Joe Mitchell RD3 (1956-1958)

Joe passed away on January 8, 2021, at his home in Sgt. Bluffs, IA at age 82. He reported aboard the USS Spangler in March 1956 fresh from Radar School and served aboard until his transfer to a destroyer in 1958. He departed as a Radarman 3rd Class. He was with his shipmates during the WESPAC cruise leaving San Diego, CA, on January 3, 1957 and arriving back stateside on July, 6, 1957. He was initiated in the Domain of The Golden Dragon when crossing the equator in early January. He took part in 5-day visit to Auckland, New Zealand and followed up with a the 6-week Pacific Island Surveillance of the Easter Caroline and Mariana Islands. Other port visits included three stopovers in Yokosuka, Japan; along with visits to Beppu, Kobe, and Sasebo , Japan. His ship while in WESPAC included visits to Manilla in the Phillipines; Singapore; Hong Kong, China; Keoshung, Formosa (Tiawan); along with a visit to Chie Hea, South Korea.

It's noted noted in his obituary, that Joe, on leaving the navy, worked for several companies in Sioux City, IA, over the years. Among these included Zenith and L&R Communications, retiring from the alter in 1958.

Also shortly after leaving the navy, Joe married his high school sweetheart, Joan Rye. They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this past year. They had two children, Cheryl and Todd, seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Joe and Wayne Dorough (shown below along with their wives, Joan and Pat) were the closest of friends during their time aboard the Spangler. And when not on duty they spent their time either on liberty together, or playing cards or sitting together in the Pilot House aboard ship writing their sweethearts (Joan and Pat) and discussing future plans or laughing over their latest liberty adventure. Sadly, as often is the case with many servicemen, they lost track of each other on leaving the service and went 47 years before discovering the others where abouts. That came about when Wayne lucked up and spotted Joe's name on a "Tin Cans Ship Registry" listing email addresses and telephone number. That was in 2004. They've since met in Omaha, NE a couple of times and had some wonderful visits during Spangler ship reunions in Laughlin, NV; San Diego, CA; and Branson, MO.