NEWSLETTER OCTOBER 2003
Don Bullock - Publishing & Mailing
Jim Friday - Business manager, Reunions
How about that!
Dear WADSWORTH SAILORS;
I hope you have enjoyed the events we planned for you and find our great state and city a good place to visit. I wish you all a safe trip back home and hope you will keep in touch and come to visit us again here in Bath.
As a retired Master Chief Petty Officer I understand your feelings of pride in your service to your country, as truly you should. It brings me great joy to say to all of you, "THANKS FOR SAVING MY LIFE" and for preserving the freedom and quality of life we enjoy in this nation today. You are truly "The Greatest Generation."
Fair winds and Following Seas Shipmates
Color Guard Honored
THANKS TO BRIAN MEYERS
On behalf of all of the people at the Memorial Service, I do want to say
Thanks. Everyone, including the Color Guard, thought you were terrific. Even I was impressed.
Editor's note: Brian played "Taps" at the Memorial Service. And a fine job he did too.
Shipmates in attendance at Bath Reunion
It was a small group that assembled in Bath, and therefore more intimate than others. Though there were more guests than shipmates, everybody met and became friends. And a good time was had by all.
Tuesday we registered, though there wasn't much to that, got aquainted and messed around the hospitality room. Told a few jokes and a few more lies and well you know the exercise.
Wedensday morining we toured the Maine Maritime Museum. There was a conducted tour by a guide, who we gave a hard time, then the rest of the visit was on our own. The museum is located on about a zillion acres of rolling knolls, so if ever you visit, you better have on your hiking shoes.
Then if touring the museum didn't tire us out enough, that afternoon we toured the Bath Iron Works. Thankfully this was a bus tour, they wouldn't let us off the buss. This troubled Friday mightily cause he had to go to tne bathroom.
Things have changed alot in the ship building business. They used to build the ship on the ways. This meant that the ship sat there at an angle, and if something had to be put in plum, the engineers had some fancy math to do. What with education like it is today, the engineers probably can't do that fancy math, so the build the ships on the level.
The parts, pieces of the hull and all, are built in shops all over the place. Then as they are needed they are brought to the assembly area and put together. It's all done on a huge railroad carriage, and that sucker has to move one helluva lot of weight. When the ship is put together, it is moved by this railroad into a dry dock and there it is blasted an painted and all the little futsy stuff done. Then when they are ready to launch, they simply flood the dry dock and float the ship out. However, they had to dig a big hole in the bottom of the river to do this.
Thursday we took a jet boat trip up the Kennebec River to Fort Popham. (Or was that down the river? Anyway, we headed toward the sea.) Fort Popham is a deserted old stone fort that was built to house the old black powder cannons, and boy there were lots of them. I kept looking around for the ghost of Captain Jinks, but I guess he was sleeping in that day.
We had lunch, a lobster roll, at Spinney's Resturant. I was expecting something like a taco with lobster in it, but what it turned out to be was a lobster sandwich on a hot-cross bun. It was good!
Half the crew went down the river on the boat and the other half rode the trolley. (That's a street car body on the chasis of a chevy truck) Then we switched around and the trolley crew rode the boat back, and this time we were going up the river, away from the sea, and without paddles too.
That evening we had our Memorial Service at a waterside park. We had a Color Guard (see letters on page 2) and Brian Meyers, Zeddy Rush's grandson played "Taps." Betty and Dawn Pearce cast the wreath upon the waters.
Friday morning the trolley took the suckers on a shopping trip to LL Bean in Freeport. I skipped that one because I only had a few hundred bucks left. When the crew got back, we had a buffet luncheon at the Bounty Resturant in the hotel.
Friday afternoon we were supposed to go to Boothbay Harbor for another shopping spree. However, they put that off until Saturday because of threatened rain due to old Izzy. (it didn't rain, but what the hell.)
Saturday morning we loaded up and jolted down to Boothbay. The whole damned town is a tourist trap. They got more junk in more stores than I've ever seen, and they all but say "Welcome, Sucker."
That evening we had a lobster feed at the hotel and that was about it.
BENNY PAJAK LIKED THE REUNION
I'm glad I was able to attend a part of it. We had to leave early.
Thanks to my son and his two daughters. They said I was going to this reunion even if they had to push me there in a wheel chair. And that's about what happened.
Enclosed are some snap shots that you asked for.
The memorial was beautiful, as always.
"Thanks for saving my life."
George Hidalgo has been in and out of the hospital like a yo-yo the past few months. Just before they were ready to drive up to Bath, George had another session. The doctor told him if he had to go to the reunion, he would have to fly because driving was out of the question. It was too late to get air line tickets without taking it in the shorts, so they stayed home. George was looking forward to a lobster feed, so I shipped them a couple of Jive Maine lobsters. They said they enjoyed.
