Not all the
Marines and Corpsmen attached to Solant Amity I were aboard the Graham County
[LST-1176]. A good number were assigned to LSD-34 Hermitage, which disembarked
from Morehead City. This page is dedicated to photos specifically related to
them and their assignments.
You'll notice that the images are not of the very best quality. They were obtained from a photo copy of pages found in the Hermitage Cruise Book. Should anyone of our readers have a copy of the Cruise book they would be willing to part with for a week or so, while we scan the images OR if you would scan and email them to us, the images would be replaced and credit given to yourself.
But, lacking that opportunity at the moment, I hope you find some of the faces from your past.
[ Left click your mouse on any image to view the full sized version ]
Every ship carries stuff. So the first thing you've got to do is get it aboard:
Then there must be Marine Units and Corpsmen:
AND for more images of ships, places and events made part of Solant Amity I, furnished by the "Gunny," check out his CONTRIBUTIONS to the website.
Then all units have to have their Staff:
Of course you have to have purpose. And while the Task Force had as its published "Good Will" reasons for being in the South Atlantic, there were two occasions when the Hermitage was called upon to involve itself in first Humanitarian and then tentative Hostile action:
The humanitarian efforts were twofold. One was to extract hundreds of wounded and ill United Nations forces dealing that had been dealing with a rebellion in the Congo region and transport them to Conakry, Guinea. Then near simultaneously with our being in Bathurst, Gambia, the UN called upon us to help alleviate the impacts of famine in the Congo. Hence the Hermitage proceeded to Lome, Togo where 500 tons of grain and essential commodities were loaded into the well of the Hermitage. From there, it and additional material contributions essential for both the cultural and educational development of the region were transported to Matadi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, located well up into some of the more shallow portions of the Congo River.
|More than 500 tons of material were, through the labors of the ship's crew and its Marines, transported to a famine, culturally and educationally blighted Congo.|
Over the last few years we heard from various personnel onboard the Hermitage. Here are some and their comments:
The tentively hostile condition presented by the Santa Maria Incident involved the search for and capture of a passenger liner "pirated" by Henrique Galvao. A full page website is dedicated to that venture at Santa Maria Terrorist Pirating.
[ Note: The photos above were obtained from the Hermitage Cruise Book provided by former E4 Corporal Ronald G. Van Dunk of the Field Communication Unit on Hermitage ( firstname.lastname@example.org ). Thanks Ron ]
ROSS R. BROWNE III [ email@example.com ]: I was in both the Communication Platoon and 81mm Mortar Platoon with H&S Company 2/6. After the Solant Cruise I went to 2nd Marine Division Comminications. I had the privilege of being on this cruise and still have wonderful memories that I still share with fellow veterans' and friends. This cruise was definitely one of the highlights of my life.
Enough said: May god bless and SEMPER FI; Browne, Ross R. III - L/Cpl at the time
RONALD VAN DUNK [ firstname.lastname@example.org ] : I was on Solant Amity 1 and just found this web site after all these years....
I was originally attached to Headquarters at 2/2 2nd MarDiv as a 2533/ Radio Telegrapher, dits and dahs!!! I requested to go TAD to the 6th Marines in order to make the cruise. This would be my last chance to make a cruise since I would get back a "short timer," discharged June 26, 1961.
Also, I was intrigued to be wearing a" pogey rope". I was on the Hermitage, LSD-34 with Captain Rood. My assignment was to be available for a naval captain an aide to the Admiral (highest ranked person) whose name I don't remember. One of the many highlights was spending time with the detachment of UDT and Signal personnel on the Hermitage.
In the Congo there was a French Resturant whose owner took a special interest in my friends and myself enough to close his business. The Bressau family then shared food, drink, family photos and GREAT hospitality! I was also fascinated with the speed of the Congo River...sooo fast and brown! One last point in closing for now was becoming a "Golden Shellback" something few get the chance to achieve!!! I still have my card somewhere...Interesting that they went off coarse in order to get the location!!
Somewhere around here, I've got two books from the cruise...an orange pamphlet, LANDING FORCE SOLANT AMITY and a hardcover white book. SOLANT AMITY. I'll have to try and find them and see about getting copies to the Solant amity I website.
Semper fi to all hands: Ronald Van Dunk - Corporal (E-4) at the time.
On occasion, the troops and sailors had need for a bit of dentistry. And, whom did they call on? Well, it was:
Thomas H. Poole, D.D.S. [ email@example.com ], now of Evans, Georgia who wrote to Solantamity.com in October of 2006. Here's what he had to say about the days of yore and his interest in learning about those with whom he served so long ago:
"It was just one wrenching experience after another...."
From Tom Poole to firstname.lastname@example.org, on 10/17/06:
I sent the following to John Northover FTCM USN RET. after seeing his website at http://johnover4.tripod.com/lsd34/lsd34main.html, but it was returned as not deliverable. Does anyone have information about how to contact him?
I was surfing the web tonight, and in looking for information about my time on the U.S.S. Hermitage from 1960-61, I came across your website.
