"Eighteen men who sailed on the USS SAVAGE (DE/DER-386) gathered for their second reunion in Venice, Florida May 28 - 31 to remember the proud ship and honor the man for whom the ship was named, Ensign Walter S, Savage, Jr., who perished with his ship the USS ARIZONA at Pearl Harbor.
Joining the reunion were members of the USS RHODES (DE/DER-384). The SAVAGE and RHODES were Coast Guard manned ships assigned to Escort Division 23 during World War II and were later recommissioned as Navy-manned radar picket ships assigned to the mid-Pacific barrier out of Pearl Harbor.
Tony Sassani of the RHODES led a memorial service on Thursday, May 28, aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Point Countess, commanded by LTJG William Meese, USCG. Sam Saylor, President, Destroyer Escort Sailors Association, Stan Sifford of the SAVAGE and Irv Blaszynski of the RHODES placed a wreath on Gulf waters in memory of departed shipmates. The service concluded with the playing of taps by Lance Corporal Walter Phillips, USMC. Family and friends viewed and heard the service from the shore of the Venice Jetty.
Headquarters for the reunion was the Best Western Venice Resort Inn who provided hospitality rooms and coffee and Danish rolls.
Friday, May 29, the Venice Trollley provided a tour of the Venice area famous for the winter quarters of the Ringling Circus and the fossilized shark teeth that wash up on its beaches. The day ended with dinner and dancing at No-Vel Post 159. American Legion. Venice, sixteenth largest membership in the United States.
Saturday evening the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre presented the comedy "No Sex Please, We're British" with a buffet served.
Sunday evening, May 31, the main dinner program was held in the exclusively reserved Manor Restaurant/ of the Plantation Golf and Country Club. Councilwoman Kathy Schmidt, on behalf of the City of Venice read a proclamation honoring the SAVAGE and RHODES and their crews. Speakers were Sam Saylor, President, Destroyer Escort Sailors Association and Bruce Keener, Rear Admiral, USN (Retired), Executive Officer USS SAVAGE (DER-386). President Saylor spoke about varied activities of the Association and the importance of a supportive and ongoing membership. Admiral Keener spoke of service aboard the SAVAGE and the role of destroyer escort radar picket ships.
Officers of the USS SAVAGE organization are: Stan Sifford, President; Gordon Aldrich, Secretary/Treasurer, and Rollins Coakley, Editor."