It's 10 in a Row for Fremont
AS FAR AS anyone aboard uss Fremont knows, only one U.S. Navy ship has ever won 10 straight amphibious assault awards, and that's a 23-year-old attack transport - named USS Fremont (APA 44). Now, she's going for 11.
Fremont is a top performer in her field because her crew members-every one of them-want it that way. They're proud of their record; they're determined, dedicated, and good.
Not content with doing merely what is required of them, the entire crew competes, by division, rating and individual, to see who can do the best job in the least time, on the winches, the bridge, the hatches, the phones and the boats.
Stewards, storekeepers and yeomen join boatswain's mates and enginemen in manning hatches and winches, and launching and operating the ship's 21 landing craft. Everyone is involved.
FAST WORK - Fremont crew unload all boats in less than 23 minutes.
The 10th award was earned at the end of Fremont's 10th Med cruise. At that time, Fremont earned a 94.6 score. Her 21 boats hit the water in 19 minutes, swiftly and safely.
Fremont and her men have been setting this kind of pace since 1943 when she was commissioned at Pascagoula, Miss. (as a merchant ship). Recommissioned that fall as an attack transport, APA 44 sailed to the Pacific where she earned a distinguished war record, including combat at Saipan, Peleliu, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf and Iwo Jima.
Since then, in addition to her 10 Med cruises, Fremont has deployed seven times to the Caribbean. And there have been numerous operations off the East Coast.
The crew's enthusiasm and initiative in making little adjustments and improvements throughout the ship-to-shore landing operations help make the award-winning difference. The leading petty officers know their business, set high standards, and work hard to get the best results.
Captain Casey, Fremont CO, commended crew for work at awards ceremony.
Thirty-two Fremont sailors, led by John H. Soucy, boatswain's mate first class, make up the boat group. The men watch each other and when one does something special, the others pick it up. New men aboard soon realize they're in fast company.
FREMONT SKILLS - Cargo net (top) gets repaired. Boat crew (center) prepares for hoisting. Boat (bottom) comes alongside ship.As a salute to all the men in the past 10 years who have helped Fremont earn the 10 awards, the man with the longest time aboard, Richard A. McBride, boilerman second class, received a special plaque from Commander Amphibious Force.
Only Fremont can display the new plaque, for it was specially designed and authorized for the 10th award. Seaman Richard L. Snow won an insignia contest held after Fremont realized adequate hashmark room was lacking on the bridge. Approval came from the Chief of Naval Operations.
HERE IT IS - Richard McBride (below), accepts plaque for Fremont crew.
Any other ship that can equal Fremont's 10 straight can also paint on the insignia. But for a year at least, only Fremont's bridge will have the honor.
About 200 dependents of Fremont's crew attended the ceremony in Norfolk. Then they were taken to sea for a one-day cruise to watch their men demonstrate their skills.
Former commanding officers who helped the ship win its 10 awards also were invited to the ceremony.
Now, Fremont will have to lay her amphibious assault award on the line this fall or early winter.
Fremont men aren't unduly concerned. By this time, they hope they know how to win.
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