About 1981 or 1982, a few survivors began trying to locate other survivors and former crew members of USS JOHNSTON and USS HOEL Progress was made with both ships, enough progress, in fact that the first reunion was held in Alexandria, Minnesota for USS JOHNSTON survivors and former crew members from September 15 through 18, 1982. During that reunion, 24 survivors and former crew members attended. During that reunion, it was agreed that an attempt would be made to locate more former crew members and survivors. Our list began to grow.
Another reunion was scheduled for Wichita, Kansas for 1983 and as time grew near for the reunion, 51 shipmates of JOHNSTON had been located.
The second reunion was held from October 25 through 28 in Wichita with 41 shipmates attending and a total of 71 attended the reunion.
At about this same time, members of USS HOEL were working to locate former crew members and survivors and their lists began to grow also.
In 1984, the reunion was held in Charleston, South Carolina with representatives of all thirteen (13) ships of TASK UNIT 77.4.3 (TAFFY III) attending. Although, JOHNSTON and HOEL did not have a combined meeting, both ships were heavily represented.
The following year, JOHNSTON scheduled their reunion for St. Louis, Missouri and invited all members of USS HOEL to join them during that meeting. Thirteen survivors and former crew members of HOEL attended the reunion. The groups from both ships seemed to mesh well so an invitation was extended to USS HOEL to merge with JOHNSTON and become one reunion group. It was agreed that the topic would be considered and discussed at the 1986 reunion which was held in Arlington, Texas. In the meantime the list of survivors and former crew members continued to grow. Thanks to Mark Ebben who grew up in Appleton, Wisconsin, and a neighbor of Donald (Tiny ) Hienritz, a survivor of HOEL and to Paul Matthews, a Police Officer and nephew of Paul Horman (KIA) HOEL, of Billerica, MA, both men began to work very hard in helping to locate former members of both ships.
By the time the reunion was held in Arlington, Texas, a very large turn-out was enjoyed. The largest turn-out to date. During that meeting, the HOEL group voted to merge with JOHNSTON and our group became known as USS JOHNSTON/HOEL ASSOCIATION and our by-laws were changed to reflect the new name. USS JOHNSTON SURVIVORS ASSOCIATION was incorporated in the State of Kansas as a Non-profit Organization and pays fees to that State for our continued Corporation Fees.
The USS JOHNSTON. USS HOEL ASSOCIATION voted to continue the motto of ‘WE ARE FAMILY" and it continues to be our motto today.
Our Association is made up of Survivors of each ship, former crew members of each ship and "Associate Members" which are made up of relatives of both living and deceased members of each ship as well as friends of the association.
Shipmates pay annual dues of $20.00 per year and Associate Members pay $15.00 per year. This money is used to off-set some of the reunion costs and to cover printing and mailing of a newsletter which is published approximately 4 times per year.
Our members donate door prizes each year for the drawing during the reunion. Money is raised by selling tickets to this drawing at $1.00 each. All of this money is put back into the reunion costs.
Members of USS JOHNSTON/USS HOEL ASSOCIATION have met as one reunion group since 1985.
If you have questions regarding our Association, or would like to share information regarding a shipmate please feel free to contact us:
Dr. Warren Stirling
19651 Quiet Bay Lane
Huntington Beach, CA , 92648-2613 - (714) 536-0229