2007 Reunion Report

The fifth USS Arnold J. Isbell reunion was held Sept. 10-12, 2007, in Branson, MO. Bravo Zulu once again to Barry Dahlberg, Ben and Shirley Lowery and the others whose hard work made the reunion a success.

2007 Reunion photos by Hank Watson

 

 

Reunion report by Shirley Lowery and Barry Dahlberg 

Day 1, Sunday, September 10, 2007

Registration and check in began at 3:00 PM in the lobby of the Radisson Hotel, Branson. One new plank owner shipmate Joe Clark, Sun City Arizona was present for the 1st time. Charles Isbell, Captain Arnold J Isbell’s son was also registered for the first time as a shipmate. There were a total of 37 registered, 19 shipmates and 18 family and friends.

 

The crew gathered in the Glory Hospitality Room to meet, greet, and renew old friendships. A welcome reception was held in the Patriots Room at 6:00 P.M., with such an abundance of food items that very few of the shipmates went out to dinner. Some of the group retired to the Glory Hospitality room for the balance of the evening, while others left the hotel to attend one of the many shows for which Branson is famous.

 

Day 2, Monday, September 11, 2007
Those going on the tour met in the Glory Hospitality Room at 8:00 A.M. The motor coach arrived at 9:00 AM to transport the group to the Brett Family Singers 10:00 morning show. When we arrived at the theater, we were greeted on the coach by the Brett Family, then escorted to our reserved seats. Before the show started, the Isbell Reunion Group was recognized by the cast and asked to stand. All hands enjoyed the two hour musical and dance review by the four member Brett Family.

 

From the show the group proceeded to McFarlains down home country restaurant for lunch and shopping in the Mall.

 

Afterward, the tour continued on to the Veterans Memorial Museum where we viewed over two thousand World War One through Persian Gulf War exhibits of uniforms, arms, equipment, and sculptures of servicemen in action. The largest sculpture was a fifteen ton bronze life size platoon of 50 marines, each modeled after an actual combat serviceman, one from each state. The figure from Kansas is the likeness of Robert Dole. It was most impressive. A P51 Mustang Fighter marks the entrance to the Museum.

 

The motor coach returned the group to the hotel for a short one-hour rest before taking us to the Legends in Concert Dinner Show, where we again were greeted on the coach by the cast, escorted to our reserved seats, and then to a dining area for dinner. We returned to our theatre seats after dinner, and were again recognized by the cast as the Isbell Reunion Group. Charles Isbell, Captain Isbell’s son was also specially recognized. The show included impersonations of Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, and other well known performers.. We returned to the hotel at 10:30 P.M. almost exhausted after a full day of activities.

 

Day 3, Tuesday, September 12
Some of the shipmates attended morning and afternoon shows on their own, while others shopped at the many specialty shops or just visited in the hospitality room during the morning and afternoon.

 

In the evening, all gathered for a last meeting and banquet, where we enjoyed either prime rib, stuffed chicken breast, or a delicious fish dish. Manuel Fonseca provided wine for the dinner and toasts that followed.

 

Barry Dahlberg began the dinner program with a discussion of whether to put your hand over your heart or salute the flag when reciting the National Anthem. The group concluded that there is no law against saluting, only custom, and that we as veterans had earned the right to honor our flag by saluting if we wished. When the Pledge of Allegiance was said, many of us saluted, intending to continue this practice in the future.

 

The program continued with The Missing Man Ceremony conducted by Ben Lowery.
A Blessing was given by Jimmie Pollock Sr. and dinner was served.After dinner, as was proposed by Tony and Agatha Vidrine at the San Diego reunion, Ben and Shirley Lowery conducted a raffle of gifts shipmates brought from their hometown.

 

Barry and Evelyn Dahlberg presented a future project, the creation of a USS ARNOLD J ISBELL NAVY cookbook. It will be a collection of shipmate family and Navy recipes, printed and sold to generate funds for future reunions or projects. Kathy Hoffman volunteered to support the project and type up recipes submitted by shipmates. She has worked with a cookbook project before.

 

Charles Isbell, son of Captain Arnold Isbell, our ships namesake, spoke, telling us how he remembers his father, and some of Captain Isbell’s accomplishments. His telling gave us all a more personal connection to the ship.

 

The program continued with a bit of magic performed by Barry Dahlberg, and concluded with a prayer by Jimmie Pollock Sr.
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