USS Nitro Association crestUSS Nitro (AE-2/AE-23) Association
Shipboard Crewbook Signin's

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I was onboard from 1980 to 1984, manning the helm during the fire, became Electronics technician afterwards.
Christopher Gauthier
Thursday, 02 August 2018 at 12:04:00

80-82, Electrician (EM) J-Division. I've only met 1 crew member since leaving the Nitro. Still use the skills I learned aboard her as I am 100T Boat Captain now and tow small crafts, splice lines, and handle passengers and cargo. The main space fire provided excitement. Good times.
Joseph Dobransky
Orange Park FL USA - Thursday, June 14, 2018 09:01:00

SM1, OC div, onboard during the fire. Made chief, served Jan 81 to Oct 83
Bill Lahm
Monday 23 October 2017 at 10:19:00

Served onboard from Feb 81 to Mar 85. Lived thru main space fire. Worked in M Div. AsMM2 to MMC. Miss everybody. Hope all is well with everybody. I’m now working for DECA NasJax. FL selling food at the commissary. From MMC to Store worker funny. Takecare ya’ll.
Bill Lutz
Middleburg FL USA - Wednesday, 23 August 2017 16:46:00

Arthur Lenar
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 at 16:56:00

Wows, I just came across this crew members list and am blown away. I know so many of these names from 1978-1980. I am PO3 Branam...John Branam, HT with chief James and Chief Marsh. Came aboard in Philly shipyard and departed in Jan, 1980.
I an blown away because of this fire. I knew nothing about it until today and my buddy Bob Stewart is mentioned as helping to put it out. He was an HT as well and slept in the bunk across from me. I remember coming out of Rota and we hit a swell and the ship crashed down, HT1 Eanonie and HT2 Riener came crashing down on
I taught Ensign Tobias everything he knew about Damage He was a fresh Ensign out of Annapolis. He wasnt a very good student though.
Commander Wallace.....he was acting Commander and signed my collage release before the last Med cruise I would have gone on. Then 4 days before the cruise he tells me the plans were changed and I had to make the cruise. I missed the ships movement to uninroll in collage, get out of my apartment lease and talk the dealer into taking my car back. Not good...but fond memory.
I remember Ibeza and the eribus(spelling?) the liqueur from the tree root...dang that was good. I saw the Alps and went skiing there. Tunisia, Greece.....was all good times. Anywho, Y'all be safe, thanks for the memories and thanks you for your service to America.

John Brown
Thursday, 16 February 2017 at 18:04:00

Aboard 5-1/2 __ 2 years as B Division Chief Petty Officer from 1980 to 1985
Jay R. Giuliani
Springfield, PA USA - Sunday, 13 April 1997 at 13:40:24

YN3 / 2C 82-84
Larry Cicotte
Muncie IN USA - Saturday, 17 May 1997 at 08:54:20

BTFN - served from '84 - '87. Thanks Bob for setting up the reunion. I along with Oscar and Kevin had a fantastic time. I hope you and your wife made it home alright. We'll be looking forward to seeing you and the rest of the "gang" next year. Until then "may your sails be full and your seas calm". Brian
Brian R. Evans
Clifton NJ USA - Friday, 6 Jun 1997 at 13:57:47

EM-3 RAS Division '87-'90
Jeff Oltman
Clarksville IN USA - Tuesday, 15 Jul 1997 at 08:24:03

YN FX Division. Reported onboard as a SN 29 May 86. Discharged YN2C 10 Feb 1990. Spent 6mos TAD to USS Glover from Aug to Dec 89.! Anyone who was on the Duke with me drop an E-mail. That offer is good for anyone who served the onboard NITRO. I have some interesting tales and would like to hear yours.
Robert Yetter
Little Rock AR USA - Wednesday, 20 Aug 1997 at 23:25:21

I served from 89-93 in both Second Div and RAS and was the Fuel Probe Tech (skate job). Loved Nitro and most of the crew, and wish people in civilian life were as great to work with as you were. The wife and I have owned an art gallery for 10+ years now. After hitting my mid-life crisis, I became a firefighter and will be a Police Officer in Dallas come November. A few things to check off my bucket list !! Met with Jim Fowler (was LTJG way back then, now a Navy God) last month when he was in town, and was great to reconnect a bit with the past. Could have talked for hours about the old times. Anyone want to drop me a line to say hi would be great. Be safe.
Michael A Sharpe
Boynton FL USA - Thursday, 16 Jul 2009 at 03:17:21

I started as an SN in 1st Division was then transfered to J Division and became a BM3. Caught the Nitro AE-23 in the Philly shipyards in '78 took her to Gitmo then made 2 Med cruises. Left Nitro in June of '80 to seek my fame and fortune in civilian life. Found neither.
Scott Strickland
Grants Pass OR USA - Friday, 21 Nov 1997 at 18:41:44

MR3 M Division March 1979 - December 1982 Including NitroFire!! We never did get that T-shirt made up.
Charles Cousins
Long Beach CA USA - Thursday, 27 Nov 1997 at 00:59:41

Served on board from 82-85. Wouldn't have missed a minute
Kevin Clavin
Sound Beach NY USA - Friday, 19 Dec 1997 at 19:55:37

Gunners mate 3rd, 8/84 - 8/87. 3rd div., Captain Stillmaker, Gunner Perrin, Chief Weil Was a nightmare, but O.K., lots of seatime 2 meds, 1 N.Atlantic, also am a blue nose across the Artic circle.
Robert N. Mazza
Wednesday, 31 Dec 1997 at 00:24:38

Radioman 1st Class RM OC Division served from 1978 through March 1980. Enjoyed being on a smaller ship, served on 2 carriers seeing the Med and most of the people I worked with. Made some great friends who I'm still in contact with. Any fellow Radiomen out there, I would like to hear from you.
Rick Fenstermaker
Hammond WI USA - Friday, 23 Jan 1998 at 14:27:27

CWO2, served on Nitro 1978 - 1980
Donald Bear
Saturday, 7 Feb 1998 at 19:00:47

BT3, Oil King 7/89-7/91
Joel Miller
Madison CT USA - Wednesday, 11 Feb 1998 at 18:32:07

Served from '77-'81 as a signalman. Worked with Brian Knight and Chief Ferrullo. Brian lives in Tecumseh, see him all the time. I married the chiefs daughter 16 years ago, talk about stories to tell, I got a few. I keep in touch with RMC Ernie Sutton (ret). Hi to Chief Toohey, CWO Bear & RM1 Rick F. I served proudly with them all.
Dave Holtzbauer
Wednesday, 25 Feb 1998 at 07:41:32

Onboard for 5 years as a Storekeeper 3rd class, from beginning of '85 till end of '89.
Wayne Traver
Haverhill MA USA - Wednesday, 04 Mar 1998 at 19:29:03

I served aboard the Nitro from Jan 89 until June 92. I was an mm3 in m-div. Unfortunately I have lost touch with everyone and I would enjoy getting back in touch.
Jamie Fields
Monday, 16 Mar 1998 at 03:10:13

Started out on Nitro in 1st. Division, later to make FC3 and go to OE01 Division. Served onboard from 1985-1988. Saw two MED Cruises, Northern Wedding, and trips to Rosey Roads PR. to name a few. Ex-shipmates e-mail is always welcome!
Bill Wright
Whitehall PA USA - Sunday, 22 Mar 1998 at 15:17:52

I can't believe I found this site. It brought back alot of memories. I was aboard the Nitro between 78-80. I was part of the Supply Div. with Kevin Knox, "Steel" Bill Whalen, Joe DeBride, Pete Hare, Billy Lunden, Danny "TAZ" Phifer, The Johnson Boys. I remember some of the guys who wrote in already. Jim Hugo, Dan Corcoran, Dan Campbell,Kim Lyle, Lyle Powers and The Haze Gray Ghost Riders, Leif Johnson, Larry Badgely etc. Would luv to hear from anyone...let me know what's been going on.
Keith Talmadge
Monday, March 27, 2006 at 10:59:00

Aboard Aug. 77 - Oct. 81 Signalman 2nd class. Still can't get Holtzbauer off my tail. The "Gray Ghost from the Jersey Coast" was a great ride I'll never forget, made lot's of friends, would like to hear from some of you!
Brian T. Knight
Tecumseh MI USA - Saturday, 04 Apr 1998 at 19:34:49

