October 24, 2006

National Amphibious Veterans Association

Formerly the APA Sailors Association

John J. Walsh President William Farrell Secretary
George Woods Vice President

Paul Wolfgang Treasurer

 

Well, this year's reunion in Colorado Springs, CO has come and gone. We had a great time at this reunion with 43 people in attendance.  We accomplished a lot at this reunion.

 

We have a new name.  We are now known as National Amphibious Veterans Association for short NAVAgator.  I will expand on this later in this report. 

 

The officers remain the same with the exception of our Treasurer. Fred O'Daire has resigned his new office.  Our new Treasurer is Paul Wolfgang. 

 

We now have a Professional Reunion Planner doing our Reunions - Creative Training & Conference Management, LLP. Contact is John W. Peterson MA RMP, P.O. Box 25806 Colorado Springs, CO 80936. Phone 719-380-1412, john@ctcm-can.com.

 

Next year's reunion will be held in Branson, MO in September 2007 dates TBD.

 

We need someone to put together our newsletter and mail it to our membership 4 times a year.  We are looking for a NAVAgator member to volunteer his or her time.  If you your willing to do this Very Important job for our Association, please call me at 732-367-6472 or email me at apa224vp16@comcast.net.  I am pleading with my old and new Shipmates for help.  I have been doing these reunions since 1990 when I put the first reunion together in 1911 in Amarillo, TX.  My physical limitations have been stretched to their limits. 

 

PLEASE HELP 

 

Now about our name change we are opening our roster to the Amphibious Fleet Past and Present.  We will also include United States Marine Corps and United States Army who were transported by our ships and brought ashore by our LCVP's and LCM's.

 

Our 2006-2007 dues have remained at $20.  You can send your dues to Paul Wolfgang 115 Woodland Dr., York, PA 17403-3631.  This does not apply to those who paid their dues at the reunion.

 

Please make checks payable to the National Amphibious Veterans Association. You can call Paul at 717-843-6515 or email him at pbwolfgand@peoplepc.com .

 

Thank you,

John J. Walsh

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If your Association has a website that is not listed in the links, contact me and I will be happy to add it.

If your website has multiple pop up ads, I may not add the link.

Also, if your website has a strong partisan political bias, I will not add a link.

 

March 26, 2006...today I removed 18 APA website links from this page - websites that are no longer up.

This happens due to a number of reasons: webmasters lose interest or can no longer afford the time or money (you would be stunned if you knew how many hours and dollars it takes to create and update a website), webmasters get sick or die and sometimes the website moves to different server. 

 

 

APA Sailors Association

Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 3:48 PM
Subject: newsletter APA Association


We recently formed the APA Sailors Association. This was done because our reunion participation has fallen off to very low numbers. Last year we had 23 Randall sailors and spouses and fifteen APA sailors and family. Since we started contacting all APA Sailors we have had a large number of responses and a lot of them indicate that they have had the same problem. All of the responses were very positive. The following newsletter has all of the information on the scheduled reunion in Colorado Springs this September. There are two letters at the end of the newsletter, one from a Randall Sailor and one from an APA Sailor. Both talk about the same situation. 

APA SAILORS ASSOCIATION

There is a change in the name of the hotel we will be staying at in Colorado Springs. I received word yesterday that the Park Plaza has been sold and will now be named the ?Silver wood Hotel?. It will no longer belong to a chain but will be an independent business. I was informed that they will honor all contracts including ours. 
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Here is the final information and cost for the 2006 Reunion of the ?APA Sailors Association?. Sunday 17 September to Thursday 21 September 2006.The cost figures are based on 20 attendees. If the number of attendees exceed 20 an adjustment can be made. 

We will be staying at the Silverwood hotel in Colorado Springs, Co. Phone number for reservations, 1 866 602 8120 or 1 719 598 7656. Reservations must be made no later than 8/17/06. You must identify yourself as a member of the group. The rate is $69/per night + 7.4% tax for a total of $75.49/night. $302 for four nights. The rate is good for 2 nights before and after the reunion. All reservations must be guaranteed by a one night payment or with a major credit card. Deposit will be refunded if cancelled 48 hours prior to arrival date.

There will be a reception in the Hospitality room on Sunday the 17th
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There will be two tours as listed below.

