Reunion Highlights

USS Block Island Association

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1985 Las Vegas, NV

On the CVE 21 Officers and Crew page it was noted that the son of Captain Logan Ramsey Sr. served on CVE 106 as a Navy officer from the date of its commissioning until the end of the war.

Lt. Logan Ramsey Jr. without a doubt is one of the most recognized members of the crew of CVE 106. He served his country in the Pacific during WWII; after leaving the service he became well known to a large number of Americans.

During the time Logan Jr. was on the carrier he was very involved in the "smokers", as the entertainment programs were called on the ships. The photo on the left is Logan, Jr with friend Russ Allen on CVE 106 USS Block Island. Acting became part of his life. After WWII he headed to New York where he studied acting with Lee Strassberg. He developed an intense glare that made him a favorite villain on film and television for years to come. After appearing in some 15 stage plays he became a highly successful Broadway actor and attracted the notice of  the film and television program producers. He appeared in several films and numerous television shows including: The Edge of Night, Star Trek (original series), Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, Charlie's Angels, Mork and Mindy, Knight Rider and Night Court.The list of films and television productions goes on and on. He worked in the acting profession for 50 years. Logan Jr. and his command of the intense glare and his deep growled voice gave him many appearances as characters in many weekly sitcoms and mini-series productions. He fit the mold of the hard nosed lawyer or police officer, the villain and the crook but yet played the part of a "not so smart comedic sheriff" in a long running mini-series. Serious roles included playing J. Edgar Hoover.

His wife, Ann Ramsey, became a noted Broadway actress and received many awards. She appeared in over forty films including at least two with her husband. After surgery for cancer of the throat and jaw she played a grouchy old woman in such films as Goonies and Throw Momma From the Train.

Logan attended the 1985 Las Vegas reunion and is shown in the photo with his close friend and shipmate, Russ Allen.

Ann Ramsey passed away in 1988, Logan had a heart attack and died in 2000, and Russ Allen was lost in 2002.

 


June 1, 2005

What a delightful evening. Diane and I can't thank you enough for the welcome that you and your group gave us. It was truly a highlight for our trip to Branson. Your organization is not only a tribute to those that served on the CVE-21 and 106, it is an inspiration to all military people to keep in touch with those that they served with. We appreciate all you did to get in contact with me and hope that we can participate in the 2006 reunion in New Orleans.


I am honored to be an Associate Member of your group. You and Bill MacInnes have done a magnificent job. We will attempt to see what additional information we have in our closet of 5 years! We just received the pictures of the reunion. Isn't the computer world marvelous.

Thanks again  

Massie Hughes

2005 Branson, MO

Captain Francis Massie Hughes was in command of CVE 21 went it was sunk on 29 May 1944, he was also the first skipper of the new CVE 106 USS Block Island until Aug 1945.

Captain Massie Hughes had a son who was also given the name of Massie. Massie Hughes, Jr. graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in the class of 1958 and dropped the Jr. after his name when his father died. He served on destroyers including the DE952 USS Charles P. Adams.

Massie Hughes and his wife Diane attended the 2005 Reunion held in Branson, MO and sent this email to the President of the Association as soon as he returned home.


 

Every reunion is special and we are attempting to a put a summary and photos on this website for as many of the past reunions as possible. This page lists several reunions where some unique circumstances have occurred. The highlights follow:

2007 Block Island, RI

The 2007 Reunion was probably the most historic of all reunions. The island of Block Island is part of the state of Rhode Island and is located in the Atlantic in an area known as Block Island Sound. Two U.S. Navy escort carriers, CVE 21 and CVE 106, were named after the island. The USS Block Island Association had never held its annual reunion on the island until 2007. Thanks to the personal effort of Ben Hruska, Curator of the Block Island Historical Society, and many of the island residents, the 2007 reunion will never be forgotten.

A special part of this reunion was the focus on the rescue by CVE 106, and several other ships, of the POWs being held by the Japanese on the island of Formosa, now called Taiwan. Michael Hurst, who has lived in Taipei, Taiwan for the past 18 years was invited to attend the reunion. He had discovered that there were more than 15 POW camps in Formosa, and that the numbers of prisoners kept rising. The camps had a reputation for being some of the most brutal. Americans took more than 1,200 British and other allied servicemen back home.

