USS W. S. Sims FF-1059
The E-mail

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (FF-1059)
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999
From: David Cox
Rank: LCDR
Reported: 1969
Departed: 1971

I was the Commissioning XO of W.S. Sims. If you are interested, I have a commissioning brochure. I would be glad to scan it and send it along.

Please let me know what format to use.

Subject: USS W.S.SIMS (DE/FF-1059) E-MAILs and PHOTOs
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002
From: Steve Donofrio
Rank: EM2
Reported: 1974
Departed: 1977

Dear Mark,

My name is Steve Donofrio and as a former crew member aboard the SIMS from 01/74 to 03/77, I am very impressed with the website you designed in her honor.

I came on as an EMFN while she was a DE and made it all the way to EM2 after she became an FF! During that time, I caught the tail end of a Med Cruise, saw time in Mayport, the Philly Yards (home for me), GITMO and the Arctic Circle for my Blue Nose Certification. I received a three(3) month early out, just before the '77 Med Cruise.

As a fresh air snipe working in R Division (whose motto was-If We Can't Fix It, Then It Ain't Broke), I had the pleasure of working for EMC Roy Blackshear (yup, one of ROY'S BOYS) and EM1 Skipper Deas. This position afforded the privilege of access from the anchor motor to after steering and from the fire room to the aircraft warning light! Not to mention meeting and mixing with almost every shipmate during that course of time. Hopefully, someday, we'll be able to get together for some sort of reunion.

It would be great to locate and/or hear from shipmates from my time onboard to trade and reminisce old sea stories, especially Chief, Skipper, Leonard Baldini, Tim Supplee, Vince Sinopoli, Ollie Cornett (wow, I could go on and on, Berger, Carter, Wally Beauray, Axel, etc.) and the rest of R Division and snipes. And I can't forget my old buddie, Jimbo Boyle, who when I last saw him in San Diego in late 91 was an actual LTCMDR F-18 fighter pilot/ instructor at TOPGUN in Miramar! My screen name is dedicated in his honor.

I can be reached at

They Used To Call Me... FRIO

Subject: USS WS. Sims (FF-1059)
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001
From: Richard Langlois
Rank: IC2
Reported: 1977
Departed: 1981

Was on the silly willy for four great years. Saw two MEDs one Gitmo and a yard stay at Bath Maine.

Subject: USS WS. Sims (DE-1059)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000
From: Dennis Walterman
Rate: OS2
Year Reported: 1969
Year Departed: 1973

Dear Mark and fellow shipmates:

It has been almost one year to the day that i last logged into your site. it's has been a wild and crazy year to say the least. As i stated last year the Cole tragedy found this site, I was angry then and it has not abatted by any stretch of the imagination.

The sorrow i felt for her sailors carried over for the 118 souls that perished on the Kursk. What a way to go. They may have been Ruskies, but they still belong to the brotherhood we call mariners.

9/11 will never be forgotten. The images of people throwing themselves out of the towers because they didnt want to burn to death I still see in my dreams.

This year has also been a year of growth. i now count close to 70 ex sims sailors on my mailing list and theweb site is still being rearranged. plus we are forming a group for open discussion.

Take care and good luck with your site, you guys are still linked to mine and will always be.


    From an E-mail last year . ..Fri, 13 Oct 2000

    I'm a plank owner from the original commissioning crew.

    I stumbled onto this sight by accident, I was looking up information on the USS Cole after the terrorist attack. It really brought back old and very pleasant memories. Several of the letters are from people that I remember by name only, but they were familiar all the same.

    I've only kept up one long lasting relationship and that is with OS3 Mickeal Mulhall, nickname "Mully." He lives in upstate N.Y. and I live in Cincinnati, Ohio. Other than that, I've had no contact with any other crew members. I'm hoping that now this will change and we can all swap sea stories again.

    I can be reached at and faxed at: 1 513 662 2612

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (FF-1059)
Date: Thu, 2 Aug 2001
From: Al Couvillion
Rank: LT(jg)
Reported: 1976
Departed: 1980

What a treat to have found this site.

The last time I saw "Silly Willy" she was parked in a line of FFs at PNSY. I almost had to have a fight with a security guard to get to stand on her fantail, close my eyes and reminisce about the years I spent on her.