I am the dentist in the picture "Men at work 2". I was assigned to the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune immediately after graduating from Emory University School of Dentistry in Atlanta, GA. in June of 1959. My unit was 2nd Dental Co., Force Troops. I understand that at some point, Force Troops was re-named as a Logistics unit. Solant Amity I was an unforgettable period in my life, and I am sure, in the lives of many others who were on that cruise. We had experiences that could not have happened as tourists. I served two years at Camp Lejeune and then left the Navy to re-enter civilian life in Atlanta.
In the middle 1960's one of the helicopter pilots whose last name was Sims called me to let me know the status of some of the other pilots. Unfortunately, some of them had been badly injured in Vietnam.
Sims had left the Marine Corps and was flying commercial transports at the time. I haven't heard from him since.
Someone else who contacted me in the 60's was a dental tech from my company by the name of Doctor Bowen. "Doctor" was really his first name!
If you have heard from any other members of my dental company, I would be glad to know what has happened to them since 1961.
It is really amazing that after all these years I would stumble upon your website.
Thomas H. Poole, Jr. D.D.S. [email@example.com]
4275 Owens Rd. #533
Evans, GA 30809
In subsequent communications between Tom and myself [Somantamity.com's webmaster], he elaborated on the above and expanded upon it in ways sure to give you a giggle or two and bring to mind events of your own from so VERY long ago. Here is Tom's wonderful exposition from his own perspective dated 10/18/06:
Thank you for your reply of yesterday. It was good to hear from someone from the "old days". It's hard to realize that our time on the Hermitage was nearly fifty years ago, when so many of the memories seem like only yesterday.
I sent a copy of our letters to Charles LaMarr, but have not received a reply. I will let you know if he responds.
The reason for my finding your website was that I was looking for an automobile license plate with a Marine Corps theme for my car. Then one thing led to another. You know how it is when you start surfing the web.
I had been in the Navy Reserve in dental school, and had requested San Diego for active duty after graduation, but my orders were for Camp Lejeune. The opposite of my request! This was really surprising, because one of my classmates had requested Camp Lejeune and he got San Diego. Either somebody mixed us up or they were playing a joke on us.
During the time I was assigned to the Marines I was anxious to get out and go back to Atlanta to start a dental practice, but after a few years back in Atlanta, I became fed up with it and tried to re-enlist. Unfortunately, I was 35 years old by then, and just past the acceptable age.
I wound up going to work for the Veterans Administration as a staff dentist in VA hospitals, and retired in 1995.
Many times over the years I have wished I had stayed in the Navy. Our executive officer in the dental company, Commander Funk, at Lejeune liked duty with the Marines. He even bought a set of Marine uniforms and wore them. Maybe I would have done the same thing. Some of my best friends were Marines that I met during those two years.
My next door neighbor in our duplex on Onslow Drive was a helicopter pilot named Ernie Contreras. He went back to Los Angeles and was a physical education teacher. He usually sends me a Christmas card.
Looking at the websites about Solant Amity, I remember Major Kurth and the other officers, and Lt. Stockwell of the Pathfinders. I surely wish I could hear from them.
Some of the experiences we had were life-changing, or at least "attitude" changing. Seeing how people lived in those other countries was amazing. I remember one day on the Hermitage I was lying in my bunk and the ship's captain stuck his head in the room and said "I thought I was in the bilge." That was because of the mess that was left every morning after some of the Marine officers stayed up all night partying. That happened nearly every night. I don't know why they picked the room I was in to do their partying.
For a while, I went to the Navy officer's quarters to try to get some sleep, but I was told to stop doing that. I had always heard that Navy ships had good food, but that was not the case on the Hermitage. The Navy officers had decided to feed themselves as cheaply as possible, and were trying to do it on 95 cents a day, so the result was some of the worst food I ever ate. As often as I could get away with it, I sneaked down to the mess at night and looked for something to eat. Here again, I was told to discontinue that practice.
Of course, if I had stayed in, my next duty might have been in Vietnam, and I might not be here as a result.
Someone told me about a dental company that was over run by the Viet Cong. Another reason for not staying in was the separations from family.
In any case, my time with the Marines was a pleasure, and I wish I could re-live it with the benefit of what I know now, after gaining more experience and maturity. But then we would change a lot of things if we had it to do over, wouldn't we?....
Please keep in touch.
Thank you, Thomas Poole, Jr., D.D.S. and Semper fi. And, I ask that anyone with answers to any of Tom's question PLEASE get in touch with him.
Then, as is the case with any cruise, there comes a time for departure:
If you've any questions or can add anything to enhance this page, please contact the site webmaster .
To Home page. Meet the 1st Platoon; 2nd Platoon ; 3rd Platoon ; Weapons Platoon or Headquarters and H&S Personnel. See Solant Amity Cruise or Santa Maria "Piracy" Incident related photographs. Read the Comments of visitors to the site or a tribute to the Marines aboard the Hermitage or of the Corp's Discipline Problems in the 1970s. Or, perhaps you would just like to see some recent photos of the Corps' Parris Island Training Center or an array of Links and Things.