The 7th USS REDFIN reunion was held on October 7 to 10, 2004 at the Quality Suites & Sleep Inn Lake Wright in Norfolk, Virginia.
We had 58 REDFIN crewmen along with their family members and friends for a total of 109 to attend the reunion. This included 3 World War II Veterans; Dennis Brown who went aboard REDFIN on July 28, 1944 and rode her for 4 War Patrols, Everett Butler who put REDFIN in commission and made 3 War Patrols and Ted Breisch who went aboard on May 9, 1945 in Pearl Harbor and made the last 2 War Patrols.
We had our pizza party on Thursday evening after most everyone had checked in.
On Friday we had a tour of the Training Facilities on the base. They were very similar to the ones at New London. Some of us got to man the bow and stern planes in the simulator. What a feeling that was, very different from 50 years ago. Many of us ate lunch at the Mess Hall. Whatever happened to the Navy cooks and mess cooks?
At 1700 we had our pictures taken for the Reunion Album and then our Buffet Dinner. After dinner our guest speaker, Master Chief Dean Irwin, gave us an idea of how the Submarine School and the Submarine Service has changed.
On Saturday we were privileged to be able to tour two of the Submarines in Norfolk. Since there were about 50 people that wanted to make the tour we were divided into two groups. One group toured USS ALBANY (SSN-753) and the rest of us toured USS SCRANTON (SSN-756). Scranton opened the Ships Store after the tour and allowed us to purchase some of the items that everyone wanted. The crews on both boats were very courteous, friendly, knowledgeable and helpful.
Saturday evening we had another Buffet Dinner which was put on by Lake Wright and I must say, the food was very good and there was plenty of it.
Our own Ray McCollum gave a very interesting presentation of the return of the USS RAZORBACK (SS-394) to Arkansas from the country of Turkey. RAZORBACK was sold to Turkey on November 30, 1970 and was then known as MURAT REIS (S-336). It was still in operable condition when it was brought back to the USA. The presentation was given by Ray with the help of Eric Cramer who had provided a powerpoint projector.
After the presentation we all returned to our haven of Dominion Hall where we had our first Chinese Auction. The Auction was actually the idea of Joanne March, although her husband, Jack got the credit for it. Lake Wright contributed a large basket of goodies including a three days stay at Lake Wright. Many of the REDFIN family contributed items for the auction enabling it to be called a big success.
Everyone had a chance to vote on the place for the next reunion. It seems that Charleston, South Carolina won out. So we will meet again in Charleston on October 13, 2005 at the Radisson Hotel for our 8th REDFIN Reunion.
May the Good Lord help all of us to keep safe and healthy until we meet again.