Decommissioning, 1965

GMSM James P. Michels Jr.

James Michels

I served aboard the Abbot from June 1964 until the last day she was in active service in 1965. When I came aboard, the Abbot was part of ResDesRon 30.

When the Abbot arrived at Philadelphia and became part of ResDesRon 30 the crew was cut in half. We had Reservists (USNR-R) to fill the ranks. They were from Folsom, PA, and they would report aboard the ship on the third Friday night of each month and the Abbot would get underway to return on Sunday night.

This same crew was to report to the Abbot if there was a national mobilization. During the summer months this same crew did their two weeks aboard the Abbot, when we would get underway for training (at Gitmo). When any of the these Reservists went active, they had to do their two years’ duty aboard the Abbot.

I was in Gun Division, as I was striker GMSM. Before going to the dry docks we unloaded our ammo at Earl, New Jersey.

In Philadelphia Navy shipyard the Captain was given his flags and the command was transfer to the XO. We then went to Sun Shipyard in Chester, PA, within a week for the decommissioning of the ship. The crew was housed in a warehouse at Sun Shipyard because it would cost too much time and cost transporting the crew from the navy base to the ship each day for both crews (Abbot & The Sullivans). The officers and chiefs were housed at the navy base.

All personal living in the area were allowed to go home if not on duty at the ship. Both ships while in dry dock had a quarter deck watch for 24 hours.

The Abbot was decommissioned in the dry dock at Sun Ship Yard along with the USS The Sullivans. The enlisted crew members from The Sullivans and from the Abbot were housed at a warehouse in Sun Ship Yard so that we could be close to both ships.

After the ships were sealed, we had our last muster aboard the ship the next day. Our orders were issued on that day and we left the ship for our new duties.

Abbot letterhead

Some of the Abbot crew was sent to the receiving station at Philadelphia Navy Yard, where I along with about 30 other Abbot crew members awaited our replacement ship, the USS Barton.

I enclose a photo of a letter written to my father in November 1964. You will notice the paper has a photo of the Abbot on it. The date for that photo should be set to at least 1964, the paper with that photo of the ship was for sale in the ship’s store when I came aboard the Abbot.

I am the sailor with the helmet on and I am sitting on the twin 3” mount aboard the Abbot.

James P. Michels Jr.