25 - 27 October 2005
The 2005 Reunion for the USS Spangler was held in Laughlin, NV, at the Riverside Casino -- excellent setting with very good facilities. Twenty eight Spangler crew members plus guest attended for a total of 49 folks. See the list below. David and Elana Noris and Bob and Millie Ellis were the co-host and did a super job. In addition to arranging for hotel facilities and an all day every day hospitality room and large balcony that overlooked the Colorado River, they took on the task of setting up an excellent breakfast on the morning of the first full day and a wonderful banquet dinner the following evening. They also made certain we had all the snacks, drinks and goodies we could want as we wondered around in the hospitality room. The annual Silent Auction proved to be blast and a successful effort to support future reunion meetings.
Bob Ellis will be furnishing a report to DESA within the next couple of weeks with detailed information on the reunion. Hopefully a copy will soon be available for publication here. During the mean time, and as a quick overview, I can report that the 2005 Reunion officially began with a breakfast at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 25th. Mostly this involved going over the schedule of events, hotel restrictions and introductions from the attendees. This was followed by an annual business meeting to review the success of the reunion in Albany, NY, on 21 may 2005 in which 13 Spanglermates, family and friends visited the USS Slater, and the planning for future reunions. "Wayne Dorough spoke a few minutes on his progress with the new Spangler webpage.
The rest of the morning and afternoon offered an opportunity for folks to gather in the Hospitality Room and the large balcony area outside. This was a perfect setting in which to talk about old times and make new acquaintances. It also enabled a beautiful view of the Colorado River below and surrounding countryside as a relaxing backdrop. The annual silent auction began at 11:00 a.m. enabling folks to place items up for bid as well place bids on items already on display. Beer, pop, pretzels and nuts were in plentiful supply, thanks to the Spangler Reunion Association, or, more specifically, the Norris' and Ellis'. This definitely helped to make the whole affair extremely relaxing.
Thursday's affairs began with a light brunch in the Hospitality Room followed by final bidding later that afternoon on auction items. Winners were announced at 5:30. And for you folks that haven't had an opportunity yet to be a part of this, well you have some fun and laughs ahead of you! The variety of items available for auction are far too numerous to mention here, but several that stood out were the crocheted Bulldog Emblem (sorry, but I don't recall the lady that made it, but it was sure nice and drew a lot of interest), the Reunion Scrapbook by Bob Ellis, the hand carved painting of the USS Spangler by Larry Majeski, and an engraved ship's bell (again, I have to apologize for not recalling who made this beautiful item available). Merlin Carr is working on a fairly sizeable (very nice) painting of the Spangler and made it available for display during the auction. He's doing a wonderful job on it and prints will be available for auctioning at the upcoming reunion in Myrtle Beach in October 2006.
The reunion concluded, to a great extent, with the Banquet at 6:30 that evening. It was an excellent meal and the folks that set it up, including the Casino folks, deserve a pat on the back. The highlight of the evening came when several of the earlier Spangler members and some of those that continued on to become Chiefs spoke about their experiences. Clearly, though, the strongest impression on us younger folks came when Ken Nolan shared his experiences aboard the Spangler in 1943 through 1945. More thoughts on this later. The hospitality room remained available for folks to visit the following Friday morning until about 10 a.m..
The Riverside and adjacent casinos offered the guest a variety of choices during their visit. Definitely not everyone took advantage of the one-arm bandits, but other choices included evening shows, bowling, bingo, a nice historical auto museum, some fairly decent resturants and an excellent river walk along the Colorado River bordering the casinos. This makes the second time the reunion has been held at the Riverside Casino -- an obviously good choice.
Interestingly, as you look over the list of shipmates present at the reunion, and the years in which they served aboard the Spangler, every year in the ship's life from 1943 through 1958 was represented. This includes two plank owners (Don Cooper and Ken Nolan), who served together in the 1943-1944, with Ken being aboard in 1945. Only a few were present that served in the years 1946 through 1948, but beginning in 1949 the distribution increases rapidly from six to nine in 1950, ten in 1951 and 12 in 1952. Then it decreases for the remainder of the the years with eleven in 1953, nine in 1955, six in both 1956 and 1957 and four Spanglermates in 1958.
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