The first of many steps in planning the first all hands reunion for the USS Oriskany CV/CVA-34 by Vernon and Pam Williams of Burtonsville MD, started with the 1989 ad in the American Legion magazine by Jean Rainville. Jean (G-div) of Grand Rapids MI wanted to locate shipmates from his division. However at this time he didn't want to start a ship's reunion. After a few phone calls I informed Jean that I would like to plan a reunion, and asked him to send the names he had received from his ad. We started with ads in newspapers, VFW and the American Legion magazines for any shipmates that would be interested in having a ship's reunion. The letters and phone calls started coming in from all over wanting to know where and when the reunion would take place. We were told about the village of Oriskany in upstate NY. We felt that it was only fitting to hold the first reunion in the place which our ship was named after. We contacted Mr. Robert Heeley and told him about our plans to hold a reunion in Oriskany NY. Pam and I made a trip to Oriskany NY and met with Mayor Donald Rothdiener, Museum Curator Robert Heeley and American Legion Parkhurst Post #1448 Commander Richard Montgomery, to discuss our plans for the upcoming reunion. We set the dates as September 28-30, 1990. Over the weekend a number of shipmates came by from the local area and were unable to stay but wanted to hear more about our plans for the next reunion. At this time we didn't know if there would be a next reunion! We had a total of 194 attending the dinner/dance who had their pictures taken for our first reunion book, five of whom were Navy Captains. We held our dinner/dance at the Parkhurst American Legion Post #1448. We wanted to keep it as inexpensive as possible. Our cost was $12.50 per person. We heard from several shipmates after the reunion that they thought we were going to serve hot dogs and french fries because of the low cost. It was a pleasant surprise for them to find a band on both Friday and Saturday nights and a wonderful buffet put on by members of Parkhurst American Legion Post #1448. Pam and I had no idea back in 1990 at our first reunion that we would be going back to Oriskany to celebrate our tenth anniversary! This would not have been possible without our shipmates and friends getting the word out about our association. Our thanks to all who have made this possible!
HOW MANY OF THESE ORA REUNIONS WERE YOU ABLE TO ATTEND? PLACE HOSTS 1990 – SEPT. 28-30, ORISKANY NY VERNON AND PAM WILLIAMS 1991- AUG. 23-25, NEW YORK CITY NY DANIEL AND JOANNE KEARNS 1992 – MAY 29-31, ORISKANY NY ANCHOR MEMORIAL DEDICATION 1992 – OCT., LAS VEGAS NV LEO AND MARGARET CONNOLLY 1993 -ORISKANY NY A-4E SKYHAWK DEDICATION 1994 -SAN DIEGO CA F. SCHULTZ, R. HAWLEY, D. SCHULENBERG 1995 -OCT. 12-15, ORISKANY NY VERNON AND PAM WILLIAMS 1996 -SEPT. 29-0CT. 3, LAS VEGAS NV LEO AND MARGARET CONNOLLY 1997 -MAY 23-25, ORISKANY NY ORISKANY MUSEUM DEDICATION 1997 -SEPT. 22-24, CHARLESTON SC PETE CATALANO 1998 -OCT. 5-7, ORISKANY NY LITO AND BETTY PUGLIA 1999- 0CT. 3-7, SAN ANTONIO TX RAY DIETRICH, ED DOLEZAL 2000 -OCT., ORISKANY NY LITO AND BETTY PUGLIA 2001 – SEPT. 30-OCT. 2, BREMERTON WA DON AND JOYCE GOSSARD 2002 -AUG. 4-6, ORISKANY NY MINI REUNION, BATTLE OF ORISKANY 225TH ANNIVERSARY 2002 -SEPT. 29-OCT. 4, TUNICA MS PHILIP AND LIBBY CARTWRIGHT 2003 -SEPT. 28-OCT. 1, ORISKANYNY LITO AND BETTY PUGLIA 2004 – PENSACOLA FL WASHED AWAY BY HURRICANE, RICHARD AND DORIS FALL AND ART GIBERSON 2004 – OCT., ORISKANY NY MINI REUNION, INFORMAL 2005 – OCT. 2-6, EVANSVILLE IN CHARLES AND SHARON STRICKLAND 2006 – TUNICA MS PHILIP AND DIANE CARTWRIGHT 2007 -SEPT. 17-19, DULUTH MN DENNIS AND KAREN FRANK 2008 - SEPT. 28-OCT. 2, ORISKANY NY MARK AND JOYCE PARRISH 2009 - OCT. 25-28, PENSACOLA FL MBT DIVERS AND COMMITTEE 2010 - OCT. LAFAYETTE LA KEITH AND JANE BENOIT 2011 - SEPT, BREMERTON WA. DON AND JOYCE GOSSARD 2012 - OCT 7-10, SAN ANTONIO TX EDDIE AND ORFA VARGAS 2013 - SEPT15-18, INDIANAPOLIS IN BOB GARNER