OS3 Graf I served aboard the Nitro from 1976-1980. I worked in CIC or operations. I have kept in touch with Sam Drury and lost track of Tim (Morris the cat) Morris after he moved to some nudist colony in Florida, if anyone sees him tell him to give me a call. I would also like to know what happened to Rusty Graham. I am Retired from the New York City Police Department, Served as a two term town supervisor and one day want to hold a state or federal office. See you on CNN guys. I am the father of three and though it has been a long time the guys that I served with will never be forgotten and are thought of often. A special hello to those in the fan room club. I'll be thinking about all you guys. Your shipmate chuck.
Alfred C. Graf (Chuck)
Saranac Lake NY USA - Saturday, 13 Jun 1998 at 12:47:24

HM3 X-Division 1982-1984. Not a day goes by that I don't remember the good times I had on the Nitro.
Jeff Morrison
REDKEY IN USA - Monday, 29 Jun 1998 at 13:08:40

mmfn gentleman served on board from 77-81 in m-div.
Joseph Gentleman
Tuesday, 25 Aug 1998 at 20:54:24

Reported onboard Nitro 7/24/87 as a GMGSN fresh out of "A" school. Served under Gunner CWO3 Jim Wilds and LPO GMG1 Mark Berman. Spent a few "warm" months down in Cuba for REFTRA. Rode along during a Med and some other minor stuff in between. Had some pretty wild times on and off the Nitro during my stay. Made a lot of good friends. Some of which I still keep in contact with (GMG2 Greg Stark,GMG2 Dave Gardiner). Would love to hear from some of the other 3RD Division folks that I befriended. Drop me a line. Left Nitro on 7/24/89 as a GMG3. Served in the Reserves until 10/92. Ironically, I was assigned to WEPSTA Earle and had the fortunate duty of loading Nitro with "supplies" during my 2-week commitment as Desert Shield was getting underway. The following year, again was pleased to unload the remainder of those "supplies" after Desert Storm. Well, life is treating me very well these days. I'm still known on occasion to take out my cruise book and have a good laugh for an hour or two just thinking how crazy things can happen when you stick a group of nuts together and float them around in the ocean for a couple of months at a time. So, with that, I hope that all is well with all Nitro members. I hope to hear from some of my old acquaintences soon. See ya. or
Dan McKenna
Avenel NJ USA - Tuesday 8 Sep 1998 at 22:02:37

SN 2nd Division/Boat Crew 1977-1980. Original member of the Haze Gray 5. Cross rated to "Aviation Community, became a Parachute" Rigger. Look forward to retirement Jan 1999. Glad to see this page and would like to hear from former shipmates from the Haze Gray Ghost from the Jersey Coast.
Bill Yale
Pace FL USA - Monday, 14 Sep 1998 at 13:18:44

I was on board from june 85 till dec. 88. Saw 1 1/2 med cruises and Northern wedding. My LPO was BT1 Smith Assigned to B-Div. Currently in Navy Reserves for 6 years now. If you want to exchange sea stories E-Mail me. E.Trick
eugene trick
Saturday, 28 Nov 1998 at 21:14:18

RM1 Ken Magarino (1984-1988). OC01 Division 1984-1988. Served with RMC Wragg and RMC Knause, RM3 Knight, Lenny Weiner, RM3 Woolett, Rm3 Harrison and a lot of crazy signalman and OS's. After exiting active duty in 90 I joined the Reserves and currently at the 19 year mark with MIUW 203 Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn NY. Would love to correspond with any shipmates who would like to email..."The Duke of Earle!!!!"
Ken Magarino
Brooklyn NY USA - Friday, 8 Jan 1999 at 14:38:14

GMG3 Joe Oppenheimer 3rd Div. Served on NITRO from 89-93. Was known as "OPPY". Everyone from deck seaman to the captain called me that. Moved a lot of ammo. In the gulf, made a lot of friends and some great memories. I would love to here from anyone who served at the same time. Some crazy stuff went on during that period on Nitro would love to reminisce!
Joe Oppenheimer "OPPY"
Ft. Collins CO USA - Saturday, 20 Mar 1999 at 17:58:33

sn/sm3 January 1982-October 1983
Eric Bushner
Lee's Summit MO USA - Wednesday, 25 Aug 1999 at 16:21:49

XO from 9/85 through 12/87. Served under Bill Stillmaker and Dave Jennings for 1 1/2 Med and one Northern Wedding deployments. I went on to command MOUNT BAKER and am now retired, helping to run Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Charleston harbor, a great place to hold the next reunion. Would love to hear from any old shipmates who have gotten over the natural distaste for the XO.
David P.Burnette
Summerville SC USA - Monday, 30 Aug 1999 19:57:20

BT2, B-Division, served from Apr81-Sept85. Would like to hear from shipmates during that time frame. Lots of GREAT guys and lots of fun! Once a "Snipe" always a "Snipe". Thanks for creating a great site!
Gerard (Gerry) Breton
Cumberland ME USA - Wednesday, 03 Nov 1999 at 12:48:01

EN2. A Div. served aboard USS Nitro from 1977-1980. I served with Jim Nye, Gus Nesbitt, Lonnie Minton, Scott Hartman, Ronnie Burke, Dave Rogers, and others. I made two med cruises "78" and "79"-"80". I hope to hear from some of my fellow shipmates.
Lyle Powers
Traverse City MI USA - Sunday, 21 Nov 1999 at 17:08:24

Quartermaster Seaman (E-2,E-3) 1978-1980 Navigation/Ops. Reported aboard the USS Nitro (AE-23) in Civitavecchia, Italy in November 1978 as a very young and green QMSA, just out of "A" school. Guys I remember are QMC Klumpp, QM2 Kinney, QM3 Sam Drury, QM3 Mario Fenandez, OS3 "Hatz", MS3 Rudy Steiner (Pardeeville, Wisconsin), BM3 Bannister, ENSN "Gus" Nesbitt, GM1 Brown, GM3 Jaime Maldonado, Capt. Jockle, LTCDR Churchhill, LTCDR Wallace (Cheng), (Bull) ENS Lippa, CWO Bear, Ens. Gold, the"First Louie", LT. J.C.Kitts, among others. After my second Med on Nitro in spring 1980 transferred to the USS Mauna Kea (AE-22) in Vallejo, Ca. In 1982 went TAD to the USS Pyro for a few weeks to assist the QM gang for sea trials. Honorably Discharged as QM2 in June '82, got a "Z-card" and joined MSC-Pacific as an AB. After a few assignments, in October '87 wound-up on the USNS Kilauea (AE-26) . Sailed as AB and Boatswain Mate. Got a Deck License in July 1990 and was sent back to Kilauea in Subic Bay as a Third Mate, just in time to load-out for "Desert Shield". Stayed aboard Kilauea until we arrived back in Subic from "Desert Storm" and the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991. An appropriate end of a career aboard AE's. My fondest memories though, are from my first assignment- USS Nitro. It was a damn good ship and crew. I am now with the Offshore Division of the Masters, Mates, and Pilots Union and last sailed with Sea-Land Service. I hold a Chief Mate license. Best regards to my old AE shipmates.
Kevin M. Tapp
Detroit MI USA - Saturday, 27 Nov 1999 at 11:12:05

Served as SUPPO in AE23 under CAPTs Loving and Millis from 12/81 through 2/84. Coast Drydock, GTMO, Uploads and Downloads in the ATlantic, North Atlantic, Med. Blue "E" eligible, Unfortunately, first DIBO lost funds and replacement DISBO ran off to Las Vegas with more funds. Went on to CNSL, SPAWAR, NAVAUDSRV and retired in 1996 after 20 successful years of service. Sorry I missed the 99 reunion......
Ken Kmiec, CDR, SC, USN
Burke VA USA - Tuesday, 21 Dec 1999 at 23:16:51

SAN DIEGO CA USA - Wednesday, 02 Feb 2000 at 20:38:39

Served aboard Nitro From Mar 87 til Feb 89 under Capt. Stillmaker and Cmdr. Jennings. Worked in first division upon arrival under BM2 Tucker (the old one) LT. Carey and Bos'n Bear. Had alot of good friends in every division. Tucker, Stark, Hornbaker, Knowlton, Tregenza, Stead, Dutton, Cast Iron (Movies). Would love to hear from anyone who served at this time.
NE USA - Tuesday, 22 Feb 2000 23:45:21

