W4TG - March 6, 2012

W4TG - John H. 'Harvey' Chase John H. 'Harvey' Chase
Gray, GA
QCWA # 6070

John 'Harvey' Chase, 96, died Tuesday, March 6, 2012. Memorial services will be held on Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 4:00P.M. at Haddock Baptist Church with Dr. Ron McClung officiating. Flowers will be accepted or donations may be made to Haddock Baptist Church.

Mr. Chase was born in Illinois in 1915. He lived in St. Louis, Missouri from 1920 until 1940, attending Soldan High School and Missouri Technical School.

A veteran of the United States Navy, he obtained the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, served in World War II and was a Pearl Harbor survivor. Mr. Chase was employed by the United States Army Signal Service from 1948 until 1970. He was stationed in Hawaii for five years and in Germany for two years. He served as government representative at ITT-Federal Laboratories in New Jersey in 1965 and was employed in Washington, DC from 1966 until 1970.

Mr. Chase retired from Federal Civil Service in 1970 and moved to Wayside, Georgia where he went into the printing business under the name of Wayside Press. He closed that business in 1985.

Mr. Chase was an avid Amateur Radio operator (W4TG) and a member of ARRL, QCWA, OOTC, AARP, and NARFE. He was a former member of VFW, Lions Club and the IEEE. Mr. Chase was a member of Haddock Baptist Church where he served as lesson leader of senior adult Sunday School Class H.

His wife, Marion Bowen Chase, died in 1993. Mr. Chase is survived by his wife of eighteen years, Bessie Hackler Chase; daughters, Carol C. Collins and Joy C. Bolger, both of Northern Virginia and Dr. Gail C. Furman of Washington State University; four grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; a step-daughter and a step-son.

Early Days

Later on, in 1931, I got my first license as a radio amateur under the call sign W9CLT. I operated my amateur station from a Maryland Avenue address in St. Louis from 1931 until I left for active duty with the US Navy in 1940. In 1937 I took employment with the Installation Department of Western Electric Co., in St. Louis Mo. My job was installer of telephone central-office equipment, In those days Panel Machine Switching was used in all the major cities of the Bell system and I became quite familiar with that equipment.

Navy & WW-2

I had joined the Naval Reserve as Radioman second class in 1937. I was given that rating on the strength of my holding a Radiotelegraph Operator's License. My unit of the Naval Reserve was activated in November 1940 and sent to Pearl Harbor after a short stay in the Destroyer Base at San Diego. We were passengers on the USS Lexington (the old one) on the trip to Pearl Harbor. I stood my first (official duty) radio watches in that ship, on the international distress frequency, 500kHz ("kilocycles," it was called in those days). Upon arrival at Pearl Harbor I reported to the USS Schley (DD103) for duty as Radioman first class. (I had been promoted before the callup to active duty) . The Schley was part of DESDIV 80, consisting of the USS Allen (DD66), USS Chew (DD106) and the USS Ward (DD108). DESDIV 80 was assigned to inshore patrol duty around the harbor entrance to Pearl Harbor and was based in Pearl Harbor as home port. Shortly after reporting for duty in the Schley, the Chief Radioman was transferred elsewhere and I became the POIC of the radio gang. The Schley was in port, being overhauled on that fateful morning of December 7, 1941, "A day which will live in infamy" as FDR so aptly put it, when the Japanese Imperial Navy struck without warning and put our entire Pacific Fleet virtually out of commission.

Shortly after that date, I, John H. Chase RM1c, was sent to the Pacific Fleet Radar School in Pearl Harbor to learn all about that very hush-hush subject RADAR! In those days RADAR was such a secret subject that we were not permitted to carry our own notebooks back to the ship with us after the school was over--they had to be carried by armed courier! I completed the course at the Radar school, first out of a class of some 40 students (some 40 others having been "washed out" along the way before completing the course). After radar school I never sat on CW circuits the rest of my tour of duty with the Navy. Since the Schley was not yet equipped with radar, I was transferred to the "Section Base" at Bishop's Point. There I served as POIC of the radar station that guarded the entrance to Pearl Harbor.

