Monday, December 15, 2008


Greetings Altair Crew. Are there any objections to the Altair Association making a donation to keep the USS Laffey afloat? The SS Aberdeen Victory (USS Altair) sailed with the USS Laffey in 1945 and participated with the Laffey at the Battle of Okinawa. I wish we had the Altair afloat!

Best Regards To All..........Charles

Charles M. Brecheisen

Charles, I rec'd the following from an old friend I worked with many years ago.He served aboard the USS Laffey and is a member of the ships association.It looks like the USS Laffey is taking on water and eventually will require major repairs to her bottom.I'm requesting that you put this out to our crew for a couple of reasons.Some may have served on her or known others who did.Some may find it possible to make a small donation to her cause.I visited the Memorial in Mt. Pleasant S.C. where she is berthed a few years ago and it would be a wonderful gesture if our Association was in the position to make a donation as well.I plan to make a personal donation too.Thanks for passing the word...........Mike Troiano

--- On Sun, 12/14/08,


Subject: Laffey update

To: "wagemann, kurt" , "Lippi, Claire"
Date: Sunday, December 14, 2008, 3:04 PM

Good afternoon all:
We have returned from a very emotional and upsetting visit of our ship, the USS LAFFEY.
I received a phone call on Thursday from General Hugh Tant telling me that there were new leaks and he said that I should be there to see what was going on. I contacted John Hudak (our Engineering Officer) and Don Watson Our First Lieutenant), to tell them that I was going to the ship. They told me that they must go also. John drove from Vestaburg, PA to my house in MD and we drove straight to the ship Thursday night. Don and Joe Luque left from Florida at midnight on Thursday and met us in Mt. Pleasant on Friday morning.

We were met by Charlie Hall, the PR manager of Patriots Point and he took us to his office to watch a video that was shot by the divers. It showed the water pouring into the ship through 3 holes within a 4 square foot area near the keel on the port side forward. I cannot discribe the mood in that office as we watched the video.

Along with John Hudak, Don Watson and Joe Luque, we rode down the pier and saw the tanker trucks, the booms in the water around the ship and the divers' boat alongside and the pumps running. It was very disturbing to see our lady in such distress.

We met Malcolm Jenkins on the pier and we went aboard the ship. Paul Jeffords met us and took us below into the forward fire room where the leaks were. There we met with Richard Dunn, the superintendant of maintenance. They showed us the bilges and the condition of the bottom. The water was about 6 inches deep under no.2 boiler. There was a diver underneath the ship putting on a soft patch. He was warned by the master diver to stay away from trying to clean the marine growth too close to the holes. He was afraid that the whole section would let go and suck the diver right up into the ship.

The picture that we paint here is not a pretty one BUT, I have to tell you that the personnel of Patriots Point have not given up on her. They are working around the clock keeping an eye on the ship and manning the pumps when needed.

The situation is this, the bottom is very fragile and needs to be patched in order to move her to the yards to put her in dry dock. This will require a lot of money and care. We have donated $10,000. from the association emergency fund. I have been informed of many members that have sent donations, Tin Can Sailors have put a notice on their website and will be putting a notice in the next newsletter. Many other ships' associations have informed me of their donations also.

We will need a lot more to get this done. Patriots Point has been in touch with the governor of South Carolina, many senators and also the Federal Government to try to get more funds.
I have also received a phone call from James Smith, grandson of Capt. Paul Smith who was the gunnery officer during the battle at Okinawa. James told me that he is trying to put some donors together to get the ship fixed. He said to me that we CANNOT LET HER GO!!!!!!! We are going to try to make this happen. This will probably be the hardest battle she has fought in her 62 years.

"THE SHIP THAT WOULD NOT DIE" hasn't died yet. When I asked for $5.00 per member, that was for the 30,000 members of TCS!!!! We need more from us if we can. Don't send me my usual $100 Christmas present, donate it to the 'SAVE THE LAFFEY FUND". I'll just have to do without all of the presents you all send to your tired president. Seriously, please try to keep a positive attitude about saving our girl. If the folks from Patrots Point haven't given up, we certainly can't. I'll keep you advised as to the donations and the progress of the save the ship project.

The problem is funding!!!! It is going to cost a lot of money, about 3 million bucks to get her to the yards and repaired.

