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Balch-Porterfield Newsletter 2009

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November, 2009




The Chicago reunion was a success, thanks to the hard work of Jack Corcoran.  See his recap below.


At the Board Meeting, Pat Fisher resigned as secretary and Jim Siler was elected secretary.  We owe many thanks to Pat and Claudia for their tireless work for this association for many years.  Pat and I will do our best to do a good job for the association.  Our contact information is on the last page of this newsletter.  Please feel free to contact us with comments and suggestions on how to make this an even better newsletter than it is already.


If you currently receive this newsletter by US mail and you have an email address, please send your email address to one of us.  As you know, postage is increasing nearly every year and the more we can send via email, the less postage the association has to pay.  Also, if your address, phone number or email address changes, please be sure to send it to us as soon as possible.  We want to be sure you continue to receive newsletters and that we have correct contact information.


We often receive information of benefit to veterans.  If space allows, we’ll include this information on the Veterans Information Page.  In this newsletter, there is information on Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam and the fact that the VA now recognizes several conditions that are “presumed” to be caused by exposure.  If you’ve previously filed a claim and been denied, you may now be eligible for VA disability benefits.


The next reunion will be in Salem, OR in Sept. 2010.  Details will be in the next newsletter.


Fair Winds and Smooth Sailing

Jim & Pat Siler


Message from Jack Corcoran


Thank you for all the kind words and thank you notes which I’ve received.  They are extremely appreciated.  Everyone can take credit for the Chicago Reunion.  Any time I needed assistance or direction, someone was right there to guide me.  The accommodations and hotel staff were superb.  Everyone seemed to be fed well and enjoyed the events we experienced.  One of the most enjoyable things about reunions is the week long camaraderie and BS, which we love.  John Bryan won the $25 prize for the password selection “Tin Can” for our visit to Tommy Gun’s Garage.  Marie Lesh launched her career challenge to Martha Stewart with her excellent breads and cookies.  One of my perks was taking home the breads that were left.  Thank you Marie!  I’m lathering them up with butter and enjoying every slice. 


Ruth Hamilton, as always, did a fantastic job of getting our lunches spread out.  On Friday, we had a small window of time between returning from Great Lakes and attending the business meeting and raffle to have lunch.  On the bus, I mentioned to Ruth how little time she’d have to get the lunch out.  Well, BINGO!  We returned to a full table, courtesy of Pat Godfrey.  She stepped up and had everything ready for us.  A big thank you to Pat Godfrey.


Our group was recognized as being in attendance at the Great Lakes Graduation.  We even had the opportunity to tour Great Lakes Naval Station and visit the Exchange.  A salute to Frank Bruno (WWII) for having eight family members join us at our banquet.


Unfinished business is that I have shirts available.  I have five shirts on hand.  They’re the same powder blue Polo w/pocket and our reunion assn. emblem on the back.  Small, medium and large are $18.  Sizes XX and above are $20.  They would make great Christmas gifts.  Email Jack at or phone him at 309-379-7040 to order.


There were two group pictures taken, one at Soldier Field after the Memorial Service and one at the banquet.  The pictures are $15 each.  Copies can be ordered from:


Pam Proctor Photography

7986 Bunton Road

Ypsilanti, MI  48197




Now that I’m no longer President, I’m going to miss the playing of “Hail to the Chief” whenever I enter a room!  Collectively, let’s all wish the best of luck to Diane Essig and Jim & Pat Siler for a successful reunion and better attendance in Salem, OR in 2010.


Mini-Reunion, Kerrville, TX – 2010


Sam Thomas provided information for the next mini-reunion.  The reunion includes the Memorial Day service at the Nimitz Memorial.  Sam says, “Anyone who has ever served in the United States Navy and their families should try and make it to the Nimitz Memorial at least one time.”  Many Balch and Porterfield sailors’ names are on bricks at the memorial and there is a large plaque on the Memorial Wall showing both ships.  Also, there are individual plaques of Balch-Porterfield shipmates on the Wall.  Our small association has more of the above than any other ship that served in the United States Navy.  To order bricks online:  Or contact Pat Siler for a copy of the form to be mailed to you.


Dates:        Sunday, May 30 – Thursday June 3, 2010 (Some come in Saturday)

Rates:  Fri. & Sat., May 28 & 29 - $89.00 + tax, Sun. through Thur. - $85.00 + tax


Hotel Information:

                  Y.O. Ranch Resort Hotel

                  2033 Sidney Baker

                  Kerrville, TX 78028


                  Be sure to mention you are with our group.

                  Cut-off date – April 28, 2010






Sam Thomas spoke with Frank Kurtz.  He was really honored to have the reunion dedicated to him.  He’s having problems with his legs but hopes to attend the Oregon reunion next year.  Sam also spoke with Marv Westcott.  Marv had planned to attend the Chicago reunion but got sick at the last minute and was unable to attend.


Sick Bay - Please keep the following in your thoughts and prayers.


Clements, Russell (Porterfield, BMSN, 62-64)

Forbes, Oscar “Oz” (Porterfield, SHCS, 58-60)

Hegel, Eileen, wife of Fred (Porterfield, MM3, 60-62)

Hutten, Ken, husband of Mary (widow of Augie DeWolf, Balch 43-44)

Laycock, Carol, widow of Cliff (Porterfield, MM, 51-55)

Shaffer, Bonnie, wife of Jeff (Porterfield, TM3, 60-63)

Thomas, June, wife of Sam (Balch/Porterfield, 42-43/43-45)


Additions to the Memorial List


Dirlam, Jr., Frank J. (Porterfield, WWII)

Fogler, Samuel J. “Sam”, (Porterfield, WT1, 43-46)

Pearl, Richard J. “Dick”, Porterfield, ET2, 51-54)

Schmitt, Faye, wife of Big Joe (Porterfield, TM3, 43-45)

Toal, Bill (Porterfield, FTSN, 52-54


Additions to the Roster



Hayhurst, John

Porterfield, EM, 59


Jenkins, Rex H.

