In Remembrance of those who served,
MSGT Craig Abbey, USAF
From Marty Juul <email@example.com> on Feb 16, 2008: I thought you might want to know but Craig Abbey died this week. He was the big MSGT assigned to GEODSS in 1986-1987. Craig and I were from the same hometown in Western NY and my brother who has gotten to know him over the years called me on Tuesday to let me know. Editor's Note: Craig had a very quick wit, and as funny as they come. He was a great guy, and it's a shame he went so young.
Connie contacted me (the webmaster) way back in 1998 or 1999 and we've been email buddies ever since. Connie was one of those people who would have done anything to get to Diego Garcia, but never was able to, despite her close connection to Dodge. She was in the Army Reserves in the 70s, and then she went to work as the person who managed the contract for T-AK 2062 AMERICAN CORMORANT, otherwise known as "Big Red" for Osprey-Acomarit Ship Management of Bethesda, Md. Anyone who ever had the privelege of serving aboard Big Red or being invited for dinner by her generous crew, owes the experience to Connie.
Sadly, Connie had a lot of
medical problems in recent years, and passed away on
October 8, 2009, just a couple days after dropping
me a last email. Here's what I received today
from her daughter Lisa McLean: "Mom passed
away this morning a little before 9:00 am. She has
been in hospice since last Friday afternoon. She was
very happy to know that so many people she had known
over the years were in touch with her towards the
end of her life. She will be cremated and her ashes
scattered in the ocean according to her wishes."
Here's to you,
Connie. May your ashes mix with the currents
and end up, finally, in the Diego Garcia lagoon
you loved so much. Your buddy, Ted.
Juanito "Johnny" Bautista, Air
I would like to inform you of the passing away of one of FEBROE employees, JUANITO 'JOHNNY" BAUTISTA. He works at the Air Terminal/GSE under Bill Godsey. He was already there when I arrived in DG in 1985 and was still there when I left in 1989. He was a very friendly, wonderful and lively person ... and loved by almost all Filipinos. From FEBROE, he moved to work in Guantanamo, then to Nairobi, Kenya. He allegedly passed away yesterday of complications...diabetes/kidney failure in Nairobi.
Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman James W. Beasley
September 10, 2011
Below: Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia Command Master Chief Robert L. Johnson recites the Chief Petty Officer's Creed during Master Chief Beasley's Memorial Service. Master Chief Beasley was the Senior Enlisted Leader for the Navy Munitions Command, East Asia Division, Unit Okinawa, Detachment Diego Garcia. Master Chief Beasley died along with the Coxswain,Wilfredo "JoJo" Paguio, after his fishing boat capsized off the coast of Diego Garcia Sept. 10.
EO3 Steven B. Benson, USN
From David L. Trewolla <DavidTre7949@aol.co> EO3 Steven B. Benson was an Equipment Operator in Alpha Company of Detail Dingo for NMCB 133, homeported in Gulfport, Mississippi, was fatally injured in a construction accident while dismantling the boom of a mobile crane at the end of a work day. As I recall, a portion of the boom collapsed and crushed him when he removed a cotter pin. Steven was a man of Christian character and served the Navy Seabees with honor and dedication as evidenced by his promotions. He was well liked and respected by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance. Steven had served in the battalion since approximately June 1971 and was on his second deployment, the first being to Okinawa in 1971-72. I cannot recall Steven's home and family situation, but ask that you please add his name to the memorial page as one who gave the ultimate sacrifice for his country.
From Eddie in 1999: Were you ever on Diego Garcia? YES - 1971/72 WITH NMCB 71... Served in the Navy for 22 years, retired from the SEABEES in 1981. Currently live in St. Cloud, Florida and am now fully retired. Enjoyed your web page, would like to hear from shipmates I served with in DGAR.
It is with deepest regret that I relate the passing away of Bos'n Joe Cornwell in October of 2003. Joe succumbed from his battle with cancer. We received the word aboard the MV 1st Lt. Alex Bonnyman, Joe's "homestead" ship. His service to the Merchant Marine, his Union, his fellow Seafarers, and the Republic shall not be forgotten by
L/Wren Writer, Royal Navy.