Make checks payable to:

Patriots Point Development Authority
40 Patriots Point Road
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29465
Attn: CFO

Mark your check "FOR SAVE THE LAFFEY FUND"

Thanks so much,
Sonny Walker


To: "Charles M. Brecheisen"

Date: Mon, 15 Dec 2008 21:38:20 +0000

Subject: Fw: Laffey update

Hi Charles,

Here is a better synopsis of the situation involving the USS Laffey.This was buried in one of my folders.You may want to forward this to our crew as well.The Laffey Association members meet at the ship through out the year for work parties and have done one heck of a job getting her ship shape.This new problem may exceeded their ability to fund which would really be a shame given the history behind the ship and the effort of her crew over the years.................Mike

-------------- Forwarded Message: --------------

From: Robert Hill

To: Carl Akin

Subject: Fw: Laffey update

Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2008 21:31:08 +0000

--- On Fri, 12/12/08, <>



Subject: Laffey update

To: "wagemann, kurt" , "Lippi, Claire"


Date: Friday, December 12, 2008, 2:43 PM

Press Release

USS Laffey Needs Immediate Repairs

Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina – Dec 12, 2008

In the early hours of Monday morning, December 1st, staff personnel at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum noticed the last remaining Sumner class destroyer in existence, the USS Laffey, sitting lower than usual in the water.

When staff personnel arrived, they discovered five feet of water in the lower section of the ship. As emergency procedures began and pumping commenced, water was entering the ship at a rate of 2,000 gallons per hour. After over 90,000 gallons of sea water were pumped from the ship, the location of the leak was determined late Wednesday evening.

Environmental personnel were called to oversee the operations to ensure that all procedures were being conducted in a safe and efficient manner. There were no hazardous materials released into the outside water.

Survey teams and divers were on the scene Thursday morning to attempt temporary repairs and assess the extent of the hull’s deterioration. By late afternoon Thursday, the leak was stopped with an epoxy patch, thereby allowing a marine survey to be conducted.

Three weeks ago, five holes were discovered in the aft section of the ship and 4,600 gallons of seawater were pumped out before repairs could be made. The breach in the ship’s hull discovered December 1 is unrelated to the earlier discovered holes.

The USS Laffey was last in dry dock 14 years ago when she underwent repairs. At that time, extensive repairs were made to the hull by welding metal plates over the deteriorated areas. The leak discovered December 1 is located along a weld that began rusting, causing a crack approximately 12 inches by one fourth of an inch.

As of Thursday morning, December 11, the epoxy patch was holding and all water had been removed from the ship. Unfortunately, during the day Thursday, staff personnel at the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum discovered the USS Laffey was again taking on water through three holes that developed since the December 1 leaks were repaired. Patriots Point’s pumps and a private contractor’s pumps have been removing water from the Laffey. Divers started patching the holes Thursday afternoon to stabilize the leaks. This morning, the divers are continuing to work on the patches. A boom has been deployed around the ship to prevent any possible contamination. The US Coast Guard representatives have been on site to assist Patriots Point.

The December 11 holes are not connected with the holes discovered three weeks ago or those discovered on December 1, but they highlight Patriots Point Development Authority’s challenges with the cost and the need for constant maintenance of its aging fleet of four naval museum vessels. An early estimate of the cost to tow the USS Laffey to a repair facility and repair her is $3.5 million. Patriots Point is weighing its alternatives to deal with the Laffey given her deteriorated hull condition. In addition to this early estimate of $3.5 million needed for the Laffey, the aircraft carrier Yorktown, submarine Clamagore and Coast Guard Cutter Ingham collectively need approximately $50 million of maintenance and repairs. This need is not unique to Patriots Point's fleet. The aircraft carrier museum ship Intrepid moored in New York recently received over $120 million of repairs and maintenance.

For more information on the USS Laffey (DD-724) and her historic background please go to our website at and access “Ships & Museums – USS Laffey”.

----- End forwarded message -----

I don't know, Charles. I went aboard the Laffey when I was in Charleston following our reunion. She was a pretty sorry ship.. I am not sure she is worth saving. In contrast, the USS Yorktown, also moored at Patriot's Point, was well preserved and offered a decent tour. Neither were as good as the battleship USS North Carolina, which I saw in Wilmington NC before the reunion.

We have an old lightship here in Lewes DE that is being restored. The dedicated volunteers are facing the same hull deterioration issues, in addition to of all the other repair problems. It has taken two years just to get the thing to dry-dock, and I really don't know what they are going to do after the hull is repaired. There remains a significant amount of work to be done to the rest of the ship. I doubt that it will ever be much of a tourist attraction, so it may just be an ongoing maintenance project.

