To My Shipmates who served on the DDG-46

This is a Special Letter to all


In 1990 I started a quest to bring all those who served on the US NAVY SHIP PREBLE.  I had no idea where it would lead me.  I thank all those who have contributed to itís success.

Now has come the time for the DDG-46 crews to make a decision.

Due to the few responses from the question I have asked several times wanting to know why there is little attendance by DDG-46 Sailors.

It has come time to ask why and what should be done to get more DDG-46 Sailors to the reunions so they can have fun with the rest of us.  Option: have separate reunions for each Hull Number and its own staff of planners.

I would like to have a solution by the Las Vegas reunion. Dates for the reunion are 11 thru 15 September 2005 , At the Frontier Hotel.   If you have any questions or suggestions E Mail me at preble@cinci.rr.com Please keep your E mail addresses up to date with me . Please keep your Mailing Addresses up to date.

If you do not have E Mail send your questions or comments to :

Eugene WAMSLEY
969 ST RT 28 lot 6
MILFORD , OH 45150-5902

Or telephone 1-513.248.4026

FROM OUR READERS:

  1. It seems that a large portion of the members of many, if not most, ship associations are older folks, many of whom are no longer working. That is certainly not a slap at anyone's age, but the chances are that they have retired from the Navy and probably from a second career. The members who can travel, or are willing to travel, come to the reunions because they have the time, and usually the money, available to attend. The reunion is often one of their social highlights for that particular year.  However, it stands to reason that as folks get older many are not able or willing to travel very far. Also, younger potential members (shipmates who sailed on a particular ship in the later 70's and 80's) are more likely to still be involved in a second career and simply cannot take the time off from work to attend unless the event happens to be in, or very near, their current location and over a weekend.
     

  2. The second observation, and maybe the most telling, is that the sense of togetherness and camaraderie that ship's crews felt in the 50's, 60's, and early 70's era, is simply often not there for the folks who sailed in our Navy in the late 70's and into the 80's and beyond. There are probably many reasons for this, but some I can think of are:

    a.  The percentage of married shipmates is much higher for the latter group. Spending time with families or becoming more involved with people and activities introduced by spouses or other family members have broadened a sailor's horizons and areas of interest.

    b.  Increased pay scales have allowed shipmates to do more things, go more places, and meet more people not associated with the ship. Hence, there is less inclination to bond closely with others from the ship. People's varied interests and those of their spouses have sent them in several directions, and the ship and their shipmates were no longer at the center of their universe.

    c.  The Navy began to pay more attention to quality of life and ensuring that sailors had things available to them off the ship like gymnasiums, clubs, movies, places to get food other than that served aboard ship, etc. Things like this also served to cause shipmates to move away from the ship.

    d.  Society itself changed, and sailors are, and always have been, a reflection of the society from which they come. Joining and participating after working hours with people one sees all day, every day, are simply not high on many people's list of priorities. Sadly, the Navy has become simply a job for many, and once the "job" is finished for the day or the week, sailors often want to get as far away from it and their shipmates as possible until it is time to go back to the "job" again. Similarly, once a sailor has completed a tour of duty onboard a particular ship, he or she is often quite content to put that ship behind them for good.

All of this being said, I don't like to deliver problems without trying to offer some possible solutions.  Unfortunately, I have not yet had the opportunity to attend a PREBLE reunion so I don't know how they have been orchestrated in the past. However, a couple of thoughts:

  1. Try to have a guest speaker who can put together a presentation that will appeal to a fairly wide audience and then advertise him (or her) well.  Listening to someone drone on about "the good old days" that only the oldest shipmates in the room even remember, may not be appealing to many in the audience.  I would offer that the speaker does not even have to have any association with the ship.  As an example, we had the author David Poyer (he happens to be my USNA classmate and I arranged for him) at one of my other ship's reunions.

  2. Arrange interesting events for the reunion, including some that may even be somewhat out of the ordinary. They do not necessarily have to be Navy-related.

  3. As a follow on to the previous item, try to have the reunion in a place that is relatively easy to get to, that is not overly expensive, and has things to do other than sitting around the hotel. Try to have someone(s) who are from and familiar with the location orchestrate the event. Personally, I would much rather attend a reunion at or near a major fleet location as opposed to someplace like Las Vegas, Hawaii (too far away and too expensive) or a site in the middle of nowhere. In my experience, most sailors of any era are likely to be somewhat eager to see how the waterfront and the surrounding area they remember have changed.

  4. Advertise the reunion as much as possible and as early as possible in as many publications or other venues as possible, and make a concerted effort to locate new shipmates by all means available.

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