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1998 - Kalispell, Montana


    The survivors of the USS Rich DE 695 elected to have their eighth annual reunion in Kalispell, Montana on June 6, 1998 (anniversary of D-Day) to June 8, 1998 (date the Rich was lost during the invasion of Normandy 1944). At that time 91 of the crew were lost with the ship! Today there are only 43 surviving members of the original crew of 213 men.

    The reunion was held at the Meadow Lake Golf Resort and all attending were housed in individual condos. A large hospitality room was provided by the host lodge where many hours were spent by the crew members attending reminiscing about our experiences and of the many friends we have lost in the ensuing years.

    A total of 38 attended and many letters were read from shipmates who were unable to attend. A great program was planned by the reunion chairman. The first event was a trip to Big Mountain where we rode a ski lift to the top and had a beautiful view of the Canadian Rockies snow capped mountains to the north and to the south the scenic Flathead Valley and Lake. Before returning to the valley we were treated to a great dinner at a mountain lodge complete with a very good Western Variety Show.

    On Sunday a service was held by our Chaplain honoring our missing comrades. We were then transported to Flathead Lake where we had chartered a stern wheeler boat for a two-hour cruise of the lake. While underway we were served a bountiful smorgasbord luncheon which was enjoyed by all. That evening we dined at Miss Julie's cowboy restaurant where a typical western meal was served.

    The final day was the highlight of the reunion as we boarded buses to take a trip through Glacier National Park. High mountains, deep valleys, and of course ice and snow and the main attraction, the glaciers! The annual banquet was held at Meadowlake Lodge. After the invocation and salute to the flag, a grand dinner was served. A business meeting followed and officers were named for the coming year. It was agreed that the 1999 reunion will be held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. After door prizes and farewells, we are all looking forward to seeing each other again next year.

Note: The above article was submitted by the late Dan Schmocker who passed away on February 21, 1999, to the DESA NEWS newsletter. 

    In addition to the above mentioned itinerary, Ed Black gave the dinner speech. Ed researched the prices of things from 1944 on up to our present time. It was quite interesting to compare how things have changed since that fateful morning in 1944. What an honor it is for all the survivors who have lived across the 55 years since the sinking of the Rich and to see the coming and goings on the world stage, children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow up, to see and enjoy the measure of peace we all so valiantly strived for. Remember, men, we were there because we cared. 


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