USS Skagit Family Gram
1967 WestPac Cruise
Time is now growing short, and our departure for Western Pacific is only a couple of weeks away. The remaining time in port will be spent receiving stores and fuel. SKAGIT will be supplied with a new coat of paint and powder also. Some areas of the ship are taking on a new look before we leave. The mess deck is being panelled in wood, and a new lowered ceiling is being installed. It is going to be a beautiful place for the crew to dine.
Although we are not at liberty to give our complete schedule of ports-of- call, we will be sure to stop for a few days in Hawaii before leaving for the Far East. We can also expect to see such harbors of the world as Manila, Subic Bay, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Taiwan, Okinawa, Danang, Saigon, and of course Hong Kong, "The Pearl of the Orient". The culture of these countries is very different from those in Europe and the Americas. I believe visiting these ports should leave an impression on the mind of anyone who has not been there before. Seeing backgrounds of such contrast should be an enlightening and broadening experience.
Before the ship leaves San Diego, there are several things to which wives and/or dependants should attend. Once your "Sponsor" (in most cases, this will be your husband) has left the United States, it will be difficult to accomplish administrative work on your behalf.
Enclosed is an excellent booklet with answers to problems that may arise during his absence. Please read it carefully. For example, on page 6 is information on how to send a Western Union Telegram to someone on board. It also mentions writing of letters.
I cannot stress enough the importance of writing letters you loved ones while we are deployed. Mail from us may be slow in returning to you because of our busy operations, but keep yours coming! It's amazing how everyone's morale soars when we receive mail from home. Mail should be addressed to USS SKAGIT (AKA 105), Fleet Post Office, San Francisco California 96601.
Check your Military Dependants ID card to be sure it's up to date. The information to renew it can only come from your sponsor's service record.
If emergency leave is necessary, you should contact the nearest office of the Red Cross. It is important to do this first, as we must have their verification of the emergency in order to grant leave. On page 7 of the booklet is more complete information on phone numbers and office locations.
Navy Relief Society is an important aid to Navy families in need of financial assistance or other services in time of emergency. (See page 20) The family Services Centers, located at various bases in the area, are also of great help with all types of personal problems. (See page 16) These facilities are set up and equipped to aid you in most any situation, and I urge you to use them if necessary.
We hope to have a memorable cruise. We also hope that you'll be on the pier to greet us when we return. In the meantime keep the letters coming.
W. A. Mackey
Captain U. S. Navy