TOUR #1

MONDAY EVENING SEPTEMBER 18

?Iron Springs Melodrama Dinner Theatre?

Manitou Springs

Cheer the Hero! Boo the Villain! Audience participation. Musical comedy melodrama, sing-a-long, comedy revue. Family style dinner, chicken/BBQ beef. 

Dinner 6 ? 6:45pm, show 8:pm, 

A full bar will be available.
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TOUR #2

TUESDAY MORNING SEPTEMBER 19

?Buckskin Joe Frontier Town and Railway?

?Canon City?

Ride the little train w/ the BIG VIEW of Royal Gorge, Relax & enjoy the 30-minute ride to the gorge, Watch costumed characters shoot it out in gunfights, 30 authentic 1880s era buildings, shops & exhibits, Western flavored food & drinks in restaurant & saloon. 

Featured in ?Haunted History? & many western films.
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The "Air Force Academy" is not too far from our hotel. The AFC requires a lot of walking and a number of our shipmates may not be able to enjoy it. I believe that some of us will have cars or other transportation and would be more than happy to take shipmates to the Academy on Monday during the day or transportation may be arranged

On Tuesday evening there will be a pizza party in the hospitality room. At this time the ladies will hold a Chinese Auction. The ladies will send out information about the Auction. Everyone has indicated that they really enjoyed the auction. It is a lot of fun. 

Wednesday morning there will be a business meeting for all hands. The ladies are welcome to join the meeting. 

Wednesday evening will be the annual Banquet. We will have entertainment at the Banquet. We are planning a special entertainment that we feel everyone will thoroughly enjoy

I was informed that we can select the dinner each person desires. 

All Dinners are Served with Choice of Salad; Entree; Potato, Pasta or Rice, Chef's Selection of Fresh Seasonal Vegetables; Dinner Rolls and Butter; Chef's Selection of Dessert and Freshly Brewed Coffee and Tea Service.

Main entrees are;

Roast Prime Rib served with Au Jus, London Broil, Grilled Chicken Breast, Filet of Salmon.

I will make sure how many different selections we may make.

THE COSTS FOR THE ABOVE ARE AS FOLLOWS
                Single Couple
Tour #1 $40 $80
Tour #2 $40 $80
Sunday receipt. $6 $12
Banquet dinner $29 $58
Banquet Entertainment $10 $20
Pizza Party $5 $10
Hospitality Room
Supplies $10 $20
Gratuity for person 
Assisting hosp room $2.50 $5
Total cost $147.50 $295
TOTAL COST INCLUDING ROOM FOR FOUR NIGHTS
Single: $443.50 Double: $597.00
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If you plan to attend the Reunion, we truly hope you do, Please send ? of the cost $147.50 for one person or $295 for two by May 1st and the second half no later than July 1st. We will need full names of each individual attending. We welcome family members who wish to join us at the reunion. 

Remember to make your hotel reservation by 8/17/06. I have included a copy of the hotel information.
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We have had a couple of illnesses reported.

Powell Graham of the USS Randall suffered a heart attack. Powell we pray that you are doing OK. 

Joe Williams of the USS Bayfield APA 33 reported that his wife had a heart operation and that she has returned home and is recuperating. 

I received word that Ray Pascucellis wife passed away in January. Our prayers and condolences are with you Ray. 

I received an e-mail from Julius Shoulars of the USS Karnes APA 175 reporting that shipmate Gaston Morton had pass? away from a massive stroke. Our sympathy and prayers go out to Gaston's Wife, Madge Morton and his family.
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We had a total of 38 shipmates and spouses at the reunion in Myrtle Beach. Fifteen were APA Sailors and spouses and twenty three were Randall Sailors and spouses. I would love to see a lot more of our shipmates join us in Colorado. We will be one organization this year.
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At the 2005 reunion the attendees voted to go to Wichita, Kansas in 2007. Our President, John Walsh will be working on getting information on this location. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. 
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I have had calls and letters telling me that due to age or infirmity the individuals can no longer travel to reunions or other events.

We are all getting up in age and if we don't get this program off the ground there will not be many reunions in the future. Think seriously about this. We all served on this type of ship and can relate to each other on our service. 