Al Bender called to see how the reunion went. Really likes the idea of Charleston and says he'll be there for sure, (that is if this new "dolly" of his will let him come)
Betty Pearce got home safe and sound, but she was bitten by a spider at the reunion and her foot was all swollen. She was taking anti biotics to treat the wound. She says lots of people left flowers at Benny's hot dog stand.
Leda Gull wrote to thank Bullock for sending her WADSWORTH hats. Her son couldn't make it to Bath and she doesn't want to come alone, but she wants to make the next one.
Charley Crowley wrote to say he couldn't make it to Bath. He lost his job when the government took over security at the airports. Says he'll make the next one for sure.
Carl Werner and Johnny Dodge both wrote to say they couldn't make it to the Bath reunion. Both have health problems that prevented them from attending and both were sorely missed.
IT'S CHARLESTON IN 05
Charleston, SC was considered as a site for the reunion some years ago, but was rejected because of a lack of hotel rooms. This problem has evidentally been illiminated because Friday has received a letter from a hotel soliciting our business. Also the Visitor's Bureau has a whole gaggle of hotels willing and anxious to put us up and take care of our needs, and of our money.
When Charleston was brought up at the last reunon and tossed around the hospitality room, everyone seemed to think it was a good idea so the decision was made without a lot of fan fare.
Seems like a good choice to me, after all it is where WADSWORTH was put out of commission. Those shipmates that didn't make it to Bath, but checked in later, all thought it a good idea and they all promised to be there.
Charleston has a lot to see and a lot to do. There is Patriot's Point where the retired naval ships are docked, and Fort Sumtner, where the Civil War started, and Battery Street and Waterfront Park and a lot of other stuff. I hear they have some mighty fine eateries there too and if they can make soup for a bunch of toothless old geezers, we are in business. I guess there's not much more to say, It's Charleston, SC in ought five and see you there.
BITS AND PIECES
Bath, the birthplace of the Wadsworth is now history. The reunion was a roaring success; thanks to the efforts of Joe Byrnes and all of the others who may have contributed. We were fortunate to have been allowed to tour the shipyard. We had a beautiful Memorial Service on the shores of the Kennebec River and being aided by the playing of taps by Zeddy Rush's Grandson; Brian Meyers. We honored 13 shipmates who passed on since the last reunion plus a special mention of Muriel Libby and Russell Crawford, the two shipmates who were killed in action at Bougainville.
The lobsters seemed to play a large part in our festivities. Everyone seemed to enjoy the lobster feast on Saturday. The generosity of the Collins family and Jane Moyers in furnishing the cocktails was greatly appreciated. It was simply a great bunch of people.
It's now time to move on. The next reunion has been scheduled for Charleston, S.C. in October of 2005. We have been in contact with some of the Hotel and Tour people there. It appears we will have room rates around $80.
The tours will include a dinner at one of the large plantations. The memorial service will be held on one of the ships docked at Patriots Point. That's it for now.
"Thanks for saving my life!"
Two more of our shipmates have been relieved of the watch.
Benjamin Franklin Pearce III
Ben served in the U. S. Navy from 1942 to 1946. He served aboard DENEBOLA and NIELDS before commissioning WADSWORTH.
In civilian life Ben owned and operated a cinder block co., an independent trucking company, a propane delivery service and "Benny's Umberella Room" a hot dog wagon. This season would have marked his fortieth yearin the business. This year was the first that he missed a WADSWORTH reunion.
PHOTO ORDER FORM
Tito Aquinaga brought pictures suitable to frame of the USS Wadsworth DD516 to Bath, Maine Reunion. One picture was made by Benny Pajak's son, Darcy B. Pajak for a previous reunion. The other has an Actual photograph of our ship and this has room for you to add your picture.
Tito has added with his artistic skills the number of Major Battles, Invasions, Planes Shot Down, Ship and Submarine that was sunk. Also he added The PRESIDENTIAL UNIT CITATION. With Ribbons and Stares to each print. These two prints are 11 1/2" x 17".
If you would like a copy of one picture, they will cost $5.25 each and this includes mailing tube and postage. You may make extra copies of print # 1 and add your picture at a Copy Store as you would like. If you want more than one print of #1 or #2 add $2.50 each. Or a larger Donation.
Number of prints.-- #1 You can add your picture__________
Number of prints--- #2 A beautiful print by Darcy Pajak __________
Make Check out to "WADSWORTH REUNION" and send to:
City, State, Zip______________________________
The WADSWORTH Newsletter is a publication aimed at informing WADSW0RTH shipmates, their families and survivors.
Fred W. Marler Editor
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