Kim Crawford served in Diego Garcia as the L/Wren Writer in the Brit Reps office from 1984-1985. Kim was a very good friend and would do anything to help anybody out. She was always good fun on runs ashore, both in DG and in Plymouth and Exmouth where a group of us used to meet up for nights out when we returned to the UK. Kim first discovered she had cancer in 1986 and very sadly passed away in 1993 whilst serving at HMS RALEIGH.
Ramon Crew, Leadman, Harbor Ops
Mel also told me that Ramon passed away from a stroke on duty there on DG. I didn't know him, but I'm sure he was like the rest of the filipino workers who kept the place running - hard working, loyal, and friendly. On behalf of those of us who understand how important their work was, thanks, Ramon.
From Dan Hurley <firstname.lastname@example.org> I was Alfa Company Commander of Det Chagos (NMCB-71), and I was there when C.S. Cummins was fatally burned in the desalination plant boiler failure. He was covered with superheated steam, ran from the building and was held in the infirmary until an emergency C-130 could come to get him later in the day. I think he died the next day at Utapao in Thailand. Sorry to report such a sad story.
Bob Wierzbicki (email@example.com) reports that Larry passed away in May 2013. Larry was one of the founders of the first home-grown band on Diego Garcia in 1972 - read all about it at http://www.zianet.com/tedmorris/dg/seabeeband.html. As Smitty said, God Speed Larry!
My father, Jack Ira Emory, was a seabee for 29 years and passed away this Friday, May 22nd at the age of 75. His last home port was Gulfport, MS. He did four tours in Vietnam, one in Antarctica, one in Diego Garcia in 1978, and also Rota, Spain where he had his retirement ceremony. He will be buried Friday May 29th with a military honor guard at the Roseburg Veterans Cemetary in Roseburg, Oregon. His son, Don Emory can be reached for any questions: 541-521-3386
Mike Flemming arrived on Diego Garcia in 1985 as assistant manager for a couple years, and came back in 1995 and spent the next 8 years working as manager for Cable and Wireless (the phone company) on the island. He was widely respected for his work and his personality, and was one of DG's well known characters. He died in a tragic accident, and according to one of his friends, he was riding his bike down DG-1, down near the PACAF are, drafting behind a bus. From what they gather, he must have been looking down when the bus stopped. He hit it head first going around 30 MPH. His heart stopped immediately. At least it was fast. The island community gathered for a memorial service at the MOT on July 24, 2003, to say their last goodbyes. A photo of the service can be seen in the Tropic Times for July 25. [Editor's note: He was there when I was, so many years ago, and I envy his chance to stay there and make it his own place. Over the last few years was one of my correspondents because of this web site. He was a good guy, and I'll miss him.]
Agustin Tuazon Guiao, Jr., Ensign,
Killed while aboard the USS L. Y. SPEAR (AS-36) while at Diego Garcia, in a accident on the helo deck. He was holding Division Quarters on the 01 or 02 deck that morning due to the heat in the S-Division spaces. At the same time, the Deck Division was moving a boom (which had been Gerry-rigged) when a metal line snapped. His division watched in horror as Ensign Guiao's head was cut off by the whipping line. As a side note, the ship's doctor was totally hysterical and the Corpsmen had to take over. The L. Y. SPEAR was his first assignment after Officer Training. Info from Mary Ellen Nigh of the L. Y. SPEAR Association, and Teresa (Raver) McGlinsey TM1 veteran.
Information from MaryAnn Godsey, July 2006
It was with deep sadness that I returned from the war and learned (7 months late) that Bill Godsey, my good friend, had passed away from cancer. Bill was the HMFIC of the Navy Air Terminal for five years during the FEBROE period, and I was priviledged to have worked with him during my year (87-88). Bill was a retired USAF MSGT, and was the most knowledgeable aerial porter I ever met. He knew everything, and I mean everything, there was to know about moving cargo and people in and out of DG, and he taught me a lot - about payloads, but also about how to enjoy life. Bill drank like a fish. Except on Saturday afternoons and all day Sunday when he invested his very soul in his favorite past time - fishing. Bill kept about 100 rods and reels leaned up on a bike rack in front of his room, and knew ever filipino coxswain and fish gutter by first name. Bill was the first person to catch a billfish off DG, and here's a picture of him and that first Marlin. Like I said, Bill loved to drink too, and I remember when he drove home from the Expat club and side-swiped about a dozen cars, weaving all over the road, followed by the BIOT Police and the Navy SPs, lights flashing and all, in the slowest slow speed chase in recorded history. They took his license for that, and so he decked out a bike with a radio and lights and rode that all over the flight line. Since he owned the pax and crew buses, he never did have to walk!