PLEASE GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS. WE ARE OPEN TO ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN AND BE A SUCCESSFUL VENTURE.
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Do you have an interesting story? Drop me a line. Let our shipmates in on some of your experiences. We would like to hear from you. Keep us posted about your feelings on the reunions. All suggestions are welcome. All of our shipmates and families are on our minds all of the time. 
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TELL ME YOU'RE STORIES. I AM SURE YOUR SHIPMATES WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT YOU.
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LETTERS RECEIVED CONCERNING THE FORMING OF THE APA SAILORS ASSOCIATION.
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Here is a letter I received from Ross Goddard who served on the USS Randall APA 224. Ross joined the Army and retired as a Colonel from the 504 Parachute Regiment a component of the 82nd Airborne Division. 

Here is Ross's letter. This is an excellent idea. Another shipmate, Jack W. Winbourn brought this up in a previous letter. 

Fred:
Thanks for the interesting newsletter that arrived recently. My 2006 dues will be in the mail soon.

Is the Randall being absorbed into the APA Sailors Association as your October 18 Newsletter indicates? (Yes the Randall association will be a part of the APA association along with all APA's.)

The wider association is a good idea, because there are no more APAs and every year the numbers of APA veterans become fewer. This is a problem that all ?sterile? (no source of new people becoming eligible for membership) organizations have. At some time in the future, there won't be any APA veterans living.

I suggest that you change the name of the group to Amphibious Assault Sailors Association and invite both active duty crew members and veterans of the LPHs to join. As Jack w. Winbourn points out in his letter printed on page 4 of your newsletter. The LPHs are modern versions of APAs. APAs took soldiers in on Higgins boats and the LPHs take them in on helicopters. In this way the association would be able to have a growing source of future members.

My own personal experience has some bearing on the subject. I have been an involved member of the 504 Parachute Infantry regiment association for a log time. (I served in the 504 from 1958 to 1961 as a company grade officer). That association's members initially were limited to those who served with the regiment in WWII. It was a sterile organization.

About 15 years ago, the fact dawned on the members that our membership was dying out, and the decision was made to open membership not only to WWII veterans, but also to current active duty and veteran members of the Regiment since WWII. The 504 PIR Assn. is a vigorous group of more than 3,000 members about equally divided between active duty soldiers and veterans. There are two classes of members, annual and life. Active duty soldiers can become life members for $50.40, an amount t even a PFC can afford. At the most recent annual convention of the 82nd Airborne Division Association in Milwaukee in August, the 504 PIR Assn. held its yearly general membership meeting. Although much of the regiment was serving in Afghanistan or Iraq and only a few active soldiers were able to be present. After having served as a member of the board of directors for a number of years, I was elected President at the 2005 annual meeting. 

Because of the 504 PIR Associations good financial health, at the August 82nd Association's convention, we were able to make donations of $1,500 to the 82nd Association's Education Fund, which helps young veterans and dependents of members with scholarship money. $500 to 82nd Airborne Division Museum, which is being significantly expanded and $500 to the Food Locker, which helps lower ranking soldiers with families who have trouble buying enough good food. 

There is no reason why an Amphibious Assault Sailors Association could not have an equally outstanding record of accomplishment. It will just take some initiative. Why don? you float this idea in your next news Letter?
Best Regards: Ross Goddard
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OK FELLOWS: WHAT DO YOU THINK? WRITE TO ME, SEND ME AN E-MAIL, OR CALL ME. DO WE WAIT UNTIL THERE ARE NO MORE APA SAILORS. IF YOU ATTEND A REUNION OR KEEP IN CONTACT WITH YOUR SHIPMATES, TALK TO THEM AND TELL THEM ABOUT THIS IDEA. I PERSONALLY HOPE THE APA'S AND OTHER AMPHIBIOUS SAILORS NEVER GO OUT OF EXISTENCE. 
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Hear is another letter bringing up the same subject.

This one is from Carl Huth. 
Fred:
I spent from 1947 to 1978 in the Navy with a lot of different duty as you can well imagine.

With regard to auxiliaries I spent from June 1949 to December 1951 on the USS Muliphen APA 61 and from July 1967 to June 1969 on the Paul Revere APA 248 later the LPA 248.

Paul Revere doesn't hold any reunions but I have kept in contact with several crew members from her through the years.