Sometimes I think these old ships are maintained just for the people who are interested in working on them. Once they pass away, nobody else cares. Look at all the monuments that were built following the civil War, WWI and WWII - they seem to just fade away until someone decides they should be restored, and afterward they fade away again.

The Laffey is not a bad project, but it may just be a black hole that sucks up money.

Perhaps a better cause could be found, one that builds for the future, like adopting a sea scout troop or donating to a scholarship fund for a child of a fallen sailor from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Just my thoughts, for whatever they are worth.

George O'Brien

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

November 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

Greetings Altair Crew.

Are you still stuffed as I am with turkey? We had a big dinner Thursday and also with the kids on Saturday. I hope every shipmate had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

ALTAIR REUNION: I am still getting email about the reunion in October and how wonderful it was. Tom etal did such a wonderful job!

ALTAIR SHIPMATES: WOW! Three new Altair shipmates in November. Glennie J. Gilleen, MM2, 1962-64 now living in Andover, MN; Thomas Myers, CS3, 1955-57 living in Schenectady, NY; and, Joseph Ziegler, ET3, 1965-66 living in New Baltimore, NY. WELCOME ABOARD!

ALTAIR NEWSLETTER: My sincerest apologies for not getting the Newsletter out before the last reunion. Just too many health problems around here to concentrate. I promise to do a better job in 2009.

FINANCIAL: The reunion generated $1813.00 which was forwarded to me and I opened a savings account with the money. Tom Planes is also on this account in case something happens to me. I began the month with $551.30 in cash, no income and expenses (stamps and mailing) of $43.68 leaving a cash on hand balance of $507.62. The total Altair monies including the savings account totals $2320.62.

DUES: Just a reminder that dues are $10 per year and due in January. Dues are how we keep this Altair site, etc. running. The address to send the $10 dues is:

Charles M. Brecheisen
248 Drifting Cloud
Holly Lake Ranch, TX 75765-6321

All for now. Please contact me with any comments or questions at cmbaltairaks32 at

Best Regards To All........Charles

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanks Comrades!

There is a bond formed by men who are committed to a cause be it athletics, fraternal order or military. This bond or friendship lifts us up and separates us from the natural man. It sustains us through good and bad times remembering the trials, hardwork, libertys, tears and laughter. For this friendship I give thanks on this Thanksgiving day and pray that all my Altair shipmates have a wonderful day shared with family and friends.

Tom (Alvarez) Planes, Altair 60-63

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

2008 Reunion Recap

Myrtle Beach, SC ─ The 2008 Altair reunion is now history. Occurring October 24th through October 26th, it opened with a gathering and story swapping in a meeting room just off the lobby in the Marriott Courtyard. By 4:00 the room was packed. I later discovered that several of our shipmates were not able to attend due to the economy and health issues. A slide show featured 454 pictures thus far submitted to the Altair photo site

We then went to the Alabama Theatre to be entertained by the musical “ONE – The Show”. Voted #1 by Myrtle Beach Visitors, this was the last performance of the 8th year. The talented cast and crew of over 40 had spent hundreds of hours reinventing the show with fabulous new songs, dance & comedy. ONE -The Show featured the charm of emcee and featured vocalist Greg Rowles, and one-of-the-funniest guys in the country, Grant Turner's Ricky Mokel. It was an evening filled with song, dance, and laughter. ONE -The Show featured an all-new production with over 25 new chart-topping songs, and an incredible Beatles Pop segment, playing six nights a week. Everyone was wowed by a stunning presentation from the Broadway's Disney musical, Mary Poppins. Visual surprises abounded in this show-stopping medley from one of the most charming musicals ever written. There were two military groups present and both were honored. The Altair group was introduced during the general announcements segment, along with birthdays and anniversaries being celebrated. Then at the shows conclusion, which was a fantastic musical, visual presentation and patriotic celebration, our group was honored with a reading of the history of our ship and the crew! After the show, I was personally thanked for my service to the United States by the person seated behind me. WOW, that doesn’t happen very often! During the show it started to rain so hard that you could hear it pounding on the building’s roof. The rain continued until late that night, so most of us got somewhat damp in the mad dash to the car.

