December 7, 1994 was a very sad day for me
Jack R Billings
My company completed the clean
up of the USS Bennington
Jack R Billings [mailto:email@example.com]
Monday, August 27, 2001 8:41 PM
Items from the USS Bennington
To whom it may concern,
My company completed the clean up of the USS Bennington (hazardous material removal) while she was in Port Angeles, WA.
I was there from the time she was moored to the dolphins until she was turned into the straights.
I was the last one on her flight deck before the lines were removed.
I stayed on here deck as long as I could trying to absorb the incredible magnitude of the war effort.
I was on the bridge of the Schmidt as she passed by to pick up the tow line.
It was a bright sunny day and I took several pictures, to my surprise when the photos were developed they were dark and gloomy, like it was raining.
December 7, 1994 was a very sad day for me, I wanted to at least fold a flag or play taps or somehow honor not just the USS Bennington, but what she stood for.
It did not come to pass.
I said so long in my own way.
That project launched my company into a new line of business for a few years and I have had the honor to visit many fighting vessels.
I spent many hours on the USS Hornet and the USS Oriskany.
I have been on the old diesel subs the Sailfish and the Barbell and 50 or 60 others.
I am currently working on SOQ's for the ship disposal program.
While I was on the USS Bennington I acquired a couple of items that should be of interest to your group.
The brass tube from the Captains quarters ( I am not sure what you call it) that he talked into.
A solid brass wheel from one of the fire or boiler rooms. It is about 18" in diameter with six spokes. It looks hand made.
One of the original manuals on the Fairbanks, Morse 38D8-1/8 Generating Sets with the date 2/13/53 and signature of Joe on the inside cover. It also says in pencil, USS Bennington CVS- 20 / A- div / Van Tiger.
Another manual on the piping systems dated June 1964.
I also have those pictures somewhere. I would like to get these items to a place where they will be appreciated and kept. Please contact me and give me some direction and I will do the rest.
By the way, when the demo crew tried to blow a hole in the flight deck with allot of plastic explosives and shaped charges, they failed.
The crew worked a full week with torches to make that hole.
So, she did win her last battle over here and I am sure she did not go down easy over there.
Jack R Billings