Group Photos

Click on photos for a high-resolution (600 DPI) version.

Officers and crew of the USS Cumberland Sound (AV-17)

Officers and crew of the USS Cumberland Sound (AV-17). John H. Laing Sr, is the man on the right, standing on the back of the jeep. Be sure to read the memoir of Ralph J. Ribble (in the Memoirs section of this site) for the story of how this jeep ended up with the Cumberland Sound.

Officers of the USS Cumberland Sound (AV-17)

Roster for the above photo of officers. (Provided by Malcom Harris, son of Lt. Norman Harris, Gunnery Officer.)

Officers and crew of the USS Cumberland Sound (AV-17). 1944

Officers and Crew of the USS Cumberland Sound AV-17

Officers and Crew of the USS Cumberland Sound AV-17

Officers and Crew of the USS Cumberland Sound AV-17

Crane crew of the USS Cumberland Sound. Photo credit: John H. Laing.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Credit line for photographs should read “Photo by William Clay McGehee”.

24 Responses to Group Photos

  1. Charles Sherman says:

    Photo # 6, back row, third man from right, dark hair parted in the middle is my brother William Henry Clements.

  2. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thanks for adding to the information, Charles! If you know of any stories or anything that might be of interest to folks, please be sure to add them here.

  3. marion rebecca field Clark says:

    Photo # 6 back row is my Uncle William Henry Clements, what a good father uncle and friend. We miss you Uncle Henry you made all of those who knew you better people love you forever.

  4. Charles Sherman says:

    William Henry Clements is the grandson of James Clements and Annie Caroline Tennille. James started the YO Ranch in Gillespie county in the Texas hill country. James came to the hill country to escape the Sutton/Taylor feud that was going on in Gonzales County and brought the YO brand with him. The ranch, now somewhat famous, was sold to and developed by the Schreiner family.

    During the 1870’s James and his infamous cousin, John Wesley Harden, had driven cattle to Kansas. Harden got drunk and was too rowdy for sheriff Wild Bill Hickok. Clements was able to persuade Hickok not to kill Harden. Both managed to get out of town alive.

  5. Dan Baer says:

    I think my father, Lester Baer, is in photo #4. He is standing in the second row from the top, sixth man from the right. According to his military records, he was on the Cumberland Sound in 1944. I miss him and wish he were here to show this to him. He told few stories about that time.

  6. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thanks, Dan! I have added your father to the “Officers and Crew” list. I know what you mean – as I put this together, there are so many things I wish I could ask my father, but that time has passed.

    I also added William Henry Clements to the Officers and Crew list.

  7. Hope says:

    My father, John H. Laing Sr, is the man on the right, standing on the back of the jeep. He was recently sharing stories with my brother and nephews about his WW2 days. He rarely speaks of his time in the war, but he has been opening up lately. He told us that he was on the Cumberland Sound, so I did some research and ended up here. He does have some photos, I will have to go pull them out of his albums. I will have to bring my laptop to his house, I think he will enjoy this site!

  8. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thank you, Hope! It’s a real blessing to know that someone who served on the Cumberland Sound will be able to see the site. I would greatly appreciate it if you could pass along any comments or stories about the photos – what were they doing when that photo was taken, does he know anything about “The mystery plane” (under the “Operations” menu item), anything that he remembers about the photos would be a great addition to the site. The history of the Cumberland Sound is rapidly fading into the mist of history – I’m hoping that this site can help keep the story of the ship and her crew alive for future generations.

    Remember that you can see high resolution images by clicking on the photos. These can be downloaded, cropped as needed, and printed at any place that does digital photos.

  9. Deb Twidle says:

    Does any one remember someone named Calvin Quick? He served abord the Cumberland Sound. I know he was abord and in Tokoyo Bay the day of the surrender, we have a letter that he sent, one of the first out and postmarked. He started as a cook/baker and was made shipfitter after something broke, he had been a welder and was able to fix the problem. I am his Granddaughter, and would love to know anything more about him..Thank you!

  10. Stu Harris says:

    Deb, If you can, scan that letter of Calvin’s and email the image to Stephen (the webmaster of this site) as it would be another item from the “Cuc” we’d all find interesting.

    Best,

    Stu Harris (son of Lt. Harris)

  11. Robert Connelly says:

    I was wondering if anyone had a roster of crew for the ship? My grandfather served aboard the ship. Gunners mate 2nd class James O’Neill

  12. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    I’ve been looking for a comprehensive roster but haven’t found it yet. There are several lists here on the site, including an unofficial roster that I have been assembling from various sources, including notes on this site. Your grandfather is now on that list. If you have any photos or anything you’d like to add to the site, please let me know. Thanks for visiting!

  13. Paul "J" Dunn, former ETM 1/c says:

    The top group photo was the separate section of “C”division responsible for operating the ship’s surface- and air-search Radar, a vital service for the CIC, Combat Information Center.

  14. Doran Cooper says:

    4th picture from the top, center row ,6th man from right(the tall one) Chief Ordnanceman, William D. (Jay Dee) Cooper, My dad. RIP

  15. r.k.Simon says:

    My brother Joachim Dietrich Simon was on the Cumberland Sound during atomic bomb testing at Bikini Atoll as I remember reading letters from him with that return address on it.. I was very young and don’t know the exact year but new he was in the Navy and on that ship . I think he went AWOL shortly thereafter and was dishonorably discharged. We were a nonfunctional family and heard nothing about him since then..

