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Robert (Bobby) Ross

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Bobby Ross
Gulf of Tonkin

Gary Clement and Bobby Ross

I can make out most of the guys in the RM's and ET's pic.  They are left to right: First guy in dungarees Clark Matthews RM3, 2nd in dungarees another RM forget his name, first guy in whites Paul Lang ETR3, 2nd in whites Bobby Ross RM3 (me), 3rd in whites Gary Clement ETN3, 4th in whites Marty Staff RMSN.

Pics that were taken at my home in the San Fernando Valley first night in port September 1968. First one is of left to right: Bobby Ross RM3, Paul Lang ETR3, Clark Matthews RM3, Marty Staff RMSN, Bob Kiff (in back), Gary Clement (ETN3).


Back row my Brother Fred Harvey Ross, my Mom Florence Ross, Bobby Ross (me), Gary's Dad, Gary's Mom, Gary Clement; front row Clark Matthews, Paul Lang, Bob Kiff, Marty's Mom (I think), Marty Staff.

Ballad to a Destroyer

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My original poem written 1-6/7-1967 on board Collett. Both Collett and Gridley Histories have us in the Gulf of Tonkin on SAR at the time so it may reflect an actual event. Or it may reflect composite stories, in any case it shows the feeling of Collett's crew during these tense missions to save downed pilots. I remember saved pilots coming to radio central to get messages out to their command. Boy were they happy to be on board Collett instead of floating at sea or stranded on the enemy's shore. On the other hand when pilots could not be saved the whole crew as very sad. We radiomen always knew all the details of each mission, successful or not, as we received all messages concerning same (they were confidential or secret, especially if the rescue was north of the DMZ). We also manned the radio phones for our officers in direct contact with helos, spotter planes and other ships involved in the rescue attempts, such as the Gridley in the poem.

   I was an RMSN at the time of this message and remember how these events got to me and my RM, ET, QM, SM and RD friends in operations. I am sure I wrote this poem in 1967 to reflect their and my feelings at the time.

Robert "Bobby" Ross