Main Propulsion Assistant, CWO, June 1982-December 1985. An unforgettable experience.
Frank McLaughlin, LCDR, USN (Ret)
Kapolei HI USA - Thursday, 23 Mar 2000 at 02:01:46

BM2 1st Division 1978 - 1981, I was aboard during the big fire ... what a night! & Much a lot of work to get back to the States! I was a short timer when the fire happened 41 days as I recall! Hey fellow Fire mates!
Larry D. Badgley
Ukiah CA USA - Thursday, 06 Jul 2000 at 17:26:56

I was in A Gang and RAS from 86-89. Made one Med, twice in the shipyards, and once to GITMO. Moved alot in rank...mostly down. Would love to hear from old shipmates!
Scott Maxey
Las Vegas NV USA - Friday, 11 Aug 2000 at 21:51:37

I served onboard the Nitro from Jan 84 to Jun 87 X-Division as YN3.. Had a lot of great times and wish we could do it all over again. Hope to hear from some of my old Shipmates
Steve Bauer
Lexington KY USA - Saturday, 2 Sep 2000 at 11:22:42

BT3 Terry, I was on the USS Nitro from 86 to 90. I am still in the service but not the Navy. I am now a Marine! I am looking forward to hearing from the old crew. Semper Fi!
Timothy W Terry
Jacksonville NC USA - Saturday, 30 Sep 2000 at 22:33:43

YN3/X-Div from 1976 - Jun 1980. I worked for YN1 HERRICK. I recall the CO - CDR J. A. JOCKEL, LT KITTS, CWO2 BEAR, LCDR CHURCHWELL, LT DUDLEY, YN3 BEASLEY, QM2 KINNEY, QM3 DRURY, and the list can go on. I got out in June of '80 and went back in. I got out in '92 as a YN2 after Desert Storm. Pink slipped with a bonus. I also served on the JCS at the Pentagon (National Military Command Center) during the Reagan years. Love to hear from anyone who knew me at that time.
Tom Simmons
Tucson AZ USA - Friday, 06 Oct 2000 at 14:32:37

I reported as an ensign in early June 1980 and relieved CWO Bear as First Div. Officer. I had 2nd Division for a while, J-Division, E-division and N-div as assistant naviguesser for the last couple months of 1984. Not to mention movie officer, legal officer and lord knows what else. I was there for the fire and the aftermath, the Brooklyn Shipyard period, a north atlantic, Gitmo, the Med twice and lots of Carribean time. I left the ship in Athen in Dec 84, worked for a defense contractor for a while, went to Harvard Law and now I practice law back in my home town.
Richard Olson
Wednesday, 11 Oct 2000 at 10:53:02

gmg3 from 88-92. served with oppie, fuller, poppa dogg, etc. had a lot of fun like taping gmg1 tanner to a chair and setting him on the mess decks!
Richard Whetsel
Staunton VA USA - Sunday, 15 Oct 2000 at 11:42:27

RM1 OC March 1985-November 1988. I got out of the Navy in 1988, went back to school,and am still writing music. I've never looked back. To RM1 Magarino, RM1 Huffmon, RM2 Blackmon, RM2 Lukehart, RM2 Anderson, and Tony,Vernie, Bill Blake (the Mouth): All the best, you guys were great! For Captain "Wild Bill" Stillmaker, CDR Burnette, CDR JD Baker: Have any of you gentleman types seen or know how to get ahold of CDR Jim Scott, Chaplain? Last but not least, who could forget LTjg Brian Kurbitz (Kermit): How is life in London treating you?
Dean C. Danforth
North Kingstown RI USA - Monday, 27 Nov 2000 at 21:24:32

1981 - 1983, SN, 2nd Div., was on board during the big fire in the Med. Remember quite a few shipmates, but a couple stick out more then others. 1st was my best man at my wedding (Butch, SM1), and the other was a BM1 that kicked my career into gear and got me to look at why I was in the Navy...thanks BM1. Great life experience, great ride.
Lyle Howard, IT1, USNR
Tokyo, Japan - Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 at 23:24:33

I was very pleased to find out that the there was a web page devoted to the USS Nitro. It was also nice to find out that I have a fellow sailor here in my own back yard. My name is Tony Keena and I was stationed aboard the Nitro from 88-90. I am also a Wisconsin native and am living in Milwaukee. My questions is, how do I go about locating some of the guys that I served with. I am sort of new to this e-mail stuff.
Tony Keena
Milwaukee WI USA - Monday, 01 Jan 2001 at 09:47:33

PC3, X-Division - I served on Nitro as a Postal Clerk from 1979-1981 with PC2 Vashaw. I re-enlisted in 1982 and was stationed aboard the Uss Iwo-Jima (LPH-2) out of Norfolk, VA.(The Amphib. Navy). The highlights of my second enlistment was being a member of the Multi-National Peacekeeping Force, Beirut Lebanon 1983 and Cargo PMCC. I Was also a member of the Salvage/Rescue Team sent ashore after the bombing of the Marine Battallion Landing Team Building 1-8 October 23, 1983 to extract weapons, confidential paperwork and the dead from the rubble. We lost over 250 brothers. An experience which still resinates in my mind on a daily basis.
Kim Lyle PC3
Jersey City NJ USA - 6 Mar 2001 at 06:08:35

I served on Nitro from Feb. 82 To Jan 96. Looking back I had a good time, miss alot of the people I served with. Would like to hear from all who remember me. I still have old pictures of alot of engineering b & m div. guys. before they made us P-div. well im looking forward to hearing from you guys. Anyone remember Robert Levy? lol... well send me an e-mail if ya remember me or Bob Levy
Tony Damico
Jacksonville FL USA - Friday, 16 Mar 2001 at 22:44:24

HtFn Served on the Nitro from April 1 1981 till June 20 1982. Just in time for the big ship roasting. Worked with Zeke, John Moreland, Brian Skelton, Fiztgerald, etc. Had a great time in the Med, especially Athens Greece. Got out in 1984, spent 14 years at Newport News Shipbuilding building ships. Finally graduated from college and now work for Colonial Williamsburg as a Computer Geek. Great site.
Yorktown VA - Friday, 30 Mar 2001 at 12:17:59

I Came to the Nitro in April 81, as a seaman recruit change my rating to fireman and became a stiker for the repair division(Ht's) Was there for the fire in June of 81, Visited France, Italy, Crete, Greece etc. I stayed in Greece when the ship left, Flew back to the states 20 days later picked up the ship when it came back to New Jersey, went to the yards in Brooklyn. Left in June 82 for A school, Transfered to sub tender in Norfolk in Oct 82, Got out in Jan of 84, Worked Newport News shipbuilding from 84-97, I remenber the pranks, watches, and friends had a great time, lots of bars in asbury parks, use to runaround with Zeke, John Moreland, Fitzgerald, Brian Skelton Dayok, Fisher,Murphy, Lopez etc, Great time in my life, Let me hear from you.
Troy Pickrel
Tuesday, 1 May 2001 at 11:53:42

Served in the Nitro From 82 - 84 as a BM1/BMC in 2nd Division. Made BMC on the Northern Wedding & had one hell of an initiation up north. I remember "Wild Bill" Stillmaker, my CPO "Big Ben" & was a constant running mate to BM1 Mikey Hetrick, who I can't find to this day. Anyone remember me drop me a line & refresh my memory. I'm currently retired & pushing a desk but can't forget the Unreps with the "Duke"
Dave Kittle
Johnson City NY USA - Thursday, 3 May 2001 at 09:35:28

I was an IC3 on board from 78-80. Worked with the likes of Dan Corcoran, Tim Stryker and Dan Sullivan. When I left the ship (in Norway) I went with Dan Campbell, Bill Powell, Jimmy Nye and Leif Johnson. I still get together with Corcoran all the time. We spent the night at BJ Thomas' house in Philly after the Army/Navy game a few years back. Would love to hear from anyone that remembers me (with the exception of a certain E-Div officer). Just living the family life in Upstate NY.
Jim Hugo
Highland NY USA - Saturday, 23 Jun 2001 at 13:34:18

