Dealeys Chairman’s Message Reunion 2000
Our second annual reunion was held, the last weekend in September, on the shores of Lake George at the Fort William
Henry Resort. The weather in upstate NY was clear and cool to start but warmed up as the weekend progressed. We were all so
involved in swapping sea stories and meeting old friends that no one really noticed. We
conducted a business meeting on Saturday afternoon. I reopened, for discussion, the 1999 selection of Charleston SC as the
location of our next reunion site in 2001. The shipmates agreed that we should put off the Charleston location until 2002.
They selected Norfolk VA as the preferred location for the 2001. Bob Kitchen USS Lester 1957-59 was elected chairman for the
next reunion and John Fry USS Hartley 1962-65 for the Charleston reunion in 2002.
The shipmate response was
beyond expectations as we had 148 shipmates and guest at the banquet Saturday night. All nine ships of the Cortron were represented.
had several distinguished shipmates speak. Capt. Grant Walker CO of the USS Joseph K Taussig DE 1030 1961-63, spoke about
all the admirals that came from the DE Navy. He and Capt. Edgar Cocke CO of the USS John Willis DE 1027 1960-62, also indicated
how proud they were to be back among the troops and that they considered their tour of CO as a highlight in their careers.
Capt. Cocke reviewed the heroic actions of Pharmacist’s Mate First Class John Harlan Willis (the ship’s name sake)
at Iwo Jima, which resulted in the award of the Medal of Honor. His widow, Mrs. Willis followed in addressing the shipmates
indicating she was very pleased with our organization and from now on, we would be considered “her boys”.
Maury Werth, Cortron 14 Commander 1958-60, who retired in 1970, provided many of us with an in-site to his 35-year career.
CPO Ernie Pina, the reunion1999 chairman, read the vocation to the Significance of Remembrance Table in memory of all our
Sunday morning, the Rev. David Clayton HM2 USS Cromwell 1968-70 gave the Memorial service. We departed
with fall in the air under warm and sunny skies.
Military Locators and Reunion Services of Hickory NC will continue to be our reunion
organizers for 2001. As soon as the reunion dates are known ML&RS will place notices in all the military publications
and Bob Kitchen will forward the dates for posting on our web site.
Thanks to my wife Kathy, the reunion 2000 page on the web site should have a set
of reunion pictures posted shortly.
would like to take this time to express how enjoyable it has been to serve as your reunion chairman for the past year. It
has put me in the position to be in contact with many of you, relive past experiences and make new friends.
When I started we had about
100 shipmates on our listing. To date the list has grown to approximately 735 and there’re coming in every day. At this
rate who knows how many we’ll have by the next reunion!
I want to wish Bob the best in his new undertaking and hope that he enjoys it as
much as I did. However, I’m not going very far, along with Ernie Pina, we’ll be just an email or phone call away
to assist and advise Bob in anyway we can.
Thank you for all your support and keep
digging up those old shipmates.
Reunion 2000 Chairman