I reported aboard for the first time in Roosevelt Roads when she came back from REFTRA. That's when T.P. Jones told me he wanted to me to be the DCA. So I spent the summer on the ship and left for SWOS and DCA school just before she went to the North Atlantic. Sorry I missed that trip. Anyway, I came back to her just before our 1977 Med cruise. And yes I remember the storm Southwest of the Azores, sleeping on the wardroom floor just in case the mast came crashing down on us and the month in Cartagena getting all the storm damage fixed. But the real highlight of my Sims tour was the famous (or should that be infamous) FF 1059 "jump-start." We got sent out to do a MARCOT op with the Canadians only a month after that cruise with a diesel generator that couldn't handle relighting fires after we lost them off Bermuda. There we were cold and dark with nothing to communicate with but a radio from the motor whaleboat. SCPO Blackshear (the real reason my career was fairly successful) and I were sitting in DC Central wondering what the hell we were going to do about this when we (mostly him) came up with the idea of getting Ainsworth alongside, pulling her shorepower cables across and using them to get ourselves going again. CAPT Jones said he'd discuss it with the Ainsworth's Captain. Somehow they agreed to let us try it and a few hours later we were tied up together with lines trippled and fenders, pillows blankets and anything else we could think of between us. Well it worked. But toward the end of the evolution seas started building and we started taking real damage reports in DC Central. We managed to get the two ships apart. Ainsworth went home with a hole in her side and we were somewhat worse for wear too as we limped back to Mayport reporting our location to CINCLANTFLT every hour. During the 1978 Med cruise I was reassigned as 1st Lt and ended my tour on the Sims just after we returned to Mayport following our year at Bath Ironworks.

For those who wondered what happened to me, I switched designators while I was in Key West and became a cryptologist (1610). For those of you who wonder why the hell I did detailer called me and told me that I was going to go through the engineering track at Department Head School and then go to an Adams class DDG as Chief Engineer. The next day I applied for a designator change.

My best to all of you.

I see some very familiar names. Fair winds and following seas to you all.

A. L. Couvillion,
CDR, USN (Ret)

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (DE-1059)
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001
From: Stephen Sickels
Rank: STG1
Reported: 1969
Departed: 1974

Hey everyone,

Proud Plankowner of the W. S. Sims and still think about that ship alot. Was always hoping to see a reunion someday. I spent almost 5 years leaving in late 74. I was the second to last plankowner when I left. Al Baker, another STG was the last plankowner.

Anyway - saw alot of names I recognized and hope to write to them in the near future. I am retired in Iowa for the last 13 years and do not miss the ocean at all.

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (FF-1059)
Date: Wed, 23 May 2001
From: Wayne Craig
Rank: ETR2
Reported: 1972
Departed: 1976

What a surprise to find a site dedicated (?) to DE 1059 W.S. Sims. I was even more delighted to find entries from fellow shipmates!

I was one of the assistant editors of the "Crews Book" mentioned by a couple of the previous contributers.

As I look back on those days on board the Sims, it was a great experience for most, if not all of us. Coming back from the 1974 Med cruise and getting hammered by the seas and "having" to put into Bermuda for repairs to the 3 lost radio antennas and repair to the SPS-10 Radar so we could get ourselves back into Mayport.

Does anyone remember the over ambitious tug captian who kind of over-shot and plowed into our starboard side while trying to "ease" us into a new berth in Mayport. Big dent as I recall. How about the 3 tons of food (oranges, sardines and juice), gifts from the King of Morocco for escorting his ship to and from talks during the mid-east oil embargo? What were we going to do with 3 TONS of fresh food. We gave a great deal of it to an orphanage in Valencia as I remember. Then 3 days in Casablanca as one of the 1st US Naval ships to visit (upon invitaion from the King of Morocco also) in decades.