I heard from "Mel" that Lester died on R&R in Angeles City. Mel wrote, " He was a good friend of mine, my snorkeling buddy. We shared some dangerous ocean side and night time snorkeling adventures." Lester was a former USAF aircraft mechanic, and had been stationed at Clark Air Base in the P.I. before signing on with FEBROE. He'd gone home to see his girl, and unfortunately never returned. I used to see him everyday out on the flight line, working like a dog on our C-141s and C-5s. He was always cheerful and a good mech. Best of luck to you, Les, wherever you are.
Dave was the Petty Officer in Charge of the AFRTS Station on DG in 1979, and was Station Manager of the AM and FM radio stations, as well as Channel 8. He was often seen on Diego Forum and The Evening Report. He wrote the article on "Coconut Diplomacy" featured on this web site, which was also published by The Navy Times back in '79. After DG, he was stationed at Adak. He retired from the Navy and the Federal Aviation Administration, and was working as a Public Affairs Specialist for the Defense Energy Support Center at the time of his death from cancer. He was buried in California in a full military funeral. Thanks to Thomas Lawson for this information.
That's Dave with the LA Harbor College T-Shirt
From Larry Matthews <firstname.lastname@example.org>, 17 Feb 08: I ran across your Diego Garcia web page and really enjoyed it. Sadly, in your section honoring those who have served and passed on, I also found out about the death of my good friend Dave Kronberger in 2000. Dave served at Diego Garcia in the latter part of his Navy career. In his early days, as a JO2, he served with me aboard the USS ORISKANY. I have included a photo of he and I aboard ship. It's pretty silly but it shows his fun side. He was a great guy and died way too young!
February 17, 2013
Fernando Licay, G4S-Parsons
Sunday, July 14, 2013
From: Daniel Tegtmeier <email@example.com> One of the saddest days on the Island....Would like all to remember SK2 Michael L. McBride, USN, September 22, 1979. Seven (7) of us went lobster hunting out near Alpha Co. on the seaward side of the island. We were out about half way to the reef when a wave knocked us off the walkway. Mike never made it back to shore and the six of us were unable to get to him. Mike, to this day Buddy, I toast your memory. YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN MY FRIEND!
Wilfredo "JoJo" Paguio, Coxswain, DG21
September 10, 2011
JoJo died in a freak accident. He was Captain of a Boston Whaler that was out on a fishing trip down at the southern tip of the island. The weather
was fair and the winds calm, when a rogue wave capsized the boat. JoJo and Master Chief Aviation Ordnanceman James W. Beasley both
succombed to blunt force trauma in the cockpit of the boat during the event. A Memorial Service for JoJo was held on September 15 at the Sacred
Heart of Jesus Chapel in Seabreeze Village. JoJo's many friends - both contractor and U.S. Navy, attended in Dress Uniform for a very
emotional and heartfelt farewell to a friend and colleague.
In September 1944, he was the Pilot
of PBY Catalina VA718, "Katie",
I am very sorry to tell you that my father, Jim, passed away on Thursday afternoon. It was very peaceful.
Received from Captain Mike Lucarelli, NFS CO 2001-2002: "Ted - Some sad news to pass on. The original 40th AEW Wing Commander, COL Chris Patterson, passed on from brain cancer this past Saturday. I attach his pic taken by me from the right seat of the B-52 Memphis Belle IV, when he took me with him on a combat mission, which turned out to be my last flight on active duty."
