Contact any of the individuals above for further information or to join the Association. Annual dues are $25.00
Please make checks for dues payable to Mike Seidel, Treasurer
History of the
U.S.S. Salamonie Association
Approximately eight years ago fate brought two different U.S.S. Salamonie groups together. Until that time, neither knew the other existed; one a World War II group under the auspices of Raleigh Masters, FC3 (1942-1945), and the other, headed up by James Thomas of Indianapolis, a member of the 1965-1968 crew of the U.S.S. Salamonie.
The first group was made up mostly of retirees who lived in Florida, and they were holding mini-reunions in their area. The second group was trying to gather the crews from the mid-1960s to 1968, when the ship was decommissioned.
Unbeknowst to each other, both groups advertised about their prospective reunions. A connection was made via VFW Reunions and the American Legion magazine. Each group had already set up their reunions, and the leaders put their heads together and decided to hold both reunions instead of canceling one out. So, in 1997, we had two reunions, one in April and one in August.
The first reunion was held in Charleston, South Carolina, where everyone met, including members from other eras who had found the reunion through the magazine. Since that small reunion, everything has been nothing short of success, with each reunion getting bigger and better as more and more crewmen and officers of all eras are being located. We now have 747 known living members in our association and are constantly looking for more. Sadly, we have documented approximately 180 known deceased crewmen. Each has been inducted into our Honor Roll. These crewmen are listed as having been "Reassigned to a higher command." This includes all personnel from 1941 to 1968.
Each year there is usually a small mini-reuinion in Florida with the retirees in that area attending. The first Officers of the Association were Raleigh Masters, James Thomas and Tom Keske. After the first reunion, James Thomas (MM3 63-67) of Indianapolis, IN, became the first President of the Association. Thomas Keske (MM2 64-68) of Blaine, MN, became Treasurer, a position he holds to this day. Tom also started our newsletter, "The Fantail Scuttlebutt" which comes out four times a year updating everyone as to the Association's happenings.
In July of 2001 Jim Thomas had a relapse from throat cancer from the previous year. He contacted John Lichoff (RM3 57-59) to see if John would take over the Association until he, Jim, was able to resume his duties. In August 2001, Jim informed John and Tom that his doctors had informed him "that there was no more they could do" for him and gave him six months. On December 24, 2001, Jim Thomas, our first Association President, was laid to rest. The attendees and his pallbearers were U.S.S. Salamonie crewmen who came from all over the country to attend.
At the next reunion, John Lichoff was elected the new President of the Association with Tom Keske being reelected Treasurer. Since then Thomas Graham CSSN (55-56) and Joseph Cuneo YN3 (52) have stepped forward and volunteered their services as Trustees for the Association to help with the workload.
Under the guidance of Gordon Cook LTJG (42-44), our book, "Memories of Old Sal" was written and edited, with contribution of articles and pictures from many crewmen. Since that time many other items have been created and made available to the crew. Without the hard and diligent work of numerous individuals who have worked behind the scenes, this Association would not be enjoying the success we are today.