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Saturday, April 3, 2010

JJ: Notes from the Past. Ron Sebert

Another one gone. RIP, old shipmate.
Ron Sebert, me, Herman "Les" Lestenkof in the starboard (left) berthing space. The hatch goes into the Turbine Room, bunks are on the right side and the closest one is open so you can see the built-in locker, the aluminum thing by me is the set of four lockers for the four upper bunks. The camera is facing aft. ----
Shipmates' correspondence: Just got the PG newsletter and see that Ron passed away six months ago. Too young. Anybody know anything. Accident?? Paul ----- I saw that notice as well and wondered about it. I remember seeing him at the first convention in Peoria and thinking he seemed a bit detached and slower. In Nam, he was funny, positive and sharp as a tack. Hard to figure. Gunner ----- A good man who had your back. Robert Peters ----- I'm so sorry. He was a great shipmate - the best of the "gold crew". Best to all, Gene ----- Ms. Hogle, I found your name and relationship with Ron after an extensive online search. I was proud to serve with Ron Sebert in Vietnam aboard the Patrol Gunboat USS Crockett, PG-88. While reading our PG Association newsletter, we were all saddened to learn of his death in October. Please know he will be missed by all of us. He was not only personable, he was a helluva good sailor and an outstanding individual who was liked and respected by all his shipmates. I was always amazed at his ability to never get seasick even during the roughest weather while we were serving aboard what was the smallest, and without a doubt, the worst-riding vessel in the fleet. Just to aggravate those of us who were affected by the rough ride, he'd fire up a big cigar, making sure we all got a faceful of the foul-smelling smoke. Looking back on it, it was funny, but we didn't appreciate his humor at the time. Was Ron sick? Was he in an accident? I used to think 62 was old, but now that I'm 63, I know how young it really is. Please accept our condolences on the loss of your companion. We wish you all the best. Barry Stinson Savannah Distributing ----- Ron's ability to smoke cigars and walk on the bulkheads at the same time was one reason that I had forgotten his real first name. His iron stomach often changed "Sebert" to "Sea-Dog", "Sea-Bat" or some other like-sounding nautical permutation. He was also the designated ship's swimmer, having accomplished such daring feats as going over the side one day in Cam Ranh Bay to retrieve Chief Ingram's upper plate after he sneezed it out while walking down the main deck outboard side. The clear water of the Bay made retrieval or the wandering choppers easier than expected, but a challenge nonetheless. No small accomplishments for somebody who saw the ocean for the first time when he reported aboard. When we boarded and searched those fishing boats, Ron would take a position on the boat and (weapon in hand) immediately stare down all the fisherman, making it clear that "one false move" would be their last. I remembered why Ron was with us so long after the rest of the "Gold Crew" had been transferred. He got 30 days leave at the end of his year and then returned for an additional six months. The Bureau was making that offer to get the most out of hard won expertise. I think Mike Corrigan did the same thing. Another very good thing for Crockett. Best to all, Gene
TBC (Me)