After a long year of anticipation,
on the 4th to the 7th of September, the Newport Dealeys shipmates mustered in the Boston
area for our 16th annual reunion with Mike Upchurch MM2 of the USS Van Voorhis, serving as chairman for the
event. Seventy five shipmates and guests began arriving on Thursday and enjoyed a light fare of chicken wings and pizza. After
the pledge of allegiance, Mike welcomed our assembly and named the USS Dealey as the host ship this year. Marc Arsenault,
USS Lester, provided a welcome to Boston introduction including comments on how to decipher
our heavy Boston accent and local slang. Our evening's entertainment, the "Dealey Fued"
game created by Chief Rich Legg and hosted by Tony Zeole of the USS Lester, was again a hit this year.
The Friday tour to the Plimouth
Plantation provided us with an historical insight into the harsh lives endured by the pilgrims
during the early days in the New England settlements. Their transportation to the new world,
the Mayflower (which is smaller than a Dealey) was docked next to the Plymouth Rock, downtown. After a stop for photo ops,
gift shopping and lunch, we returned to the hotel and our business meeting. The attendees voted Warwick
RI (local to our former home port of Newport
RI) for our 2016 reunion location. Next year, 2015, the Newport Dealeys
reunion will be held in Cincinnati OH, with LCDR Ray Hammock,
YN3, USS John Willis as the chairman.
dinner, Marc Arsenault, reported on a new Tom Clancy style submarine thriller and best seller "The Trident Deception"
by Rick Campbell. Along with other veterans groups, Rick had forwarded one to Marc and the Newport
Dealeys for review prior to the reunion and later donated three more for our raffle.
Marc then followed by reading an email he had received from a former Norwegian
merchant sailor, Jarleiv Bøe, he was on a freighter, en route from Baltimore to Miami in January 1970 when the boiler
room blew up off the cape Hatteras, NC. Two of his shipmates were killed and all but a few abandoned ship. In life boats for
about 8 hours, their ordeal finally ended when, the USS Joseph K Taussig, on route back to Newport from operations down south,
was notified and arrived at the scene to bring the survivors aboard. Master Chief Larry Goulet, USS Joseph K Taussig, who
was in attendance and gave us first hand account of the rescue as he witnessed it. Jarleiv also indicated in his email that
he was in the process of building a ship model based on the Norwegian version of our Dealey Class ships for his grand son
and would like to obtain some sort of a souvenir for him from the Joseph K Taussig, if possible. Chief Richard Legg generously
stepped forward and donated his original JKT hat to send to Jarleiv's grandson.
The Friday evening's entertainment followed with another Chief
Legg production "How I Hooked my Dealey Sailor", where shipmate's wedding pictures were projected to a screen. We
had to guess who they were, once revealed, the wives then were asked to give us a short story of how she caught her sailor.
There were many comments such as, Oh, how young we were back then!
Saturday's tour took us to the Boston Navy Yard and the USS Constitution.
A stop at Quincy Market for shopping and lunch was followed by a narrated Boston
city tour. Chief Ernie Pina, USS Hartley, served as the tour guide with many amusing stories. A cash bar and formal photos
by our reunion organizers, Premier Reunion Services, preceded the banquet. The USS Dealey color guard organized by Jerry Skorch,
USS Joseph K Taussig, posted colors, followed by the "Missing Man" ceremony and Grace.
The post Saturday evening banquet activities included our raffle where
attendee's names were pulled from a hat to win Navy themed prizes. Steve Kittle, USS Lester, won the grand prize, the Newport
Dealeys porthole clock. Music, dancing and socializing completed the evening.
The Newport Dealeys Sunday morning ceremony was
conducted by our Chaplain Jerry Skorch and the USS Dealey shipmates. Names were read from a list of recently deceased shipmates
and the memorial bell rang twice for each shipmate.
Parting good wishes and tearful hugs were everywhere as we concluded our 16th annual reunion.
Many shipmates also personally expressed their gratitude to
our reunion committee members for their continuing dedicated work throughout the years to insure successful, fun and memorable
would like to thank, Jerry Skorch, Chief Richard Legg and his wife Lee, for their dedicated assistance in the organizing and
planning the evening ceremonies and entertainment.
first time chairman, Mike Upchurch, proved to be a natural as he kept the committee in contact through out the year with conference
calls and schedule updates. After he opened the reunion, he led us through the schedules and activities with personal
friendliness, and when things didn't go on time or as planned (Murphy's Law), with his good humor, he just continued to plan
"B" like a pro so it would go along seamlessly. GREAT JOB MIKE.
See you next year, on to Cincinnati 2015.
"Shipmates are Forever"
Marc Arsenault ET2
USS Lester / USS Hartley