1998 REUNION HIGHLIGHTS
Our 10th Reunion in Charleston SC was a special gathering. Fifty-eight shipmates their ladies and guests brought the attendance total to 117, our largest turnout ever. Quality Suites provided exceptional facilities; we congregated in the hospitality suite as well as in the atrium lobby to visit, remember, and celebrate.
Many had arrived early, and by mid-afternoon Wednesday, people began to congregate in the hospitality room. Even though there were many attending the Reunion for the first time, or had not been to one for some years, there were no signs of strangers among us. At registration, each shipmate received a USS Stoddard DD-566 Ship's History and Alumni Directory, a booklet which was especially produced to celebrate the occasion. Our roster of shipmates has grown from the few who, under the leadership of the late Bob Pelster and Eleanor who organized the first reunion in North Platte, NE, to the current 327. Joe and Marilyn's business, Intek, Inc., sponsored the production of a set of "Steaming Demon" logo mugs. These were presented as a gift to each of the attendees.
A group gathered Thursday morning for the golf outing at the Navy Weapons Depot up the Cooper River. All were energetic and tackled 18 holes before returning to tell tales of the best and the worst times on the plush greens. There were sightings of alligators, so several shipmates had to part with some balls that landed in the marsh. We had such a great turnout that we completely filled two grand touring buses everywhere we went. The tour director aboard the cruise ship Spirit of South Carolina gave the main deck just to our group, so we could celebrate undisturbed by other guests. The captain came down from the helm to greet us, and honored us by not only taking the standard route down to Fort Sumter and around Charleston harbor, but also motored all the way up the Cooper River, past the former Naval Base and Ship Yard where so many of us had put the Stoddard out-of and back into commission. It was sad to see the shipyard, once brimming with gray steel, now host to a few commercial vessels and cruise ships. A live band played and the energetic danced to the music. After dinner, most of us strolled to the open deck to see the sights along the River and enjoyed the evening breeze and very distinct harbor flavor. Some of us visited the bridge and discussed tour boat operations and navy experiences with the captain and first mate.
Time at Patriots Point was spent mostly on the carrier USS Yorktown CV-IO, the famous "Fighting Lady" of WW II with her complement of planes. Much restoration goes on continually to keep the ship safe and open to visitors. A memorial service for departed Stoddard shipmates was conducted on the fantail, and a red-white-&-blue wreath was tossed overboard in the Navy tradition. After lunch in the CPO galley (featuring shrimp creole, salad, vegetables, rice, rolls 6~ butter, ice tea), we bearded the coach and proceed with guide to visit historic Charleston. At beautiful Battery Park, we stopped for a short service at the Hobson Memorial to remember the loss of the Hobson in 1953 which had just relieved the Stoddard from plane-guard duty during night exercises. The weather did not cooperate with us and the light rain drizzle forced us to cancel the scheduled stop at the Citadel for their renowned 2,000 cadet corp dress parade, complete with cannons and bagpipe band. I In can Sailor members who participated in this tour received a complimentary copy of the Historic Navy Ships, a Naval Museum Ships Directory and Guide which provides detailed information on the historic ships on exhibit and open to visitors.
Friday evening's pool side barbecue at the Quality Suites was designated island night. Many donned Hawaiian attire, wore leis, and relaxed pool side. There were so many beautiful costumes that we could not select a "most authentic Hawaiian couple!" For those of you who ordered a Memory Book, we have included many of the colorful pictures of couples taken by Jerilyn Robinson. For the uninitiated, the caterers gave "lessons" on how to attack and enjoy the succulent morsels from the local blue crabs. Shrimp cocktail, barbecue pork and desert assortment filled the platters. Joe Harpster and Alien Henry launched a motorized scale model of the Stoddard in the pool for a "Stoddard -on-parade" display.
Saturday we visited Fort Moultrie, on Sullivan's Island, at Charleston Harbor entrance. The Fort as we see it today was completed in 1809, and is the third fort on this site. The original palmetto log fort was started in 1776 and was only half completed when attacked by a British fleet on June 28, 1776. Colonel William Moultrie's South Carolinian repelled this assault in one of the first decisive patriot victories of the Revolution. This battle began a tradition of seacoast defense on Sullivan's Island which did not end until 1947. We also visited Boone Hall Plantation, which was granted to one of South Carolina's first settlers, Major John Boone, in 1676. Originally a cotton plantation, it spreads over 17000 acres. Hand made brick and tile were originally made on this plantation. These same bricks have been identified in the mansion, garden walls, slave cabins and many of Charleston's oldest and most historic buildings. We were surprised by the scene there - it was Scottish Highland Day at Boone Hall, one of the Plantation's largest festival days.