BT3 Nelsen,Onboard from 1977-1981. Great to see some of the names from the past,Had some really great times along with some really screwed up ones! (captains masts). I think I held the record for going from fireman to bt2 and back down! Remember Most our parties down in the hole! lots of good beer in those bilges!Also the time I turned our drinking and shower water blue! (food dye). Even the E.O. thought it was funny! until the X.O. Started yelling! Sorry guys for going on water hours! And a special thanks to all my shipmates on that day in june 81 (fire) helluva job or we wouldn't all be here.
BT3 Nelson
Sunday, 15 Jul 2001 at 08:03:15

MS3 - Supply - 1980 - 1983. First reported in '80 at the end of the '79 - '80 Med Cruise. Started in the crews galley under MSC Davis finished under MSC Aquino. Was galley cook , night baker and captains cook. Cooked for Capt's Loving and Capt. Mills. Division Lt's Lt Rothrock and Lt Kemic. Was on board for the fire in June 1980. Tried to for get it but never could. I remember the old galley gang... MS1 Romeo , MS2 Flores , MS2 Johnny Johnson , Rich Pettit , Moe Weimert , Dave Quinn , Wiley Van Zant and who could forget Danny Williams. Unfortunately I remember more faces than names.
Eugene F O'Reilly
Lindenhurst NY USA - Monday, 16 Jul 2001 at 19:38:29

Arrived onboard Nitro as an EMFN in 5/84, left as EM2 in 10/88. Had alot of laughs with guys like Southgate, Buckridge, Frankow, Frank Young and Ralph Reed. Still keep in touch with GMG2 Dave Gardiner. Went on 3 GTMO's 2 Med's 1 North Atlantic, and alot of stuff in between. I had some of the best times of my life while on board that P.O.S.
Monday, 16 Jul 2001 at 22:32:48

MR1 Borkowski, was onboard the Nitro from March 86 to May 91. I was in M division. I'm on shore duty at AIMD Mayport Naval Station, FL. I retire with 20 years October 12, 2001. I would like to hear from any one in that time frame.
Richard Borkowski
Jacksonville FL USA - Sunday, 29 Jul 2001 at 19:13:50

OPS/OS2 Beranger, Butler '82-'84 (USS Nitro AE-23) I look back on my days aboard the Nitro with fond memories and made good friends and would like to get in contact with those who remember "east bound and down" 'cause they would remember the Lebanon cruise contact me at
Butler Beranger
Queens NY USA - Tuesday, 31 Jul 2001 at 11:25:37

BM2 USS Nitro AE-23, 1984-1988, 1st & 2nd Div. --- I reported onboard Nitro seventeen and green, and was introduced to exotic surroundings of her homeport NWS Earle,NJ. I was along way from my south Alabama home and fresh out of Bootcamp as a Seaman Apprentice. I reported along with GMG3 Joe Diekmann and BM2 Robert Malesinski who pretty much became my mentor and running buddy, and later was my best man at my first wedding. I was also an apt pupil of BM1 Robert Prest, who taught the qualities of a true leader and professional sailor. I quickly learned the many skills of a good Boatswain's Mate and was the only Seaman E-3 at the time to be the Coxswain of the Captain's Gig. I made two Med Cruises and a North Atlantic Cruise where I was initiated as a Bluenose when the ship crossed the Arctic Circle, and also made several trips to Puerto Rico. Spent many long nights at UNREP stations giving away ammo & fuel. I remember those long, grueling carrier uploads (especially the USS Nimitz and USS Coral Sea) as well as the Battleships Iowa and New Jersey. I remember blowing my whole paycheck in some liberty port and having to bum cigarettes for the rest of the week. I remember the sense of pride and accomplishment I felt after every UNREP or Anchoring Detail and how good it felt to be part of a team, part of a family. I will always cherish the memories of stars on a clear night at sea, the sunset on the open ocean, the cool salt breeze blowing on my face, and of course, most of all, the men and brothers I served with. God Bless you all, you are not fogotten.
Gary Hale
Dothan AL USA - 19 Nov 01 at 09:55am

I came on board from 85 to 89 as a deck seaman for 2nd division, was transferred to 1st Div. I finally made rate to QM and left the NAVY as a QM2. I remember most of the guys starting with the higher ups. Capt "Wild Bill" Stillmaker, Capt Jennings, CDR Burnette, RM1 Magarino, BM2 Tucker, MS2 Vega RM3 Wright, RM1 Danforth, Can't remember his name but if you deckies remember him he had the head of Fred flintstone, BM2 in 2nd Div. Anyway, anyone that remembers please send e-mail. I look forward from hearing from any of you.
Juan J Carrion
Bronx NY USA - Monday, 14 Jan 2002 at 12:21:18

1976-1980 First Div. BMSN I came aboard with BM1 Hall. Has anyone heard from Weatherford, McGee, Virgin, Laster, Lindal, Bowman, Goode, Lawhorn, Pittman, Weston, Wacky White, Conger, or any others. I visited Marty Laster over the summer.
Chuck Ball
Wednesday, 13 Feb 2002 at 21:36:19

MR1, was onboard the Nitro from March 86 to May 91. I would like to hear from any one in that time frame. I was in M division. I am now retired with 20 years.
Richard Borkowski
Jacksonville FL USA - Saturday, 9 Mar 2002 at 16:23:44

Served 1984-1987 -- I was an MS3 for 3 1/2 long years. It truly is wonderful to see a site dedicated to those brave men that served. We were considered the "Arm Pit" of the Navy but we sure downloaded and uploaded many of the elite of the Navy. I don't think anyone worked longer and harder than the men on the Duke of Earle. It has been a long time since I served but I remember so many faces. If you would like to email me I would love to hear from you.
Jorge Vega
Edison NJ USA - Friday, 17 May 2002 at 15:12:37

Bayville NJ USA - Tuesday, 03 Sep 2002 at 09:50:44

Served aboard '80 - '83. GMG - 3rd Div. under Gunner Perrin, along with Sparks, Edwards, Phelps, Pachico, Strickland. I came onboard in the middle of the '80 Med Cruise in Rota, Spain. It's been a long time and trying to remember so many good friends from there is hard to do, I know I missed some names. A couple of old shipmates I have been trying to find for a long time are Eugene Phelps and Dennis Bolstridge. If anyone knows how to contact them please send me an email.
Richard "Moby" Nixon
Louisville KY USA - Tuesday, 03 Sep 2002 at 17:03:08

SPRINGFIELD MA USA - Wedneday, 1 Jan 2003 at 14:21:21

Served on the Nitro from 1986-1989. Was in RAS for a short time, then struck for signalman. Would like to hear from any old shipmates that remember me.
Paul Michell
Raleigh NC - Thursday, 19 Jun 2003 at 23:20:54<.br>
I served on the Nitro from 1986 to Nov 1988. Previous ship was the Suribachi. I just returned off PRC/ADSW order in KOSOVO and Saudia Arabia. I attached to NRSPECWARGRUTWO Det 107 in Little Creek, VA.
IT2 Larry Young or
Piscataway NJ USA - Tuesday, 9 Sep 2003 at 12:23:27

I was a sn in 2nd div. I served 1989-1992
John Lowrance
Website -
Terre Haute IN USA - Sunday, 14 Sep 2003 at 00:35:47

2nd Division aboard Nitro AE-23 1984-1988. It is stunning how many people have served on the big old girl. I suppose that would stand to mathematical reason, considering how old she was. It was a hard but adventurous life, the experience I would trade for nothing. The Nitro now looks forlorn, sitting in 'mothballs' in Philadelphia but it was the people I see on this website that really made-up this ship.
Anthony J. Thompson
Friday, 19 Sep 2003 at 17:49:10

White River Junction VT USA - Tue, 18 Nov 2003 at 14:54:59

GMG2, Gunnery Division...86-88
Joseph Perozze
Philadelphia PA USA - Thursday, 01 Jan 2004 at 19:56:20

1981 - 1983, SN, 2nd Div., was on board during the big fire in the Med. Remember quite a few shipmates, but a couple stick out more then others. 1st was my best man at my wedding (Butch, SM1), and the other was a BM1 that kicked my career into gear and got me to look at why I was in the Navy...thanks BM1. Great life experience, great ride.
Lyle Howard, IT1, USNR
Tokyo, Japan - Thursday, 22 Jan 2004 at 23:24:33

