Note; Unknown until recently noted that there were 3 original Pyro Musketeers stationed on the USS Pyro AE-1 during the Pearl Harbor attack 7, Dec 1941. Thus do not confuse their status with this attachment.
The USS Pyro AE-1 Three Musketeers tradition that commenced on the decks of the AE-1 during WW2 which consisted of the following crew members: Leonard Rozycki, Irv Palm and Bob Hauge. As WW2 came to an end with the surrender of Japan in which AE-1 was serving the fleet in the Southwest Pacific, Navy personnel with the 56 points required were transferred back to the States for discharge. However, Hauge also had the required points, as Rozycki reminded him over and over with the exception Hauge was Regular Navy and had three remaining years to serve on his present hitch which eventually became a twenty year term. Thus, Rozycki & Palm cheerfully deserted Hauge who remained on the ship to clean up all those Reserves’ messes left from the war.
This broke up the Three Musketeers for thirty eight years where as Palm became a successful jeweler with a store in Red Oak, Iowa, while Rozycki with his Damage Control experience on the AE-1, became a Fireman on the Chicago, IL, Fire Dept. The junior third musketeer made a career in the Navy retiring after twenty years and then employed by Lockheed Missile & Space Company for twenty seven years.
In 1983, a group of ex-AE-1 sailors who had previously met in small groups yearly while raising their families decided to go for the big one, in which the first USS Pyro AE-1 reunion originated which consisted of 110 ex-AE-1 sailors, including spouses. This original group scrounged the whole country for prospective AE-1 sailors to attend and mind you, this was way before the days of computers and Rags Gillman.
Rozycki had the most difficult task to perform which was to locate the third musketeer, Hauge. Tracing his whereabouts from California to South Carolina by contacting his daughter, Bobbie in Texas. Now the musketeers were once more reunited and this lasted for twenty five years.
However, as before, the two oldest musketeers made their sadly sudden departures as they once did back in 1945. This was the final breakup of the musketeers as ill suffering health took its toll as first Palm and then Rozycki once again bailed out and departed as they left the kid, Hauge, to carry on their tradition by attending the USS Pyro reunions.
At the recent Philly Reunion, Hauge had mixed emotions about attending future reunion, but now he realized that he must carry on the Three Musketeers’ reunion tradition and thus not give up the ship, as once a Pyroman always a Pyroman and damn the excuses, make the yearly reunions on behalf of the Rozycki and Palm of which they no doubt looking down on earth wondering if their old shipmate and comrade is still trying to sing Anchors Aweigh and Bell Bottoms Drawers [off key, as usual, natch!]
As the daily tides roll in and out, Hauge sheds AE-1 tears for his two best Shipmates and Friends, men in which he had the very good fortune of personally knowing for SIXTY-FIVE YEARS. Farewell, Rozycki and Palm, smooth sailing and calm seas wherever you venture. Hauge is now running up those past bar bills in ya’ll names but now you’re not around to bail him out! So be it as we bid ‘Sayonara’ until we once again come together as the Three Musketeers in the big blue sky way, way up yonder.
The third musketeer could not be located by the Rozycki family for notification of his departure as Hauge had once more relocated this time from Florida to Texas and belatedly was made unaware of Rozycki’s departure by a Chicago Tribune notice.
However, Hauge believes he made amends by saying a few emotional words on behalf of Rozycki during the Memorial Service on the decks of the Battle ship USS New Jersey during the Philly Reunion. All in attendance joined with their individual thoughts and prayers in remembrance of Leonard E. Rozycki. Last but not least Hauge wore an ID picture around his neck of Rozycki and himself taken at the 1983 Reunion throughout the reunion events. Certainly a fitting farewell remembrance for a lifelong, everlasting Shipmate.
Also, I now have an additional item added to the USS
Pyro AE-1 remembrance items at the Nimitz War Memorial Museum. Fredericksburg, TX. Now located in the area location of the USS Pyro AE-1 plaque, my personal plaque and now recently installed brick
namepaver placed in the Veterans Walk of Honor featuring WW2 Musketeers Rozycki, Palm and Hauge USS Pyro.
Revised 29th of July, 2012