Dear Shipmates, Family & Friends,
Bear with me while I tell you about a very successful USS RICH
(DE-695) Survivors Reunion in Lynchburg V A, As you know, Dot & I (with Charlie Black and daughter
Jayne) were the honored guest of the French Government June 4-7,
2004. (Our French trip will be covered in a follow-up letter.) The
Lynchburg Survivors Reunion should "not" compete with our French
Commemorative trip. Roy & Jane (Hudson) knocked
themselves out to sponsor a superb Reunion on the 60th Anniversary of
D-Day, and they did! Many, many thanks to Roy & Jane for
the Reunion and helping me talk about it in this letter, Without their
input, I would be hard-pressed to talk about the Lynchburg happenings.
So, lets get with it. The "early arrivers" came tooling into Lynchburg
on Saturday (6-5-04), as Charlie (Black) and I were
standing muster for the Award Ceremony in Paris, France,
(Comparison is for interest... and it keeps me focused!)
Joyce and Bob Darrah
Here is the list of those
attending in Lynchburg:
Bob & Joyce Darrah
Joe Alta Podorski
Roland & Bertie Freeman
Raymond "Chief' & Doris Holler
Cindy Sims & son Matthew
H. B. & Doris Sims
M. H, & Marie Green
Ed Black & Dot Cole
Stan & Judy McMillan
Robert "Bob" Bruno
Roy & Jane Hudson
Roy & Linda Hudson Jr,
Guy Rich & Frances Livesay
Berman & Ruth Scott
Earl Hanson & Family (at D-Day Memorial)
Linda Banks (dau of Doris Sims)
Note that Charlie,
Dot, & I did not arrive in Lynchburg until about 3AM on June 8th.
We were returning from that big whoop-de-do in France... to an
outstanding USS RICH Survivors Reunion. Enough about the French, now.
This letter is about the well planned and executed Reunion in Lynchburg
for the USS RICH Survivors... and a Grand Reunion it was. It is
appropriate that I mention the personal hardship to Roy & Jane
in sponsoring our Reunion at this particular time. Jane had a
kidney operation (successful) in June '03 and Roy had colon
cancer surgery in October... followed by six months of chemo. All this
personal trauma, while planning and setting up the Reunion. Yes, Jane
& Roy are to be commended for an outstanding job accomplished
under considerable duress... just amazing. Oh yes, Roy just got a
clean bill-of-health from his x-ray test last Wednesday (7-14-04)~ no
evidence of the cancer lurking in his lungs. They can not believe it!
Miracles do happen. This one is for you, Roy. I couldn't be
happier. (Back to the Reunion... according to Jane)
In her own words: The highlight of the Reunion was the trip to the D-Day
Memorial in Bedford, V A. The D-Day Memorial had a big day planned to
celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion on the beaches of
Normandy. It is a truly beautiful and moving Memorial. Included in the
program was the 1940's Canteen and Show. A Lynchburg newspaper
columnist, Darrell Laurant, took the trip with us and
wrote an excellent article on the USS RICH story and on our visit to the
D-Day Memorial. (See ENCL 1) The guys wore T-shirts (donated by Roy
& Jane) with the 60th Anniversary of D-Day imprinted on them. The
women got goody-bags with flag bracelets, flag pins, and
red-white-&-blue sun visors (also donated by Roy & Jane).
Doris Sims contributed patriotic scarves for all the
ladies. On the return trip we pigged-out at the Golden Corral Buffet,
before going back to the motel Hospitality Room for relaxation and
friendship. You know, enough can't be said about the value of our
Hospitality Room. That's where we kick-back, enjoy the "war stories",
and catch up on life's challenges and mysteries... with a little nibble
from all the goodies there in abundance. This is when M. H. (Green)
gets his best pictures... while explaining his tried-and-true philosophy
on women. Never mind that Marie (Green) and Doris (Sims)
do a pretty good job of keeping M. H. humble. He loves it.
The fun continued on June 7th as we van-pooled to the Natural Bridge,
one of the seven natural wonders of the world... a beautiful site to
behold. We checked-out the gift shop and rode (or walked) the quarter
mile to the base of the Natural Bridge, where the cameras came out (note
pictures). Later, we lunched at a unique restaurant tucked away on the
Blue Ridge Parkway. We then drove the Parkway to an abandoned
lock-and-canal system on the James River (used in the 1700s) So much
history, so little time! We just had an easy, enjoyable, refreshing day
in the Blue Ridge Mountains. A bit tuckered from our day away, we took
an hour or so at the motel before heading to the American Legion
Pavilion for an old fashion barbecue dinner. Too much to eat! "Bob"
(Bruno), of the eagle eye, took pleasure in pointing-out the
birds nesting in the rafters of the shelter. Yes, there they were...
their little head peering over the nests. After eating all we could, the
remaining barbecue and goodies were taken to the Hospitality Room, where
we gathered for camaraderie as events of the day were relived. Yep, we
are just a bunch of ole fogies.
Marie and M. H. Green
Roy Hudson, Sr.
The next day (June 8th) Charlie, Dot, and I just off the
plane were at the motel for breakfast, though very, very low on sleep
(three hours sleep in 36 hours!) and strung-out from five days of
constant running. "Running" is a metaphor, my friends. The only thing
"running" about me is my pacemaker, thank you very much. The USS RICH
business meeting began at 11AM. (If I miss something, it's the "jet
- No change in officers
for next year.