Because of the diminishing numbers of people that served in these ships due to age, etc you are ahead of the power curve putting together the APA-LPH group in order to sustain the get together, etc that are of some value to us old salts. Some ships still have enough members to be able to hold their reunions, etc together but time will take its toll.

You may already know that while cruiser sailors have their individual reunions, etc, there has been a merger in a number of cases where the numbers warrant it where they have joined the Cruiser Sailors association.

I was scouting around to see if there were any Paul Revere Sailors around.

You are aware of the US Navy Memorial and all the individual bios that it contains which is interesting and helpful in looking those shipmates that know about it and put their bios into it sometimes with photos. 

I wrote to Chuck of the Troop Transport Association for the same reasons I wrote to you. H handles the reunions for the General class of troop transports.

Well enough sea stories for now.

Carl Huth
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Message from John J. Walsh:

I served on board the USS Randall APA-224 we have been having reunions since 1991.

I have been trying to form the APA Sailors Assn. since 1991.

This year we had our first APA Sailors Assn. in Myrtle beach, SC.

Next year (2006) the APA Sailors Assn. will have their reunion in Colorado Springs, CO and 2007 our reunion will be in Wichita, KS.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in joining the APA Sailors Assn. please have them contact me John J. Walsh, President APA Sailors Assn. at: apa224vp16@comcast.net or 732-367-6472

or
John J. Walsh
APA Sailors Assn.
2745 Dalton Ln.
Toms River, NJ 08755-2537

From an Emailed Newsletter:

Fred O'Daire
72 Wishing Well Lane
Lancaster, Va. 22503
804 462 7373 (home number)
804 436 2137 (cell number)
e-mail fodaire@rivnet.net
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Now for the news.

Well the Reunion in Myrtle Beach has come and gone. We had a great time telling sea stories and having a lot of great fun and fellowship. 

The Association is coming along very well. I now have a total of 55 Randall sailors and 30 APA sailors who paid dues for 2005 Nine APA sailors and eight Randall sailors have paid dues for 2006 while at the Myrtle Beach Reunion. If you plan to remain with us for 2006 please send your dues to me at the above address. The dues for 2006 will currently remain at $20. If enough individuals sign up and our account builds too much, a refund will be sent to all individuals that join.

The following Randall shipmates did not pay dues for 2005 and if I do not hear from you, your name will be placed on the dropped list. 

Herman Bowers, Gordon Dailey, Kenny Downs, Francis Flynn, John Gilmore, E.G.. Huerd, Theodore Jones, Gilbert Lumb, Ferrell Munson, H. b. Savage, Lonnie Stanford, Richard Swart. Let's hear from you fellows.

The following Sailors attended the Myrtle Beach reunion and paid dues for 2006. 
Walter Glas, Fred Hollis, Olin Lichty, Ted Picard, Earl Roberts Sr., Frank Zalot, George Clardy, Harold Brooks, Al Murry. The Following Randall Sailors also paid dues for 2006. John Walsh, George Woods, Jim Scicca, Paul Wolfgang, Bill Farrell, Fred O'Daire, Bob Bartholf, Pete Kelly. Capt. Bob Chasse was previously paid up for 2006 and Paul Wolfgang paid 2006 dues on returning home.

Following are the shipmates who joined the Association in 2005. I hope all of you shipmates remain with us for 2006. 

Leo Adams, Lovett Briggs, USS New Kent APA 217, James Claxton USS Sumter APA 52, Robert Edwards, USS Crescent City APA 25, Rev. Elliott Fontenot USS Fuller APA 7, George Garner, USS Crockett APA 148, Walter Glas, USS American Legion APA 17, Fred Hollis, USS Attala APA 130, Clyde Johnson, USS Attala APA 130, Frank Laza USS Crescent City APA 21, Russell Ledroit, USS Freestone APA 167, Olin Lichty USS New Kent APA 217, Sam Melban, USS Attala APA 130, Hugh Mosier, USS Onieda APA 221, James Paules USS American Legion APA 17, Ted Picard, USS Allendale APA 127, Matt Piemontese USS American Legion APA 17, AL Pierre, USS New Kent APA 217, Mary Riehl, Charles Riden USS Latimore APA 217, USS Cambria APA 36, USS Rockbridge APA 228, Jacob Ritzen, USS Monrovia APA 31, Earl Roberts Sr. USS Okanogan APA 220, William Ryan, USS Freestone APA 167, Sumner Thompson USS Freestone APA 167, Bill Vormbrock USS Crescent City APA 21, H.G. Walker, USS Crockett APA 148, Joe Williams, USS Bayfield, APA 33, E. Wilson, USS Crockett APA 148, Jack Winbourn USS Hinsdale APA 120 & USS Kershaw APA 176, Frank Zalot, USS American Legion APA 17.
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We have had a couple of illnesses reported.

