uss pawcatuck (ao-108) - Military Locator and Reunion Service



uss pawcatuck (ao-108) - Military Locator and Reunion Service
The annual reunion of former crewmen of the USS Pawcatuck (AO-108)
was held in Philadelphia, PA, on May 19-22, 2013, at the Clarion Hotel &
Conference Center. Twenty-nine members and nineteen guests attended.
It’s impossible to say who was the first to register, because when the
registration table opened, almost all of the group was sitting in the lobby
waiting to get started. The afternoon was spent in the hospitality room looking over the displays of memorabilia and sharing
memories. At 4:00 PM the welcome reception
featured Philly cheese steaks, mini Panzarottes,
soft pretzels with mustard, cheddar cheese and
Tasty Kakes. For the remainder of the evening
everyone was free to reminisce and enjoy the
company of old friends in the hospitality room or
to venture out into Philadelphia for the evening.
Monday morning’s tour departed the hotel at 9:00 AM and took the
group to America’s most decorated battleship, the USS New Jersey, for a
tour and the memorial service. The memorial service was first on the
agenda as the group boarded the battleship. Mark McPherson served as
Chaplain for the service and Paul Houston rang the bell as Dave Willis read
the names of the deceased. The service included the reading of two
poems, “In Loving Memory” read by Dave Willis, and “The Passing of
Shipmates” read by Randy Mosley. Those shipmates honored at the 2013
memorial service were Gordon Uhler, Robert Preston, Gene Brakel and
Robert Watson. Following the memorial service, the group toured the USS
New Jersey (BB-62). Exploring “BB-62” is experiencing history in a wholenew way. Here one could see exhibits of artifacts from the ship’s past, and
at the same time, be put into the exhibit as one goes through the tour route.
One could sit in the chair from which Admiral Halsey commanded the 3
fleet; stretch out on the bunks where the sailors slept; climb into the 16” gun
turret and learn how the projectiles were loaded. From the moment one
stepped across the ship’s brow he/she could understand that this is a museum where visitors take an active role. From strolling
across forecastle to climbing the original ladders up to
the bridge and beyond, each step in the journey brings
one closer to understanding what life was like for a
sailor on the Battleship New Jersey. A mess hall lunch
followed the ship tour. A wait in line for lunch brought
back memories for the former sailors, who all agreed
that it was just par for the course in the Navy. After lunch
on the battleship, the group was off to Independence
Seaport Museum, the USS Olympia, and USS Becuna.
The Olympia served as Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay,
which marked the U.S.'s emergence as a world naval power. Olympia's last
official naval mission was to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier from
France to the United States in 1921. USS Becuna conducted five wartime
patrols with the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Becuna sank the 7500 ton freighter Nichiyoku Maru, two small coastal freighters, assisted USS Hawkbill with the sinking of the oiler Tokuwa Maru, and damaged another oiler. The submarine also
served as a lifeguard for downed pilots and narrowly missed an attack on the
battleship Yamato.
After a short time to refresh after the tour, the annual business meeting
was held to decide on the future path of the reunion group. Jim Fortune was
chosen to lead the group as coordinator for the next year, and Charleston,
SC, was selected as the 2015 reunion location. Branson, MO, had already
been chosen last year as the 2014 site.
Monday night’s dinner consisted of pizza and salad, and then the group
just enjoyed one another’s company, laughing at all the
jokes that were being told. What a great way to end
the day!
Tuesday’s tour was a Historic and Cultural Tour of
Philadelphia, narrated by a great guide, Ellen Wesolowski, who was back for the second day for the group.
She made the tour so much fun and informative! Stops were also made at
the National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and
Congress Hall. Philadelphia is filled with history, and today it was brought to
life for the members of the USS Pawcatuck reunion group. Just seeing the
places where our country was born made everyone appreciate our heritage
that much more.
At 6:00 PM the social hour and photo session
began. James Duross, Randy Hernandez, Fred
Leisentritt and James Roskoph arrived in uniform,
looking especially handsome. After drinks, photos
were made of various groups and all couples or individuals for inclusion in the post reunion Memory
Book. At 7:00 PM the USS Pawcatuck (AO-108)
banquet commenced with the posting of colors by
Aegis Division, United States Naval Sea Cadets from Levittown, PA, led by LT
Ainsley Robson. This was followed by the playing of the national anthem,
“Anchors Aweigh,” and the Pledge of Allegiance. Paul Houston then made the
welcoming remarks and Mark McPherson introduced the Color Guard members. Dinner was then served and consisted of grilled salmon topped with a
tropical salsa, or chicken breast with stuffing and gravy, and accompaniments.
After dinner the 50/50 raffle, which raised money for the USS Pawcatuck Pilot
newsletter, was held. Over 60 beautiful gifts were brought in by the members
for the raffle, including a Coach purse, navy items, a Masters basket and
many others. Chris Bernier was the big winner of the 50/50 prize, and $260
was raised for the Pawcatuck Pilot newsletter. Great job! Margaret Roskoph
announced the three winners of the Pawcatuck Scholarships. They are Marcos E. Sedillo, grandson of John Sedillo; Emma E. Leisentritt, granddaughter
of Fred Leisentritt and Grace M. Alden, granddaughter or Calvin and Angelina
Alden. Congratulations to these deserving young students. The evening
ended with the retiring of the colors by the Color Guard.
Wednesday’s private breakfast buffet was the last item on the 2013 reunion agenda. Paul Houston made the closing remarks, and then it was time to
say goodbye to another reunion of the USS Pawcatuck family. Everyone was
sad to see the reunion end, but are looking forward to Branson, MO next year.
Bernier, Edward & Chris
Casey, George
Crowley, Peter & Maureen
Diebel, Ronald & Cheri
Donoghue, Mike & Diane
Duross, James & Linda
Fortune, Jim
Hernandez, Randy
Houston, Paul & Loretta
Klinefelter, Robert
Kritschgau, John & Jean
Leisentritt, Fred
Lyeth, Robert
McPherson, Mark & Shirley
Mosley, Randy & Donna
McPherson, Jay
Mitchell, John & Carol
O’Brien, Neil & Traute
Phelps, Dan & Tanya
Prant, Donald & Harrison, Bruce
Roskoph, James & Margaret
Powell, Ralph & Janet
Roden, Jimmy & Shelia
Salmanowitz, James & Ruth Ann
Tomlin, Robert & Karen
Van Dyke, Ted & Ruby
Willis, David & Jan Cox
Clarion Hotel
Registration Table
Old friends getting reacquainted
Greetings to all!
Waiting to register
Ed Bernier & Pat Miller, Premier Reunion Services
Guy Talk
Welcome Reception
Old friends catching up at reception

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