1979-1984, MMFN, M. Div. It's been several years since I visited this website. I'm sorry to see that many of the names that were registered then are now missing. I have tried to forget the memory of living on that pile of razor blades, but I still remember many of the Men I served with, grew up with and despite my arrogance, respected. Yes I do remember the great weenie roast of June 1st, 1981, and the one man who jumped overboard. Heaven knows where he thought he was going to go. I have photos of the engine room though. "Sorry Healy"
James Jefferson
Portland OR USA - Saturday, 12 Jun 2004 at 17:40:20

Served onboard the Nitro from 1984 to 1987. Worked in 1st, 2nd and RAS divisions for a while. Finished up my tour as a PC3. Made 2 Med cruises, 1 North Atlantic, 1 1/2 trips to the yards and I lost count of the number of shorter trips. I had an interesting time on that ship and would like to hear from others who where onboard with me.
Clayton Fehrenbach
Lake Grove NY USA - Saturday, 11 Sep 2004 at 22:58:06

I am GM1 Bushner. I was on board the "Duke of Earle" from Sep 87 - Jan 93. I was in 3rd division with GMG1 Berman, and Stark, Fuller, Whetzel, McKenna, Boyd, Fester, Rodriguez, Dixon, Oppenheimer, Howard, Thrasher, and so many others in a span of five years. Great bunch of guys to have known and worked with. we work hard and we played hard. I went on 1 six month cruise in the Mediteranean, and 1 two month cruise in the Mediteranean to support Desert Shield, and 1 four month cruise in the Arabian Gulf to support Desert Storm. Went to Gitmo 3 times for REFTRA. Went to New York for the Shipyards 3 times, what an experience that was. I think I was pretty well familiar with New York City by the time I left New Jersey. I would like to hear from my shipmates if they would like to reminisce. I will be retiring from the Navy Dec. 8 2006.
Michael Bushner
Monday, 4 Oct 2004 at 19:20:44

I was on the NITRO from Dec. 87 to Oct. 90, serving as Commo and E Division officer. Would love to hear from some folks who served back then.
Dennis Keathley
Lebanon TN USA - Saturday, 9 Oct 2004 at 23:10:05

I was Chaplain aboard USS NITRO (AE-23) 1989-1992. I served as Tours Officer on a med deployments, CMEO manager, Navy Relief Coordinator, Red Cross Message Responder, COMREL (Command Religious Program Community Projects) and "First Kiss" reunion planner.
Michael Richard Craig, LCDR, CHC, USN
Staten Island NY USA - Sunday, 12 Dec 2004 at 20:13:51

I served aboard the Nitro fom early 1977 to Jan. 1981. Her home was in Earl NJ. She was in dry dock in Philly when I first reported. I made a couple of Med. crusies, a North Alantic, and a Carribean which included a stop at Gitmo. I was a SH3 and worked in the store, barber shop, and records office. Boy I hated bringing on stores. If you think you remember me e-mail me at
Kevin Knox
Fort Wayne IN USA - Thursday, 31 Mar 2005 at 03:20:20

This is great I finally found a site with names I recognize. I was onboard Nitro from October 1980 to September 1984. Assigned as LPO of 1st Div (First and Finest). I have many fond memories from the Nitro. Anyone that recognizes my name and remembers how we kicked butt is welcome to e-mail me.
Jeffrey Hall
Wednesday, 4 May 2005 at 11:55:32

MM3 Damico at the time i left Nitro , ON BOARD 1982-1986 in M-div / P-div. Made MM1 before going into the reserves. Now working at Tires Plus . Miss all you guys i served with and realy wondering what happened to bob levy ( the nut case lol).
Tony Damico
Friday, 13 May 2005 at 05:17:17

Served Dec 80-Sep 82 Hi shipmates, I see some names I remember, would like to here from those who served with me also. I'm sorry I missed this years reunion, looking forward to next year. One Med cruise with the big fire, Greece and then Brooklyn Naval shipyard!
Leo J. Falconio
Saturday, 9 Jul 2005 at 19:09:36

I served on the Nitro from 1983 to 1986. Did two Meds among others. Started in Deck (2nd) then went to Ops(RM). Had some good times. Kept in touch with a couple of guys for awhile but then drifted apart. If anyone remembers me, feel free to email me.
Steve Ellis
Monday, 18 Jul 2005 at 16:14:12

I served on board the Nitro from May 87 to Oct 89. Started as an ET2 in OE Division and made ET1 shortly after arriving. I was there when Joe Lepine, Tony Bareika, Keith Agee and Derek Hartley, to name a few, were there. I remember GM1 Berman, LTJG Minogue, QM1 Carr and others, too many to mention. Go Steelers!
Frank Rich - website
Spring TX USA -Sunday, 18 Sep 2005 at 14:28:43

I served aboard from June 1982 through 1986 in A Division. Retired as ENC from SSC Great Lakes Illinois as Technical Training Officer (TTO). Lots of memories while on board. Left ship as an EN2.
M. Woten
01 Mar 2006 at 21:03:00

I was the LT in charge of the EOD team for the 1981 Med Cruise. Led teams into the engine room during fire and did dives on the hull in Suda Bay. We found out later that $20,000 worth of hash went up in smoke with the sea bag locker. Retired as an 0-4. Learned to drive ship on her, great memories of all the help I received from the crew, and ports in the Med. Sorry she is gone.
Charles Moore
Marble NC USA - Wednesday, 15 Mar 2006 at 22:12:00

I came on the Duke in mid 84 and was there until March 87 when I flew out of Turkey (of all places-didn't it seem like we were always in Golchuk getting fixed). I came on as a DKSA working for DK1 (can't remember his name-short guy) and an SN striker. Then came DK2 Tuason. I also had two different Dispos while I was there. Don't remember thier names either. Just remember one was a wrestler from Syracuse U and the other was a Linebacker from the Academy.
What I do remember was how close everyone was on that ship, even though there were times when we fought (who was that guy I went into the number 2 hold with anyway because he took my chair when I was playing spades-I remember chasing him around the hold with a 2x4-never could catch him, man was he fast). The thing was though, we stuck together, especially when we were allowed liberty. That sticks with you.
Hey, I got news for all. A couple of years ago, I was in S. Jersey around Washington, NJ (I don't remember exactly where-I can find it driving there), and I found the whaleboat for the Nitro in some guys junk yard. Anyone interested, lets road trip and find it again.

Mike Johnson
Crystal River FL USA - Saturday, March 18, 2006 at 15:12:00

I served aboard the Nitro (AE-23) from November of 1980 to December of 1981. Came onboard as an HM3 in X-Medical Division alongside HM1 Ken Goral and HM2 Dave "Bear" Bryant. Had the privilege to be onboard during a North Atlantic Cruise (Northern Wedding...Nov - Dec 1980)and a Med (with June 1, 1981 mainspace fire). Thanks to all the men on the fire teams who continued to go down into the main engineering space.....You guys are still my heroes! (My wife and children also Thank YOU!). Cannot believe that was 25 years ago! The Nitro functioned in a "war-time" capacity and manner EVEN during peacetime!
HM2 Gary Dover
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 at 12:48:00

Arrived in June 1987 and met Nitro in Rota in time for the transit back to the states - would've been enjoyable if OPPE was successful. DCA, R-Divo and Second Divo through July 1990. Since then I have never worked with more dedicated people - in spite of the circumstances. Did we ever get a break? NWAI's, AVCERT, OPPEs, BECCEs, MSFD, General DC Prequals - Can not forget about Cuba (just leave) and Brooklyn shipyard. G. Marine couldn't care less about our home. A global thank-you to all who worked so hard in the Repair Parties. Sypek - Were your pictures with the AFFF machine published? Deep respect for ALL up and down the chain. Keurbitz, Keathley, Espinosa, Bear, Wilds, Broz and Minouge brought sanity to the ranks, yet were partially the cause for the insanity. Never escaped the Jersey lure and am currently a Structural Engineer with the Turnpike.
"The Bernards"
Manalapan NJ USA - Saturday, July 08, 2006 at 19:37:00

MR3-M Division 1977-1980
Darrell Jones
Pooler GA USA - Saturday 22 Jul 2006 at 16:39:50

MM2 in M-Div., 1984-1988. Is this site ever a blast from the past. After some memorable times on the Nitro, left the Navy and went to Rutgers University, not to far up the Raritan River from the NWS Earle area. Graduated with High Honors with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and relocated some years ago to upstate NY were I currently work at Lockheed Martin Systems Integration. Went from "hole snipe" to doing structural/stress analysis on military aircraft programs, varies between Navy and Air Force fixed and rotary wing. Memorable times on the Duke were the Med deployments and Northern Wedding 86 (Blue Nose) cruise.
C. Morgan Inderwies
Newark Valley NY USA - Thursday, August 10, 2006 at 22:33:00

PNSN, X-Division & Engineering Office, 1977 - 1980. I found all of you on a NITRO site, and to be honest, some names I have not recalled in over twenty-five years. Have not seen anyone with the exception of Jimmy Nye, about 1992, he was in Albuquerque for business and we spent half a day visiting. Would very must like to contact Jimmy Nye, Dan "Wild Man" Campbell, Joe Powell, Dan Corcoran, Tom Hogan and all those crazy f@#%ers from New England.

