From the President's Desk - October 16th, 2019
Good evening shipmates
It’s about 3 weeks after the 5th USS Paul F. Foster reunion, I had a long drive home to think about how the weekend went, and for the most part, I am very happy with how everything went and I truly hope you all enjoyed yourselves. I saw a lot of smiling faces for sure.
First, I have to thank our honored guests, I have a strong connection with all three of them as I will explain, Captain Robert Danberg, was our sixth Commanding officer nd my very first Captain when I reported to Foster in 1988, I was truly honored to listen to his speech and I hung on his every word, Thank you, Robert and I hope to see at the next reunion.
Next I want to thank Captain Kim Buike, our ninth Commanding Officer, my fourth and last Commanding officer on Foster, Kim has been very generous to the Association over the years and I want to thank him for that, Kim is always entertaining and always gives a great speech, He gave me some great historical documents and I will be adding them to our Foster history book. Thank you, Kim.
Finally, Captain Robert Francis, just Rob to me, we worked together in forward engine when we were both GSMs, Rob went from the engine room of a Spruance class destroyer to Commanding Officer of an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, he did a great job of connecting the importance of S.D.T.S to the current world situation and explained how the Foster is still the tip of the spear in today’s Navy. Thank you, Rob
Next, of course, I must thank all the other board members that volunteered to work hundreds of hours on this 5th reunion, without Lou, Jon, Deb, Diana and Oneal, none of this would happen, some of these folks have been doing this for over ten years. Jon Powell especially, long after the last reunion Jon will still be selling Foster swag
And thank all of you, I want to thank everyone that participated in our meeting and for voting for your new board members, I hope I can live up to the standard set by our previous presidents, Oneal and I have some ideas to streamline things and because we have grown we need to do something a little bit different, I also want to preserve our history, you have all heard the discussions in the past about saving the Foster but those who attended the reunion also got to walk the decks and see all the changes, we just don’t see any way to preserve her as a museum anymore, instead we will preserve her history and as much memorabilia as we can get our hands on, Kim Buike has some ideas and we plan to investigate those ideas as far as we can.
The next reunion date, if you attended the meeting then you voted to hold the next reunion somewhere near the ship again, I fully support holding as many reunions as possible on the Foster as long as the Navy will let us, they have been very cooperative and I hope to build on that relationship, our bylaws say reunions will be held about every three years, that would be 2022, the test ship is going in for overhaul about then and would be unavailable to us so we will work with the Navy and probably hold the next event just prior to the overhaul, I will keep everyone posted, I will be staying in touch with them and will continue discussions about our involvement in Fosters future.
You also heard about the idea of a dependent cruise on the S.D.T.S. in the future, this is huge, it's huge that they will even discuss it, I foresee a lot of hurdles blocking our path, particularly in regards to the safety of our guests, but will do our best to figure it out. I also have begun conversations with them about what happens to Foster when they no longer need her, I told them we want to see a ceremony honoring her service to the fleet and we most definitely want to be involved in her last days of duty and they all agreed we will be involved, I will keep you all posted on anything I learn about that but if you looked inside the old helicopter hanger, I’m sure you saw how much they have invested in equipment and I suspect she will serve ten more years or more.
And I must apologize to you, We missed the ball on celebrating the tenth anniversary of the very creation of this association, that happened on September 18th, 2009 in Ventura California, I was at that meeting and voted alongside many of you, I apologize for missing that important date in our history but I have already started to work preserving the early history of this association and will be adding it to our history book as well.
The importance of these reunions to me, because of these reunions I have been able to connect with all four Commanding officers I served under during my almost 5 years on Foster, because of these reunions I got to see a different side of my former Commanding officers, a side I didn’t know about, it was at a reunion that I learned that Captain Timothy Ahearn knew the first name of a GSM2 from forward engine room as we greeted for the first time in 18 years and as I stuck out my hand and he called me David before I could even interduce myself, that’s what these reunions are about. We lost Timothy Ahearn a couple of years ago and I cherish that moment with him, it's those special moments you can’t explain to those that never served together as we did, we will always be shipmates.
We are going to follow Captains Buikes Command philosophy.
1. Do what’s right, we are going to do what’s right for the association.
2. Do it the right way, we will strive for innovation and imagination, if you have an idea speak up, I’ll listen
3. Make it fun, that’s why we go to reunions right?
Finally, a surprise, we have sent a letter to the Secretary of the Navy requesting that he name a new Destroyer USS Paul F Foster, in honor of Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, and Distinguished Service Medal recipient Paul Fredrick Foster, the only sailor to ever receive the US Navy’s three highest awards. The entire Foster family is on board and will participate as needed. Wish us luck as we pursue this as a way to carry on the name of the mighty warship USS Paul F. Foster.
David L. Klein
GSM1 1987 to 1993
USS Paul F. Foster Association