USS POMPON 2014 REUNION Washington, DC

Bright and early (9:00 AM) on Friday, we boarded a very comfortable bus. With Emilio As our tour guide and narrator, we relived his boyhood days in the big City. He provided a contrast between the “good ole days” and the situation existing today. There was freedom to move about the city approaching the White House, the Capitol and Supreme Court Buildings and other points of interest without going through security. Not so by today’s standards. We could see these buildings from a distance but the bus was not permitted to go near them. On the other hand, we were able to visit memorials that were of more interest to all of us. For example: First on our list of stops was the World War II Memorial in the middle of the Mall with the Washington Monument in one direction and the Lincoln Memorial in the other. One cannot adequately describe this tribute to the men and women from each of the states and US possessions who served during those war years. One engraving on the wall facing the Washington Monument depicts the scene of a US submarine’s torpedo room. Other engravings included battle field scenes, aircraft on airstrips and troop landing operations. This day, an Honor Flight hosted four or five bus loads of WW II veterans and their volunteer escorts. The weather was absolutely perfect, sunny and pleasantly warm. Our next stop was the Korean and Vietnam Memorials. There were very many people at both of these memorials. For the Vietnam Memorial, there was an index of names of service- men and women who lost their lives during that conflict. The index gave the exact location where the name of the person was engraved on the wall. Our final stop for the day was the memorial dedicated to the Marines at Iwo Jima. Located next to Arlington National Cemetery. Emilio said he and other neighborhood boys were paid to knead the clay for the wire frame that would become the mold for the bronze statue created by sculptor, Felix de Weldon, an ex-marine. Felix recreated Joe Rosenthal’s Putlizer Prize winning photo of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima. On Saturday, we boarded the bus again destined for the Udar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. Upon entering the museum, the high flying record breaking SSR 71 Black Bird stood in front of us. In each direction from there, vintage aircraft were on the floor and suspended from the ceiling. In a separate wing was the space shuttle Discovery and other equipment connected to the space program. Another area of special interest was a very large room where airplanes were being restored to their original condition. After leaving the museum, our driver maneuvered the big bus through the streets of Alexandria down to the riverfront. We all disembarked and assembled in front of the USS Pompon propellor. After some photos we hurried back to the bus. Our evening banquet was held at the Olive Grove Restaurant and Lounge where our guest speaker was Rick Campbell, author of the novel “The Trident Deception.” He talked about the ideas of his book, the publishers, editors but never revealed how the book unfolded or ended. We adjourned to the hospitality room at the hotel where he spoke a little longer and then autographed books for those who bought them. Who will host the next reunion? There were no volunteers and therefore, the consensus was the reunion should be managed by a committee. John Murphy agreed to head the committee with the help of his wife Bonnie. Diane O’Connor, Nancy Marquitz and Judy Davy will work out details on who will be responsible for hotels, tours, banquets etc. Bill and Judy will continue to do the mailings and manage the website. All agreed that Nashville, TN should be the next location for the reunion. A date was not established but will probably be in September or October 2015. Thanks to Don Lynch for sending 3 inch pieces of Pompon decking with a brass name plate on each piece. Also thanks to all who brought beverages, snacks and other items to make the reunion very successful. Lastly, THANK YOU Emilio and Carol Prencipe for finding a reasonable hotel with a great breakfast and a very friendly and accommodating staff. The tours were outstanding

                           2013 USS POMPON REUNION AT GETTYSBURG,  PA

Our host, Dick Welker with the assistance of his son Frank truly put together a package we will not soon forget.  The government shutdown was over and the National Battlefield could now be visited.

You might say togetherness was the theme at this reunion.  With Frank driving his company bus, picking us up at the hotel for the tour of the historic battleground and to the restaurants and taking us back to the hotel as the designated driver was a bonus.

The cooler was seeded with a couple of 24 packs of beer and other beverages early on Thursday morning in the hospitality room. As shipmates came in more donated refreshments and snacks were placed on the tables.  Speaking of checking in, Jack Hartigan and his wife Jan who live in Michigan and Keith Tyree and his wife Phyllis who live in Colorado came to the Pompon Reunion for the first time.

After an afternoon of catching up on what everyone has been doing for the past year, most of us walked to Perkins for our evening meal. Later, we reconvened in the hospitality room.

