1973 - Portsmouth Shipyards
Gitmo Shakedown

AND the summer to remember...

Portsmouth Drydocks - 1973 (Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis Wenske)

Portsmouth Drydocks - 1973 (Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis Wenske)

Portsmouth Drydocks - 1973 (Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis Wenske)

Portsmouth Drydocks - 1973 (Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis Wenske)

Portsmouth Drydocks - 1973 (Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis Wenske)

Portsmouth Drydocks - 1973 (Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis Wenske)


Shortimer!! FTG3 Frank Wood "Woody" w/ Vietnam in background - 1972

Mux 1973 Steaming Schedule
Courtesy of FTG3 Dennis "Ski" Wenske

30 Oct 1973 MuxGram (PDF file)
MuxGram courtsey of PN3 Gary Bernert

December 1972 - October 1973 Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth, Virginia for major repair and overhaul of the ship

October 16, 1973 - December 8, 1973 - Cuba refresher training. Port visited: Port Au Prince, Haiti

A much-needed shipyard period began in January of 1973, at Portsmouth, Virginia. Many major systems were renovated during this period, but most notable were changes made to engineering and detection systems. Slowly, a new appearance took shape; by August 31 and over $4 million later, MULLINNIX steamed down the Elizabeth River and into the familiar waters of the Chesapeake Bay.

After such a long period in the shipyard and the addition of many new crewmembers, MULLINNIX headed south again for more training in GTMO. On the way down, a stopover was made at Port Everglades where the friendly citizens of Fort Lauderdale, and especially the Navy League, made the MUXís stay a great relaxing visit. Many of the citizens of that beautiful resort area came aboard the ship and were impressed with the smart appearance of the MUX.

The training at GTMO was as rigorous as ever, but the MUXMEN revived the MULLINNIX tradition and left GTMMO ready for any assignment. A short stop at Cuelbra was enough for the trained crew to qualify at the Naval Gunfire Support facility. Arriving home on 8 December 1973, the families of MULLINNIX began to celebrate the holiday season a little early.

2 January, 1973

Dear Mom, Dad, Sue

Whew, I made it. That was a little close for comfort. Student stand-by canít fly first-class. Thatís why I got the last first-class seat. In Chicago they put about 9 of us going stand-by, all in 1st class. About 10 minutes later they pulled about 6 or 7 of us off, because they still had reservations triggering in. Then they put one other guy and me back on. That was close too. I took the limousine to little creek base then the city bus home. My baggage didnít make it; I had to pick it up the next day.

How did you like the Orange Bowl? I couldnít believe it. Everybody from Ohio, Penn State & Alabama are sort of quiet today. But not this Nebraskan! I went home with (Greg) Berry (FTG3) this weekend to get his car. He had his father-in-laws van. It broke down about 150 miles from his house, same reason his car did. Luckily we got a ride from a guy in the Army that lived 20 miles from Berry - his parents met us there. Didnít have a very good New Years Eve. I had to go by myself. The Jolly Rodgers stayed open till 4AM in the morning, but I petered out at 2:30AM and came home. Well thatís about it. Write soon. Love, Frank

5 February 1973 (Portsmouth Naval Shipyards)

Dear Mom, Dad, Sue I guess there isnít much use to say Iím sorry, but I am. Everyday at work I say Iím going to write and then I get home and before I know itís 12 oíclock and time to go to bed. Then I say one more day wonít make that much difference and then another week has gone by. But that isnít much of an excuse.

Weíre over in Portsmouth in the yards chipping and painting like crazy. Weíve got one whole director & director deck chipped and painted. Weíve got a good part done on the other one. They completely took my radar apart and took it over to the shop to rebuild it. It should work pretty well when they get it put back together.

