New Orleans Reunion Wrap-up


Ahoy There!

    First of all, I'm sorry the New Orleans Reunion wrap-up newsletter is so late. I thought I'd have this issue out about a month ago, but have been busy re-opening my video business. What can I say....retirement was great for about a year, but retirement without pay for the past 6 months is "un-good". It's a long story....however, Linda and I are back among the working class (and the class which gets paid occasionally) so it's not all that bad.

    On to the Ship's business... Even though we had some "slight discomforts" in New Orleans, the reunion itself was very successful. We had a peak of 65 souls onboard, until about noon on Saturday, then the mass exodus occurred and by banquet time we were down to 35 or so. The next day (Sunday) we reflected on the situation and found that we were very lucky to have (1) a hotel staff to prepare and serve our banquet and, (2) the Jazz Trio from "The Court of Two Sisters" showed up and entertained us for three hours, as promised. I really wasn't aware, at the time, of the sacrifices the Hotel employees and entertainers were making for us. they should have been evacuating the city and taking care of their families that last Saturday night before Katrina arrived. My hats off to them!

    During the Saturday a.m. business meeting we voted on some membership changes. Please read the enclosed minutes for the updated and revised membership requirements in our by-laws. We also distributed a questionnaire regarding future reunion sites and the time of year, etc. Enclosed is another questionnaire and I would appreciate any input from those who were NOT at the reunion. So far, we have voted for Charleston (25 to 6) for 2006 and for 2007 the west Coast carried the vote as follows: West Coast - 14, Galveston - 8, Las Vegas - 7, and Chicago - 6.

    The only problem with the time of year was voting for September (20 votes). When we voted for Charleston for 2006, we chose to pick the end of October to avoid another potential hurricane, which would be likely in September.

    There was a lot of interest in scheduling a cruise in 2007. We had 24 positives, 9 don't cares, and 1 who never wants to go to sea again.

    Now for the Ship's Store update: The good news is we sold about half the items brought to New Orleans, so only had to ship half back (thanks to Jimmy Hanna for taking care of that). Also a Bravo Zulu to Jim and Wendy Rattigan for furnishing us with ALL that water and refreshments which were MORE appreciated after the hurricane. Now, who would have thought all the stores would be closed after the hurricane? There was only ONE bar open, Johnny Whites on Bourbon Street, and of course, I found it. Wasn't easy!

    As for the annual raffle on Saturday night, it was a huge success with over 40 items donated by our members, Tin Can Sailors and the 2-night/3-day and VIP Pass Grand Prize donated by the Hotel Casa del Mar and the Galveston CVB in Galveston, Texas. Del and Yvonne Turner were the winners, so I hope they make use of the prize. Galveston is a great vacation area and I wouldn't mind re-visiting it again. Unfortunately, at least so far, the membership did not vote Galveston in for an annual reunion. But, it's not a dead-deal, as we might arrange a long-weekend for a few interested members between reunions. Galveston is a really great reunion/vacation location and I look forward to returning. Special thanks to Sherry Teller of the Galveston CVB for arranging our Grand Prize and the hospitality she provided when Linda and I visited last June.

    In this newsletter, you'll see that I've included some of our before and after "Katrina Experiences" in a special section. I thought I should share some of the stories with everyone, especially those not on the net. (Yes, Bill Dorow and John Limbaugh, that means you guys). Hope you enjoy it!

    More on Charleston in the next Port & Starboard when I have some firm dates and a hotel location.



Our Next Reunion is in Charleston, South Carolina In Late October 2006


Details in the next Port & Starboard



I would like to begin this column by thanking all the members who voted, at our recent reunion in New Orleans, to retain me as Association President for another two years. I consider it an honor and a privilege to lead our fine organization and I will do my utmost to validate your trust in me to continue in office. For more on my “vision” for the future of our Association, see the “President’s Message” on our Association website.