Friday morning, Frank, was in front of the hotel with his company’s luxurious 42 passenger bus.  Winding our way through the Gettysburg town  round-a-bout (rotary for the New Englanders) he drove us to the new museum built in 2008.  Its highlights are the max screen theatre and the cyclorama.  The later must be seen in person to appreciate.  It was painted by the French artist Paul Philippoteaux in the 1880s at about the same time movies were coming on the scene and its popularity diminished very quickly.  Imagine, his cyclorama depicted the battleground at Gettysburg in a 360 degree circle. The artist’s signature is himself pictured in the painting as a soldier.  It had been in storage for years and was resurrected for this museum. Too learn more, suggest you go to 

Once we left the museum, we boarded the bus and toured the battle field with Terry Fox as our guide. Terry was born and raised in the Gettysburg area and he had a very strong interest in the Battle at Gettysburg. He had a mammoth amount of knowledge of the battle plus information from his grandpa who spoke to Civil War veterans years ago.  His grandpa even attended the last gathering of veterans in the 1930s.

That evening, with transportation provided by “Frank’s” bus, we all ate at the Pike Restaurant.  The special that night was all you can eat prime rib and seafood.  Some of the big eaters took advantage of this meal while others ordered something else.  All in all the food was very good and quite reasonable.  Back to the hotel where we exchanged more stories, the women in one area and the men in another. 

Saturday was a free day. Many visited downtown Gettysburg.  Dick had gotten coupons for free ice cream from Mike, owner of Mr. G’s ice cream parlor.  That was good ice cream.  Others visited Hersey, the battlefield and other areas of interest.  Reverend Peters held Mass at 4:45 PM in the hospitality room for all who were interested in attending.

Saturday evening the banquet was held at the American Legion Hall.   Again Frank provided the transportation.  We had a surprise visit by none other than Abraham Lincoln. Dick had pretty much
kept this to himself.  After some had their photo taken with Abe, Reverend Peters said Grace before we sat down for our meal.  The meal was prime rib or stuffed flounder followed by apple pie with an ice cream topping.  Bobby Bristow said a prayer for departed shipmates and then the bell was tolled by President Lincoln for four known shipmates that had gone on eternal patrol since the last reunion and again for all submariners on eternal patrol.

Lincoln then talked about the Navy and its impact on the Civil War, especially the political pressure he needed to influence the Navy to build the Monitor.  He then discussed his rise to politics from his beginning as a lawyer to the Illinois legislature, U.S. Senator and then President.  So much of what he said could have been current politics. Afterwards, he joined the boat’s crew for a group photo followed by a group photo with the ladies.  

A little personal information about Lincoln.  His name is Jim Getty and his wife Joanne was with him this evening.  He served on a US Navy mine sweeper during the Korean War.  He has impersonated Lincoln for over 37 years and has played the part all around our country.  He and Joanne live in Gettysburg.

Back again to the hospitality room where Dick discussed the financial situation (which is healthy), thanked all those who came  and those who brought goodies.  In that regard, Ski (Ron Kurdziolek)  brought his famous salted potatoes.  Was it 20 5 pound bags?  Emilio Prencipe and his wife Carol volunteered to host the next reunion near Washington, DC in the fall of 2014.  All agreed and the meeting was adjourned.  Now back to the sea stories and refreshments.

A brief history of the USS Pompon

The USS Pompon (SS 267) was constructed at Manitowoc, WI in 1942 and was commissioned in 1943.  It was floated down the Mississippi River, passed through the Panama Canal under its own power and sailed to its assigned station at Pearl Harbor.  It’s logo, the fish standing next to an anchor, was designed by Walt Disney who also designed logos for many other WW II submarines.  After performing nine war patrols, the Pompon was de-commissioned in 1946. When the Korean War started, the Pompon was brought out of the mothball fleet, taken to the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard where it was cut in half and a 30 foot section welded in place.  The new  section served as a high tech radar station.  The after torpedo tubes were removed and that compartment became a sleeping area for about  thirty to forty men.  The Pompon was re-commissioned and designated SSR267.   Tony Osterman, an Engineman and member of the crew, said he designed the logo of the fish carrying a torpedo.  In 1959, the Pompon was de-commissioned at Charleston, SC and later scrapped in 1960.

Dick Welker, our host

Dick Welker's son's company provided us with this beautiful 42 passenger bus. His son, Frank, was also our driver.

