2013 Gettysburg Reunion Review

Hello Shipmates!

The 2013 USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion in Gettysburg turned out to be a fine event, in spite of the challenges of having the National Parks closed for most of that week by the Federal shutdown.  There were 89 attendees this year, with 51 of them being shipmates. There were 11 shipmates who were attending their first Lloyd Thomas reunion.

On Tuesday, the first day of the reunion, we visited the Gettysburg National Military Museum and Cyclorama.  Following a tasty lunch at the Appalachian Brewing Company on Buford Avenue, the group again boarded the buses for a battlefield tour.  Our tour guides did a great job of explaining the battle from the main roads and from several stopping places on private lands.

That evening, the group gathered at the Hickory Bridge Restaurant, and visited their farm machinery museum and country store before sitting down to a family style dinner of pork tenderloin, fried chicken, and Crab Imperial. After dessert, General Robert E. Lee and his wife inspired the group with conversations regarding their family life.

Wednesday morning’s scheduled event was to be a tour of the Dwight  D. Eisenhower Farm, but being a National Park, we were unable to visit there that day.  Coordination with the tour agency allowed us to substitute a visit to the Seminary Ridge Museum.   Shipmates and wives toured the three floors of this museum, and some ascended to the cupola where General Buford observed the approaching soldiers at the beginning of the battle.  Lunch was held at the historic Dobbin House restaurant, and after lunch about 20 members gathered at a private pond to observe the speed trials of the LT Jr., the model of DD764 constructed by shipmate Jim Gee.  The rest of the crew visited the shops and museums on Steinwehr Avenue, or headed back to the hotel.

Thursday morning the crew assembled at the Grand Army of the Republic Hall on Middle Street for the memorial service, and for a presentation on the history of the GAR and the hall.  Lunch was held at the Pike Restaurant, and afterwards we held a “Family Reunion” style business meeting.  Suggestions for the location of the next reunion were solicited, and Grant Smith and Jack Summers volunteered to host a reunion in Phoenix, Arizona.   Jim Gee suggested Wilmington, North Carolina and Nelsonville, Ohio, which was LTJG Lloyd Thomas’s home town.   Rich Madansky proposed the Cleveland, Ohio area.

A show of hands selected Phoenix as the site of the 2014 reunion, with Wilmington and Cleveland coming in a close second and third.  Wilmington will be the tentative site of the 2015 reunion, to be confirmed at the Phoenix reunion.  After the meeting, the bus drivers gave us a personal tour of the battlefield areas which had just been re-opened that morning.

On Thursday evening, all assembled for the banquet, and were entertained by the presence of Mr. Abraham Lincoln, who afterwards was also introduced as Mr. James Hayney, a fellow tin can sailor.  First time reunion attendee Vince Martino won the drawing for the Lone Sailor statue.   PJ Miller was kind enough to return the travelling Lloyd Thomas artifact (A valve wheel from the salvage yard in Taiwan that was sent to us by a Chinese sailor when they scrapped the LT/Dang Yang), and Jim Clark from Pittsburgh won the draw, and gets to keep it until the next reunion.

Chief Edwards donated an American flag that flew from the mast of the Lloyd Thomas during combat operations in Vietnam to the returning item raffle, and Carter Conlin won the honor of keeping it until the next reunion.

On Friday, most shipmates headed home, looking forward to gathering again next year in Phoenix.  The dates and particulars of the Phoenix reunion will be announced as soon as they are available.

During this year’s reunion, several of our shipmates were active in taking pictures to be included in an online reunion book which was put together by Cheryl and Ed Ragsdale. The book is on www.Picaboo.com and can be viewed at this link. You can also purchase a copy of the book if you like.  Cheryl advises that there are frequent discount deals and groupons available, so check the Picaboo site often to find the code to enter for the best deals.  Here’s the current (11/11/13) great deal on the Picaboo book: $15 for the $70 11 x 9 book with lay flat pages. If you would like to order a book, but are having trouble accessing the ordering info, please give us a call.

Remember to check out the Ship’s Store at www.DD764.org. We have hats, shirts and the Lloyd Thomas print now available.  We also have a Facebook page under “USS Lloyd Thomas Reunion Association”.

All in all, Gettysburg was an excellent place for a reunion.  After returning home, I feel we have acquired a new and more complete sense of the events which happened here 150 years ago.