Shirley and I are getting along pretty good in our letters. I tried to call her last Monday but she wasnít home, Iím going to try either tonight or tomorrow night. She is coming down in June for sure to get a job. That will be great. I went to Baltimore this weekend with this kid off the carrier Independence (heís from Iowa). We stayed with his aunt. She loved me because I ate so much and everything. I wouldnít want to live in Baltimore, to dirty. Well, I guess thatís about it, I promise to write more often. Write Soon. Love, Frank

15 March 1973

Dear Mom, Dad I almost wrote ďDear Mom, Dad, SueĒ; it seems a little strange not to. I bet itís quit around the hose isnít it? But with dadís great ideas of vagabonding, etc. youíll find something to do.

We got our phone bill today, I think we set a new worldís record, $118 big ones, $45 of it was mine. I called Shirley today at noon and told her, she about died. Weíll have to cut down on phone calls. I got a letter from Sue yesterday also, said she was using my gifts a lot. She told me to come down some weekend or theyíd come up here. Iíll probably see her in a couple weeks. A couple of buddies just came over. Weíre going to have a couple of beers. Iíll be home by midnight, I promise (Ha Ha). Write Soon. Love, Frank

8 September (Saturday) 1973

Dear Mom & Dad, Iím not going to say Iím sorry because that never sounds right. I just got done writing to Shirley. That put an end to that relationship. I was so sure she was the one. But we were too different.

It looks like I may not start school right away because of money. Iím going to stay in this general area and work construction. (Greg) Berry (FTG3) says theyíre paying well in West Virginia building the RR. Really, all I can think about is getting out of the Navy; itís become an obsession (115 days). Iím going to be completely lost. 4 years is a long time to be out of civilian land.

Well, enough of the sad stories. Iím ready to watch Nebraska beat UCLA. Iíve got everybody for Nebraska. Tell Sue and the baby ďhiĒ for me. I hope they like it up North. Well, thatís about it, we leave for Cuba in 2 weeks from Monday. Last cruise, last cruise, ha, ha. Write soon(er than I did)!! Love, Frank

10 October (Wednesday) 1973 (at sea) Dear Mom and Dad, Sorry for not writing, but weíve been busy the last couple weeks. Weíre not in Cuba yet, we leave Monday (15 October) and get back the first week in December, almost 2 months. We left last Monday (1 October) for sea and pulled back in Friday (5 October). We left yesterday (9 October) and pull back in Friday morning (12 October). Next week wonít be too bad. From Wednesday (17 October) until Monday morning (22 October) weíll be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We should have a good time down there. I donít know if I told you but I was suppose to get out January 3rd, because the ship was going to the Med Jan 3rd, but they changed the schedule. So I donít get out until my regular time Feb 16th Ė only 129 days left at the most. No word on Christmas cuts.

Well, we moved out of our apartment at the end of September. My stereo and most my other stuff is in West Virginia. I helped (Greg) Berry (FTG3) move Pam and the furniture home again. Heíll be living in Pamís grandmotherís house Ė she died about a couple months ago and gave the house to Pamís mom who in turn is going to let Pam and Berry stay there free as long as they want. So my stereo is there, sure do miss that thing.

Here are my plans when I get out in Feb. You remember I told you I met a guy who I washed dishes at Slaters (Kearney State College Cafeteria) named Joe? When I get out, Joe and I are going to Florida to work construction until June. Theyíre paying fantastic down there. Heís coming back to start school. Then, in the summer Iím going to get the traveling bug out of me. 6 or 7 of us are going to get together and go to California to see Wayne (Behrens) and Shorty. At the end of the summer, Iíll probably move back to the Midwest someplace and hopefully start school or work.

Youíre probably wondering were Iím going to get a car. Well, I donít want to take leave over Christmas, because I want to sell my leave back for about $700. But I want to come home probably for 4 or 5 days on a weekend. I plan on ordering either a Dodge or Chevy van and pick it up in Feb. It will be a lot cheaper there than here I plan on having about $1,000 when I get out

Shirley and I quit. We both agreed it was good while it lasted, but we both could tell it wasnít going to last. There are no hard feelings on either side. I just want to make damn sure before I get married. This isnít a bad letter for me, 4 pages. It wonít get mailed until Friday morning so hopefully you get it Saturday or Monday at the latest. Write when you get a chance and Iíll see you Christmas hopefully. Love you both. Be careful. Love, Frank PS: Nebraska (football team) looks pretty good PPS: You should see my hair, Iíve become the master of hiding it.

