June 2003

3rd Perry Reunion
Branson, MO

The Proudest Ship In The USN Fleet "long after the ships are gone, their crews remember"

USS Perry Reunion Association
At the helm: Steve Silk - Will Pruett - Martin Deeney - Joe Malmendier
Sid Brown - Bill Janulin - Dick Pittenger


Our 3rd Reunion was an unbelievable success !!!!
(Details to follow)

Change of Command

As has always been the custom aboard our USN fighting ships, commands and crew change frequently. This is now the second command change I have experienced aboard the Perry. The first change of command came when Cdr. Frese relieved Cdr. Ball back in '57. Now for the second time, it is with pleasure that Joe Malmendier accepted my nomination for President of our Perry Association and was unanimously approved by our membership. Let's give Joe a warm welcome and a lot of support during his time at the helm.

Let us also welcome two more great guys to our Association Board, Sid Brown our Jacksonville Reunion Chairman and Board Advisor is now Vice President and Bob Hales who served as a Crew Chief is now Secretary of our Association.

After an exciting tenure on the Board and a lot of had work our Secretary Martin Deeney and our Vice President / 3rd Reunion Chairman Will Pruett have asked to be relieved of their duties for a while but will remain as Advisors to the Board. From all of us, we truly appreciate your efforts.

We have also appointed the following enthusiastic shipmates to our Advisory Board to help provide equal representation throughout the States.
Let's welcome Dick Pittenger, Will Pruett, Martin Deeney, Fred Kragler, Bob Noroski, Bill Beyhl, Dan Zabo, Rick Flanagan and Roger Rae.

I know you will agree, our Crew Chiefs did a great job of recruiting and keeping addresses up-2-date.

I almost forgot, I will assume the responsibility of Treasurer.

I know I speak for all the Board and Advisors when I say we will all be working hard to continue to make our Association a success.

The 3rd Perry Reunion

Wow, what an experience. I can hardly believe our reunions keep getting better and better. Actually all our Reunions have been outstanding and wonderful but in somewhat a different in manner. Basically I think the Reunion takes on the flavor of the location and the vision of the Chairman. For me, the outstanding event was our Armed Forces day Memorial Service. This event, orchestrated by Will Pruett is a day I will remember for some time to come. Words cannot describe it. You had to be there to see the emotion generated from all that were lucky to be part of this event. When Will first presented the idea to me it sounded like something we should do. However, I had no idea just how wonderful and moving experience it would turn out to be.

Please let me briefly describe this happening as best I can without boring you. Together with the USS Portland we had about 300 attending this event. With the room dimly lit, a Bag Piper playing 'Amazing Grace' lead a procession of shipmates honoring the DMS17 shipmates lost at sea and our Perry shipmates who sailed on to calmer waters. Each shipmate in the procession held a lit candle representing a specific shipmate. As the procession moved forward toward the dais, each name was read aloud and the ship's bell was rung twice in their memory. The candles were then placed on the dais and later extinguished when each name was again read. The emotion and tears were everywhere.

This year we had about 120 attendees with roughly 80% of us having attended two or more reunions. Will kept us on out toes throughout the entire five days with exciting shows, dinners etc. One evening when I phoned my daughter and told her we were going to a 9AM Yakov Smirnoff show she said I hope he's really good. I can tell you he was really great and kept us laughing nonstop. At the end of the day when I finally climbed into my rack I went out like a light. Haven't slept this well in years.

Show 'N Tell

It all started when Leland Philips asked if he could use the PA System to ask our shipmates if anyone present was aboard the liberty boat when it capsized and many Perry shipmates lost their lives. Since no one else at the reunion experienced the capsizing I encouraged Lee to share this very frightening experience with us. His very exciting talk encouraged many other shipmates to tell us their sea stories. Please click the following link to read about the capsizing experience.

