Printer Friendly

NABCA Conference sparks unexpected vet reunion.

[The following is an edited version of a letter sent to StateWays by Bill Applegate, product manager, Idaho State Liquor Dispensary.]

I'd like to share a story from the recent NABCA Conference in Phoenix.

At the Saturday night Banquet, the Idaho group had six spots at Table 29, where we were joined by three folks from the Greensboro, NC Liquor Board: Robert Feldes, Nancy Stewart and her guest Robert Wright. I was sitting next to Robert, chatting, when my wife asked him if one of the North Carolina slides being shown was of sunrise or sunset. Robert said that it was sunrise, but that he'd seen many sunsets during his 22-year career in the U.S. Navy, 16 years served aboard ships.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

I mentioned that I had been in the Navy four years during the 1960s, and I enjoyed the seven months I served on a supply ship the best. He asked what ship I was on; I told him the USS Procyon. He quickly asked if it was AF 61 (the Navy's hull number), and I answered, "Yes." He asked when I served aboard, and I told him May 1970 through November 1970.

Amazingly, Robert had served on the same ship at the same time as I had; he had come aboard a year earlier. He was a Chief Petty Officer operating the enlisted men's galley (kitchen for landlubbers), and I was a Storekeeper, which meant we both served in the Supply Division. The Procyon was a supply ship carrying frozen food stuffs, fresh fruit and vegetables, and dry stores (canned goods, flour, etc.). Our job was to replenish ships that were serving off the coast of Viet Nam, sending food across to other ships via cargo nets, while the ships steamed side-by-side.

Robert and I shared stories of going into Viet Nam for replenishment, and port calls in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Our ship eventually returned to Alameda Naval Station and later moved to the Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, CA, where it was eventually scrapped or sold.

I think that it's remarkable that we met again after 39 years. This chance meeting is especially noteworthy when you consider there were only 292 officers and enlisted men aboard, not a huge crew. Had we sat at different tables the night of the NABCA Banquet, or across from one another instead of next to each other, of if the conversation had gone in different directions, we'd have never known we were shipmates. Perhaps the notion of six degrees of separation (or less!) really is true.
COPYRIGHT 2009 Bev-AL Communications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:LETTERS
Publication:StateWays
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jul 1, 2009
Words:431
Previous Article:Who says government can't work?
Next Article:The New Hampshire Legislature passed a law with wide-ranging changes in the operation of the New Hampshire Liquor Commission, and it is expected to...


Related Articles
Adapting to change. (By the Way).
The three amigos.
We opened a treasure trove of memories - and found a new family 12,000 miles away! REUNION: Discovery of 100-year-old letters in a trunk leads to...
Taking responsibility.
Industry issues.
Setting the tone.
Business & friendship.
A bridge to somewhere.
Who says government can't work?

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2021 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters