9th USS Perry Highlights - Philadelphia

 September 24, 2010

     Just don't know where to begin with this spectacular reunion. The planning of all our events went exactly according to Hoyle and were interesting and fun doing. The Loews Hotel and staff treated us like Kings and Queens even while the Green Bay Packers were in the Hotel's limelight. Yes, the Packers stayed at the Loews and autographed a lot of memorabilia for Loews guest. Actually all NFL visiting teams stay at the Hotel. That in its self tells you about the quality of the hotel. Yes, all our rooms were beautiful and the weather throughout our Reunion cooperated fully. It just doesn't get any better.

     Philly is just a magnificent City and the Loews Hotel was right in the heart of the city within and easy walk to just about everything. While Philly is clearly very cosmopolitan, the city continues to retain its small town flavor of warmth and friendliness. It's no wonder Philly is known as the city of brotherly love. More importantly, it's the city where our nation began and has an unparallel history. While our tours of the city didn't entitle us to History degrees, we now have a far better understanding of our Nations History and true respect for the wisdom of our Founding Fathers.

  Just a few comments from some of our shipmates that says it all.

· Just got home. What a great job you guys did for us Perry vets. I was blown away and Lil had great time too. I'll be keeping in touch.                                                                        Carey

· We really enjoyed seeing you and all the Perry family again. We had a GREAT time and thank you and the committee for all your hard work. Looking forward to seeing you at the next reunion.
                                                                        Al & Barb

· We had a magnificent time, the best reunion ever. (Branson was also a top notch choice) Thank you and your committee so much for all the work that was done; I know it had to be huge. God bless and we will see you next year.                        Ernie

· This was the best one yet. Hope all is well with both of you and looking forward to the next reunion.             James

· I just want you to know how much we enjoyed the reunion. It was our first visit to Philly. I had no idea how much history they had right downtown. The hotel and its location could not have been better. We both would like to thank you, Martin, and everyone else who took the time and effort to make this a great reunion. Again, we we appreciate all the work that goes into putting a reunion like this one together.         Thanks again ..... Jack & Virginia

· Thanks for keeping after me and getting me to my first reunion. It suprised me but I remembered all my old shipmates. The reunion was teriffic and my hat is off to everyone for making it happen. See you at the next one.                           Bravo Zulo Mike

Wednesday 9/8/10 - The arrival of deck hands Bob Hales, Martin Deeney and Seve Silk insured fair winds for our reunion and smooth sailing all the way for another great reunion and 'Cruise Down Memory Lane'..

Should you be looking for a special photo check out www.ussperryreunions.shutterfly.com Our Ship's photographer Mary Sittnick has taken many great photos and posted them to this site. If you have a problem logging into the site or setting up an account Mary can be contacted at. maryrealtor1999@yahoo.com     

Click this link to view the Perry's Reunion Slide Show

Thursday 9/9/10 - As our shipmates arrived for the reunion and gathered at our hospitality room to share sea stories and a libation or two. We had a keg of Pennsylvania Yuengling beer, assorted snacks and other refreshments ready for their enjoyment. Did you know that Yuengling is Americas oldest brewery? It was started in 1829 and still going strong. Now with its national distribution Yuengling has become a favorite of many Americans including myself. We kicked off our reunion with cocktail party on the 33rd floor of the hotel sponsored by our Association. Between the friendship and spectacular view overlooking the city we could have stayed and partied the entire night. However, like all good things that come to an end, we were off to Joe Pesce for a fine dinner. It was a neat experience to have the entire restaurant of Joe Pesce entirely for our group. After a few hours of some chow and grog it was back to our hospitality room for more sea stories. As we began to run out of gas, one by one we snuck out for our bunks and much needed rest.

Friday 9/10/10 - We all mustered at the hospitality room to discuss yesterdays events and enjoy some Starbucks coffee, bagels and assorted pastries. For some needing something more substantial, they had a full breakfast at the hotel or enjoyed an Amish breakfast at the Reading Terminal Market just across the street. The market is a very interesting place, it is fully enclosed and covers a city block or more with hundreds of stores and numerous eateries to satisfy every pallet. Here you will find a great Philly Cheese Steak sandwich or a delicious ice cream cone by Bassett, Americas oldest ice cream company.

After breakfast we boarded these cute trolley cars and enjoyed a narrated tour of Philly with stops at various historical sites. We then lunched on our own and went back to the our hospitality room sea stories or plain old R&R. The more adventurous went out to explore the city. Philly has so much to off there just isn't time enough to take it all in within the short time of our reunion.