All of our DMS-17 shipmates also gave a very interesting accounting of their experiences aboard the Perry. They spoke about the time the Perry was ordered to intercept a torpedo intended for a battle ship. Courageously the Perry navigated in front of the torpedo and all hands prayed as they awaited their faith. Miraculously the torpedo passed beneath the Perry. It wasn't yet their time. Then came the event when the Perry hit the mine that sunk her. These were very frightening tales by some very brave men. For this, we salute you and express our joy to have you all here with us at our reunion honoring the DMS-17 and its crew.

Our Guest Speakers

We have always been lucky having a dynamic guest speaker for our reunion. This time we were twice as lucky because we had two speakers I could have listened to them for hours on end.

Senator Bob Mitchler, Oswego, IL - Navy CPO 1941 - 1952

The Senator was a very interesting man and friend of President Harry Truman. His talk about patriotism, values and changing times was given off the cuff and right on target.

Dr. H.D. McCarty, Chaplain, BrigGen (Ret) USAF, Senior Pastor,
University Baptist Church, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Another amazing man. We should also add 'stand up comic' to his credentials. We were kept mesmerized throughout his talk. He combined spiritualism, patriotism and old fashion values and at the same time kept us laughing.

I wish we had taped these talks.

Peanut Brittle and Candy Canes

Charlie Jenkins came through just as you would expect him to. He brought an abundance of goodies for us all to enjoy. Thanks mate for your thoughtfulness, and my dentist thanks you as well.

Video Presentation

During our final banquet, Matrin Deeney gave us a very exciting big screen video presentation of the various branches of our Armed services. About ¾ into the movie Marty's straight man calls out, 'where are the destroyers', and miraculously the destroyers appear. The real neat thing about the video was Martins ability to incorporate the photos of everyone at the reunion. While we were partying at the hospitality suite, Marty was a busy beaver feverously working on the presentation. Marty, what can I do to get a copy of that video CD? Thanks a bunch for everything.

DMS-17 Discovery

At our banquet Larry Tunks gave a very interesting talk about how he proceeded to take on the project of locating the Perry. For now, let me say it's a remarkable story that has the interest of CNN and the Discovery Channel. Many divers have looked for her and came up empty handed. So how on earth was Larry to find her? By his own words, Larry said it a special feeling from above that directed him to the exact spot. Divers in his party and others in the business said the Perry would never be found where Larry wanted to dive. However, true to his conviction and faith he discovered the Perry. She rests on a mountain in 240 feet of water. I believe Larry said the base of the mountain is recorded at 3,000 feet deep. Click the following link to see some great underwater photos.


We spent some time at our Banquet recognizing some of our shipmates for their outstanding services to our Association.

Both Sid Brown and Dick Pittenger received very handsome walnut plaques for their services as Advisors. I must say, they are great supporters of our Association and were most helpful building the success we all enjoy.

Once again Ernie Peterson remains undefeated in his quest to maintain his title of having traveled the furthest distance to our reunion. However, I understand some of the guys want to take that title from you and want to have a reunion in Bow Washington. I don't think so! By the way, Ernie also has a perfect reunion attendance. For this accomplishment Ernie received a Port Hole key chain.

Fred Kragler was recognized for his accomplishment as the best Perry recruiter. He always amazed me by picking up another Perry survivor to add to our database. For this, Fred also received a Port Hole key chain

We also auctioned off a Port Hole key chain. I must say, this one took a lot of guts because the prize went to the oldest shipmate. Larry Tunks, the world-renowned deep sea treasure diver and discoverer of the DMS-17 started the bidding by attesting to the age of 81. He was immediately out bid by another DMS-17 shipmate, thank god, who attested to age 85. Bless you guys and many happy returns.

Port Hole key chains were also given to Joe Malmendier, Martin Deeney, Will Pruett, David Pruett and myself.

Everyone at the reunion received a desktop digital clock as a memento of the reunion.

Bob Noroski wasn't presented an award at our reunion. However, he received the best award of all by knowing we all appreciated and loved his very special invocations at our Memorial Service and Banquet.

The Admiral

I want you all to know that Rear Admiral David Pruett personally replied to each email and get well card he received from his Perry Shipmates. I can't understand how it happened, but Will and I forgot to read David's very interesting replies to each and every one of us. His personal replies to us are just too numerous to put in this newsletter.

