Association NewsLetter

( December 5, 2007 - Vol. No. 1)

     Welcome to the first edition of the new Association NewsLetter. At the recent 13th annual ship's reunion, at the request of our outgoing President (Jerry Berard), I volunteered to assume the task of writing and publishing the Association NewsLetter. The goal is to provide all you sailors who once served aboard the "Charlie P." with information and stories about your old shipmates out there, wherever they may reside. It can also be used as a forum to share your after-Cecil lives with your shipmates.
     I expect the content and format of this NewsLetter to evolve and change in subsequent issues, driven by feedback from association members and other readers. Please direct all comments and suggestions for improvement to the editor.

Your shipmate and editor, ..... Ed Crowley, ET1 (1958-1960)

     This inaugural edition of the NewsLetter will focus on the recent 13th annual ship's reunion which was held in Fall River, MA from September 23rd through the 28th. Over 40 shipmates and their guests made their way to Massachusetts for the event. Total attendance was 80 plus, give or take a few. This year's reunion was hosted by shipmates John Engdahl (SN 1961-1962) and Greg Wells (YN3 1975-1977) assisted by their gracious wives Helen and Rosanne. Based on general comments and the reactions of the attendees during the week, this was one of the best organized and implemented reunions yet. If we gave report cards to reunion hosts, this quartet surely earned an A+. Kudos to John, Greg, Helen, and Rosanne.

     The Home Port for the week was at the Hampton Inn in Westport, MA, just a stones throw from Fall River. The accomodations and service were excellent, and included 24 hour fresh coffee and a full continental breakfast each morning. Two spacious conference rooms were made available for use as hospitality rooms. Cecil shipmates who began arriving on Sunday afternoon were pleasantly surprised to learn how easy it was to get settled in and found everything they needed to get with the program.

     Attendees came from all over the country. They came from Minnesota (1), Texas (3), Oklahoma (1), Tennessee (1), Wisconsin (2), Iowa (1) and from 13 other states. New York (7) and Masachusetts (9) had the most, but that was to be expected since the reunion was held in their back yards. The two hospitality rooms were well stocked with cold beer, wine, sodas, and a wide variety of snacks in time for the earliest arrivals. Chief Bob Koslrud and his wife Eunice, who came in early Sunday from Iowa, had the ship's store open for business Sunday afternoon and offered the usual selection of Cecil hats, shirts, jackets, and ship's pins and badges.

     Our graceful hosts (John Engdahl and Greg Wells) have scheduled a guided bus tour for each day this week. Each morning, at 9:00 AM sharp, the Conway tour bus will at the hotel main entrance to pick up all Cecil shipmates and guests who have signed up for that day's tour. All tours will leave at 0900 and return at 1600. Liberty call at 1600.

     A buffet lunch is included with the tours on Monday (Newport Naval Base Officer's Club) and on Wednesday (Officer's Wardroom aboard the USS Massachusets). For the other three tours you're on your on for lunch). Except for Friday (reunion Banquet), you're on your own for dinner. White's Restaurant and Conference Center is within walking distance to the Hampton Inn and serves good food at reasonable prices.

     The Hospitality rooms on the first floor will be open until 2300 each evening where there is plenty of beer, wine, sodas, water, coffee (lobby) and snacks available.

Plan of The Week - (Tour Schedule)

Monday: Newport .... "America's First Resort"

An overview of this exciting city-by-the-sea, rich in history and spectacular "Summer Cottages", is provided through a narrated driving tour. See stunning Ocean Drive and Bellevue Avenue with the homes of the rich and famous. A guided tour of the "Breakers", a mansion built for the Vanderbuilt family, is included.

In the afternoon, we'll visit the Naval War College Museum to learn about the history of naval warfare as studied at the Naval War College and the naval heritage of the Narragansett Bay region. A buffet lunch is included at the Officer's Club.

Tuesday: Mystic, CT and the Submarine Nautilus and Museum

This morning there will be free time in the charming village of Mystic, CT with a variety of restaurants from which to choose to have lunch on your own and time to shop.

Then we'll continue on to Groton, CT, home to the electric boat division of General Dynamics, the nation's largest submarine producer. General Dynamics built the USS Nautilus, the first atomic powered submarine, and launched it in 1954. Take a self-guided tour of the Nautilus submarine and see the torpedo room, attack center, control room and living quarters. Visit the adjacent museum to learn about the history of the submarine.

