Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In memory of 37 sailors

It's been 25 years.

May 17th will be the 25th anniversary of the USS Stark tragedy.

I was 21 years old. Enjoying an evening out in Manama, Bahrain. I came back to my ship and it was gone. The USS Conyngham had left to go support the Stark. We were instructed to board the USS LaSalle not really knowing what was happening.

Two Exocet missiles had been fired by an Iraqi air force jet. One exploded. 37 men died. 21 were wounded.

Arriving early the next morning I was shocked to see the Stark listing with a huge amount of smoke coming out of her. Once we got back to the Conyngham many of us immediately headed to the Stark. People were exhausted. Body bags were filled. Fires still needed to be fought. The smell shocked me. Everyone just jumped in. The fires continued for almost 24 hours from the moment of impact.

My one friend on the Stark survived. Three of his co-workers did not.

I never know when a memory is going to hit me from that day. My thoughts and memories of that day run deep and all over the place, as they do for anyone who was there.

I've always remembered. My shipmates rocked it that day. I saw bravery and courage and selflessness.

This blog post is in memory of the 37 people who were killed aboard the USS Stark on May 17, 1987.

Doran Bolduc, seaman, 29
Bradley Brown, bosun’s mate, 28
Jeffrey Calkins, fire controlman, 20
Mark Caouette, seaman, 26
John Ciletta, seaman, 21
Bryan Clinfelter, seaman recruit, 19
Antonio Daniels, operations specialist, 21
Christopher DeAngelis, electronics technician, 23
James Dunlap, communications specialist, 20
Steven Erwin, sonar technician, 22
Jerry Farr, radioman, 36
Vernon Foster, senior chief petty officer, 33
Dexter Grissette, radioman-seaman’s apprentice, 19
William Hansen, fire control technician, 22
Daniel Homicki, gunner’s mate, 36
Kenneth Janusik, operations specialist, 19
Steven Kendall, operations specialist, 30
Stephen Kiser, electronics mate, 36
Ronnie Lockett, signalman, 30
Thomas MacMullen, gunner’s mate, 30
Charles Moller, electronic warfare specialist, 27
Jeffrey Phelps, seaman recruit, 21
Randy Pierce, data systems technician, 28
James Plonsky, gunner’s mate, 22
Kelly Quick, electronics technician, 20
Earl Ryals, signalman, 25
Robert Shippee, fire control technician, 35
Jeffrey Sibley, signalman-seaman’s apprentice, 21
Lee Stephens, operations specialist, 23
James Stevens, torpedoman, 27
Martin Supple, electronics technician, 27
Gregory Tweady, fire control technician, 36
Vincent Ulmer, seaman, 21
Joseph Watson, electronic warfare specialist, 25
Wayne Weaver, electronics technician, 22
Terrance Weldon, operations specialist, 20
Lloyd Wilson, fireman apprentice, 24

Thank you for reading.

My email address is if you'd rather send comments directly to me.


  1. Well ... shit. There you go making me cry at work. I will raise a glass to them tonight.

  2. I wrote about the anniversary on my blog, too. I write about our generation -- born 1961 to 1981. This is so sad to me. 21 of the 37 killed were members of my generation and nobody ever even talks about this. 25 years is a long time, but not that long. Thanks for posting the names and ages.

  3. thank you for bloging about this. how terribly sad. i hate that i didn't even know about it but i was busy graduating high school. i have read each name and will be praying for each sailors' friends and families on this sad anniversary..

  4. Thank you shipmate! By the time the XO ordered me off the Stark (after collapsing on the flight deck, some time the following day)I don't remember anything from the support of the sailors coming to our aid. I keep a blog to honor my lost brothers

    1. Visiting with one of my best friends, Liz Morgan - mentioned the WAZ because she went to meeting in Mayport - blogs I;ve followed over the years! I think I met you briefly in Florida, in August, 1987. Recognized a recent pic with furry friend (as of 1987). Steve Erwin was her brother, my boyfriend. I never let May 17th go by without reminding friends and family of this awful day. Happily married now, but I always salute the memory of those gone, and still living. Cheers, a friend.