Welcome to the USS Spangler DE-696 web page! This website is dedicated to the shipmates that sailed aboard the USS Spangler DE-696 during her many years of service (1942 - 1958) and to the loved ones who patiently waited at home. It recognizes the many contributions these men and their families gave in service to their country during both war and peace. Above all else it pays homage to the memory of Donald H. Spangler, LTJG, for whom the ship was name and who gave his life in the Solomon Islands in 1942 in service of his country. A dedication page honoring LTJG. Spanlger can be visited here.
Initially the focus of the website was on the ship and crew on its final voyage to WESPAC in 1957; however, the need quickly arose to encompass the full life of the Spangler from it's commissioning in 1943 to it's decommissioning in 1958. The reasoning is obvious: every year in the life of this wonderful ship and every sailor, whether enlisted or officer, deserves recognition. Visiting with sailors that served aboard her, from the Plank Owners in 1943 to the sailors that stepped off her for the last time in October 1958, you quickly discover that everyone of them has a story to be told. None stand out as examples more so than the memoirs written by David R. Rehmeyer (1943-1944), Ted Smith (1943-1945), William (Bill) Irwin (1943-1945), Ken Nolan (1943-1945), and Guy E. Thompson (1944-1946),
Photograph contributions from Phil Eng, and Bob Ellis, among several other Spanglermates, do a wonderful job of telling a story of life aboard the Spangler. The same is true of the many photographs from the 1957 Cruise Book to WESPAC, not only for 1957 but really for all years over the life of the ship.The information, photographs, memorbilia and sea stories from other years and other contributors have helped make the website dynamic. It has, to quote Phil Eng, taken on a "life of it's own!"
Appreciation is extended to the 1957 Cruise Book Staff (P.L. Morris GM1, G. Lavra FT2, P. Hossli TM3 and Phil Eng IC2) for providing us a lasting memory in the form of the Cruise Book. The many photographs and excellent art-work produced by Phil Eng, the ship's photographer, have been invaluable in making this website possible!
While faces and scenes have changed over the years, life aboard the Spangler was a continuum: sailors aboard in 1943 walked through the same hatches, stepped on the same decks, saw the same bulkheads, and ate in the same galley as those that served aboard in 1958. So whether they served together, or served in different years, their service aboard the Spangler creates a special kinship -- they're all "Spanglermates!"
A tremendous thanks is owed to Dave Norris for his on going efforts in searching out and reuniting the Spangler family, and to Dave and Bob Ellis for their continuing work in keeping the annual reunions going. Without their contributions, much of the website would not be possible. And this is also true of the host who sponsor the reunions each year. There efforts made it possible for memories to be refreshed, stories rehashed, and photos from those wonderful years gone by laid out for all to browse.
A special note needs to be given to the DESA in meeting Albany, NY, in September 2000 when Ted Smith, Bill Irwin, Arthur Arts, Bill Hux, Ken Nolan (all WWII plank owners) and Ed Wessler (a Korean vet) got together as Spanglermates for the first time. The offshoot of their meeting, which can be read here, gave momentum for every thing else that followed.