He was originally named George M Hewitt. His father said there had been a George M Hewitt in every generation of his family and there wasn't one in this generation yet. His mother disliked the name and when his father died his mother quietly changed his name to Byrl Ted. Dad hated the name and went by his initials for anything formal or Ted with his friends/family.
His Uncle Julius was a Joplin city father and his Aunt Libbie (Elizabeth Clason) was a city truant officer. Aunt Libbie was exasperated at seeing his name so frequently on her truant list, so she convinced his mother the best thing for him was to join the Navy. In July 1929, his mother and Aunt escorted him to the recruiting station and signed an affidavit saying his birthdate was 1911 making him old enough to join. At 15, he was immediatley shipped out to Virginia for basic training. His predominant occupation while in the Navy was as a mechanic.
In 1933, his first on-board assignment was the battleship, USS Tennessee. His first cruise was on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger shake-down cruise, departing Norfolk on 17 Aug 1934, the cruise stopped in Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo. She returned to Norfolk for repairs until 1 Apr 1935 when she sailed for the Pacific, transitting the Panama Canal on 7 Apr 1935, she arrived in San Diego, 15 Apr 1935.
From San Diego, he was assigned to USS Heron, a sea-plane tender that operated principally in Chinese and Phillipine waters, performing patrol, survey, target-towing, and plane-tending in addition to tactial maneuvers. He had many stories of his time serving in Shanghai.
1938-1939, served on USS Case, went to Alaska. Served on USS Vega, went to Pribiloff Islands. Both ships were destroyers. 1939-1940, served on USS Argonne, but did not leave with it when it went to Pearl Harbor in 1940. Argonne was technically a sub-tender but was used a support ship performing many duties.
From Dec 1941 through 1949, Ted & Dorothy lived at 401 Alameda Blvd, Coronado - which was directly across the street from the North Island Naval Station's Main Gate. Ted & Dorothy were moving from their apartment south of San Diego into their new home and stopped on the beach for a picnic lunch. A Marine drove up and told Ted to find his uniform and report to his station as the US was at war.
In 1943, Ted was assigned to USS Suamico, a fleet oiler, the lead ship of her class with 8 battle stars. In January, she sailed to the South Pacific, spending time in New Caledonia, Solomon Islands, Guadalcanal, Tulagi. In March, while sailing with destroyer USS Blach, a Japanese medium bomber dropped 5 bombs on Suamico, all were near misses with some shrapnel damage but no serious damage.
In March, Suamico sailed from Espiritu Santo to New Caledonia. Between May & July the oiler made 2 trips between west coast and Hawaii, at the end of July, she sailed to New Zealand. Back in New Caledonia in September. In November, joined the Task Force for the invasion of the Gilbert Islands, by the end of the year she was in San Diego for repairs.
In 1944, Suamico sailed for Pearl Harbor and joined the Task Force for the invasion of the Marshall Islands, in February was en route. Arriving in Kwajalein, she was again under attack. She remained in the area of Pallikula Bay refueling battlships and carriers under heavy fire. In June, she was refueuling ships in Garapan Anchorage, Saipan. The ship would anchor during the day and put to see at night to avoid kamikaze attacks. In July, she was stationed in Eniwetok, before heading home for repairs in August. In September, she headed back to Pearl Harbor and then to Leyte Gulf in the Phillipines, enduring frequent air raids.
In 1945, Suamico spent most of the year in the South China Sea. When the marines raised the flag on Iwo Jima, the Suamico watched from just off shore. In April, she supported the invasion of the Ryukyu Islands. In June, she joined the battelship, Missouri, fueling various warships. In July, she was based in Buckner Bay, Okinawa, for feuling operations in the vicinity. From August to December, she was involved in refueling various battle groups in Japan, returning home, she arrived in San Francisco on 13 Dec 1945. The Suamico was decommissioned on 20 Jan 1946.
After their infant daughter, Elaine, died in 1948, the couple eventually separated and then decide it was too painful to stay in San Diego bumping into each other and old friends. In 1949, Ted transferred to Pearl Harbor and Dorothy moved the family into Navy housing in Bremerton, WA, not far from her parents home.
From 1949-1951, Ted was assigned to Aviation Air Transportation Squadron VR-8 at Hickam Field. His squadron participated in the Berlin Airlift. In 1950, Ted & Dorothy decided to get back together. The family lived in Navy housing at 408 Tenth St in Honolulu. The family returned to the mainland in October, 1951. Ted joined an attack aircraft squadron for an 6 month assignment at the Alameda Air Station before being assigned to Moffett Field in Sunnyvale. In 1956-1957, Squadron VF-213 was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Bonne Homme Richard with Ted taking several cruises.
In 1958, the Navy moved the jet squadrons out of Moffett Field as Sunnyvale was quickly growing. Ted was reassigned to the new Air Station in Lemoore, near Fresno. Knowing he was soon retiring, rather than move the family, Ted transferred to NSA Monterey, living on base during the week and coming home on weekends. In July 1929, Ted retired after 30 years service.
In 1960, Ted joined the US Post Office and was a Letter Carrier until his death in 1976. Ted died in 1976 from Congestive Heart Failure. He was cremated and his remains were buried at sea by a US Navy P3 Orion flight off the Farallon Islands of the coast of San Francisco.
"United States Social Security Death Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JGWN-WMQ : 20 May 2014), Byrl Hewitt, Mar 1976; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
"California Death Index, 1940-1997," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPNJ-9VV : 26 November 2014), Byrl T Hewitt, 01 Mar 1976; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.
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