711 FSG "Thank You"
The USS San Francisco Family Support Group sent out this open "Thank You" letter that I think says a lot about the sense of togetherness that submariners and their loved ones feel.
USS San Francisco Says Thank You
Immediately upon hearing that something had happened to the USS San Francisco, we were consumed with worry and fear. Our lives stopped. We were sickened with anxiety while we waited to hear who was injured, who was ok, and how long we would have to wait to see our sailors. But then strangers, co-workers, and friends started coming out to give us hope and encouragement. People from all over the world have offered prayers, kept us in their thoughts, and sent many cards. The submarine family and community of Guam opened up to us and gave us anything we needed to make it through this trying time. They cooked meals for us and selflessly volunteered their precious time to help us. Family and friends, here and back home, gave us their love and support. There will never be an end to our thank yous and appreciation to all of these wonderful people who helped us in our time of need.
We would like to give special thanks to the staff of the Guam Naval Hospital who dedicated themselves to ensure that each wounded sailor had proper medical attention. COMSUBRON 15 who coordinated meetings, kept us informed, arranged for phone cards and phone lines on the pier to allow our sailors to call their loved ones, as well as the many families who cooked meals, provided childcare and opened their homes and hearts to the families of the USS San Francisco making certain that our wellbeing was a top priority. The chaplains who listened to our fears and concerns, held our hands, and were with us through the entire process. Fleet and Family Services and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society understood how much we needed little things and made themselves readily available to help us. We give thanks to the US Coast Guard cutter Galveston Island, USNS Stockham, USNS Kiska , HC-5, and all else who assisted in the safe return of our sailors. We also thank the medical staff that courageously went aboard the USS San Francisco to help our injured sailors. We would like to include the USS Frank Cable, USS City of Corpus Christi, USS Houston, and ComNavMar whom stood with us on the pier to welcome home our sailors, grieved with us, and reminded us that we are all part of the Navy family. Everyone supported us and allowed us to concentrate on the things that mattered most, our sailors. All of their efforts are greatly appreciated. You were all so wonderful and we thank you so much.
A special thank you must be extended to Admiral and Mrs. Sullivan for bringing Mr. and Mrs. Ashley to us here in Guam. Mr. and Mrs. Ashley are remarkable people who opened up their hearts to the USS San Francisco and accepted us a part of their family. After meeting with the Ashley’s it is easy to understand why Joey was such an awesome person and dedicated sailor. It means so much to each of us to have been given the opportunity to meet with you, share our stories with you, cry and laugh with you. Your sacrifice is felt by us all. We will continue to keep you in our prayers and in our hearts.
In honor of MM2(SS) Joseph Ashley, a scholarship fund has been created by his high school. If you would like to make a donation, please send it to:
MM2 Joseph A. Ashley Memorial Scholarship Fund
Manchester High School
437 West Nimisila Road
The USS San Francisco family took a hard hit, but we are strong and resilient. We will continue to thrive. Our wounds will heal, our hearts will mend, and our moment in history will never be forgotten. So from the bottom of our hearts, with all of our gratitude and appreciation, thank you to everyone who helped us through and made us stronger.
USS San Francisco Family Support Group