Happy 48th Birthday Larry III …


… my nephew, Lawrence John Reilly III, turns 48 today.

Larry is the first-born of the next generation of Reillys …Slide1

… and is the namesake of my younger brother Lawrence John Reilly Jr., one of The Lost 74 of the USS Frank E. Evans … and my Dad, Lawrence John Reilly Sr.Slide2

My favorite picture of Larry as a child is this one I took in 1969 … when he was a “mascot” of the Costa Mesa High School football team.Larry 3d Costa Mesa Mustangs 1969 corrected Maximum

My brother Jerry played for the Mustangs at the time … and Larry later played for them when he was in high school.

Larry’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/larry.reilly1

—–ooooo—–

Three Dot … 124

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Vietnam Veterans Day 2016 …


Today is Vietnam Veterans Day

… a day for honoring all those who served there, including …

… my Dad, GMCM Lawrence John Reilly Sr. (US Navy Ret) …

Reilly Lawrence John Sr. @ USS Frank E. Evans Reunion 2012

… my brother, BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr., one of The Lost 74 of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754)

Larry Jr cropped

… the rest of the crew of the Frank E. Evans

USS Frank E. Evans photo 2

… my prospective brother-in-law and West Point classmate, Thomas Havard “Trey” Sayes III (Capt. US Army) …

Sayes Thomas H -- 1968 Vietnam Army

… his Dad, Col. Thomas Havard Sayes Jr. (US Army Ret) …

Col. Thomas Havard Sayes, Jr. cropped

… all of my other West Point Class of 1967 classmates who served with courage and distinction in Vietnam …

West Point 1967 Crest

… and all other American & allied veterans of that war.

Vietnam Veterans Day 2016

—–ooooo—–

Three Dot … 123

“Lest We Forget”


USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) “Lest We Forget”Remembering today The Lost 74 of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754), including my brother, BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr., lost at sea in the early morning hours of June 3, 1969, when the Evans was cut in half by the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

———-

This great print of the USS Frank E. Evans on canvas is available from the eBay store of Great Naval Images LLC, through their websites http://www.navyboy63.com and http://www.greatnavalimages.com, or at this eBay auction (current as of today):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/USS-Frank-E-Evans-DD-754-Personalized-Ship-Canvas-Print-Photo-US-NAVY-Veteran-/390134284764?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5ad5d0c1dc

———-

 Three Dot … 109

Memorial Day 2015


Memorial Day is a day for remembering American military servicemen who made the ultimate sacrifice. Sadly, of the 34 members of the extended Reilly-Douglas-Sayes-Davis families who have served in the military, we remember 3 of them today:

My younger brother, BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr. USN, was one of the 74 men lost in the sinking of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) on June 3, 1969.

BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr. USN … September 22, 1948 — June 3, 1969

The Evans was participating in a SEATO training exercise during a brief respite from gunline duties off the coast of Vietnam. My Dad, GMCM Lawrence John Reilly Sr. (USN Ret) was one of the survivors of the collision, barely escaping from the sinking front half of the ship.

I have blogged here several times on the efforts of the USS Frank E. Evans Association and others to have the names of The Lost 74 added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, thus far to no avail.

https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/category/uss-frank-e-evans-dd-754/

One of my father’s uncles, Stephen John Otten, fought with the US Army in Europe during World War I. He received a Purple Heart after being gassed and several years later died as a result of the injuries to his lungs.

Going back even further on my wife’s side of the family, one of her ancestors, John Calvin Busby, was killed in action during the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg. He was one of nine family members who fought in the Civil War, eight of them in the Confederate Army.

Unfortunately, I do not have photos of either Stephen Otten or John Busby and do not know any of the details of their military service.

Today is also a day to remember two other groups of veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice … The Lost 74 of the Frank E. Evans …

The Lost 74 of the USS Frank E. Evans (DD754) … Lost at Sea June 3, 1969

… and the 30 of my West Point classmates who were killed in Vietnam.

USMA Class of 1967 ... KIA Vietnam

On this Memorial Day, I salute all of these men … John, Stephen & Larry … The Lost 74 … and my 30 West Point classmates.

Three Dot … 107

Put the Frank E. Evans Lost 74 on the Vietnam Wall …


… so, after my previous post on this subject:

https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2014/11/16/put-the-lost-74-on-the-vietnam-veterans-memorial/

… one of our cats climbed up on my desk and barfed all over the copy of “American Boys” that Louise Esola had inscribed for me to President Obama …

… necessitating that I have her send me another autographed copy for the president …

… and also necessitating that I revise my letter to him.