- Plans for Survivors Reunion 2005 were discussed. The offer to bring it
back to Pinehurst is still good, but that "Sweetheart" Cindy
talked me into Atlanta. OK, OK, I am a push-over for a pretty girl. It's
awful how women take advantage of me. See you in Atlanta! Details in
- Robert "Bob" Aluni passed away this year. (See
obituary, ENCL 2) A sympathy card was sent from the USS RICH shipmates.
I also called and talked with Shirley, "Bob's" wife.
- William (Cowboy) Medlin passed away in December
- Norfolk VA Reunion of USS AMESBURY, USS BATES, &
USS BULL, Sept 15-19, 2004. Info call Stan &
Judy McMillan (518-673-3589), or write 17 Highland Place,
Canajoharie NY 13317
- USS BUNCH (DE-694/ADP-79) will have Reunion in
Gaithersburg MD, Aug 30-Sep 3, 2004. Dave Hibbs, Chairman,
is planning tour of Washington DC, visiting the new WW-ll Memorial with
lunch afterwards at the Navy Yard. Then to the US Navy Memorial for
wreath-laying. For information: Dave Hibbs, 1126 Roosevelt
Ct, Hanover PA 17331-5226 (phone 717-637-7723).
A Toast from Sally:
From Sal Gal your adopted Daughter.
Here's to my heroes.
Fair winds, following seas, and to the lasses
who love you sailors.
I am so proud to know you.
Much Love, Lt. Commander Sally Svoboda &
Sally 'Champagne-d' us again this year at the Banquet. Thanks
Sally, you "race" my pacemaker!
- Got mail from -
- Bill Cunningham (Thanks folks. It's always good to hear
- Richard Fisher
- Bill Shure has new address: 800 Southerly Road, # 714,
Baltimore MD 21286 (410-321-7372)
- Lew Watts family wrote a note. Lew's obituary was
in the last Newsletter.
- Sam Saylor is doing OK. He is still working with the
USS SLATER Memorial in Albany NY.
- Robert F. Cross is in charge of the Destroyer's Museum in
- Patricia A. DeGuilmi wonders if anyone remembers her
father, Shipmate Samuel J. DeGuilmi, Fl. If you remember "Sam",
pIs drop her a line: 16 Windy Manor Court, Baldwin MD 21013.
- Victor Buck had an excellent article on the USS RICH in
his latest Destroyer Magazine, "Trim but Deadly"
(from) "Chief' Ray Holler
Mr & Mrs Arthor Crawford
Jim & Dot Gwaltney
Carl & Myrtle Bodecker
Earl & Thelma Hanson
And "ALL" at the Reunion
Know your financial support is necessary for the USS RICH to navigate
these stormy seas. Thanks for the financial help, and thanks to all
those who volunteer to make our Reunions such a success. We could not do
it without you. And thanks to George (Fryberger) for
putting the story of the USS RICH on the Internet. That George is a
Jewel! *sorry George, I had to say it*
That's it my friends. Anything overlooked will be covered in the
On to the Banquet, which was held in the Virginia Room
at the motel. The tables were decked with red, white, and blue flower
pots made-up by Jane. These were given as door prizes. State
Senator Steve Newman was our Guest Speaker. A word of
appreciation is due for Roy, Jane and all their kids. They
did a Herculean job at putting together a memorable and enjoyable
Reunion for everyone. Roy Jr. donated the very nice name tags to
everyone, and they are nice. Roy's son (Bob) and Jane's
son (Troy) were the Van drivers on the mountain trip and to the
barbecue. Jane's daughter (Tracey) was a big help with the
Roland and Bertie Freeman
USS Rich "Sweetheart"
Tracey invited a US Marine Captain to talk with
the WW-II Survivors in the Hospitality Room. He was in training to leave
for Iraq in October. Most interesting conversation. M. H. gave
him a Duke Cap, as he was a Duke Basketball fan. As you see the total
Hudson family was involved in success of the Survivor's Reunion in
Lynchburg. I think it only fitting that Roy & Jane have
the last words in this mailing. Here is "A message" from Jane and
"We want to tell you all how much we enjoyed hosting
the Reunion this year. It was a great time of fellowship with
each of you. As you all know, Roy has been battling cancer this past
year, and the battle is not over. The colon cancer "had" apparently
spread to his lungs. As Ed has already told you, in Roy's
x-ray test of this past Wednesday showed his lungs were clean! We could
NOT believe it, and we are elated and thankful for your prayers! Roy
has been working out at the Y, eating his greens, and is feeling
stronger each day. We have booked an 18-day cruise through the Panama
Canal in August 2004 and are definitely looking forward to it. We do not
know what the future holds, but we do know who holds the future. We
believe in the power of prayer, and we hope that you will keep Roy
at the top of your prayer list. God willing, we plan to see you all next
year. With much love, Roy and Jane Hudson."
Linda Banks and "Mom" Doris Sims
Yes Roy (& Jane), you are survivors and
you are in our prayers. And we thank you ever-so-much for what you (and
your family) have done to make this a special, memorable year for all we
Survivors. For some reason a "PS" on a June 8th note I got from "Bill"
Cunningham comes to mind. "P. S. I went swimming in the English
Channel 60 years ago today". With that, in our best French... we bid you
Ed Black - Dot Cole
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay