Irex ChristmasGram

21 December 1964,
U.S.S. Irex (482) Newsletter Vol. 13-3, December 2007, pp. 8–9

The IREXGRAMS were sent to families and friends of the IREX from Commanding Officer D. V. Murray, on 6 October 1964, 7 November 1964, 6 December 1964 and 21 December 64. Here is the last one:

Fleet Post Office
New York, New York
Monte Carlo, Monaco

21 December 64

Dear Families and Friends of IREX:

Now that the anniversary of the birth of the Prince of Peace is close at hand, our thoughts, as yours, have turned to the keeping of Christmas while far from those we hold most dear. Each man has his own way, known only to him and to you of celebrating this most sacred religious occasion, but all would include the presence of his family and the fellowship of his friends.

This year, our duty in the service of our country has kept us apart, as it has for many of our shipmates and comrades. Many of us have known this separation before, and some will know it again. While it is never easy to do it freely and by choice, in the hope that our humble contribution may help keep the peace, tenuous as it is, that all of us now enjoy.

We hope you will understand, for it is your understanding we ask, even as we ask His blessing for all our endeavors. Let us pray that the Christmas message may someday mean to all men what it means to us, and we may at last lay down our arms.


Less than a month now remains of our Mediterranean deployment, which has again undergone several revisions. The ship will again provide services to the U.S. Sixth Fleet for the period 4–14 January, and then the ship will visit Malaga, Spain from 15–17 January. We shall depart Malaga on the 18th, and will arrive in Rota, Spain late the same day. January 19th will be spent in turnover to our reliefs and the ship will start for home on the morning of the 20th, one day earlier than originally scheduled. From this point, the Atlantic winter weather will dictate our speed home to New London, but current plans are to arrive 1 February.

Globe Trotting

The Beirut visit on 6-10 December was far the most enjoyable stay we have made to date. Beirut is a modem city and many of the local citizenry and American colony there took your IREX sailors under their wing for the entire stay.

Twelve of the crew took the opportunity to make a two-day visit to Jerusalem, which is presently swelling with pilgrims for the Christmas season. All in all, there was far more to do there by way of sightseeing, recreation, and local hospitality than time would permit and the visit will be fondly remembered by us all.

Today is our first day in Monaco, which is attired for the season just like any American City. IREX has already been honored with the invitation to Christmas dinner by Princess Grace and Prince Rainer for several crew members. I am sure this is only the first of many invitations our men will receive to houses of local citizens.

Local Items

Since my last letter, four more members of our team have won their Submarine Dolphins, and congratulations are in order. Electronics Technicians Bird and Hulbert, Quartermaster Taylor and Fireman Boranian were qualified in submarines in a ceremony upon arrival in Monaco. It gives me great pleasure to make these awards, for I know the months of school, study and work that qualification demands.

Once again we have included a snapshot of your favorite sailor since the last group was so well received. He may not appear too well scrubbed—for such is the submariner's lot, but dirty or not we'll soon bring him home to you as good as ever—as you can see.

This will be the last of these letters for several months and I hope you have enjoyed them and found them of some assistance in our absence. Let me close this one by wishing you the very best of Holidays from the officers of IREX and to extend as well our best wishes for the New Year.


D.V. Murray
Commanding Officer

While on that cruise, others qualified as well. l have taken only the paragraphs from the IREXGRAMS giving the names of those qualified and advanced.

7 November 64 IREXGRAM, “On our arrival at Lisbon, Torpedomen Mate Kerstetter and Sonarman Evans were awarded their submarine dolphins and went over the side with all due ceremony, leaving just 17 men not yet qualified in submarines. We expect to get all of these wet-down before returning to New London.”

6 December 64 IREXGRAM, “On the shipboard scene, three more men have joined the ranks of our qualified submariners. Fire Controlman Cascho and Torpedomen Lavera and Knapton were awarded their dolphins on arrival at Aden on 27 November. In addition, Sonarman Taylor and IC Electrician Hedegard were advanced to first class petty officers; and Radioman Elias, Torpedoman Lavera, Engineman Hopkins, and Electronics Technician Hulbert were promoted to third class petty officers.”

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