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  July 1, 2002

Dear Shipmates, Family & Friends,

We are back from the successful Survivor's Reunion (6-8 June 2002), which was at the Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach SC. Survivors and spouses attending were:

Joe & Alta Podorski
& Ruth Doody
& Doris Holler
M. H.
& Marie Green
Robert "Bob"
& Shirley Aluni
& Jane Hudson
H. B.
& Doris Sims
& Bea Hicks
& Bertie Freeman
Ed Black
Robert "Bob" Bruno
William "Bill" Medlin

This was Bill's (Medlin) first Reunion. Before we located him, he had little knowledge of the facts regarding the sinking of the USS RICH. Medlin became affectionately known as "Wild Bill". Yes, the true RICH spirit lives! Send him greetings at 1200 Bartow Avenue, Clewiston FL 33440.

Friends and Guests attending the Reunion include:

Dot Cole
& Sam Aluni - Son of Robert & Shirley Aluni
George Fryberger - Webmaster and son of John Arnold Fryberger of the USS RICH
Cindy Sims - "Sweetheart" of the USS RICH and daughter of H. B. Sims
Aileen Tarver - Wife of Fred Tarver (LST)
Bennie Cook - Son of Thomas Cook of the USS RICH
Helen & Ed Hilke - Friends of Alta & Joe Podorski
Lee Johnson - Guest Speaker at the Banquet
LT JG Thibaut Del Giudice - French Embassy
Rhonda Hudson - Daughter of Roy Hudson
Wilson & Jane Dillard - Daughter of Bennie Hicks
Seely Dillard - Granddaughter of Bennie Hicks
Mike Staab - Son of Don Staab of the USS RICH
John Slade - Nephew of William Slade - KIA on USS RICH
Janice Wherley & Dave Hibbs (USS BUNCH DE 694)
Dottie & Jim Gwaltney (USS BUNCH DE 694)
Frances Livesay & Guy Rich

Thanks to H. B., Doris, Guy, Frances for supplying and helping with the Hospitality Room. Cindy (Sims) was a big help also. They have volunteered (think drafted) for the Hospitality Room for next year (2003). Joe & Alta (Podorski) and Robert & Shirley (Aluni) were in charge of the "Wine & Cheese" reception. What a great job they did! They (also) volunteered for next year. Thanks! Without volunteers like these, the reunions wouldn't run so smoothly. Yes, the help is greatly appreciated... and needed.

The following are people we were heard from, but unable to attend

B. M. Scott - health
Jean Schmocker - Grand-daughter graduation in P A
Norman Jensen - traveling complications
Carl Bodecker - traveling complications
Sally Svaboda - "Champagne Sally" wedding
Doug Joyner - health
Bill Cunningham - health
Charles Black - sickness in family
Paul Frazier - health
Bob Darrah - health

Sally never forgets us.

Wedding bells are ringing in Italy for the lady. Congratulations Sally!

Contributions - We have received many contributions during the past year. Nearly all the crew have contributed. Also, we passed the hat at the business meeting and everyone pitched in. The financial support is appreciated and needed ... as indicated by the typing/printing/postage for this Newsletter. "Contributions keep the axle greased & the wheels rolling", says Ed.

Thanks to Paul Dunn of Pinehurst NC, Publicity Chairman, for his interest in our ship. He is responsible for us getting the Citation from the French Embassy, the Proclamation from Governor Hodge of South Carolina, and another Proclamation from the Secretary of the Navy. Paul, we do appreciate all the work you have done.

General - Roland Freeman has managed to make himself write his account of the sinking. "Not my favorite memory", says Roland. But, he wrote it anyway. We will get Roland's account in the next book on the RICH. George (Fryberger) will also add Roland's account to the website.

Frank Doody has written his account of the sinking. Doody's account is on the USS RICH website. If your account is "not" on the website, write it so George can add your story.

George (Fryberger) was surprised... and pleased to be presented with a Plaque of Appreciation for his creation and maintenance of the USS RICH Website. Sixteen new comments (now added to top of list) are available to read ( George is always adding pictures, memory write-ups and current events to the Website. Send George your information (3490 Ridgewood Rd, Akron OH 44333-3120), and you will be on the Internet.

The June issue of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC had a feature article on the D-Day Invasion - a map showing the Normandy Coastline and all the ships were in the article. The USS RICH was not shown, nor mentioned. A letter has been written to the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC concerning this oversight, and the USS RICH book has been sent as proof. We have heard from the Research Correspondence Division, and they will look into the matter. The NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC resolution will be in the next Newsletter.

