Our founder Vic served on the USS Arikara (ATF 98) from 1966 to 1968
Vic, our Founder served on board the U.S. Arikara from Oct. 1966 to Aug. 1968
Left: Gary Niehaus (SN), Vic (RD3), Right: Tom Donley (FA)
Our founder Vic is second from the left. His friend Leonard Lanier in on the far right
picture of USS Arikara ATF-98 in February 1968
|The Arikara was an ocean-going tug boat powerful enough to tow any ship (including the largest aircraft carriers) afloat in 1966 - 1968. The USS Arikara home port was in Hawaii (Pearl Harbor). She was a diesel-electric driven ship (four diesel engines of 900 h.p. each), with a single electric 3,000 h.p. motor turning her shaft. She displaced over 1,600 tons (at full load) and measured 205 feet over all and was 38 feet wide.
picture is of Vic in 1967 on the USS Arikara ATF98
During Vic's tour on the USS Arikara traveled to many places including:
Vietnam - Da Nang & Hue
Hawaii (home port)
Japan - Sasebo & Iwakuni
On August 5, 1968 the following crew members signed Vic's farewell card:
Bondy (548 days left)
Buhman (640 days left)
Caldwell (653 days left)
Clark (352 days left)
Donley, Tom (1188 days left)
Flowers (499 days left)
Hedrie (104 days left)
Hilsdale (609 days left)
Jackson (320 days left)
Jensen (642 days left)
Jones (456 days left)
Lanier (466 days left)
Lebrun (131 days left)
Lindsey (325 days left)
Marsell (640 days left)
Neely (159 days left)
Neihaus (228 days left)
Pinnella (90 days left)
Podany (175 days left)
Roberts (800 days left)
Rogers (312 days left)
Schloss (219 days left)
Schmoll (132 days left)
Sledge (546 days left)
Sundholm (640 days left)
Vinegas (1826 days left)
Wolf (320 days left)
If you know anyone else who served during that time please let Vic know by emailing him at: USSArikara (leave no spaces here) @ Plbgweb.com.
|To date, Leonard Lanier, Gary Bailey, Jack Frazier, Robert Ouellette, Tom Donley, David D. Stanton, Raymond Robert Campbell (Bob), Dan Robbins, Clay Sanders ("Sandy"), Steve Ussery, Michael Todd, Kenneth Walper, Mike Williams, Bob Dahl, Nick Katnich, and Richard Enniss have contacted Vic.
Vic was a Radarman and the following were authorized to work in Arikara's Radio Central (in July 1968):
J. Henry III
In February 1968 the following were crew members on the USS Arikara ATF-98:
Commanding Officer: C.E. Stith LCDR
Executive Officer: G.E. Witttreich LTJG
Operations Officer: L.W. Hellerman LTJG
Engineering Officer: G. Sickler WO-1
Deck and Supply Officer: J.E. Henry III WO-1
These crew members were also on board sometime during the time Vic was on the Arikara:
Campbell, Bob EM2 (Sep. '63 - Jan. '67)
Krieg, Melvin L. ENC (aka: "Unchil" passed away 1975)
Enniss, Richard EN3 (1967 and 1968)
Hardy, Allan R. EN2 (passed away May 8, 2010)
Ouellette, Robert EM3 (Aug 1965 - Aug 1967) aka: "Frenchy"
Priessman, Thomas SF1
Van Winkle FN
These crew members were on the USS Arikara close to Vic's time on board:
|David D. Stanton YN2 (1968 - Dec. 1969)
Dan Robbins (1969)
Arikara fellow crew members who have passed away:
Raymond Sickler Jr.
|Some Arikara memories
|Jack Neely, SF1 in December 2014 wrote:
"I came aboard about the same time as Jack Frazier in Adak sometime in late 1967 and left just before Christmas of '68.
I remember while in Adak we went to help an Alaskan fishing boat that had some kind of engine problem and we went to help them out. Well in return they dumped a big huge pile of King crab on the fantail of the Arikara. I remember being up all night helping to process all that crab. That was a pretty big thank you from the fisherman.
