USS Spangler DE-696
2010 Reunion, San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, TX, home of the Alamo and the most beautiful river walk you'll find anywhere (all 13-miles of it) was an excellent setting for this years reunion. Add in the enjoyable tour of the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, TX, dedicated to perpetuating the memory of the Pacific Theater of WWII, the excellent welcoming breakfast and banquet meals, the outstanding presentation on the the "Greatest 13 Days in ASW History" by Merlin Carr and, once again, you have another success story.
To top it off we were honored with a special guest, Ms Jeannie Keslier (standing on the right in the photo here with Wayne and Pat Dorough). She is the niece of LTJG Donald H. Spangler, for whom the USS Spangler was named. Ms Kessler brought with her memorabilia from Donald Spangler's years at the U.S. Naval Academy (his Annapolis yearbooks and diploma along with the top of the bottle used to christen the ship, and a few other items). She addressed the group at the conclusion of the banquet dinner, at her own request, to say how proud she was of everyone present and to how much it all meant to her family and especially her Uncle Bob ( Donald Spangler's surviving brother). Jeanie was the high bidder at the Silent Auction on Merlin Carr's nice painting of the USS Spangler and requested all of the Spanglermates sign it.
By tentative count 54 SpanglerMates, wives and guest were present. The Holiday Inn served well for our needs. Dave, Elana, Bob and Millie deserve a big applause for making arrangements and assuring that all went smoothly. The excellent food, clean rooms and fine hotel service definitely enhanced our stay. And the the hospitality and private auction room met our needs.
The welcoming breakfast on Tuesday began with an opening prayer from Gene Workman along with the Pledge of Elegance, led by Don Cooper and Ken Nolan. Dave gave a run down of upcoming events, welcomed all first time visitors, and made note of the location of the hospitality room, including the room set aside for the Silent Auction. Elana Norris suggested a number of interesting sights, in addition to the Alamo and River Walk, for the group to consider in visiting around the city including suggestions of several restaurants. Sue Goers added a few others to the list. Planned activities included a bus tour of the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, TX Wednesday morning and a banquet dinner that evening in the Holiday Inn.
Bob Ellis informed the group -- sad to say, but understandably -- that he and Dave Norris were retiring, so to speak, from their 10-year long task of setting up and arranging the annual reunion events. These two gentlemen and their wives have done a tremendous job! And we owe them a huge debt of gratitude! Their initiative and leadership is irreplaceable.
The bus trip to Fredrisburg Wednesday morning for a tour of the National Museum of the Pacific War was fascinating, to say the least. But to see it all of the museum while also taking advantage of some of the great shopping and restaurants locally would take at least a day. Of special interest, at least for this trip, were the National Museum of the Pacific War and the 32,000-square foot George H.W. Bush Gallery. Included within the museum facility were the Japanese Garden of Peace, the Pacific Combat Zone, the Plaza of the Presidents, the Surface Warfare Plaza, the Memorial Wall, the Veterans Walk of Honor and the Center for Pacific War Studies. Mostly the museum focused the story of the Pacific and Asiatic Theaters in World War II with emphasis on Admiral Nimitz. For those of you wishing to read more on the museums please visit here .
The evening banquet on Wednesday opened with a few words from Dave Norris on the Silent Auction and the upcoming reunion in San Diego next year. This followed by a prayer from Gene Workman. In appreciation to our guest speaker, Dave presented a book to Merlin Carr titled: "Buckley-Class Destroyer Escorts."
Merlin Carr was our banquet speaker and, as already mentioned, gave an interesting presentation on "The Greatest 13 Days in ASW History, May 19-31, 1944." It entailed the role that the USS Spangler, USS George DE-697, USS Raby DE-698, USS England DE-635 and USS Cord DD-534played in sinking 17 of 25 Japanese submarines in the Pacific above the Admiralty Islands. Merlin made note of the fact that the sinking of six of the submarines was credited to the USS England, but in fairness the credit should have been given to all DE's involved since it was a team effort (no one ship did it all). He added that Lt. CDR Pendleton of the USS England was the only Academy graduate amongst the four DE's involved; all other Captains of the DE's were Reserve Offices. Yes, there's room for some interesting speculation there. Merlin's presentation can be viewed here.
Appreciation is extended to all the folks that brought in the wonderful eats, cakes, cookies, and nourishment. And special appreciation is extended to Phylliss Clugston for the many shirts she made available for sale at the reunion displaying a personalized designcommemoratingg the 2010 reunion in San Antonio.
Baum, Gene & Sally
Biess, Stan & Jackie
Clugston, Tom & Phyllis
Dorough, Wayne & Pat
Duncan, Jim & Becky
& Becky's daughter Julie Hanson *
Ellis, Bob & Millie
Gholsen, Vernon, Wife & Daughter
Goers, A. J. & Sue
Hancock, Wes & Sally
Johnson, Johnnie & Gale
Johnson, Rick *
Kesler, Jennie *
Kerwin, Joe & Evelyn
Langdon, Don & Ruth
Lovern, Cleveland & Zela
Nolan, Kenneth J, Sr.
Norris, Dave & Elana
Oertel, Tom & Joyce
Sims, Charles & Lila*
Sims, James & Nelda
Sorenson, Neal & Son
Stephens, Steve & Kitty
Towne, Kenneth & Georgia
Workman, Gene & Dorothy