8 November (Thursday night)

Iím a little tired tonight so this may not be too long. Itís still hot down here (in Cuba), and Iím getting a good suntan. The ship started off terrible our first week of training, but weíve started to come up. Tonight they told us they sucked a buoy up in the ships main intake valve, so we wonít be going out (to sea) until Monday at least. Little delays like that are going to keep us down here past December 8th. I only have 101 days left. I can hardly wait; 4 year is a long time. I hope I can re-adjust easy into civilian life, Iím almost sure I can.

We go to Haiti next weekend for liberty. Iíll probably buy some more woodcarvings (maybe for Christmas presents). Both my loans will be paid up at the end of November. So Iíll be out of debt completely. I may get a loan from the credit union for a van; it will be a lot cheaper in interest.

I cut my leg up pretty bad at the beach last Sunday. Doc put in 3 stitches. The waves knocked me against some coral rocks. But Iíll live. Well, time to go to bed. Iíll see you guys around Christmas sometime. Write soon!! Love, Frank PS: The package hasnít got here yet!

19 November (Monday 4AM)

Dear Mom & Dad, 91 DAYS LEFT Just a short note before I go to bed. Weíre on our way back from Haiti. The price of woodcarvings had gone up a lot so I didnít buy any this time. We got there Saturday morning and left this afternoon (Sunday, 18 November). The hospital ship ďSanctuaryĒ was there. It has about 70 waves on it. That was strange to see girls working like us. I went over to see the dentist. He filled the little cavity I knew I had and got the stains off my front teeth right by the gums. I was glad I got that done.

Iíll probably be home sometime in December. I donít know the dates exactly. It may not be on Christmas. Itíll probably be only for 5 or 6 days because I want to sell back as much leave as I can. Iíll need the money when I get out.

The school loan is paid up. A month earlier than I thought. Iím glad thatís done with. The package finally came. The cookies were great. The candy was good also. Thank you very much. Well, itís 4 oíclock in the morning. We have to get up in an hour (I had the mid-watch), so Iíd better go to bed. Write soon and Iíll see you in December. Love, Frank

19 November (Monday night)

Dear Mom & Dad, What do you guys want for Christmas? I have no idea what to get. I have an idea for dad, but mom; I have no idea in the world. Sue, Andy & Joey-I donít know either.

It looks like I wonít be home during Christmas. Everybody wanted to, but of course everybody couldnít. If we get back the 8th of Dec, Iíll be home the 9th. Thatís on a Sunday. Iíll have to come back the next weekend depending on when I have duty. So I guess weíll have to have Christmas a little early. This will be the last one the Navy messes up! I got your letter asking me what Iíd like for Christmas. About the only thing Iíd like and need (desperately) are clothes. The only shoes I have are those black & white ones from Hong Kong, and theyíre as good as worn out. My boots are almost a total lost. Iíd like a pair of dress shoes (the kind with the big heels Ė youíve probably seen them) either two tone brown or black & gray, something like that. I need pants also (flares with the 2Ē cuff on the bottom) Ė either dress or casual. Iím back down to a 34Ē waist and of course 34Ē length. Shoes are 10 Ĺ (D I think). The only belt I have is falling apart. Iím pretty well set for shirts. What ever you get I can surely use.

I got a sudden case of the 'sleepies', itís almost midnight. I can hardly wait until Dec 9th, itís been along time (since March 73). Write soon and Iíll see you in about 20 days!! Love, Frank PS: I want to look for vans also!

Mullinnix Story: Jan-Feb 1973 Cruiser-Destroymen Story (pdf file)
Courtesy of Rick Arvonio

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