USS Taylor 1980 Reunion

October 19, 1980 — Torrance, CA

A few happenings and sidelights of the USS Taylor 1980 Reunion

as told by Sid Wallace

Started things off Friday morning going to LA International to pick up C.A. Smith, arriving from Dallas via Delta Airlines. Much to my surprise there was another ex Taylor shipmate, C.R. Buffington, complete with a “Tin Can Sailor Cap” and a big smile.

Being that it was too early to register at the Holiday Inn, we decided to head for my house. Shot the breeze for awhile and had a beer. Almost lost Buffington overboard when one of our chairs collapsed. By then it was time to head for the hotel.

The hospitality room worked out great, thanks to Nick & Clara Apostal and John Kinder. Seems that everyone adapted to the area and found the local restaurants and pubs.

The brunch on Saturday morning was great and Roger Sampson showed up in his original uniform. Quite a feat after so many years.

That afternoon some people went on tours in the LA area. The Chamberlain’s, Sampson’s and C.A. Smith went to the La Brea tar pits then to the Queen Mary. The pits were well received but the Queen Mary only so so!

I think everyone enjoyed the happy hour and dinner on Saturday night. One of the highlights of the evening was when “Boats” Gapinski piped all of us to dinner with “chow down”.

The comments before and after dinner were well received and I thought that McClendon did an excellent job as M.C. He also was a good straight man for Bill Chamberlain and his classic joke.

The next morning I got up early (with some difficulty) and took C.A. Smith to the airport. Unfortunately he had to return to Dallas. Sure wish he could have stayed a little longer.

That afternoon we had a few people over to our house for a get together and barbecue. Roger & Eleanor Sampson, John Noone, Bill McBrayer and his son Wayne, Bill & Ramona Chamberlain together with Bill’s sister and brother-in-law. My son Steve also acted as host and was sorry that he could not get to the dinner the previous night.

Eleanor Sampson pitched right in and gave my wife Dot a big helping hand with the goodies. Many sea stories were told and everyone seemed to enjoy the afternoon.

Being on the committee was certainly a pleasure and lots of fun. Although I did the badge design, Clara Apostal made the arrangements to have them mounted. The various get togethers at the Apostal’s house, the meeting at Santa Maria with John Kinder, Bob & Betty Harmon, Ed & Mina Kulak, Rog & Eleanor Sampson, Heath & Gail Angelo and of course Nick & Clara Apostal were all great and each one attending contributed to the overall success of the Reunion.

God willing, Dot & I will get to see you all and let’s hope some more ex shipmates at the next Reunion in Chicago 1982.

Best, Sid & Dot Wallace

The following are excerpts from correspondence

that John Kinder passed on at the meeting during the Saturday night dinner

FRANCIS ADAMS
Francis wrote that he was sorry he could not attend. “Say hello to all”.

MILDRED AHERN
John passed away on April 21, 1980. John and I were looking forward to the Reunion as we had such a grand time at the Reunion in Danvers. Mr. Hitchings and his wife worked so hard to make the Reunion a success and indeed it was. Best of luck and hope you have a wonderful time.

GEORGE BADGET JR
George wrote in February that he was attending. September 26th he wrote that he would be having surgery about Reunion time. He had put his surgery off as long as he could. Sends his best and hopes to make the next one.

CHARLIE BAISLEY
Charlie sends his regrets. Sincerely would like to “Grace” us with his presence. Said he could go into an unpleasant amount of rhetoric but would resist regarding same. Hopefully the “Gang” will enjoy a meaningful, nostalgic, “Get-to-gether”. Best wishes and good luck to all.

JACK BLACKWELL
Jack wrote that he hoped to attend. Blackie, we missed you.

ALLEN BRADLEY
Allen wrote several times but could not attend. We hope to see you in 1982 Allen.

JOE BRADY
Joe had planned to attend but has to be in Seattle for two weeks at this time. Wishes to be remembered.

LEO BRESONIS
Leo wrote that he and Dorothy had planned to attend but Dorothy’s work schedule made it very difficult.

HANK GIESMANN
Hank is very disappointed that he cannot attend – has another commitment. Sends his best and wants to be informed of any future gatherings. He also supplied three shipmate names and addresses.

VIRGIL GRUENKE
Virgil and wife were sorry they could not attend. Three children still in High School and also a 3 year old born a week after the last Reunion. He says!!! “Since I won’t be there, drink one for me anyway.” “Maybe we’ll make the next one.”

JOHN U. HADLEY
“If anyone from that era is at the Reunion tell them hello from us.”

PHIL HAMBSCH, CDR (Ret)
Phil had planned to come but after 8 years of widowed life he is being married at this time. The Bride is a widow and her former husband was a classmate of Phil’s at Annapolis, Capt. Harold Long, who died at his desk in the Pentagon in 1969 following back-to-back tours in Vietnam. He keeps in contact with Adm Katz. He says, “pass on my best regards to all former shipmates and HAVE A BALL!

LDCR JEROME B. HODGE
Presently aboard USS Constellation CV64. Slated to return to San Diego October 14th. Hopes to make the Reunion. We know the ship arrived, but we did not see you!!!

BENJAMIN KATZ
In February he wrote: “Sorry, but the USS Rocky Mount, another ship I commanded is having a Reunion in Washington DC October 18th and I feel I should go to that as I missed the first two. Sorry I can’t do both.” Another letter September 30th in part he said, “the committee has been working hard for several months and so I know how much time and effort you have devoted to the Taylor Reunion. The Taylor will always be my real love and I remember her with real affection for the many months we were together from commissioning in Boston in 1942 until I left in 1944. We went through many hard times together and I am glad that neither the ship nor the crew were hurt to any extent.” With best wishes to all for a fine Reunion.

