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WOW! Branson……What a Show!  It’s great when all the shows, tours and buses are on time and the Gray Line Bus service was always there on time and took us to the shows where a representative of the theater would come out and escort us inside and to our seats.  Yes, Branson is a wonderful city to deal with as they have really become a Veteran’s city.  A very nice and want to make sure everyone is treated with great respect and would maybe return someday.  Branson is such a beautiful place and the tour we had while on the duck ride was so nice with views of the mountains and learning of the history of how Branson was converted into the inviting place it has become.  I would love to go back again just to enjoy the rest and relaxation of the scenic and peaceful surroundings it has to offer.  I heard a lot of comments of how Branson has become a lovely location and also a few comments that it was one of the “best reunions yet” and “where are going next year”.   I am thinking of that also and any suggestions of location would be greatly invited.  The Welk Resort was a very nice place to stay.  It is a very large resort and the employees were very nice.  They gave us a nice area for our hospitality suite and our breakfast was very tasty and hot.  Any other meals we had there were also very well prepared.  There was a little museum with pictures and objects belonging to Mr. Welk as well as a large life size statue of him on the grounds. 


We were always greeted and introduced at all the shows and dinners we attended and if I had to pick the show I enjoyed the most would be very hard to do so.  Not only we enjoyed the courtesy,  the talent that resides in Branson is absolutely some of the greatest musicians, singers, actors and the comedy made us laugh so hard and we couldn’t get over one laugh until here came another one.  Great fun.  It was truly an enjoyment writing the “Thank You” letter to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for their assistance in being so much helpful to us.


It was so nice to have Jon and Susan Diulus (daughter of Mario and Marion Capitanio) back with us and to hear Jon’s laughter again.  We did have some reminiscing of the old days and sitting around in the hospitality room talking about the so many times of being together and getting in our laughs and Navy stories.


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…..Thank you again for the beautiful memorial picture of Bill and the others.  It is beautiful and I love it.  Enclosing a little cost for our dues.  I know we were really far behind.  I love the picture and I love you for doing all those wonderful things.        God Bless.    Peg Cavanaugh


…..Thanks very much for the USS BELL NEWSLETTER.  I had not heard the story of The Military TAPS.  It is a beautiful story.  The words to the melody of “TAPS” were also new to me.  I will show this to my children and grandchildren. Love, Janice Howard


…..Thank you so much for the bulletins and info on the BELL crews.  I enjoyed reading them, but I think the time has come to ask you to remove me from the mailing list.  Larry so enjoyed reading about shipmates and we had such a great time at the reunions we attended.  So, my best to all of you.  Keep doing such a great job.  Do hope all is well with you.     Fondly, Clair Assip


…..My Father served on the ship in March 1943.  He died in 1975 and I just found some of his old letters to his parents.  I’m trying to track down his service record, but don’t have a lot of information.  Was wondering if you have any information about Arlo Chase Tanner who was born in Beaver, UT in 1917 and was a TM on the USS BELL.  I looked thru all the website pictures, but didn’t see him.  If you have any suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!   Jeff Tanner  (I’m sorry but I only have an email address for Jeff but if any of you remember a shipmate by the name Arlo Chase Tanner and don’t have a computer please let me know if this name is someone you remember let me know and I will be happy to get the information to him.  If you do have a computer and can give him some information here is his email address:   jefftanner@gmail.com   P.S.  I have searched all my records and cannot find an entry for the name Arlo Chase Tanner.


…..There is another very important person that I would like to pay tribute to that have passed away and meant so much to us for winning this horrible war.  I have been reading about the Code Talkers that did so much to our success in winning the WWII War.  I have read two books about the Code Talkers.  0ne of the Navajo Code Talkers and a book about Comanche Code Talkers.  You probably heard that the last of the Code Talkers passed away this year.  Chester Nez was the last surviving member of the original 29 Code Talkers.  Navajo President Ben Shelly ordered flags be flown at half-staff in Window Rock.  Marine veteran Michael Smith wept Wednesday when he heard about the death of Chester Nez.   Chester Nez was the last of the 29 Navajo men who created a code from their language that stumped the Japanese in World War II – marked the closure of a chapter in the story of a special group of veterans.  Nez died in Albuquerque where he lived with his son Michael.  He was 93.  His family said he died of kidney failure. He was a member of the all-Navajo Code Talkers coming to a close.  It’s the chapter about the first Navajo code Talkers coming to a close,” said Smith 52, whose late father was also a Code Talker, but not one of the original group. “People talk about it, and you never think it’s going to happen in your lifetime.  They are carrying the past with them.”  Michael Nez, a Navajo artist, described his father as strong-willed.  The final conversation the father and son shared was Tuesday night, when Nez nodded and smiled that he understood the family was with him.  Chester Nez was proud of his service to his country despite having to keep it a secret.  We owe them so much and we should never forget them.


…..Note to everyone.  It is my pleasure to hear from my members and look so forward to your cards and letters.  I hope you will continue to keep me informed as I do love to go to my mailbox and find some mail from someone as I have always felt like all of you are members of this big and wonderful BELL family.  So keep in touch and keep me up on how you and your family members are doing as I so remember some of the reunions when so many family members came along and visited with us and shared in the laughter and friendship.   You can’t imagine the excitement I experienced when I went to my mailbox and found my first letter from one of the shipmates I was trying to locate.  All I had on the shipmates that served on the BELL was a very old list and every night when I came home from work I sat down at the computer and tried to find an address for some of the names I had on the list.  Most nights it was about two or three o’clock when I would pull myself away from the computer and could not wait to start again tomorrow.  I think I mailed over seven hundred letters and when I found my first shipmate I was so overwhelmed with excitement.  I opened my mail box and there was a small envelope from a shipmate.  I stood at the mailbox and tore open the envelope and this is what I found.  The first words of the letters was “Yes, I am William A. Adams and I served on the BELL. How can I get a picture of my ship? I was so surprised I could do nothing else but shed a few tears and could hardly make it back to my door.  After that I seemed to expect a letter every day.  You have no idea when you use the computer to search for a person’s name that is Adams, Brown, Lewis, etc. and you get so many letters with those names and how sad the letter starts “I am so and so but I did not serve in the Navy or on the USS Bell.  I do enjoy finding a letter in my mailbox.