Yes, I was one the bunch that left our beloved NITRO in Norway. We all went back to Philadelphia, PA for the separation, drove my gold V.W. and spent a few days at Jimbo Nye's place in North Carolina and then back to Albuquerque. After the unemployment benefits were exhausted, and spending every night chasing bar flies, I enrolled in a computer technical school, learned to program main frame and mid-range IBM computers via GI Bill.

Got married to a beautiful girl and will celebrate 24 years in June. Two children, Roy 22, senior @ NMSU Las Cruces, NM; Julie 18, senior @ HS. I remain to earn a living in the computer technology industry. Quit working for W2 employers in 1997, started a computer consulting business, incorporated in 2000, and currently serve as owner, president, and senior consultant.

Would love to here from anyone!!! Please forward any e-mail, telephone, or contact info from above mentioned shipmates.

Leif Johnson
Silver City NM USA - Friday, 09 February 2007 at 17:29:00

Served onboard her from 1979 - 1981. Spent 15 out of 20 months Haze gray and underway. Served with some great men who became lifelong friends. Learned a lot about the UCMJ and NJP but wouldn't trade one minute of it. Hope all is well with my shipmates. Fair winds and following seas.
Paul J Nolan
Hulmeville PA USA - Friday, 16 February 2007 at 11:16:00

so many good memories, especially liberty all my buddies...the crazy radio gang....hope life has treated you well....i served aboard the nitro from 1982-1985
rm3 ness
Saturday, 10 March 2007 at 20:02:00

M Division Chief from 1979 to 1981. Left the ship just before the fire. I was in "LMET" instructor school and read about the incident in the newspaper. The men involved did a fantastic job of controlling and extinguishing the fire. Truly a dangerous situation to deal with and impossible to imagine unless you were directly involved. It must have been like hell especially with a powder keg next door. My highest regards and respect for you guys.
Stan Trosky
Hickory NC USA - Thursday, April 05, 2007 at 16:24:00

BUNNELL FL USA - Tuesday, 8 May 2007 at 08:12:00

Served on the Nitro from 84-late 86 in 2nd Division. Hated it at the time but I actually look back on those years fondly. Great times in Majorca!
Jeff Weir
homepage URL
Concord NH USA - Friday, June 15, 2007 at 1007

Served on Nitro 1981 to 1984 as Master-At-Arms. Great memory's and great shipmates. Please contact me. Robert Maldonado
Pomona NJ USA - Tuesday, 10 July 2007 at 18:23:00

DC2 87-91 i would like to hear from friends and shipmates
tim thompson
Friday, August 10, 2007 at 05:04:00

OS3 SAVAGE 1989-1993
Michelle Savage
Wednesday, October 24, 2007 at 13:53:00

was stationed onboard from dec88 until aug92. i was in RAS, currently recruiting in my home town just waiting to retire next year. where in the hell did all the time go. i will truely miss the navy. i have had a few dreams of roaming the p-ways of " THE DUKE OF EARLE" if anyone would like to stay in touch please e-mail me. take care shpmates and god speed to you all.
Pat Fetter
Saturday, 24 November 2007 at 12:29:00

I served aboard Nitro from 87-91. I worked in the OPS division as ET2. I worked with Holloway, Lane, Hartley, Lepine, Agee. I would love to hear from anyone that might remember me to talk about old times. I was from Alabama but currently live in Northern NJ.
James Sims
Long Valley NJ USA - Wednesday, 05 December 2007 at 13:18:00

Was a striker and became an EM3 shortly after the med cruise. Knew Johnny Johnson and Eric Lloyd. We had many bible studies on the flight deck and enjoyed many good friends along the way on many adventures to the east. Was on board from 1979 to 1981.
Michael J Benoit
Friday, 22 February 2008 at 20:12:00

Oct '80 (just after Northern Wedding) until Jan '82 - Acting 1st LT, then Asst. Ops - let 'The Fire' live on as the best example of snatching a victory from the jaws of defeat that I've ever witnessed. Thanks to the whole crew in action that day, so that we all could see another (you HAD to be there:) 36 hrs of sleep (total) on a 11 day Translant to the Med! The USS McCloy emergency breakaway?? I DIDN'T DO IT! Great folks - CAPT Loving, LT Moore, Chaplain Wilson, MPA Val Lippa, Gunner Gee, Rich Olson, Bosn Gaines, Pieter Debruijn, ET2 Gillis, the OS crew...
Reggie Rice
Conyers GA USA - Saturday, 23 February 2008 at 16:26:00

I served aboard Nitro(AE-23) from Nov.1983 until Apr.1985. My highest rank I made was MSSN (Mess Management Specialist Seamen). My fondest memory aboard Nitro was being Officers and Captains' Cook.
Brian Doucette
Wednesday, 02 April 2008 at 13:40:00

1979 - Oct 1980 HM2 DOC Still have some pics of the cruise. Including the crazy one for the coming home..ran into a few of ya over the years... now old, fat and happy.. fondest memory - doing the carribean, the med, and the baltic in one year!
Monday, 09 June 2008 at 06:49:00

e4 89 to 92
Johnny Triplett
Portsmouth VA USA - Monday, 07 July 2008 at 23:09:00

I was in from 86 to 91 BM3 got out on a medical discharge
Brian Reed
Saturday, 12 July 2008 at 16:34:00

OS3 West. Assigned CIC/OPS '79-'81 separated after the Big Med BBQ!! I remember some of the names, and I remember a lot of faces in my mind. I remember the fun, the pranks and the tragedies!! Thanks for the memories!!!
Joseph A. West
Tuesday, 05 August 2008 at 05:33:00

M division 88-92, worked under Chief O'Leary. Would like to chat with anyone from my era...some good times huh?
Joseph Lynberg
Puerto Jimenez, Costa Rica - Sunday, 12 October 2008 at 14:35:00

SN - I reported on board January of 1986 and departed Jan 88 for DP A School. I served in First and Second division and stayed in trouble my first two years going UA(AWOL) 4 different times and one time for 29 days. Took a BM1 to bust my a$$ - BM1 PREST and LT Carey to get me in line. Went on to change rates to IT - retired in 2002 as ITC(SW/AW) Courtney.
Rick Courtney
Tuesday, 02 December 2008 at 16:46:00

Served onboard USS NITRO(AE-23) AKA Catch Fire at anytime from 1986-1990. Got sick every time it pulled away from the pier. Served with RM1 Long, RM2 Andy. RMC KANAUS. RMC HORTON, RMC Blackmon. RM3 DAPENA. RM3 LUGO. "DRUNK VIVEAIR". RM3 WOOLET, RM1 DAN THE MAN DANSFORTH. Good days, bad day, but I wouldn't look back, and I would do it again. Stayed on Med Cruises, got thrown out of GTMO. Happy to be gone out of deserted dirty New Jersey
Anthony L. Felton
Friday, January 23, 2009 at 0230

