Design a site like this with
Get started

4th Commissioning Anniversary Dinner

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.

Program (click for larger version)… I wonder who did the artwork

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 AnnunziataFrancis Lawrence MacDonald
Fausto Plaganas ApostolPaul Magera
Edward Richard AusfeldtRichard Edward Mercer
Edward BabishCarl Lester Miller
Alvin Edward BarberAnthony Nigro
William Eugene BarnettEdwin Lathrope Oakley, Jr.
Richard Roy BeckwithThomas Augustine O’Neil
Frank Walter BernardWill P. Parker, Jr.
Isidore (“Teddy”) BertoneWalter Leo Parks
Frank Paul BielskisArdrey Vernon Peyton
Richard Harold BlustWilliam Ganeric Petrushonis
Otto Martin BoernerJames William Plant, Jr.
James Rudolph BurtonLouis Rene Richards
Raymond ButlerJames Michael Riley
Raymond Francis CarpenterIrwin Rubin
Charles LaVern DamonAngel Louis Ruiz
Charles Brant DeerTommie Rush, Jr.
Frank Nicholas DeRupoWilliam Richard Salomons, Jr.
Max Earl DeyMario Patrick Saponaro
Arlo Eugene EllisPeter Anthony Schmanski
Pete Richard FederoffGeorge Preston Seybolt
Richard Hamilton GarrisonIsiah Smith
John GigarjianLasal Smith
Buford Aubry GriggsTheodore Soltys
Louis Harper, Jr.Harrison Stone
Odis HendersonAnthony Charles Susinno
Joseph Ovila HuardLeonard Francis Therrien
Joseph Henry Hoser, Jr.Elster Johannessen Tufte
George Waldo HumphreyWilliam Walter Turney
Daniel Frederick HurleyLester Burton Wood
Rinaldo Biagio IannettoneIra LaFlorrid Zeek
Lonnie Johnson
Sailors I’ve been able to identify are in bold

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.

4th Commissioning Anniversary Dinner (click for larger version)

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.

Vintage promotional postcard for the Hotel St. George

Program and group photograph courtesy of Linda Oakley Letendre.