Most everyone opted to take the Spirit of Philadelphia Dinner Cruise. I can truly say the shipmates opting for dinner on their own truly missed a great and fun filled time. The dinner and service was excellent. I can't say enough about entertainment. The ships crew put on fabulous show and then came the armature show. The Perry crew had the best seats aboard the ship. We were very near the stage and could enjoy everything perfectly.

Then the real fun began with each table being assigned a Captain by luck of the draw. In our case Joe Jurewicz became our Captain and his job was to ensure our tables participation in the festivities. Boy do you learn a lot about someone when you're partying. Over the years Joe has told me numerous times of his difficulty walking. What I couldn't understand is he had no difficulty leading the Conga line all over the ship. No mistake about it, table Captain Joe was the leader of the Conga line.

Then it was dancing with the Perry stars. The competition was fierce between the finalist; Deeneys, Flanagans, Klingers, Archers, Bennetts, Moritzs and Moores. The judges stated each couple was within a hundredth of a point of each other with exception to Shaun Flanagan. 'Swivel Hips' Shaun was the only contestant dancing with three ladies simultaneously. For a moment I thought Joy had lost her son to a very exotic young lady who very much liked his moves. I believe the evidence is in our Spirit Cruise slide show. I'm sure we all slept well that night.

Click here to check out our slide shows

Saturday 9/11/10 - The Battleship New Jersey. While we have visited many ships at our reunions, this is the first time we actually had a guided tour of a ship. I think we were all pleasantly surprised with the tour and got much more out of the tour than we would have expected. Did you know the New Jersey was the most decorated military ship? Did you know one 16"gun and turret weighs almost as much as the Perry? Did you know when firing the guns broadside the entire ship moved back 3 feet? I know what you're thinking, what a smart you know what a_ _.

What could be more appropriate than to have our Memorial Service on 9/11 of our 9th reunion? We began our service by remembering all the shipmates we lost since our last reunion. Sid Brown read the names as Carey Moore rang our ship's bell in their honor. We then wished them farewell and smooth sailing with Jim Archer throwing a floral wreath overboard. As we watched the wreath sail away we said our farewells and knew they will be 'gone but never forgotten'.

As always, Master Chief Mike Vanderschaaf and his honor guard did a superb job executing the flag folding ceremony. This service was especially dear to Cathy and myself as we became the recipients of the flags for the loss of our son Chris and granddaughter Brittany. While a bittersweet ceremony for us, the flags and thoughts behind the event will remain forever in our hearts.

We then sat back for lunch and enjoyed a great USO 40's Show. Three (real) sisters, dressed in military garb of the times put on an Andrew Sister review show and sang all the wonderful old tunes that we know so well. They were just wonderful.

Click to check out our reunion slide show

Sunday 9/12/10 - We had the morning to ourselves to Worship or see a bit more of Philly using our free hop on hop off Trolley pass. The hop on hop off Trolley is a narrated tour allowing you get off or on at any of the 20 historical site stops. Many of our shipmates did the Trolley to go to specific sites where they wished to spend more time. At 1pm we had passes to take a tour of Independence Hall where the Constitution was written and where lawyers from opposing sides shared tables and law books. Early on there was no centralized monetary system or system of defense. Debates were bitter over having a strong central government but the checks and balances provided by three branches of government alleviated concerns. In 1787, the US Constitution was adopted.

The business meeting was held at 3PM. In the absence of Secretary Sandi Pittenger, Steve Silk served as Secretary and read the Pensacola business meeting minutes and recorded the events of this meeting. Bob Hales presented comprehensive report and explained the report in detail to all present. Officers elected were Bob Noroski, President, Mike Vanderschaaf, VP, Bob Hales, Treasure and Joan Guariniello, Secretary.

Mystic CT for 2011 was the favorite city for our next reunion by all those attending the business reunion meeting.

Raffle tickets were then sold for the 50/50 and also for items contributed by our shipmates such as Books, Shirts, Golf Balls etc. to be drawn at our banquet.

Click this link to view the Minutes

Our farewell Banquet was held on the 33rd floor overlooking the beautiful Philadelphia. Here a professional photographer took photos for our Memory Book and tried his best to make us look our best. We must commend Charlie Kletz, CWO3 of the FFG-7 Oliver Hazard Perry who just couldn't get away from the photo shoot. Everyone, especially the women love a man in uniform. If you don't believe me just ask Charlie Kletz or Super Chief Mike who attended in uniform and look as good as they did when they served aboard the Perry.

