Last week was all about memories for a group of men who were shipmates when they were in the U.S. Navy.
Leon Maierhafer, of rural Fremont, organized the reunion. Those who attended were on the USS Hitchiti – an auxiliary tug fleet. Most served four-year stints in the 1950s.
Maierhafer explained how a reunion in Wisconsin came to be.
All of them are members of the National Association of Fleet Tug Sailors, which is a group that meets annually.
When they learned that the next reunion of the association would be on a cruise, some talked about not liking cruises, while others talked about not liking to travel. Soon, some said they were going to Maierhafer’s place.
They arrived on Monday, Aug. 23. Some stayed in cabins, while others stayed in hotels.
Their itinerary for the week included tours of Quantum Dairy in rural Weyauwega and Trega Cheese in Weyauwega, seeing the Clauson Family Music Show in Coloma, attending the Waupaca County Fair on the day there was a program for veterans and ending their stay on Friday, Aug. 27, with a “catch and keep fish fry” at Maierhafer’s farm.
Those who attended the get-together traveled from Illinois, Louisiana, Virginia, Texas, Minnesota, Michigan and Iowa.
One, John Bailey, came from Superior in northern Wisconsin.
He was on the USS Hitchiti a total of eight years – on two different tours.
Maierhafer said that he had talked to Bailey on the telephone but had not seen him since 1959.
Many said they enjoy seeing the men they have known for so many years.
Their wives also visited the area.
The time in the 1950s that the men were Navy shipmates was not a time of war.
The planning for their visit to Wisconsin began about a year ago, and they said it is fun to get together and share old memories.
“I’m extremely happy these folks took time out of their busy schedules to come visit,” Maierhafer said.