 I am already getting mail from many cities requesting to host a reunion for the USS Bell next year.  If you would like to have a reunion in a city anywhere in the states please let me know.  I like to have several cities to be able to have them bid on our reunions.  Just tell me where you might like to visit.  I have already had requests from Galveston, TX, Columbus, GA, Nashville, TN, Atlanta,

GA, Mobile, AL.  I would like more suggestions. 




…..Mrs. Marion Capitanio, age 87, passed away peacefully on July 5, 2014, while surrounded by her family.  She was preceded in death by her husband Mario who served on the USS BELL.  Marion was a member of the American Legion Post 610 Ladies Auxiliary and the USS BELL Association.   She will be missed by all who knew her. 


…..Gerald Owen Hensley, age 88 passed away August 8, 2014.  Service held on August 15, 2014 with Frank McGuire officiating.  Interment Hickory Point Cemetery.  Survivors include his wife, Jean and daughter Pam DeTrou & husband Val and grandchildren and great – grandchildren.


…..James A. Arbuckle, 91, of Meadville, PA., passed away peacefully on Sunday, March 9, 2014, at his residence.  He was born Nov. 9, 1922, in Niles, Ohio, a son of the late Clarence George and Mildred Beulah Williams Arbuckle.  He married Lizzie May Steck on July 14, 1944 and preceded him in death of Oct. 8, 2011.  He was a World War II veteran of the U.S. Navy, having served on the USS Bell, with the rank of fire Controlman 1c V-6.  James was a member of Sheakleyville United Methodist Church and had been very active with Sheakleyville Volunteer Fire Department.   Funeral service held at First Assembly of God in Meadville.  Burial at Rose lawn Memorial Gardens, Vernon Township.  Full Military Honors presented by VFW Post 2006 prior to the service.


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One day in September I had a phone call from Mr. Jeffrey Marier from Baldwinsville, NY.  He had found a piece of mail connected to a shipmate of the USS BELL and he did some research of the BELL and found where he could contact me.  He thought that this item he had discovered might be of a historical value to the family members of the BELL.  I told him “Yes” I would be interested in seeing what he had.  He said the name on the memo was a Pat DeSimone and I did know that we had a shipmate with that name and would indeed love to have it and possibly could return it to its owner.   It wasn’t long until I received a nice letter with the article.  This is his letter to me and I know you might enjoy seeing his kind letter.


It was a pleasure to talk to you today!  Since finding the piece of V-Mail from Pat DeSimone dated December 5, 1944, I have enjoyed learning about the history of the Fletcher Class Destroyer USS Bell (DD587) and the important missions the crew so bravely performed.


I found this item at a flea market in Syracuse in a collection of random old paper items.  I enjoy finding personal items like this V-Mail letter due to the personal connection they have to such an important time in US and world history.  As a US Air Force veteran who served in Desert Storm, I continue to be fascinated by the bravery and honor that these WW2 veterans served with despite such challenging conditions.  We are all forever in debt to this “Greatest Generation” for all of their sacrifices.


It is my pleasure to present this V-Mail item to the USS Bell Association and I hope it will be enjoyed at the reunion.  The USS Bell Association website (ussbelldd587.org) is a great tribute to this history for generations to come and hopefully you can add a copy of this V -Mail to the site!   Please pass on to the crew members and their families my deepest appreciation for their service to our great nation and for all of their sacrifices.  Best Regards, Jeffrey Marier, 3707 Hayes Road, Baldwinsville, NY 13027.  (US Air Force, 1991-1999).”


(This shows that people really do care and will go out of their way to honor and say Thank You to those who have sacrificed.  This so moved me to tears when I received Mr. Marier’s letter as to me I think we should all try to preserve all the history we can.  Some day when a young person might want to search for a great, great grandfather and would come across a name and be excited that someone happened to be nice enough to save with a piece of paper with the name and be as excited as I was to get this little piece of history with the name that I once knew).


This is a little card with a picture of the Statue of Liberty and what looks like a ship with planes flying overhead and with this message on the card.  With the Eclipse of the rising sun! “The Bugles of Battle will sound the Marches of Peace, East, West, North and South, the long fight will cease; Then we’ll sing the Song of Great Joy that the Angels began, We’ll sing of Glory to God and of Good Will to Man.

Signed:  Your loving hubby, Pat.


This is addressed to Mrs. Pat DeSimone , 507 Hickory Street, Syracuse, N.Y. with this information in the Sender’s Name – Pat De Simone – Sender’s Address – USS Bell DD587 – C/0 Fleet P.O San Francisco, CA – Date Dec 5, 44.  (Mr DeSimone was a Tailor while on the BELL and passed away on November 30, 1995.   (NOTE: I’m proud to say that I met Mr. & Mrs. DeSimone at my first BELL reunion that I attended with my two uncles in Syracuse, New York.)


I wish each and every one a very Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year.  God Bless.


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