Wednesday: Battleship Cove and Whaling Museum

Battleship Cove in Fall River, Massachusetts has the country's most complete collection of American World War II Navy ships including "Big Mamie", the Battleship USS Massachusetts, the submarine Lionfish, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, a landing craft, and two PT boats. Enjoy a buffet luncheon in the nostalgic atmosphere of the Officer's Wardroom aboard the battleship.

In the afternoon, we'll visit the Whaling Museum situated on Johnny Cake Hill in New Bedford. The museum is the largest of it's kind in America with a collection of whaling tools and documents, paintings, and an authentic replica of a square rigged whaler.

Thursday: Historic Boston Tour

Boston, Massachusetts, the "Birthplace of the American Revolution" abounds in history. Upon arrival in Boston, a local guide will board the bus and conduct the tour of the city. Highlights of the tour will include the Old State House, Beacon Hill, Harvard University, Boston Public Gardens, and Copley Place. A visit will be made to the U.S.S. Constitution where a Memorial Service will be held. After the tour there will be free time for lunch and shopping at the world famous Quincy Market.

Friday: Historic Providence Tour

Rhode Island's capital city is another historic gem. Enjoy a stop at an old fashioned bakery on Federal Hill, the Italian section of Providence, for refreshments and a tour. Started as a family business in 1916, the retail store has original art-deco features and the brick ovens dating to the 1920's are still in use. Travel down Benefit Street's "Mile of History" and view America's most impressive concentration of colonial homes. Tour the oldest Baptist Church in America and the magnificent Rhode Island State House.

Saturday: Breakfast with Shipmates Before Heading Home

All good things must come to an end. After checking out and paying for all that fun we enjoyed together, shipmates can gather to say their final goodbyes until we meet again next year in Pensacola, FL. The Good Lord willing.

Memorial Service Aboard The USS Constitution

Each year we learn of one or more of our Cecil shipmates who have gone ashore on that final liberty. During each reunion for the past 13 years, we take a few moments to honor these men. This year was special since we had the honor of conducting the ceremony aboard the USS Constitution which was commissioned on October 21, 1797, it is the oldest commissioned US Navy ship that is still active in service. Yes!!! you read it right, it's still working (except it's armaments). Greg Wells, one of the reunion hosts, is shown displaying the wreath honoring diseased shipmates. Prior to the ceremony, a special flag was hoisted on the Constitution that was provided by shipmate Larry Kesselring, shown in the photo to the right. This flag was flown over the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor in 1988. It was given to Larry by his Dad, Col. Roger Kesselring (USA), as a gift. The young sailor assisting Larry is SN 1st Class Nola Sparks, a member of the Constitution's crew. Once all Cecil shipmates were assembled on the main deck forward, Reverend Warren Brandt, the USS Cecil's Chaplain, conducted the ceremony.

After, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Reverend led the singing of the Navy Hymn by all the assembled shipmates. This was followed by a reading of the names of the names of recently deceased shipmates: Fred Brodka, (1967-1969) - A. J. Bundschuh, RM3 (1946-1947) - Glenn Campbell- deceased 4/24/05 - Willard "Red" Foster, GMG1 (1964-1967) - Arthur Mitchell, Plank Owner - Durwood Russell, BM3 (1951-1954) - John Wort (1966-1967) - Frank Kane (from Newport, RI). The names were read by shipmates who had once served with the deceased members aboard the Cecil.

Following the reading of the deceased names, Reverend Brandt offered prayers for the deceased and all Cecil shipmates and their guests in attendance which included a special offering for those shipmates in Sickness and Distress: Dale Halverson, Reed Santa, Richard Sayers, and Susie, the wife of Richard Belshaw. The ceremony then moved off the Constitution to the end of the pier where the memorial wreath was cast into the harbor. Plank owners Clyde "Tex" Hancock and Bob Hammond are shown tossing the wreath into Boston Harbor. For some reason throwing any objects from the deck of the USS Constitution is prohibited by the Navy. All hands boarded the busses and headed for Quincy Market in downtown Boston for an hour of sightseeing and refreshment as the wreath floated away in Boston Harbor.

