2017 USS McKean Reunion – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Reunion Recap by Joe Winkel
WHAT A WONDERFUL 2017 USS MCKEAN REUNION IT WAS – From Sept. 22 through Sept. 24, 2017, twenty of our shipmates and their spouses, significant others, and family met in Minneapolis for another great reunion. What a wonderful time we had!
On Fri., Sept., 22 we all arrived from our homes coast to coast. We met, mingled, got reacquainted with friends from prior reunions, and met first-time reunion attendees. Our hospitality suite at the Crown Plaza Hotel was the Presidential suite plus an interconnected, adjoining suite. These were really nice “digs”. The sea stories lasted late into the evening before we called it a day.
On Sat., Sept. 23 we all met in the hotel to begin a busy day of sightseeing and fun. Most of us boarded our coach while some of us followed in our own vehicles. Our 1st stop was the Ft. Snelling National Cemetery to remember and honor our McKean shipmates who have “crossed the bar”. This year was very special. After the reading of our shipmate’s names and the ringing of a ship’s bell, the Ft. Snelling All-Volunteer Memorial Rifle Squad provided a 3-gun salute and a pair of buglers played taps. It was an incredibly moving experience. We then re-boarded the coach for an outstanding guided tour of the national cemetery. The tour was narrated by the assistant director of the cemetery.
Then we visited Ft. Snelling itself. From the 1820s until 1994, Ft Snelling served the US Army well. It is a wonderful mixture of restored and original structures and walls with history oozing from every gun port. We got a feeling of what army life might have been like in the 19th century.
Now for lunch. We boarded the coach for a drive through downtown Minneapolis and past the new Minnesota Vikings Stadium on our way to the Old Spaghetti Factory. A delicious “low calorie, low carbohydrate” Italian lunch was enjoyed by all before moving on to our next venue; the Minnesota History Center in St Paul. The highlights were large, expansive, wonderfully done exhibits of both WW I and WW II. This was a real treat.
We made one last stop before returning to the hotel. This was at the Veteran Memorials located at the State Capitol Complex in St. Paul, Minn. Here we visited the “USS Ward Gun”. It is a naval 4 /50 gun that was mounted atop the USS Ward’s midships deckhouse, on the starboard side. On December 7, 1941, the gun was manned by St. Paul reservists on the U.S.S. Ward. A Japanese Midget Submarine was fired upon and subsequently sank. This was the first shot by Americans at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, hours before the attack on Hawaii. The gun on display is the actual gun and not a replica. Countless pictures were taken by everyone.
Back to the hotel were we had dinner on our own and then we all met for the Reunion Association’s general business meeting followed by a fun-packed auction of attendee-provided items. At the meeting we:
- Welcomed all attendees
- Recognized our 8 1st time reunion attendees
- Acknowledged the USS McKean Reunion Assoc. team who keep the Assoc. going
- We discussed several approaches to determining where the next reunion will be
- Meeting adjourned
Now for the fun! For the 3rd reunion in a row, Gene Henrickson (BT3, 65-68) and Mike Colby (IC3, 65¬67) conducted the auction. They were fun and entertaining and made it easy for us to part with our money. More money was raised than at any other reunion for the Association’s coffers. Gene and Mike, thank you so much for treating us to an evening of laughter and fun.
On Sun., Sept. 24 a group attended church at the Ft. Snelling Chapel. We enjoyed the offerings and sights of the Minneapolis and St. Paul area for the remainder of the day until we met again for photos at 16:30. After photos were taken we moved to the banquet room for a very good plated dinner.
Our banquet was capped off by a very thought provoking presentation by Jim Johns promoting his book “Reassessing Pearl Harbor”. John is retired from Army Aviation with 36 years as an active pilot. He has, along with a partner, restored 13 military WW II aircraft to flying condition. Four of these aircraft are in National Museums.
After dinner most of us met for the last time in the hospitality suite, told our last “sea” stories and said our good-byes until the next reunion. So ended our 2017 USS McKean Reunion.
A BIG THANK YOU TO GENE AND KATHY HENRICKSON
Selecting the venue for our reunions does not happen by itself. Finding appropriate hotels, transportation, and attractions for us to visit take time (lots of time) and energy (lots of energy). Gene (BT3, 65-68) and Kathy Henrickson were the 2 people who gave of their time and energy for our 2017 reunion. When Gene experienced a few medical challenges along the way, Kathy jumped in and carried on. They were truly a team. Gene and Kathy, thank you so very, very much. Your efforts gave us a wonderful 2017 reunion in Minneapolis.