Saturday included an auction that was led by master auctioneer John “Tom” Thomas to a packed meeting room. Tom did a magnificent job of keeping everybody’s attention and entertained. There were two long tables overflowing with donated items. A special thanks for all who donated to the auction! Well, as Tom auctioned off each item, you could tell that we, as a group, were not very sophisticated in the ways of an auction -- the head scratch, nod at a person next to you, a shrug of the shoulders -- all to Tom’s eagle eye was a bid; however, he was kind enough to stop the action and ask if the intention was to bid or just a casual twitch, and did it in a way to amuse everyone. When all was said and done, the auction raised about $1,300 that will be sent to Charles Brecheisen to be added to the general fund to offset the cost of the general expenses of running the organization. Thanks to all the buyers and bidders who made it so much fun.

The Auction was followed by free time, that most of the folks spent in the meeting room, chatting and swapping sea stories. Saturday evening was a trip across the parking lot to California Dreaming for dinner. After the dinner Tom Planes held the drawing for the Altair Memorial Plaque that was being raffled off. This plaque is a duplicate of the one that was dedicated on October 23rd at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington DC. Check it out at After much fanfare, the drawing of a single name was complete. Congratulations to the winner, John “Tom” Thomas! After dinner many of the folks went back to the meeting room and continued swapping those sea stories.

On Sunday morning, there was a general meeting to name the coordinator of the next reunion. Dick Stader was nominated, 2nd-ed, and carried by unanimous voice vote, with no discussion, as Chairman of the 2009 Reunion Committee. We also selected the same week in October of 2009 and Baltimore was the first choice, with Branson as the second choice. So Please, Please, Please, set aside the time frame of the last two weeks of October to allow for scheduling purposes, and start saving now so you will be able to attend. More information will follow just as soon as it becomes available. After the meeting, some of the folks had planes to catch and left, we stayed and did some shopping and sea story telling.

Be sure to check out the 2008 reunion pictures at the ALTAIR photo web site

Also, check out the photos from C. O. Lee. He gave me a bunch of snapshots to scan so they are now on the photo site as well.

As for our host, TOM PLANES, what a wonderful job in setting up and conducting the reunion!!! He even enlisted his son-in-law Ryan Moore, MM1 USN (not affiliated with the ALTAIR) who came in from Atlanta to assist him with the event. My THANKS to both of these gentlemen; they did a magnificent job!

My wife, Susie, accompanied me on the trip and here are some of her thoughts: This was my first reunion, and, God willing, it won’t be my last. I was so impressed by the friendliness of everyone in the group. I was worried about fitting in, but right from the beginning, I felt a air about the group that made me feel welcome and very much a part of the group. The whole experience made me “proud to be an American” and a part of this fantastic group of people.

The camaraderie of this group, from a first-time attendee’s prospective, was well worth the cost and time. No one was left out of any of the discussions that they chose to be a part of. This includes the partners of the shipmates. I feel so privileged to be a part of the group. I am so looking forward to the next gathering and hoping that we can convince as many of our shipmates to attend as possible.

Dick Braun
"I will answer the wind
I will leave with the tide
I'll be out on the road
Every chance I can ride"
Bob Seger -- Wait for me

October 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

ALTAIR PLAQUE: The ceremony was attended by several shipmates including Admiral Colbert's widow, Mrs. Prudence Mackee. Thanks to all that donated for this wonderful ship remembrance and ceremony!

Joe Basso notes that on the Navy Memorial site there is a section named "Navy Log." Click on the "Navy Log" button at the top of the Memorial site and it will take you to the Log site. You can sign up, create you own profile, upload your picture, etc. It's free too! Check it out!

ALTAIR REUNION: What a wonderful reunion..........Tom Planes deserves the highest kudos for a job very well done! All the reports that I have heard have been glowing and everyone had a great time. Dick Braun's "2008 Reunion recap" was emailed some time ago. A reunion committee was formed and there will be a reunion next year 2009 about the same time. More info to follow as it becomes available. Great job Tom!

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $584.30 with no income and expenses of $33.00 for overnight check mailing leaving a balance of $551.30. Tom Planes reports that a check (dues/auction/donations) from the reunion will be on the way to me to cover future expenses.

SHIPMATE PASSING: I am sorry to report the passing of Shipmate Ernest David Forbes Jr. on October 24, 2008. Ernie was a FN aboard the Altair 1961-63. Our sincerest condolences to the Forbes family. The family can be reached at:

828 Jamaica Blvd., Toms River, NJ 08757 732-349-7737

ALTAIR NEWSLETTER: I will be making some changes now that the plaque ceremony and reunion are over. My sincerest regrets to all the shipmates for my not being able to attend either event. year.

All for now. Please contact me with any comments or questions. If I missed anything, please let me know!