Association Meetings

Board of Directors Meeting

Wednesday evening 9/26/2007 the Association Board of Directors met to discuss the events of the past year as well as looking ahead to 2008. The meeting was conducted in the hospitality suite at the Hampton Inn, Westport MA. The attendees were:

Jerry Berard President
Ira Riley Vice President
Tom Giuffrida Treasurer
Bob Ahrens Board Member
Greg Wells Board Member
Warren Brandt Board Member
George Motzer Board Member
John Engdahl 2007 Reunion Host
Ed Crowley NewsLetter Editor
Moe Brousseau Board Member

Jerry Berard brought the meeting to order and asked that the minutes from last years reunion in San Diego be read. Ed Crowley read the minutes. Ira Riley made the motion to approve the reading. Greg Wells seconded the motion and all attendees voted to approve the motion.

Nominations for the positions of President and Vice President were requested by Jerry Berard. Ira Riley was nominated for President and Moe Broussard was nominated for Vice President. Both nominations were seconded and approved by unanimous vote. Greg Wells discussed the status of the Cecil's Memorial Plaque in DC. Greg also mentioned that he and his wife Roseanne have agreed to assume responsibility for the Ship's Store that has been handled by Bob and Eunice Kolsrud for the past few years. The association wants to thank Bob and Eunice for the outstanding job the have done running the Ship's Store.

One question was raised by Eunice earlier in the week about the idea of giving out free jackets to the shipmates that recruited new members. It seems that both the new member and the recruiter were gettin a free jacket. The original intent was that the free jacket went only to the recruiter. this needs to be more clearly stated in the future.

Warren Brandt suggested that for the Memorial Service tomorrow aboard the USS Constitution that, when we recognize shipmates who have died in past years, that we have shipmates who served with them call out their names. Warren will compile a list of the names.

John Engdahl motioned that Joe Baluch (SN 1961-1963) be recognized for donating a United States flag and a POW flag to the Cecil Asociation and recommended the association purchase two flag staffs for displaying the flags at future reunions.

Jerry Berard reported that he's already in touch with local folks down in Pensacola for next year's reunion in May. Jerry had previously been slated to help host the 2005 reunion that was cancelled because of the Katrina disaster. He graciously agreed to do the job for 2008.

Treasurer Tom Giuffrida briefly reported on the Cecil Asociation finances as of the start of this reunion. We have $21,000.00 in the bank but expect the cost of the 2007 Reunion will run $12,000.00 to $13,000.00. As it turned out, with Ship's Store sales of $1,079.00 and Auction receipts of $821.00 the current account balance is $10,136.00 (after all 2007 reunion expenses).

The meeting was adjourned by unanimous consent at 18:58.

General Meeting

The general business meeting was held following the Board of Directors Meeting and included all attendees at the reunion. Jerry Berard called the meeting to order at 19:00. He asked the Rev Warren Branch to lead the group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. After the pledge, Warren offered a brief prayer to thank the Good Lord for bringing us all together for this reunion and to bless us all with a safe trip back to our homes.

Jerry discussed elections of new officers to the association and asked for nominations from the floor for the offices of President and Vice President. John Engdahl nominated Moe Broussard for Vice President and Jim O'Neill nominated Ira Riley for President. Both nominations were duly seconded and unanimously approved by a show of hands from the floor. Ira and Moe joined Jerry on the podium and made brief acceptance comments.

Jerry brought up the topic of next years reunion in Pensacola. He discussed the choice of a May 2008 date rather than the usual Fall date was caused by the fact that Fall is hurricane season in Florida and we all know what happened to the 2005 Reunion because of Katrina. Jerry asked for suggestions for a location for the 2009 reunion. A few locations were tossed about but no serious discussion ensued. This will be decided in May in Pensacola. Jerry told the group that he was already working with a local company, Beach Boy Trolley Company to handle the details, and was confident evrything would be in place by May.

John Engdahl addressed the group about the contributions of Joe Baluch (SN 1961-1963) in donating a United States flag and a POW flag to the Cecil Asociation. Joe was duly applauded by the group. John also recommended that the association purchase two flag staffs for displaying the flags at future reunions.

Before the meeting was adjourned, a surprise birthday celebration was sprung on Dale Halvorson.