2017 Reunion Attendees - Minneapolis, Minnesota
|John & LaVon||Bishop||FTG2||1964-1966|
|Mike & Judy||Colby||IC3||1965-1967|
|Carol & Scott|
(Irwin's wife & son)
|Eugene & Kathy||Henrickson||BT3||1965-1968|
|Chuck & Sandra||Horvath||FT2||1957-1961|
|Bill & Donna||Opalka||BT2||1953-1956|
|Dan & Sharon||Richie||BT2||1980-1981|
|Bruce & Sandi||Rieland||1978-1981|
|Donna & Debbie|
(Marv's wife & daughter)
|Chuck & Shirley||Stark||BM3||1964-1966|
|James & Caroline||Sullivan, Jr.||LTjg||1965-1968|
|John & Marian||Thompson||MM2||1954-1958|
|Adam & (Jim, Susan, & Jean)||Winovitch||BR/C||1952-1956|
|Frank / Linda Sue||Wright||MM3||1955-1957|
2015 USS McKean Reunion – Indianapolis, Indiana
Reunion Recap by Joe Winkel
Our 2015 reunion in Indianapolis, IN took place from Friday Sept. 25th through Sunday Sept. 27th. It was a great success. If you thought of attending but did not attend, you “missed the boat”. A special “Thank you” goes to Mike Colby (IC3, 65-67) and most likely his wife, Judy. They did the heavy lifting by selecting our hotel, the sites we visited and for all the negotiations that are needed for any reunion to be affordable and successful. He did a yeoman’s job. Thank you so much Mike!!!
We had 17 shipmates and 15 guests in attendance. The weather was great as it seems to be most of the time for our reunions. The hotel accommodations, hospitality room and dinner were a hit and pleased us all.
On Friday, 9/25, we arrived and checked into the hotel. We reacquainted ourselves with old shipmates and friends or met first time attending shipmates and their spouses/guests. That night a large group of us went to dinner at the nearby Union Jack Speedway Pub, where we enjoyed good food and each other. We returned to the hospitality room and continued our comradery late into the evening.
On Saturday 9/26, we started the day’s events by conducting the memorial ceremony at the hotel. We then went by bus to the Indiana State Museum and the IMAX Theater in downtown Indianapolis. Many of us watched a wonderful movie in 3D called Galapagos: Nature’s Wonderland. I think we all would have gotten on a plane go there if we could have. Then we went for lunch to one of the most famous and frequented eating establishments in the area: Shapiro’s Delicatessen and Cafeteria. It has been there since 1905 and was absolutely delicious. Lunch was followed by another short bus ride to the Indiana History Center. We viewed many exhibits and then either relaxed on patio chairs to watch the goings on of the Central Canal, while others of us, walked along the canal and saw the real beauty of that historic waterway. After dinner, we held our association meeting and auction. As they did in Portland in 2013, Gene Henrickson (BT3, 65-68) and Mike Colby (IC3, 65-67) conducted the auction. Once again they were a hit and made it fun to part with our money. Gene and Mike, thank you so much again for the entertainment.
On Sunday 9/27, we each spent the day in our own way attending churches, visiting friends and taking in some of the many sites in and around Indianapolis. Afterwards, group and couples pictures were taken at the hotel. That was followed by our reunion dinner, which was delicious.
Our guest speaker’s presentation was one of the most energetic and entertaining that we have ever had. Duane Ott is an inspirational speaker. Duane’s presentation was spirited and engaging as took us on a historical walk through our early American history as told by our most popular American flags. It was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.
After dinner most of us met for the last time in the hospitality room and told our last “sea” stories and said our good-byes until the next reunion. On Monday morning, many of us gathered one last time for breakfast and some more goodbyes.