The place was jammed with bagpipe pipers, men in kilts dancing the jig, vendors of all sorts, and people just having fun. I think we more than made up for missing the Citadel's parade and bagpipe band! While no formal tours were scheduled Saturday afternoon, many gathered for a trip to the famed Charleston Market Street and the Slave Market for shopping and people watching. Vendors lined the market area with beautiful crafts, gifts, collectibles, as well as antiques. Fortunately we did not have too much time for shopping, so most returned with wallets relatively in tact.
Dinner banquet on the USS Yorktown Saturday evening was an experience. The caterers had decorated the place beautifully, and hundreds of flags were overhead. The one regret is that it was a warm evening and the hangar deck was not air conditioned. Nevertheless, we celebrated and feasted in style. After dinner, guest speaker Dr. Steve Ewing of the museum addressed the group and spoke of their efforts in restoring and maintaining historic ships, in particular, the destroyer USS Laffey which is part of Patriots Point. President J~ Harpster then addressed the gathering and presented various awards and door prizes. More than 50 awards and prizes were given. The following is a list of some of the awards and recipients:
The group elected Bob Hoag as President and chairman of the next reunion, to be held in Seattle.
Sunday we said goodbyes as each departed with promises to gather next year and renew this special bond that deepens with each passing year.The following alumni members attended the reunion for the first time:
Newell Curry's wife Lilian has been in poor health since suffering a stroke two years ago. Len Rostek and Helen were unable to attend as Helen's health precludes traveling this distance. Tom Hacker, Engineering Officer in '52, suffers from MS and could not make the trip. He sent in a generous donation to help with the treasury. Joe and Betty Navarre were moving on reunion weekend. Jim & Evelyn Honberger had a conflicting commitment. Bill Hunter, Engineering Officer aboard the Stoddard during the "Sea Dragon" Ops off North Vietnam, unable to come due to conflict with work travel commitments, sent his regards to all especially those from the Vietnam era. Les & Marilyn Funk wrote from Canada and wished they could join us and then surprised us with a call to the hotel on Sunday as we were packing to leave. Joe and Barb Reading had to cancel their reservations due to illness. Art and Lois Bishop could not make the trip to Charleston as a hurricane was threatening the Mississippi coast. Clint & Greta Coneway, Dean Qually, Bill Estes and Bill Willert all regretted having to miss this occasion; they sent their greetings and good wishes to everyone. You may want to send notes and let them know that we are thinking of them.
At the Reunion, we learned that Paul Camp underwent surgery this summer. He'll appreciate hearing from you. Lou Whitworth, wife of Don Whitworth, broke her wrist shortly after the reunion. Don is experiencing firsthand all the chores Lou took on and praying that she'll have a speedy recovery.
The following shipmates have found us, and we bid each one a warm welcome:
It is my sad duty to report that shipmate William Johannes Cook, who was on the Stoddard commissioning crew during WW II, passed away on June 15, after a long illness. Condolences may be sent to his son Frank Stephenson Cook.
MEMORABILIA & SHIPS STORE
We received many complements on the new Ship's History and Alumni Directory at the Reunion. It was the result of the effort of many contributors. As extra copies were printed, we are sending copies to all who have paid their 1998 Alumni dues. If there are errors, changes or new information, please let Secretary Marilyn know so the database will remain accurate. In particular, if your service rating and dates are not listed, we would appreciate receiving this information as there are frequent requests from shipmates interested in finding others who served during the same period.
If you have memories you wish to share, or memorabilia to contribute to the Alumni "Library," Please send them. Dale Patterson shared photographs of the ship's original commissioning in 1943, Carl Boris provided the Picture Story of the 1953 Mediterranean cruise, Ralph Moore provided "The Huksters" memory book of Task Group 70.4 (1960-61), Calton Schils provided many issues of the US Naval Institute's Proceedings. Joe Harpster contributed a pair of sound power" phones from the Stoddard. We also have enlargements of photos of the USS Stoddard in various configurations. We are working to scan some of the images onto computer storage for possible use in future publications of the Alumni. Additionally, we have a video of the Stoddard at Mare Island, taken and narrated by John Bowman, as well as a video of her sinking off the coast of Kauai. A composite video is planned and copies will be produced for those who wish to purchase a copy. More information will be forthcoming when it is ready.