Best Regards To All..........Charles

In a seperate email Charles sent this:

"I just knew that I was forgetting something very important.......and, I did.

Dick Braun has put up tons of great pics from the plaque ceremony and the reunion (plus tons of other great Altair pics) on our photo site. Spread the word about this site!

Please visit and enjoy the photos!

Dick, thank you for a great job! High kudos to you!"

Friday, October 03, 2008

September 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $700.93 with no income and expenses of $116.63 leaving a balance of $584.30. Expenses were a down payment for reservations at the Alabama Theater for the Altair Reunion.

REUNION: The official 2nd. USS Altair reunion October 24,25 and 26, 2008 at the Courtyard by Marriott, Myrtle Beach, SC. Let me or Tom Planes know if you need any additional information.

ALTAIR PLAQUE CEREMONY: The Altair Plaque Ceremony will take place promptly at noon, Thursday, October 23, 2008 at the United States Navy Memorial Foundation, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.

Lillie and I really lucked out when hurricane Ike came through a few weeks ago. Even though the eye of the storm passed right over us, we were on the west side of the eye and did not suffer any wind or rain damage. In fact, we only got a couple of inches of rain. The damage was a lot worse just 30-40 miles to the east of us.

Any questions or comments contact me at

Best Regards To All........Charles

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Altair Reunion Update by Tom Planes

The newly refurbished Marriott at Barefoot Landing has extended a very good rate ($69.00) per night) to the Altair Group. This applies to the reunion dates of Friday, October 24, 2008 to Monday, October 27, 2008 (three days). Including taxes the total for the entire hotel stay is $229.77 which includes a full breakfast and use of the hospitality room. Be sure to mention that you are part of the Altair Reunion when making reservations. Their number is (877) 502-4653. And after you make your reservation give me a call, Tom Planes @ (678) 201-5105 so I can update the dinner order.

The hotel is within walking distance of Barefoot Landing, a multiuse complex that offers specialty shops, fine restaurants and two of the best shows in Myrtle Beach. The Alabama Theatre (for which we have reservations) and the House of Blues. I have tried to keep the cost down and limit the planned portion of the reunion to give more time for visiting and catch up.

The stocking and set up of the hospitality room for three days will be coordinated by Sandi and me. We plan to have the room open for 12 hours per day and will have adult and soft drinks along with trays of various goodies for your enjoyment. There will be a cost of $25.00 per person for this and it needs to be sent to me: Tom Planes, 1177 Vintage Way, Hoschton, GA 30548 by September 25, 2008.

Optionally, if you wish to go out with the group on Friday and/or Saturday evening the following has been scheduled:

> Friday evening at The Alabama Theatre to see their production of “ONE – The Show”. Voted #1 by Myrtle Beach Visitors, One -The Show is back for its 8th exciting year. The talented cast and crew of over 40 have spent hundreds of hours reinventing the show with fabulous new songs, dance & comedy. One -The Show features the charm of emcee and featured vocalist Greg Rowles, and one-of-the-funniest guys in the country Grant Turner's Ricky Mokel. Looking for an evening filled with song, dance, and laughter, Alabama Theatre is the place to be with your family and friends! One -The Show features an all-new production with over 25 new chart-topping songs, and an incredible Beatles Pop segment playing six nights a week. Prepare to be wowed by a stunning presentation from the Broadway's Disney musical, Mary Poppins. Visual surprises await you in this show-stopping medley from one of the most charming musicals ever written. The cost is $27.00 per person.

> Saturday dinner at California Dreaming the cost is $22.50 per person, which includes tax and gratuity.

The cost of the optional events need to be sent to Charles Brecheisen, 248 Drifting Cloud, Holly Lake Ranch, TX 75765-6321 no later than September 25, 2008.

We will have an auction to raise money for the secured future of the Altair news letter. This will mean bringing some memorabilia of the Altair or a craft, knitting, painting, posters you name it. John Thomas is a professional auctioneer and it will be fun.

Bring a photo of you in uniform and we can have a name that sailor contest.

We also plan to have a story time (remembrances) that folks might want to share a tale about their life aboard Altair, keeping it clean of course.

We already have a spot reserved at the Altair photo site for this reunion. That means lots of pictures will be taken.

To recap:

Send the following checks by September 25, 2008:

$25.00 per person attending to Tom Planes, 1177 Vintage Way, Hoschton, GA 30548

Optional events to Charles Brecheisen, 248 Drifting Cloud, Holly Lake Ranch, TX 75765-6321:

> Friday evening at The Alabama Theater @ $27.00 per person
> Saturday evening at California Dreaming @ $22.50 per person

To Bring to the reunion:

> A photo of you in uniform
> Something to auction off
> Think of a story you would like to share

Above all BE THERE we want to see you!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Shipmate Passing

Greetings Altair Shipmates.

