2005 Reunion Summary


APRIL 21-24, 2005

In overall summary, there were 90 shipmates and a total of 182 present at this reunion. All were not present at the same time since some attended the Memorial Service only, some attended only one other event and others attended the Banquet only. This was a very well attended reunion and stands out as one of the best attended.

The reunion commenced on Thursday, April 21, 2005 with 101 attending a Murder Mystery Theater. A good time was had by all, a fine dinner was served and a comedy/mystery was presented. Only one of our company present correctly identified the victim, the perpetrator and the weapon. His "expertise" earned him a bottle of wine.

On Friday the 22nd 144 went to the USS NEW JERSEY BB62, where we had a Memorial Service to remember the 300 known shipmates that have gone on before us. We were honored to have three widows there along with their family members. Upon conclusion of the Memorial Service we had conducted tours of the NEW JERSEY and enjoyed lunch in the mess hall. On the return trip to the hotel we stopped at Penn's Landing to visit the Korean and Vietnam War Memorials.

A business meeting was held in the hospitality room at 4:00 P.M. on Friday after our return from the USS NEW JERSEY. Mike Pollack opened the meeting with a report of his Familiarization Conference (FAMCON) in Branson, MO that was sponsored by The Reunion Network (TRN). He presented a brief on rooms, shows and banquet facilities at Branson after which he introduced Brian Forrester from Cruise Holidays of Scottsdale, AZ who was recommended by TRN. Mr. Forrester made a presentation and encouraged us to consider a cruise for our next reunion. Frank Hawkins gave a brief Treasurer's report; a complete report will be published in the next SCOOP that includes receipts and expenditures for this reunion. Mike Kranack gave a report on the Ship's Store, and encouraged shipmates and families to visit the Ship's Store and make purchases. He has sold out on some sizes but will be reordering after returning home. Ship's Store purchases can also be made by mail. Historian Jim Hawker gave a brief report. Secretary/Registrar Gene Blum reported that 40 men have been found and added to our Active Roster since the October 2003 reunion in Louisville. Most of them were found through our website www.usssoley.org and reunion notices published in military magazines and newspapers in large cities throughout the country. Gene also reported that 50 men were added to our Deceased Roster since the Louisville reunion. Most of those added were also reported as a result of a friend or family member visiting our website and finding their friend, husband, father, or uncle on our Missing Roster.

Officers for the next reunion in the fall of 2006 were elected. They are:

Reunion Coordinator: Mike Pollack
Ass't. Reunion Coordinator: Don Guevin
Treasurer Frank Hawkins
Ass't Treasurer Gene Blum
Ship's Store Operator: Mike Kranack
Ass't Ship's Store Operator: Mel Gilmore
Historian: Jim Hawker
Ass't Historian: Ray Tidd
SCOOP Editor: Ed. Bryan
Ass't SCOOP Editor: Tom Cooke
Secretary/Registrar: Gene Blum
Ass't Secretary/Registrar: Bill Prince

From a total of 9 sites nominated for the next reunion, 3 were selected for final consideration. The 3 sites are: A Reunion Cruise; Savannah, GA; and San Antonio, TX. The Committee will make the final selection after Mike Pollack has completed his site visit to Savannah and San Antonio and completes his research on a reunion cruise.

A motion was made, seconded and passed to contribute $1,000.00 to Tin Can Sailors. A suggestion was made to include the City and State on Name Badges for future reunions. There being no more business the meeting was adjourned.

Saturday the 23rd 126 toured Historic Philadelphia and had lunch at the City Tavern. The tour took us to visit the Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell pavilion, the National Constitution Center, Christ Church and the City Tavern. This was a great history lesson for all present.

The morning of Sunday, April 24th 81 toured Longwood Gardens via Valley Forge National Park. Longwood Gardens is a renowned pleasure garden developed by Pierre S. DuPont with garden rooms displaying many varieties from desert plants to orchids and many seasonal plantings. In the afternoon, the group split up and 37 toured the QVC home shopping studio while 44 visited the Helicopter Museum that houses a historic collection of helicopters from the early autogiros to the prototype of the Osprey.

Sunday evening 164 joined together for a cocktail hour at 6 PM and dinner at 7 PM at the Host Hotel. We were pleased to have Rear Admiral Jeff Fowler, Commander of the Navy Recruiting Command join us for dinner. As the Navy's Chief Recruiter, he leads a team of 7,200 recruiters throughout the Nation. This team takes great pride in having met their assigned active enlisted mission, or goals for the past 44 consecutive months. A 1978 Naval Academy graduate from North Dakota and career Submarine Officer, the Admiral has extensive service, in both fleet ballistic missile and attack boats, including command of the USS CHARLOTTE. Real Admiral Fowler holds numerous awards including the Defense Superior Service Medal. Rear Admiral Fowler is the son of Clem and Arlys Fowler. Clem served in SOLEY from 1948-1953.

RDML Fowler provided information about his childhood when he heard his father talking about the travels of the SOLEY and he came to know several shipmates his father served with as well as the families of those shipmates. He also gave us some insight into the "modern" Navy and the requirements that those volunteering must meet. His message to us can be found elsewhere in the SCOOP.

Upon conclusion of the meal we recognized several shipmates and others present. They were:

Plank Owners: Vince Hoffman, Michael Masciola, Fred Perkins, Al Schowalter and
Perry Shelton.
Members of the last Crew in 1970: Frank Hawkins and Robert Wolak
Shipmates attending their first reunion: William Jannie, Christy Christ, Lee Trautman,
Dennis Brooks, Carl Gettel, Ed Creter, Everett Overman, Jim Cardwell.
Charles Bruce, Robert Wolak, Roy Harvey and Thomas Nolan, Jr.
Shipmates attending the most reunions; this was their 10th: Werner Bierbach, Keith
Peterson, Gene Blum, Thomas Bowen, and Frank Hawkins.
Widows of SOLEY shipmates present at this reunion are: Joanne Broderick,
Ernestine Eble and Helene Wallace. These ladies were presented with
Lone Sailor pins to wear in remembrance and in honor of their husbands
who served their country and the SOLEY with dignity and honor.

Upon conclusion of the above presentations we had drawings for door prizes, raffle prizes, the grand prizes and a 50/50 drawing. The Reunion Committee extends a hearty THANK YOU to everyone that brought items for the raffle and door prizes and those that took charge and recorded all items brought as well as items awarded at this reunion. There were so many items donated that every shipmate present at the banquet received a door prize after which dozens of raffle prizes were won. The raffle items brought by members of our Association add significantly to our treasury and enable us to conduct Association business and prepare for the next reunion to be held in approximately 18 months. Again-THANK YOU ONE AND ALL!!!

Everyone present had a GREAT time, the Host Hotel, Doubletree Guest Suites, was a beautiful facility, the rooms and service were wonderful, the tour company did a great job and all enjoyed their stay.