I realize that I just casually mentioned “the reunion in New Orleans”. There was nothing casual about it! What was supposed to be our annual gathering of shipmates to share experiences and friendships turned out to be, for many, the “experience” of a lifetime. Even though we knew that there was always the possibility of a hurricane in that neck of the woods during our reunion timeframe, no one could have possibly predicted “Katrina”. And if we had been able to anticipate what was to come I think we would have settled on Topeka, Kansas as our reunion site (then again, they get twisters there, don’t they?).

If nothing else, the experience of New Orleans reinforced my belief in what it means to have friends and good, solid people in your life when calamity strikes. The folks who were stranded in the “Big Easy” (also known as the “Slovenly Seventeen” and then the “Dirty Dozen”) banded together and acted just as they did when they were shipmates on Brooke. From marshalling supplies, establishing leadership and lines of communication, we looked out for each other and ensured one another’s safety. This continued even after everyone, thank God, arrived home safely, with follow-on phone calls and e-mails, ensuring the well being of our shipmates.

And while I’m certain that none of us who were there would want to repeat that experience, I truly believe that it made our friendships even stronger.  I can’t think of another group of people I would want standing next to me if ever I was in that situation again. For many of us we were shipmates forty years ago and we were shipmates once again in New Orleans.

And speaking of “shipmates” we haven’t let a little wind discourage us from planning our 2006 reunion in Charleston, SC. Granted, the east coast does have it’s hurricanes through the summer and that is why we are aiming for the latter part of October for our annual gathering. That “should be” at the end of hurricane season. I hope that many of you will be able to attend in 2006. If for no other reason, the sea stories of “Reunion 2005” will be worth the price of admission.

Again, my personal thanks to all who made the New Orleans reunion successful and most of all, looked out for their shipmates in a most harrowing time.

I look forward to serving you, our membership, for the next two years. 

 Fair Winds and Following Seas,

Tom Adametz


USS Brooke DEG/FFG-1



Word to the Wives

By Linda Hunt

Well, the New Orleans reunion is over (finally)! We really had a wonderful time...for awhile. some of us arrived the Monday before and made it to the French Market and Riverwalk Mall a few times, had Beignets at the Cafe du Monde, and some great Cajun/Creole dinners at Ralph & Kacoos, Sammys, the Red fish Grill and Acme Oyster House. SO MUCH food - SO LITTLE time! We also spent a lot of time in the hospitality room just visiting.

The Events were Great!

Many people went on the Swamp Tour and all really enjoyed it and almost everyone had brunch at the Court of Two Sisters, which all agreed, was fabulous! Almost everyone went on the dinner cruise Friday night, and again, great food and a great time with the jazz band playing during the meal and river cruise.

Saturday, Aug. 27th, the Exodus begins...

Unfortunately, by Saturday am the news came that Hurricane Katrina was on her way to New Orleans. By banquet time, almost half of the attendees had left, and we only had about 35 people left, but had a nice dinner (more good food and Jazz)! The raffle went well, and we want to thank everyone for their generous donations and raffle ticket purchases.

Sunday, Aug. 28th, Storm Preparations

By noon Sunday, we were down to 17 hardy souls, who were unable to leave for various reasons (such as Delta stopping ALL flights Saturday afternoon). The Doubletree GM and staff were fantastic! they moved everyone down to lower floors (we went from 15th to 5th), as they knew power would go out - no AC or elevators. At 4 pm they held a meeting and passed out a 3-page "worst case scenario" and letter of instructions (I think Steve is reprinting this with the newsletter). We were asked to stay in our rooms after 9 pm and NOT use the elevators for any reason, as they didn't want anyone stuck after the power went out.

Monday, Aug. 28th, Katrina Arrives

Steve and I woke up about 5 am, listened to the storm and watched its progress on TV, until the power went out at 5:30 Monday morning. Then he went back to sleep! I listened to the storm for a while (wind, debris hitting the windows). About 7 am we went down to breakfast in a windowless conference room on the 2nd floor. Pat Shimone (the BEST GM in the world!) gave us an update on the situation. The first floor still had a lot of debris so was still off-limits. We kept the hospitality room open for our little group and met in their before each meal and update. Thanks to all the decks of cards Harrah's had provided us, everyone had their own deck to play solitaire.