From the editor:
I was lucky enough to communicate with Chris last
year, and he was kind enough to provide me with
some historical perspective on how the 28th AEW
became the 40th AEW, and how he and Mike worked
together to create a truely joint warfighting
organization on our favorite island. He was
generous with his knowledge, well spoken, and a
great guy, even if he was a bomber puke...
Here's to ya' Chris!
Medic at Berbera - FEBROE
January 14, 2009
coincidence to see this in print,
as I heard today from his Wife in
Denmark that "Doc" Carl Pilkington sadly
passed away peacefully on January 14th 2009.
After leaving Berbera I met Doc on several
occasions in the bush in Kenya while he was
working with refugees for the NGO Care . He
was later with ICRC working as far a field
as Mongolia. Those who remember him will
never forget his sense of humor and
generosity to others. Like George they were
one of a kind.
CM-3, NMCB 40, 1971
March 13, 2011
This is from Charles M. Powell, from your 1971 BIOT site. If you could post this on BILL RICE`s post on 1971 BIOT to tell others that he has passed on 3/13/2011. His E-MAIL adderss had been changed so it is not the same as it was. BILL RICE lived in JAMESTOWN TENN. I have called and sent some E-MAIL`s but this may help someone to know that he has passed. THANK YOU CHARLES M. POWELL USNMCB 40 BIOT 1971 firstname.lastname@example.org again thank you!
Fuels at Diego Garcia; Site Manager at Berbera - FEBROE
September 2, 2009
Received from Allen
"Thanks for all the kind words about dad. He
passed away this morning Sept. 2, 2009 at
1:50am. He was at home with me, my brother and
mother. We attribute his lack of pain and
suffering to all of the prayers asking that he
would not be allowed to suffer. Towards the end
(last couple of days) he lost his sight and
hearing, but I was able prior to this happening
to print of all of the emails everyone sent and
let him read them. With each one he read his
smile got bigger and bigger. Like I told someone
the other day, he was a die hard soldier that
whose blood was OD green. He loved his time in
the service of his country and after retirement
working for the government. Visitation will be
at Carney Funeral home in Blytheville Arkansas
on Friday from 6-8 pm the funeral will be
Saturday at 11:00 am at the same location.
Once again on behalf of his family thanks to all
of you for your support and prayers during this
On the left, George in Somalia back in the day; On the right, George in August 2007.
ABHAN Alton "Tex" Rollins, USN
From Carl "Vig" Villanueva: Alton Rollins, who was on DG in 72, died in a plane accident...an experimental aircraft he and his brother built. he was an ABHAN on diego...but left the navy as an ASW2...he switched mos. evidently, he got married and didn't want his wife to endure the hardships of him being away. See Vig's tribute to Tex at http://www.members.tripod.com/carlvillanueva/id22.htm
We were all young then, and invincible.
Dear Mr. Morris,
My daughter, Andrea Robin Schiesser, was aboard the L.Y. SPEAR as one of the first contingencies of women aboard a naval vessel (non-combatent) and went along on the SPEAR when it was called up during the Iranian Crisis in 1980.
Jeffrey Sellers died from a medical condition while aboard the USS L. Y. Sellers (AS-36) in the vicinity of Diego Garcia. His passing was relayed by Mary Ellen Nigh of the L. Y. SPEAR Association.
Carl "Vig" Villanueva found out a few months ago that ABHAN Gary Starr, of Cocoa Beach, Florida, who I was stationed with on Diego from ''72-''73, died suddenly in the spring of '98 from lung cancer. His family has very few photos of him from his stay on the island and would appreciate any images of him anyone might have. If you've got any, please contact his brother John Starr at email@example.com.
John M. W. Topp, Commander, Royal
Navy, Retired, OBE
John died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism on 15th March 2011, at the age of 73. Born in 1937 to Robert and Celia, he is survived by his cousin Guy Jordan and his friends the Fentons. John joined the Royal Navy in 1955 and served 34 years, retiring in the rank of Commander. John spent two years on Diego Garcia as Representative of the Commissioner of the British Indian Ocean Territory, where he developed the modern vision of the conservation of the Territory's spectacular natural environment. His passing brings a great sense of loss to his family and his many friends in the UK, throughout the world, and on Ibiza, where he maintained his family's home.