I did that on January 1st … put together a presentation booklet to send with it … sent the package certified mail … and it was delivered to the White House on January 20th …

… here is the complete presentation that I sent to President Obama:

Front Cover

Front Cover

Letter to President Obama -- Page 1

Letter to President Obama — Page 1

Letter to President Obama -- Page 2

Letter to President Obama — Page 2

Slide3Slide4Page 1 of PresentationPage 2 of PresentationPage 3 of PresentationPage 4 of PresentationPage 5 of PresentationPage 6 of PresentationPage 9 of PresentationPage 10 of PresentationPage 11 of PresentationPage 12 of PresentationPage 10 of PresentationPage 12 of PresentationPage 13 of PresentationPage 14 of PresentationPage 15 of PresentationSlide12Slide13Slide11Slide12Slide13Slide14

Put the Lost 74 on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial


Slide1Slide2Slide3Slide4

Memorial Day …


Memorial Day 2014

… to most Americans is a day to honor those who have given their lives in the military service of their country …

… to “remember” men and women they have never actually known …

… and to “celebrate” the day with barbecue, beer and baseball.

memorial-day-1

To the families of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, however …

… Memorial Day is a day for somber reflection …

… and honoring the memory not of multitudes of unknowns …

… but of loved ones who, in earlier times, had shared the day, unaware of the heartache and sorrow lying ahead.

Flag RibbonOurs is such a family …

… and today our thoughts turn to our son, brother, father, grandfather & uncle …

BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr

BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr.

… who was lost at sea on June 3, 1969, in the sinking of the American destroyer USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754).

I described the collision which cost Larry his life in earlier blog posts here …

… https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/lest-we-forget-uss-frank-e-evans-dd-754/

… and here …

… https://jimsthreedot.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/uss-frank-e-evans-reunion/

USS Frank E. Evans Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery

USS Frank E. Evans Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery

Because he was lost at sea, Larry has a memorial headstone at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego (coincidentally, the city of his birth) …

… which I first visited with other family members when Larry’s son Lawrence John Reilly III was a small child …

Scan-140524-0002Scan-140524-0008… while later visits showed the changes in the setting …

Scan-140525-0008… and damage to the headstone from maintenance of the lawn.

02100009Also note the error in the date of death on the headstone …

… an error I shared for many years because it was still June 2, 1969, in the United States when the collision occurred …

… though it was already June 3rd in the South China Sea …

… as a result of which the official date of the collision in June 3, 1969.

Larry & EvansMemorial Day Banner/>http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Taps+video&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=5A04AC3C5F8C7EAEBAD45A04AC3C5F8C7EAEBAD4

———- ooo ———-

Reilly Family December 7, 1968 ----- Luanne, Jim, Larry Sr., Larry Jr., Jerry, Marion and Suzie

Reilly Family December 7, 1968 —– Luanne, Jim, Larry Sr., Larry Jr., Jerry, Marion and Suzie

Joyce E. Gillich Reilly & Lawrence John Reilly Jr.

Joyce E. Gillich Reilly & Lawrence John Reilly Jr.

Scan-140524-00040210000502100006021000121GoldStarWindBanner

 

 

 

USS Frank E. Evans Reunion …


This weekend, the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) reunion was held in Virginia Beach.  I was not able to attend, but my Dad — one of the survivors of the 1969 sinking of the ship — was there.

The Virginian-Pilot ran a front page story about  the reunion, which included a photo of my Dad.

USS Frank E. Evans Reunion Virginian-Pilot Front Page 130928 cropped

The online version of the article and several photos from the reunion can be seen here:

http://hamptonroads.com/2013/09/navy-ship-survivors-families-want-dead-be-honored

They are also linked in a post on my Facebook page here:

https://www.facebook.com/jamest.reilly.3

Freelance writer and author Louise Esola, who is writing a book about the Evans and who is a strong supporter of efforts to have the names of the lost sailors added to the Vietnam Wall, also attended the reunion and posted several comments on her Facebook page:

Louise Esola

Louise Esola

https://www.facebook.com/WriterLouiseEsola

For more information about the Evans, see the USS Frank E. Evans Association website:

USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754)

USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754)

http://www.ussfrankeevansassociationdd754.org/

__________________________________________

Other websites with information of interest about the Evans:

Lost at Sea Memorials article about the Evans:

http://lost-at-sea-memorials.com/?p=443

Article re Sage family from the Lincoln Journal Star:

Sage Brothers Memorial, Niobrara, Nebraska

Sage Brothers Memorial, Niobrara, Nebraska

http://www.schueths.com/doug/genealogy/publicvers/gleanedwithnotes/pafn1739.htm

Information about names on the Vietnam Wall and the requirements for inclusion:

http://thewall-usa.com/information.asp

“Lest We Forget” — USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754)


.

