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   August 1st, 2001 

Dear Shipmates & Friends,

All of the USS RICH shipmates and friends thank Joe and Alta (Podorski) for the superb job they did on the reunion. Not a single plan went wrong! It was really a great success and everyone enjoyed the Branson Reunion, June 5th - 8th 2001.

Those attending the reunion are listed on page 6.

Memorial Service June 8, 2001: Opening remarks and prayer were given by Frank Doody. He mentioned the death of Nina Ballek, wife of shipmate Frank Ballek. She passed away during the past year- - our sympathy and prayers are with Frank.

The Mayor of Branson, The Honorable Louie E. Schaefer, presented a Proclamation of Appreciation to our chairman, Joe Podorski. The Mayor made several remarks to the Survivors of the USS RICH and commented on their bravery.

The closing prayer was by Chief Ray Holler; followed by playing of "Taps".

Business Meeting June 8, 2001: Chairman Joe Podorski presided. Secretary Dot Cole stated that minutes of last meeting (June 2000) were mailed in the newsletter following the June 2000 meeting.

The cost of our newsletter during 2000 was between $100- $150 per mailing. This included the cost of typing, copying, and stamps. If mailed quarterly, projected newsletter cost could approach $600 each year.

Frank Doody, Guy Rich, and Dave Hibbs were elected last year to work on a website for the USS RICH. Surprisingly, a DE-695 website honoring John Arnold Fryberger (shipmate on the USS RICH) was found to exist. This site was established by George Fryberger to honor his father. What a superb job he has done! George attended our reunion this year. Thanks, George. The web site,, is loaded with information. By all means have a look. If you are not internet-smart, get your grandchildren to find the website for you. (They will love it... one-upping grandpa and learning about your ship!) The site is a historical repository for RICH information, as well as current happenings. It is continuously updated... as George has the time. Check it out.

Sam Saylor and John Imms from DESA (speakers for banquet) spoke on the possibilities of joining with DESA for our reunion. We would have the USS RICH DE-695 reunion with others at DESA's annual reunion. DESA would then handle all the planning and scheduling for the reunion. However, we would lose our memorial date of 8th of June. We also discussed the possibility of joining sister ships (USS BUNCH, USS BATES, USS BLESSMAN, and USS BULL) for reunion purposes. No change was made, however, to our present reunion schedule.

After discussion and checking with those present, Ed Black and Dot Cole will host next year's reunion at North Myrtle Beach. Dates will be June 5th - 8th, 2002. Norm Jensen invited everyone back to Kalispell MT for a future reunion. This will be considered for reunion 2003.

Officers for 2001-2001: 

Chairman - Ed Black
Sec/Tres - Dot Cole
Historian - Ed Black
Chaplain - Chief Ray Holler
Newsletter - Ed/Dot (editors) with production/mailing assistance from Guy Rich & Frances Livesay

Chief Holler adjourned the meeting with prayer.

D. Cole - Secretary/Treasurer

Banquet June 8th '01: Joe Podorski presided. He presented the flag given to the RICH by Charlie "T" Thifault from the USS BLESSMAN (DE-69), to Ed Black, our new chairman. Also, the one-point-one commemorative shell given to the RICH by Dave Hibbs of the USS BUNCH (DE-694) was presented to Ed. These mementos are yearly transferred to the new chairman.

Sally Suboda again provided Champagne and a toast for the reunion. She never forgets us! Thanks Sally.

The table favors for everyone were "honey bears" (real honey)... thanks to Joe & Alta.

Sam Saylor & John Imms presented a slide program about the history of acquiring, home porting, and rehabilitating the USS SLATER in Albany NY. The slide program started from the beginning of acquisition to present day restoration of the USS SLATER.

The banquet and reunion was adjourned with benediction by Chaplain Ray Holler. He asked for traveling grace and a safe journey home for everyone.
Attendees: Leo Andrus and son, David Andrus, attended the reunion. Leo, who was on Cutter #32, spoke a few words about how Coast Guard Cutter #32 rescued men from the USS RICH. So glad to have him. All the men of Coast Guard Cutter #32 (and Coast Guard Menque) are welcome to our reunions. The LST men and PT boats members are welcome.

Robert & Nancy Warne attended. He is the brother of John Warne, killed on the RICH. So glad to have them. Hope they will continue to be a part of the family.

Connie West and Izetta Weir of 1601 North Randall Ave, Janesville WI 53545-1149 attended our reunion. Their brother, Marion Piekarski, died on the USS RICH. We have added their names to the list of FAMILY of CREW. Anyone, who remembers Piekarski, let them know.

Attorney Sam Aluni & Kathy Aluni were again attending with his parents Robert & Shirley Aluni - keep on coming to the reunions, Sam & Kathy.

Cindy Sims again came with H. B Sims & Doris. Thanks for the name tags this year and last year's picture album of the membership. So good to see you again, Cindy.

Raymond Eugene "Ray" & Pat Holler came with Chief Holler. Hope to see them again next year.

A new survivor has been found!
William Medlin (1-863-983-3738)
Rt 2, Box 1123
Clewiston FL 33440
Bill Medlin was watching NBC news on June 6th, when Tom Brokaw mentioned the sinking of the USS RICH (DE-695). Surprised, Medlin went immediately to NBC's website and was referred to our website, which had Ed's phone number. He could not believe this was happening (after all these years), but he called Ed anyway... and they talked a very long time. Medlin knew nothing of our reunion or of the history of the RICH, since the sinking. We will send him all the articles and information we have. So glad to have you aboard William. Please give him a call.