Encouraged and complimented by Commissioners Nigel Wenban-Smith and William Marsden, John began clear-minded and practical initiatives for the Chagos and the atoll of Diego Garcia. He established rigorous environmental standards applicable to the American use of the island and its waters which even today ensure those ecosystems are pristine. He also identified and created "Strict Nature Reserves" in key areas of the archipelago.
In 1992 John was appointed Conservation Consultant for the BIOT, a position he held for ten years. Also in 1992, he founded "Friends of Chagos", later to become today's "Chagos Conservation Trust", the organization devoted to preserving the natural environment of the islands. He authored several scientific papers regarding the botany of the archipelago, and in 1998, John was elected as a Fellow of the Linnean Society. In 2003, he was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to the environment and conservation. His dedication and hard work were directly responsible for the creation of the Chagos Marine Protected Area now in existance - an oceanic wilderness the size of France.
A personal noter from the webmaster: I'm not sure when the picture above was taken, but in it John looks exactly as I remember him one sweltering day in 1986 when John and I had a wonder-full meeting on Diego Garcia. I was a young and very agressive C-141 aircraft commander fragged to carry a cargo through DG to the mujahadeen then fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. As the Brit Rep, John was charged with preserving his country's prerogatives on DG. All that came to a head on the hot cargo pad in front of an audience of the NSF Commander, several hundred U.S. Navy and Marine Corps personnel, and what appeared to me to be the entire British Garrison - all in uniform and many under arms. It was a meeting that had instant and lasting diplomatic and operational implications, and as the junior member of the participants, I am ever so grateful that it was through John's cool demeanor and innate generosity of spirit I was able to fly away from that meeting as not-a-loser. Twenty-two years later, through others' generosity, I had the opportunity to meet with him at the Royal Society in London at the announcement of the campaign that led to the establishment of the Chagos Marine Protected Area. Whether on duty or off, I never met a more calming, witty, and patriotic gentleman, and I am at a complete loss now knowing that I will never get an answer to my last email, nor ever have an opportunity to sit and drink the night away with him again, swapping lies about DG, the service, and the future of free men.
If you knew John,
If you knew John,I am sure you feel the same way.
God Bless You, John, whether you want Him to or not...
P.S. There really
isn't enough that can be said about John.
Here's what our friend Pete had to say: He's
one of those people who dip in and out of one's life
- significant yet silent and always in the
shade. There in the background, not noticed
and only missed when there is no chance of further
contact: crafty bloody dodger!! I too miss
him. Not least being our many lunches together
at his favourite Spanish haunt just up the road from
wher he lived. Only once did I manage to
actually grab the bill and pay for lunch: I don't
think he ever forgave me! Yes, I do miss John
Topp. He and his ilk are sadly a rare breed
these days and should be greatly cherished and
From Charles E Kuhn <firstname.lastname@example.org> I went to A school and was stationed in Diego Garcia with an Electrician named Howard Turner. We worked together in the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration shop. We actually had a lot of close calls while working together, an electrical explosion at T-site and a couple of others I won't bore you with. Howard finally lost his life at the Public Works site next to the fire house. I was told they were going to name an enlisted mans club after him. I saw a reference to the Turner club. I miss Howard a lot!
George Walton, Royal Navy
From Ian Morse, Captain, Royal Marines. I submit my thoughts on the late George Walton ( ROPO1) Diego Garcia 1985 - 1986. He was the Sheriff and I was the Prosecutor who identified and brought to trial the first ( ? only ) murderer on DG. A difficult but rewarding tour of duty which was greatly enhanced by my deep friendship and respect for a man who had the unenviable duty to ensure everyone did theirs. I well remember the drinking sessions in both Febroe and ex-pats clubs where we could escape all responsibility and be ourselves. He will be greatly missed by all those who really understood him. Rest in Peace George in the sure knowledge you served the Footprint of Freedom well.
