2021 Newsletter
Newsletter 2021

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Our correspondent in Brazil informs us that the former USS Hermitage (which was sold to the Brazilian Navy and served for three decades as the NDD Ceará (G-f30) will be sunk and converted into an artificial reef.  The Hermitage, commissioned in 1956, and kept the peace for five decades, will now be used to preserve and improve the ocean's environment.


Click here for the sinking of our sister ship, USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) in the Florida Keys.

Click here for "Sinking Ships As Artificial Reefs," by Kristi Foster.

Shipmates salute the Hermitage as it becomes a reef:

It was a great ship while I was on it.


---Gary Goedken

The Mighty Herm, is always in the back of my mind, the places went to, the trouble we got into, the adventures we went on, I still tell stories about it.  Other commands I went to never had the same impact. The Herm and the men that sailed on it were definitely a different breed. I believe the Herm attracted men who were fighters, maybe even by divine province. I know this much the Sailors and Marines I served with on the Herm, we ruled were we walked. And when we showed up, people knew it. I wouldn't change it for the world.

---Don Kromer

Just today I was remembering Vietnam, Philippines, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Hawaii on our Vietnam cruise . My dream is to go to Pearl Harbor Day, putting on my dress blues and being at the Remembrance day there. Walking through the Battleship Missouri and visiting the Arizona. I was there on our cruise in 67.  I have been on the Missouri several time as it was in Bremerton, WA for years. I was fishing in the Puget Sound when the Missouri headed to Hawaii. I jumped in our boat that could do 30 and tried to run out to take pictures of it. I was running on a intersect course, but the kicked the old girl in the a*s and ran away from me. Old memories are great for us old Navy F*rts.

---Jack Pusel


---David Urdiales

It would be interesting if they could have a video of the sinking. Kind of a sad moment for those of us who served on it.

---Frank Stack

Good above the waves and under the waves!
Although it would’ve been nice to tow her to the site of the Spiegel Grove to form a duplex!

---Richard Ray

Smooth sinking, Been awhile for er.

---Jerry Erickson

I am so glad that they did not scrap her. It would be great to get underwater photos of her soon after she is sunk.

---Todd Treman

Oh mannn.

---Chris DiNapoli


The Rescue of the yacht BILLY H on the Vietnam Cruise



Petty Officer Claudio Almeida, of the Brazilian Navy, served 21 years on the NDD CEARA.
Click for his photos of the dismantling of the Hermitage.

 Herm launching

The launching of the Hermitage 1956

Memories from Raymond Foberg

Ray was CIC officer in 1963. Click for details.

Hermitage 1959 to 1961

Gary Goedken (Signalman 1959 to 1961) is offering to share his Navy memoir in a 61 page PDF document.

The Hermitage went everywhere during those years--the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, through the Suez Canal, Pakistan, and down the west coast of Africa on SoLant Amity.

President Eisenhower visited the Hermitage.  Gary saw Ike three times.  On December 9, Gary (physically) bumped into Ike at the polo grounds.  No penalty--just smiles.

Gary brings back good memories of our times (even if in different years). 

Email Gary at
ggoedken@gmail.com He will be happy to send you a copy.

Did Ike visit the Hermitage? Gary Goedken says "yes."

Hermitage Confidential. By Frank Garavelli.

The day the Engine Room flooded. Part Three. By Jack Pusel.

The day the Engine Room flooded. Part Two. By Daniel Rowland.

The day the Engine Room flooded. Part One. By Gene Wiehagen.

Remembering FA Matthew Gibbs who was killed in action during the Vietnam Cruise.

St. Elmo's Pool Hall. By Michael "Beatle" Newell

Crossing the Line. SoLANT AMITY Cruisebook. Pages from William and Martha Smith.

Expanded. Jack Pusel's Vietnam Cruisebook

Jim Duffy's MARG 1-86 Cruisebook


Second act in exile. . . .

When the USS HERMITAGE reached the end of its service life, it was sold to the Brazilian Navy where it served for more than 25 years as the Ceara. It was decommissioned on 29 April 2016.

Read about life after death.


