17th REDFIN Reunion



The 17th reunion for the USS Redfin shipmates is history. It’s been 50 years since the second and final decommissioning of the USS REDFIN. We joined together in Branson, MO at the Grand Plaza Hotel on Tuesday, Sept. 19th thru Thurs., Sept. 21st. Almost everyone departed on Friday morning the 22nd. Several couples stayed on Friday and departed Saturday. We had a great time.
Only 23 shipmates attended the reunion, some with spouses and family for a total of 45 people. Those in attendance were; Bill & Pat Pelkey, Art & Vi Maki, Gerald Schoemann, Ken Dorn, Erich & Emily Cramer, Rob Roberts, Ozzie & May Aossey, Larry & Maxine Rash, Jim Paulk, George Garton, Dave & Gerri Lienke, Al King, Jim & Mary Parman, Tom & Cass & Cathy Lavan, Frank Reisinger (WWII) with granddaughter Tina, Steve & Nancy Chordas, Ed & Jewell Knight, Nick & Sue Nichols, Ralph & Jean DeMarco, Gus & Bonnie Lamond, Richard Sparrow, Dennis & Sandy Meyer and 5 family members and Jim & Linda Martin. Once again, many of the attendees remarked to Larry, Maxine, Linda and me that they had a great time.
Some shipmates arrived as early as Sunday the 17th and Monday the 18th to attend Branson shows and helped set up for the reunion but everyone else arrived on Tuesday the 19th to start the reunion, renew friendships and swap stories. The evening pizza dinner was provided by Papa John’s and everyone had plenty to eat.
On Wednesday the 20th everyone did their own thing until 3:00 PM when we met at the Branson Belle Showboat to get their tickets for the dinner cruise. We then boarded the Branson Belle for the Showboat dinner, show and cruise. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the whole experience. The food was excellent and the show was terrific!! Some of us retired to the hospitality room at the hotel to listen to the music of Jewel and Ed Knight while others attended another Branson show.
Thursday the 21st started with another beautiful mid-western day. More Branson shows were attended. The evening buffet dinner was served in the hospitality room. The dinner was very good. After the dinner, Ken Dorn did a follow up on his last reunion presentation when he spoke about the 48 star, 49 star and the 50 star flags.  Ken then surprised Linda and me when he presented the 3 flags to us remarking that these particular flags were made in Valley Forge, PA and he wanted them returned to Pennsylvania.
Once again, we had a great Chinese Auction. The gifts were wonderful and ticket sales for the  Chinese auction helps to keep our Redfin general fund solvent. Not only is this activity a good fund raiser, we have a lot of fun doing it. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Chinese auction.
We then had a short business meeting in which I mentioned that I would not host another formal REDFIN reunion. Everyone is getting older, interest is waning and attendance is way down. I’ve spent many hours making calls and sending emails to solicit attendance and many times I get no response. So, some of us will consider regional, informal get-togethers instead of formal reunions. I will try to obtain good hotel rates when a get-together is decided but beyond this, you will be on your own for dinners and entertainment. Just my thoughts, other shipmates might have different suggestions.
Additionally, I will continue to monitor the REDFIN website and try to find “lost” shipmates while maintaining and updating our REDFIN roster of shipmates.
A special thanks to several shipmates for helping to set up the reunion and being there to close up shop on Friday. A special thanks to Larry and Maxine Rash and my wife Linda for being my sounding board when I’m preparing for the reunion, setting up the auction, monitoring the hospitality room and running the ticket sales and drawing for the Chinese auction. I couldn’t do this without them.
If you have any questions about the future of the USS REDFIN, call me at 570-943-2670.
Jim Martin
Your Redfin Keeper of the Keys