Powell Graham of the USS Randall suffered a heart attack. Powell we pray that you are doing OK. 

Joe Williams of the USS Bayfield APA 33 reported that his wife had a heart operation and that she has returned home and is recuperating. 

Our prayers are with you Powell and Joe we pray that your Wife gets well.
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NOW FOR THE REUNION IN MYRTLE BEACH. SEPTEMBER 18 TO THE 22, 2005.

We had a total of 38 shipmates and spouses at the reunion. Fifteen were APA Sailors and spouses and twenty three are Randall Sailors and spouses. 
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The site for the 2006 reunion was also selected. We will be going to Colorado Springs, Colorado around the 6th or 13th of September 2006. Details about this area will be included in the next news letter. This is the site of the "Air Force Academy" which will most likely be one of our visits. We have nothing additional about this at this time.
For 2007 the reunion attendees voted for Wichita, Kansas. Our President, John Walsh will be working on getting information on this location. Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. 
Another vote taken at the reunion concerned the naming of the reunion association. Due to the response this year and letters from many APA sailors, the decision was made to become officially the "APA Sailors Reunion Association". All Randall Sailors will now be listed as part of the APA Association You now have an organization that recognizes that many of us are getting up in years and many are passing away or ill. We want to keep alive the remembrances of our days at sea. 
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I have received some interesting letters from some of our shipmates indicating that there is strong agreement that if we don't get this program off the ground that there will not be many reunions in the future. Think seriously about this. We all served on this type of ship and can relate to each other on our service. George Woods and I presented the program to a reunion group in Richmond, Va. and they are going to discuss it. I hope next year we can boast of a large turnout. 

PLEASE GIVE US YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS. WE ARE OPEN TO ANY SUGGESTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS HAPPEN AND BE A SUCCESSFUL VENTURE.
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Do you have an interesting story? Drop me a line. Let our shipmates in on some of 

your experiences. We would like to hear from you. Keep us posted about your feelings on the reunions. All suggestions are welcome. All of our shipmates and families are on our minds all of the time. 
==========
TELL ME YOU'RE STORIES. I AM SURE YOUR SHIPMATES WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT YOU.
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LETTERS RECEIVED CONCERNING THE FORMING OF THE APA SAILORS ASSOCIATION.
These letters show a lot of interest in the APA Sailors association

May 30, 2005
We were very happy to read about the APA Sailors Association reunion published in the NJ Legionnaire Newspaper. Unfortunately your reunion follows the USS Curtis APA 40 reunion being held Sept. 15-17, 2005 at the Radisson Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. 
This is our 14th reunion, held in 13 states and 14 Cities all over our wonderful country. 
My wife, Helen, and I with crew members Lou Buckslski (deceased) organized our first reunion in Philadelphia, same hotel.
Our attendance is getting less and we have considered joining other reunion groups in the future. An association like yours will be the answer.
If we can be any assistance in the future please do not hesitate to contact me and we wish you great success. 
Reunions are memorable, the memories are priceless
Harry R. Kramer
Trenton, N. J. 
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I got your letter about the APA Assoc. I would be glad to join your association. I was a S1/c & was an LCVP - COX. I was and instructor at San Diego before I went to Sea on the USS Freestone.
I can't come to this year's reunion. Will see you in Colorado in 06.

