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  December, 2006

Merry Christmas to Shipmates & Friends,

                This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I say “Merry Christmas” to my friends... enjoy the festive parties... and see people I like... do things I like. Hey... if you think I have the ‘Christmas Spirit’, you are right. And I get to share it with all of you. Be of good cheer, now, and I will pour you a glass of wine from the RICH stores. Only the best! While you are enjoying that fine wine (Duplin, no doubt)... drop me a note (M H Green, 315 Kinsey St, Raleigh NC 27603) or give me a call (919) 833-0747... or (919) 414-4535 (cell phone). If you write, please tell me what’s happening. Otherwise, I don’t have a clue... and have to make it up. If you call, we can swap lies, and I will have much better stories for the newsletter. Fair enough?

                Where shall I start? Why not tell you about the NC/SC DESA meeting in Myrtle Beach two weeks ago? The DESA Christmas Party was at the Sand Dunes the first of December (11/31-12/2). Three day affair, as usual. Maybe that is what has me revved-up with Christmas Spirit. Whatever it is, have another sip (of wine). Wine is good for what ails you... Bob Scott (USS FAIR, DE-35) is the mover-and-shaker for NC/SC DESA. He plans the DESA meetings and keeps us informed on the general status of us Tin Can Sailors. The meetings have dwindled to twice a year instead of the usual one per quarter. The Spring meeting had about a hundred attendees; the meeting earlier this month had about fifty. Yep, we are fewer in number, but those there were full of ‘spit and vinegar’. ‘Spit & Vinegar’ Roland and Bertie Freeman drove over from Durham to be with us. Funny thing happened (unless you were Roland & Bert). They lost their car! Could not remember where they parked. So... we loaded their belongings into the trunk of my car at check-out time. In short order the car was found and the belongings were transferred to their’s. Somehow, Roland’s shaving kit stayed in my trunk. When you see Roland with a full beard, you will know why. Roland, bet you can’t find your shaving kit! You’ll get it back next time we meet, OK? 

Another advantage of attending DESA meeting is those fellows take care of me. You fellows remember Ernie Pyle, don’t you? He was my favorite war correspondent during the Big One. Probably yours too. We talked about Ernie (& his stories) at the DESA meeting this year. George Futch has sent me information (four photo-copied sheets) from his “Ernie Pyle” collection. Thanks, Futch. The info-sheets brought back precious memories. Your thoughtfulness is appreciated. Also got a nice Christmas Card from Art & Mel Ferreira. Art is the brother of shipmate John Ferreira. Christmas Cards not mentioned... are ones that arrived after this letter was written. Know that your Christmas Cards are appreciated, who ever you are.

                  Little update on our collective health is in order. I am doing fine. My breathing problems have cleared up, and I can walk little “Bubba” anywhere he wants to go. That rascal is always ready to go somewhere. If I could teach him to shut-up barking, he would be perfect. Phone conversations with Berman Scott have not been good. He is still under the weather. Does not get out anymore. In fact, you can give him a call at (434) 372-4603. He would love to talk to you. Norm Jensen is still fighting shingles; has been for over three years... not good. “They are persistent and unrelenting,” says Norm. Here, Norm, let me fill-up your glass. You will feel better. As you know, Bea Hicks has been in the rest home since breaking her hip two years ago. Lately... Benny (Hicks) has been struggling with the flu. His daughter has been taking care of him. Get well Benny. Roy Hudson says he is back on chemo, but still feels good. The chemo is a choice to avoid an operation, I believe. Roy and Jane have written a letter to send along with this Christmas message. I’ll add it as an enclosure.

                  Two precious members of the RICH family have passed on into the night-land. Doris Sims slipped away on the 15th of November. Yes, Sims... I feel your pain. Talked with Sims last night on the phone. Says he is doing fine. (H B Sims, 125 Ellison Rd, Tyrone GA 30290) Two days after Doris passed away, Frank Doody gave up his fight with emphysema. My heart goes out to both Ruth and Sims. Let me tell you, life is not the same without your mate! Ruth sent a note thanking the USS RICH Survivors for the red-white-&-blue flowers arrangement sent by the USS RICH. And Ruth, you are not just our friend... you are our soul mate. (Ruth Doody, 580 Oriental Poppy Dr, Venice FL 34293-6987) To be counted in those no longer with us is Raymond Eugene Holler. Declining health kept him from our Oklahoma Reunion in June. A broken hip was the final blow. As you remember, Chief Holler, was his father.

                Word is that Ed (Black) tires easily these days. The solution has been to lay down to for a rest, which seems to work. According to Ed, his third book on the USS RICH - a compilation of the first two books, plus some new material - has been published. Should you want a copy: Ed Black, 8005 Twin Harbor Dr, Mt Gilead NC 27306, Ph (910) 439-6194.

                  Let me tell you about Thibaut (aka “Thunderbolt”). He called the other day. We talked for over an hour. His deployment to the Indian Ocean is over. He is now assigned to a French Destroyer, which means that he now navigates for one of their helicopters. Says he will be home for the New Year to enjoy his 45 days of leave. I gave him a hard time because the US Navy sailors only get 30 days post deployments. He took it in good spirits. He did caution me to get both sides of news stories, not just what the American TV news media put out. “Not much difference from the French news media,”... I prodded him. “That’s why you should get both sides,” says Thibaut. I’ll have to agree with him on that.

                  John Slade, nephew of William T Slade, has been generous in sharing information about his uncle. John is most sincere about remembering the life of Uncle “William”. I do recall “Bill” during boot camp, but we were assigned to different departments aboard ship, and my memory is less dependable there. The Raleigh National Cemetery is Seaman Slade’s final resting place. Oh, how young we were in those days. Just looking at that picture.

                  A word is in order about the recent meeting of the USS BATES, USS BULL & UDT (Underwater Demolition Team). They had a four day meeting in the New London, CT, area and had a fine time visiting the seaport town of Mystic, the USS NAUTILUS Museum, the US Coast Guard Academy, and a historic steamboat ride down the Thames River. They were back at the motel each day by 2:30 PM to shoot-the-bull or rest, whichever was most appealing. Planning the tours was the responsibility of Hart Tours, which released all the shipmates to enjoy themselves. Pricy, but enjoyed by all. As you know, Stan McMillan has been angling to get the USS RICH to join the BATES & BULL for their Reunion. It is all in the numbers... as well as the camaraderie among us Tin Can Sailors. Sounds like they had a meaningful and educational reunion this year.

Here is some skinny for next year: (If interested, let Stan know. He will add you to the mailing.)

William S. "Stan" McMillan (518) 673-3589
17 Highland Place
Canajoharie NY 13317

. 2007 reunion held around 1st week in May in Chicago (staying near airport to keep cost down)
. Stan to head the arrangements for accommodations.
. Hart Tours to make arrangements for the tours.
. Stay with Navy theme, but not too much shopping.
. Same time frame as this year: arrive Wed, do things from 10 - 2'ish, then free time. Arrival &
Goodbye dinners.

Good luck Stan. I admire a man of your mettle.

                Before I say “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night”, a word about future USS RICH Reunions. Yes, the dwindling numbers mean we no longer get the better motel rate. So we just pay regular. Visiting for a weekend in a central location is good enough for me. No special trips or entertainment necessary. How about it, Sims? Just something to think about.

                  It has been my special Christmas treat talking to each of you. With fond memories of the past and a gladdening heart for the coming year, I say... “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

M. H. Green
(919) 833-0747
(919) 414-4535 (Cell)

Guy Rich - Frances Livesay

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