Norm O'Neal on his pic: L to R: Alan Ernst, Rik Turinsa, Robin Lewis, Norm O'Neal, Robert Beihl and Bill Durbrow.
"Robin tells a good story, but actually it was Al Ernst and myself that got everyone together in Newport, RI. While working at Kodak on experiments that sometimes lasted several days. I sometimes found time in between experiment parts to explore the internet . I discovered tin can sailor and looked up about 18 old shipmates. The first guy I started sharing emails with was Jim Connerton. After several email my wife, Sue, and I took a trip out to California to visit Jim. Jim and his wife, Carol, have a cabin in the Serra Nevada's so Sue and I rented a car in Reno and drove up to see Jim. 9000 ft up into the mountains. Awesome trip. The next year After being pressured by Alan I arranged a mini reunion with the six guys in the picture. The prices for a motel in Newport, RI were a little bit over priced. I found a place in Warwick, RI, the manager was very welcoming. He gave us a military discount and let us use the breakfast area at night to show our Hawkins pictures, tell stories and share a couple of pops. The next morning with wives in tow we went to battleship cove were we spent 2 hours touring the Kennedy. Our wives thought we'd never get off. We had lunch in Newport at Salasas (SP) restaurant. We all went for a catamaran ride, in the afternoon, which was great. The Newport Jazz festival was going on so with a couple of pops under our belts we enjoyed the scenery, if you get my drift. That night back at our hotel we ventured out to a Oriental restaurant and closed the place. The next year Alan passed away I did manage to visit him in upstate NY before he passed. I 'm still in touch with his wife Terri. I did organize another union and tried to get Jim Jewel to join us but he was busy caring for his parents. I'll probably get everyone back together in 2018. Interested? And that's the rest of the story."
Robin Lewis on the pic: "After years of researching family history I decided to try and find my CIC shipmates with the skills I now had. I found several and after some email exchanges we decided to have a mini reunion. These are the ones that could make it. We stayed in the same hotel so we could visit and the next morning we all went to battleship cove in Mass to walk aboard another Gearing class DD, the USS Kennedy DD 850. Boy did that bring back memories. When the people on the ship learned who/what we were doing they opened up everything for us. I was amazed when Bill flipped the switch and lit up the radar and it came to life."
My comment to Norm: "Working on getting this pic up on my Hawkins SmugMug site and will send links to everyone - you mentioned Salas's (SP????) . . . used to go there a lot with my Salve Regina girlfriend and I would just order a bowl of meatballs and sauce . . . thought it was a great value and good eating. Remember lines waiting outside to get in. Also loved eating at Christie's on the Wharf when I could afford a great meal (lobster/drawn butter) and took my stepbrother Lee (just back from Nam and out of the Army/101st Airborne Div) there and treated him when he visited me in Newport for about a week during the 1969 Newport Jazz Festival (Blood, Sweat, and Tear; Sly and the Family Stone; Dave Brubeck; James Brown and the Famous Flames) and my girl's roommate welcomed Lee home as good as it gets . . . He owes me for that one! Got to take him aboard the Hawk for a bit of a tour and he agreed, it beat his living conditions for the past year. The Jazz Fest was spectacular that year - did 2 nights with full wine bota bag I brought back from Spain and supposedly the aroma of pot was thick in the air as he told me (I stayed away from that stuff . . . TS Clearance, etc.) It was so good to have him back alive and enjoying life! After our big dinner at Christie's we went to The Black Pearl Tavern (my favorite watering hole/great Clam Chowder!) on Bannister's Wharf and got roaring drunk and remember going out and sitting on the dock dangling our legs down and letting him unwind about his Vietnam stuff . . . glad I never did that! Will get you a link after I get your pic up. Thanks Norm!"
RD2 Norm O'Neal Pics