I received the following email:

"I wanted to let you know that my father, Daniel J. Andryszak, who was a Fireman (FN) and was assigned to the Altair from 1953-1955, passed away on August 18th, 2008. Regards, Daniel A. Andryszak"

The Andryszak family can be reached at:

1976 Guy Way
Dundalk, MD 21222-4751

I will mail a sympathy card from the Altair Crew.

Best Regards, Charles

Monday, September 01, 2008

August 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

WEATHER: As hurricane Gustav is hitting New Orleans right now, we are preparing here in East Texas. The latest forecast for E. TX is for 50-60MPH winds and 5-10+ inches of rain starting tonight. Fortunately, I have a 5KW generator, full gas tanks, water and lots of food. Our thoughts and prayers are with the gulf coast who are bearing the brunt of this storm.

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $698.98 with $33.05 in expenses and income of $35.00 leaving a balance of $700.93.

REUNION: If you plan to attend the Altair reunion, please send Tom Planes an email and confirm. Tom can be reached at

I will keep this short and just say "all for now." If you need to contact me, please us cmbaltairaks32@!

Best Regards To All.......Charles

Friday, August 01, 2008

July 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

WARNING: I live in the piney woods of E. Texas. We have lots of scorpions, snakes, bugs, etc. I like to work in the woods as I do not have a yard; and, I keep my shoes on the front porch. Rule #1: Every time I put on the shoes from the front porch, shake them out. Rule #2: Please obey Rule #1. This morning I put the shoes on without shaking them out. When I put my left show in, I felt something moving in the toe. Ripping my shoe off, out hopped a beautiful green tree frog. Nuff said! I will be checking and double checking, etc.

AMATEUR RADIO CALL SIGN: I applied for what is called a club "Vanity" call sign of NB5EQ and the FCC gave it to me on July 11 under "USS Altair Memorial Association" of which all the Altair shipmates are members. You can visit and in the top upper left of the page you can type in NB5EQ where it says call sign and it will take you to the NB5EQ page. I will be adding more information soon and will soon be "on the air" for Navy and Memorial special events. This should generate lots of activity on our web site. I will have special NB5EQ cards and certificates printed soon.

Here is a neat and interesting site dealing only with Naval 'covers' or envelopes. Please visit the home page of Click on "Enter New Museum" and then click on "Main Collection" and then click on "#1 US Ships by Name." There is an A-Z list and if you click on "A" and scroll down to and click on Altair it will take you to a page with pictures of some USS Altair envelopes that were used. It's a neat site!

The beginning balance was $738.93 with no income and FCC expenses of $39.95 leaving a balance of $698.98.

I have the newsletter about finished and should be in the mail in a matter of weeks. Please don't forget the Altair Plaque Ceremony and the Altair reunion coming up in October.

As usual, please do NOT reply to this email but use

Best Wishes to All........Charles

Sunday, July 06, 2008

June 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

Summer got here early this year and it looks like a long hot drier summer.

ALTAIR RADIO CALL: I have been awarded the amateur radio call of KE5VEA. I have filed with the FCC for the call NB5EQ and will be awarded that call on July 11. The name of the organization is "USS Altair AKS32 Memorial Association" and both calls will be listed on along with my personal call of W5VFO.

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $703.93 with income of $35.00 and no expenses leaving a balance of $738.93.

UNUSUAL WEB SITE: Ever have trouble telephoning a company and getting nothing but a computer......well, try and it will give you a telephone number to talk to a real person.

I hope everyone has a very happy and fun-filled July 4th.........and, especially a safe one!

Best Regards To All........Charles

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

May 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

It's hard for me to believe.....that it is already June! Looks like we (in East Texas) will be in for a long hot dry summer.

ALTAIR RADIO CALL: As I remember, the radio call sign for the Altair was NBEQ. November Bravo Echo Quebec. Is this correct? If it is, I am going to apply for a memorial ham radio call sign of NB5EQ and participate in the yearly Museum Ship weekend contest. I have contacted 69 different ships worldwide, USA, Russian, Australian, Canadian, etc. in the past few years and thought it might be neat to put the Altair Memorial radio call on the air. Please let met know at Thanks!

