2021 USS GONZALEZ Leadership Awards

The annual Class of 1966 2021 USS GONZALEZ Leadership Awards ceremony took place on board GONZALEZ on Tuesday, 21 September.

Monday evening before the ceremony, classmates, and wives: Tony and Linda Franzitta, Tom and Fay Martin, and Rob and Joyce Ploeger, gathered with Pat Muldoon and Charlie and Sharon at Villa Votava to welcome our Class President, USMC General Carl Fulford and Mary Ann to the Tidewater, Virginia Area.

Tuesday morning the CO, XO, CMC, the Engineering department and classmates Tony Franzitta, Chuck Grutzius, Rob Ploeger, Pat Muldoon, Charlie Votava, and General and Mary Ann Fulford mustered on GONZALEZ’ main deck aft, for the awards ceremony.

Prior to presenting the awards, Carl addressed the crew thanking the CO, CDR Battles, the XO, CDR Reynolds, and Command Master Chief Connolly for the warm reception and the honor to be aboard. Carl’s remarks pointed out The Class of 1966’s unique tie to the Vietnam War, in that most of the class fought in Vietnam at sea, in the air or on the ground, and we lost 17 Classmates and good friends in that war.

Carl provided a brief history of The Class Leadership awards beginning 30 years ago with the commissioning of USS HUE CITY (CG 66) and 25 years ago with USS GONZALEZ. He mentioned that he did not personally know Sergeant Gonzalez but had a small part in the Battle of Hue City in 1968 and witnessed the courage and sacrifice of the sailors and Marines in that battle.

Carl closed his remarks with telling the crew how proud our Class is in seeing their dedication to preserving the freedom and security of our nation. He sincerely thanked them for their service.

While the XO, CDR Reynolds read the citations, Carl presented the awards to:
LT Laura A. Krause, USN, for her tremendous effort, devotion, and dedication to duty as Damage Control Assistant. LT Krause successfully attained certification, six weeks early, in the Damage Control Material Assessment inspection, and for flawless leadership in achieving above average scores in all aspects of the inspection. Furthermore, she was recognized by the INSURV Board as “the best Division Officer” the inspectors had seen.

MM1 (SW/AW) Cody A. Hauser, USN, in recognition of his outstanding professional performance of duty and exceptional leadership of the Auxiliary Division. He was instrumental in achieving a score of 95.5% during the Light Off Assessment, and as the LPO of A-Gang he earned high praise for the above average score of .90 during the INSURV Inspection.

The CO and Officers then hosted Carl, Mary Ann, Lt Krause, and 66ers to lunch in the wardroom following the ceremony.

26th Annual RADM James Prout III Memorial Golf Tournament

The 26th annual RADM James Prout III Memorial Golf Tournament was held 27 Aug at the Sea and Air Golf Course at Naval Air Station Coronado (Naval Base Coronado). It is sponsored by SNA San Diego and Anchors Scholarship Foundation and generates the funds for the RADM James Prout $5,000 scholarship. The tournament made enough money to pay for the 2022 Prout Scholarship plus 2 Anchors Scholarships. Kathy Prout attended the awards ceremony. The scholarship recipient was already at UC Berkeley.

Kathy Prout with CAPT James Harney, USNA ‘95, President of SNA San Diego.

2021 USS HUE CITY Leadership Award

On Thursday, 15 July 2021, a group of local Tidewater `66ers welcomed Pierce Johnson and Chuck Grutzius to Norfolk for the annual awarding of the USS HUÉ CITY (CG 66) Outstanding Leadership Award for a Petty Officer. There was no JO award presented since there are only two officers assigned, the CO and XO. HUÉ CITY is out of commission with a crew numbering in the mid-30’s. HUÉ CITY is on the CNO’s list of ships to be decommissioned on 31 March 2022. Seven CG’s are on the list for decom in 2022. There is also the possibility that Congress will not accept the CNO’s list to decom 7 CG’s, and HUÉ CITY may get a new lease on life and continue her modernization upgrade. The crew is tasked with maintaining the ship’s material condition until a final decision is made.

On Wednesday evening, Charlie Pfeifer & his wife Peggy, Jim Powell, Rob Ploeger & his wife Joyce, Pat Muldoon & his wife Kate, Hank Strickland, and Tom Martin & his wife Fay hosted Pierce at Rancho Grande for some great Mexican food and fantastic margaritas.

On Thursday morning at 0930, Pierce led the delegation of Chuck Grutzius, Rob Ploeger, Hank Strickland, and Charlie Pfeifer to the foot of pier 2 where each of us had a reserved parking spot with a van standing by to transport us from our parking spaces to the brow. Five Star service for sure! Pierce was welcomed aboard with proper honors by the CO, CDR Ethan Reber and the XO, LT Brian Skirvin. We were escorted to the flight deck for the presentation where we had an opportunity to interface with the crew.

The Leadership Award for Superior Leadership by a Petty Officer was presented to GM2 (SW) Johnny J. Hoyos, USN. His outstanding accomplishments are listed in the letter he received from The Class, along with a framed certificate and a check for $200. Click HERE to read about Petty Officer Hoyos’ accomplishments. Click HERE for a copy of the certificate presented to him by the Class of 1966.

Since the ship is uninhabitable during its 3-year modernization overhaul, the crew has spaces ashore. After a tour of the ship, we were transported to the ship’s ashore offices where we were treated to a fantastic buffet lunch with the entire crew and some of their families, providing plenty of time to interface with the crew in a more comfortable setting.

The hospitality and friendliness of the crew were outstanding. USS HUÉ CITY is a ship truly worthy of the hull number “66”.