  16. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thank you, Mr. Simon. I don’t have your brother on either of the lists that I inherited, but I have added his name to the spreadsheet that I’m accumulating from various sources. Perhaps someone else will stop by who has some knowledge of him.

  17. Terry Atkinson says:

    Stephen,
    If you have an Ancestry.com account several complete muster rolls(including the commissioning dated roll) for the Cumberland are there. Just search for one of the crew with his military enlistment date. It should come up. If you don’t belong let me know by email.

  18. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Thanks, Terry. Yes, I have an Ancestry.com account. I sent a letter to the National Archives asking for a muster roll, and they sent complete instructions on how to get it from Ancestry.com. One of these days, I hope to actually have time to do it. OK, that’s really just an excuse – I haven’t made time to do it yet. My goal is to have that done by the end of the year, and a major project for my business that I’ve been working on should be wrapping up in the next month or two, so it might actually happen.

    Thanks again – sure appreciate you writing!

  19. Frank J. Ambrosio. says:

    As best I can remember, I went aboard in San Diego before loading all the scientist and equipment. took a working party in Kwagaleen aboard the San Croiux prior to going to Bikini to pick up parts, and I don’t know, but rumors were, the bomb for Baker was picked up while we were there.

    I went ashore on Bikini for liberty, we were given two tickets for two beers.

    Part of my duty was to hand out dark glasses and binoculars to the scientists. So they were able to watch Test Able. Kept a set for myself naturally. I climbed up to the 5 in. gun director to watch. Had no shirt on. The blast felt like a heat lamp passed across my chest. I remember when we did the rehersal on Queen day, all the other ships pulled out the night before, at dawn the next morning we dropped off Dr. Hollaway to set up a smoke bomb to emulate the A-Bomb. We picked him up on the run, and as we headed out of the lagoon the smoke bomb went off. You can imagine we were all worried about the real one going off when we were leaving.

    I went in later after the 2d bomb, with a working party and about 5 or 6 scientests. They had their gieger counters clicking aaway. We went aboard the Skate, a sub. What a mess.. I remember they LCVP’s painted all yellow and covered on top, going through the lagoon taking water samples.

    When we returned to San Diego, We swung on the hook out at bouy 52. halfway to Mexico. I was ordered to go ashore with a working party to obtain Muriatic acid and boiler compound. This was to flush out our lines, before we could tie up alongside a dock . I had a friend at the supply depot, he gave me all the Muriatic acid he had, glad to get rid of it. Not knowing it was the only Acid on the west coast. All the other ships had to wait until they got it from Philadelphia.

    I stayed aboard until we decommissioned her there in San Diego.

  20. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Fascinating story, sir! Thank you so much for making sure that it doesn’t get lost. It’s those details that let folks know something of what it was like. Again, thank you!

  21. My dad, Norman L. Beachum, is the 17-year kid in the Group_06 photo. He’s fourth from the right, in the front row, kneeling just in front and to the right of the sailor holding the dog behind him. Dad turns 88 years old this Saturday, March 7, 2015 and lives south of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He’s still sharp as a tack, although he doesn’t get around like he used to and his eyesight is failing him. He was part of the crew that commissioned the Cumberland Sound in Bremerton, Washington and was on board the ship as it sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge enroute to the war in the South Pacific. He remembers being anchored next to the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay and watched as the Japanese signed the surrender papers. Doesn’t say much about his time in Tokyo after the war, but I did see in his archives where he stood Captain’s Mast for taking a few extra days of leave in Tokyo. Paid for that with a week of swabbing the deck, but apparently (based on his smile when I mentioned it), whatever he did in Tokyo on leave was worth the penance he paid once back on board. Dad also remembers spending time in Ulithi during the war and watching aboriginal islanders paddle by the ship in a dugout canoe dressed in traditional garb for a wedding.

  22. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    I always love hearing that there are still crewmembers of the Cumberland Sound who are still with us. If you or your father have any photos or other materials that you think might be appropriate, and you wouldn’t mind sharing them, I’d sure like to include them on the site.

    I’ve added his name to the ship’s roster along with a link to your reply so that folks can find him in the photo. I still haven’t gotten around to getting the original copy of the ship’s roster – really need to make that a higher priority. Thank you again for stopping by and adding to the collection of knowledge about the Cumberland Sound.

    Also – please wish your father a very Happy Birthday from me – and I’m sure from anyone else associated with the Cumberland Sound!

  23. Joseph MacDonald says:

    My late Grandfather Vladimir “Jack” Pesik served on the Cumberland as a painter. I would love to know if anyone has any recollection or documents pertaining to his time on the ship . He used to tell a story about a time some of the bigwigs were coming on board and he signed all the paintings he did “By V. Jack Pesik” which went over like a lead balloon It is a long shot but one worth taking.

  24. Stephen Clay McGehee says:

    Fun story! That brings to mind a job I had about 35 years ago. Among other things, I supervised a group of kids working as painters as a summer job at a textile mill. They knew they were leaving in the Fall no matter what. One guy kept saying he was going to do that, and despite my warnings not to do so, he did it anyway. Oh well…

    I hope you are able to find something on him. Have you looked through the ship’s muster here on the site? It won’t tell you much, but it’s still cool to see a name on there that you know. Best wishes on your search.

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