked on a one way street.Since it was a small compact car,we picked it up and turned it around,heading it in the wrong direction.
The Padre came straight to my shop when he returned to the ship.He knew who was responsible for this prank.
One other story,some what kinda of funny,since I was the only diver on board at the time.
There was a problem with the sea suction,on one of the pumps.So they came to me to do a hull inspection.My only problem,there was no one on board that knew how to tend the air hose and life line,so I had to give one of my friends a crash course in the procedure for tending a diver.
I went over the side to inspect and when I got down to the pump suction,I found a stingray which was a perfect fit for the sea suction.
I cleared the obstruction and we got underway.
Andy Adams,U S Navy Ret.
SCPO Master Diver
Hi Bud - This is Bob Hillier, Aerographers Mate 1/C - While the Curtiss was anchored at Espiritu Santos in the early 1940s as part of our duties as weathermen, we would periodically send up weather balloons to obtain wind direction and velocity, at various levels by using a theodolite and noting azimuth and elevation readings.
We soon learned to send up more than one balloon at a time as an Army detachment stationed on shore would wait for us to launch the ballons and then they'd use them for target practice!! We could only hope we were following the balloon they hadnt targeted !
There were days when we'd launch more than two !!
P.S. Thanks for taking over where Hal left off !!! Bob
FROM GREG CUNNINGHAM,GREAT NEPHEW.
MORE INFORMATION ON COMMANDER CUNNINGHAM AT THES SITES:
Here are some pictures that were taken when I presented the book to the folowing places. 1. to the Iwo Jima Monument Museum, Bruce Snider and Gloria Boling (Director, Vistors Center) 2. Harlingen High School South library, Irene Leos (Librarian), Reynaldo A Juaiez (Assistant Principal) Bruce Snider 3. Marine Military Academy Library, Ester B Reyes (Operation Coordinator) Bruce Snider 4. Robert R. Grinder LtCol US Marine Corps (ret) (director,Institutional Adcabcement 5. Harlingen City Library,Joseph Muniz (asssistant Library Director) and Bruce Snider
Harlingen Hight School North (will send this picture later) Pictures 3 and 4 Same book I had to go back to get the LTCol. the first day I was there was a hectic day for them they had Parents visitation going on. I hope you can make this out. They were all happy to receive them and they put the books so the students could read them but could not check them our of the library.
CLICK ON PHOTOS TO ENLARGE.
Info. & photos donated by Bruce Snider
Mr. B.Bruce Snider;
Mr. Snider I did not serve aboard the Curtis. But, was a plank owner aboard the USS St. George AV-16. We were anchored near you at kramaretta, Okinawa during that battle. I remember one evening while sitting on deck as the sun was setting, a kamikaze came in low over the water between our two ships and crashed into the Curtis, it could very well have been us, unfortunately for the Curtis, it was you. No one saw it coming and not a shot was fired. We were told that it hit at or near the geedunk line and over sixty were killed. We were also hit at our seaplane crane on May 6th with three killed, you may have seen it happen. I believe the Curtis was sent back for repairs and made into an atomic energy research ship. After the battle we were sent to Guam for repairs, then on to the occupation of Japan. On our way back to the States in April of 46 we were asked if any of us wanted to join those at the Bikini Atomic test. Having been gone for a couple of years all I wanted was to go home, had I chose otherwise I may have ended up on the Curtis. Hope you have a great reunion. Tom Barnhart EM 2 class USS St. George.
John Daraban survivor of June 21,1945 Kamikaze attack.
Iwo Jima Veteran's Ring Moves Closer To First Owner
Submitted by, Bruce Snider