Between October 2nd and 5th, one hundred twenty-three Ingersoll sailors and their shipmates gathered at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport Marriott for the thirteenth Reunion of the Ingersoll Veterans Association. One hundred nineteen attended the entire reunion; two (McClarens) were only able to attend the Thursday Opening Buffet; and two – Captain Jeffrey Sapp, a former CO of DD 990 and his wife - were guests at the Saturday evening Banquet (more on this later).
On Thursday, old friendships were renewed and new ones solidified during registration and the Welcome Buffet at the Marriott that evening. The Hospitality Room had a big play, and served as the place to meet, imbibe and speak, plus buy small stores. These were capably taken care of by Harold and Shirley Cheatum, with the help of Wade and Ida Heinson and Karen Kegley. Incidentally, as Harold did not want to change his rate from Coxswain to Storekeeper, in the future, “Small Stores” will be known as “Boatswain’s Stores”.
Friday was a full day, with everyone up early to get breakfast and make the 0800 Bus boarding time for the visit and tour of the Naval Academy. Fortunately, the impact of Hurricane Isabel there was not very evident, so our video presentation and tour of the Chapel, the crypt where John Paul Jones is buried and the Academy grounds went smoothly. Weather was good, enabling us to watch the Noon Formation of the Corps of Midshipmen before going off to the Officer’s Club for lunch.
After lunch, it was back on the bus, to return to Baltimore for the tour and Memorial Service aboard USS Constellation. We broke up into smaller groups for the tour and then assembled on the main deck aft for the Memorial Service. Singing the Navy Hymn, striking of the ship’s bell for each of the four sailors who died aboard DD-652 in WWII plus our members who died between March 2002 and October 2003, and ending with a two gun salute from Constellation’s battery, all made it a moving service.
A bonus event occurred immediately after the Memorial Service. This was the unveiling by Alice Ingersoll Nagle and Royal Ingersoll of the 4 star Flag that Admiral Ingersoll had flown aboard USS Constellation during WWII, while he was Commander in Chief of the US Atlantic Fleet and USS Constellation was his Flagship. It had recently been donated to USS Constellation by Alice Ingersoll Nagle and had just been returned, preserved and framed, the previous day. The funds for its preservation were from our organization, in the form of the admission charges for the tours.
All in all, Friday was a very special day for many of our people.
Saturday morning started off with the business meeting and raffles (Our 2005 Reunion will be in Roanoke Virginia). The rest of the day was ‘on your own’ to visit around the Baltimore area or rest up from Friday. Group photos at 1730 were done in their usual chaotic manner, but still in time to not cut down on our cash bar hospitality time before the banquet.
The banquet was a time for fellowship, cutting of the cake by our oldest (Charlie Bailly) and youngest (Andy Grow) members, the anchor pool winners (Henry Townsend, Bill Conklin, Larry Graham, John Orr, Eli Gassert and Paul Tirone), and the drawing for the travelling ship’s bell – won by Joe Pope. We also took time for moments of silence in honor of Frank Schwab and Frank Romanick, who had served our group so long and well. In addition there was a time to note and appreciate how remarkable it was that, since 1945, no Ingersoll crewmen had been lost at sea. Thanks were offered to God for the skill and dedication of the many Commanding Officers who served these ships well. This included recognition of – and a standing ovation for - the one DD-652 CO present, Richard H.Tibbets.
Remarks by Captain Sapp followed, telling us of his pleasure in finding our group and its sailors and the inspiration we are to those now on active duty, we concluded the evening listening to our speaker, Ed Okonowicz, on the Chesapeake Bay area’s history and folklore.
Sunday morning involved breakfast, picking up the photos ordered the night before, and good-byes with promises to meet again next year in Lewistown, Montana – “Lord willing and the creek don’t rise”
From all feedback to date, it was a very fine
reunion; many thought it one of our best. The only downer was the news on 2
October that Capt. Frank Romanick, our long time Public Relations Director, had
died on 1 October. Fortunately, the news came in time to recognize Frank at the
Memorial Service aboard the USS Constellation on Friday afternoon, and for a
moment of silence in his memory at the Saturday Banquet.
8 sailors – they are now so precious to us that their names are noted here:
Charlie Bailly Robert Bormes Dale Crittenden Warren Clayton
Phil Saunders Paul Tirone Jim Viera Dick Worsley
shipmates, including Alice Ingersoll Nagle and Royal Ingersoll.
35 Sailors, plus 32 Shipmates
20 Sailors, plus 17 Shipmates
In addition to Billy and Chris McClaren, who attended only
the Thursday Buffet, attending the Saturday evening Banquet were Captain Jeffrey
Sapp and his wife, Shannon, who had been visiting Annapolis while away from his
current duty station as Professor of Naval Science at three Louisiana area NROTC
At the USNA Noon Formation on Friday, Captain Sapp
couldn’t help but notice our USS Ingersoll (DD-652) jackets; they seemed to be
everywhere. As he had been Commanding Officer of the USS Ingersoll (DD-990) from
1992 to 1994, he just had to satisfy his curiosity concerning who these people
were. As fortune would have it, he wound up speaking with Dan Raby and Larry
Graham. Dan and Larry not only told Captain Sapp about our group, they invited
him to our Saturday Banquet – an invitation that was accepted, once captain
Sapp had completed a check with headquarters (Shannon).
In remarks at the banquet, Captain Sapp told us that while he had been
unaware of our organization, he would now try to help us in locating and
encouraging DD-990 sailors to attend our reunions.
The reunion succeeded in returning almost $2,700 of “Income over Expenses” to our treasury. Total receipts (excluding ‘startup money’) were about $18,700 and total expenses were about $16,000.
Although volunteering in Monterey to be Chair of the Baltimore Reunion Committee, John Orr had not been able to participate in the crucial activities of 2002, involving selecting the hotel and negotiating the various contracts for services needed. As true shipmates should, Bill and Joan Wilhelm, Sander and Bernice Siegal and Dick Tibbets all stepped up and did a fantastic job of organizing and executing the myriad details that go into a successful Reunion.
All the members of the Ingersoll Vets extend our thanks and a hearty “Well Done” to these Committee members and their helpers:… Jim Bell, Transportation... Tom Kegley, Hospitality… Harold Cheatum, Boatswain’s Stores… Buzz Levensaler, Registration… John Orr, Photos… John Blair, Raffles… Dale Crittenden, Banquet… Sander Siegel, Finance…. And their wives!
See you next year!