The reunion in Virginia Beach was a resounding success. We had three days of fantastic weather, great food, lots of drink, tons of memories to
recall and loads of stories to retell. Even though some of the stories seem to have grown and changed a little from what my memory banks recall,
we enjoyed each others telling of them.
We opened the Hospitality Room on Friday afternoon to the sounds of several early arrivals panting at the door. After several hours, most of the
crew had arrived and their initial thirst satisfied so we closed up the bar and headed for Lauren and Matt Small's home (the daughter and son-in-law
of Larry & Josie Renas) for an evening of good food, good cheer and more memory tasting. Lauren and Josie, with help from other family
members, put on a great spread of a nearly endless array of tasty delights. After a few hours of tongue wagging, lip smacking and toasting of each
other and the hosts, we made our way back to the hotel, settling in fairly early as we had an morning cruise to be ready for.
On Saturday morning about 9:30 AM, we caravanned our way to downtown Norfolk to the Nauticus exhibit. This exhibit included a 2 hour lunch
cruise of the Norfolk Navy base where we saw all the latest in what the Navy now calls it's fleet of ships. Not a single ship that I saw was anywhere
as small as the Durant or a DE or a destroyer - times have changed as you can see in some of the pictures we took along the way. There were at
least three carriers in port as well as the newly constructed USS New York which will be commissioned and christened in the next month of so. The
New York's hull contains 9.5 tons of the steel from the World Trade Center's 9-11 attack.
After the cruise we took the Nauticus tour, a series of exhibits and museums of various elements of past US Navy endeavors, followed by a deck
tour of the battleship USS Wisconsin. The Wisconsin is in a state of semi-retirement, standing by if needed to perform future Navy assignments,
which is why only the upper decks are available to tour. I'm afraid that a more extensive tour would have exhausted too many of our shipmates.
From there we made it back to the Virginia Beach Ramada and reopened the hospitality room about 3:30 PM where we again toasted our memories
with a choice of beverages and a few snacks. Several shipmates brought in a variety of memorabilia to share with each other and help with the
memory process. Of special note were the four books that Dave Sallee has put together with pictures and stories of his Navy career with special
emphasis on the Durant and Operation Deepfreeze. Unfortunately there wasn't time for each of us to go through them all so we must make sure they
get to the next reunion along those the other shipmates brought. Don't forget them Dave!!!
At 7:00 PM we closed the hospitality room and moved down the hall for our banquet. After some opening remarks and an Invocation by Dave Mays,
we settled down to some hearty chow. A three course dinner of Caesar salad, followed by a choice of either 16 oz. prime rib or mixed grill with tuna
steak and crab cake or a seafood medley of fish, crab cake, shrimp and scallops, finished up with a wide variety of desserts (the chocolate was
decadent and the cheesecake was enormous). An open bar for wine and beer added to the evenings celebration. Before everyone left to sleep away
the days events with a full stomach, an all-hands meeting was called with everyone assembling in the hospitality room.
The meeting started with a few stories from the past and a special recognition and vote of thanks to the efforts and support of Larry Renas in the
success of the reunion. One of our shipmates, Burns Cameron, brought in some gifts which we awarded to the two who had traveled the farthest to
attend. Of course one was Dave Sallee and his wife Lois who came all the way from New Zealand and the other was Dennis Crane who came in
from San Diego. Thanks to each of them for the gifts as well as the time and money in getting here.
We then got down to the real business of the meeting. Where and when will the next Durant reunion be held. And most importantly, who will head it
And the decisions were:
Where - San Diego, California
When - 2011
Who - Terry Cusick
Since Terry lives in Pennsylvania, Dennis Crane has volunteered to assist him in his endeavor. And of course, Dave, Larry, myself and many others
will kick in as needed. I personally wanted to steer the group back west in order to get the largest possible attendance as most of our shipmates
settled down west of the Mississippi. I hope that proves to be the case. After the debate and discussions, we had one last toast and closed the
hospitality room for the reunion. In the morning most of us met for a farewell breakfast and then headed off to the four winds though some lingered
on to enjoy the sea and sands of Virginia Beach for a few more days.
The list of attendees follows:
Fred and Tina Alberg firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve and Madeline Allin email@example.com
Richard Boykin firstname.lastname@example.org
Burns Cameron email@example.com
Robert and Pat Coody firstname.lastname@example.org
Dennis S. Crane email@example.com
Terry Cusick firstname.lastname@example.org
Gail and Patricia Laughlin email@example.com
Dave and Marcheta May firstname.lastname@example.org
John and Elaine Penland email@example.com
Larry and Josie Renas & Mom firstname.lastname@example.org
Dick R. Ristow & Friend email@example.com
David and Lois Sallee firstname.lastname@example.org
Reigna Hammond (Jerry Trailor)
Barbara Simms (David Simms) email@example.com
Several special notes of appreciation are in order:
1. To Reigna Hammond and Barbara Simms, who brought both memories, stories and memorabilia and shared them with all. A toast to the New
Zealand ladies who made our stay in Virginia Beach as fondly remembered as our stays in New Zealand and provided Dave Sallee with his own New
Zealand Harem during the reunion.
2. To John Penland for his tireless maintenance of the Durant website where our memories of yesterday can be shared with each other daily. When
the pictures I took are ready, they will be posted on his website for all to share. I encourage each of you to do the same.
3. To Dave May and Marcheta for their never ending support of everything Durant and for each of these reunions.
4. To Dave and Lois Sallee for their support in so many ways of these reunions and keeping the Kiwi-Yank relationship on an even keel.
5. To Terry Cusick for taking on the next one. Good luck.
6. To each of the attendees and those unable to attend for whatever reason, for following along and supporting these efforts.
7. And especially to the entire Renas family for all they did and made possible at this and all past reunions.
Due to several of the attendees paying of two when only one could attend or paying for one and not attending, we have a little over $300 in the kitty
for the next reunion. The final accounting is waiting on a refund from one of the side trips - I will provide a full set of cost details to the planning
group as soon as they are complete. This should be a good start to help with the planning for the 2011 reunion.
I thoroughly enjoyed dealing with each of you in this activity and I hope to see all of you in San Diego at the next reunion. In the meantime stay safe
Fred Alberg, RD 2
USS DURANT (DER 389)
Message from Fred Alberg, reunion coordinator:
Click on photos to enlarge.