The radarmen from the Tonkin Gulf/Yokosuka era held a reunion in St Louis, MO May 1-4 2003. The reunion was held at the St Louis Ramada Airport Inn with 11 members and their wives. A hospitality room was provided by the hotel where the scope dopes met during the evenings for cocktails and reminiscing. Steve "Kraut" Karolyi furnished a slide projector and we had slide shows on a couple of evenings while winding down from the day's activities. Slides were provided by Kraut, Don "Woody" Woods, Rich "Butch" Dexter, and Bob "Spud" Spilinek. Jim Plummer also provided some photo albums from his years of living in Saudi Arabia. The wives present got to see their spouses in their glory days, cutting a swath through WestPac, censored of course, and considerably thinner.
The group participated in breakfasts at Bob Evans next door before starting out for the day, and dinners in the evening prior to meeting in the hotel hospitality room for more sea stories and slides. We all made a trip to the Arch in downtown St Louis, as well as Laclede's Landing. Friday afternoon saw the group taking the trolley to Union Station for shopping and liquid refreshments at Hooters where a couple of the guys bought shirts or skivvies to be autographed by the waitresses.
The second day, Saturday, we all went on a tour of the Budweiser plant in the morning (free samples), and on to Grant's Farm, owned by Budweiser, in the afternoon (more free samples). Sunday the group started to reluctantly break up with some folks having to go to work on Monday. We found that nobody had changed much, except in size of course. Those who were able to make it are listed below:
Bob and Lila Miller
Bob "Spud" and Teddi Spilinek
Rich "Butch" and Barbara Dexter
Dick and Eiko Hallowell
Eddie "Skip" and Marie Lair
Rick "Sledge" and Gail Hamer
Jim and Kerry Finch
Steve "Kraut" Karolyi
Don "Wood Eye" Woods
and last, but certainly not least, John "Wop" Salerno
This is a poem written by Marie Lair that we all thought was quite good:
They gathered together after a very long time
from far and near and across many a mile
They came with their smiles and their pictures of old
amidst all of their cheers their stories they told.
Of Pirats and ports and the Great Ship Mahan
on great seas forbidding rode the brave sailor man
The lads and the lasses they met on the way
Became friends that they treasured and hold to this day.
The Navy men are proud of that old DLG
It carried them safely oer' the deepest blue sea
While they were on board the USS Mahan
God blessed America and we were in good hands.
Marie Reed Lair 5/2003
Thanks to Sledge's mom he has most of the CO's Family Grams from the time we were forward deployed in Yokosuka and they have all been scanned. They are available on the web site now.
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|Most of the gang at the Arch in
Back row: Rich Dexter, Bob Spilinek, Dick Hallowell, Steve Karolyi, Bob Miller, Rick Hamer, Jim Plummer, Jim Finch, John Salerno, and Don Woods.
Front row: Barb Dexter, Eiko Hallowell, Lila Miller, Gail Hamer, Kerri Finch, and Teddi Spilinek.
Missing: Ed and Marie Lair
|Another bus tour. A good thing it wasn't like the one on the Gold Coast of Australia!|
| Rogue's Gallery.
Standing: Butch Dexter, Bob Miller, Wop Salerno, Jim Finch, Skip Lair, Woody Woods, and Sledge Hamer.
Sitting: Dick Hallowell and Spud Spilinek. Down for the count: Kraut Karolyi.
|Waiting for the refill truck.|
|Jim makes a friend at Hooters. Flashback! Where have we seen this before?|| Budweiser Plant.
Dick Hallowell and Rich Dexter. Where's George?
Marie Lair, Lila Miller, Eiko Hallowell, Barb Dexter, Teddi Spilinek, Gail Hamer, and Kerri Finch.
|So much beer, so little time!|
|Taking a break at Grant's Farm, and partaking of more free beer.||Partaking of the free samples at the Budweiser Brewery. Making sure it is fit for general consumption!|
|Looking straight down from the Arch.||Train Wreck Bar for lunch in downtown St Louis at Leclede's Landing.|
|Lining up for Metro tickets.||Last breakfast together.
From left to right: Jim Plummer, Dick Hallowell, Woody Woods, Lila & Bob Miller, Kraut Karolyi (kneeling), Gail & Sledge Hamer, Kerrie Finch, Wop Salerno, Jim Finch, Eiko Hallowell, Skip Lair, Teddi Spilinek, Marie Lair, and Spud Spilinek.
Missing: Butch & Barb Dexter