On behalf of all Perry shipmates, we're all glad to hear you are doing well and want to congratulate you on your forthcoming retirement. After 27 years of active service to our country, how will the Navy ever get by without you? I also hear you are going into the construction business and if any of us need a new home built can we count on you for getting a good deal. Best wishes and good luck in your new endeavor.

Branson Missouri

Branson is just a wonderful family oriented entertainment City. It is the most friendly and patriotic City I have ever been in. Every show ends with a flow of patriotism and recognition of our armed forces and veterans. The shows are sold out because they are simply great. You will never hear a foul word or hear an off color joke. The next time I'm going to Branson, I'm bringing the grand kids.

New Reunion Location Sites Being Considered

Mobile, Al (Art Garafolo)
Pigeon Forge, TN (Rick Flanagan)
Fall River, MA (Ernie Matseas)
Charleston, SC ( Steve Silk)

It's never too early to get a reunion package in place for the Board's consideration. Every Association member is invited to put a package together and earn the distinction of becoming our 4th Reunion Chairman. With three reunions under our belt, the task should be a bit easier. Some shipmates suggested a cruise or a mid point mini reunion. Why not pick up on these suggestions and take this opportunity to help your Association.

Summing Up Our Reunion

Gerald Schnoblen
This was my first reunion and I'm happy to say Cheryl and I reeeeeeeally enjoyed the reunion and the friendship of all the shipmates that attended. The planning crew did an excellent job of organizing the activities, tours, shows, and transportation. I definitely will make it to the next one.

I know it meant a lot to the sailors of the DMS 17 to attend and be honored by the Perry DD-844 crewmen.

Everyone that attended seemed really pleased. A JOB WELL DONE!!!

Take care,

Sid Brown
Let me thank you for the bravo-zulu (navy term) for "well done". It just keeps getting better. The Perry association has become an organization that I am very proud to be part of and I know this feeling holds true for all the shipmates involved with the DD-844 reunion. I enjoyed the planning, sea stories, seeing many faces and being just part of "it". It makes me a very proud American and as a retired military person, I can not brag enough to people that I come in contact with every day life. I want to thank Steve Silk, Martin Denney, Joe Malmendier and the many others that contributed to a function that we will remember for a long time. It's going to be a big pair of shoes to be filled for the next reunion. I know they will slip on very easy or may be tight to start with but they will fit, we are the "Perry crew"

"we can do"
Sid and Nancy Brown htc/usn/ret

Will Pruett, 46-47, SK3, USS PERRY DD 844

Like anything, I guess, the more you become involved and the more you put into something, the more reward and satisfaction you get. That's the summary of my experience as the Chairman of our Third Association Reunion in Branson, Missouri on May 14-18, 2003. As the reunion began, even meeting folks on the 13th as we got ready for the reunion the next day, and events began to unfold, I was a HAPPY CAMPER seeing everyone enjoying themselves…laughing, bear hugs every few minutes, looking for shipmates and doing it with a big smile, and on and on. There were four very special HIGHLIGHTS for me:
1. The spontaneous and extemporaneous sea stories that broke out (using the PA system) even before the Welcome Reception was over, extending for over an hour beyond it's scheduled cut off;
2. Those emotional feelings listening to and becoming a part of the DMS17 SHOW 'N TELL session telling their personal experiences at Pearl Harbor with some damage but escape and the dramatic images of their USS Perry DMS17 striking a water mine and sinking on 13 September 1944;
3. The Armed Forces Day Celebration and unique Memorial Ceremonies with an outstanding Bagpiper, CWO Kenneth Lightfoot, and outstanding address by BGen (Ret) Dr. H.D. McCarty, Chaplain, USAF;
4. Finally, and perhaps the most fitting climax of the reunion, our own Martin Deeney's Video presentation of "Tribute to Today's Navy, Destroyers, etc.". THANK YOU, members present, for a spontaneous applause and the cheers for the SEABEES when it showed on the screen.