The beginning balance was $698.90 with income of $25.00 and expenses of $19.97 leaving a balance of $703.93. Expenses were for paper, ink and labels.

ALTAIR PLAQUE: The Plaque Ceremony will take place on Thursday, October 23, 2008 at the US Memorial Foundation, 701 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington, DC. A film, "At Sea" will be shown at 12PM noon followed by the ceremony at 1 PM.

ALTAIR REUNION: The second Altair reunion will take place October
24,24 and 26, 2008 at the Courtyard By Marriott, 1000 Commons Blvd., Myrtle Beach SC. Reservations can be made 877-502-4653 as a $69.00 rate.

All for now. Please contact me with any comments or questions

Best Wishes To All.........Charles

Saturday, May 03, 2008

April 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $678.90 with income of $20 and no expenses, leaving a balance of $698.90.

SHIPMATE PASSING: In case you missed my last email, Robert Weingarten, RM2 1953-1955 passed away early in April.

SHIPMATE PASSING: Unfortunately, I got a phone call from the daughter of Tony Flores-Toro. Shipmates who attended the first Altair reunion will remember Tony, who owned a Sears store in Florida, supplied most of the door prizes. Last Monday, Tony was in his car driving on a local Chiefland, FL street when an elderly man, in an oncoming car, swerved into his lane and hit Tony head on. Tony was killed instantly. Memorial servives will be held tomorrow (Saturday) and his ashes will be flown to his native Puerto Rico. Tony was a SN aboard the Altair 1956-1958; BUT, I have later pictures of Tony aboard a ship (Altair?) and he was a 4 stripe full Captain! Tony spoke 6 languages.

Tony took Lillie and I to dinner while at the Norfolk reunion and we heard many many sea stories from least the ones he could talk about. Lillie and I are still in total shock. To send condolences, please send to his daughter:

Patricia Callahan
311 Lewisberry Court
Lewisberry, PA 17339

All for now. More to follow about the plaque ceremony and the next Altair Reunion.


Best Regards To All.........Charles

Monday, April 28, 2008

Shipmate Passing

I regret to inform you that Robert Weingarten, RM2, 1953-1955, passed away a few days ago from Pancreatic Cancer.

Our sincerest condolences go to the Weingarten family. The family can be reached at:
Robert Weingarten Family
176 Sycamore Avenue
Bethpage, NY 11714-1913


Friday, April 04, 2008

March 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

Greetings Altair Crew.

The Altair Plaque is completely paid for! The total expenditure was $3300 and we had paid pledges of $3165 which left the plaque a bit in the hole. There were several unpaid pledges which I felt should not be pursued. The balance of $165 was paid from dues monies. The ceremony will be held on Thursday, October 23, 2008 promptly at 1PM. ALL ARE INVITED to the Navy Memorial for the ceremony.

ALTAIR REUNION: The USS Altair reunion will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott in Myrtle Beach, SC October 24-26, 2008. If you need additional information please contact myself at or

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Additional information will be forthcoming as soon as available. I have most of the next Altair newsletter which will be mailed which all the information about the plaque ceremony and reunion are available.

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $3478.90 with no income and plaque expenses of $2800.00 leaving a balance of $678.90.

FAKE IRS EMAILS: I got an email from IRS.el concerning my rebate check. It said that I was getting about $175 back and to contact them immediately. Well, sports fans, the 'el' after the IRS tells me in ham radio lingo that the email was from LIBERIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Everyone beware!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All for now. Please contact me at with any questions or comments. Please do NOT reply to this email.

Best Regards To All..........Charles

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shipmate Passing

Greetings Altair Shipmates. On March 12th I received the following email from Mike Troiano:

"Our shipmate and my dear friend Albert J. Pizzo passed away today after a 2 year battle with lung cancer. Please add AJ's name to our growing memorial list. Thanks. Regards, Mike"

Our sincerest condolences to the Pizzo family. The family can be reached at:

Al Pizzo Family
15 Grandview Place
Sewell, NJ 08080


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

February 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

SHIPMATE PASSING: We lost Shipmate Jerry Daney February 19. Jerry was a SK2 and aboard the Altair 1955-1958. Our condolences to the Daney family.

FINANCIAL: Our beginning balance was $3175.35 with income of $430.00 and expenses of $126.45 leaving a balance of $3478.90 The expense was for our web site. $350 of the income was pledges for the Altair Plaque.

