GILBERT W NEHER, GM3/C, born April 22, 1922 in Hinkley, NY, enlisted in the USN Jan. 27, 1941. After boot camp in Norfolk, VA he was assigned to USS Washington at Philadelphia Navy Yard, 2nd Div., turret crew. Advanced his rating to GM3/c before leaving the ship in 1944.
His most memorable experience was the night battle, Nov. 15, 1942, at Savo Island. His battle station was rammerman center gun turret II. Order came to load, gun captain opened breach; cradleman lowered cradle with shell on it; Gun captain motioned to ram shell in. As he moved lever for ram, could see through the barrel and see balls of fire coming directly at them. The only thing he could think of was to plug that hole up as fast as he could.
He left the ship July or August, 1944 for Gunners Mate Hydraulic School, Treasure Island, CA. Twelve weeks later was assigned to heavy cruiser, Fall River.
While aboard, participated in all engagements up to point of leaving for GM School. Since the war was over he took "Convenience of Government" discharge, Dec. 23, 1946. After discharge he was employed with Packard Electric, Warren, OH and Raytheon Co. Missile Systems Div., Lowell, MA, retiring to Florida in 1977.
He married Mary I. Murphy, 1946 and has three children: Richard, Margaret and MaryAnn and three grandchildren. He was remarried to Rosann Brown. 1973-95.
ALBERT E. NELSON, CWO4, born Feb. 21, 1915 in Ironwood, MI, joined the USN January 1934 and was assigned to USS Washington February 1941.
His memorable experiences are the battle of Savo Island; sinking of the Kirishima and Ayanami; Murmansk runs; going after the German battle cruiser along the coast of Norway; losing the Admiral over the side; having King George aboard in Scapa Flow.
Nelson was on board for all major action in the South Pacific until USS Indiana collision in 1944.
He was awarded the American, Asiatic w/6 Stars, European w/Star, Philippine Liberation w/2 Stars, American Defense and Good Conduct.
Served on the USS Tennessee (BB-43), USS Monitor (LSV-5), (APL-53), USS Keosanqua (ATA 198), USS Amphibion (AR- 13), ONC firefighting and damage control school at Treasure Island. Retired CWO4, March 1959 at San Francisco.
He has been married for 51 years to Shirley and has daughter Francine; son Edward, a disabled Vietnam veteran having served on the USS Oriskany and grandson John is entering the USN in 1997.
ANDY NERI, S2/C, born March 15, 1926 in Chicago, 1L and joined the USN Aug. 14, 1943. He picked up the USS Washington in New Caledonia, qualified pointer on 40mm.
His memorable experiences occurred when they rammed another battle station. While at sea he served all over the South Pacific in 10 or 11 battles. He received 10 or 11 Battle Stars.
Neri was discharged March 20, 1946, five days before he was 21 years old.
His wife died March 30, 1994. They had a son and daughter. He spends his time playing bingo and poker. He retired from the city of Chicago, IL.
CAP WILLIAM "BILLY" NEWBERRY, WT2/C, born March 23, 1924 in Sayre, OK, son of Cliff and Cordillia Newberry, enlisted in USN Dec. 16, 1942.
After boot camp in San Diego, CA he was transported to New Caledonia, where he boarded the USS Washington (BB-56) March of 1943, assigned to the B Div., fireroom. Also stood smoke watch, became oil king. He was on smoke watch during the bombardment of Okinawa and many others, it was a experience that he will never forget. He was in active duty from first boarding the USS Washington until end of the war.
Newberry received an honorable discharge March 3, 1946 as WT2/c. He received the Asiatic-Pacific w/9 Bronze Stars, Philippine Liberation, w/2 Bronze Stars, and WWII Victory Medal.
He received his bachelor of theology from Pacific Bible College in California and is now enjoying retirement. In May, he will be celebrating 51 years of marriage to Gene (Stout) Newberry. He and Gene have three daughters, six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
JOE E. NEWTON, QM3/C, born May 31, 1925 in Franklin Co., AL, joined the USN July 1943. Completed basic training at Great Lakes, IL boarded the USS Washington December 1943 and participated in raids of Kavieng Islands through the occupation of Okinawa and was honorably discharged in February 1946.
He married Jane Taylor in 1950 and they have two sons, Dr. Phil Newton of Germantown, TN and Honorable Joey Newton of Russellville, AL. They also have six grandchildren. Newton is a retired circuit court clerk of Franklin County, AL.
RICHARD E. NEWTON JR., born in Lincoln County, MS, Oct. 12, 1911, enlisted in USN, Sept. 17, 1959 and was on board USS Washington as CCSTD when commissioned.
He was awarded the Good Conduct Medal, Yangtze Service Medal, American Defense, AsiaticPacific and American Area Medal.
While the Washington was in Scapa Flow King George went aboard to inspect the ship. When he came to the galley, Newton showed him a picture of the menu.
He was promoted to pay clerk in October of 1942 and assigned to USS Concord after this. Retired in July 1959. He served on seven ships and seven shore stations and held six ranks.
He married Beatrice R. Newton, Sept. 11, 1937 and they have one daughter, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was employed with the Florida State Board of Health for 15 years. Retired from there in 1974. Maintained his church grounds since and now full retired.