766 Harpeth Rd.

Nashville, TN  37221


Porterfield, SF3, 61-62


Jochim, Stanley

Balch, WWII

Email is daughter Carol Huerbin


Retton, Tony

PO Box 7124

Eugene, OR 97401


Porterfield, BM3, 52-56


Tagg, Robert “Bob”


Wilkerson, Fred

5060 California Ave #1000

Bakersfield, CA 93309


Porterfield, SM, 67-69



Address, Phone, and/or Email Changes



Butler, James

3405 Hyperion Way SE

Palm Bay, FL  32909

Cell: 321-506-5200


Ditzler, Donald

1282 N 11th St.

Daved City, NE  68632



Sam Thomas

3571 Vista Grande

Shingle Springs, CA 95682





Balch-Porterfield Reunion Association

Expense Report

Fiscal Year Ending October 31, 2009











Balance 10/31/2008








Income - non-reunion related




Cap & Decal Sales








Total non-reunion related income












Expenses - non-reunion related




Cap Expenses

 $  12.86



Newsletter - printing & postage




Total non-reunion related expenses












Reunion Income




Money credited to Jack Corcoran




















Total Reunion Income












Reunion Expenses




Tommy Gun's Garage




Music - Monday




Music - Friday




Abbot Tours








Museum & Confectionary tours




Hotel Expenses - Food




Quarterdeck - food and beverages




Printing & Engraving




Advance to Jim Siler for Oregon reunion








Total Reunion Expenses








Bank Balance 10/31/09








** No advance was given for the Oregon reunion at the request of Jim Siler.






Veterans Information



WASHINGTON (October 13, 2009) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is applauding Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki’s decision to increase by three the number of illnesses that can now be linked to the herbicide defoliant Agent Orange, which was used extensively during the Vietnam War.

Today’s addition of hairy cell leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease raises to 15 the total number of “presumed” service-connected illnesses the VA considers linked to Agent Orange. 

"This is very significant," said VFW national commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., a Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis.  "Veterans who contracted one or more of the 15 associated illnesses no longer have to prove their illness was due to their service in Vietnam during the war.  The VA is saying ‘We believe you,’ which will enable more veterans to receive the healthcare and benefits they earned and deserve."

Shinseki’s decision is supported by an independent study by the Institute of Medicine, entitled, "Veterans and Agent Orange," which was released on July 24, 2009. 

Tradewell called the IOM report — the eighth in a series — extremely important because scientific research is continuing into the long-term effects of Agent Orange and other herbicides used during the Vietnam War. 

"The report also means scientific research is continuing to validate what the veterans' community has been saying for decades — that Agent Orange is making people sick," he said.

"As a former Army chief of staff and twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran of two tours, Secretary Shinseki knows how to take care of troops and their families.  His acceptance of the IOM recommendations also proves that he will listen to the scientific community and act on their recommendations if it helps to better serve veterans and their families,” said Tradewell.  "The veterans community is extremely fortunate to have him in our corner."

The new list of 15 illnesses now recognized under VA's "presumption" rule are:

To read the VA press release with links to more information on each illness, go to






Contact Information



James W. “Jim” Siler, Jr. (BT3, 64-66)

835 Claybanks Drive

Callaway, VA 24067

H: 540-483-5727

C: 540-420-5809


Pat Siler

C: 540-420-5808



Please contact either one of us with address, phone, email changes and any other crew information.  If you have questions relating to other subjects, we will see that it gets to the proper person.




The Balch-Porterfield Reunion Association website is managed by Jeff Shaffer.  Please contact Jim Siler with website questions or information and we will see to it that Jeff gets them.


Baseball Caps


For baseball caps, please indicate which ship you were on. The price is $10.00, which includes shipping.


The first patch, with the Pacific Ocean globe with Pride of the Pacific on it, was issued during the Korean Conflict (price $4.00) and the second patch, with a seahorse and spear came out in the 60’s (price $4.00).  The decal is the same design as the 60’s, with the seahorse (price $1.00).


To purchase, send a check payable to Balch-Porterfield Reunion Association to Jim Siler, 835 Claybanks Dr, Callaway VA 24067.


Facebook Page


For those of you who have computers and internet access, we have a “group page” for the USS Porterfield on Facebook (  It’s a place where shipmates can swap sea stories, post pictures and otherwise keep in touch.  There’s even a “chat” feature where you can write back and forth in “real time”.  If you’re already on Facebook, Type USS Porterfield in the search box at the upper right hand corner of any page and click to search.  Then click on the name of the ship to reach the page.  On the left, there is a list where you will see “Join Group”. Click on that and you’re in.  It’s as simple as that.  If you know of other shipmates who are on Facebook, you can “Invite” them to join as well.  If you’re not on Facebook, it’s easy and free to join.  We already have several members on there and welcome more, including family members.  Reunion information will be on the page as well.  To find us on Facebook, type James “Bill” Siler or Patricia Anderson Siler in the search box.  When you find us, send us a friend request.


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