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Reunion Information
LST 494's 15th Reunion was held Sept. 21-24, 2006 in Evansville, Indiana, where LST 494 was built and the current home of LST 325.  The host hotel was the the beautiful Executive Inn Hotel & Convention Center located at 500 Walnut Street.  A full report on the reunion appears below.  
Photos from the 2006 Reunion
Report on LST 494`s 15th Reunion by Mike Guarino
September 21-24, 2006
Evansville, Indiana
LST 494`s annual reunion was held this year in Evansville, Indiana, the birthplace of LST 494.  6 shipmates and 24 family members attended.  Our host hotel was the Executive Inn in downtown Evansville.  The hotel was very nice and centrally located. Those in attendance were treated to a fun hospitality room, tours of LST 325 and the Evansville Museum together with a wonderful Saturday evening wine & cheese reception and dinner banquet.  A nearby riverfront casino was frequented by many of our members as well.
The tour of LST 325 Friday morning was an emotional experience for the men who served on the 494 as well as family members.  The 325 looked good and a number of improvements have been made to her since many of us toured her a few years ago in Mobile, Alabama.  An intermittent rain could not keep our gang down during our tour.  That afternoon we were off again.  This time to the Evansville Museum where we were treated to a special “power-point” presentation on the WW II Evansville Shipyard that produced 167 LSTs (more than any other shipyard during the War).  The program was excellent and included a thank you to the Association for the $2,500.00 donation that was made to the Museum last year using a portion of Art Beal`s donated funds.  The money was used to buy computer equipment that has helped the Museum digitally save over 10,000 shipyard pictures.  A museum computer screen bore a photo of the 494 and a large painted and prominently displayed sign thanked the 494 Assoc. and Art Beal for their contribution.  The 6 Association members then presented the Museum a beautifully engraved plaque that honored sailors who lost their lives during WW II aboard Evansville built LSTs.  It will be displayed by the Museum in an exhibit case.
We enjoyed great fellowship and food at our Saturday night banquet.  Family members participated actively in the program.  They gave our invocation, read the memorial salute to recently deceased members, and explained the significance of the “Remembrance Table”, read an Ernie Pyle column he composed from Omaha Beach.  Other remarks and readings were handled by family members as well. The highlight of the banquet was Catherine Noyes` remarks coupled with her reading of Captain Noyes` speech he had lovingly prepared and planned to give at last years scheduled reunion in New Orleans.  We were all in tears after Catherine`s heartfelt remarks and after hearing Captain Noyes` beautifully crafted address.
This year`s reunion was bittersweet indeed.  Last minute cancellations by members and their families disappointed everyone.  Don and Dorothy Meier were driving to the reunion when Don experienced a stroke that hospitalized him.  Leon and Barbara Scott along with their daughter and son in law also had to cancel because Leon was not up to the trip due to his ongoing cancer treatments. John Francese and his family had to cancel a week before the reunion due to illness.  Howard Buhl and Helen also had to cancel due to illness.  Dick and Claudia Amante and Claudia`s brother and sister in law had to cancel at the last minute when their flight from California met with mechanical problems grounding them. Hank Kerzkowski and his wife had to cancel at the last minute as well due to illness.
Shipmates in attendance this year were Bob Fike, Bob Milich, Roy Finley, Dick Lenke, Joe Alfano and Joe Guarino.
Family members present were Catherine Noyes, Becky Sykes, Dorothy and Dennis Fike, Mary Milich, Matt, Stephen and Kathleen Finley, Dick Lenke`s son in law Gene Hamilton, Joe Alfano`s son Joe, daughter and son in law JoAnn and Jerry Copola, Della Grace, Mike and Greg Guarino, Manny Fernandez` daughter Virtue along with 3 of her children, Hank Kerzkowski`s daughter Terri Regan and her husband Don with their 2 children as well as Hank`s daughter Burni and her husband Ted Wagg.  
Two “D-Day” books were purchased to be given to Jerry and Tom Francese for their work over the last several years on behalf of the Association.  Jerry for his work in helping set up the Art Beal LST 494 Navy Award and Tom for working with the French government to secure the prestigious “Normandie Medal” for shipmates who served in the European Theater.  The books were signed by those present and will given to Jerry and Tom soon.
Thanks to Don and Dorothy for the work they did on the reunion.  Thanks also go to Matt Finley and my brother Greg who helped keep the hospitality room well stocked and the gang very happy.  Everyone was looking forward to next years reunion at a location not yet determined.  If you would like to help host next years reunion or if you have a suggestion on its location please let us know.
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