I still have a little 22 magnum Ithaca rifle that one of the crew found on the beach either Atka or Sitka when we were on a mission to help a little Eskimo girl. I traded a set of Gabardine dress blues for that rifle. Fraz probably remembers who I traded with because he set up the deal.
I also remember Lahaina, Maui where we were trying to rescue a small boat that ran aground. I remember wading out to help salvage certain items from that boat. We finally hooked to it and pulled it out and sunk it.
I remember towing the Thor laying cable. I believe that was '68. That was the most boring assignment of my whole navy 3 ship career. Standing 4 on and 4 off watch on the fantail.
Then there was the time when we set beaching gear to pull that sub off the reef at Pearl Harbor Christmas '67. I was the ships barber for about a year.$1.00 per cut, under the table of course. The captain got his cut for free."
Shared by Bob Campbell Christmas 2002:
"One the fondest memories I have of Christmas was 1966. Arikara(ATF 98) was in and about Da Nang having just completed the salvage of a refrigeration barge that had been blown high and dry up on the beach by a typhoon about 20 Kilometers south of Hue. Our Christmas mail had been lowered to us by Santa Claus. The "Jolly Old Elf" was standing in the bay door of a Huey, next to the gun mount, manning the lift cable with our mail on it. I do not remember a sailor who did not stop and wave to Santa and many went below to relieve shipmates so that they, too, could see him. Bob Hope and company were in Da Nang that year. Our ship did not get ashore to see the show as we were anchored at "short stay" and had no liberty. We, the Electrical Gang, had made a Christmas tree out of a wooden dowel rod or and old broomstick (I don't remember which). We had drilled several dozen holes in the rod and passed stranded wire through the holes then fanned the strands at equally lengths on either side of the rod. The wire was cut shorter as the hole got closer to the top of the pole giving our tree a roughly Christmas Tree shape. There was a lot of good natured ribbing and cheap sarcasms when we put the "Tree" on one of the Mess Decks tables. In spite of the critics, we fashion a star for the top out of tin foil or something and invited our shipmates to make and hang ornaments on it. It was a scraggly looking thing almost 4 feet high. There were no lights on it of course and we did not have anything green on it except a couple of "ornaments" made with a sort of a shade of green ink or food coloring. By the end of the week there were more than 80 decorations on that ugly tree, which was pretty significant because we had 75 enlisted men and 5 in the cadre. If Easy Company of "A Band of Brothers" lays exclusive claim to the brotherhood designation I would like to lay claim the "Family of Shipmates " for I have never been closer to bunch of guys outside my immediate family."
Clay Sanders (Sandy) also wrote Vic:
"Reported aboard Oct. 67 in Adak, mess-cooked with Eniboe as mess Capitan. Was an EM, worked for Grover, Jackson, Wags.
Were you aboard when the boiler blew back and singed off Wagoner's mustache, eyebrows & lashes? (Yes, Vic was.) Scared all of us on mess decks when it went boom! I didn't remember some of the names until I found this site, brought back some great memories! I now live in Hawaii."
Charles 'Chuck' Hackney also wrote to Vic:
"...I was aboard the Arikara in '66 and some of '67.
You look familiar in the picture of you on your web site (1966), but I don't
remember the name. It's only been 45 years.
I was aboard when Santa dropped off the mail, in fact I was on look out watch when he
arrived; when we almost collided with a Russian trawler, or should I say the trawler
almost collided with us; when we surprised a Chinese Submarine replenishing
one of those stinking trawlers; when we salvaged the reefer barge near Hue; and do you
remember the two days that we were in a Typhoon in the Formosa straits, the ship did a few 45deg. rolls?"
"This is me (Chuck) on the fantail in Sasebo, Japan in 1967"
"Can you remember when we went to salvage that reefer barge, we started
receiving small arms fire from the tree line almost as soon as we came on station?
The second day Marines came in by chopper in the morning and out at night everyday
to provide security for us while we worked the barge. Does that ring a bell with you?"
Bob Dahl ENC USN/RET also wrote Vic:
"I was on the Arikara when Wagoner lit off the boiler and seared his mustache and aye brow off.
