USS Floyd B. Parks DD-884
"The Fightin' Floyd B"

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Dear Shipmates and Friends                                                                                            May 2011 Newsletter
     Spring is here and this is the time of year that we hope everyone is through the cold, rain, hail & snow.  It was a hard winter for many of us and we hope that you got past it in good health.  Now, many are dealing with tornadoes and we hope that you aren’t affected by those. 
     This newsletter will be filled with lots of information for now and your future use so please keep it handy.
     DUES……if you are receiving this newsletter, you owe Parks assn. dues each year on Jan. 1st, unless you are an honorary member as in our Parks widows.  Last year at this time we had about 130 shipmates who had not paid their dues and this year we have an even hundred who haven’t paid their dues.  So we are doing better but still have a ways to go.  We have sent email reminders and made reminder phone calls and many of you have responded.  We know that everyone gets busy and it’s really easy to forget to pay your dues.  There are some of you that we have repeatedly reminded and still you have not responded and so we must assume that you are no longer interested in the Parks assn.   If you owe dues there is a sticker on THIS newsletter telling you how many and what years you owe for.  We keep you on the roster for a short while but then we will have to move you to the inactive roster and will have to stop your newsletters.  We sure don’t want to have to do that but it’s simply not fair to all who do pay their dues.  Please check your records or call the Birdsongs to check your dues status.
     MINI REUNION.….these just keep growing and getting better each year.  Attending this year were 72 people from 14 states.  This get together was supposed to start at 12 noon and many were there at 11 a.m.  It was a terrific day with many new faces and two shipmates who came back to the active crew from inactive crew.  Welcome back to Steve Novotny (Parks ’70-’72) and Herb Wolfe (Parks ’65-’67).   Pictures are on our website.  Great day!
     ILLNESS …..We have heard of a couple of shipmates or their families who are in need of our love, thoughts and prayers.  Let’s please help them out.  Don Felger,  (Parks ’69-’73) is fighting throat cancer and undergoing chemo treatments.  Don & Nancy are reserved at the hotel for the reunion and we will keep them in our prayers that they can make it.  Fight the good fight Don.  Hang in there Nancy.  We have also heard that shipmate Les Hamptons (Parks ’70-’73) wife, Sue, is battling cancer and undergoing treatment.  They are also reserved at the hotel for this reunion. Les & Sue, we are thinking of you and wish the very best outcome for both Don & Sue.  For good wishes cards please mail to: Don Felger 457 E. Martin St. East Palestine, OH 44413 and Sue Hampton 3661 Hornby Rd. Corning, NY 14830. 
     ROSTER INFO…..If you change your address, phone number, area code etc., please let us know.  We get returned newsletters for shipmates who move and don’t let us know.  Please help us keep the roster current.  Also if you have a cell phone number and you don’t mind us having it, would you please let us know your number.  This is for our information only and will not be given out to anyone without your permission.  It just gives us another avenue to reach you if necessary.  Thanks everyone.  Also Sue Birdsong sends our “Sues News” via email between newsletters.  If you are not receiving this but would like to, please contact Sue at .  These just keep you updated between newsletters about what is happening in the Parks assn. and about any of your shipmates who are ill. 
     DC PLAQUE…..we are really happy and proud to tell you that you donated to this project in great form.  Had we been able to get the large plaque as we first thought, we well could have done it.  We had two very large donors who wish to remain anonymous.  We did extremely well and they absolutely put us over the top.  We will never reveal their identity or their donations, but keep in mind they are your shipmates and they made much of what we are going to be able to do possible.  Here is how it breaks down…..EVERYONE who donated will get something nice.  First of all we have bought the plaque.  Next for everyone who donated $50 or more, you will get a replica.  And for everyone who donated under $50, you will get a picture of the plaque suitable for framing.  All of these things are made possible by the donations sent in by each of you.  You should be proud!!!  The replicas are really nice.  These things will NOT be mailed out until late September.  Thank you so much everyone!  Here are the names of those who donated to the plaque project SINCE THE FEB. NEWSLETTER…….first of all our apologies to George Barringer who we failed to recognize as a donor in the Feb. newsletter…thank you George and please accept our apologies.  Now for the rest of the names….. Bill Cahill, Larry & Grace Del Gaudio, Loretta Anderson, George Talbert, Plankowners, James Allen, Ralph & June Cannon, Fernon Feenstra, Richard & Mae House, Bob & Marcia Keith, Wayne & Cheryl Priddy, Edson Whitaker, Jane Crosby, Harry & Ann Barton, Ron & Pat Cornelius, Marjorie Rawson, Herman & Loree Carter, Jim & Ludy Hitchcock, Dick & Vivian Kanoski, Jim & Carol Bender, Guy Cline, Jerry Datillo, Bob Ledford, Jerry & Carolyn Vinson, Ron & Charlotte Woodring, Olin Ladwig, Gloria Syverson, John Clark, William Koester, John & Ginny Denk, Don & Nancy Felger, David Murphy, Wayne Hancock & Becky Rogers, Cesar Ylagan, Cap’t. Jim & Mary Donovan, Freer Oxley, Daniel McGrath, and Jerry Patoff.  The donations closed on March 1st . 
