SEPTEMBER 4 - 7, 2014









     The U.S.S. Brooke DEG-1/FFG-1 Association held it's thirteenth annual reunion at the Grand Plaza Hotel, Branson, MO., September 4-7 2014. Seventy one shipmates, family and friends attended the annual gathering and along with ten members, family and friends of the National Sonar Association, this was our most highly attended reunion since our inception in 2002.. As per our standard opening night routine we held our "Welcome Aboard" reception in the Hospitality Room. The opportunity to share the camaraderie and renew friendships for the "Brooke Family", continued the tradition getting our reunion off on the right foot. Of particular note was the attendance this year of several "youngsters", i.e. Brooke crewmembers from the mid to late seventies. It was reassuring to see these new faces and bolstered the idea that the memory of Brooke will continue on after us "old timers" leave the pier. What made this reunion so different, aside from the large attendance, was the city of Branson. It is more geared to entertainment vice sightseeing so we certainly took advantage of that. On day 2, Thursday, we set off for the Titanic Museum early in the morning where we enjoyed an opportunity to see many recovered items from the ship on display. After a sumptuous at McFarlain's buffet. we returned to the hotel to rest up for the evenings events which included a rousing show and dinner at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede, the highlight being that many of us learned to eat with our hands again (I guess you had to be there to appreciate that comment). Upon returning to the hotel we conducted our traditional cake cutting ceremony with the oldest and youngest members of the Assn. Again this year, Rita Giblin came in as the "senior" member of the duet while our newest member, Ralph Garcia was rung up as the youngest. We didn't have a Pizza Night, which we normally hold in conjunction with the cake cutting because after all the chow that was consumed during the day we figured that nobody would miss the pizza. And they didn't. On Friday we headed over to the Veteran's Museum which was an exceptional experience. This would probably be a good time to mention that Branson is one of the most patriotic towns you will find in America. They treat veterans with the utmost respect and dignity and it is truly a wonderful experience to visit this community if you are current or former military. After the museum we went to the Grand Country Buffet to, you guessed it, eat again. This was beginning to turn into the "All You Can Eat" reunion but that didn't stop the gang one bit. Later in the afternoon we headed to the Branson Belle Showboat for a dinner cruise with show. Besides more exceptional chow we had the opportunity to see an excellent stage show, the high light being the young lady who so talented she was able to play a violin while hanging upside down by one leg, thirty feet above the stage. Amazing! As if we were not tired out yet, we headed off to an evening show at the Clay Cooper Theater. Another outstanding show. Needless to say, after we returned to the hotel nobody was headed to the cafe for a late night snack. On Saturday we headed off to ride the "Ducks" and tour downtown Branson and the local lake. Great fun and if you didn't get your souvenir "duck call" you indeed missed out. After the Ducks we headed to a great Italian Restaurant, Florentina's, for lunch. I know, more chow, but we stopped counting by now. After lunch we headed off to another show, "The #1 Hits of the Sixties"  and had an outstanding time. Besides being highly entertained, including some really crazy audience participation that included several of your Assn. Officers, we viewed a special video tribute that was put together to honor the Brooke and her crew. That video is included with this year's reunion photos. By the time we returned to the hotel for the Sat. evening banquet, I was surprised that everyone made it down for the occasion considering the pace we had set over the previous couple of days. Not to worry, the gang was all there, and the evening went splendidly, including our annual raffle. Even though we did not bring in professional entertainment (we figured after all the shows that was the last thing our folks needed), the evening moved smoothly and with laughter and fun we ended our 2014 gathering on an upbeat note!

                     On Sunday morning we held our annual memorial service to remember shipmates departed and then shared farewells until next year when we set sail from Seattle, WA on our "Roadrunner Cruise II" to Alaska. As with each of our previous reunions old friendships continued, new friendships were made or renewed. As always, my hat is off to all of you who traveled many miles to see old friends and share your experiences of Brooke with others. We hope you had a wonderful time and that we didn't tire you out too much. At each of our reunions we try to create a mix of events to keep our attendees engaged and entertained and this year was no exception. Next year the work is on the cruise line....Amen.

The following pictures are a representation of the four memorable days we spent together and I have tried to capture the best memories of that wonderful time. 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 with their home states)

Tom and Harriet Adametz (CA)

Larry Boone (AR)

George and Joyce Cabias (CA)

Forrest and Glenna Chapman (OR)

Robert Cook (TX)

Kirk Cybulski (AR)

Jim Daugherty (MO)

Amber Daugherty (Germany)

Jack and Ginger Kirby Dewitt (SC)

Pat and Kathleen Elfrink (TX)

Jim and Vivian Elliott (VA)

Joe and Betty Fugazi (WA)

Ralph and Tisha Garcia (MO)

Rita Giblin (CA)

Melinda-Kromray Giblin (CA)

Kemis Enright Giblin

Holly Goodman (FL)

Jerry and Estelle Hamling (WA)

Jimmy Hanna (TX)

Jeff and Liz Harvey (WI)

Joe and Kathy Herron (WA)

Steve and Linda Hunt (WA)

Jerry and Mattie Lipham (AL)

Betty Lucas (WA)

Tony and Robin Precie (CA)

Jim and Wendy Rattigan (TX)

Dan and Vicky Renne (KS)

Alicia Rivers (TX)

Ted and Julie Schneider (WI)

Mark and Kathy Sewell (MT)

John and Helen Spivey (VA)

Paul and Michelle Strawbridge (CO)

Bill Swistok (FL)

Del and Yvonne Turner (OR)

Brian and Peg Turner (OR)

Bill and Barb Ulmer (MO)

Ben and Vickie Weber (ID)

Randy and Elizabeth West (TX)

Larry and Nancy Whitaker (VA)

Rodney Winchell (KS)

Mike and Audrey Wilson (CA)

Mitch and Donna Yeager (IA)




Created by the staff of #1 Hits of the Sixties, Branson, MO

Click on link to view video on YouTube