I would like to share a quote I found in one of the museum gift shop books:

“…and reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field to ponder and dream; And lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls.”

General Joshua L. Chamberlain, at the dedication of the monument to the Twentieth Maine, at Gettysburg on October 3, 1889.

Take care, shipmates, see you in Phoenix!

Scott and Nadine

CPT William H. Meanix, Jr. (Retired), Passed Away Jul 11, 2013

CPT William H. Meanix, Jr

We sadly report that retired Captain William H. Meanix, Jr has passed away on July 11, 2013 at the age of 86.

CPT Meanix commanded the USS Lloyd Thomas 1968 – 1969.  If you attended our 1995 reunion in Philadelphia, PA, you no doubt met CPT Meanix.

His obituary, from the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home website:

William Henry Meanix, Jr. (Bill) died on Thursday, July 11, 2013, at his home in Fairfax Station, Virginia. He was the beloved husband of June (Higgins) Meanix of Fairfax Station, VA, devoted father of Heather (Steve) Hudson of Fairfax Station, VA, William H. Meanix III (Billy) of Fairfax Station, VA and Kimberly (Duff) Miller of South Glastonbury, CT, and proud grandfather of Ryann Brzoska, Shannon Miller, Kelley Miller, Sean Miller, Tyler Hudson and William Miller. He was preceded in death in 2010, by his younger brother Robert Meanix, Sr. but surviving are Robert’s wife, Nancy Meanix of Pisgah Forest, NC, and numerous nephews and nieces on both sides of the family.

Bill was born (June 10, 1927) and raised in Jamaica Plain, Boston, Massachusetts. Encouraged by his parents, William Henry Meanix and Genevieve Augusta (Burns) Meanix, he became an accomplished scholar-athlete, graduating with distinction from Roxbury Latin ’44, US Naval Academy ’49 and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Public Administration ’61. A lifelong learner, Bill studied various subjects on his own such as math and physics but had a particular interest in foreign languages. Bill loved jazz and classical music and was known for being quite a dancer and the life of the party. He also greatly enjoyed following politics, the one subject that could elicit great passion in a conversation. He married Leona (June) Higgins on his birthday in 1959 in California.

Bill thrived in the Navy and commanded any room he entered with his full head of Irish white hair, easy smile and a thundering authoritative voice which masked in contrast, a very gentle and compassionate soul. He had a fabulous sense of humor and particularly enjoyed the good pun. After a distinguished thirty year career in the US Navy, Bill went back to school and earned his Juris Doctor in Law from the University of Maine ’79. In his law career, he found private practice most satisfying. Perhaps the only accomplishment he sought which eluded him was mastery of the game of golf. Bill enjoyed helping and rooting for the underdog, which is probably why he was a lifelong and avid fan of the Boston Red Sox and Washington Redskins.

After semi-retiring from Law and moving to NC, he supported many social causes but gave the majority of his time to the Pacolet Area Conservatory addressing environmental and land use issues. When he wasn’t training for track Master’s competitions himself, Bill also lent his significant experience and expertise by working countless hours with middle and high school hurdlers in Polk County, whom he spoke of fondly and with great pride.

A Funeral Mass was offered on Friday, July 26 at 3:00 PM at Church of the Nativity, 6400 Nativity Lane, Burke, Virginia. Visitation was the hour (2-3pm) preceding the funeral at the smaller chapel of the church. A private military burial ceremony was performed at sea by the United States Navy at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions were requested for The Conservation Fund, 1655 North Fort Myer Drive, Suite 1300, Arlington, VA 22209.

Bob Scherrer, Passed Away Jul 20, 2013

Bob Scherrer
Bob Scherrer, LCDR (ret)

LCDR Robert J. Scherrer, 82, passed away on July 20, 2013. He enlisted in the U. S. Navy in 1948 as a 17 year old young man; was commissioned in 1962 and rose through the ranks to retire as Lieutenant Commander. He is recently predeceased by his daughter, Captain Jean Scherrer – Mooney.

Mr. Scherrer is survived by his wife of 59 years, Grace; 4 daughters, Donna Reich, Mary Long and husband, Alan; Eileen Mooring and husband, Chuck, Joan Gerylo and husband, Len; sons, Kevin Scherrer and wife Julie, Chris Scherrer, David Scherrer and wife Carmen; son-in-law, Andy Mooney;16 grandchildren; and 1 great-granddaughter

A funeral mass was held at the chapel at Joint Expeditionary Base at Little Creek at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Please call the funeral home by noon Wednesday to have access on base. The family received friends from 6 to 8:30pm today at Smith & Williams Funeral Home, Kempsville Chapel. In lieu of flowers, the family requested donations be made to the Wounded Warriors Project or the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.  Condolences to the family were made at www.smithandwilliamskempsville.com. 

