On Sunday, 25 March 1945, a dinner commemorating the fourth anniversary of the Zircon’s commissioning was held at a rooftop banquet room at Hotel St. George in Brooklyn, New York, not far from the Navy Pier. I have no idea if the entire crew was allowed to attend. I assume that with the war in Europe winding down—Victory in Europe Day was less than two months away—the Zircon’s services weren’t urgently needed, so… probably?
The program for the evening included the ship’s entire roster (or “rooster as it reads on the page!), but there’s no way of knowing how many people actually attended.
At the time of the dinner, and as noted on the cover page, four of the ship’s original crew, or Plank Holders (or alternately, Plank Owners), were still with the ship. My dad wasn’t in attendance as he had been transferred from the Zircon to the YMS-75 a couple of months earlier. The number of officers on board by this time had been trimmed to just five:
Lieutenant James Loren Cook, Jr., Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Richard Prescott True, Executive Officer
Julius George Sills, First Lieutenant
Lieutenant Charles Andrew Blocher, Communications Officer
Lieutenant (j.g.) Ned Landis Lamprecht, Engineering Officer
|Ralph Patrick Annunziata||Francis Lawrence MacDonald|
|Fausto Plaganas Apostol||Paul Magera|
|Edward Richard Ausfeldt||Richard Edward Mercer|
|Edward Babish||Carl Lester Miller|
|Alvin Edward Barber||Anthony Nigro|
|William Eugene Barnett||Edwin Lathrope Oakley, Jr.|
|Richard Roy Beckwith||Thomas Augustine O’Neil|
|Frank Walter Bernard||Will P. Parker, Jr.|
|Isidore (“Teddy”) Bertone||Walter Leo Parks|
|Frank Paul Bielskis||Ardrey Vernon Peyton|
|Richard Harold Blust||William Ganeric Petrushonis|
|Otto Martin Boerner||James William Plant, Jr.|
|James Rudolph Burton||Louis Rene Richards|
|Raymond Butler||James Michael Riley|
|Raymond Francis Carpenter||Irwin Rubin|
|Charles LaVern Damon||Angel Louis Ruiz|
|Charles Brant Deer||Tommie Rush, Jr.|
|Frank Nicholas DeRupo||William Richard Salomons, Jr.|
|Max Earl Dey||Mario Patrick Saponaro|
|Arlo Eugene Ellis||Peter Anthony Schmanski|
|Pete Richard Federoff||George Preston Seybolt|
|Richard Hamilton Garrison||Isiah Smith|
|John Gigarjian||Lasal Smith|
|Buford Aubry Griggs||Theodore Soltys|
|Louis Harper, Jr.||Harrison Stone|
|Odis Henderson||Anthony Charles Susinno|
|Joseph Ovila Huard||Leonard Francis Therrien|
|Joseph Henry Hoser, Jr.||Elster Johannessen Tufte|
|George Waldo Humphrey||William Walter Turney|
|Daniel Frederick Hurley||Lester Burton Wood|
|Rinaldo Biagio Iannettone||Ira LaFlorrid Zeek|
A photograph was taken that evening by Knickerbocker Pictures, which appears either to have had a contract with Hotel St. George or was simply the photographer of choice by the hotel’s events coordinator, as I’ve seen several group photos on eBay which were taken at the hotel and had the Knickerbocker imprint on them.
When I received the group photograph to scan, I hadn’t paid much attention to the date, so I thought perhaps my dad was amongst the crowd. As my eyes went from face to face, I was disappointed to not see his, but my jaw dropped when I saw the face of my mom’s best friend, Gladys Osier, who attended the dinner with Dad’s Best Man, John Gigarjian. I would later confirm with Gladys, who was Mom’s Maid of Honour, that the two of them went out a few times after my parents’ wedding.
Considering the number of sailors on the roster versus the number of sailors in the photograph, I’m guessing that it was taken late in the evening after people had left. Also, there are more officers in the photograph that appear on the roster, so it might not have been a completely closed event. Perhaps past and/or future officers were in attendance?
Noticeably absent are the Stewards: Apostol, Ellis, Henderson, Johnson, Parker, Parks, the Smiths (Isiah and Lasal), and Stone.
If you recognize someone in the photograph that hasn’t yet been identified, please get in touch. Likewise if you happen to have a copy of the photograph that’s in better condition, as the creases in this one make it somewhat difficult to identify a few people.
Program and group photograph courtesy of Linda Oakley Letendre.