The banquet commenced with Master Chief Mike Vanderschaaf and his Honor Guard piping aboard our Honorary Reunion Skipper, Rear Admiral Joseph Hare, USN ret. aboard the reunion. The Admiral was accompanied by his beautiful and charming finance, Kate Cellucci. Steve Silk then welcomed Kate aboard with a bouquet of beautiful roses. With the Banquet officially underway Steve Silk welcomed everyone else aboard for a great time and hearty appetite. Bob Noroski followed with the invocation and then recognized past presidents and past reunion chairmen.

Bob Hales acknowledged our Perry Plank Owner, Hall of Fame Supporters, 1st Time attendees, Furthest Travelers and Youngest & Oldest shipmates. Bob then presented his personal gift to all reunion attendees; a beautiful and unique 3D USS Perry paper weight, which he personally designed with the Liberty Bell pin. Thanks Bob, the energy of your efforts and your outstanding contributions to your Perry mates are truly appreciated by us all.

Steve then introduced Tim Lake, News Anchor for NBC Channel 10 Philadelphia. Tim Lake prepared a video tribute to his late dad Warren who served aboard the Perry in '46 during the Perry's Goodwill Cruise. While the video was about his dad, it easily could have been about any of us. The video was very special to us all.

We then enjoyed an exquisite Southern Hospitality buffet dinner of Bourbon Braised Short Ribs, Pecan Trout, Fried Chicken with salads and sides to numerous to mention. At this time the Loews was so moved by our event, they closed the cash bar and offered free cocktails to our group. What a hotel!

After dinner, the Admiral gave a splendid talk regarding his Navy experiences and how the Navy men of today compared to the men of our era. Needless to say, today's men couldn't run a close second to shipmates of our era. At the conclusion of his talk he returned to his table and talked about the tradition of a naval friendship coin that is given to a special friend and secured with a handshake. We then shook hands and all I could say is WOW. At dinner we learned of the Admiral's plan to save the aging Spanish-American War Cruiser Olympia, a National Historic Landmark and one-of-a-kind former U.S. Navy vessel. The ship is in need of substantial and costly hull repairs to prevent her from sinking and the Admiral has a sound proposal for keeping her afloat. Tim Lake took a keen interest in the project and said it will make a good human interest TV story and possibly help get the Admirals project underway. We all wish Tim and Admiral much success in this endeavor. http://www.phillyseaport.org/ships_olympia.shtml

I forgot to mention, Admiral Joe Hare, Charlie Kletz and Ultan O'Sullivan all served aboard the Oliver Hazard Perry
FFG-7 and represent the next generation of shipmates that will grow our Perry Association and continue the traditions of Oliver Hazard Perry namesake ships.

Raffles and auction fun time. Our top prizes winners were Rosalie Bennett who won the complimentary night stay at the Loews Hotel with breakfast in their SoleFood restaurant. Tom Fedash won the navigation system that he greatly needed according to Gerry.

The 50/50 was won by our Ray Sittnick who then contributed ½ the prize money back to the Association. Hopefully the other ½ will go to Ray's daughter in law Mary's to cover the expense of the photos she printed for everyone.

There were many other raffle winners far too numerous to mention.

Our auction was the envy of Sotheby. Bidding began on a gift contributed by Joe Jurewicz. After much bidding Steve Caldwell was the victorious bidder of a Mike Ditka private label Pinot Noir and bottle holder for $126K. Steve then gave the bottle of wine to shipmate Kevin Weir. Many thanks Joe for your contribution.

Our final item was a one of a kind, authentic Zippo lighter in mint condition bearing the USS Perry Crest and contributed by Carey Moore. The final and winning bid of $200K was made by Kevin Weir. Thanks Carey for your contribution

Our banquet was concluded with Martin Deeney's superb Naval video and tribute to the children of the world.

On behalf of our Association Officers and Board members a sincere thank you is extended to all our prize contributors, our successful raffle winners and our successful auction bidders for making this reunion special and bringing much enjoyment to everyone attending the reunion. I would be remiss not to mention the Kevin Weir's very special contribution to our Association. We truly appreciate your continued support and enthusiasm.

I thank everyone for attending the reunion and hope those of you who were unable to be with us this year will be joining us at the next one.


 God bless and smooth sailing,

Stephen Silk
USS Perry Reunion Association

Long After They Are Gone Their Crew's Remember


 Please excuse any errors or omissions