August 15 thru August 19, 1997
Sheraton Tara Hotel
John and Marguerite Conroy hosted an outstanding annual get-together for this, our 16th reunion. More than fifty shipmates, spouses and friends attended the opening night reception and “Beantown” supper.
Good to see old friends an renew aquaintenships. Saddened to learn of the recent demise of Admiral Stephen Jones, former SATFOR Security and Intelligence Officer and brother of Captain Robert Jones who is now 88 but, once again, was in attendance. We also missed, for the first time, our perennial Secretary, Red Lepien and his wife, Rose. Red had a stroke a few months ago but is on the road back and we look forward to seeing both next year.
Reunion activities continued on Saturday and Sunday with guided bus tours of historical Boston and opulent Newport and included visits to the USS Constitution and the Vanderbilt’s Marble Mansion. Tasty Yankee meals and comfortable buses allowed time to rehash both old and recent history Our business meeting was held on Monday and Capt. Jones proposed that next year’s reunion be held in Cape Canaveral, FL. The motion was approved with the agreement that Jean Hall (Adm. Stephen Jones’ daughter), assisted by the Conroys, would handle the arrangements. In addition the site for the 1999 was voted to be Pensacola, FL. Bob Bothfeld will coordinate activities with the Naval Air Museum with hopes that the one known remaining TDR will be displayed. Herb Birnn a resident of Stuart, Florida reported he had heard of two TDR’s that were being used as crop-dusters somewhere in Central Florida. He will continue to investigate this.
The 1997 reunion closed with our banquet during which Earl Olsen, who was a Lieut. j.g. and Electronics Officer with Special Air Unit, Fleet Air Wing 7 gave a very moving talk. This SAU was formed in July 1944, under ComAirLant, with Commander James A Smith, Officer in Charge and other SATFOR personnel transferred to England. This unit was to attack German V-1 and V-2 launching sites with PB4Y-1′s (B-24′s) converted to assault drones. It was on such a mission that Lieut. Joseph P. Kennedy (the late Presidents’s older brother) was lost.
Wishing all the best of health – looking forward to seeing you next year in Florida!