2015 Reunion Attendees - Indianapolis, Indiana
|Bishop||John / LaVon||FTG2||1964-1966|
|Crawford||John (Moose) / Marilyn||SFM2||1964-1967|
|Deters||Don / Barbara||BT2/C||1954-1957|
|Grau||Irwin / Carol / Scott - son||BT3/C||1956-1957|
|Henrickson||Gene / Kathy||BT3/C||1965-1968|
|Hoehn||Paul / Nancy||FT 3/C||1950-1952|
|Horvath||Chuck / Sandra||FT 2/C||1957-1961|
|Price||John / Sylvia Little||QM 3/C||1950-1952|
|Thomson||John / Marian||MM2/C||1954-1958|
|Winovitch||Adam / Ann||BR/C||1952-1956|
|Wright||Frank / Linda Sue||MM3||1955-1957|
|Kessler||Pat / Wife of Don||FT2||1957-1961|
Miscellaneous photos – Setup for Saturday morning Memorial Service, Indiana State Museum, lunch at Shapiro’s Delicatessen, History Center, Sunday Banquet and speaker Duane Ott’s “Threads of Liberty” presentation.
The American Spirit – Early version of the Duane Ott presentation
Threads of Liberty – video shown after the presentation
Reunion Recap by Joe Winkel
Our 2013 reunion in Portland, OR was a huge success. Hats off to Sharon Disciascio (Pete, BTC, 52-56) for her work to select the hotel and the activities. She did a first class job and was a gracious hostess. Thank you, Sharon.
We had 21 shipmates and 20 guests in attendance. The weather cooperated as we had very little rain for a location that normally experiences a lot of it. The hotel accommodations, hospitality room, and services were 1st class.
On Friday, 9/20, most of us checked into the hotel and got reacquainted with or met for the first time our shipmates and their spouses/guests. That night most of the group had dinner together at Salty’s Seafood Grill on the Columbia River. It was an impromptu dinner organized by Sharon Disciascio. A great dinner was had by all.
On Saturday 9/21, we conducted a memorial ceremony at the hotel. We then went by bus to the Spirit Mountain Casino in Grand Ronde and had a buffet lunch from a very large selection of food. Several shipmates didn’t want the calories so they took their chances in the gaming rooms. From the casino we went to the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville. Our guided tour included the Hughes Flying Boat (Spruce Goose), a B-17 Flying Fortress, and many other vintage aircraft. After dinner, we held our association meeting and auction. Gene Henrickson (BT3, 65-68) and Mike Colby (IC3, 65- 67) conducted the auction and what a team they made. Just watching them was worth the price of the trip to Portland. Gene and Mike, thank you for the entertainment.
Reunion Recap by Chuck Horvath
The 8th USS McKean ship’s reunion was held on Sept. 23-25, 2011 in Branson, MO. We had 34 shipmates and 27 guests. We had mostly the regular attending shipmates but did pick up 6 new shipmates who had never before attended the reunion. We were glad to see our old friends and make some new friends. We had great weather during the reunion. A hospitality room was open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a continental breakfast served on Sat. and Sun.
After considering comments from previous reunions, we decided to have all the tours, the auction and the meeting on Saturday. This seemed to work better for everyone but crammed a lot of activity into one day. Our tours started at the Veterans Memorial Museum. There were loads of military items to view as well as impressive bronze statues of military personnel. There were memorials to those who gave their lives for our freedom. The memorial service to honor our McKean shipmates who made their last deployment was held in the beautiful gardens on the Branson Belle Showboat grounds. Miss Belle a gracious lady dressed in old southern style garb hosted the service. All the names of the departed shipmates were read and a ship’s bell was rung after each name. The bell furnished by the Branson Belle facility is an actual destroyer ship’s bell. After the service we went aboard the Showboat for some great music during a good meal and then some excellent entertainment. We got to stand on deck and view the area while the boat cruised the lake. The tours ended at the Branson Landing, an outdoor mall. A fun time was had by everyone at the Saturday night auction.
Peter and Sharon Disciascio will plan and host the 2013 McKean reunion in Portland, OR.
We had a great banquet on Sunday night. Our speaker was Dr. Todd Baker, MD, an Army Major who headed the Baghdad military emergency room with a medical team who saved the lives of 96% of all incoming wounded. A raffle was held for shipmates only and the reunion was officially over. We said our goodbyes to all our friends until 2013.
Reunion Recap by John Thomson
The USS McKEAN reunion was held Sept. 25th – 28th in the beautiful coastal city of Charleston, SC. There were 56 shipmates and guests in attendance. The hotel was conveniently located at the foot of the new cable-stayed Arthur Ravenel Bridge in Mt. Pleasant, SC overlooking the Charleston harbor. From this point you could see the old City, the USS Yorktown CV-10, Fort Johnson, and Fort Moultrie. Fort Moultrie was the site of the first victory of the American Revolution. Fort Johnson is the site of the first shot of the civil war (or the war of northern aggression).
