I am saddened to report that our shipmate and USS Ernest G. Small Plank Owner, Robert Moffitt, passed away on Monday, September 16, 2013 after battling a recurring illness. Hospitalized while visiting family in Oregon, Robert returned home in late July and was initially reported to be recovering. He passed away, peacefully, while taking his afternoon nap.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bob and his lovely wife, Frances, at my first E.G. Small reunion in Portland, Or in 2006 and again at the 2010 reunion in San Diego, CA. They were a warm and welcome addition to our annual shipmate gatherings. Bob provided many historical insights to the Post WWII U.S. Navy operations and showing of the flag in foreign ports.
Like most of our shipmates, Bob had some great stories to tell about his tour in the U.S. Navy and on board the USS Ernest G. Small. Upon completing college, Robert was drafted into the Navy in the spring of 1945. Bob’s Navy Detailer assigned him to Officers Candidate School upon learning that he had a college degree. Three months later he was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Navy Reserve. Bob was assigned to the USS Ernest G. Small in August, 1945 and served aboard Small until his transfer to the New York Separation Center in May 1946. Robert served as Communications Officer while on board, and part of his collateral duties were Editing the first Small Talk newsletter, which was published from September 1945 until about June of 1946. Bob’s nine months aboard USS Ernest G. Small was brief, but eventful. Departing Boston on 21 September, 1945, Small made her shakedown cruise with ports of call in Guantanamo, Cuba; returning to Philadelphia for maintenance and repairs. Small departed Philadelphia on 31 October, 1945 for another stop in Guantanamo and San Juan, Puerto Rico before returning to Boston on 22 November, 1945. The remainder of 1945 was spent in Boston over the Christmas Holidays and in preparation for Small’s first overseas assignment in the Mediterranean and Middle East.
USS Ernest G. Small deployed from Casco Bay, ME on 11 January, 1946 for the Mediterranean. Her first stop was Gibraltar on 19 January, 1946. From Gibraltar, Small made call in 16 ports in the Med and the Middle East. At a stopover in Palermo, Sicily, Bob and fellow officer Ens. Frank Corl were granted liberty and visited Mount Etna. Between 21 January and 26 March, 1946, Small and crew enjoyed visits to Naples, Capri, Palermo, Rome and Nice, France.
On 2 April, 1946, Small sailed from Naples to Port Said in Suez. She then sailed through the Suez Canal To Jidda and Hodeida. In Yemen, they were met by Saudi Arabia’s Prime Minister, Amir Mansour bin Mit’eb, of the House of Saud. Late he became the king of Transjordan. He was greeted with a 21 gun salute from the five inch guns. Small returned from the Middle East ports to Naples, Italy and then steamed through Gibraltar into the Atlantic, returning to CONUS on 16 May, 1946.
Upon returning to the United States, Bob was separated from Active Duty in the U.S. Navy, ending a young mans great adventure.
Robert is survived by his lifelong love and partner in life, Frances; four children, William, Marilyn, Robert and Kenneth. He has nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren
A memorial service will be held for Robert on September 28, 2013 at 2:00 PM at:
Eagle Rock Presbyterian Church
4848 Eagle Rock Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90041
The family requests that donations be made to the Eagle Rock Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund in lieu of flowers.
This article was written by Dennis Vinson
Dennis (Sonar Technician 1st Class, 1962-1966) is the site's Webmaster since it's founding in 2006. Dennis served as our Reunion Coordinator from 2010 through 2013. He is the editor of the quarterly newsletter, Small Talk and the Webmaster of the USS Ernest G. Small Association website.