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  December, 2003

Dear Shipmates, Family & Friends,

As we approach the Holiday Season, may each of you enjoy good health and the spirit of the Christmas Season. This being our Christmas Newsletter, we wish ALL of you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. As for me, I am enjoying my second pacemaker, which keeps the heart happily regulated. A new breathing machine (face mask type) is controlling my sleep apnea with ease. I look like Lloyd Bridges in "SEAHUNT", but that is only when I go to bed. That's not all, folks! Being diagnosed (recently) with diabetes, you would think a rocking chair is my best friend... not a chance. To quote my dear friend Robert Frost, "The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep..." So, let's get on with it.

Dot & I attended the USS BUNCH (DE-694) Reunion in Virginia Beach VA. Enjoyed again meeting old friends. Dave Hibbs and Janice did a fantastic job, as always. Thanks to George Fryberger, the USS BUNCH now has an outstanding website. George received a statue of the "Lone Sailor" for his effort. Great web site, nice statue, nice going... George. By the way, have you visited the USS RICH web site of late? Comments of interest are still pouring in. It's the best way to stay current. Check it out. http://www.informediate.com/USSRichDE695/GuestBook/ guestbook.htm The website is the quickest way (for me) to check information about our shipmates. Sad to say, memory is not what it used to be. Moving on.

Command Master Chief Rick Jasper was at the USS BUNCH Reunion with another of his accomplished buglers. The BUNCH Memorial Ceremony was closed with a melodious, haunting sounds of TAPS. Recall that Shipmate H. P. Jasper, Quartermaster on the USS RICH, was Rick's father. After the Memorial Service, I presented MUCM Jasper his promised copy of our war experiences.


The USS BAYFIELD APA-33 held their Reunion at Myrtle Beach this year. I was the honored guest Banquet Speaker. It was my pleasure (and their surprise) to explain how the USS RICH & USS BAYFIELD won the war. Not a problem, when you massage the facts and talk real fast. You see... on D-Day morning (6 June 1944) the USS RICH was slightly forward, shielding the USS BAYFIELD, which was pouring troops into Higgins boats heading for the beach. From that precise moment in time, Hitler was history! There... you have the complete story! The RICH & BAYFIELD started the process, which preceded to victory. How more obvious could it be? Fait accompli! They loved it.

Due to conflicts, it was not possible for us to attend the USS BLESSMAN (DE-69)'s Florida Reunion this year. Had a nice letter from Charlie "T", personally inviting me. Fortunately, Chief Ray Holler (our Chief), who is also Chaplain for the USS BLESSMAN, was able to attend and represent the RICH. Next year (with the new pacemaker and breathing machinery), the BLESSMAN Reunion is on my schedule. Depend on it!

Am happy to report that Shipmate Stan McMillan has successfully coordinated the reunion of the USS BATES, USS BULL, and USS AMESBURY. Sixty years after WW-II, we are very fortunate that all six ships of Division 19 have yearly reunions. With all the physical adversities, we just keep sailing along. "Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!"

We highly appreciate the donations that keep this Newsletter rolling. Without your help my quill-pen would dry-up and writing candle would be snuffed. Appreciation goes to:

Paul Frazier
Berman M. Scott
Virginia Calabrese
Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Crawford
And all those who contributed at the Reunion.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all!


Updates
:

Sorry to report that Michael Calabrese, Jr, son of Virginia and Shipmate Mike Calabrese succumbed to liver cancer in October. Michael Jr took over the family business, when his father died. A sympathy card from the USS RICH Survivors was sent. (See Encl (1) for obituaries)

Had a nice letter from our "Champaign Lady", Sally. She was en route to Italy for some much needed R&R with hubby, CMDR "Corky". She sends her best and hopes that our "war stories" are being recorded for future generations. Yes, Sally... we are working on doing just that.

A word about the new book, D-DAY, by Dan Van Der Vat, in which is recorded my report, as radio operator (pg 75) aboard the USS RICH, early on June 6, 1944: "As we neared the beaches at approximately 2 A. M., the skies were ablaze with fire and antiaircraft fire. It looked like hell on earth. Gasoline dumps were going up, hit by terrific bombing by the Allies." Amazon.com has the Van Der Vat book for $24.00.

Meeting Jack Haberstroh at the USS BAYFIELD Reunion was my pleasure. Nice guy. He encourages all to send him war experiences (or stories) for "SWABBY II", the sequel to "SWABBY". 'Cuzzin' Charlie Black and I have stories in "SWABBY". ENCLOSURE (3) is 1nformation and application for ordering "SWABBY". Nice Christmas present. On back of Enclosure (3) is Jack's letter, explaining his effort.

News from our French Lieutenant, Thihaut del Giudice, you know "Thunder Bolt!". He writes, "I am doing well and am getting to my new country, although it is very different from where I was before. I live in front of the sea, but on the other side this time! My house is in a little neighborhood about 400 yards from the beach. I am really busy at the squadron flying the E-2C Hawkeye and we should go for an extended period at sea beginning in February, probably for a full deployment. Say "Hi" to everybody. I don't want to give names because I love them all, and I don't want people to feel I did not say "Hi" to them. Truth is, I do miss you all and I am eager to see you again soon. I will be presented for the D-Day ceremonies next year in Normandy." We love you, "Thunder Bolt". Keep those wing-tips level!



Paul & Marty Frazier
have moved back to Columbus MO (retirement center with independent living) to be closer to their kids.

Had a phone chat with Chief Holler. He has been hospitalized, but is OK now.

Talked with Berman Scott in VA. He is still under the weather.

Had a letter from John Slade. He has been in touch with Gerard Leonard in France. Gerard and his brother gave us the story on finding the "screw" of the USS RICH. He will do more dives for lost ships in the Normandy area, and a book on sunken warships is planned. I sent him info, plus my latest book on the RICH.

Shipmate Roy & Jane Hudson have made motel arrangements in Lynchburg V A for our 5-8 June 2004 Reunion next year. The motels are booking early (in June) because of the D-Day 60th Memorial, "five" college graduations in the area, and pending June weddings. At least reserve your room early (can always cancel). I know this is early, but a head-count makes renting a bus and reserving a room for the Banquet much easier for Roy & Jane. Let's give them a hand. Know that 6 June 2004 is the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, and it will be celebrated "big time" at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford V A... many national speakers. Roy & I have been working (already) with Carol Tuckwiller, Director of Research & Archives for the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, for group recognition of the USS RICH Survivors. Plan to be there.

Jane (Hudson) was home recovering nicely from her kidney operation, when Shipmate Roy (Hudson) had to be scheduled for colon surgery in mid-October 2003. He is now home, working hard on our Reunion, and tolerating his chemo treatments like a champ. Send him some "feel good" mail:
 
Roy & Jane Hudson
204 Lemon Drive
Lynchburg VA 24501 "or" via email, USSRICHRoy695@msn.com

Received a letter from Shipmate Carl & Myrtle Boedecker. Sadly, our USS RICH associate shipmate, Rev. Gene Glasser, died 28 August 2003. At the tender age of 17, Gene was part of the civilian crew that delivered the USS RICH from Defoe Shipbuilding (down the river) to New Orleans. His delivery story is told in "Last Voyage of the USS RICH DE-695" and on the website.

Do call "or" send news/pictures that might be used in the Newsletter. That will keep the Newsletter interesting and keep you in touch with your friends.

Merry Christmas to All, and to all... may you experience only

Fair winds and Following Seas,
 


 
Ed Black - Dot Cole
Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

            
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