USS McMorris (DE1036)
Website Edition (Summer 2003)
In This Issue:
· Editors Note
· Reunion Information
· Wrap Up
· Contact Information
Defender of Liberty!
It has been quite some time since I sat and wrote a newsletter for the reunion group. So much water has passed under all of us since my last true letter. It is time to catch up. Slowly but surely, the reunion group is growing in large numbers. I do not have a head count at this moment, but my guess is we are in the ballpark of 300-400 people who either have signed the guest book, or that we have good contact information for.
One of the projects that I am committed to this year, is to establish a current roster of all names with good contact information. This would include your full name, rank, dates aboard McMorris, home address, phone number and a current email address. I am working on this with Linda and James Pike and I promised Linda I would get this done. Your help is appreciated. Here is how you can help. Send an email to Linda (Oh she's gonna love this. Her address is: firstname.lastname@example.org ) with your current contact information. Linda will be compiling this into a full roster that we can mail out in hard copy form if you request it. Give this some time for it to be put together. I'm going to say December to get this done.
We have heard from so many of you just from reading the guest book. There is no doubt our website has become the key link to all of you. Scott Vliek is doing a great job of working on building a quality website that represents all of us in a most enjoyable way. I should have him explain this, but the most recent changes are significant. Our address is now an "Organizational" address: www.ussmcmorris.org. One of the benefits of this is providing us more space for posting pictures and other information that depicts the life of the crewmembers of McMorris.
The website is yours to contribute to and to enjoy. We are constantly looking for new contributions to include in the collage of pictures and documents from your time aboard the McMorris. We all want to see what you experienced and to hear your stories. One of my other goals is to have a more complete picture of the ship's history. Your cruise memories including time periods, activities, ports of call, yard periods, physical changes to the ship are all part of the fabric that made up this great history. I'd like to hear more about the first Vietnam tour in 65'. What some may not realize is that McMorris made history by being the Flagship for the Operation Market Time Force Commander when that operation first started, and was the first Destroyer Escort to fire shore bombardment in support of US troops in South Vietnam. What was going on? Who has pictures?
Two more recent additions are the story of the decommissioning of McMorris in 1974. This was contributed by HTFN Dennis Jose 73-74, and is a great counter piece to the Commissioning section that is dedicated to the Plank Owners section. By the way, it is great to see so many plank owners out there who have found us.
The story of the 67' collision has now been told in pictures and words. So many of you wanted to know more and many of you had pictures to contribute. Bill Ignarski was able to produce documents that covered the initial investigation, as well as the deck log for that time period. This is a fascinating drama of human interaction and courage.
The "Scrapbook" was created to include for personal pictures and "stuff" that depicts life aboard the McMorris. I found some documents of shipboard activities including one of a series of "Red Baron" grams that was written by LCDR Donald Hark. Whatever you have that can be scanned, let us share in your memories and enjoy the little things that made up our lives so long ago.
An exciting feature that was just added to our group is our own "forum" if you will, in which all of us can communicate on-line. Everyone has an opportunity to talk together and "chat" with each other. This is great for posting questions, looking for your long lost buddy, and staying in touch as a group.
To make it easy for you, Scott has also created a quick look section called "What's New." You can quickly see what new postings are on the site to make it easy for you to navigate to that section. I am certain there is more to come.
Let me talk about Las Vegas for a moment. This was our third reunion. It was a great time and it was great to see so many new faces. My hope is that we can capture everyone who has attended Charleston, San Diego, and Las Vegas, along with more new faces, in one big group. We have our regulars, and then we seem to get a new batch of people each time, that is slightly different from the last reunion. We probably average 30 to 35 shipmates each time, plus wives or friends. The one noticeable difference in Las Vegas was that Royal Magnus was the only officer present. Typically, we experience a good turnout of officers, and certainly we have a good cross section of officers and enlisted from all time periods. It is my everlasting goal to have a minimum of 50 shipmates attend a reunion, plus wives and or friends. Let's reach that goal in Philly!
Special thanks must go to several people who helped make Las Vegas a great reunion. First the important stuff. Jack Shepard was able to arrange through his company in Phoenix to have lot's of beer and wine on hand in the hospitality suite. This was all complimentary and saved us a bundle for that expense. Jack and Rose…"You are the best!" Secondly, Master Chief Duane Baumgartner took many pictures of the reunion activities and despite a set back in losing the picture file when my hard drive crashed a little while back, we are hoping to get a new set for posting on the website. Chief Baumgartner and his friend were a great addition to our lively group and hope we see them again soon.
Thanks of course to all of you who attended Las Vegas, and thanks to Doc Corradetti for holding down the hospitality suite master at arms duty, while others were out goofing off. Doc was exemplary in his official duty, and upheld the finest tradition of the US Navy. One question though. "What the hell happened to that bottle of Vodka?" Doc stood tall when giving his report on dues collections for 2003.
As is our tradition, we voted on where the next reunion will be held. We had a great discussion on several locations, and of course Hawaii is always part of that discussion. For those interested, Vic and Carol Yanosy proposed giving a report back to me after their vacation trip to Hawaii just recently, to give us an idea of the cost and the logistics of coordinating this trip. Plan B was to bring the reunion back to the East Coast, and Philadelphia was chosen for that location.
Vic and Carol had a great time in Hawaii, and reported the potential difficulties of putting this all together for our group. With all of that in mind, Philadelphia is the next location for our 2004 reunion. Keep looking in the reunion section of the website for up to date information on our next reunion in Philadelphia.
One other significant thing occurred in Las Vegas, at least from my perspective. I am always looking for help with this reunion stuff, and will admit right up front that the last few years have been difficult for me with the loss of Michele, a job change, finishing my degree program, and just holding myself together. This has had an impact on the time I have spent (or used to spend), on reunion activities. I enjoy the heck out of this, and take great pride and joy in what we have all accomplished up to this point. Scott Vliek and I had our moments for a while, and I know that Scott was also going through some personal issues at the same time I was, so it made for strange bed fellows. I will say right now, that we ripped Scott's personal website right out of his hands back around 1996-1997 era, and he has been gracious to allow this piracy to occur, while being instrumental in developing the graphics and layout of the site and contributing his thoughts and ideas, and putting up with me. Thank you Scott for being who you are; Generous and caring to help keep the life of the McMorris and her crewmembers together once again.
The following people were shanghai'd and pressed into service for your benefit. In Las Vegas we created a group of Liason type people to help in undefined ways as yet, but for now, to be a contact point for your time period. The thought on this was to have a person who you could contact to answer questions, and share thoughts with who had a closer association with you during your time aboard the McMorris.
I don't know what this will accomplish yet, but at least you have someone you can contact who either knew you or was familiar with things that occurred during your service aboard the McMorris. I also see these people playing a role in helping with registration or contacting people to welcome them to the group, or verifying addresses/changes in status, etc. This needs to evolve. Let's say thanks to James Pike for being a contact person for the 59-64 group, James Cirillo and Al Bittenbender for the 65-69 group and myself, Skip Reynolds for the 70-74 group.
One last thing. As always, we look to bring the best reunions we can with the resources we have and the time allotted for planning and coordinating these gatherings. Your support is always appreciated, and many of you not only attend the reunions on a regular basis, but also support us financially. We are a non-profit type organization that operates very close to the vest, if you will. The internet has helped us tremendously to bring you current and accurate data. The newsletter is no longer printed and mailed as it was in the old days, so we have kept costs to a minimum. However, in order to maintain other services and to cover costs at the reunion site that isn't necessarily part of your upfront cost, we ask for a yearly donation of at least $25.00.
This is typically due at the beginning of the year, no matter when you paid in the previous year. Instructions for payment are posted on the website, but all you need to do is ask how. We appreciate what you can do for us, and ask only to be supportive of what we are trying to give back to you.
Enjoy the rest of your summer. Stay in touch with us and if you know where another shipmate is at, tell them to get in touch with us. Hope to see you in 2004 in the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA.
P.S. (1) Many of you may know that our beloved 2nd CO Ralph Spencer had suffered stroke last year and did not make Las Vegas, or his usual trip to Doc's this summer in the Pocono's of Pennsylvania. Our prayers and best wishes go out to him, and if you think of it, drop him a line and let him know you are thinking of him. I have never met a more gracious and wonderful man.
(2) The door to the ships store is slightly open. I have a handful
of new hats for sale. These are blue, cotton twill, with gold embroidery
(USS McMorris DE-1036) on the front. I have some that are all blue
and some that are blue with a tan brim. I have been working with a
local promotion company. They have done mugs for me in the past, and
I am trying to work out some deals. I still have access to our old
supplier in California, but I have been working on upgrading our clothing
to include a premium line, like Cutter & Buck, or something equivalent.
The problem is involves cost and quantity purchases. I keep toying
with ideas. It just hasn't come to me yet. Cost of hat = $16.00 plus
$4.00 S/H. I preordered 12 and 12.
To bring a little joy and happiness to our crewmembers and family. To be ever mindful that our culture and heritage while diverse, is the foundation that makes the McMorris Reunion Group so special in the hearts and minds of everyone of us, and to respect each and every member of our group.
There is no agenda behind our efforts, nor is any intended, other than to keep our Reunion Group members well informed through the newsletter and our website. In addition, the purpose of our group is to find as many former crewmembers and family as we can, bring them together on a periodic basis at a reunion for fun and fellowship.
USS McMorris Reunion Assoc.