Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 19:08:16 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: Billy Carter Semones Recognition

Henry Clay Shipmates,

I, Richard A. (Andy) Wheeler, FTM2 (SS) was a member of
the Henry Clay commissioning crew. I served on the Clay from
1963-1968. I was at sea on the gold crew shakedown prior to
our first patrol when we lost Billy Semones, TM1(SS) at sea.
Several years ago at the first Henry Clay reunion held with
the USSVI reunion in Kansas City, I spoke up and said that
Billy's death was not properly recognized. This Memorial Day
2009, Dr. Robert F. Smith, then an EM2(SS), telephoned me and
asked me to lead an effort to obtain recognition for the only
man ever to lose his life in the performance of his duties aboard 
Henry Clay over the course of overhauls and seventy-seven
patrols. We are commissioning a plaque to be mounted on the
Commemorative Wall at the National Navy Memorial in
Washington, D.C. Additionally, Billy's service will be registered
and his accomplishments will be highlighted in the National Registry
at the Memorial. Thus far we have received donations of $1375.00
and pledges of another $900.00. We need to raise $3200.00 to make
this a reality. Seven crew members have donated / pledged $250.00
each. Kindly consider a donation to this cause. Donations may be
sent to me or to Bob. Our addresses are at the bottom of this
communication. A little history follows:

History from Andy                                June 10, 2009

Billy Carter Semones, TM1(SS)

July 3, 1936 - November 2, 1964

Billy Carter Semones was born July 3, 1936. His home of record
was Versailles, Kentucky. At the time of his death he was
survived by his parents Mr. & Mrs. George L. Semones and a
sister Betty Sue (Semones) Whittaker. Billy's mother passed
in 1958 and his father in 2002. Today, Billy's sister Betty Sue
survives with her children.

Betty Sue married Ronald H. Whittaker (Whit) who was a shipmate
of Billy on the USS Amberjack SS-522. Billy introduced his sister
to Whit as the Semones family visited the sub base in Key West,
Florida in July of 1958. They have been married 49 years and
reside in Billy's parent's home at 190 Marilyn Avenue, Versailles,

All of Billy's naval service was with the Submarine Force.

Finishing high school he enlisted in the Navy on May 4, 1955. After
recruit training and submarine school he reported to the USS
Amberjack SS-522. After a one month assignment on the USS Trumpet
Fish SS-425 he managed a transfer back to the Amberjack. In 1960 he
joined the nuclear submarine fleet aboard the USS Shark SS(N) 599
and finally he was assigned to the USS Henry Clay SSB(N) 625 Gold
crew on 16 March 1964. The Henry Clay was commissioned on February
20, 1964.

Billy Carter Semones bravely gave his life in the performance of
his duties November 2, 1964 during a pre-patrol shakedown cruise
of the Gold crew's first patrol. The Russians were in their typical
location attempting to get a sound signature on any US Submarine
departing Rota, Spain and the Gulf of Cadiz. We had a hatch cover
loose on a line locker and it was banging and masking our ability
to hear from our forward sonar array. We had to surface in bad seas.
It was winter. Billy went over the top of the sail but never made
it to the deck where he could have hooked the monkey tail on his
safety belt to the deck track. He likely was knocked from the sail
by a wave and knocked out. We never recovered his body. There
were many heros that day.

The Henry Clay web site contains crew recollections and information
about the incident when we lost Billy. I have requested official
information and ships log data from the Chief of Naval Operations
and from Navy archives. I will share the letters the Semones family
received from the Navy including those of Captain John C. Lewis;
Squadron Sixteen's Commander; Squadron Sixteen's Chaplain;

Likely because of the secrecy of our operations, I found Captain
Jack's letter to be sincere but carefully worded and quite sterile.
There is no mention of Russian trawlers, Spanish corvettes, sea
state and weather conditions etc.  Also of interest is that it appears
the letter was not processed through the yeoman shack. The letter
was written on a manual typewriter and zip codes did not yet exist.

Stay tuned guys. I'm trying my best to get this accurate. I have every
confidence we are doing the right thing. Please get those promised
donations in the mail.


