Tag Archives: Gulf

Building named after RADM Copeland

[Dick Rohde received the following email on April 25, 1999 from Van Badzik, Commanding Officer of the Naval Reserve Center in Tacoma, Washington.]

Dear Mr. Rohde,

I am Lieutenant Commander D. Van Badzik, USNR, the Commanding Officer of the Naval Reserve Center in Tacoma, Washington. I offer my greatest apologies for the lateness of this message, but I have some news for you and the other survivors of the DE-413.

As I’m sure you’re aware, your skipper, the late Rear Admiral R. W. Copeland, was a native and life-long resident of Tacoma, Washington. We’ve recently completed a new building at our Naval Reserve Center, and after a several month bureaucratic delay, I’ve received official permission to name the new building after RADM Copeland.

We will be holding a dedication ceremony next week, on Saturday, May 1, at 3:00 p.m. RADM Copeland’s widow, Mrs. Harriet Copeland, will be our honored guest and will cut the ribbon marking the opening of the new facility.

Again, I’m sorry for the short notice on this, but I got a late start on the request, and the Navy’s upper brass took a long time to approve the request.

And unfortunately, I was unable to inform the public of the naming until after I had received official approval, which wasn’t until yesterday.

Anyway, I am inviting you and any other interested individuals to attend the ceremony. I would understand the difficulty of arranging transportation, but if any survivors live in the Northwest, or can somehow arrange to be here, we would be honored.

If anyone is interested, please have them call us at (253) 383-[xxxx], and ask for myself (LCDR Badzik) or for Petty Officer Williams or for Chief Church.

We will be happy to give directions on how to get here, or hotel recommendations, or whatever else they may need. Following the dedication, I will send you photos and other information about the event, that you may wish to place on your web-site.

Thanks again, and smooth sailing.

Van Badzik

Missing Shipmates

Do you know anyone who served on the Sammy B but who has not been in touch with the Sammy B Survivors’ Association? Did you yourself serve? The Survivors’ Association has tried over the last few years to locate all shipmates, but there are still some we’ve been unable to locate. If you have any leads, please e-mail Dick Rohde.

Name and Last Contact: Freddie L. Washington, Stewards Mate First Class Freddie is from a small town in Texas. He was one of the few African Americans serving on the Sammy B (during World War II the Navy was still segregated.) The Survivors’ Association last had contact with Freddie at the reunion in 1982, which Freddie attended.

Kenneth J. Swiggett, WIA

Ken Swiggett


This picture was taken around March or April 1945. Shipmate Don Young indicates that he believes the picture was taken in Oakland, California, while the men were at Treasure Island waiting for reassignment after survivors leave. The gentleman with Ken (on the left), Don believes, was either a friend of his family or a relative. Both Don and Kenney served on the Pine Island (AV-12) after serving on the Sammy B.

Jack Conway

Young Jack Conway

Patti Anne Johnson, Jack’s granddaughter, described this picture in a letter to Dick Rohde in June 1999:

Dear Mr. Rohde,

I thought I’d send this photo of my grandfather along so you can see who I am talking about. This photo was taken around 1936, his first time around in the Navy. I may be wrong, but I believe this was taken during his trip to China. His ship spent some two years in China and he has a full scrapbook of photos taken during that time. I have only seen it once, my grandmother treasures it and we aren’t really allowed to look at it. But last week I was given special permission to see it. He is around 18 or 19 here.

In 1944 he was about 27, an “old” man I’m sure. My grandpa gave this photo to my mother and she carried it around in her wallet for about 30 years. About two or so years ago she gave it to me. It is the only actual photo I have. I do have another photo of him taken just before he left for the war…. I don’t have that photo, but my mother has a copy of it. My grandmother let me take it for two hours a few months ago to scan it into our computer and my husband printed out a copy for my mom as a gift.

Some photographer in town offered free photos to all the men going off to war, so my grandparents went down and got one of him and one of the two together. They couldn’t afford to buy prints, so there is only one of each. I’ll send a copy along soon.

I looked up the Gismo, and was pleasantly surprised to see my grandpa listed- one of the fellows who went along with “Sea Daddy” Harrington to get a tattoo- he is referred to in the piece as “China” Conway. A probable reference to the above-mentioned China trip. It is in the third Gismo. My mom has a photo of her dad when he got older and he has a short-sleeve shirt on and a big Navy anchor on his bicep- guess Iknow where he got that from now!

Take care,
Patti Anne Johnson