Russ LeDroit
Republican City, NE
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We will not be attending the reunion in Myrtle Beach, but as they get closer we probably will. Some of the Crocket crew indicated a favorable reaction to the idea as well

Best of luck 
H. G. Walker
USS Crocket APA 148
Canyon Lake, CA
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Thank your for your letter regarding the APA reunion. Unfortunately we are hosting our annual reunion at that time. We are hosting the reunion for the 4th time. We are meeting in San Antonio. Our group has installed a plaque in the memory wall at the Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg which is our reason for going to Tex.. 
Our group has been meeting since 1975 with a different host each time. In 1998 we started meeting yearly instead of every 2 years. As you said the APA groups are getting smaller. We have seen our gatherings get smaller each year. This year we only had 36 people attending.
Misc. information left out. At our next meeting I can bring up this matter. Please keep us informed as we have at various time discussed having other groups join us. 
John & Gerry Broscoff
USS Harris APA 2
Minneapolis, MN
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Enclosed is some copy to bring you up to date on our plans this year. What are the tentative plans for 2006, if any? We might consider. Keep me informed. 
Mark a Schaitel, QMC, USN (Ret)
Sparta, WI
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Enclosed are dues to cover cost of the APA Sailors Assoc.. Somebody should have started this group many years ago, when we or most of us were able to travel this good old USA. Oh well, what we all missed, especially the camaraderie of all of us, which I know we all had something to add, particularly the great sea stories (lies too).
Here's hoping this group will become a tremendous success and for you I want to thank you for being one of the group leaders who had the foresight to finally get things going. 

Shipmate of the APA ASSN.
James J. Claxton Sr.
USS Sumter APA 52
Carneys point, NJ
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This letter was from the wife of a former shipmate.

In response to the letter I received from you, I will not attend reunion 9/18/05, I do plan to enroll in the Assoc. but not till next year. The reason is, I never travel alone and have to give myself this year to adjust to being alone. I have weddings to attend in August (My grandson) and believe it will be enough. I did contact Mary in Ca. & hopefully we can get together. Maybe next year. 

Thank you for contact
Rose Tyburski
Thorndike, MA
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First learned of your organization through Mildred Smith of the USS Charles Carroll and again from Bill Vormbrock of the USS Crescent City APA 21. He was always "Bill" to us instead of "Tom". Don't know if he told you, but his wife of many years, Kate died last Christmas Eve. Very sad. 
( You have our sympathy and Prayers Bill)
I joined the USS Crescent City in Noumea in July 1943 and continued to serve aboard until February 1946. I was communication Officer, the last few months as a two-striper. 
Today, I maintain the Crescent City Association Muster Roll. We have 208 living members, 269 deceased.
As Bill Vormbrock may have told you, our ship holds annual reunions as a member of the "unholy Four" - USS President Jackson APA 18, 
USS President Adams APA 19, and USS President Hayes APA 20. The reunion this year is at Branson, MO Sept. 12-16 so we'll miss your get-together at Myrtle Beach, although I think Bill hopes to attend some of your program. 
Keep up the good work.
Bob Edwards
Ashland, OR
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I received your newsletter. It was quite a surprise when I received the phone call from John Walsh. I think this is a good idea and will run it by my mates at our 18th reunion in Flagstaff, Arizona. My wife and I will be hosting this reunion with the help of our daughter and Son-in-law who live in Williams, Arizona. He served aboard the USS Okinawa LPH3 in the Vietnam War. It was the modern version of APA's. Where we took them in on Higgin boats, they took them in on Helicopters.
I was in a Commodore's Flag Transport Division forty-four. I had permanent duty on both the USS Hinsdale APA 120 and the USS Kershaw APA 176 after the Hinsdale was hit by a suicide plane at Okinawa.
I am sending a check for $20.oo dues to you. Please put me down for both USS Hinsdale and USS Kershaw.
I'm also sending a picture of the hole in the Hinsdale. I think you will find it interesting. To my knowledge, the Hinsdale was the only APA hit by a suicide plane. 
Jack W. Winbourn
Cortez, CO
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The following letter is a must read.