Obituary came from the Smith & Williams Funeral Home website.

See the USS Lloyd Thomas in a video!

The  USS Albert David DE-1050 carried a US Navy Combat Camera crew for a couple of weeks during April/May of 1972.  Lee Dress, a former shipmate of the Albert David found some of their film clips which had been in the National Archives in D.C and he uploaded them to youtube.com

The Lloyd Thomas is featured in one of the clips as it comes alongside the Albert David on the gun line near Da Nang.  Check out this video.  In Lee’s words, “It’s a great view of a great destroyer!”

Captain Ned Jardine, Passed Away Jan 20 2013

CPT Ned Jardine
Ned Jardine, CPT (ret)

Captain (Ned) Edward Fell Jardine Jr. sailed away to our Lord on Sunday Jan. 20th, 2013 at 12:30 pm. He was born on Nov. 30th, 1932 in Longport, NJ, son of Edward & Mae (Quik) Jardine. Ned was a 1955 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor degree in Engineering and later received a Master s degree in Nuclear Physics from the Navy post graduate school in Monterey, CA. He served 2 tours of duty in Vietnam, one tour as Captain on the Destroyer USS Lloyd Thomas where he received the Bronze Star (Combat v) with Gold Star and other numerous medals and ribbons.

After Vietnam Ned held many different commands of duty, one being Commodore of Mine Squadron 12 in Charleston, SC and then finishing his naval career in Massachusetts in charge of the NROTC at Holy Cross College. Ned retired July 1st, 1985 after proudly serving 30 years as a Naval Officer and moved to Atlantic Beach in 1986.

He was a devoted husband married to Mary Kuchar Jardine for 52 glorious years. Ned was the quintessential husband and father that anyone could ever hope to have. Mary and Ned were very altruistic people and upon retirement decided to serve St. Johns Catholic Church as Eucharistic ministers and in the St. Frances by the Sea soup kitchen in Jax. Bch. Ned helped start The Mission House. He served as President on the Mission House and President on BEAM and was later on their Boards of Directors. Ned also served on the Board for Pablo Towers. Ned received the Founders Award from Mission House in October, 2012.

Ned is survived by his sister Doris Beall of Rockledge, FL.  Both Ned and Mary Jardine are survived by their 3 children, Douglas Martin Jardine of Jacksonville, FL, Nancy Neill married to Kim Neill and their children Noelle and Randy Neill from Vero, Beach, FL, and lastly, Edward Fell Jardine III married to Diane Jardine with son Garrett Jardine also from Jacksonville, FL.

Funeral services were held at St. Johns Catholic Church of Mayport on Saturday the 26th of January. Viewing was from 9am 11am. Service began at 11am with a reception following in celebration of the life of Ned Jardine. In lieu of flowers donations could be made to the Wounded Warriors project at 4899 Belfort Rd (904-279-0262) in care of Captain Edward (Ned) Fell Jardine Jr.
Published in the Florida Times-Union on Jan. 23, 2013


Agent Orange Equity Act Information

At the Pittsburgh Reunion meeting, a suggestion was made to put some information about Agent Orange on this website so that shipmates might educate themselves on the problems caused by Blue Water Navy veterans’ exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam years.

The VA’s current policy excludes Blue Water Navy veterans who served at that time, unless they had specific proof that they were either “boots on the ground,” or could prove that their ships had operated in rivers or bays.

Charles Yunker and other of our shipmates were successful in getting the Lloyd Thomas listed on the Brown Water Navy list for certain portions of her first West Pac Cruise. Shipmates from that time period will now be assumed to have presumptive exposure for a VA Agent Orange claim

Now we need your help by contacting your US Senator and Representative.

Voice your support for a VA determination of presumptive exposure for all military personnel who were in the Vietnam area of operations, or who took place in shipping, storing or loading of Agent Orange. The Agent Orange Equity Act of 2011 is a beginning in this effort, as it will clarify the law to make it easier for the VA to process Blue Water Navy veterans Agent Orange claims by extending presumptive coverage to them.