What this group of shipmates may have lacked in physical stamina they made up in enthusiasm. It is amazing how their memories are so keen of incidences of embarrassing moments of other shipmates 60 years ago but cannot remember a grocery list of one item the wife needs from the store. Our reunion started with an enthusiastic gathering on Friday night in the hospitality room. Needless to say the stories told were many and varied and all were the absolute truth. We boarded three buses on Saturday morning at 8:30 AM for a historic, guided tour of the old city of Charleston. At 11:00 AM we arrived at the USS Yorktown and a memorable lunch in the Chief Petty Officers Galley. The metal trays were familiar but the pretty young female mess cooks were a little strange for us old tin can sailors. We held our memorial service onboard in the hanger bay for those of our known deceased. I’m sure we remembered some of our other shipmates who were ill or have other problems. The memorial service is always a very moving event for me. As I surveyed our group I did not see anyone who was getting younger. I hope that we can encourage some of our later generation to keep this tradition going. After the service we had until 4:00 PM to tour the Yorktown. The Medal O Honor exhibit was a sobering experience, to read each presentation of the sacrifices of those who gave their all for our nation’s freedom.
Sunday was an opportunity for visiting some of our many churches, shopping at the old market in Charleston; some also visited the Confederate submarine Hanley and Fort Moultrie. It was also a time to rest for others. The banquet followed the group picture taking event at 5:00 PM. From all accounts the food was delicious, the room was spacious, and the hotel staff did an excellent job in setting the theme with the decorations.
Afterwards came our auction and we had a large number of donated treasures that were auctioned off professionally by our own Don Kessler. This raised much needed funds to help with our reunion expenses. Last came our business meeting at which time Charles Horvath our fearless leader resigned but volunteered to coordinate our next reunion to be held in Branson, MO in 2011. Joe Winkel agreed to replace Charles as our new leader.
I would like to thank Charles, Joe, and Don for their leadership and also for their help in assisting me in the planning for this year’s reunion. I, also, want to thank those who attended and made it a very successful and enjoyable experience.
Happy sailing, may God bless you and hope to see you all again in Branson.
Reunion Recap by Chuck Horvath
The 2007 McKean Reunion was held at the Ramada City Centre in Milwaukee on Friday Sept. 14 thru Sunday Sept. 16. The reunion was well organized by reunion planner Marvin Saugstad. Several shipmates arrived Thursday to get preparations started. A hospitality room was opened and early registration was started on Friday. Coffee, tea, soft drinks and snacks were available throughout the reunion in the hospitality room. All attendees received registration packets that contained city and area information as well as a McKean Roster and a booklet titled ” U.S. Navy Destroyers Lost or Damaged During WWII “.
The hotel provided a free continental breakfast on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday mornings which was well attended. A total of 25 Shipmates and 21 guests attended the reunion. A bus tour of Milwaukee was conducted Saturday morning and the bus driver was also the owner of the bus company. He was very knowledgeable about the city and drove to places of interest that a person would not usually see. We had an excellent lunch in Friday’s at Miller Park, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers ball team. Our tour concluded at Greenfield Village the home of Reimer’s Printing Company and Country Living Magazine. Everyone enjoyed this stop with the ladies doing most of the shopping. During the free time attendees shopped at the local mall and ate at restaurants which were within walking distance. Others went down to the River Walk or drove to stores in the city. Group pictures were taken by Techno Services LLC on Sunday.
Our Memorial Service was held just prior to the banquet dinner on Sunday to honor our shipmates who have made their final deployment. The Rev. Dr. Kevin Tarvid, Pastor of the Greenfield Ave. Presbyterian Church did the Invocation at the Memorial Service and also said Grace before the meal. More excellent food was available than could be consumed.
LCDR Mark Stewart, Commanding Officer Navy Operational Support Center, Green Bay, WI was our speaker after dinner. He compared the McKean era with current naval ships and was well prepared and knowledgeable of all eras. He brought navy pencils and Navy Reserve pins for all attendees. John Thomson volunteered to plan the next reunion in the Charleston, SC area in mid October 2009. Don Kessler was again the auctioneer for our auction and again managed to get every dollar possible for each of the many items. I was even bidding against myself at times. We concluded our reunion on Monday morning and said our goodbyes. This was another successful reunion and we are looking forward to the Charleston reunion in 2009.
