USS Piedmont AD-17 reunion

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Bill Kastens, Topeka, Kansas, is the originator of the USS Piedmont AD-17 Reunion. He maintains a current roster of all members with name, address, phone number, email, years aboard USS Piedmont, and duty station or rank/rating while aboard. He also writes and issues at least three (sometimes four) newsletters each year.
Newsletters include all reunion details. Sailors with email receive all communications electronically; others receive USPS mail delivery. Kastens also sends notices to print publications and websites that accept reunion notices.

Each USS Piedmont AD-17 reunion is in a different location, moving across the US. Locations are chosen by vote at business meetings after hearing presentations from potential reunion sites. The last was in Norfolk, Virginia. The next is in Omaha, Nebraska. Someone living near the destination and willing to do the legwork makes reunion arrangements. Otherwise, a Board member will travel to the location to approve plans.

The board (four members) and officers (president, vice president and secretary/treasurer) are chosen by election at business meetings. Reunions usually are held every October for four days and nights. They enjoy two all-day bus tours of local sights and enjoy hotel meals Wednesday night and Saturday night.

Most of the members were aboard from 1944 to 1982 and sometimes bring grandchildren. They remember members who have died during the last year in an annual memorial service.

The registration fee covers meals and bus tours, and each sailor is responsible for his own hotel reservation. They have a big fundraising raffle on Friday night and use the funds to stock the hospitality room. The hospitality room where registration occurs is well stocked with snacks and drinks of all kinds. Visit www.theusspiedmont.org.

Two PLANK Sailors (members of the original crew assigned to the Piedmont at commissioning in 1944 at the Tampa Shipyards): (left) Willis Bloyd, Seward, Nebraska (93, aboard 1944-45) and Cecil Whitmer, Goodlettsville, Tennessee (94, aboard 1943-46). Whitmer was assigned before commissioning and was aboard for the "shakedown" cruise.

Two PLANK Sailors (members of the original crew assigned to the Piedmont at commissioning in 1944 at the Tampa Shipyards): (left) Willis Bloyd, Seward, Nebraska (93, aboard 1944-45) and Cecil Whitmer, Goodlettsville, Tennessee (94, aboard 1943-46). Whitmer was assigned before commissioning and was aboard for the “shakedown” cruise.

Reported by Bill Kastens, Topeka, Kansas.

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