ALTAIR PLAQUE: WE MADE IT!!!!!!!!!!! We now have the entire cost of the Altair Plaque covered and it is on order. The plaque ceremony will be Thursday, October 23, 2008 promptly at 1PM. More information will be forthcoming in our next Altair Newsletter. The following weekend will be the Altair Reunion at Myrtle Beach, SC. Special thanks go to Mrs. Dan Thrasher, widow of Dan, for her generous contribution to the plaque fund. More information to follow as soon as it is available.

NEW SHIPMATES: Please welcome aboard Bruce Davis, 1962-62. Bruce lives in Orlando, Fl.; and, Bob Smith, SK3 from Norwich, NY. WELCOME ABOARD!

If you need any additional information about the Altair Plaque or the next reunion, please contact me at

DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL!!! I have been getting 50-60 spams a day at this email address and have set the options to delete 100% of incoming email. Please use my address. Thanks!

Best Regards To All........Charles

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Shipmate Passing

Greetings Altair Shipmates. I regret to inform you that the following shipmate passed on February 19, 2008:

Gerald "Jerry" Daney SK2 1955-1958

Condolences can be sent to:

The Daney Family
104 Wren Drive
Larksville, PA 18704

All the USS Altair Shipmates send their condolences to the Daney Family.

January 2008 by Charles Brecheisen

ALTAIR PLAQUE: We have received $2810 in pledges and have received $2400. The total cost of the plaque and ceremony is $3000! If you pledged, please send in your pledge. The ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, October 23, 2008, the day before the Altair reunion. The ceremony is in Washington DC and is a proud moment for the USS Altair. Jim Phippard has selected the site for the plaque. Please plan to attend.

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $3156.82 with income of $535.00 (split between dues and plaque) with expenses of $516.47 leaving a balance of $3175.35. The first payment of $500.00 was made on the plaque. Once the date is confirmed (we are waiting for Admiral Colbert's wife to respond) then $2500.00 will be due immediately.

ALTAIR SHIPMATES: January was a good month for new shipmates as we board 4 new shipmates! WELCOME ABOARD!

John E. Simonides, SK3, 1966-68, Stony Creek, CT
Robert S. Lasky, SK3, 1955, Kewanee, IL
John K. Mowitz, SN, 1960-61, Merrimac, WI
Jim Ledden, SFM3, 1968, Valdese, NC

ALTAIR REUNION: As soon as more info is available on our next reunion in October, I will get a news letter on the way to all.

INSTANT MESSAGING: Both Martin Summann and I are set up on instant messaging. Martin is set up on Messenger as and I am set up on Yahoo IM as cmbaltairaks32 or maybe the has to be on there too. Both instant messaging systems will talk to each other and Martin and I communicate almost daily. I used to be on AOL I.M. but am not any more.

All for now. Please contact me at cmbaltairaks32@fastmail with any questions or comments.

Best Regards To All..........Charles

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pledges are now due.

Greetings Altair Crew.

Joe Basso has made the first $500 pledge for the Altair plaque, which I will repay immediately to Joe. The total cost,including the ceremony will cost $3000.

Therefore, it is time for all those that have pledged and have not sent in their pledge please do so now. The balance will be due fairly quickly. There is a balance of $650 in pledges due.

If you have not pledged and want to pledge, it will be welcomed!!!!!

A big THANK YOU to all those that pledged (and paid)!!

Best Wishes to ALL.........Charles

Charles Brecheisen
248 Drifting Cloud
Holly Lake Ranch, TX 75765-6321

Monday, January 14, 2008

December 2007 by Charles Brecheisen

2008: Happy New Year to all the Altair shipmates and their families. Let's hope all have a prosperous and especially healthy 2008.

ALTAIR REUNION: Tom Planes reports very positive reports about our upcoming Altair reunion October 24-26, 2008 in Myrtle Beach, SC. My problem is getting snail mail kicked back to me due to shipmates moving and not notifying me of address change; or their passing and we are not notified by the next of kin.

ALTAIR PLAQUE: Joe Basso will be making the first commitment for the Altair plaque. Those who have pledges and not sent in their pledge, please do so. The total cost has risen to $3000, but we should have that covered.

FINANCIAL: The beginning balance was $3344.46 with income of $35.00and expenses of $222.64 leaving a balance of $3156.52. Expenses were stamps, labels and printing reunion sheets.

ALTAIR SHIPMATE: Please welcome on board Phillip J. Vachon. Phillip was a MMFN and served aboard 1961-1963 and resided in Florida.

All for now. Please contact me with any questions or comments at

Best Wishes To All.........Charles