The National Association is now the proud owner of the former USS LCS(L) 102. In the following paragraphs and the picture captions below, I refer to Dr. William Mason as Admiral Mason. I started calling Bill Mason an Admiral when he succeeded in lining up all of the government red tape so the Association could actually succeed in retrieving the 102. This is not an official title, but Bill Mason has worked tirelessly for many years to achieve one of the Associations original purposes: obtaining one of the remaining LCSs to be returned to the United States as a museum and memorial to all those who died aboard our ships in the service of their country during World War II. Because of Bill's efforts and the time required for him to achieve this purpose, I started calling Bill Mason an Admiral.
The Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sathiraphan Keyanont, of the Royal Thai Navy, Captain Bruce Watson, the Naval Attaché in the U.S. Embassy, and Admiral Bill Mason signed the custody transfer papers on Tuesday, May 22, 2007. The ceremony was very impressive. In addition, the ship looks beautiful - fresh paint job on the hull and topside. Admiral Mason says our boatswains would be proud. Ambassador Royce attended the reception funded by the Thailand Navy League. He gave an inspiring speech about the LCS(L)s.
National Air Cargo's commitment to the retrieval is evident by the employees who attended the ceremony and reception in Thailand: John Weir, VP of Global Development; Jacob Matthew, Managing Director - Asia; Bobby Ng, Country Manager, Malaysia; Zeny Amatavivadhana, Customer Service Consultant, Thailand; and John Romero, Country Manager, Thailand. They came from all over the world to be in Thailand to attend the transfer ceremony.
There were attendees from the U.S. Embassy, JUSMAGTHAI, the Royal Thai Navy, the Thailand Navy League of Thailand. During the ceremony, Bill Mason met Admiral Vichit Karunyavanij, the first skipper of the H.T.M.S. Nakha. He was at the ceremony and may attend the ceremony at Mare Island. Admiral Vichit Karunyavanij did tell Bill Mason that he does want to meet Dick Jones, the first skipper of the LCS(L) 102.
In a letter dated 16 August 2007, National Air Cargo has informed the Royal Thai Navy that a heavy lift vessel will be available in Sattahip Thailand, from 3 to 5 September, for the loading of H.T.M.S. Nakha. After the loading is completed the ship will sail to San Francisco with an expected arrival date of 25 September 2007. National Air Cargo went on to say that the National Association expects the San Francisco ceremony will take place in early November, during veterans’ day.
The Transfer Ceremony is definitely set for 11:00 a.m., Saturday, 10 November 2007 at the Mare Island Historic Park, Vallejo, CA. Following the Transfer Ceremony, there will be a buffet luncheon at the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation Museum. There will be a fee of $35 for the reception buffet at the Mare Island Historic Park Foundation. Arrangements for a hotel in Downtown San Francisco are being finalized as well as for bus transportation from the hotel to the Transfer Ceremony at the Mare Island Historic Park. There will be reception honoring guests from National Air Cargo, Royal Thai Navy, and Commonwealth Consulting on Friday evening at 6:00 p.m., 9 November 2007. There will be a $55 fee for the reception.
The photographs below are photographs taken during the transfer ceremony in Thailand on May 22nd, 2007. You can see Admiral Mason in a few of the pictures below. The first picture in the first row below is of John Romero and Peter Thorand. John Romero is our Association agent with the Royal Thai Navy in Thailand. He is a retired LCDR from our Navy and his last duty assignment was with Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group Thailand (JUSMAGYJAI). He was in the Navy when Bill Mason first met him in Thailand in 2004. He is now the Business Development Manager of National Air Cargo. Peter Thorand is the first president of the Navy League of Thailand and is now the Vice President and is our supervisor of the cleaning and painting work being performed by the Royal Thai Navy.
The second picture in the first row includes Zeny Amantavivadhana who worked for 31 years in the U.S. Embassy in Thailand. She is presently working with John Romero in the National Air Cargo office in Bangkok. H.E Ralph L. Boyce, the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand. Janice Mason, the wife of Admiral Doctor William J. Mason. Dr. William J. Mason is the chair of the LCS(L) 102 Retrieval Committee, of the National Association of USS LCS(L) 1-130.
The third picture in the first row is of Admiral Sattirpan Kenyanon, Commander-in-Chief, of the Royal Thai Navy, reviewing the Royal Thai Navy sailors at the transfer ceremony.
The first picture in the second row is of Admiral Sattirpan Kenyanon, Commander-in-Chief, of the Royal Thai Navy giving his address at the transfer ceremony as Dr. William J. Mason, Chair of the LCS(L) 102 Retrieval Committee for the National Association of USS LCS(L) 1-130 looks on.
The second picture in the second row shows Dr. William J. Mason, Admiral Sattirpan Kenyanon, and Captain Walter B. Watson, Jr., the Naval Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Thailand, sign the official transfer papers. The National Association of USS LCS (L) 1-130 are now the proud owners of the former USS LCS(L) 102.
The third picture in the second row is of the three signers of the transfer documents. Dr. William J. Mason, Admiral Sattirpan Kenyanon, and Captain Walter B. Watson, Jr.
The first picture in the third row shows Royal Thai Navy sailors standing at attention on the platform deck of the USS LCS(L) 102.during the Transfer Ceremony.
The second picture in the third row shows John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987 standing in front of a model of his father's ship. His father was the commanding officer of the USS LCS(L) 18. Please note President Reagan's picture on the wall and the one with President Reagan and SecNav John Lehman conferring.
The third picture in the third row below shows A close-up of the model of the USS LCS(L) 18 built by Motionmodels. Their e-mail address is www.motionmodels.com.
The last 8 pictures on this page show the LCS(L) 102 being loaded onto the National Air Cargo heavy lift ship were sent courtesy of National Air Cargo.
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