"T-H-E   P-A-N-T-H-E-R"

    Established Since March 1945 -
Published for the upkeep of naval morale!

Published at no cost to the Gov't
Mimeographed on Gov't Equipment

*  *  *


Commander J.R. Mc CORMICK
Executive Officer.

*  *  *

Editor:          J.A. O'Hara, Y3c.
Asso.Ed:      T.F. Falloon, SK2c
Sports Ed:    F.X. Gantley, Cox.
Art Ed:         Lt. (jg) J. Preston Jr.
Feature Writers:  Lt. M.F. Forst,
                    (ChC); E.S. Wheeler, SK1c
Staff:            T.J. Gilhooly, Y3c
                    L.J. Sines, Y3c
Advisor:       Lt. T.H. Galland.
(The PANTHER is considered in all respects to comply with SecNav EXOS:AO(Pub)WBW:bmed, 28 May 1945)
No article in this publication is to be reprinted.

    "I had completed my run in the landing circle and my plane was ready to hit the ramp.  The signal officer did not flag me away.  As I proceeded to come in, the lower section of the plane hit the stack wash on the island superstructure.  Under this impact, the plane and myself was flipped completely over.  I landed in the water, hitting it squarely.  The plane was submerging quickly so I had to work fast in order to get my safety belt loosened!  I managed all right and soon found myself on the surface of the ocean.  At this time, I noticed that my left arm had become numb and it pained terribly to move it.  I began to look around for a means of rescue.  My 'Mae West' was inflated but I couldn't locate my rubber raft.  As I looked about, I noticed a five inch AA Cruiser heading towards me!  I began to wave with my good right arm.  I also used the green sea-dye marker which has proved successful in many mast cases.  The ship steamed over to where I bobbed about the waves.  Proceeding cautiously, the plane rescue ladders were dropped and I was assisted aboard by the able deck boatswain's mates as the ship lay dead in the water.  "After coming aboard, I was immediately taken to Sick Bay where x-rays were taken and the damage to my arm was accessed - Well, that's it!"

    The above is a personal condensed tale of Ensign Milton A. Zehr, USN, of Denver, Colorado who was rescued by the U.S.S. SAN JUAN, on 7 July 1945, just at twilight.  The carrier to which Ens. Zehr was attached, sent the SAN JUAN a dispatch thanking the Captain and crew for their splendid performance in the rescuing of their valuable fighter pilot.

    Mr. Zehr has been in the service for 9 years.  He entered the Navy as a enlisted man and finally earned his commission along with his wings.  The Corsair pilot has 1200 flying hours to his credit.  when asked what he thought of flying, he retorted, "Hell, that's the life"!

    In summing up the visit of our unexpected guest, we would like to add that we enjoyed his stay aboard.  Incidentally, Ens. Zehr, the fellows got quite a few laughs out of your baby's first shoe being attached to your helmet.  So it's thumbs up and happy landing to one of the Navy's famous skyman!

    It has been determined that a sufficient period of time has elapsed since the Okinawa Campaign to permit mention of it in personal correspondence.  We may, therefore, now discuss the campaign in our letters.  We must be careful, however, to limit what we say to description of our personal experiences.  Particularly, statements which may disclose the strength or tactical disposition of the fleet units, such as reference by name to any other units, discussion or reference to battle damage, information derived from intelligence sources, and narrative descriptions not within the writer's personal experience are prohibited.

    But there still is plenty to write about.  We may mention being as sea for six straight weeks.  We may describe shooting down the "twin-engined bomber" 4000 yards off our port bow - how it was coming in low over the water and how, when hit, is simply disappeared, leaving only a patch of burning gasoline on the water and one rubber wheel floating in a sulphurous slick.  And we may mention that we saw fifteen or twenty planes shot down by other ships and our fighters, and how most of them burst into flames and how at night the night fighters tracers seemed to reach out and send the Jap flaming into the sea, light up the horizon for an instant.  To some of us, the bombardment of Minami Daito will be most memorable, since, although there was no return fire, and consequently no danger, the effect of all our guns going off in salvo was like the last trump of doom.

    In addition to the release of the Okinawa Campaign from censorship, we now may also mention that the San Juan was a member of the fast carrier task force which struck Tokyo on 10 July with 1000 planes.  We may comment on the pleasantly cool weather, and how, except for irregular hours of sleep, the operation was more like a pleasure cruise than war.

    "The way I figure it," said our friend, "is this.  If it weren't for the War I'd be a pretty decent fellow.  Before I was drafted I didn't go in for all this cheap stuff, and I went to Church regularly.  But this situation's got me licked.  Maybe I'm going Asiatic."