 Gettysburg Battlefield with our guide Terry Fox

Back Row - left to right:  Jack Hartigan, Bill Davy, John Lookabill  Tom McGonigle, Bobby Bristow, John Murphy, Charlie 'Wingnut' Hall, Tom Prejsnar, John Ryder

Middle Row: Fr. Arron Peters, P.J. O'Connor, Ken Johnston, Jim Grady, Ron 'Ski' Kurdziolek, Henry Carlberg, Keith Tyree,

Front Row: Emilio Prencipe, Dick Welker, Al Brown, Tom McCutcheon 

 Back Row - left to right:  Helen Kircher, Beverly Carlberg, Ann Ryder ( John's daughter), Pam Schweinberg (Tom McCutchen's daughter), Jean McCutchen, Shirley Bristow, Bonnie Murphy, Jan Johnston, Karen Pattison (Dick Welker's daughter), Carolyn Zack (Helen Kircher's sister-in-law)

Middle Row: Dee McGonigle, Carol Prencipe, Jean Kurdziolek, Jan Hartigan, Paige Ryder, Mardy Burgess (Al Brown's friend), Susie Erwin (Tom McCutchen's daughter) Phyliss Tyree

Front row:  Robin Krum ( Jim Grady's daughter) Abe Lincoln, Judy Davy, Diane O'Connor, Louise Hall, Nina Pattison (Dick Welker's granddaughter)

                            Recap of the 2012 USS Pompon Reunion

                              Savannah, Georgia

                               April 26-29, 2012

The Inn at Ellis Square in Downtown Savannah was conveniently located and within walking distance of many restaurants, historic sites and the Savannah River.  The riverfront has a beautiful walkway, though the streets and stairways leading to the river are steep and have ballast stones for pavement.  However, there was also a free public elevator from the upper to the lower level not to far from the hotel.

After furnishing the hospitality room with snacks and other refreshments everyone started to congregate in the early afternoon.  Round table discussions immediately began with the ladies in one area and the men in the other.

Each morning, the hotel offered a continental breakfast.  Sometimes it was quite congested due to tour groups and Girl Scout gatherings.  The founder of Girl Scouts was from Savannah, thus the attraction.

As dinner time rolled around about 15 of the group made way for The Olde Pink House, a home that has been in existence since 1711 has quite a history of many uses but is now a restaurant.  The food was very good and the service was excellent.

 The following day a couple of the ladies were instrumental in making arrangements for 32 of us to tour the city on one of its many trolley cars. The actual tour began at the old railroad station. We passed the railroad yard that has a working turntable and a museum, and then through the numerous squares that are like individual city parks about the size of a city square block.  Many live oaks with hanging Spanish moss provide a very warm feeling.  The architecture of the homes, like the multiple curved stairways on a group of buildings suggest the thinking at that time to use space efficiently.  The tour ended at City Square where a few stopped for lunch and/or browsed through the shops.

Temperatures were in the middle 80s, so now back to the hospitality room for some liquid refreshments and more sea stories.

Later, thoughts about supper came to mind.  A couple of places were contacted but they could not accommodate a group our size.  This was Prom night and there were many high school girls in their prom dresses running around in their bare feet with their high heels in hand and their escorts wearing tuxedos. So the restaurants were booked for that reason, too.  With the help of the hotel concierge we were able to find a restaurant in City Square.  Fifteen minutes later, thirty-two of us walked into the almost empty City Market Café (A statue of Marilyn Monroe stood outside).  The service was unbelievably quick and the waiting staff was very friendly.  The food was very good and the prices were quite reasonable.

After supper, back again to the hospitality room.  It was conveniently located in the basement of the hotel.  It had a stairway and two elevators and restrooms close by.  We never had anyone try to crash our party.  Nothing was disturbed during the off hours other than the hotel staff replenishing the ice in the tubs to keep our beverages cold.

On Saturday morning. we had a business meeting to discuss the location and host for the next reunion.  Dick Welker was gracious enough to accept the challenge.  I’m sure he will get the same generous and helpful people as was the case at this reunion.  Since he lives in Pennsylvania, it will be in that geographic area.  When the date and location is determined it will be announced on the Pompon website.  We were able to keep the meeting brief so that the rest of the day could be for other on-your-own activities.

In the evening, at a time later than what was planned, we all walked over to Lady and Sons  (Paula Deen’s) restaurant for our banquet.  There was a cash bar for those wanting a beverage.  Reverend Peters said grace and afterwards, in an orderly manner, we all filled our plates at the buffet table.  The food consisted of fried and baked chicken, vegetables, and a salad bar.  Three of four different desserts were presented to each table and you made a selection.