I was an IC-Man aboard the Nitro from 4/78 - 7/81. I had the pleasure of making many life-long friendships. My wife, Cindy, and I still get together with IC3 Jim Hugo and his wife & children several times each year (Jim remains one of my best friends to this day)!
I also want to thank my friends, especially the HT gang, for putting out the "fire" in June 1981! If it weren't for you guys, I would not be typing this note today! I will never forget what you did. HT's Stewart, Thomas, Murphy and MacClellan...I am deeply appreciative!
I have many fond memories and the friends I met will remain with me forever. My nephew (Mike D'Aniello) just completed boot camp at Great Lakes...he's going to be an airedale, but don't hold that against him. My wife and I don't have any kids, but I'm proud that OUR legacy (yours & mine) will continue through my nephew and his shipmates!! May you always be guided by fair winds and following seas! Aboard the Nitro: 1978-1981

Dan (Corky) Corcoran
Schenectady NY USA - Monday, 16 February 2009 at 22:49:00

GMG3 F. Brown 3rd Division “AKA Franky or Franko”. Served on the Duke from 1986 to 1990. I was the only shipmate from sunny Southern California. My era started on a drizzly day in May of 86. I will never forget that first bus ride from the station entrance to the end of that 2 mile pier where I first met BM1 Fred Balow & GMG2 Fred Allen Hines (Quarters) AKA “F.A.H.Q.” They were on watch at the quarterdeck when I first reported for duty. I was assigned to 3rd Division & at the time, 3rd division was a mix of bos’n mates & gunners’ mates which made for one of the most bizarre & entertaining divisions on the Nitro. I took on photography as a hobby & became the self proclaimed 3rd division photographer. (Thanks Fred). I have a lot of great shots of our division brothers at pretty much all of our exotic destinations. (And bar scenes).Walker, McKenna, Stark, Rabb, Bushner, Berman, Balow, Hinds, Fred Flintstone, Fester, Armstrong, Boyd, Chewy, Gardner, Barney Rubble Robles & a store keeper we called “Scoop”. You are all there and others in the undocumented (& uncut) version of 3rd Division Gunners Gone wilde (yes our gunners & chiefs are there too) As you all may remember, I took on a part time job delivering Deli sandwiches to the Nitro, Surabachi & Butte while in port from Slaters Deli. I kind of took that business to heart. Honorably discharging out of Long Beach California, I opened my own Restaurant, Catering & Deli Business from the mid 1990’s to 2006. My wife & I then moved to Flagstaff Arizona & relocated our business to the High country & never looked back. Until know. This site really brought back some of the memories & times that shaped who I am today. For that I wish to thank each & every one of my brothers stationed onboard the USS Nitro. I Hope to hear from you all someday.
Franklin Brown
Saturday, 21 February 2009 at 15:04:00

GMG2, served onboard from April 85 until Feb. 87. Assigned to 3rd Div.
James G. Jackson
Tuesday, 24 February 2009 at 22:12:00

Served on board Nov.1976-Nov.1980. Reported as BM1 LPO 2nd div. Advanced to BMC mar 1978, served as CMAA, until 1980 med cruise, returned to deck dept. as LCPO. Transferred in Nov.1980 to USS CARON DD-970.
Charles Watts
Friday, 27 March 2009 at 20:43:00

1978-1980 ICMEN 3rd class Broke my leg in road of spain with the help of ICMEN Hugho, ICMEN Corkrin, and store specialist oheara. I think about you guys all the time. I still live in Jersey, get back to me.
Timothy Stryker
Sunday, 14 June 2009 at 22:51:00

Assigned to the USS Nitro as a SN in 1st division in Dec 1999 and left as a QM3 in May 1986. Had a lot of great memories and would love to hear from my old shipmates. Like someone said previously, I left to find fame and fortune but found neither. I'm also on Facebook and in the various US Navy FB Groups, and in the USS Nitro AE-23 FB group.
Tony Spagnuolo
Saturday, 08 August 2009 at 16:48:00

I had the honor of being the only TM to ever serve on the Nitro. The navy screwed up and sent me there. I had to work with the gunnersmates for a year. 82-83. The navy would not pay for a transfer 2 times in one year was what i was told.
John Wheeler
West Paterson NJ USA - Monday, 21 September 2009 at 16:25:00

EM2(sW) J-Div/RASE-Div 1982-85
Timothy M. Budas
Toledo IL USA - Sun, 25 October 2009 at 23:29:54

OS1(SW) / OI01 Served from 1980 - 1985. Survived 3 Commanding Officers (Loving, Millis, Stillmaker), 3 Med cruises, 1 Unitas, and of course 1000's of great memories. Love to hear a shout from old shipmates.
David Brewerton
Phoenix AZ USA - Tuesday, 10 November 2009 at 22:27:00

Served from 81 to 83, showed up as a SA, left as a hospital corpsman. Served with HM2 Bryant and HM1 Ken goral, HM2 Leslie Hedger, HM3 Jeff Morrison, 2 commanding officers, (Captain Loving), and (CDR Millis). There are so many great memories and not enough space to write them on. Fair winds and following seas to all my shipmates. P.S. I would love to hear from SN Gurcio from Pitts. PA or anyone else who remembers the good times we spent on board the 1957 model AE23.
Eric Conley
Thursday, 12 November 2009 at 22:21:00

I served on the nitro from1986 to 1990. Hope to here from my shipmates who remember me. My rank was mm3.
David Hamillton
Monday, 16 November 2009 at 13:54:00

I served as Navigator from March 1986 to December 1987.  Arrived in Golchuk Turkey and my second conning watch underway on Nitro was in the Dardanelles at night when we pulled out.  It was so dark, I stuck to the Turkish civilian pilot like glue.  He turned around quickly one time and I scared him because I was right in his face.  We got back to Earle a couple of months later and went to Redhook Shipyard in Brooklyn where the pier crane fell across our bow the first day.  Later had some good times in GITMO and Jamaica.  I saw LTJG (Later LCDR) Larry Nesby who was my roommate on Nitro in New Orleans in 1995.  He was doing well and retired from Navy, working as a "sandcrab".  I retired in October, 2009 from the Navy Reserve with 34 years of service.  The Nitro was a great ship and I'm proud to have served with each and every one of YOU!
Bob Walden, CAPT, USNR, RET
Thursday, 03 December 2009 at 13:53:00

EMFN; E-Div; A-Gang; 77-80; (2) Med Cruises, Once to Gitmo Bay; Brooklyn & Philly; Met lots of good people and learned much.
Andre' Landry
Yarmouth ME USA - Tuesday, 08 December 2009 at 20:50:00

HT3 Served 82-83. Worked with some awesome guys, Spellman, Murphy, Moreland, Nolan, Zeek. The crew was the best, very professional serving our country. Good times.
Mike Lechevet
Beaverton OH USA - Saturday, 19 December 2009

I served aboard NITRO as the RAS officer from March 88 to September 89. I have lots of fond memories of the officers and crew. A hard working ship, and lots of fun times. I remember GITMO, DIW off the coast of Cuba with a shark swimming up and down our port waterline, as if it knew food was near...and some of the chiefs were trying to figure out how to catch it. Montego Bay, Jamaica was the best liberty port I've been to, thanks to the Nitro crew. Then our propeller/rudders got fouled in GTMO because someone was trying to go fishing, so CDR Jennings went diving to cut away the line. Then there was getting ready for a 6 month MED cruise in 2 weeks because the DETROIT broke down...we left the day after Christmas with ZERO CASREPs. LT Carey being transferred by personnel highline (SLACK LINE ONE)! What a great cruise...Cartagena, the Toulon gut, Israel (Red Beards Bar in Haifa)...GMG1 Berman sneaking in photos of King David's Tomb after we were warned that picture taking was prohibited! The beach at Calvi, Corsica, and our guys walking up and down with video cameras, carousing with the local beauties! The Hard Rock Cafe in Rota, being in hack the day we returned stateside because I granted some of my guys special liberty past midnight, signed on a bar napkin from the Hard Rock. SN Marcello standing the mail buoy watch on the way home...a let's not forget the night we called GQ because we thought there was an explosion in #4 Hold...turned out to be a forklift that fell 4 decks down the elevator shaft....we got through it all...thanks to my chiefs (Apgar, Niemic, Richards), my stellar division (Harmon, McKenzie, Kolbman, Charlton, Young, Roswell, Maxey, Ellermier, Oltman, Keena, John, Davis, and all the rest), and of course my fellow J.O.'s (Bernard, Kuerbitz, Keathley, Minogue, Gunner Wilds, Bosun Bear, Nesby, Stockton, Nixon) was a great time, great memories!=
Rafael Espinosa
Lebanon KY USA - Sunday, June 13, 2010 at 19:35:00

