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  March, 2009

Dear Shipmates, Family & Friends,

    I thought I would take the opportunity in this newsletter, to talk about how we got together as a group. I suppose we owe it all to Dan Schmocker. The story of how Dan got us together follows:

    A group of us DESA members from North Carolina went to Washington for the dedication of the Navy Memorial in 1987 (I think). At the dedication, a member of the DESA group came over to me, and told me that he saw a man with a sign asking if there was anyone there from the USS RICH DE 695 - and, that is how we met Dan and Jean. Dan said he also saw a note which asked for anyone from the RICH get in touch with Lt. Shure of MA. Dan did, and found out from Lt. Shure that the officers had met on the sixth of that month, so as a group we agreed to find everyone we could.

    Ed Black and I went to J.H Joyner’s funeral in Louisburg, N.C together, and had stayed in touch with one another. Sims, Hutchins, Freemen, and I had also touched base with one another. We all knew of others and Dan put together a newsletter for us as long as he lived. After Dan Schmocker’s death, Ed Black took over the responsibilities. Every year we met at a different place which we chose. Over the years some of our ship mates and family members have passed on; in fact many have, and we still miss them. Our first meeting with everyone was at Myrtle Beach, and we sure have had a lot of meetings since then.

    Now the names could be fiction, could be. So lets say “Nib” and I were talking about food at one of our early meetings. I was telling “Nib” about boot camp chow. This particular time, I was telling her that there was a sign out which read, “Take all you want, but eat all you take.” At the place where you left your tray, there stood a big ‘ol cook. When I was leaving my tray, he asked, “Was that pie as good as your Mama’s Pie?” “It was alright. “ I said, “Alright! What you mean alright?” he asked. I answered, “My mama doesn’t cook her apples down like that” … he hollered, “You dumb rebel, that’s a rhubarb pie!!” (Some one else had to eventually tell me what rhubarb was). Then Nib told me about her as a young wife, cooking her Bill a pie (I think she said sweet potato pie). After he ate it, she asked him how it was, his reply was “it was alright but it didn’t taste like my mothers…” She said she never cooked him another sweet potato pie. Even a dumb rebel knew better than to give an answer like that!!

    Take a line from the USS Rich DD820 button. We were taught to be considerate of our elders, but this day and time they are getting hard to find. Just to let you young ones know that I am 84 years old, and in July of ’07 I had a mini stroke. Then last year, I was told that I have Parkinson’s disease, and now I have to learn to write again. So, if I forget something or someone I am sorry – please forgive me. It’s something like being in school again – and my 100’s on a test were a rare, very rare thing indeed.

    Since the USS RICH (DE-695) went down at Normandy, the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, have a memorial for the RICH here each year. The RICH Survivors have been there several times in the past, and I do think it would be a nice place to go back to. Since our numbers are growing smaller, I think we should begin to consider meeting with other groups now. If anyone has any suggestions as to where to hold the next meeting, please share your ideas.

    The following page is an article about the D-Day Memorial activities for June 6th of 2009, preceded by a two-day conference at Liberty University in Lynchburg. As we will be meeting again this year in Lynchburg, we plan to be there for the ceremonies. I hope that all of you (that can come) will be there too.

    The family and loved ones of our shipmates whom we have met with know that it is wishful thinking that we will see peace, but we must remember that a strong military is the keeper of peace, and let us not forget that. And let’s not forget the stress our loved ones were under back home, while we were away. Let us think of everyone we have met, of the good times and camaraderie of our friends. Letters that have been received, places we have been for our meetings. Looking at some of the letters of shipmate’s from the past.

Letter from Earl and Thelma Hanson
Letter from Kathy Staub Scarpato
Letter from Bob Baldwin (DDE-820)
Letter from Bertie Freeman

    To close it up, we’d like to ask you to please let us know as soon as you can if you are coming to the reunion in Lynchburg, so that we can make plans. Secondly, we want to ask that no one send any more funds until we ask for them. While we appreciate everything you all send, we don’t want you to give more than we need. 

M. H. Green
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

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