1963 HEIST Continued
A short time later, Strick managed to get ashore on the pretext of having to
get a part. He also called the Sun and gave the reporter the same
information. He related that the reporter told him the City Editor was very
interested in the story, especially since Strick had confirmed the accuracy of
what I had told him. He told Strick he had a couple more calls to make to get
reactions and then the story was going to run. A couple of hours later, Strick
went ashore again. On his return, I met him on the Quarterdeck. He said that
the Sun was going to print the story. It appears the reporter had called
ComDesRon14 and asked him about mass punishment and his understanding
as to what the crew of a ship under his command, the Stribling, had been
subject to. Of course, the Admiral did not know and told the reporter he
would find out, he would take care of it, and pleaded with him (begged,
according to the reporter) not to print the story.

It was close to 1700 hours and the Exec had relented. When the other ships
in the nest piped chow down for dinner, he told the OD to pipe chow down
for the crew of the Stribling as well. He reinstated liberty and then went
ashore. No sooner had chow been piped down and the Exec gone ashore,
when the Quarterdeck telephone rang. From the way the OD reacted, it was
apparent the person on the other end of the line commanded a great deal of
respect. Indeed he did, for the caller was none other that ComDesRon14,
himself and he was not, we were informed, in a good mood.

The Admiral asked the OD if it was true that the crew had not had lunch.
The OD responded in affirmative. He asked if the crew was going to have
dinner. Now even though chow had already been piped down, the OD
played it to the hilt and told the Admiral he did not know, but he would
check. Keeping the Admiral waiting, he sent the messenger to the chow hall
to see if there was actually food in the chow line and the men were actually
getting fed. The messenger returned and the OD stated, with obvious relief
and happiness, "Yes, Sir. We are going to have dinner tonight." The OD was
good. He should have been an actor.

We know the reporter had indeed called the Admiral when he asked "Is your
Exec's name Reeves Baysinger?" The OD related that the word "Reeves"
sounded as if it had been strained through gritted teeth, the reporter had
indeed gotten a response. The OD replied in the affirmative. When the
Admiral asked if the Exec was on board, the OD told him he was ashore, but
he would be happy to get him his telephone number. The Admiral snapped,
"Never mind, I'll get it myself."

The next morning, Captain Jacobs ordered the entire crew assembled on the
helo flight deck. Standing next to a somewhat grim looking Exec, the
Captain stated that while he did not condone the taking of the beef roast,
neither did he condone mass punishment and that in the future there would
be no mass punishment. He then turned to a very green looking Exec who
apologized to the crew for punishing everyone for something only a few had

I went ashore later that afternoon and made one more call to my friend and
the Jacksonville Sun where I informed him of what had transpired at our end
and he told me some details of what had gone on at his end, including
ConDesRon14's plea not to publish the story. I thanked him for his help and
he thanked me for providing him the opportunity for an interesting human
interest story. He admitted that the Sun was a supporter of the Navy and
really did not wish to do anything to harm that branch of  the service,
although they would not simply stand by and close their eyes to mass

It was February 16, 1964 when 16members of the crew left the ship because
their enlistments were about to expire while the ship was in the
Med..Strickland had ten years in as of 1000 hours that morning, was a
civilian with no further hold on him by the Navy. As he left the Stribling at
about 1030 hours for the last time, he turned to the Exec and said "That was
a damned fine roast beef, Sir," saluted smartly, and went ashore.
Rolf D. Ritschel was born in Germany and came to the United States at age 11. Rolf was an
attorney that wrote poetry for enjoyment. This copyrighted article was read by Rolf at the
2004 USS Stribling Reunion held in Baton Rouge, LA.. Rolf passed away May 21, 2005.
Other writings by Rolf can be found here: