2002 Reunion Report

The first USS Arnold J. Isbell reunion was held October 14-16, 2002, in Charleston, South Carolina.

Thanks to Ben and Shirley Lowery, Chuck and Ethel Ehaney, and Barry Dahlberg for all their hard work in putting this reunion together.

Reunion photos of some of the early 70s BT gang by Ted Guess.

Photos of 1960-1964 era shipmates provided by Hank Watson.

A Then and Now photo feature using photos taken by Fred Reynolds (MM2, 1961-63)

Photos, many featuring RAdm Fitzpatrick, by Bill Hurd (TM, 1951-53)

Reunion Report – by Ben Lowery

The Arnold J. Isbell reunion was held Oct.14-16, 2002 in Charleston, South Carolina. One hundred and two (102) shipmates along with 83 guests attended. Registration was held on Monday, Oct. 14, 2002. A hospitality room was available Tuesday from 9:00A.M. until 10:00 P. M. where shipmates renewed friendships and memories were shared. A great time was had by all in so doing.

A tour visiting Patriot’s Point and seeing historial ships USS Yorktown (CV-10), the destroyer Laffey (DD 724), Coastguard cutter, Ingham (WHEC-35), submarine USS Clamagore (USS 343). Wednesday morning most shipmates and wives enjoyed a tour of historical Charleston.

The highlight of the reunion was the banquet held on Wednesday evening. “Piping the Captain Francis J. Fitzpatrick aboard” was done by Jerry D. Thompson, White Plains New York. Matt Bliss of Port Richie, Florida gave the invocation. Barry Dahlberg of Brookfield, Illinois led Pledge of Allegiance.

After a buffet meal, Ben Lowery, master of ceremonies, introduced the keynote speaker. The keynote speaker was R/ADMR Francis J. Fitzpatrick, captain of USS Arnold J. Isbell DD869 from 1951-53. He gave some highlights of his experiences as captain as well as other events of the Isbell. Chuck Ehaney led the group in observing a moment of silence and a ringing of bell for deceased shipmates. The song “Ode to the Isbell”, recorded by shipmate Bob Prather, was played. A toast was given for the Isbell and for all the men who served aboard the Isbell followed by a toast to the Captain. All plank owners in attendance were honored. They were John C. Holford, J. L. (Jay) James, Roy Vincent Chapman, John Galton, James W.Hayes, Leonard Balsano, Edmund Doranski, and William W. Graham.

A brief business meeting was held to make plans for a future reunion in 2004. Barry Dahlberg and his wife Evelyn volunteered to chair the next reunion committee, others who will assist on the committee are Bill Kelly, Tony Vidrine, Joe and Shara McMichael. Ben and Shirley Lowery and Chuck and Ethel Ehaney will be senior advisors to the committee. Suggestions of where to have the next reunion were: San Diego CA., Baton Rouge, LA., and Chicago, IL., Mobile AL., Branson, MO., and at the TIN CAN Sailors National Reunion. It was decided that the reunion committee would investigate sites and decide which would offer the most suitable site/facilities and make the decision along with the best date.

A raffle for door prizes was held with proceeds going toward expenses for the next reunion. A total of $467 was collected.

The reunion ended with the benediction, “May our God, no matter what our name for Him is, be with us till we meet again for our next reunion.”

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