Dale has been seriously ill for a while and weathered a few setbacks during 2007 that required 911 calls. His wife Mary Ellen spoke to the group and talked about the idea of staying home this year due to Dale's health. But Dale was bound and determined that he wasn't going to miss the reunion in Westport. And, true to his word, he made the muster in spite of his poor health. After singing Happy Birthday all his shipmates gave Dale and Mary Ellen a resounding applause.

Tom Giuffrida presented the Treasurer's Report as follows: with Ship's Store sales of $1,079.00 and Auction receipts of $821.00 the current account balance is $10,136.00 (after all 2007 reunion expenses have been paid). Greg Wells motioned to accept Tom' report which was seconded and unanimously approved by the group. Tom mentioned he will be happy to provide anyone with a detailed financial report upon request. It loks like we all trust Tom and thank him for his service to the association.

Ship's Auction ...........................

Thursday evening at 1900 everyone was invited to the Cecil Association auction held at White's Conference Center next to the hotel. This is a feature social event held at every reunion and generally proves to be a most entertaining event. It's an evening of fun for a worthy cause. All attendees are asked to bring a unique gift to be offered up for auction. All sales proceeds from the auction are deposited into the Cecil Association's treasury.

As in recent past reunions, the auctioneer was our own Reverend Warren Brandt (RM3,1954-1958) who is also the association's Chaplain. Warren has an unequalled sense of humor and a talent for getting top dollar for most items put on the auction block. His descriptions of the items are funny, unrehearsed, and designed to entertain as well as to stimulate bidding which makes the auction a huge success.

Prior to the start of this year's auction, we had three speakers who wished to share some thoughts with their shipmates; Ed Aldrich, Bob Kolsrud, and Greg Wells.

Ed presented an overview of the Cecil's web site and how it can be a valuable tool for shipmates to share their memories of their experiences during their Cecil tours. He asked shipmates to become more involved with contributing to the site's content by sending photos and sea stories to the be published on the site.

Bob Kolsrud gave an interesting talk on his experiences during his tour aboard the Cecil.

Finally, Greg Wells talked about two significant events that began at the Baltimore reunion in in 2003. The first was a motion to design and purchase a USS Charles P. Cecil (DD/DDR-835) plaque to be hung on the wall at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. (Note the photo of the plaque appears at the top of this NewsLetter. The motion was approved and the process of raising the funds started. At the reunioh shipmate Joe Rosenberg MM2 (1950-1954) wrote a check to the association for the sum of $1000.00 to get the ball rolling. With persistant efforts from Bill Vernooy and Greg Wells, who designed the actual plaque (Photo and captions), we now have our own ship's plaque gracing the wall at the U.S. Navy Museum. Or at least we will as soon as Greg gets the plaque back to the folks in Washington. Greg brought the actual plaque to the reunion for all the attendees to view.

Another key event occurred at the reunion in Baltimore. The Governor of the State of Maryland presented a citation to the USS Cecil Association from the people of Maryland to express admiration,great respect and deep appreciation for the men who served aboard the Cecil for their distinguished service to our country. Greg also brought the official framed citation for all to view.

After all the speakers finished, the auction began and was a huge success with the proceeds adding $821.00 to the association's coffers. Everyone who brought items to the auction were recognized as their individual items were sold. As usual, our esteemed auctioneer, Warren Brandt, needs to congratulated for a job well done.

The Reunion Banquet

Friday evening marked the final big event of the 2007 Ship's Reunion, the annual ship's banquet, which was held at White's Convention Center adjacent to the Hampton Inn hotel in Wesport. The group met there at 1600 for Cocktail Hour (CASH BAR). This year was special since we had the honor of Entertainment was provided by the Heritage house Blues Band, a bunch of guys that are friends who like to play music. One of the band members, Frank Depersio, works with John Engdahl, volunteered to come and play at our reunion, free of charge. They did an excellent job and deserve our thanks.

After the cocktail hour, our newly elected President, Ira Riley, welcomed the group to the banquet. Reverend Warren Brandt delivered the prayer to bless the group and the meal they were about to receive. A delicious buffet was provided that included a wide selection of entries and desserts. All hands got plenty to eat.

  Following the meal the guest speaker CDR William A. Bullard, Commanding Officer of the USS Constitution was introduced by Ira Riley, our Association President. CDR Bullard, a native of Fall River, MA delivered an interesting and informative talk about the 210 year history of "Old Ironsides" from the time it was first launched in 1797 up to it's present state as the oldest commisioned ship in the world.

