2006 Reunion Report

The fourth USS Arnold J. Isbell reunion was held Oct. 5-7, 2006, in San Diego, CA. Bravo Zulu again to Barry Dahlberg, Ben Lowery and the others whose hard work made the reunion a success.

2006 Reunion photos by Hank Watson

H.S. Sachtouris History by Harry Cotronis

2006 Reunion report by Barry Dahlberg and Shirley Lowrey

Day 1, Thursday, October 5

The reunion began at the Red Lion Hanalei Hotel, Hotel Circle San Diego, with registration at noon Thursday, October 5, 2006. A total of 132 registered, 72 shipmates and 60 family and friends.

At 6:00 PM, a reception was held in the Lahaina Bay Room. Barry Dahlberg gave a review of the coming events and tours while everyone enjoyed a table of fruit, cheese, and breads including a Baron of Beef carved by the chef at the head of the table. Barry reported on the status of the fund for the plaque at the Navy Memorial Museum in Washington DC, with $2,133.00 collected to date. There was a spontaneous response from 22 shipmates making donations and within 5 minutes, 545 dollars were added making the plaque assured. Later, the hospitality room was opened where some stayed until midnight swapping sea stories.

Day 2, Friday, October 6

87 people boarded 3 Historical Trolley Tour busses at 9:00 AM for the tour. The first stop was to Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery on Point Loma where a memorial service for our shipmates who have made the last voyage was held. The venue was the monument overlooking San Diego Harbor, honoring the Destroyers at the Battle of Samar: USS Hoel, USS Johnston, and USS Samuel J Roberts. The ceremony opened with presentation of the colors by the Navy Color Guard, who also played Taps. We were welcomed by Mr. Bill Livingstone, Director of the Cemetery, and Mr. William Tuerk, Undersecretary of Memorial Affairs. Ben Lowery and Chuck Ehaney placed a wreath and Barry Dahlberg read the poem, “A Sailor’s Life.” The names of shipmates who passed on during the last year were read and the bell rung for each. The ceremony ended with the group enjoying the view of the harbor and exploring the grounds.

Next stop was for a narrated trip to the 32nd Street Naval Destroyer Base for a tour of the base, but our escort did not show up. Both the guards at the gate and our drivers were very upset and did everything they could, but to no avail. The shipmates took it in stride labeling it, “nothing has changed, just another navy screw up.” We were not able to go aboard the base so on to the USS Midway Museum ship, dropping off those who preferred to shop at the Sea Port Village. 74 of the group went on to tour the carrier with self-guiding earphones. Most of the group had lunch at the Fantail Café aboard ship, strolled the flight deck, climbed to the bridge, and visited the below spaces. We were picked up at 3:00 PM by the Trolley Busses, and then stopped back at the Sea Port Village to retrieve the shoppers.

Returning to the hotel, the hospitality room was opened and most of the group gathered to visit until the late hours. Our neighboring reunion group, CVS-17, found that they had ordered too much food and invited the USS Isbell to join them for refreshments. Being old destroyer sailors, we never pass up an invitation to eat, and several new friendships with the Airedales were made.

Day 3, Saturday, October 7

A group of 84-boarded 3 Historical Trolley Busses at 9:00 AM for a two hour narrated tour of the City of San Diego and Coronado Island. The view from the bridge to Coronado was spectacular. At the end of the city tour, everyone boarded one of the two ”SEAL” vehicles at Sea Port Village for a combine land-sea tour of the harbor. We entered the water at shelter island boat ramp and proceeded via water to Point Loma Submarine base. There was one nuclear submarine moored with booms and armed gunboats keeping us from approaching closer than ¼ mile. The tour proceeded to the commercial bait facility, consisting of large floating tanks filled with bait fish. Several bait fishing boats were unloading the bait fish into the tanks via hoses. This operation attracted herds of sea lions and harbor seals trying to share in the catch. Some of the sea lions tried to climb aboard the floats and enter the hatches into the holding tanks while the transfer was taking place. Other animals were sunning themselves on the inactive tanks letting us pull up right alongside and photograph them up close. The tour returned to Sea Port Village where we met the Trolley Busses for the return trip to the hotel arriving at 2:45 PM.

The final evening began 4:30 PM with a cash bar in the Lahaina Bay Room. As the shipmates selected their seating in groups generally representing their association on the ship years ago, they began a last round of sea stories. Our guest speaker, LCDR Trey Glaze, was piped aboard and dinner was served. His wife Paige, and twin five year old daughters, Carmen and Celeste, also joined us for dinner. This was a first that such delightful young ladies attended one of our reunions.

After dinner, LCDR (Retired) Byron Marshall, XO, USS Isbell, 1956-1957, addressed the group with stories of that time, telling us of his experiences as XO.

LCDR Glaze followed, with a brief background of his personal career as a naval aviator. He then made a comparison with the sailors who are now serving, with the sailors of the reunion group. Starting with today’s seamen out of boot camp, born in 1989, thru Commanders, born in 1968, he compared the things in the day’s news, and happenings in the world at their time to our time in service.

Following LCDR Glaze, an announcement was made that the Plaque for the Navy Memorial was now fully funded and we would proceed with having one made and mounted on the memorial wall in Washington D.C.

Ben Lowery recognized Barry and Evelyn Dahlberg with the award of an 8 inch statue of The Lone Sailor engraved “For “heading up” the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th reunions of the USS Arnold J Isbell DD 869.”

Tony and Agatha Vidrine conducted a raffle for door prizes. They proposed that for future reunions, each shipmate bring an item for raffle that represents the area or city they come from. After final goodbyes, the reunion came to a close.

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One Response to “2006 Reunion Report”

  1. george mcwhorter Says:

    i served on the dd869 in the fifty,s.during the korean conflict.we served in the china strait,s.got cought in a terrable storm,ship was busted up verry bad. do any of you rember it contact swampthing76@live. thank u june18-11

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