United States Submarine Veterans, Inc.

Pocono Base – Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, 20 September 2006


Meeting called to order at 1915 by Base Vice Commander Frank McDevitt at the American Legion, Wilson-Fisher Post in Pocono Pines, PA.
The Purpose of the Organization was read. The Base Bell was not tolled due to lack of bell.
These are the following US Submarine Force Losses during the Month of September:


25 Sep 1925    USS S-51                                SS 162                         33 Men

09 Sep 1943    USS Grayling                         SS 209                         76 Men

28 Sep 1943    USS Cisco                               SS 290                         76 Men


A moment of silence followed.


 The Vice Commander led the members in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.


Roll Call: Members present were: Frank McDevitt, Mike Smith, Jeff Owens, George Eckert, Bob Smith, Denis Opiela, Tom Shields,
Ken Smith, Gerald Zeman, Bill Klose and John Saeli.

The members present introduced themselves and stated their qual boats.


Guests: None.


The secretary confirmed that a quorum was present.


The Minutes: The secretary read the minutes from the August meeting.  The Vice Commander tendered a motion to accept the minutes as read.  1st motion made by Jeff Owens, 2nd motion made by Gerald Zeman. Motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report:  The base treasurer reported an ending balance of $3395.49 on 31 Jul 2006 and an ending balance of $3051.90 on 31 Aug 2006. The secretary gave the treasurer an additional $10 from the July 50/50 raffle.


John Saeli read from Submarine Operations of WWII, an account of the loss of the USS Cisco (SS 290), which occurred on 28 Sep 1943.


Committee Reports:

            Membership:  John Saeli reported that we have 41 members with one new member to be signed up.
He qualified on the USS Cavalla and is from Milford, PA. John sent him his packet and the gentleman seems excited to be part of our group.


            Publicity:  Jeff stated that next months meeting in Scranton is to be our recruitment meeting. He stated that he would do his best to put out some news releases. He wants to advertise the chow will be served after the meeting. John Saeli stated that he would provide the food.


            Parades: Next parade should be the Veterans Day Parade in November in Wilkes-Barre.


            Speakers Bureau: No requests yet.


            Correspondence: No correspondence.


            Flag Boxes: Our three flag boxes are doing well. The one in Blakeslee has the new plaques attached. Jeff Owens suggested taking a picture of the rejuvenated flag box for our newsletter.

Old Business:


            Frank McDevitt called Larry Crawford as part of the name in the hat from a couple of months ago to find out how he is doing.
Frank found out that Larry was diagnosed with MS and has a driving problem where he is restricted to about 15 minutes of driving around the Hazleton area.
Larry still likes to get the newsletter and the minutes and would like to try to get to one of our events.


            Gerald Zeman got in touch with a gentleman in Arkansas about the torpedo, but was unable to get any more information due to his contact
 being busy with hosting the National Convention in Little Rock this year.


            Jeff Owens has been unable to find information locally about obtaining the foam for the sub model.
The other problem is the max thickness is typically 2” and the cost.


            John Saeli brought up the point that the D2 & D5 meeting will be held in Reading on Friday & Saturday, the 27th & 28th of October. John recommends that we attend and has stated that he and Jeff Owens will be going. If anyone else would like to attend, please contact John Saeli so he can make reservations. There will be a luncheon on Saturday. John brought up the issue with the Sub Vet license plate and the $40 fee being asked for and that this would be the proper forum to get some answers. The secretary read from the March Minutes concerning a letter that was sent regarding the plate issue. John Saeli read to the members, the letter that was sent to Mr. White. Our biggest contention is that we have not received any replies to our letter now six months later. Jeff Owens stated that we have heard from the other bases [NOT] condoning the extra $20 fee. Tom Shields brought up the issue that he does not want to see our base as being troublemakers. After a very, very heated discussion, a motion was brought up to allow John Saeli and Jeff Owens to speak for the majority of the Pocono Base who oppose the extra $20 fee for the license plate. Tom Shields and Dennis Opiela both had to leave the meeting before this motion was made.

 The remaining members of the meeting made a vote by show of hands. All those in favor, there were none opposed. Motion carried.


New Business:


            John Saeli obtained two bronze plaques from the Long Island Base, which he then had mounted on wooden backs. The bronze pieces cost $35 each, the mounting and engraving only cost an additional $10 at a place in Dunmore. John also had one plaque made up in the memory of Eugen Rees, which will need to be presented to Mrs. Rees. John stated that he would take care of the plaques until we can get a place to store them.


            Frank stated that we are unable to get any more boxes from the Postal service due to concerns that people may try to put explosives in them. The other issue is that the postal service is refurbishing the old boxes and reusing them elsewhere. Tom wondered if we could get one from either Fed-Ex or UPS but the secretary brought up the point that these are different in construction to a regular postal box and have an indicator system attached.


            Frank stated that as a member of the local Lions Club he has access to a pop-up trailer at no cost other than title and registration if we want it. The Lions Club is trying to get rid of it and is willing to donate it to us for use as a float. It will cost us nothing to store it. Frank wants to know if we could use it both as a base for the float and/or for another purpose. Frank passed around pictures of the trailer.

            Frank made a proposal that the USSVI - Pocono Base accept the trailer as a donation from the Pocono Pines Lions Club with no strings attached.

            1st motion made by Tom Shields. 2nd motion made by Jeff Owens. All in favor, motion passed.


Good of the Order:

            The base picnic was a good success even though the weather was dreadful.


            We did not attend the Coolbaugh Fair this time.


Next meeting will be held at 1900 on Wednesday 18 Oct. 2006 at the Marine Corps. League Museum in Scranton.


Frank McDevitt entertained a motion to adjourn. 1st motion made by Bob Smith, 2nd motion made by Jeff Owens. Motion carried.


Frank McDevitt led the recitation of the Creed of USSVI.

            “To perpetuate the memory of our shipmates who gave their lives in the pursuit of their duties while serving their country. That their dedication, deeds and supreme sacrifice be a constant source of motivation toward greater accomplishments. Pledge loyalty and patriotism to the United States Government.”


A moment of silence followed in lieu of a closing prayer.


Frank McDevitt declared the meeting of the Pocono Base adjourned.  The meeting was adjourned at 2014 hrs.


Food and drinks from the legion followed.


Respectfully submitted, Michael D. Smith, USSVI – Pocono Base Secretary