Send checks to:

Richard A. Wheeler                          Robert F. Smith
39 Springdale Way                            8024 Tennessee Avenue
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050                Raytown, MO 64138         

717-620-8144                                    816-353-1425

Date: Sun, 08 Feb 2009 11:55:15 -0500

Can I ask that you send this out as a fundraiser to the SSBN 625 network?

JAMEY HOLT ~ 10.23.1964 - 2.12.1997

Twelve years have that possible?

I have asked in the past for donations in Jamey's memory
to the American Cancer Society and a few other fundraisers
where Laura and/or Korey were involved in school.  Jamey
was such a care giver herself, loved the elderly, would
visit nursing homes, buy food for those that needed it,
and while on submarines, she always ensured other families
had support and needed food, clothing, etc. as part of the
wives organizations.....and in these trying times, she came
to mind in helping others again.

I am asking you to consider a donation on the anniversary
of Jamey's death to the Council on Aging of West Florida
{COAWFLA} in her memory. Donations are tax deductable as
the COAWFLA is a non-profit agency assisting the elderly
and all funds donated will provide direct assistance to
those in need. Not all services have a funding source and
donated funds "fill in the gap" and allow flexibility with
essential needs.  Thanks for considering this!

If you do donate, please ensure that you include on the
check and if you write a note ~ "In Memory of Jamey Holt." you all.....Kenny

COAWFLA ~ Council on Aging of West Florida
In Memory of Jamey Holt
P.O. Box 17066
Pensacola, FL 32522-7066

If you want to make a donation using a credit card ~ donations
can be made via the COAWFLA website at

Click on donate at the top of the screen.  There is a
block / box where you can enter "In Memory of Jamey Holt."

In Memory of Jamey Antle Holt

Mother, Daughter, Wife, Best Friend

October 23, 1964 - February 12, 1997

Escambia High School, Class of 1982

Pensacola Junior College 1982-1984

You are greatly missed in our lives,

Yet, You are part of our lives daily!

Kenny Holt, Mark McLeod, Laura Holt,
Korey Holt, Byron & Judy Sizemore




Subject: USS Henry Clay
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 09:30:11 -0500

Dear Sir,

        We are looking for items and memorabilia connected with USS Henry
Clay.  We are currently working on an exhibit to honor the US Submarine
Service here at the Kentucky Military History Museum.  We have a few items
mainly photos of the boat, but we are looking to add to our permanent
collection.  Do you know who I can contact concerning this request.
Additionally, when we do this exhibit we are also looking for items from the
following submarines with Kentucky connections:  USS Kentucky, USS Daniel
Boone, USS Abraham Lincoln, also the submarine tender, USS McKee.  USS
Pompano is Kentucky's World War II Memorial Submarine.  Any assistance would
be greatly appreciated.  Thank you. 

Manager, Kentucky Military History Museum
100 West Broadway, Frankfort, KY  40601-1931
COMM:  (502) 564-3265
FAX:  (502) 564-4054

Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 10:28:44 -0500
Subject: RE: USS Henry Clay


        Thanks for responding so quickly.  I appreciate the information
about subnet.  In our collection here at the museum we have just a few items
connected with the sub service, that was one reason I want to do this
exhibit to highten awareness of Kentucky's connections to the sub service.
Althought Kentucky is land locked many Kentuckians have joined the Navy and
went into the subs. 

        I did an exhibit on the USS POMPANO, Kentucky's WWII Memorial
Submarine, back in 1994, it was extremely popular and we had the largest
turn-out for an exhibit opening with that project.  I am hoping we can do
the same with the project.

        The items we have in our collection run the gambet from photos of
the boats to liberty cards, to V-mail to guys that served on boats.  We look
for anything that has a Kentucky connection whether it be guys who served
aboard a boat with a Kentucky name, or a Kentuckian who served in the sub
service.  We need phoots, patches, uniforms, personal items anything that
will help us tell the story.

        Just for your information we are the state of Kentucky's Military
History Museum, we are free and open to the public and we do a brisk
business in educating school groups on Kentucky's military history. 

        Once again thanks for the information and assistance with this project.


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