FLOYD MASON
Floyd retired in 1975 but Mary is not well. He cannot leave her for any length of time so was unable to attend.

J.M. “RED” MEYERS
Red wrote three letters in regards to his plans on attending. In September we received a letter from Dusty Bain stating that Red had a triple by-pass on his heart and would not be able to attend.

MOON MULLINS
Retired 1961 – 21 years. Made the last one but will have to miss this one. Works for the State of New York as a “Principal Stationary Engineer” in charge of heating facilities at the State University of New York at Buffalo. “My regards to everybody and a special HELLO to Bob and Betty Harmon.

FERRIS REID
Ferris has prior commitments for this time of year. Wishes to say hello to all who were aboard during his tour of duty. “I have a picture on my desk in front of me when we received the COMMANDERS CUP for winning the Squadron Athletic Championship at Pearl Harbor in 1959 – “Count me in for any future Reunions.”

CLINTON WESTBROOK
Clinton wrote that he served on the USS Arizona (BB 39) then the USS Conyngham (DD 371) prior to Taylor. He said, “Unfortunately will not be able to attend due to being in the work force”.

Also had two letters from Capt Charles (Chuck) J. Smith Commanding officer of USS California (CGN 36) who was aboard Taylor 1958–62, reporting aboard as a new ensign. His letters were read. The California was in the Arabian Sea at his first writing, April 1981, and as you may recall the mid East was a very tense area at that time. Jack Mackie made a comment at the meeting telling us that this man has a good background and should do well in our Navy. We wish him well and hope he gets the deserving breaks.

USS Taylor Reunion 1980 — Holiday Inn — Torrance, CA

John, Sid and I (Nick) decided that each one of us write a few words about how the Reunion effected us.

Clara and I had a Ball!! From receiving phone calls in 1979 – Henderson, 1980 – Red Bowman and numerous others – Joe and Natalie McSmith stayed at our home during the Reunion and other times. Being together with Larry & Betty Benson family – Larry was also here for a local Reunion a few years ago (Beretta, Cornelius, Kinder, McClendon, McSmith, Wallace and Apostol).

Bill Chamberlain driving downtown Los Angeles to pick up Ace & Virginia Boccuzzi at the bus depot. They rode the bus from Staten Island, NY. Driving to Long Beach to pick up Minna Kulak for the Saturday nite banquet. Clara driving to the Los Angeles airport to pick up Bob Harmon. We had two adjoining rooms for the hospitality and refreshments for early arrivals on Friday. The gathering was unbelievable!! Twenty-one of us. The same Friday evening had supper together at the Sea Food Broiler. Saturday morning at breakfast in attendance was Rear Admiral Frank Jr, our daughter Toni, as well as the rest of the group.

I want to say how much it meant to Clara & I to be with Heath & Gail Angelo. They were just wonderful.

Saturday Banquet: McClendon & Kinder M.C. was great!! Captain John Mackie and Florence great!! Talking was beautiful – many pictures taken – our son Richard and his wife Freda attended this gathering. Those interested, Richard and Freda had a son on March 6, 1981 “Mason Nicholas Apostol” weight: 7lb 9oz, height: 1’ 7”. All this time and week after the Reunion and two weeks around Christmas & New Year’s including the Rose Parade in Pasadena, the wonderful people Richard and Joe Berrio were with us – what fun!!

The Sunday evening we had supper with Benson, Berrio, Grierson, Hawley, Hitchings, Kinder, McSmith and Walling. The talk sure flowed. Wednesday evening supper with Berrio, Ski & Betty Gapinski. Sure great spending a few hours with them.

The real feeling of the Reunion to me is, you have to experience it yourself and we will again around the Chicago area in 1982. Do not forget the work Sid Wallace did “NAME TAGS”.

Take care – God Bless you all.
NICK & CLARA APOSTOL

Comments from John Kinder

Nick & Clara, Sid & Dot have given you a good account of the Reunion — can’t add much.

Want to thank Jack Taylor for his excellent and touching account of the decommissioning and transfer of Taylor to Italy – July 2, 1969.

Jack Mackie gave us a few words of his command. It was truly a pleasure to meet him – he had to be a great skipper.

Claude Buffington (State of Georgia Captain) for “TIN CAN SAILORS” spoke to us of their work.

Adm Frank attended Saturday brunch. He could not attend dinner as he had Granddaughter’s birthday fall on that weekend and a family reunion was previously planned. Did have a nice visit with him as short as it was. He looks great.

Direct all new names and addresses to Tom Brown or Gene Gallagher who have graciously volunteered to head up the Chicago Reunion in October 1982.

I want to thank everyone in attendance for making our Reunion a success it was. I was impressed with the cordiality and fraternalism extended. The WIVES – They’re the greatest.

On to Chicago in ’82 – My best,
John Kinder

Send New Names to:
Thomas W. Brown
1025 E. Illinois Street
Wheaton, ILL 60187
or
Eugene F. Gallagher
9336 S. Raymond Ave
Oak Lawn, ILL 60453

The following names may be added to address list to December 1980:
Chadwell, Huston (Aboard WW II)
1606 7th Street Road
Corbin, KY 40701
and
Bertschy, Howard (Aboard WW II)
131 Burnett Avenue
Maplewood, NJ 07040

Add to Deceased List:
Terry Cleveland (Aboard WW II)

Note change of address:
Robert C. Robinson
112 Whitney Ct
Covington, KY 41017