2008 Reunion Report

The sixth USS Arnold J. Isbell reunion was held September 10-13, 2008, in Dedham/Boston, Mass. Thanks once again to Barry Dahlberg for putting together another great event.

2008 Reunion photos by Scott Horr

2008 Reunion report by Barry Dahlberg and Shirley Lowery

Day 1, Wednesday, September 10

Registration and check-in began at 3:00 PM in the Poolside Hospitality Room at the Holiday Inn/Dedham hotel. A total of 50 registered, 28 shipmates and 22 family and friends. The crew gathered to meet, tell sea stories, and renew old friendships. Shipmates Jim Hanson and Scott Horr were first time attendees.

Day 2, Thursday, September 11

The group departed the hotel at 8:00 AM, enroute to the Cape Ann tour, arriving at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum in Essex Ma. We were warmly welcomed as comrades of the sea by the museum staff. The shipmates were given an overview of the museum history and shipbuilding process.

The museum is situated on the former Story Shipyard where over 4000 wooden Gloucester schooners have been built from 1668 to the present day. The museum staff divided us into three groups and demonstrated the process of constructing a wooden ship. It started with hands on steam bending of a ships plank with the shipmates and wives providing the labor. The next station was the fabrication of a trunnel (treenail) or wooden peg used to fasten the planks and frames of the ship. An outdoor exhibit demonstrated the raising of a frame on the keel and the old Gloucester schooner Evelina M Goulart with some of her planks missing, illustrated the actual construction of a wooden schooner built in the shipyard 75 years ago. The final stop was a visit to the exhibits of models of the various versions of the Gloucester Schooner as the design evolved throughout the years. A full scale detailed exhibit showing the framing and planking of a wooden ship was informative.

The crew was treated to a traditional Cape Ann “Mug Up” (coffee) by the staff before boarding the bus to visit the world famous Fisherman’s Wife Memorial and Man at the Wheel memorial on the shore of Gloucester Harbor. A short trip into the village brought us to the Gloucester House restaurant where we were treated to a traditional East Coast lobster boil by the host and grandson of the founder of Gloucester House, Lenny Linquata. Lenny demonstrated how to disassemble and eat a boiled lobster before serving each of us a lobster, ear of corn, and potato directly from the kettle. We attacked our lobster with our newfound knowledge, as Lenny spun stories of the region, fishing and history of the area. Traditional strawberry shortcake desert followed.

After a narrated driving tour of the village, we headed back to the hotel where sandwich, fruit and cheese reception was hosted at 6:00 PM to welcome all hands.

Day 3, Friday, September 12

The tour bus left the hotel at 8:00 AM for Battleship Cove, Fall River Ma. As soon as the bus reached the Interstate, the Lowerys called on their cell phone telling us they had been left behind but a return to the hotel to pick them up resolved that glitch.

When the shipmates reached the museum/ships, they each visited the ships of their choice, USS Massachusetts, BB 59, Lionfish SS 123, USS Kennedy DD 850, and PTs 617 & 796. Because we were the Crew of a sister Gearing Class destroyer, the volunteers who maintain the Kennedy were on hand to open any spaces the shipmates requested, fired up the generators, and had the sounds of the bridge and CIC going for us. At 11:30 all hands gathered on the flight deck for a very brief memorial service. After the service we all retired to the mess deck for a box lunch with the Kennedy volunteers. Rich Angelini, senior curator, introduced his staff and told us about the restoration and maintence of the ship, stating that she is not just the Kennedy, but represents all Gearing destroyers, especially The Isbell while we were aboard.

Upon leaving the Battleship Cove museum, we made a brief stop at the Tin Can Sailors office in Summerset Ma, just up the river. The crew met the ladies who do the work of bringing us the quarterly newspaper, support reunions, bull sessions, and maintain the ships store. We visited the reference library, shopped the store, and renewed or signed up for membership in Tin Can Sailors We returned to the hotel at 3:30 for an evening of sea stories and friendship.

Day 4, Saturday, September 13

The crew boarded an Old Town Trolley at 8:00 AM for a tour of the USS Constitution, Boston, and the harbor. Upon arrival at the USS Constitution, we visited the museum before gathering alongside the ship itself for a group photo. After having our picture taken we boarded the USS Constitution for a self-guided tour of the ship. Active duty US Navy sailors make up the crew of the ship, and were on duty to answer any questions about the ship. Several of the shipmates also visited the museum ship USS Cassin Young DD 796, moored just across the pier.

The tour continued with a narrated drive through Boston streets passing by many historical sites, ending at Faneuil Hall Square, where many shopping and eating sites are located. After lunch and shopping on our own, we all met at the pier for a 45-minute cruise of Boston harbor.

The Trolley with our crew returned to the hotel by 3:00 PM in time for a brief rest before attending the banquet at 6:00 PM. A cash bar was open before the banquet and additional group photos were taken. Opening the evening Boatswain Jerry Thompson piped our guest speaker LTCD Chris Orlowski aboard. John Henry, Bob Sales, Ben Lowery, and Jim Neymeiyer served as side men. Cecil Dugger gave the invocation, and Scott Horr led the pledge to the flag. The dinner of medallions of beef or tarragon roasted salmon was served with fruit cup, salad, Italian vegetable medley, red bliss potatoes and fresh rolls. Desert of chocolate cake and coffee followed.

After dinner, Barry Dahlberg introduced LTCD Orlowski, inducting both him and his wife Joan as honorary members of the crew, presenting them with a ships cap, cups and patches. Chris reviewed his career and then spoke of the role of today’s sailor. He told us how some modern sailors are being inserted into other services to provide expert support for the Army Air Force and Marines beyond the traditional medical support to the Marines we all are so well aware. Ben Lowery conducted the Missing Man ceremony. Reunion business was conducted by Barry Dahlberg. Bob Sales reviewed how he has searched and found over 50 new shipmates using the internet. His efforts were recognized with an award of the Lone Sailor Pin. A discussion followed as to setting up a telephone relay to pass the word. Several volunteered to take responsibility to pass on information by calling a number of other shipmates. Barry Dahlberg reviewed the next reunion proposed to be held in Galveston TX next year providing Galveston was still there after hurricane IKE. Bob and Dottie Sales conducted the raffle of items brought by shipmates and the reunion concluded with the Benediction by Jim Neymeiyer.

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN

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