After his speech CDR Bullard presented signed copies of the latest book on the history of the Constitution to Ira Riley, John Engdahl, and Greg Wells. Ira presented CDR Bullard with a framed colored picture of the USS Charles P. Cecil.

Photo Memories of Our 13th Reunion

The Breakers Mansion - Summer home of the Vanderbilts

United States Tennis Hall of Fame

Lunceon buffet at the Officer's Club on the naval base in Newport

The US Naval War College

Auction items display table

Cecil's Auctioneer/Master-of-Ceremonies Rev. Warren Brandt

"Big Mamie" Shows off her 16" guns

Black Rose Irish Pub in Quincy Market

Greg Wells boarding the USS Constitution with the Cecil's Memorial Wreath

Larry Kesselring assisted by SN 1st Class Nola Sparks hoists Old Glory aboard the USS Constitution

Heritage House Blues Band provides music at the banquet

Tex Hancock making braided Italian bread

Submarine Memorial at the Groton, CT Naval Base

1960's USS Cecil Crew Members

1950's USS Cecil Crew Members

1970's USS Cecil Crew Members

Rev Warren Brandt conducts the Memorial Service on the deck of the USS Constitution

Boston's famed Quincy Market

Welcome to Providence Place Mall

Quaint Shop at Mystic River Seaport in CT

USS Joseph P. Kennedy DD(850), named after President Kennedy's older brother who was killed in a plane crash during WWII.

CDR William A. Bullard II, Commanding Officer of the USS Constittution and Ira Riley

Newly elected Cecil Association President, Ira Riley, addresses the group before introducing the guest speaker

CDR William A. Bullard II addresses the Cecil veterans with an interesting and informative talk about Old Ironsides from it's launching in 1794 to today 2007, as the oldest commissioned warship in the world in it's 210 year history.

"That roast beef looks soooo delicious"

Dale Halverson smiles as his shipmates applaud his birthday

Dale's surprise birthday cake
"Happy Birthday to You"

USS Constitution in all her glory

Hampton Inn welcomes the "Charlie P."

Plank Owners Clyde "Tex" Hancock and Bob Hammond casting the Memorial Wreath into Boston Harbor, while Dick Gallo and Moe Broussard stand at attention offering the traditional salute.

USS Massachusetts BBnn & her 16" guns

Floating Wreath

All aboard for Providence, RI

Our tour guide Chief Ernie Pina - USN,retired

Submarine Memorial at the Sub base in Groton

Scialo Bros Bakery-an Italian Bakery on Federal Hill in Providence in business since 1920. Luigi Scialo, the sole proprietor, ran the business for seven decades until his death in 1993 at the age of 103. His two daughters run the business today.

USS Nautilus SSN(571) - Groton, CT

Tex Hancock making Italian bread at Scialo's Bakery on Federal Hill in Providence

First Baptist Curch in America

Entrance to Providence Place Mall

Bill Foley, BM3 (1965-67), and his lovely companion enjoy the banquet

CDR Bullard with New President Ira Riley

      For the past few years, the Cecil Association NewsLetter has only been published annually, following each reunion. The next edition will appear after the 14th reunion in Pensacola in May 2008.
       Got any suggestions or ideas on how to improve the format and content of the NewsLetter? Or maybe a memorable sea story or any news that you'd like to share with your old Cecil shipmates. Send them to the NewsLetter Editor at the following address (Snailmail or Email):

Ed Crowley
68 Glen Drive
Hudson, NH 03051

Letter from Greg Wells:

When I arrived back home from the reunion I sent the plaque back to Washington as I was directed. Well, they sent it back, stating that it belonged to the USS Charles P. Cecil (DD/DDR-835) Association, Inc. And, a replica Cecil plaque was enshrined in the designated place 30-H.

And, then they sent me the second one, stating that since I had designed the plaque the Memorial was giving me one.

Here is my idea. I think that the plaque should be raffled off each year, and the winner has to agree to bring it back to the next years reunion .....that way it gives any shipmate that wins the bid an opportunity to keep it in their home for a year! What do you think? Comments are welcome. Email them to Ed Crowley