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
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. Joseph “Joe” McMillan,
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
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
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
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
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
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.
ET2(SW) Christopher R. Nichols
USS ORION (AS-19) R-4 Div
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
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
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
M. H. Green
315 Kinsey Street
Raleigh NC 27603
(919) 414-4535 cell
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay