In the Military
Navy retires San Diego's USS Salt Lake City
Retired Adm. Thomas Fargo, who commanded the USS Salt Lake City, was the keynote speaker at the deactivation of the nuclear attack submarine in San Diego on Oct. 26.
The Navy also said the Pearl Harbor-based submarine USS Buffalo will be home-ported in Guam in the fall of 2006, replacing the USS San Francisco. Guam currently has two nuclear-powered subs -- the USS Corpus Christi and the USS Houston. The San Francisco also was home-ported in Guam until it was severely damaged when it struck an undersea mountain in January, killing one sailor and injuring dozens more. The sub is now in Bremerton, Wash., undergoing repairs.
A Pearl Harbor spokesman said there were no immediate plans to replace the Buffalo, one of 17 subs based in Hawaii.
After 21 years of active service, the USS Salt Lake City will be decommissioned later this fall at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Virginia.
Retired Navy Capt. Jerry Coffee, former Vietnam War POW and author, will be honored as the 2005 Patriot of the Year by the Honolulu Council of the U.S. Navy League Friday at the American Patriot Award Benefit Dinner at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Coral Ballroom.
A 28-year Navy veteran, Coffee distinguished himself during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 and during the Vietnam War. As an F-8 Crusader pilot, Coffee earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for flying low-level reconnaissance missions over Cuba while taking photos that were used by the United States to prove the existence of Soviet missiles there.
In February 1966, while flying combat missions over North Vietnam, Coffee's reconnaissance jet was shot down. He and his crewman, Lt. j.g. Bob Hanson, landed in the Gulf of Tonkin. Immediately surrounded by enemy gun boats, Coffee was captured. Hanson was killed. Coffee was held for seven years and described his captivity in his best-selling book "Beyond Survival." Coffee was awarded the Silver Star, two Legion of Merit awards, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal, two Purple Hearts and the Vietnam Service Medal with 13 stars.
Tickets for the black-tie dinner are $150 per person. Sponsor tables of 10 are available for the admiral's level at $5,000; the captain's level at $3,500 and the commander's level at $1,500. Reservations may be made by calling 422-9404 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Everett Alvarez, the longest-held prisoner of war in North Vietnam, will be the keynote speaker, and island resident Jim Hickerson, incarcerated around the same time as Coffee, will also be a guest. His wife, Carole Hickerson, created the famous POW logo.
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"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other
sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako, who covers military affairs for
the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. He can be reached can be reached by phone
at 294-4075 or by e-mail at email@example.com