The greatest benefit to me personally during this last year was the regular contact with many, many shipmates via emails, phone calls and postal letters. I feel as though I served by those sailors' sides "selling my ship's stores from 1946 through decommissioning in 1973. So, if you really want to get to know one another, get involved some way. A good place to start is with your newfound shipmates. Stay in touch periodically with as many as possible throughout the interim period until our Fall 2004 reunion. THEN, do your best to attend that FOURTH REUNION and enter into the enthusiasm of those days you are there. Stay on the hunt for new shipmates.

The Association has raised its anchor and is well out to sea. It is crossing into its adulthood. Thank you, Steve Silk, for founding of the Association-and those who joined you in the summer of '98 to get us under way. There is a great journey on our maps; there is room for everyone aboard. Shipmates from both USS Perry DMS17 and USS Perry DD844 make up our crew, from every port in the USA.

If you have an eMail address and have not shared it with us, please let our new Secretary, Robert Hales, RM3, 64-66 ( know very soon. EMail is such a convenient means of staying in touch with everyone and MOST OF ALL in expediting Newsletters and carrying out speedy communications at little cost.

I'm PROUD to be an American veteran sailor that flies our flag and PROUD of having been a lowly sailor on a great ship. Let's set a goal of 100 shipmates registering for our FALL 2004 Reunion-wherever it may be. Until then, smooth sailing and happy times. Let's stay in touch. Let me hear from you - (, 2452 Pin Oak Street, Fayetteville, AR 72701-0547, 1-479-582-3665.

Wilford R. "Will" Pruett, SK3, 1946-47, (DD 844)

Business Meeting

At the meeting we voted and approved the new slate of officers. We also accepted a modification to our BYLAWS regarding our dues request and the disbursements of our funds between reunion cycles.

At the close of the meeting it was a very welcomed feeling to see most shipmates spontaneously coming forward and offering to pay their dues. This was purely voluntary and unsolicited.

Our Bylaws can be viewed on our website. A copy of the Bylaws can be requested by any dues paying member by writing to our Secretary Bob Hales.
At: Hal-Tec Corporation, 405 N. Reo St. Suite 240, Tampa, Fl 33609


Our USS Perry Reunion Association dues have been set at $10 between reunions. Any amount to help cover expenses, such as those for newsletters and memorial donations to the U.S. Naval Home, would be truly appreciated.

Please make checks payable to: USS Perry Reunion Association and mail your contribution to:

Steve Silk, Treasurer
USS Perry Reunion Association
47 Alpine Drive
Wayne, NJ 07470

If you cannot make a contribution at this time we understand. However, please let us hear from you by sending us an email or US Postal card to acknowledge your intention to be associated with the Perry Association.

Special contribution will be greatly appreciated and recognized. If you wish your contribution to be earmarked to a special organization please be sure to let us know.

On behalf of the all the Perry Shipmates that have helped make our Association a huge success please accept our thanks and appreciation for your continued support.

Reunion Photos

Shortly we will have many reunion photos posted to our website. If you have a favorite photo and would like it posted to website I'll be glad to post it for you.

Right now you can go to the following link to view the photos taken by the Navy photographer from Shifting Colors (Navy's magazine for retirees):

EMAIL address

Please remember to keep your email address current and help us economize our expenses by sending your correct email address to and or mstephens@hal-tec.comd

In Conclusion

I hope that our shipmates who could not attend this reunion were able to get the flavor of the exciting time we all had together. Please believe me when I say, "the camaraderie doesn't get any better". So please be sure to give yourself the opportunity to join us for the next one, wherever it may be.

For everyone that was with us, I hope you have enjoyed hearing about it again. If I missed something or made an error please understand it was unintentional.

It has been my pleasure to serve our Association as Skipper since it's inception back in '98 and I enjoyed every moment of it. Seeing old friends get reacquainted and making new friends is what it is all about. Lets all continue to take that ride down memory together for as long as possible.

I appreciate your friendship and look forward to your comments.

God bless and smooth sailing to you all,

Steve Silk