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Shipmates- Memories

Reunion '05

Atlanta, GA -  19-23 October 2005

USS PICKING (DD-685) 22nd REUNION 19-23 OCT 2005  

Souvenir Medallion for 22nd Reunion 2005

Marilyn and Phil Finkle, hosts of the Reunion

The Old Salts

Front Row: Ed Palmer, Dick Fust, Bob Nolan, Frank Campbell, Phil Broadbridge, Chuck Kemmerling, Ben Leazenby, Tom Slabowski, Don Gilmartin, Jerry Kendrick
Middle Row: Neal Grant, Gene Irvine, Bob Lilly, Larry Walker, Bob Hill, Paul Whitfield, Phil Finkle, Tony Cellucci, Ken Kile, Jim Parks, Don Lehmkuhl, Jim Moorehead
Top Row: Gary Dusky, Ken Varns, Luther Gilliam, Stan Cox, Jim Horn, Bob Daniels, John Hogberg, Dan Johnson, John Lilly, George Owens, Roger Wigton
Missing: Joe Killoran

Our Ladies

Front row: Brenda Palmer, Dorothy Leazenby, Sheri Lilly, JoAnn Dusky, Sylvia Broadbridge, Esther Lehmkuhl, Freida Campbell, Mary Lou Kemmerling, Claire Owens, Christie Grant
Middle Row: Carole Walker, Donna Horn, Diane Nolan, Karen Lilly, Jacqueline Hogberg, Louise Whitfield, Marilyn Finkle, Maureen Johnson, Betty Wigton, Joan Gilmartin, Phyllis Kendrick, Flo Cellucci
Back Row: Mary Ann Parks, Judy Varns, Nancy Fust, Jere Gilliam, Roberta Cox, Becky Kile, Gail Hill, Mary Moorehead, Cynthia Daniels, Fran Slabowski

WORLD WAR II

Paul Whitfield

1950s 

 Front Row: Phil Finkle, Don Lehmkuhl, Dick Fust, Phil Broadbridge, Jim Parks, Bob Lilly, Frank Campbell
Top Row: Roger Wigton, Jim Moorehead, George Owens, Joe Killoran, Don Gilmartin, Neal Grant, Ben Leazenby

Early 1960s

Front Row: Phil Finkle, Chuck Kemmerling, Bill Hill, Gene Irvine, Gary Dusky
Top Row: Jerry Kendrick, Stan Cox, John Hogberg, Bob Daniels, Luther Gilliam

Late 1960s

Front Row: Tony Cellucci, Ed Palmer, Larry Walker, Bob Nolan
Top Row: Luther Gilliam, Jim Horn, Ken Varns, Dan Johnson

The 22nd reunion of the USS Picking (DD-685) was held in Atlanta , GA , from 19 through 23 October 2005. The host hotel was the Doubletree Galleria Suites in Cobb County .

 There were 69 attendees representing the life of the ship from 1943 through 1970. We came from 20 States.

There were two one day trips, one to Atlanta and the other to west central Georgia . On Thursday 19 October, 48 comrades and spouses visited the Governor’s Mansion, the World of Coke, and Inside CNN. A group luncheon was held at the Swan Coach House at the Atlanta History Center . The second trip on Friday with 54 sailors and spouses went to FDR’s Little White House in Warm Springs , GA , where he died in April 1945. After that we visited the Therapeutic Pools and Springs Complex that FDR sponsored for polio sufferers. Miss Suzanne Pike, who was the first non-polio victim FDR let use the pool, delighted the group with her reminisces of her personal experiences with FDR. We then went to the Bulloch House for a real southern country style lunch. After lunch, we traveled to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain , GA. At Callaway, we visited the Butterfly Center and the Horticulture Center

Saturday was a free day. Several of the ladies went to the Marietta Square , an attractive area with the Gone With the Wind Museum, the Marietta History Museum , and many shops and restaurants. Several others took a tour of the Kennesaw National Battleground Park and the city’s Confederate Cemetery . At 1400 on Saturday, the men held their business meeting where they selected the site and date of the 23rd Reunion . It will be hosted by Bob and Cynthia Daniels in San Francisco probably during the third week of October 2007. The tentative date could vary by plus or minus two weeks in the event of conflicting local events.

The banquet was held at the hotel at 1800. The event opened with the invocation by Frank Campbell of Lexington , KY. After dinner, Tony Cellucci, our Sunset Committee man from Broomall , PA , paid tribute to our shipmates who passed away during the interval since lour last reunion. During dinner, we viewed a video made from a tape that was sent to us from a sailor from the USS Oriskany (CVA-34) that he took while the Picking was refueling from them in 1964. It reminded all of us who handled lines during this exercise of the “joys” of underway replenishment.

We had an excellent and dynamic speaker, LT Wayne Liebold, who is currently on assignment at Georgia Tech’s NROTC program. LT Liebold has a distinguished professional and educational background. He attended the U.S. Maritime Academy as well as a number of military training schools. He gave a very interesting presentation on the current and future destroyer Navy. The newest one, soon to be to be developed, is the DD(X). This vessel with cruise up to 50 knots and each will have the firepower equivalent the 1/10th of the entire fleet of Fletcher Class destroyers. One weapon is a single 155mm gun which will have an unmanned magazine. Lt. Liebold reviewed other weapons such as a new 16” gun that fires a round 65 miles, reaching an altitude of 15,000 feet! After the presentation, LT Liebold took questions from our group.

Next, we were entertained by Out of the Blue, a local bluegrass group with five members one of whom, Dallas Burrell, is a 78 year old time fiddler. This is probably the first time that the group singing of Anchors Aweigh was accompanied by a bluegrass band.

After the music, we paid tribute to the only World War II vet to make the reunion, Paul Whitfield. Paul’s wife, Louise, thanked the group for their special recognition of Paul. Paul was awarded a basket of southern goodies including such items as country ham and a mason jar of (legal) corn whiskey. By the way, Paul was more energetic than many of us (somewhat) younger sailors as he helped shut down the Hospitality Suite each evening (from 2330 to 0030 daily!)

A second basket was awarded to the shipmate who traveled the farthest. This turned out to be the next reunion hosts, Bob and Cynthia Daniels (for the record, the distance is 2,176.18 miles). This was followed by drawings for a number of prizes, many of which were provided by the Tin Can Sailors.

We took up a special collection for Tin Can Sailors and a check for $125 has been mailed to this destroyer group.

Sunday morning was spent bidding goodbyes to our shipmates and friends. Don Lehmkuhl and Ken Kile showed slides from their Navy days which entertained those of us who stayed around until the final closing at 1200.

Special thanks to :

LT Wayne and Mrs. Marian Liebold who gave up their Saturday evening to join us

Navy Speakers' Bureau, Millington, TN, who arranged for LT Liebold to speak

NAS-Atlanta for the Color Guard

Ken Hood, Jean Durham, David Merck, Dallas Burrell, and Kenneth Johnson who make up the OUT OF THE BLUE bluegrass band who provided some real southern-country entertainment

the Cobb County Convention and Visitors' Bureau (especially Mrs. Rita Lowery who helped us organize accommodations and events over the two years since the last reunion

Tin Can Sailors donated several gifts and provided copies of TIN CAN SAILOR

the staff of the Doubletree hotel

Attendees Atlanta Trip Warm Springs Trip Hospitality Suite Banquet