    Will everyone please, just for a little while, quit blaming everything on the War?  You're as much the master of your destiny and the captain of your soul today, as you ever were.  Which means that you can either toss it to the sea gulls or keep it safe and true.  You can say yes or no to temptation.  You can do what's right, or you can do what's wrong.

    If you stated this war as a pretty good kid, you muster out as a 14-carat bum, don't blame the war or the Navy, or anyone else.  Blame yourself.  You're the one who kicked over the traces.  War or no War there would still be temptations, and there would still be your free will.  You are today, and tomorrow what you make yourself, and not what the service made of you.  Be honest about that.

    We won't go into that, though.  All we're pleading for now is a little honesty.  Honesty with yourself and with your God.  There are only two people it will do you absolutely no good to try to fool.  One is yourself and the other is God.  So why try to kid them?

    Why this plea for honesty?  Well, first because it's right.  Secondly because if you die during this war, I think God will be much easier with you if you're at least honest enough to make your last words something like this, "God, I haven't been an angel.  I've kicked your laws around.  But it's not Your fault, and it's not the fault of the war.  It's my fault.  I did it.  I'm sorry."


    After a "summer vacation" (?) of a sort, the "mezzumma" column makes a reappearance.

    As most of you know the $9.00 clothing allowance is again on the books and will show up on the money list for the 20th of July.  CPO's get $18.75.

    It might be of interest to know that the leave ration for the fiscal year 1946 has been set at sixty-five cents, the same as last year.  That's just in case any of you lucky ones get some leave.

    You will note on the money list for the 20th pay day that new "pay numbers" have been assigned.  These will change twice a year, January 1 and July 1 when your pay record is renewed.

    AlNav 153 was published in the Plan of the Day recently but believe it bear repeating.  The AlNav publishes the amendment to the National Service Life Insurance Act which extends the five year term plan for three additional years.  No change in the premiums or allotments for the NSI is made and will be continued on the present records without any action on the individual's part.  The same policy regarding conversion of the insurance will be followed, as has been the practice in the past.


The Harper's Magazine just awhile ago, published an article which we believe interesting -- What do you say?

    "The U.S.S. WASHINGTON received a new skipper in the name of Capt. James E. MAHER, better known as "Silent Jim" in the fleet from his habit of never speaking in anything less than a full-gale roar.  MAHER had been skipper of the anti-aircraft cruiser SAN JUAN, which shot down so many Jap planes that her bridge looked like a polka-dot dress with the flags painted all over it"!


    Well, how do you like your new showers?  Nothing like the ones they took the place of but they save water.  We don't say we are going to take a shower now, it's "I'm going up to take a fizz".  Seriously tho', the fine spray nozzles are a real piece of workmanship, something the "A" Division can be proud of.  Somebody ought to make first class!

BELATED APOLOGIES...A little slip-up on our part has been called to our attention and it touches a very sentimental spot in this columnists policy of trying to write-up all the boys who get transferred, especially the Plank Owners.  During our last "rest" period, two staunch old salts of the "F" Division left for the home of the free and the brave.  Both coming aboard in Boston, three & one half years ago, Gilbert Rufo, FC3c and E.T. Pokorney, FC1c, will be missed by their shipmates in the "F" Division.  Rufo was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries sustained during the Battle of Santa Cruz, October 1942.  Best of luck in your new assignments!

CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS. . .Saxby, Chief Quartermaster has gone and done it - yep - he extended for another three years.  He must have been listening to CFC Smith - he has a style all his own when it comes to arguing for 20 years.  He has it all figured out how he will retire in ten years!  When you and I are civilians again, down to the corner "pub" we'll go, and weep crocodile tears in our beer for Saxby and Smith.  Tsk, tsk. . .At first we thought Uncle Sam had changed the uniform regulations for officers and had substituted zoot suits, but upon further investigation we found cut that it was just Lt. Stofko swimming in a pair of pants inherited from Lt. Sarrey.  Pretty shrewd, for a Philadelphia merchant..$75 a week is good pay for a Navy yard worker but when a soda jerker in the person of "Chuck" Hamm gives out with such a story, it's hard to take, brother, it's hard to take. . .Snipes candidate for the champion letter writer is J.T. Bombolis who holds forth with his magic pen every chance he gets in the Aft messing compartment . . . Charlie Farrell and Herman Duhe are very much concerned over their mutual buddy, M.A. Kennedy and his pet peeve!  What about if, Marvin Albert?? ..What is this Navy coming to with Coxswains and Shipfitters taking typing lessons?? .. "Maidon Form" Rourke, shapeliest of all Bos'n's Mates; tipping the scales at a solid 215 lbs., has been observed raiding the midnite soup line.  This wouldn't be of interest if Rourke stood watch.  Attention MAA.
  Dear Mr. Anthony: While returning to Farragut, Idaho from boot leave, I met a very lovely girl.  True to Navy tradition I snowed her under with my sad line and sinker.  Later in the summer I was transferred to her home town, San Francisco, and reported aboard the USS S.J. for duty.  Immediately and naturally I got in touch with my only feminine acquaintance in town.  Soon I had her down to see the ship and I must confess I was very forward in telling the guard at the gate that she was my wife.  She really liked the graceful lines of the ship and the stories I told her of the famous battles she had been through (I neglected to tell her that I had only been aboard two days and still couldn't find the head).  After a visit to her house, her Dad's 1941 Oldsmobile was a my call and we spent many happy hours under the moon in Golden Gate Park.  Soon the SAN JUAN was off to the wars and me with it.  I wrote my folds about her and naturally they invited her down to visit.  She passed the Emily Post test at our house and I was greatly relieved.  Upon her return home a party was held at the Rose Room of the Palace Hotel, which is really a swanky dump, and all her relatives voted me into the clan.  My sister writes that everything is "rosy" and all I have to do is say the word and she could arrange a proxy marriage for me.  My problem is: should I go thru with it now or should I wait till I return to the states and have all my shipmates, who have counseled me so faithfully, invited to the wedding and reception? (which should be a lulu).