Reunion Recap by Chuck Horvath
The McKean Buffalo Reunion was a great success thanks mainly to Bob Tokarczyk who did most of the planning and footwork. We had a lot of people helping at the reunion which also contributed to one of the best reunions that I have ever attended and I have been at the last four. I would have liked to have named everyone who helped but I feared I would miss someone so thanks to everyone that helped. Volunteers always make everything go smoother and unburden those who have the prime responsibilities.
We had 25 shipmates and 24 guests. We were expecting a larger turnout because this was the 60th anniversary of the McKean’s commissioning and we planned some extra events. All those attending received a McKean anniversary mug and a McKean patch. Our speaker, LT CMDR Wiggs, also gave everyone gifts. The small group allowed me to talk to all the shipmates and most of the guests. The banquet was outstanding as well as the tours. Old acquaintances were renewed and new friends acquired. Based on the comments and subsequent letters that I have received, everyone had a great time. We regret that we could not share this event with more shipmates and guests.
The shipmates voted to hold the next reunion in 2007. We found that an annual reunion did not give us enough time to accurately plan the reunion. Bob did an excellent job using some guesswork because we weren’t sure how many would be attending due to late reservations. We really needed more time because hotels require this information months in advance. When you sign a hotel contract you have to pay for all reserved rooms and banquet dinners even if some people don‘t show up. The Association doesn’t want to risk this happening again in the future. We were pleased that Marv Saugstad volunteered to plan the next ship’s reunion to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in September 2007.
Reunion Recap by Don Kessler
Our 2004 Reunion is now a fond memory. Those shipmates that couldn’t make it to San Diego, CA this past October missed a good one. I won’t be summarizing the reunion here as the 2004 Reunion Chairman, Dick Shaw, will be doing that either in this newsletter or the one coming out during the first quarter of 2005. I do want to cover a couple of items that were decided during the business meeting held on the final day of the reunion. If you haven’t already heard, I am passing the mantle of association chairmanship after serving for the past four years. I would like to thank everyone for allowing me to serve as your association chairman. I have enjoyed working with all of you. In particular there is one person who I would like to publicly thank. Everyone knows her, but I’m not sure everyone fully appreciates the things she does for the association. I’m talking about Donna Gardner who has been publishing the newsletter, maintaining our website, and putting together all the name tags/reunion materials for the past four years. Prior to my stepping down I wish I could award her a medal, but the best I can do is give her a well-deserved “Bravo Zulu” (USN speak for Job Well Done).
We have a shipmate that stepped forward during the meeting and is now our new association chairman. His name is Charles (Chuck) Horvath. I had the honor of serving with Chuck aboard the McKean for three and one-half years from 1957 through 1961. We were then and have remained friends ever since. I am sure Chuck will take our association in new and improved directions.
Reunion 2002 Recap by Dave Carlson
Thirty-nine McKean shipmates and thirty-eight guests met in Newport, Rhode Island from Saturday October 19, 2002 to Tuesday morning October 22, 2002. We were honored to have Captain Glenn Gaddis with us for this reunion. Glenn is a “Plank Owner” and was the yeoman aboard the McKean from 1945 to 1948. The most recent shipmate was John Grohs who was aboard from 1970 to 1972. Almost half of the attendees began their tours in the late 1940s.
The reunion got underway on Saturday morning. The plan had been to start in the afternoon, but several folks arrived Friday evening, or Saturday morning. We spent the afternoon signing in, getting organized and meeting new and old shipmates. The “sea stories” began immediately. Glenn Gaddis brought along a copy of the McKean`s first day log. We had old photos, cruise books and other assorted memorabilia to remind us of those times. The last time I checked on the hospitality room, at 10:30 PM, the stories were still being told.
On Saturday morning, a beautiful New England fall day, sixty-three of us boarded busses to Fall River, MA to visit Battleship Cove. Battleship Cove has the country`s most complete collection of American World War II Navy ships including the battleship USS Massachusetts, the submarine Lionfish, destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy and two PT Boats. The Kennedy is the only existing Gearing class destroyer, as was the McKean. Both ships did under go the Navy FRAM program, the McKean in 1964. We attended a very moving memorial service on the fantail of the battleship. We had two chaplains from the Navy Chaplin School and a color guard from the local Marine Cadet organization. All of the names of the known deceased McKean crew were read aloud by the chaplains. The service was followed by a buffet luncheon in the wardroom of the Massachusetts. Most of us then went aboard the Kennedy and other ships in the museum.