The Original USS HERMITAGE (AP-54)

Ceara's mystery mission to Haiti

Hermitage in Brazil

Last Days of the Ceara

Julio Lemos: Last Photographs of the Ceara

"A cool, gray, drizzly day in Rio de Janiero"


Lieutenant Ryan Andrews, USN, is participating in an exchange program with the Brazilian Navy. Here is his report of the decommissioning:

Unfortunately I was not able to attend the decommissioning ceremony after all. I was aboard my ship which was docked right next to Ceará at the time. It was a cool, gray, drizzly day here (Rio de Janeiro) during the ceremony. All of the crew assembled on her flight deck and the crews of the neighboring ships manned the rails as a sign of respect. Several admirals arrived to give speeches and to commemorate her service to the Brazilian Navy. At the conclusion of the ceremony the flags were lowered for the last time and quickly afterward her hull number and name were painted over with haze gray. She is still at BNRJ and her ultimate fate hasn't been decided, although I've heard rumors that she'll be sent for dismantlement and scrapping. Most of her useful equipment and parts have already been cannibalized, some of which went to my ship.




Link to website for Solant Amity I cruise of 1960-1961

Jack Pusel, featured in local newspaper, walked in father's shoes in the Phillipines

Frank Capps contributes Commissioning Booklet

Roy Gay on Basketball on SoLant Amity I

Frank Stack on SoLant Amity I

Frank Stack on GQ at Suez

Ernest Warren

Gary Goedken on "Hermy"


Operation Snowy Beach

New relics from Scott Eriksen

Bill Grubb photos WestPac 1967

Promotions in Vietnam---from Fred Gallagher


Banned from the head---from Ralph Van Horn

Don Kromer on changes to the Hermitage since Brazil

Ralph Van Horn: Soviet spy fight over the Hermitage

Don Atkinson: Soviets watch our exercises in Turkey


New Photos from Don Phillips

Change of Command booklet from 1987

Jack Pusel on a special storage locker

Gerald Horwitz on the commissioning

Deckplate musings from Gregory Hausler


USA_240-animated-flag-gifsHerm ColourUSA_240-animated-flag-gifs

USS HERMITAGE was the seventh THOMASTON - class dock landing ship. Decommissioned on October 2, 1989, the HERMITAGE was leased to Brazil the same day. There, the ship was recommissioned as CEARA. On January 24, 2001, the ship was finally purchased by Brazil.

Awarded: October 14, 1954
Keel laid: April 11, 1955
Launched: June 12, 1956
Commissioned: December 14, 1956
Decommissioned: October 2, 1989
Builder: Ingalls Shipbuilding, Pascagoula, Mississippi
Propulsion system: two 600 psi boilers, two geared turbines
Propellers: two
Length: 510 feet (155.5 meters)]
Beam: 84 feet (25.6 meters)
Draft: 19 feet (5.8 meters)
Displacement: approx. 11,300 tons full load
Speed: 22 knots
Well deck capacity three LCU or nine LCM-8 or 50 AAV
Aircraft: help platform only
Crew: Ship: 18 officers, 330 enlisted
Crew: Marine Detachment: approx. 330 Marines
Armament: two dual 3-inch/50 caliber Mk-33 gun mounts