Doubletree Service/Food never stopped

As previously stated, the Doubletree staff went above and beyond the call of duty. We had 3 meal a day and, before each meal, pat would give an update on the storm damage and answer questions. Since the restaurant was closed, the hotel staff did all the cooking and serving. What a great job under the circumstances! Monday night the bar was opened for a few hours. Had to mix drinks by flashlights and the ice was running low.

Tuesday, Aug. 30th, A walk down Canal

On Tuesday, we were allowed out of the hotel, so most of us went walking around taking pictures. At lunch, Pat reported that there were roads open, so if you had a vehicle, you could leave, but were free to return if you couldn't get out. Several people did so. Newell Eisele took Bill Dorow, Ron Sizemore and Tom & Harriet Adametz with him. Now we were down to 12! After lunch, Steve and I toured Canal Street and the French Quarter again. Wouldn't you know, Steve found the only bar open -- Johnny Whites. They claim they never close (there are no locks on the doors) so we had a drink "to go" and kept exploring. It was VERY sad to see all the places we'd been the week before all boarded up, and a toppled statue at the Court of Two Sisters

Special K and warm OJ.....Yum!

Dinner was a little quieter in the hospitality room as we were down to just 12. Since the food was getting skimpy, tom had left us with a couple of boxes of Special K. Steve and I discovered it's not really bad with warm orange juice.....guess anything tastes good when you're hungry enough! (I even learned to like THAT'S SCARY!)

Wednesday, Aug 31st, Last day....

Wednesday's breakfast meeting greeted us with news that the Hilton was chartering buses to take us out to Baton Rouge and, from there, to Dallas or a few other destinations of your choice. The Garouttes found a way out via a staff member who was driving to Houston, so now we were down to 10. We went out one last time to sight-see and view the looters (we didn't see anyone carrying FOOD or water). Late in the afternoon, the National Guard moved in and set up headquarters. After dinner we had a final "muster" in the hospitality room, vacated it and moved our luggage to the first floor to await the buses. We thought the buses would be there at 9 pm but it wasn't until 4 am on Thursday that the arrived.

Thursday, Sept. 1st, Day of departure

Just before dawn, we scrambled to board the buses and pat the GM was loading everyone's luggage (I think was as happy to get rid of us as we were to leave). We left the city in darkness and arrived in Baton Rouge about 6 am. Hamburgers and soft drinks were provided, then we boarded another bus to Dallas. In Dallas, they put us up at 2 different Hilton Hotels and provided us with free room & board (up to 7 days if we wanted to stay), but all we wanted was to go home as soon as we could arrange it. Shirley and Jose Bracamonte were finally able to fly out on Saturday night and Steve and I departed noon on Sunday. What a RELIEF!

Hope this didn't bore you too much..... See y'all in Charleston!



USS Yorktown CVS-10


Cold War Submarine Memorial           Coast Guard Cutter Ingham                             USS Laffey DD-724


From Your New Vice President - Buddy Harris

Hey yous Guys....

    Well, it's been three months since our last reunion. I hope this newsletter finds you all well and looking forward to the holidays and the new year.

    I am sorry we jumped ship prior to the Saturday night banquet, but we live in the HURRICANE CAPITOL, and went through a horrible season the previous year. Eight of the 23 named storms hit the "Sunshine State"! I'm glad most of you took heed and left and, to those who were unable to evacuate, that you weathered the wrath of Mother Nature and eventually made it home safely.

    10 reasons to live in the Sunshine State? Just ask Steve Hunt (and see below)

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank our former Vice President, Tony Precie, for his hard work and dedication to the USS Brooke Association, and his wonderful wife, Robin. I look forward to filling Tony's shoes as your Vice President for the next two years.