The Stoddard golf shirts sporting the Tin Can Sailor crest and the USS Stoddard DD-566 identification were very popular at the reunion. We have ordered additional shirts, these are navy blue with white embroidery. They can be ordered 3t $25.00 each (sizes M, L & XL), including shipping charges. The Stoddard hats (both mesh back and fabric back styles) with embroidered ship's silhouette, are $12.00 each, including shipping. We also have some beautiful gold 2" long destroyer pins for $4.50. There are some reunion memento ceramic mugs, which are priced at $5.50 each. Additional copies of the Ship's History and Alumni Directory are $10.00. We welcome your orders. They make excellent holiday and birthday gifts! If you order right away, we will try to get the shipments out in time for your Christmas gift-giving.
Mr. Sal Olivadese sent us information on the beautiful 1ithograph of the Fletcher class destroyers from the water color original painting by artist Patrick Sullivan, available through him. The USS Stoddard hull number is hand painted in gold on the bow. Each lithograph is signed and numbered by the artist measure 1 1"x17" on 15'x21" fine artist grade paper. These are available at $24.90 each from Mr. Olivadese. We liked it so much that we purchased and framed these beautiful prints for awards at the reunion. If you are interested in ordering these, an order blank provided by Mr. Olivadese is enclosed for your convenience. You may also reach him by phone (910)606-4233.
The Reunion Memory Book is complete! We just received the proof copy and those of you who ordered them may receive your copy within the next three weeks. We are pleased to surprise you by upgrading the black and white book you ordered to COLOR! And at no additional cost to you! Jerilyn Robinson provided so many beautiful color photos that we just had to find a way to accomplish this. If you did not order during the reunion, but would like to have a copy, you can order it directly from Reunions, Inc. (800)-327-8010 (a098 Sprint Boulevard, Apopka, FL 32703). The color books are $23 each. Please specify event #98-1043. We will have a few copies of this 1998 Memory Book in the Ships Store, if you wish to order it in combination with other Ships Store items.
TREASURER 'S REPORT
Treasurer Jay Romack provided the following summary status of funds in your Alumni treasury. The ending balance reflects financial status after payment of all outstanding obligations relating to the 1998 Reunion, except for the cost of the Memory Book color upgrade.
Joe and Marilyn Harpster submit the following detailed report for the Charleston Reunion:
This is the time to renew your membership and pay your 1999 dues still $10 after 10 years, what a deal! Send payment to USS Stoddard Alumni c/o Jay Romack, Treasurer, 335 Louise Drive, Indianapolis, IN 462 1 7-4 107. If you are ordering ships store items, you may include it in your check and send to Marilyn Harpster, Secretary, 751 Intek Way, Westerville, OH 43082-9057 (ph: 614-895-0301; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
REUNION 1999 - SEATTLE HERE WE COME!
Your new President Bob Hoag has been working hard to locate a host hotel and schedule for the next Reunion. So mark your calendars for September 9-1 i, 1999 in Seattle! The program will be at the Holiday Inn a few miles from the Sea-Tac Airport. Bob would like to hear from you as to your wishes for the program. Some of the possible activities include:
Please call or write to him within the next 30 days so your input can be included as he and Caroline work to finalize the program for your enjoyment. His address is: 10956 Lathrop Lane, Silverdale, WA 98383, Ph: 360-698-7592, Fax: 360-396-2879, e-mail: email@example.com.
We are working on the "add-on" tour of Hawaii for those who would like to take advantage of the travel to the west coast and "hop-over" to Hawaii for a week after the Reunion. We plan to include the islands of Oahu and Hawaii (the Big Island), and maybe either Maul or Kauai. If you have an interest to take this extended vacation, please let us know as we will provide information and mailing on this "side trip" only to those who indicate an interest to facilitate communication and minimize cost of correspondence.
MESSAGE FROM JOE & MARILYN HARPSTER
We want to thank everyone who came to the Reunion to make it the success that it was. So many of you wrote, sent cards, phoned or e-mailed to let us know that you had a good time. The generous gift check you gave Joe was used to purchase a hand -held Global Positioning System, a Garmin III. It arrived just as we were leaving to take our cruiser, Harvest Moon, from Charleston, SC to Jacksonville Fl., so it was immediately put to use. It is very much appreciated, and was so thoughtful of you. We enjoy serving the Alumni not only because ship's memories are special, but also because we have met so many sincere and fun-loving people and made wonderful friends through these Reunions! Please spread the word, find long lost shipmates, come and celebrate with all the Alumni. Although Joe passes the baron for leading the group to Bob Hoag, your new president for 1999, he will continue to stay active and involved with the activities of the organization. Marilyn continues to serve as your Secretary and will take care of the organization's communications. This is your association, please keep involved and let us hear from you!
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