USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067)
July 19-21, 2019
It had been 49 years since most of us first met on board the USS Francis Hammond (DE-1067) as plank-owners and commissioning crew in 1970. The reunion idea started with a conversation between John Blumthal and Scott Gillespie after the Hammond Reunion in Branson during the summer of 2018. That’s when John “Bloomers” Blumthal created the Lisco Locker Gang FaceBook page as a seed to start some reunion conversation. A big shout out to John for tracking us all down using a background checker called SPOKEO and setting up the event at the DTC Hilton Garden Inn in Denver, CO. John was also the designated driver with a rented van to make airport runs as well as hauling us to local drinking/dining spots.
The DTC Hilton Garden Inn treated us well with a breakfast buffet every morning. They also had a bar that we closed down every night as you would guess old sailors will do. We also had a meeting room available for 8 hours per day supplied with bottled water, soft drinks and ice. Darcy’s Irish Pub was the local designated watering hole. On Saturday we did a group excursion to the Denver Lodo district via RTD (light rail). Watering holes visited were Thirsty Lion Pub and Wynkoop Brewing Company. On the last day (after most of us had flown home) Bloomers, Stubby and Herb did a road trip to Evergreen, Idaho Springs and Winter Park to explore some of Colorado’s beauty.
Many of us in this crew were on the Hammond’s first two WestPac’s. The 1972 cruise was a first for most of us but we had some good guidance from the “salts” that had come from the fleet to join this crew. We went through good times and bad times together. Through it all, as the radar gang bound together, we always had each others backs. We worked hard and we played hard as a tight-knit team.
As we settled into the reunion gathering, it became evident that the comradery and closeness of this brotherhood was still there. We re-lived many of the experiences, both good and bad, and filled in those gaps in our memories that helped shape us for our futures. All in all I cannot think of a better bunch of men to have served with!
The cherry on top of this reunion is that John had designed a commemorative coin to have minted for us to mark the occasion. The coin idea came to him while browsing Navy souvenir sites. He wanted something that you could hold in your hand and had volunteered to take this on himself. You can read more about this HERE.
I’m glad I made it the reunion to see these fine old men. Hoping for another meet. Take care guys see you soon.