Correspondence: Dave Hibbs (USS BUNCH DE-694) and Janice Wherley had to cancel their reunion plans. Dave underwent a quintuple bypass... two weeks before the reunion. We have talked with Dave, and he is doing well. Keep improving, Dave.

George Fryberger was contacted (by phone at the Branson Reunion) by Mike Sullivan, son of shipmate James Houston Sullivan. The encounter is best explained by George himself. Read his email, which is copied later in this newsletter... in toto. Also, you (crew, family & friends) are on the USS RICH Website, which is unbelievable. There are "twelve" different categories from which to choose: Crew, History, Action, Experiences, Photos, Dedication, Survivors, Links, etc.

We heard from Mrs. Marilyn Huffer, who is the sister of Mark Crawford. Mark did not survive the RICH sinking. Her address is Mrs. Marilyn Huffer, 512 Willow Lane, Circleville OH 43113, phone 1-740-474-3906. Let her know if you remember Mark. She would love to talk with you.

More of the pictures on the picture-sheet sent in the Oct '00 newsletter are now identified. Mark Crawford is #20 on page. H. B. Sims is #17, Ed Black is # 22, and J. H. Joyner is # 10. If you can identify any not so marked, please let us know.

We have also heard from Michael Sullivan, 123 Candiff Court, Slidell LA 70461. His father was James H. Sullivan, a member of the USS RICH crew. James is picture # 16. Give his son, Michael, a call or note.

Many thanks to Paul Dunn of Pinehurst NC (our publicity chairman). What a writer! He is responsible for the Mayor's PROCLAMATION (enclosed). He is also responsible for the citation written by Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh KB ADC, the First Sea Lord and Chief of the British Naval Staff to the USS RICH DE-695, and to its survivors (copied on back of the PROCLAMATION). The First Sea Lord is the "highest" ranking officer in the British Navy. What a great honor! Paul has written several newspaper articles for different newspapers about the USS RICH and this reunion. Thanks Paul. (See enclosed Paul's newspaper article "Crew of the USS Rich Showed Uncommon Valor at Normandy")

We had a note and news article from Lew Watts. He is still coaching baseball. (See enclosed newspaper article "Watts Continues to Light Up Lives")

Earl and Thelma Hanson sent us a note. They live only an hour from Roger Weatherman (son of shipmate, Harley Bruce Weatherman) and promise to contact him. The Hansons regret not being able to attend the reunion this year.

Roger Weatherman has been to Chase City VA to meet with Berman M. Scott. Berman knew Roger's father, H. B. Weatherman. The picture of Roger & Berman with story, followed in the local newspaper. (See enclosed newspaper article "A Nightmare Ends")

Joe Korch sent a letter. With congressional help he received the "Jubilee of Liberty" medal from the French Govermnent. That-a-boy, Joe. You deserve it.

Roy Hudson could not attend this year's reunion due to his involvement in the Bedford VA D-Day Memorial Dedication. The local paper had Roy's picture and an excellent write-up about the USS RICH. (Read about it in enclosed newspaper article "Old Sailors Meet 57 Years Later")

Other: USS RICH Caps have been mailed to those that ordered them (and didn't get one at the reunion). Another "Cap list" has been started. M. H. Green will order more, if needed. Caps are regulation navy caps with USS RICH DE-695 (cost $10.00). If interested, contact Dot Cole.

Two USS RICH DE-695 survivors (Charles & Ed Black) were on the front page of the Greensboro News/Record. This was a Memorial Day (May 30th) tribute to the Service men/women of our nation. A good story of the USS RICH followed. (See enclosed newspaper article "Bound by Blood")

Lets everyone remember the reunions of our Sister Ships:
USS BUNCH DE-694 (Dave Hibbs, Chairman)
Sept 16-20, 2001 in Gettysburg PA (Call Dave at 717-6?)7-7723 for information)

USS BLESSMAN DE-69 (Charlie 'T' Thifault, Chairman) October in Florida (Call Charlie "T"at 904-441-7915 for information)

USS BATES DE-68 (Stan McMillan, Chairman)
USS BULL DE 693 (Stan McMillan, Chairman)
Oct 10-14, 2001 in Albany NY (Call Stan at 518-673-3589 for information)

Thanks also to the following for contributions during the past year:

Howard Wordom, Connie West, Len Kearits, Roy & Marilyn Hoffer, Joe Korch, David Hibbs, Roy Hudson, Jim Gwaltney, Joe Radak, Earl Hansen, Virginia Callabrese, Lew Watta, Tom Cook, Guy Rich, Mrs. Authur Crawford, Shelton Bosley, and shipmates and friends at the 2001 Reunion in Branson, and to all those who contributed when we passed the hat. If anyone has been overlooked, please forgive. We appreciate everything the crew, family of the crew, and friends of the crew have done for the USS RICH DE-695. Please send Ed & Dot (P0 Box 126, Carthage NC 28327) any stories or information about your families. .50 it can be used in the Newsletter.

Ed Black - Dot Cole
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

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