Bill, Fred, Steve, Anthony and Perry – shipmates aboard the USS Albany
December 29-January 1 — It had been 35 years since Fred, Perry, Anthony, Bill and Steve had been together, and yet this gathering was like these old friends had seen each other only yesterday. For the past four days, these former U.S. Navy shipmates who served on the USS Albany while stationed in Gaeta, Italy, all reunited in south Florida. They reminisced and laughed and told stories on one another… they enjoyed some really good chow (thanks, Anthony!) and other libations, including three bottles of fine single-malt scotch… they rang in the new year while recollecting their New Years Eve celebration together back in 1979 in Italy. And perhaps for them the most important thing – they committed to finding yet more of their former crew and to getting together again sooner rather than later for another of these reunions.
I had heard so many stories of Fred’s Navy days, particularly those while he was serving in Gaeta, so it was a treat for me, as one of the three WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends) who joined in the festivities, to put faces with the names and tales. And I observed that while the years have naturally aged these five, it was apparent that a strong sense of camaraderie and affection was still present, and that they all just seem to be older versions of their younger selves.