"Hose Nose" Schreeter               

Dear "Hose Nose": After your girl friend reads in the CINCPOA communique #419 that the SAN JUAN was present in the raid on Tokyo on July 10th, she will look upon you as a hero and will gladly wait for you.  She would be only too happy to have all your hero shipmates at the wedding and reception.  What could be better than to have your buddies, who went through hell and the chow line with you, present at your happiest moment? As Ever, "Tony" (Mr. Anthony)

MYSTERY OF THE WEEK:  Who starched the Commodore's skivvies and why did George Graziuso do it?

See ya around ------

After a great deliberation by the authorities, it was found that we rate one bronze star on our Philippine Liberation Ribbon.  While on the subject of ribbons and stars tentative arrangements are being made with the Supply Department to purchase before hand, a complete supply of the various types of ribbons for the crew's use.

Here lies Seaman Lear,
Too lazy - he was - to don flash gear.
A lucky Kamikaze, a hit did score,
And Seaman Lear was burned to the core.


    Yes something entirely new in the line of feature stories.  This and every week herafter, a list of the coming week's birthdays of men aboard the San Juan will appear in the PANTHER.  So keep a sharp lookout fo ryour name when your birthday comes rolling around.  Here's hopin' we don't miss any!

                     C.D. AMY, S1c
                     E.W. BELLOTTI, WT3c
                     R.T. BODLE, F1c
                     J.R. CHURCH Jr., F1c (EM)
                     S.D. GASIOR, S1c
                     P. PAGLIARINE, S1c (SM)
                     R.A. RANDALL, SKD1c
                     R.G. RODWELL, S1c
                     N.D. TOMLINSON Jr., GM3c
                     W.W. WANNER, S1c


Here's to the fighting ship, San Juan,
And to her mighty name.
She's spent her time on the firing line,
And won a lot of fame.

I'm not afraid of war, or big guns rear,
I like the ocean blue,
But I've had my fill of these bloody drills,
I tell you boys I'm through.

I've manned my gun in these last three years
A million times or more.
To fight off sleds or diving sleeves
Or track a seagull's soar.

We've fill our holds and magazines
With stuff to slap the Japs.
We use it all for "zootsuit" drills
And slave to get it back.

You stand your watch and dream ahead
To the day of sleeping in,
And it never fails every cock-eyed time,
It's "SHAKY'S" drills again.

I hear GQ, I grabbed my clothes
And beat it on the run.
I know at last the Yellow Japs
Would feel our blazing guns.

We opened fire, we gave them hell.
For a hundred rounds or more.
Then I raised my eyes to the smoking skies.
And it hurt me to the core.

No Japs were there, no alien ships
No submarines, no foe.
Just another sleeve was passing by,
And we couldn't let it go.

I studied hard, I worked my share,
I thought I'd make a rate.
But good things just don't come my way.
I guess you'd call it fate.

I memorized my progress book,
I could recite it through and through
But they added so much with a Harvard touch
There's not a chance for you.

So I've settled down in the same old rut
And I'll just say once again
That in this fight of sleeves and sleds
A good man just can't win!

--- Dawson & Manley, Inc.


More "Panther" Newsletters

15 July 1945   |   2 September 1945   |   30 September 1945   |   7 October 1945


Home  |  Roster  |  History  |  Letters  |  Add a Crew Member  |  The Panther Newsletter

Documents  |  Stories  |  Crew Photo Album  |  Ship Photo Album  |  Contact

2002 Reunion Photos  |  Ship Specifications  |  Links  |  Rings  |  Bulletin Board


USS San Juan Web Site by
Karl Franklin
my email