Pearl Harbor was bombed on Dec. 7, 1941, my 17th birthday. I enlisted in the Navy the following day, Dec. 8th, in boot camp the following day, the 9th, and assigned to the USS American Legion APA 17 Dec. 31, 1941 which became my home for the next 3 yrs 11 months, until Nov 1945.
The USS American Legion has a place in history books as having the honor of landing the first wave of Marines in the first offensive against the Japanese in the invasion of Guadalcanal on Aug 7,1942. Richard Tregaskus, author of "Guadalcanal Diary" describes this event in his book. He was aboard the USS American Legion prior to and on the day of the invasion.
One of the attacks on the convoy that morning was by twin engine Betty torpedo bombers. We were alerted by an Australian coast watcher that 
40 Betty bombers were on their way so we were ready for them. 
I was a trainer on a 3" anti aircraft gun in the bow of the ship. The pointer and I (he controlled the up and down, I controlled the side by side), We had a plane in our sights still out of range when the gun captain slapped me on the shoulder and yelled, "the hell with that one, get this one" I turned to my right and passing directly over, no more than 15-20 feet away was this huge plane with a gunner in the port blister firing tracers directly at us. I actually saw the white of his eyes. After he passed us, he dropped down low over the water again but not far as we put a shell into him and he blew up. There was not way we could miss. The USS American Legion received for shooting down 3 planes in this attack.
Two of the dead bodies from the plane floated close to the ship. The gun crew started shouting, cursing and waving their fists at these bodies. I just sat there absorbing this incredible scene. Burning planes on the water everywhere, no ships of the convoy lost. Our first contact with enemy and we won. It was an awesome feeling. This 17 year old farmboy was no longer a boy in the space of a few minutes, I aged, I was now a combat Veteran. 

Frank Zalot
Hadley, MA

FRANK ATTENDED OUR REUNION IN MYRTLE BEACH. IT WAS AN HONOR TO MEET THE GENTLEMAN
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Some of these shipmates are coming to our reunion in September. This could be one of our best reunions. There is still time to sign up. We could make this one of our biggest in a long time. 
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This letter was from Mildred Smith. 
Was wondering about your reunion. How did it go? I am interested in what kind of attendance you had. We had 43 in all, with families in the area swelling the number for the Banquet to 52. I am anxious to know what kind of plans you have for 2006.
I also talked to the Crescent City group in Branson and they had 40 - including wives and family. I am afraid the handwriting is on the wall for all of us. This is the last year that I am hosting the reunions and no one has stepped forward to catch the ball. I am heartsick but that's my decision. We had a wonderful but bitter-sweet reunion. But then they all have been wonderful - I'm hard pressed to pick our best one.
I am still going to keep the newsletter going in an effort to keep the men informed about on another. Hopefully will be able to send it by e-mail to the majority of the men.
Looking to hear from you
Mildred
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I received information that you would be the one to contact about the APA Association. I am James Peterson. I served on the US Mellette APA 156 during the Korean War. I have planned a reunion with the WWII and Korean Shipmates since 1994. We are interested in any APA information. We just had our yearly reunion last week in Peoria IL. I hope you have some great information you could share with me. 
My Best: James Peterson
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Here is one I just received from Ralph Hall. Ralph served on the USS Cavalier APA 37.

Ralph states that there are two Cavalier Reunion groups. The cavalier was manned first by the USCG. Their group has conducted reunions longer than has the Navy group. We have held at least two combined reunions. The USCG group is very slowly decreasing (as can be expected). I made an offer to them to combine the two groups, but they declined. Perhaps sometime in the near "future" their attitude will change.
Ralph is the Secy/Treas and immediate past president of the USS Cavalier APA 37 Navy Veterans Group. Ralph also asked our President "John Walsh" if he would consider attending their reunion in May 06 to give a presentation on the new organization.
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The following letters are for your information.

My name is Larry Lusk and I have a revell model of the USS Randall still in the box. Parts still sealed in the original plastic copyright 1956. I want to sell this model and I thought I would start here first. If anyone you know might be interested please e-mail me at Larryelusk@hotmail.com
Thank you: Larry
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This letter is about the USS Gage which is an APA in the James river in Virginia. She was scheduled to be scrapped and These folks are working to save her. The Gage is the last APA still afloat. They are attempting to have her refurbished and set up as a museum. Any one interested in this project can contact the shipmate who is working on this project. His name is Peter Stoudt. Peter is heading up the APA Historical Preservation project. Peter's address is 2279 Chapel Spring Lane, Free Union, Va. 22940-1922. His phone no. Is (434) 977 5897 (W) or (434) 973 5014 (H). Peter also has an e-mail address: peterstoudt@earthlink.net. You can check out the project's web site at: www.apaproject.org.