Back in Newport, we gathered again, some of us actually in ties, and posed for the official reunion photo. We expect to publish this on the McKean Web site. However, those who were not at the reunion will be able to purchase the photo. Contact me for details. The formal banquet was held in the dining room of the Mainstay Inn. We enjoyed a delicious buffet, which included Scrod, Chicken Breast and Roast Beef. Glenn Gaddis shared some of his early experiences aboard the brand new McKean. He was both informative and humorous. Glenn’s presence at this reunion was an added feature and we hope he can continue to attend future meetings. Captain Frank Snyder was our featured speaker. Captain Snyder is a research specialist at the War College and he reviewed the development of the destroyers over the years and explained the role and mission of today’s destroyers. I don’t know how long the hospitality room stayed open that night.
Monday morning, another nice day, provided opportunities to sightsee, shop or rest. Two tours were available. One bunch toured around Newport seeing some of the famous Newport Mansions, ending at the Navy War College and Museum. They also had lunch at the War College. The second group took the Historic Boston Tour. This group was treated to some of the places involved in the American Revolution. In spite of news to the contrary, the group was able to board the USS Constitution, or “Old Ironsides” This was the highlight for most on this trip.
After dinner, the regular association meeting was held, chaired by Don Kessler. There will be additional information about the meeting, but we did decide to hold the next reunion in San Diego, CA in the fall of 2004. Those of you who live in the area should consider helping the organization assemble a committee. We will be looking for a chairperson, or persons. If you are able, please consider giving Don a call.
The regular meeting was followed by the now traditional auction. Thanks to many very generous contributions, the organization was able to add about $500.00 to the treasury. I regret I do not have all the names of those who were able to contribute items, but we are certainly grateful. The hospitality room stayed open until ?????.
The men who helped plan this reunion with me are Peter Trespas, Bill Mckenzie and John “JJ” Flynn. However, we could not have pulled this off with out Donna Gardner and Joe Hebert. We also would not have had as much fun without every one of you and your guests. Your attendance and support is appreciated.
We all look forward to reassembling in San Diego in 2004.
Photos Courtesy of Don Kessler
Tall tales and remember whens have come to an end once again. The second reunion of the USS McKean DD/DDR 784 saw about 40 shipmates from almost all eras of the McKean’s history come together in the lovely bay area, during Fleet Week. This may have been a coincidence, but a perfect one as the sight of the ships in the bay and the air shows over San Francisco made the incredibly long waits for transportation bearable.
The banquet was held on board the impressive aircraft carrier USS Hornet, and those who wanted to toured the ship. Allen McKean, executive director of the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation, was the featured speaker. He informed us that a petition is being circulated to have a newly commissioned ship named McKean. More details on that, and on how YOU can help, will follow shortly.
Some decisions were made regarding the association and the next reunion. Don Kessler will continue heading up the association. Joe Hebert will act as treasurer. Gene Henrickson will coordinate future quarterly newsletters. (Everyone is invited to contribute to the newsletter.) Donna Gardner, now an honorary shipmate, will continue on administratively.
Those in attendance voted to hold the next reunion in Falls River, Mass. in 2002. There are no coordinators as of yet, but we will be recruiting shipmates in the area.
The following shipmates attended the reunion. Family members and friends also attended.
Left to right:
First row: Chuck Horvath, Dick Brown, Clint Prescott, Jack Ekvall, Bob Hancock, Vince Pappalardo, Vernon Schmidt, Wayne Smith, Marvin Saugstad.
Second row: Hal Cushing, Bob Tokarczyk, Mike Colby, Joe Hebert, Jerry Weeks, John Wilkerson, Gene Henrickson, Brooks Medford, Bill Hatzel, Dewey Walker, Ted Chelson.
Third row: Pete Thompson, Don Hudnall, Thomas Wattle, Carlton Smith, Bo Bohannan, Earl Moore, Gordon Bundy, Al Reinhold, Dave Richardson, Jim Runyan, Jack Melvin, Gary Bowman, Darrell Carpenter.