Served onboard the NITRO from 85-87, worked 1st Div and RAS. The quantity of great times in that short period would never equal the amount of good times I would have in all my years to follow. I attribute this to the great friendships that were made, as well as the level of camaraderie among my fellow shipmates, which I would never see in my civilian life that followed. I thank you all for these memories that would later serve, and still does, as a source of strength through many difficult and hard times to follow. Above all, this shout goes out to; Fehrenbach, Godfrey, McGhee, Garcia, Thompson, Lamar, and Burnett (not the XO) lol. You guy’s in particular, never left me, and I never left you. Peace to all of you.
David E. Mahan
Morristown NJ USA - Friday, 2 Jul 2010 at 16:32:39

I served on the nitro in Nov.1980 to May 1982.I was a Fn in the B-division for most of the time.Then crossed to A gang I also remember the fire. What a night. I also remember the fun times with the crew.It is great to find this site.Great memories coming to mind after looking around the site and seeing the names
Hollis Sawyer
Groveton NH USA - Friday, 12 November 2010 at 19:36:00

I had the honor of being the only TM to ever serve on the Nitro. The navy screwed up and sent me there. I had to work with the gunnersmates - 3rd Div. under Gunner Perrin, along with Sparks, Edwards, Phelps, Pachico, Strickland for a year. 82-83. I was the guy that got Gunner Perrin in trouble in GITMO when he told me to take off the coveralls I was wearing and throw them overboard, just as a 2 star admiral was leaving the ship and was flying up my side in a helicopter. Him, the female pilots and everyone saw me do it as I stood on the front gun mount in my underwear. Hey – It was a direct order! The navy would not pay for a transfer 2 times in one year was what I was told.
John Wheeler
Tuesday, 23 November 2010 at 21:15:00

I was aboard the Nitro from late 82 to late 84 as LPO OIO1 Div. I missed the fire and the yards but caught RefTra in GITMO. Was aboard for Granada and Beirut, wasn't that fun. I had alot of great guys in my division, the officers, however, left alot to be desired. After the Nitro went to the C.V. Ricketts DDG5 in Norfolk and on to NTF DamNeck as an instructor. I have some good memories from my time aboard. Look forward to hearing from anyone who remembers me.
Bill Heckert
Dunkirk NY UDA - Tuesday, 07 December 2010 at 09:13:00

I served onboard NITRO from 1982-1984...I had some really good times and fond memories. I served in 1st Division and worked for LT Melay/LT Foissett as DECK DEPT SUPPLY PO. BM1 Hall and MM1 Deschane were my mentors...BOSN Gaines was like my father...BMCM Laporte was like my Uncle...I had some great role models in Deck Dept. I later transferred to S-1 and made SK3 in 1983...I served with SKCM Benjamin, Daughtery, Rump, SK2 Angeles, SKC Quitiquit, SK2 Metz, and SK3 Issah. I had some great times even with my cousin SH3 Bruce Warren...LT Kmiec, LT Walsh was my SUPPO...I served under CAPT Loving and CAPT A.E. Millis. I am currently still on active duty serving as SUPPLY DEPT LCPO onboard the USS ENTERPRISE CVN-65...One more year and I will retire... Take care my shipmates and drop me a line.
Friday, 08 July 2011 at 21:13:00

MMFN assigned to M Division 1982 - 1985. I came to the Nitro while she was in the the navy yard in Brooklyn.
Kirk Wahl
Bay City MI USA - Wednesday, 08 August 2012 at 09:20:00

served on board 1978-1980 as an engineman/a-gang. i just ran across this and was amazed at the people i recognized still and served with. lyle powers, james nye, dave rogers, ronnie burke, and the rest of the a-gangers. also someelse who could make me always laugh corky! miss all you guys hard to believe its been 32 years since then.
Scott Hartman
Sunday, 9 September 2012 at 13:39:29

Served on Nitro from 77-80.
Bryan Burke
Tuesday, 9 October 2012 at 18:45:00

RMSN Sonny DePina / Ops Division - Served onboard from 85 - 87. Feel free to contact me @
Bruce "Sonny" DePina
East Providence RI USA - Friday, 28 December 2012 at 17:01:38

OSSA from 1979 to 1980…Nitro was my first ship after graduating from OS "A" school in March 1979...I served as a Wardroom Mess Cook, as an OSSA in 1979...LT Noe, the Chief Engineer onboard during my time, was the Mayor, here in Pine Hill, NJ, where I live (LOL...small world)back in the 1990s...I still think I owe CWO2 Bear $5.00 I borrowed from him...After cranking, I went up to CIC and worked with OS1 Smith, OS2 Lansing, OS2 Morris, OS3 Graf and OSSN Hatzenbeuhler and a couple others who I can’t recall...I hung out with QM3 "Willy G" and SKSN Phifer...I was aboard when CDR Jockel was the CO, LCDR Chown was the XO and LT Shepard was the Ops Boss...I went to XOI (Chown was a BIG, SCARY guy) for wearing sneakers on Liberty during the time CDR Jockel said we must wear shoes...Made SOQ in 1979, then decided to take the extra year for Push Button 3rd to OS3, and transferred off Nitro and commissioned USS CLARK (FFG-11)...I did two tours on Clark and two tours at Navy Recruiting District Philadelphia, at Navy Recruiting Station Berlin, NJ (My hometown)...Retired, after 12 years, in 1991, on disability, as an OSCS(SW)...Graduated from University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, and went to work in corporate as a salesperson...Moved up to VP of Sales, and fully retired in 2008...I see some very familiar names here and would like to get in contact with those who I knew...
Steven DeCord, OSCS(SW), USN (Ret)
Pine Hill NJ USA - Monday, 27 May 2013 at 15:39:27

I served onboard USS Nitro AE-23 in 1st Division from February 1989 to July 1991, She was my first duty station and my introduction to the Navy I have come to appreciate everyday. I worked for Great Leaders; BM2 Charles Roswell "ROZ", BM1 Virgil Bufford "Choppers", BM1 Normand Brinkley and served with many other fantastic Shipmates, BM2 Trevor Whaley, John Fuller "FULLER J", Mauro E. Guevara........ I reported as a boot E-1, left a harden BM2 with a fantastic foundation as a Sailor. GITMO, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Mine Lookout through the Suez Canal, Shellback, Brooklyn Naval Shipyards, the "longest Pier Ever" and all the Ports in between. I'm currently still serving in the Navy as and LDO EOD Officer, coming up on 25 years of service and still enjoying what I do and what the Navy and the USS Nitro made me. To all my past shipmates I wish you all great success and I hope your memories of the "Duke of Earle" are as fond as mine. There were difficult times but the good ones far out weighed them, If any of you wish to contact me you can find me on Facebook or just use my email. LT Troy R. Lawson, USN, LDO; Readiness and Training Officer (N7), Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit EIGHT "THUNDERSTEALERS", Saving Lives and Righting Wrongs.
LT Troy R. Lawson, USN, LDO
New Orleans LA USA - Thursday, 30 May 2013 at 07:20:00

BM3, 2nd Division, 1984-1987, One of Mikey's Kids (Mike Hetrick). Initially served as the first "RP" onboard.
Paul Crow
Williston FL USA - Saturday, 27 July 2013 at 18:24:00

Boarded in Cuba 1987, injured in 1989.
Trent Stivers
Thursday, 02 January 2014 at 12:23:00

Hi. I served aboard the USS Nitro from Dec 1981-DEC1984 as a Hospital Corpsman in "X" Division. I served with HM1 Kenneth Goral who was replaced by HM1 Frank Marze, and also with HM3 Morrison. It was a busy ship but I have nothing but great memories!!
Leslie S. Hedger
Saturday, 3 May 2014 at 15:25:00

GMG1 3rd division 1984-1988
Mark P. Berman
Wake Forest NC USA - Sunday, 13 March 2016 at 13:00:00

BMSN DIVISION I was Boatswainmate of watch at the time of the engine-room fire of 1981. I sounded general quarters.
Keith Rowe
Miami FL USA - 18 March 2016 at 19:59:00

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