He had the watch at that time and he made the mistake of running the fuel in too long and when he put the torch to it, it backfired.
I let him know what he did wrong. Fortunately things turned out OK."
Michael Todd, ETC USN (RET.) also wrote Vic:
"I was aboard the Arikara from Dec1965 to Apr1967. At that time I was an ETR2. I stood Radio watches,
Radar Watches, QM of the watch and at Hue even OOD while anchored.
That was the time we slipped our anchor after pulling that reefer barge off the sand.
We had to tie up to another ship after turning over the barge in De Nang.
We even baby-sit the Russian Trawler in the Gulf that cruise.
I left the ship upon return to Hawaii.
The reason we had to go alongside in De Nang was because we "Slipped" our anchors right after our pull that got the
barge free. With a barge closing on your ship, no doubt the CO felt that returning later a good idea.
That is also the Cruise that OUR Radar was traded to another ship, because THEY (the other ship) couldn't repair theirs.
As a Radarman, you remember that we had an AN/SPS-21D, and they gave us a broken 'SPS-21C. Another story that.
The Ships motto "Ready" carried me through the remainder of my Naval assignments and to this day."
Bruce ( Arndt ) SFM 3 wrote to Vic:
"Hi Vic, I have been in Spokane Wa. most of time after the Navy. Wife and two 2 kids B & G.
We all are doing good. If you go to www.poorpapas.com you can see what I do.
It was good to see the old ship. It was not a lot of fun on her but some fun.
It was good to get home you know.
Harold "Flint" Firestone RM3 in January 2012 wrote:
I'm Flint Firestone RM3 and served on aboard the Arikara from June 1965 to Aug. 1967. I've been in touch with Bob Campbell. I saw him twice while I was in Florida last winter. I lived in Maryland for 30 years but now I live on a 40 ft. boat. My wife and I do a lot of cruising and try to stay where it's 70 degs. I read the reports from other mates and remember a lot of them. I just bought a cap with the Arikara and picture on it. Hope this letter gets through. It was nice to see your pictures. I'm also in touch with Harris Kaster RM3. He lives in Northwest Iowa and retired from the Navy Reserves. He has pictures of his time aboard. Take care and thanks for this web site."
Mike Williams in February 2008 wrote:
"Vic, I was a shipmate of yours from January 68 thru February 69, I was an EMFN when I was aboard. I worked for EM1 Grover and EM2 Jackson. I remember most of the names you have on your web page. My name is Michael Williams. I left Arikara in Feb 69 to go to a precom in Philadelphia. I ended up doing 23 years and retiring as a Chief Warrant Officer in 1989. Arikara was my second ship and I learned a great deal while I was there. Your face on the website and those of some of the others that were there are still familiar to me. It's been a long time. The big event of my tour was when we worked on the operation to lay acoustic cable in the Pacific. It's always a pleasure to chat with old shipmates."
If you have any pictures of any of the crew or the Arikara from 1966 through 1968 that you wouldn't mind
loaning (we will scan the pictures and return them to you), please mail them to:
41 Edgewater Ct
Chico, CA 95928
If you would like to contact Vic via email please send to:
|USS Arikara ATF98
Launch Date: June 22, 1943
Commission Date: January 5, 1944
Stricken Date: June 25, 1992
The USS Arikara was decommissioned in July 1971 and transferred to Chile. She became known as the Sargento Aledea (ATF 63). After over 20 years in the Chilean Navy, she was decommissioned in August 1992 and was sunk as a target.
May she rest in peace.
|The Arikara name comes from honoring the Indians (Native Americans) who originally lived in North Dakota alongside the Missouri River. Their original name was the Arickaree. They were descended from the Caddoan Indians and said to have been closely related to the Pawnee and the Skidi Indians.
Raymond Robert Campbell (Bob) lives in St. Petersburg, Florida
Jack Frazier lives in Valley Center, California
Robert Ouellette lives in Taunton, Massachusetts
Richard Enniss lives in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Steve Ussery (1969 till decommissioning) lives in White Lake, North Carolina
Leonard Lanier lives in Orange Beach, Alabama
After Vic left the Arikara, he was replaced by Tommy Flowers.
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