John Farkas


Readers of the Baked Beans books will surely recognize the name John Farkas.  He was one of the original crewmembers that I was lucky enough to have met and interviewed.  John’s son Joe recently sent me some pictures that he came across.

(L) John Farkas and buddy in Boston

(L) John and buddies – Pearl Harbor (R) Jim Myres

Joe also sent a picture of his dad’s Crossing the Line card (March 9, 1944) when he and his shipmates were initiated into the Realm of King Neptune and became Shellbacks.  Check out Vol 2 of Baked Beans and read John’s cool stories about the initiation shenanigans!

Thanks Joe.

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Memorial Day


Deise Nickless sent us these pictures of her dad, James F. Payne (COX).  He served aboard the Boston from the 15th of September 1943 and left the ship on the 26th of February, 1946, when she arrived at San Francisco after Occupation Duty.  He went on to serve in Korea and Viet Nam as a member of the Air Force.

If James Payne looks young in these pictures  –  well, he is young.  He lied about his age and enlisted when he was 16 years old.

James F. Payne, right

J. F. Payne, front row, right, with buddies in front of a Frankie Carle and his Orchestra poster.

(If anyone recognizes any of the sailors in these photos, let us know.)

I realize that what I’m about to say might be unfair, and a case of comparing apples to oranges . . . but I work in a high school full of super-privileged kids, and almost everyday I can’t help think about how more than 70 years ago young men their age answered the call and fought a grueling war for their country.  I shudder to think what would happen today.

To America’s men and women who put on a uniform and fought for our country  –  we are grateful for your service.

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Books revised


Happy Mother’s Day.  Where would we be without mothers (existential and rhetorical question) ?

Not sure which particular blend of character strengths (and flaws!) came my way from my mother, but maybe it’s appropriate that I announce the completion of a major (and final) revision of the Baked Beans books.  I could give any number of reasons why I decided to rework the books (is that you nagging me, Mom???) but ultimately I wanted to change the focus of the first books (from a chronicle of the ship geared towards families and friends of crewmembers).  The story of the Boston really is the story of the U.S. Navy’s incredible victory over Japan; as seen through the many Operations carried out by Task Force 58 and 38.  In this sense, the revised books are more durable historical documents.  I’m hoping they have “staying power.”

The biggest news here is that the revised books are available in Kindle format.  Books are all priced $14.95 each (all 3 for $40.95 and free shipping when purchased through the website  –  same as before).  For anyone who wants to “upgrade”  but has already purchased books –  I’ll be happy to send you new ones at my cost and shipping.  Email me at  There are folks out there who have helped me by sharing photos, documents, etc that I have used in the books – sit tight, I’ll be getting back to you with complimentary copies.  ANYONE who has purchased Baked Beans books through either Amazon or my website in the last month or so, contact me and I’ll replace them.  A few copies slipped through the cracks in draft mode – not quite final-edited.  OOPS.

Anyway, I’m now really satisfied with the books.  Done.  (Not really done.  Started revising “A Bird’s Eye View”)



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Pat Fedele


Shame on me!  I am two days late wishing a great guy Happy Birthday.  Pat Fedele was born on April 20, 1924.  Pat is one of the six original crewmembers of the Boston that I had the good fortune to meet and interview for the Baked Beans books.  Pat and I have kept in touch since then, and I consider myself very lucky to know him.

Pat is a tenor, and he shared his smooth-as-silk voice with his shipmates.  I asked him about Happy Hours and “The Three B’s” :  Frank Carroll and Andy DiMarzo and me. I put the group together.  One day we were just singing around together down below.  So at one point I said ‘do you know this song by Glen Miller or this song?’  I’d break out a song and they would harmonize.  We sounded really good, just like the Modernaires.  From then on we were the Three B’s.  When I wasn’t doing a solo, they were with me as a trio.  We were so good they sent us from ship to ship sometimes.

From the Boston Cruisebook:

Keep smiling Pat.  Keep singing.  Happy Birthday.


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Bob Knight


I got an email yesterday from Bob’s daughter Pam telling me the sad news that her dad passed away on Monday after suffering a major stroke.

Bob was “one of my plankowners”  –  original crewmembers who met with me and graciously answered my questions about “what was it like to be on the Boston?”  Bob was funny and witty and charming and told some great stories about what it was like to be an 18 year old kid who found himself with a shipload of other young men enduring the grueling Pacific War.  Bob and I kept in touch in the years that followed and he regularly read (and commented on) this blog.

Pam sent me a link to his obit:

I’m sad Bob is gone.  More than that, I am forever grateful I got to meet these men and see glimpses of what my father experienced and endured from his days at the Fargo Building in Boston to coming home from Occupation Duty.


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