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San Diego Reunion 2000
Is a Big Success!

Marion Goble
(239) 768-1449

1st Vice President
Jim Dunn
(858) 566-1745

2nd Vice President
L. E (Rusty) Draper
(361) 364-1917

Kay Goble
(239) 768-1449

Membership Chairman
Tom Britt
(858) 578-8926

Marvin Watson
(402) 421-8957

Bill Martin
(281) 427-6828

Newsletter Editor
John Worman
(505) 437-9872


The Rolling Stone is a
Quarterly publication of the USS Whetstone LSD-27 Association, INC.
The Association is a non profit, historical and educational organization dedicated to
promoting fraternal, civic,
patriotic and historical
memories of those who
served aboard.

he USS Whetstone reunion was held September 27 - September 29, 2000  at the Clarion Hotel Bay in San Diego.  For some, this was the first time to be  back in San Diego since their Whetstone tour.

The City of San Diego has changed much since we were all there.  Many of the streets are virtually unrecognizable after all these years.  The seamier parts of the town are being renewed and revitalized with shops, pubs and eating establishments. 

Gone are the locker clubs (and a personal loss to me, the San Diego Harley Davidson shop, just off Broadway).  Replacing them are new high rise banks and office buildings.  The old Armed Services YMCA, the train station, and the US Grant Hotel are still there.  Many of the old buildings are still there but doing different duties.  The old theater that had the Burlesque shows has been incorporated into a shopping mall.

While the City is growing, the US Navy is still very much present.  The sailors aren't as visible as they once were.  Civilian clothing is now permitted on the base and aboard ship.

One of the activities at the reunion was a tour of a modern LSD.  The Pearl Harbor (LSD 52), built in 1996, is the newest (and perhaps last) LSD.  There were about 100 Whetstone sailors and guests who took the ships tour.  There were 10 tour guides that broke us into manageable groups.  While many things on the new ships are very different, I was surprised how much was still the same.   The interior decorator was definitely the same one that did the Whetstone.  There were many long gray painted passage ways with  gray painted cables overhead.  The hatches through the bulkheads and decks looked very familiar.

The mess compartment was newer and more modern, but recognizable.  The racks were different with storage under the mattress.

We didn't get to enter any of the engineering spaces as the Navy feared for our safety.  They were working on the main engines and things were a bit of a mess, according to my tour guide.  Gone are the Boilers.  In fact, gone are the BTs.   .  Current LSDs are now powered by six diesel engines.   A small boiler tucked away somewhere provides steam for heat and the galley
Those boilers are now maintained by MM (Machinist Mates)   (I guess  if I would have stayed in for forty years, I would have been a MM now!)

Another surprise was my tour guide.  She was a MM3.  I knew  that women were stationed on larger ships, but I was surprised to learn they are on smaller ships such as an LSD.

The main mission of current LSDs seems to be to support Marine Corps amphibious craft.  There is a special section of the ship dedicated to Marine troop berthing.   No more taking over the crews' lounge for guest troop berthing.

The flight deck is now an integral part of the ship.  No longer can an LSD be called on to move dredges.  (This refers to  the time in the early 60s when our flight deck was removed so the dredge, Norfolk, could be transported  from Formosa to the Philippines).


(Continued on page 6)

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