Hurst organized some remembrance services for veterans, particularly those who had died as prisoners of war in Formosa. He wrote letters to discover where survivors lived and how to reach them. He continues to be in touch with the children of many World War II servicemen. In founding the Taiwan POW Camps Memorial Society, Hurst has fulfilled his dream of giving back to those who made, "Such huge sacrifices for their countries”. He is now director of the organization and continues to be very active in telling the story. In 2002 in was given a very special award, Member of the Order of the British Empire. To learn more about the organization please visit the website: http://www.powtaiwan.org

On 31 May 2007 the association members gathered at Point Judith, RI to board the Block Island high speed ferry. The U.S. Coast Guard gave the ferry an escort until it cleared the harbor and 30 minutes later the ship was ready to dock at Block Island. As the ferry arrived at the dock in Old Harbor, association members were surprised and touched to see banners, flags flying and many members of the island community lined up and waiting. It was especially nice to see fifth and sixth grade students with one of their teachers, Brandon Pineo of the Block Island School, waving. As the group left the ferry they were welcomed as special guests by members of American Legion Post 36.

Buses took the association members to Legion Park, location of the CVE 106 ship’s bell. After welcoming remarks by Ben Hruska and Dan Millea, Post 36 Commander, First Warden Kim Gaffett read a resolution of the Town of New Shoreham. The CVE 106 bell was rung and Michael Hurst read a poem entitled "Liberation" by Maurice Rooney, a since-deceased British POW, who was among those rescued by the USS Block Island. A very special guest was introduced, Cecil Clarke from the United Kingdom, who was held for three-and-a half years in a camp in Formosa. His attendance at the reunion was made possible, in part, by island residents. Although he had many conversations with members of the crew during the reunion, he was overcome with emotion as he tried to speak at the program.
Ben Hruska said that Clarke, "Served king and country in England's Royal Engineer Battalion”. Clarke and approximately 400 others from the U.S., Australia, Great Britain and Holland were held in a copper-mining camp in Formosa called Kinkaseki.

According to Michael Hurst, Kinkaseki was one of the most brutal camps. He found that of 15 camps on Formosa, conditions at Kinkaseki suggested that treatment of prisoners at this camp was singularly cruel.   There were never sufficient rations, just meager portions of rice often overrun by roaches; regular beatings; confinement in isolation; inadequate space per prisoner and dehumanizing treatment of men as slaves, often worked to the point of exhaustion or death. Of those who survived, many were described as skeletal shadows of themselves.

Clarke, 86, said the airlines made it difficult for him to fly to the States from England, demanding that he get medical clearance, and though he was frustrated initially, he understood they wanted to make certain he was well enough to travel. Clarke pointed to one of his several lapel pins with particular pride, noting it had been given to him by a representative of the Royal Family. He said it was issued by The Not-Forgotten Association, and stressed, "It is very important because lots of servicemen have been forgotten”. Clarke, who has been governor of a middle school in England and a lecturer in mechanical engineering at Peterborough College, said his recurring and, "Lasting memory is when the Americans took us off”. "When Formosa became a speck on the horizon, I moved away drying my happy wet face. With my eyes filled with tears of emotion, I saw the BLOCK ISLAND, majestic in grace. We were taken aboard and feted, deloused, reclothed and well fed. It was lovely to be treated so kind hearted.  They almost tucked us up in our bed… As for me I'm relieved and grateful and there's warmth which stems from my heart for those who came to answer our call God bless them all who took part."

Other special guests included Chuck Bartley, pilot, who served on the USS Santee, another escort carrier that participated in the rescue. Lieutenant Commander James Bates, carrier pilot and grandson of CVE 21/106 crewman William Guilfoile (AMM1/C), escorted his grandmother, Helen Guilfoile, widow of Bill.

After a tour of the island, the veterans and their families were hosted at a luncheon at Smuggler's Cove by Rita and Steve Draper and the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Post 36. Platters of assorted sandwiches and chips, steaming bowls of clam chowder,  and dessert were very appreciated by association members.

Many more photos of this reunion can be view on the 2007 Reunion page.



  

 

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