French Citation - After much communication with the French Embassy in DC (with Paul Dunn's help), we were able to get French Citations for all/wing survivors of the sinking. Citations were sent for those attending the Reunion. The French Embassy was sent a copy of "USS RICH - LAST VOYAGE", as supporting evidence of our involvement in the Normandy Invasion. While talking with the embassy official, he looked up the USS RICH Website and stated that all living members on the roster are eligible for Citations. The Citations are in color and are most impressive. The Embassy took the website listing as proof of participation in the Normandy Invasion. For crew members, who did "not" get a Citation at the Reunion, fill out Enclosure 4 from your mailed newsletter and send to:

Captain Michel de Monval French Naval Attache
Embassy of France in the USA
4101 Reservoir Road NW
Washington DC 20007-2171

The form already has information about the USS RICH filled in. Fill out your personal information only. sign and mail.

LT JG Thibaut Del Guidice of the Norfolk Naval Station (sent by the French Embassy - DC) is pictured in the newsletter presenting "Bob" Aluni his Citation of Appreciation for participating in the Normandy Invasion. LT JG Thibaut arrived the day before the presentation luncheon to get acquainted. Thibaut was very personable and knowledgeable of the Invasion and of the many battles in WW-II and WW-I. He was the perfect choice to convey French appreciation for US assistance in liberating them from German occupation.

Minutes: USS RICH Business Meeting 7 June 2002

Landmark Resort
Myrtle Beach, SC

Chairman Ed Black presided. Secretary Dot Cole handed out minutes from June 201 meeting. No corrections or additions were voiced. We had a copy of the local newspaper, The Myrtle Beach Sun, with a story about the Survivors. A Sun Reporter came to the hospitality room the day before and interviewed the men.

Everyone welcomed Chief Holler and his new bride, Doris.

Treasurers Report - Chairman Black thanked everyone for their contributions. The financial records are always open, and anyone is welcome to see (or audit) the books at any time. There is enough in the treasury to cover cost of the Myrtle Beach Reunion and pay publishing cost and postage upcoming year. With the increase in postage, cost may necessitate three Newsletters per year instead of the usual four. We’ll keep you posted.

Combining the Reunion? - Roy Hudson reported on the results of the Combined Reunion of the USS BATES, USS BULL, & USS AMESBURY last year in Albany NY (1 Oct 2001). Roy represented the USS RICH, which was also invited. In the Memorial Service he dropped a wreath overboard the USS SLATER for the RICH, and Jane (his wife) dropped flowers for crew members lost in the sinking. Roy had a letter from Stan McMillian, coordinator of Escort Division 19, inviting us to join the combined reunion on 16-20 Oct 2002 at the Landmark Resort, Myrtle Beach SC. Stan’s invitation was discussed at great length. There are many pros & cons to joining a larger group. It was determined to be premature to make the decision right now. Joe Podorski made a motion to stay as we are for one more year - seconded by Ed Black and accepted by voice vote. A reunion with other ships was discussed last year (2001). Also, there was discussion (last year) of joining with DESA for our Reunion.

Website - George (Fryberger) says that if any pictures or write-ups of experiences are sent to him, they will be put on the website. We have received many excellent comments on the excellent quality of the website. It is user-friendly and loaded with historical information. George says that guest-book comments are now added at top of the list, not the bottom, as previously done.

General - Doris Sims stated that Wal-Mart made a donation for the USS RICH Hospitality Room... for which we are grateful. Shop Wal-Mart!

M. H. Green brought 14 USS RICH Caps. All were gone the first day. Many were bought for the grand kids, etc. M. H. will order 10 more Caps, so we will have some on hand.

Dave Hibbs brought forms to send-in for military records and for medals (Enclosures 6 & 7). The forms are enclosed in letters to the crew and family of the crew, not friends of the crew.

Proclamations from the Governor of South Carolina and Secretary of US Navy (Washington) were read.

Master list of the USS RICH members will be mailed in a future Newsletter.

Ed Black is combining Vol I and Vol II of USS RICH - LAST VOYAGE, with updates. The new book is ready for printing (almost) and will be a hardback suitable for presenting to any library. The book should be ready by Fall 2002.

Officers for Next Year (2003) - M. H. Green made a motion to keep the same officers we had for 2001 - Roland Freeman seconded the motion. Voice vote carried.

Chairman - Ed Black
Sec/Treas - Dot Cole
Newsletter - Ed Black, Dot Cole
Typing/Mailing - Guy Rich/Frances Livesay
Historian - Ed Black
Chaplain - Chief Ray Holler

After discussing next year’s reunion between Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, New Orleans, & Bedford VA, it was voted to go back to Virginia Beach VA, because the location is convenient for most.

LT JG Thibaut Del Guidice spoke a few minutes thanking all the survivors for helping free his country. He will be a guest at the luncheon today and present the “Thank You” Citations from the country of France. The Citation references survivor’s contribution to the Normandy Invasion.

Frank Doody moved the Business Meeting be ended - seconded by Joe Podorski. Voice vote carried. Chaplain Ray Holler dismissed meeting with a prayer.

Dot Cole, Sec.

Smooth Sailing!

Ed Black - Dot Cole
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

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