After the meal, Reverend Peters prayed for Pompon shipmates who passed away since the last reunion and all submariners who are now on eternal patrol.  A bell was tolled two times for each shipmate.   By the way, in case someone does not know, Reverend Peters served on the Pompon until de-commissioned in 1959 and then served in the submarine service until he felt a much greater calling.

We all walked back to the hotel to work off some of the meal.  We still had work to do.  There was still some cheese and crackers, sausage, other snacks and of course the beverages.  The hotel had indicated we could only stay in the hospitality room each evening until 11:00 PM.  Each night, we went beyond the curfew.

On Sunday morning, farewells were given to those shipmates that did not leave early and were at breakfast.

John Lookabill did an outstanding job in the selection and location of the hotel and restaurant for the banquet.  He ordered 24 caps and 24 golf shirts and most of them were sold with the profits boosting our treasury.  Everything worked out like a diving or surfacing submarine.  A great team effort.  Thank you John and Lee.  Everyone made sure this would be a great reunion.  Specific names are intentionally not mentioned since so many contributed and to forget someone would not be nice.

We welcome Bobby Boles and his wife Karen and John Ryder and his wife Paige and their daughter Ann to their first USS Pompon Reunion. 

One final observation: Thank you to the daughters of shipmates who accompany or bring their parents to the reunion.



Armen and Linda Bagdasarian

Bobby and Karen Boles

Bobby and Shirley Bristow

Hank and Beverly Carlberg

Bill and Judy Davy

Charlie and Louise Hall and Louise's sister Pat Cole

Charlie Dye

Bruce Goodman

Jim Grady and daughter Robin Krum

Ken and Janice Johnston

Helen Kircher and friend Betty Bianchi

Ron and Jean Kurdziolek

John Lookabill

Don Lynch and friend Lea Melton

 Donna Lynch-Hicks , Don's daughter

Tom and Dolly Majewski

Tom and Jean McCutcheon and daughter Pamela Schweinsberg

Tom and Dee McGonigle

John and Bonnie Murphy

Fr Aaron Peters

Emilio and Carol Prencipe

John and Paige Ryder and daughter Ann Ryder

Frank and Martha Rodgers and Martha's sister Louise Hopkins

Dick Welker and cousin Anna Lang

Back row-left to right: Bill Davy, Baggs Bagdasarian,Bobby Bristow,Hank Carlberg,Charlie (Wingnut) Hall, John Lookabill,Tom McCutcheon,John Ryder,Tom Majewski, Emilio Prencipe,Tom McGonigle.Frank Rogers,Dick Welker    Front row. left to right: Ken Johnston,Charlie Dye, Don Lynch, John Murphy, Jim Grady,Ron (Ski)Kurdziolek,Bobby Boles, Fr. Aaron Peters - Missing Bruce Goodman

Back row-left to right:Carol Prencipe, Linda Bagdasarian, Paige Ryder,Judy Davy, Shirley Bristow, Ann Ryder (John and Paige's daughter),Bonnie Murphy,Jean Kurdziolek,Bev Carlburg,Lea Melton (Don Lynch's guest) Louise Hall  Front row-left to right: Anna Lang (Dick's cousin),Karen Boles, Martha Rogers, Dee McGonigle, Helen Kircher, Janice Johnston, Jean McCutcheon, Missing: Donna Hicks (Don's daughter0, Robin Krum (Jim's daughter) Pam Schweinsberg (Tom and Jean's daughter) Betsy Bianchi (Helen's friend), Dolly Majewski, Lousie Hopkins (Martha's sister), Pat Cole(Louise's sister)

The 2010 USS Pompon Reunion held June 24 -27 in Plymouth, Massachusetts was "GREAT" to quote John Lookabill.

Go to this link to view John's photo album:  John has the album on a DVD and he would be glad to make a copy for anyone who would like one.

A big thank you goes to the host and hostess, John and Bonnie Murphy and their assistants, Emilio and Carol Principe. 

The photo below was taken at the World War II  Submarine Memorial that is located on the scenic highway along the Cape Cod Canal. We had a short but moving memorial service with words by John Murphy, George Smith and Father Aaron Peters and we even had a bagpiper. Paul Stevens from Sandwich, MA  learned about our gathering and volunteered to play for our service.

back row: Bill Davy, Frank Rodgers, John Murphy, Dick Welker, Chuck Biedinger, John Lookabill, Wingnut Hall

front row: Tom McGonigle, Jim Grady, P J O'Connor, George Smith, Aaron Peters, Tony Marquitz, Ron Kurdiolek, Emilio Principe

absent from the photo: Ken Johnston

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