SEPTEMBER 29, 2008


   The U.S.S. Brooke DEG-1/FFG-1 Association held it's seventh annual reunion during a seven day Caribbean cruise aboard the Carnival Cruise Ship "Conquest, September 28 - October 5, 2008. Fifty two shipmates, family and friends "shipped out" for the annual gathering and it turned out to be, after a shaky start, a great time for all. I say "shaky start" because this was almost the "Reunion that wasn't". Seems that Hurricane Ike had some different plans for the city of Galveston, TX and the planned departure port for the Brooke Gang. I don't know what it is about our Association and hurricanes (we all remember Katrina in New Orleans in 2005) but I'm beginning to think that the Convention and Visitors Bureaus in future cities that we may want to hold our reunions in may offer to decline our plans to visit their local. Nonetheless, with the outstanding work of Buddy and Julie Harris and Mr. Brian Forrester, our travel coordinator, and Carnival Cruise Lines, changes were made and the event went off pretty smoothly. When I say "changes" I mean major changes. First, Carnival Lines changed the port of departure for the Conquest from Galveston (which, sad to say, was pretty devastated by Ike) to the Port of Houston. No small feat since the cruise terminal there was not scheduled to open for another six months. Next we had to change our hotel reservations for the many guests coming in early from Galveston to Houston. We were very lucky in that so many local folks were looking for rooms because they had to evacuate Galveston. We ended up staying at the Holiday Inn I-10 East in Houston and rooms were available for both pre and post cruise stays. Outstanding job by Brian Forrester in making that happen for us. Finally there was the transportation issue of moving people from the hotel to the ship on departure day and the return to the hotel when the ship came back. Thanks to quick work of Buddy and Julie Harris and the coordination of Super Shuttle we were able to move everyone and their luggage (and boy was there luggage) to and from the ship. Just a super effort by all those involved to make this long planned event happen. We ventured forth to Montego Bay, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel, Mexico and in between put on a few extra pounds from all the fine food aboard Conquest.  In the end, we raised the Roadrunner flag for the first time in many years and I believe I can speak for everyone when I say that when we saw that standard flying from the mast it was indeed a special moment. The camaraderie and friendship that flowed over ten days (between the ship and hotel) was a continuation of the Brooke spirit that has grown each year when we meet. And while old friendships continued, new friendships were made or renewed with the addition of many "first time" attendees this year. My hat is off to all of you who traveled many miles to see old friends and share your experiences of Brooke with others. The following pictures are a representation of those ten memorable days and I have tried to capture the best memories of that wonderful time spent together with some great folks. As with each year's photos, and the captions beneath,  I take full responsibility for my attempt at wit, or lack thereof.

Tom Adametz



(In alphabetical order)

Tom and Harriet Adametz

Marc and Rose Apter

Tom Boyer

Dan Carrroll

Dale and Chris Dawson

Newell Eisele

Pat and Mary Elfrink

Dot Goeller

Jerry and Estelle Hamling

Jim and Betty Hanna

Buddy and Julie Harris

Joe and Kathy Herron

Leo "Hank" and Debbie Howery

Steve and Linda Hunt

Elmer and Diane Jones

Jerry and Mattie Lipham

T.C. McNamara

Katherine McNamara

Shannon McNamara

Harvey and Karen Miller

Pat Morrison

Kathryn Powell

Jim and Wendy Rattigan

Dan and Vicky Renne

Dan, Laurie, Blake, and Grace Renne

Del and Dwyllis Secrest

Paul Strawbridge

David and Wanda Usery

Merle Vogel

Douglas and Hollace Whitaker

Larry and Nancy Whitaker

Scott Youngren

Karen Valentine