June 3rd is a sad day in our family history, as it was June 3, 1969, when my younger brother, US Navy BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr., was killed in the collision between his ship, the USS Frank E. Evans (DD-754) and the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

I was stationed at the 6th Naval District Headquarters at the time and learned of the collision late in the evening of June 2nd (it was early morning on June 3rd off the coast of Vietnam).  I had played softball that evening and the phone was ringing when my wife Sandy & I arrived home after the game.  That call was from my father-in-law, Joe Douglas, but we had barely started talking when the operator broke in with an emergency call.  Joe said, “I know what that is” and said I should take the call.  It was my Mom, telling me that the Evans, on which both my Dad and brother were serving, had been involved in a collision and half the ship had sunk, with a number of sailors unaccounted for.

I spent most of that night on the phone, trying to get information about the collision.  Finally, after I got to my office early the next morning, I spoke on the phone with a friend who was at the Navy public affairs office in Washington.  He had a list of the missing men, but said it was not yet authorized for public release.  I imposed on our friendship and he relented, saying that there was a Lawrence J. Reilly on the list.  I asked, “Sr. or Jr.?”  He told me that it didn’t say, so I asked what rate and he replied “BT3”.  My brother was missing and I knew that after that long there was no chance he was going to be found alive.  I then called home and Mom answered the phone.  There was no easy way to break the news, so I just said, “Dad’s okay, but Larry is missing.”  She said, “Oh, my poor Booper” and started crying.  “Booper” was her nickname for Larry when he was a baby.

Within a few hours, I had made arrangements to fly to California and got home in time to then fly up to Travis Air Force Base with my brother Jerry to meet Dad when the Navy flew him home ahead of the rest of the crew.  Dad had also been on the forward half of the ship, asleep in his quarters, at the time of the collision.  He managed to find his way off the ship, despite the fact that it was heeled over on one side and sinking rapidly.  He was one of a small number of crewmen who escaped from the half of the ship that sank.

Altogether, 74 men were lost in the collision.  Because it occurred just outside the designated Vietnam war combat zone, and despite the fact that the SEATO training exercise “Sea Spirt” during which the collision occurred was directly related to Vietnam duty, their names are not included on the Vietnam wall.  Over the years, a number of efforts have been made to have them added, all to no avail.

Coincidentally, I had a long lunch meeting today (June 8) with journalist Louise Esola, who is writing a book about the Evans.  Part of the impetus for and one of the themes of the book is the issue of getting the 74 names on the Vietnam Wall.  Louise showed me Navy records which specify that the service of the Evans on June 2, 1969, during which the ship was participating in “Sea Spirit”, qualified everyone on the ship for the Vietnam Service Medal.  It seems to me that this alone is reason enough to rectify the wrong that has been done to the memory of these men and to have their sacrifice recognized on the Wall.

Larry Jr Evans Collision 01

Larry Jr Evans Collision 02

Larry Jr Evans Collision 03

Larry Jr Evans Collision 04

Larry Jr Evans Collision 05

Larry Jr Evans Collision 06

Larry Jr Evans Collision 07

Larry Jr Evans Collision 08

Larry Jr Evans Collision 09

Larry Jr Evans Collision 10

Larry Jr Evans Collision 11

President Nixon Letter to Larry's wife, Joyce Reilly

President Nixon Letter to Larry’s wife, Joyce Reilly

4 Larry in Uniform

BT3 Lawrence John Reilly Jr

Larry Jr cropped

USS Frank E Evans June 3 1969 3

USS Frank E. Evans DD754 aerial view

During the previous deployment of the Evans to Vietnam in 1968, I was working at the headquarters of the Seventh Fleet detachment in Saigon and was able to arrange a visit to the Evans while she was on the gunline.  Buck Lanier, a friend and military reporter for the Long Beach Independent Press-Telegram, visited with us as well, writing the following article:

Dad, Larry & I onboard USS Frank E. Evans cropped

_______________________________

The USS Frank E. Evans Association website is here:

http://www.ussfee.org/

The USS Frank E. Evans Facebook page is here:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/USS-Frank-E-Evans-Association-DD-754/196339423714586

The USS Frank E. Evans Association history of the ship is here:

http://www.ussfrankeevansassociationdd754.org/history.html