Would like to hear from any of you who remember and anyone else from the Sims

Thanks, Mark for the site

Wayne Craig
81 West Rd.
Burlington, VT. 05401

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (DE-1059)
Date: Sat, 19 May 2001
From: Jake Royek
Rank: BT2 (E5)
Reported: 1972
Departed: 1975

I was looking at the Sims site and saw that you are looking for crew rosters and pictures. I have a cruise book from a Med cruise that the Sims DE1059 made in 1973-1974. The book has complete listing of the crew and some great pictures. Sincerely, Jake Royek

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (FF-1059)
Date: Sat, 25 Nov 2000
From: Mark Wegmann
Rank: GMT3
Reported: 1975
Departed: 1978

I was trying to get in touch with some of my shipmates that were in AS/Divison about the time I was on board. I lost contact with them over the years an would like to get in touch with them again.

Subject: USS W. S. Sims (DE/FF-1059)
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000
From: Dennis Hughes
Rate: RD/OS2
Year Reported: 1972
Year Departed: 1975

Don't mean to hog up all the space here, having just recently submitted another e-mail about my time on the W.S. Sims, but I thought I'd share a few thoughts about why this web site is so significant to me. Maybe others feel the same (or not) and would like to share their thoughts as well.

I was thinking that it must be my age - fast approaching 50 - a time when we reflect on our lives and the important things, the things we're proud of, and maybe some regrets. Whenever I think back or speak about my days aboard the Sims, I feel proud to have known and served with such good men. There aren't any regrets, even though I complained and griped with the best of them at the time. That period of my life still has much significance for me, as it marked my transition to adulthood in many ways, becoming the launching point for my subsequent education, career and family. But, as important as this feeling of nostalgia is, perhaps more meaningful is the connected feeling I still have when I read or hear about events involving Navy ships and their sailors. All of this was recently brought to the forefront by the attack on the USS Cole. Like many of you, I'm sure, I was deeply moved reading about how seventeen members of the crew of that ship were suddenly, without warning, called upon to make that supreme sacrifice. We were never so unfortunate during my service, but it really struck me during that 1973 Mideast crisis that we could easily have been called on to do so. Ever since then, no matter how easy it becomes for people to look at peacetime sailors or soldiers and say they don't do anything but have a good time, I think about how quickly all that can change and remind those around me of that fact. The attack on the Cole provided a fresh, if tragic, reminder.

The week before the Cole attack, I had a chance to spend a few days at sea aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). My nephew is a reactor division officer on that ship, and they can occasionally bring friends and family aboard for a short cruise ? in this case from Ft. Lauderdale to Norfolk. (For all of my fellow OS's out there, I even got to take a tour of Combat while underway, and found that they don't write backwards anymore, although they occasionally still use the DRT). During this cruise, they conducted an actual burial at sea for a WWII veteran whose daughter is an officer on the ship. It was very moving, with the playing of the Navy Hymn, the eulogy, the honor guard giving the 21 gun salute, and closing with Taps as this veteran's ashes were spread to the wind and sea. I'm not ashamed to say that it brought me to tears, and I wondered why this was so. After all, I hadn't known this person, and he had apparently led a full and rewarding life. After some thought, the answer became evident. It was as if no matter what, wartime or peacetime, we who have served in the Navy are a family. This was a man who had served valiantly, like so many of our fathers and grandfathers did, during a terrible World War, and I was seeing one of my brethren sent to his final rest. Kind of weird and soapy, maybe, but when the Cole tragedy followed so soon after that ceremony, this point was really driven home for me once again. I couldn't help looking up information about the victims, their names, hometowns, ages, rates, etc. They were just like we were - Destroyer sailors who volunteered for the Navy, and in the moments before the attack they were probably griping about the quality of the food being served for lunch, just as we did. One woman who survived had decided to take a nap, a "nooner," instead of going to lunch, just as I did so often. And when I saw some of the ship?s survivors at the World Series last week, the emotions came rushing back once again. Over a span of less than two weeks, I found myself connecting with three generations of sailors: those who served before I did, those currently serving, and those who I was proud to call shipmates on the W.S. Sims.

So whatever we call it, there's no denying that we all share a permanent bond with those who preceded and succeeded us. I can feel that bond when I read the postings here from those who served on the Sims, whether before or after my time. I have also felt it when getting in contact with former shipmates through this web site. The lapse of a mere 25 years has not diminished that bond. If anything, it has strengthened it.

That connection is what draws me to this site. I wonder if that's what draws all of us here.

Dennis Hughes

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