The Battle of Midway took place while I was serving at the Section Base radar station. I served there about a year. At the end of that time I was promoted to Chief Radioman (now called Radioman Chief) and was transferred to the US Naval Air Station Midway Island. (Where the Battle of Midway had recently been fought.) There I was assigned to duty as CPOIC of the Naval Radar Station. While serving there I was involved in the complete re-design of that facility and supervised the installation of a new radar station in a newly constructed building "next door."

I spent about nine months in the assignment at Midway Island and was promoted to Warrant Officer while serving there. Upon my promotion to Warrant, I was transferred to a new ship then under construction in the Kiser Ship Yards in Astoria, Oregon. My orders included 30 days delay in reporting: counted as leave, the first leave I had been granted since November of 1940! I served through the rest of the war as Radio Officer aboard the USS Steamer Bay (CVE-87), an escort carrier.

Post War

At the end of WW2, upon my request, I was released from "active duty" and returned to St. Louis and my family, which now consisted of my wife and one daughter, born in Honolulu on 6 January 1943. I went back to work for the Western Electric Co., Installation Dept. in 1945. The winters of 1946 and '47 were very harsh in St. Louis and me and my family had been spoiled by the mild Hawaiian climate. So we longed to move to a milder climate. I learned of an opening with the Department of Army (Signal Corps) in Hawaii and I applied for that job, and was hired.

We moved to Hawaii in 1948 and I worked at the Receiver Station and Tape Relay at Halemano, a part of the Army's world-wide high-frequency system later called "Stratcomm." I stayed there until the fall of 1952 when I took a transfer to the Signal Corps' Plant Engineering Agency in Washington, DC.. That agency went through a number of name changes through the years but remained intact despite the abolition of the Signal Corps and the Army Signal Service at Large. I retired from that outfit (by that time called "US Army Strategic Communications Command.") in April of 1970 at age 55! The main reason for early retirement: the Army was phasing out high-frequency communications in favor of satellites and I was, after all one of their H-F "experts."

Post Retirement

I have enjoyed Amateur Radio all these years and have continued to do so since retirement. But at age 55 it is too early to sit back and put ones feet up. So in 1972 I went into business for myself: I opened a print shop called Wayside Press, named for the little town near Gray, GA, where we lived from 1970 through 1988. I printed QSL cards in Wayside from 1972 through 1985 when I closed the business. I never kept an accurate count of the total number of hams for which I printed cards, but I guess it would run into several thousand. I get some of them back in acknowledgment of QSO's I have had with some of them!

Now I am still active on the H-F bands, mostly CW, and favorite bands are 30m & 17m. Please look for me there. I would happy to chew the rag about old times, ww-2 or the Navy.

For now 73 & CUL

from www.qrz.com:
Born: Carbondale, IL Aug 1915. Moved to St.Louis, MO at age 5. First licensed as W9CLT, Sept 1931. Attended Soldan High in St. Louis and Missouri Technical School on north 25th St. in St. Louis. Naval Reserve 1937. Called to active duty Dec 1940. Was in Pearl Harbor (USS Schley DD103) on Dec 7, 1941. Chief Radioman 1942. POIC Navy Radar Midway Island 1943. Warrant Radio Electrician 1943, assigned to new construction (USS Steamer Bay CVE87) Jan 1944, put her in commission 4-4-44. Remained on Steamer Bay until end of war (1945). Worked as civilian for Dept of Army until 1970. Retired as GS-14 Communication Specialist. Moved to Georgia and went into business for self under name of Wayside Press in Wayside GA. Printed QSL cards until I closed that business in 1985. Active on all HF bands, mostly CW. Hope to QSO some time! 73!


I have been told by a good source that even though Mr Harvey was licensed in 1931 and has been very active in Amateur Radio every since, it was in the mid '80s before he owned his 1st microphone!

Bill - KE4FGC