Fourth row: Irwin Grau, Jack Moon, Marvin Hoy, Virgil Weese, Leonard Mendonca, Don Kessler
Left to right:
First row: Barb Runyan, JoAnn Hebert, Kathy Thomas, Linda Wesely, Iris Mendonca, Rosie Cushing, Jacquelinee Jurik, Mary Brown.
Second row: Marilyn Boehnke, Phyllis Tokarczyk, Gary Hebert, Sandie Hebert, Bev Ekvall, JoAnn Walker, Shirley Moore, Syble Bohannan, Celia Medford, Donna Gardner, Shirley Hudnall.
Third row: Pat Kessler, Carol Grau, Margo Williams, Virginia Weese, Paula Hoy, Bonnie Richardson, Kathy Henrickson, Earlene Bundy, Carolyn Brown, Rick Brown, Nick Gardner, Sandy Horvath.
Fourth row:Donna Saugstad, Lorraine Melvin, Karol Gonzales.
The very first ever reunion of the US McKean DD/DDR 784 was held Sept. 25-28, 1999 in Baton Rouge, La. with Bob Hancock as reunion coordinator. Amid lots of laughter and lots of tears, former shipmates from all years came together for four fun-filled nostalgic days. One attendee, Plank owner Clint Prescott, has the distinct honor of being present for the commissioning and the de-commissioning. Gracing our meeting room was an American flag which waved proudly over the capitol in Washington, D.C. on 9/9/99 in honor of the USS McKean’s first reunion. The McKean served her country for 36 years, from 1945 to 1981.
The first evening was spent renewing aquaintence with old friend and making new friends. Then, the fun began. Sunday morning was spent remembering when…tall tales, misadventures, and poignant recollections filled the morning. As someone pointed out, it was the crews that made the McKean the gallant vessel she was, and this was very evident as her spirit came alive with each story.
Later that day, there was a tour of the US KIDD DD681, a ship similar to the McKean berthed in Baton Rouge. Each of the crew was piped aboard via a flag-lined gangplank and a moving, tear-evoking memorial service was held aboard the ship to honor those known shipmates who have died and gone to sail calmer seas. A bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace, accompanied by vocals from shipmates and their guests, followed by the plaintive playing of Taps and the firing of three shots from the KIDD ended the ceremony. Some time was spent touring the ship and a wreath-laying ceremony ended the tour.
A banquet of wonderful Cajun food and entertainment capped off this very busy day. The next day began with more story-telling and there was free time until that night when the auction was held. Items donated by the generous attendees were auctioned off to help defray expenses for the reunion and it must have been the most fun auction ever! Almost $1,000 was raised. Thanks to all who participated.
The last day began with a general business session and some tentative decisions were made. An invitation from Allan McKean, great-great-great nephew of the original Commodore McKean to hold the next reunion in Alameda, CA, and his offer to help with logistics was approved. Then, with teary good-byes and promises to keep in touch, the reunion “recessed” until next year.
The following shipmates attended the reunion. Family members and friends also attended.
|• Bogacz, Ed
• Bohannan, W. R. (Bo)
• Bowman, Gary
• Braswell, Hinton
• Colby, Mike
• Couch, Ernie
• Cushing, Hal
• Deters, Don
• Egger, Louis
• Ekvall, Jack
• Eletto, John
• Ford, Boh
• Frisk, Bill
• Grau, Irwin
• Hancock, Bob
• Hay, Hugh
• Hebert, Joe
• Henrickson, Eugene
• Hood, Dave
• Hudnall, Don
• Ingram, Larry
• Jenstad, Erek
• Kadolph, Larry
• Kessler, Don
• Kummer, Art
• Landefeld, Lou
|• McGregor, Don
• McKenzie, Bill
• Medford, Brooks
• Mellenthin, Dan
• Melvin, John
• Moon, Jack
• Moore, Earl
• Newman, Verner
• Nickels, Richard
• Pappalardo, vincent
• Pickens, Weldon
• Plunk, Joe
• Prescott, Clint
• Price, John
• Reinhold, Allen
• Rymer, Art
• Schmidt, Vernon
• Sirls, Bill
• Thompson, Alton
• Thomson, John
• Tokayczyk, Bob
• Trespas, Peter
• Weeks, Gerald
• Weese, Virgil
• Welch, Charles
• Whitehead, David