     SEPT. REUNION……Sept. 12 – Sept. 19……..that’s Monday to Monday.  Some of us will be at the hotel on Sunday, Sept. 11th to be there to greet everyone as they arrive, so feel free to come early and stay late. At this writing we have 130 rooms reserved at the hotel.  If you have not reserved your room you really need to take care of that right away.  They have given us more rooms several times and we have run out of rooms with two beds a couple of times.  We just have no idea when they will stop having rooms to give us.  Please don’t be left out and have to find another hotel. The phone # to call for reservations is 1-800-561-9186.  
     HOSPITALITY ROOM……Your hospitality room will open on Wed. Sept. 14th at 12 noon.  That’s where we will all get together for friendship, memorabilia, drinks, and to spend valuable time together.
     ACTIVITIES.......Your tours and trips will start on Friday, Sept. 16th with a tour of the Capital.  Security in Washington DC is really tight and we are given strict time constraints in everything we do.  So we are going to ask you to please not stray away during any of these tours.  Lets all stay together.  Because we are going to be such a big reunion, the Capital is going to divide us into groups for this tour.  REMEMBER…..they won’t allow us to bring in anything to eat or drink.  We will all have to go through security very much like at the airport.  This is about a 1 hour tour.  Everyone be sure to have a bite of breakfast before boarding the bus as we have a late lunch planned for you.  From here we will go to the Navy Memorial where we will see the Navy Band and the Navy Ceremonial Guard perform.  You will sit outside for this.  Then we go into the Navy Memorial for lunch, movie, plaque ceremony, unveiling of the plaque.  Friday will end with dinner and entertainment in your hospitality room.  On Saturday we will go to Arlington Cemetery.  We will board Tourmobiles which will tour us through the cemetery.  We will see the Changing of the Guard and some of our Parks shipmates will lay a wreath at the foot of the Tomb.  You will tour the Robert E. Lee mansion.  Lunch will be on the waterfront at a huge buffet.  Then to the Memorials….World War 2, Korea and Vietnam Wall.  This will be very moving for all of us.  During these two days, you will be extremely proud to be an American.  The history and pride is huge in Washington DC.  On Saturday night we will get together in the hospitality room for the ever popular and highly expanded “sea stories”.  At 9 p.m. we will serve coffee and cake to everyone.  Be sure to be there.  The cake is going to be provided by Keith & Darla Knoblock and you are truly in for a surprise and a terrific treat.  Sunday morning will start with our men’s assn. meeting.  Following that will be our Sunday morning worship service with our Chaplain, Harry Brantley.  Always a delight to be at a service with Harry and he always reminds us to be thankful.  Sunday night is our crowning glory.  This is our last night together and everyone is dressed in their finest.  Keep in mind that we do not have a dress code but usually the gentlemen wear suits or slacks and a sport coat and the ladies wear a dress or a dressy pant suit.  We will have a photographer ready to shoot couples pictures at about 4:00 p.m. and the doors to the banquet room will open at 5 p.m. for an hour of socializing, picture taking and cocktails.  Dinner will start at 6 p.m.  Don’t miss this night!!  This is where we will draw for all those raffle prizes that are donated by shipmates.  Be sure to keep all those free return address labels that you are sent in the mail.  Bring them with you and they will keep you from having to write your name on all those raffle tickets you will buy.  On Monday morning we all leave for home to wait and see what 2012 will bring us.  Your activity form is on the next page with prices of everything. 
WHEELCHAIRS……Because there will be a bit of walking for these tours, if you think in any way that you might need a wheelchair, please reserve one.  We don’t want anyone to have a hard time.  We have worked a “deal” for you to rent a wheelchair and hopefully this will help you out.  The wheelchairs at this location are usually $75 but any of the Parks people who need the chairs can get them for $50….that’s for the time you are there, up to 7 days.  They have also waived the delivery charge so they will deliver it to the hotel for you for free.  If you want to reserve a wheelchair, please call Rick Patterson at the “Grace In Motion” store.  His phone # is 703-556-8998.  You must let Rick know by July that you will need to rent one of his chairs and you will pay when you reserve.  Rick can refund your money provided you cancel within 2 weeks of your scheduled arrival.  Don’t hesitate; we would much prefer to push you than to pick you up off the ground. 
     GOLF GAME……On Thursday, Sept. 15th there will be a golf game at the course right across the street from the hotel.  Keith Knoblock will put this game together for all who want to play.  So if you would like to join in please get in touch with Keith real soon.  You can call Keith at 703-532-8404 or you can email Keith at