Melvin "Mel" Wasikowski
My name is EJ Wasikowski, and I am Melvin's nephew. He was my father's next younger brother. I have bad news to pass onto all of Mel's friends. Mel died yesterday [August 5, 2008] in Florida. He passed in his sleep and most likely died of a heart attack. He had some minor health struggles but nothing major that would give an indication of death. He will be missed by all. I am a retired Marine and my Uncle Mel was one of my hero's. He has always been a stellar example for me to aspire after both in my career as a Marine and life in general. He leaves behind several brothers and sisters, his two daughters and beloved grandchildren. The final decision on his arrangements aren't resolved yet but I can tell you that his body will be interred in the greater Cleveland area of Ohio. The family is still notifying people and taking care of his personal affairs. I knew this page existed and often talked about the many trips he had there with all of you (his friends). Please feel free to contact me for further details and to pass on my information for others that wish to enquire about his family or services. Thank you for your time and thank you for being part of my uncles life. He cherished it more than words can explain. Gods speed to you and yours and may we all be reunited with him in Gods light.
SSgt William Weiglenda, USAF
I have someone I'd like to remember in your link for DG alumni that have passed on. SSgt William (Bill) Weiglenda was the AMC Ops admin troop during most of my tour on the island (Dec 97 to Dec 98). As I remember, he spent nearly two and a half years on DG. (I think he just didn't like the follow-ons the Air Force was giving him, so he just kept extending!). Bill wasn't the best admin guy in the world, but he was a really caring soul that would give you the shirt off his back. Bill finally left DG in mid 1998, with an assignment to the 35th Security Forces Squadron at Misawa AB, Japan. Around March of 99, I was contacted via e-mail by one of my AMC Ops comrades from Dodge, Ed Andre, who pointed me to an Air Force news release about a guy drowning in a scuba diving accident at a lake near Misawa. It was Bill. Needless to say, I was shocked and saddened.
Edward Leigh Wood, USN &
My father was a radio officer in the merchant marines and was in Diego Garcia in the 80's, but I'm not certain of the date. He was a ham radio operator, his call sign was KQAB, and he was involved with that on the island. He was on different ships but I believe it was the Maj. Stephen W. Pless when he was in Diego Garcia. He loved Diego Garcia and he told of the Donkey you could not give beer because it was against the law. He said he rode his bike to the post office everyday to pick up the mail. He died October 28, 1993 of a heart attack in Elizabeth, Colorado. He died before the movie Ed Wood came out, but I know he would of really gotten a kick out of having the same name, he was very funny. I am his daughter and thought I'd write and see if anyone remembered him. Thanks, Sandy Cagle <email@example.com>
With the deepest regret I send the following sad news. Lourdes Damaso Sugui Wright passed away at 0350 CT in San Antonio, Texas following a courageous fight with cancer. As noted below, Lourdes worked in the NSF contracting department as a civil servant (not a TCN) beginning (I believe) in 1984. She met then-LCDR Dennis Wright in Diego Garcia while Dennis led the USS CONSTELLATION (CV 64) beach detachment during the 1984 deployment to the North Arabian Sea. I worked closely with Dennis as Terminal Operations Officer. Lourdes, Dennis, Marlie (DGAR May 84 - May 85), and I reconnected when we all re-settled in Northern Virginia in the late 90s. They moved to San Antonio in either late 2005 or early 2006.
Lourdes was among the classiest people I ever met. May Lourdes rest in peace after a horribly painful ordeal. Her loss leaves a hole in our lives.
Jeff Swanson, DG 1984-85
was born in Barangay Natividad, San Narciso,
Zambales, Philippines on Sep. 23, 1952, and died
Mar. 17, 2009 in San Antonio, TX at the age of 56.
Captain Jeffry J. Olson, USAF
Lost when their B-52 crashed north
of the Island during Desert Storm.
And a salute to those who were here
Remembrance Day, 2008
United States and British servicemembers along with twenty guests attached to Diego Garcia assembled on Tuesday for a Remembrance Day ceremony at Point Marianne Cemetery.
Do you know of someone who should be
remembered on this page?
Please send me the information by email, and I'll include it.
Visit the Rest of The PPDRDG by Returning
the Site Map and Picking Another Page!