Ship's Photo Album
Pictures from the 60's
The following pictures were provided by SN Steve Hecker.
They were taken from the 68-69 Freddy cruise. This cruise turned out to be her last one.
Steve was the ship's photographer at that time
"5 inch Gun on the Fantail"
"Looking up at the Bridge"
"French Marines December 1968"
"French Marines December 1968"
"View from the Bridge May 1969"
"Left to right John Jenkins and Joe Rollins"
"Ready to go ashore"
"Back row left to right - Napolitano, House, Ervin, Krause, Ed"
"Front row left to right - Palmer, Hecker"
"Notice the Ship's Bell - Do you know where it is now?"
"SN Hecker taken in March 1969, at sea in the Mediterranean"
"Joe Rollins on the left and BM2 L. Knack on the right"
"R. Tischer, standing watch on the Fantail"
"Hecker, Dowdy, and Loos"
"Plan of the Day 9 March 69"
The HAZE GREY ELEPHANT
Winter of 1969
She's four and nine and five feet long; her beam, six and three;
Her shades are very plain, as anyone can see.
She's dented and scraped where all the tugs did rub!
She's taken quite a beating for a two-and five year tub!
There's algae on her bottom and rust streaks on her side;
Because she is majestic, she still maintains her pride.
Her engines and her boilers of which there are but two
Work together hand and hand to turn her massive screw.
She's monstrous and cumbersome and very hard to park;
For one who thinks this be a joke can try docking after dark!
Some 40mm mounts and a five - inch gun protects us from attack - -
Believe me, friend, when they light off, no one sleeps in his rack!
Our mission as an amphib ship is to land marines in force,
Which could not be done without our boats, of course.
LCVP's and LCM's in waves head toward the beach - -
The price of aggressive war our enemies we shall teach.
From the hatches and the rigging to the engineering holes,
The crewmen who maintain her give her heart and soul.
Especially to the hach crews work day and night
And put up with annoying conditions to place our cargo right.
When the operation's over and our boats are all aboard,
Another trip we are to make and liberty we afford!
The time we spend on various drills is just to keep us trained.
But the enemy must take precaution for our ship is self-contained.
When we do return home at last, I will never depart again!
From the date of her commission to the last hellesport
There's not a ship around today quite like the Old Fremont!
It's true, my friend, it is a fact that I shall roam no more
Upon that HAZE GREY ELEPHANT called the L.P.A 44!
I wrote the poem The Haze Grey Elephant along with the help of ?????. Sorry I can't remember his name. We were in Med, March of 1969. Sailing around, I had the mid watch on the bridge, on the phone with someone in the radio room. I'm not sure who started it all. I wrote it down, just something to do that night. I did re-write it some from the way it was. I used the poem for an English class in college back in the late 70's. So it was re-written using correct spelling and better grammar. It was written after we found out that it was Freddy's last voyage.