Method of Travel:








Number of People



16 SEPT.






17 SEPT.






18 SEPT.








PLEASE DO NOT ALTER THIS FORM IN ANY WAY.  DON’T SHRINK IT OR ENLARGE IT.  JUST CUT IT OUT AND FILL IT OUT AND SEND IT IN WITH YOUR CHECK.  BE SURE TO FILL IN THE NAMES OF EVERYONE YOU ARE PAYING FOR.  WRITE NAMES JUST AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE THEM ON NAME BADGES.  TOTAL EVERYTHING AND MAKE CHECK TO FLOYD B. PARKS ASSN. AND SEND TO BILL BIRDSONG 17139 OWL TREE RD. RIVERSIDE, CA. 92504.  Be sure to check your banquet selections for everyone listed on this form.  The total of these activities are about $10 higher than in previous years but we have worked the best prices that we possibly could in Washington DC.  If you sign up for everything, your total will be $125 per person.  For your $125 you will get your bus, tourmobile, all tours, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and entertainment. 

This activity brings a lot of bragging and also a lot of whining into our hospitality room at the end of the game.  So get signed up with Keith for the fun.  Thank you Keith for running this activity. 
     YELLOW SHIRTS……At our Friday night dinner we have asked that the gentlemen wear a navy blue shirt and the ladies a bright yellow/gold shirt.  We have come upon a really neat yellow/gold tee shirt that some of us ladies have decided to wear… has the word “Navy” printed on it in navy blue.  This solves the shopping for a shirt problem for some of us and if any of you ladies are interested in one of these tee shirts please contact Sue Birdsong and place your order for a shirt.  Just give her the size you want and then in DC you can pay for and pick up your shirt.  No money needed now.  The shirts are $11 each. 
     AIRPORT…..Be sure that you fly into Dulles Airport!.  That is the closest to the hotel and they will send a free hotel shuttle for you.  But if you fly into Reagan then you will have to find your own way to the hotel.
     FINALLY…..One of our very large anonymous plaque donors made his donation in honor of 3 of our Captains….Captain McCulloch, Captain Donovan and Captain Erner.  What a great tribute. 
     So now its time to say goodbye until August.  If you have any questions of concerns, please contact Bill or Sue Birdsong.  Everyone take really good care and stay safe and healthy.  Have a great summer and stay in contact with your shipmates and friends.

BILL BIRDSONG                                     LARRY WHITE                       JAMES “ROBBY” ROBBINS
SECRETARY/TREASURER                   PRESIDENT                             ASSN. ADVISOR
17139 OWL TREE RD.                             616-364-8959                           530-283-2165   


You can’t go back…..or can you? I did……..and I plan to go back again in September.
It was December of 1947. I had finished Boot Camp and Yeoman “A” School in San Diego. After a leave to my home in Florida, I reported to my first duty station at
Quarters “K”, Navy Annex, Washington, DC.

Harry S. Truman was President of the United States. For Memorial Day 1948 a group of us sailors walked over to Arlington National Cemetery and saw our president lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It made quite an impression on our young minds. I transferred to sea the next month.

Fast forward to 1955. I had served on two ships and Lois and I were transferring to the Pentagon after a three year tour of duty in Heidelberg, Germany. During our four year tour in Washington we saw the ceremony at the Tomb many more times. By then it was known as the Tomb of the Unknowns, as veterans of other wars now rested there. We transferred from Washington to Madrid, Spain in 1959 and have not been back since.

Now it is 2011. Where has time gone? So many changes; so many other wars and now we will return again to witness yet another wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns. This one will be special. It is on behalf of Marine Major Floyd B. Parks, the officer for whom our gallant ship was named. And this time members of our crew will lay the wreath!

Osama Bin Ladin has been eliminated. Hats off to our Navy SEAL team. My prayers are with the men and women who are deployed around the globe and in the ships at sea. 

TAPS: Since our last newsletter we’ve lost SEVEN more crewmembers: Richard Hodshon, Leslie Byers, Ralph Rawson, Ronald Syverson, Edward Szafraniec, Forrest Cox and Aubrey Ford. May God rest their souls!

For God and Country!

                                                                                 Harry W. Brantley, MS, MA                                                                                                       
                                                                                 YNCM, U.S. Navy (Retired)
                                                                                 PARKS Association Chaplain