    As you know, the next reunion is slated for Charleston, South Carolina in October, 2006, and the planning is already underway. Gunther Neuman is doing the leg work in his fine city and I will contact him after the holidays, to arrange to fly to South Carolina to assist him in any way I can, in this monumental task to make our next reunion a great time. Thank you in advance, Gunther!

    Keep in mind that, at the last reunion meeting, I mentioned the possibility of a cruise for our 2007 reunion destination.

    Well, in closing, I wish you all a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and new year. Looking forward to seeing you all in South Carolina, our NEXT REUNION destination.



10 Reasons Why We Still Love The Sunshine State

Wilma who? We Floridians may be up to here with Hurricanes and their inconveniences, But at the end of the day we're a resilient bunch, And our state is a very, very special place. Let's not forget, there's no place like home.

1. Miles and miles of glorious, unspoiled beaches. You sometimes have to find them between the miles and miles of condos, but they're well worth the search

2. The artesian springs that dot the landscape in North Florida. There's nothing as thrilling as swimming in the 99-percent-pure water

3. Alligators. Love 'em or loathe 'em, you just don't find these unique creatures in such numbers anywhere else in America

4. the Spider-Man ride at Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Orlando, is funny, scary and thrilling all at the same time. The 3-D experience is worth having again and again

5. The Seven-Mile Bridge in the Florida Keys. It's like driving your car right across the ocean

6. Roadside citrus stands. That's the best juice you can get - and there's nothing like eating home-grown produce

7. West Indian manatees. One of the most unusual (and sweet natured) animals on the planet; a sudden sighting of this endangered species is something that stays with you a long time

8. The rich mix of Latin music that's available on the airwaves - salsa, merengue, cumbia and pop - wherever you drive

9. Spectacular sunsets that paint the sky a stunning palette of colors (not to mention the incredible clouds)

10. Where else can you watch the space shuttle blast into a beautiful blue sky either up-close or from a hundred miles away



Personal Questionnaire

Name ____________________________

Brooke Rank/Rate __________ Years _____________



Unit/Station ________________________________________________________________________

Physical Location ___________________________________________ Years Assigned ____________

Personal Accomplishments/Awards ______________________________________________________



Unit/Station ________________________________________________________________________

Physical Location ___________________________________________ Years Assigned ____________

Personal Accomplishments/Awards ______________________________________________________



Unit/Station ________________________________________________________________________

Physical Location ___________________________________________ Years Assigned ____________

Personal Accomplishments/Awards ______________________________________________________



Unit/Station ________________________________________________________________________

Physical Location ___________________________________________ Years Assigned ____________

Personal Accomplishments/Awards ______________________________________________________



Unit/Station ________________________________________________________________________

Physical Location ___________________________________________ Years Assigned ____________

Personal Accomplishments/Awards ______________________________________________________


Need additional space Old Timer? Use reverse of this form.....


(1) Civilian Occupation _______________________________________________________________

Brief Job Description ________________________________________________________________


(2) 2nd Civilian Occupation _______________________________________________________________

Brief Job Description ________________________________________________________________


(3) 3rd Civilian Occupation _______________________________________________________________

Brief Job Description ________________________________________________________________



Give Brief Description (eg. 1st wife, 2nd wife, etc.) __________________________________________


Children: _________________________________________________________________________


Hobbies/Items of Interest _____________________________________________________________







Regular Membership dues to the Association are $25 per year. Associate membership (no fee) is available for all surviving spouses of Brooke Crewmembers.

Your current membership expiration date is to the right of your name on the address label on the newsletter. To continue "Port & Starboard" please remit your dues payment in accordance with published dues schedule, payable to the USS Brooke Association and mail to our Treasurer at the address below:

Steve Hunt

USS Brooke DEG/FFG-1

P.O. Box 1692

Tacoma, WA 98401


For more information please visit our website @