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  July, 2009

Dearest Shipmates and Friends,

     The USS RICH (DE-695) has found a home! And it is “not” in 60 feet of water off Utah Beach, but more like the D-Day Memorial in Bedford. In our younger years, we cavorted from place-to-place in search of entertainment, variety. Not so much today. As Father Time has marched... we are more into memories and meaning. So... without even thinking about it, we have gravitated to being part of the D-Day Memorial on June 6th, and to sharing stories and memories on the 8th. Yes, this is satisfying. If you weren’t with us this year, we missed you. If you were, you know what I am saying.

     As always, we had a great Reunion... although there were quite a few of our shipmates missing. Last year we were able to spend time with Roy and Jane Hudson, who graced us with their brave smiles and the presence of their family – despite being in pain and very tired from their continuing chem-o treatments. We would like to say thanks to their family (especially Roy Jr & Linda Hudson) for the beautiful fruit arrangement they sent us. It was an edible fruit arrangement put together by someone with an eye for color... and a palate for taste. It was very much enjoyed! We also want the family to know that we thought of Roy & Jane often during the Reunion, and we missed their presence very much. We hope that next year the Hudson family can be with us again.

     Much to our surprise and delight, the McMillan family came to visit with us in Lynchburg. JosephJoeMcMillan, son of shipmate & plank owner, James McMillan, found the ‘09 Reunion schedule by visiting the USS RICH Website on the Internet (thank you George Fryberber). As “Joe” lives in Lynchburg, he invited Jonathan and Noah McMillan, grandsons of James McMillan, to come visit so they could drive over to the USS RICH Reunion being held right there in Lynchburg. They did... and got to talk with some of the crew who were on ship with their grandfather. It was a fortuitous occasion for everyone.
 

     On to June 6th and the D-Day Memorial event in Bedford. We got to see Burman & Ruth Scott at the Memorial, though Burman was not physically able to attend the Reunion. Still good to see you “Scottie”. Maybe next year. The D-Day Memorial keeps adding events and memorabilia to the Memorial. This year they had an evening event of Luminaries placed there by sponsors... in memory of the D-Day casualties. Hard times have hit the D-Day Memorial as well as the rest of the country. Being privately funded, they welcome all donations.

     This year the program was a moving description of the D-Day Landing... given by various readers... some of whom were personally at Normandy! The program was for an audience who were seated on cement, which represented the Normandy beachfront. Having baked in the sun, the cement radiates from below, and the overhead sun radiates from above. This year they were passing out bottles of water for those caught in the ‘oven effect’. Yes, we were warm.

     The USS RICH (DE-695) plaque still draws interest of those standing before the plaque wall. When you see a small group (even one person) at the west-plaque-wall, their eyes will always gravitate to the USS RICH. The five plaques (Battleship, Carrier, & LST) are mounted above eye-level, but the lone Destroyer Escort. is mounted just below eye-level... which makes it easy to view.

     In the throng of people this year were several TV reporters with cameramen in tow, as well as many newspaper reporters with notebook-and-pencil in hand. Of particular interest (to us) was Mark Davis of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. He was writing the story of veterans at the D-Day Memorial and wirelessly transmitting his story to his home newspaper, the Alanta Journal Constitution for the next edition published. Interestingly, Sims got a call the following morning from a lady friend in Atlanta, asking about “the darkly handsome veteran” telling about the sinking of the USS RICH. Said she had cut-out the story to framed. (see email below about the same newspaper story)

     Good food and the RICH Reunions have become synonyms... and to the Spring House Restaurant we trooped... to see if their food quality had declined since last year. It hadn’t. On June 8th, that special day for the RICH, Cindy suggested dinner down by the railroad tracks... no, no not a ‘HoBo Special’, but a really neat place to eat, “The Depot”... which would keep us in-step with our established tradition. It did.

     Here’s a list of the folks able to make it to the Reunion this year. H. B. Sims and his daughter, Cindy made it. Guy Rich and Frances Livesay were there. My buddies, George Fryberger and Chris Todd were there. Chris has been “very” helpful in converting all my old VHS treasurers to DVDs. I gave everybody a collection of DVDs of the RICH Reunions... for their personal enjoyment. We even watched the recording of the 1991 Reunion. We were so “young” back then! Back to naming folks... relatives of shipmate James McMillan (Joseph, Jonathan, & Noah McMillan), M H Green, Rose-Marie Johnson, Donna Ward (my daughter), Mollie Ward (my granddaughter), and Edan (my great granddaughter). As I said earlier, “Scottie” and Ruth were at the D-Day Memorial on the 6th, but not able to attend our four-day Reunion.

     The USS RICH Survivors owe so much to the ones who help plan for, and bring our meetings together. Our hats are off to Cindy, who is quite a busy person working every day, but is always looking after us in so many ways. Of course, we have to give Frances (Livesay) a big “thank you” for providing the NABISCO goodies – without her, we’d starve! Guy – Thank you for editing the newsletters and making sure they get out. (I think Frances helps him!) I like to put pictures “in” the test of the letter, but Guy tells me it is much cheaper to put all the pictures on one page... something about black & white being cheaper. OK, all the pictures on one page is fine, but I do like pictures!

     Now for a word about the people not at the gathering... other than Roy & Jane, who have already been mentioned.. Bennie Hicks and his daughter and her husband were missing. The three had planned to join us at the Reunion, until Bennie’s Daughter’s mother-in-law suffered a stroke, and they were unable to attend. We hope the mother is doing better now, and we will be looking for an update on her recovery.

     Ray and Doris Joyce had initially made reservations to attend, but they were forced to cancel when they realized that a trip they were taking wouldn’t be over in time to allow them to come. We hope you guys had fun, but you better make it next year!

     Norm Jensen and Marie were also planning to be at the Reunion, but something happened to keep them from attending. We aren’t sure what it was, but we hope nothing serious – and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

     The USS RICH Website (George Fryberger) got two emails from Chris Nichols on June 11th.... that are worth sharing:
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I am saddened that inappropriate entries necessitated closing of the USS RICH guest book. Nevertheless, I wish to pay my respects to all USS RICH “Shipmates”, both living and those whom have passed.

May God be with you all. Fair winds and following seas.

Faithfully,
ET2(SW) Christopher R. Nichols
USS ORION (AS-19) R-4 Div
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Thank you sir.

All Navy vets are “shipmates” to each other.

Atlanta Journal Constitution ran a wonderful article on 3 USS RICH survivors for 65th D-Day anniversary: Burrell Sims, M. H. Green, and Berman Scott.

At 53, I am a generation apart, but I’m 2nd generation Navy, and united none the less by common honor and duty.

Your website is a fine tribute to these heroes of the 2nd World War. God bless ‘em.

Regards,
Christopher R. Nichols
----

     That’s it for this letter. I’ll get another out soon. There is so much to tell about the meeting. For some reason... the older I get, the lazier I get! I used to ask Marie, “Why does it seem that the older I get the more there is to do?!” Her answer was “You’re just getting older and slower.” That might be true, but I still remember things. Somebody asked about Doc. Cabibi (PHM 1). Next letter I’ll tell you what I remember about him. Also... let me remind you... this is everybody’s letter, so get involved. Feel free to submit ideas for articles or important news that you’d like to see. Go ahead and write something and send it in, or mail a photo. We love hearing from you.

Reunion Photos

 

 
M. H. Green
315 Kinsey Street
Raleigh NC 27603
(919) 833-0747
(919) 414-4535 cell

Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

            
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