Source: Unofficial US Navy Site


Ship's History 1956-1962

Joe Rosa: First days

Robert Bailey: Congo and Cuba

Unofficial Ship's Log 1957-1958



Walt Kabis' 1963 Med Shots

Vietnam 1967 Ship's History

Vietnam Cruise Book

Vietnam 1967 and Robert Stack

David F. Worley, USMC on Vietnam Cruise

People to People Programs 1967

San Diego to Pearl to Danang

Chronology 1968

Basic Narrative 1968

Chronology 1969

Chronology 1970

Chronology 1971

Chronology 1972

Med Cruise In Port Routine

Richard Ray's Carib 2-72 Photos

Rudy Smith's 1969 Med Shots

Jack Pusel's Memorabilia

Hermitized Gator

Smitty's 1973 Photos

Collision by Gregory Hausler

Christmas Menu

Christmas in Rota

MARG 3-84

Michael Sheridan's Photos

Plank Owners

Decommissioning Booklet I

Decommissioning Booklet II

Decommissioning Booklet III

Decommissioning Booklet IV

Decommissioning Booklet V

Decommissioning Booklet VI

High Line


2009 Reunion

2011 Reunion

2013 Reunion

2015/2017 Reunion

2019 Reunion

Don Phillips' Med and North Atlantic Cruise Books--Part One

Don Phillips' Med and North Atlantic Cruise Books--Part Two

Third Division 1975 Cruise Book

JFK Remembered


Radio Shack

Thanksgiving 1979-1980 Med Cruise

Documenting Claims of Injury and Disability


Mesothelioma Links




Around 1986, an LST hit the Herm off South Carolina, and put a big ding in the her bow.



Panama 1964

Where else were we encouraged to wear white and khaki shorts. Photo courtesy  of Mr. Chadwick, the XO. Jim Cullen reports that the

"Panama deployment was known by the famous PA call "Beer on the Pier," as there was no liberty (too dangerous). The pier, on a semi-deserted U.S. Army Special Forces base (surrounded by jungle) was as far as we were allowed. Lots of beer consumed on that pier with basketball court and music (probably all Frankie Valle/Four Seasons) on the PA system."


Teletype from the Hermitage
Herm Teletype 01-17




John Papalia jpapalia@mac.com
Ted Waples
Jim Cullen


Webmaster: Aaron Finestone

Mail: USS Hermitage Association, 8205 NW 14th Street, Plantation, FL 33322

Facebook Groups: USS Hermitage Association / U.S.S. Hermitage (LSD-34)



Join the USS HERMITAGE ASSOCIATION. The annual DUE’S remain at $20.00 (additional donation’s accepted) payable to USS HERMITAGE ASSOCIATION, 8205 NW 14th Street, PLANTATION, FLORIDA 33322. If you have any question regarding your dues please contact TED WAPLES  954-740-9136 (call or text) or selpaw@aol.com
Any former Shipmate who has served on the USS Hermitage (1956-1989) and is not a member of The USS HERMITAGE ASSOCIATION can join their shipmates by sending $20.00 annual dues to the USS HERMITAGE ASSOCIATION at the address listed above. Please include (for our records) your NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, E-MAIL ADDRESS, YEARS YOU SERVED ABOARD THE HERMITAGE and YOUR RATE or RANK.

Along with your dues please send any change in your status over the past year as we would like to keep our records current.

New Address _____________________________________________________________
Phone or Cell _______________________
E-Mail Address ______________________
If you have any question regarding your membership or dues. Please contact Ted Waples 954 740 9136 (call or text)

Our newsletter will be delivered only by email, cellphone and text. Please verify your email and cellphone number by contacting Ted Waples 954 740 9136 (call or text) selpaw@aol.com

Reunion Founder C. J. DeHart has died.
Carol (C. J.) DeHart died on April 16, 2018 in Hazelton, Iowa. He was born on May 14, 1941 in Shooting Creek, North Carolina. On July 17, 1967 he was united in marriage with Julene Scheilhorn of Galena, Illinois. He served his country honorably in the United States Navy. C. J. and Julene started the USS HERMITAGE LSD-34 Reunion Association. He helped build the Veterans Park in Hazleton, Iowa. C. J. retired after 30 years of employment with John Deere. He helped with the forming of a Desert Storm support group and helped with the Veterans Park in Hazleton.

We will never forget C. J. and Julene and their contributions to our organization.

It was an honor to be able to start the USS Hermitage LSD-34 reunion group as we call it. We have meet so many wonderful people and enjoy seeing so much of the United States. We wish to thank the seven that are taking over and we are sure that they will do a beautiful job. Good job on the website too. All of the group will not be forgotten and we thank each one of the shipmates and wives that have made this USS Hermitage LSD-34 group possible. May God bless each of you and everyone of you!
C. J. and Julene DeHart


Click to
Aaron Finestone's photo collection


To me a dollar was a dollar in any language. It was my first night in the Argentine and I didn't know much about the local citizens, but I knew about American sailors, and I knew I better get out of there.
---Johnny Farrell in Gilda (1946)