USS Robert A. Owens Shipmates Association


This page will contain any and all reports, and comments from the 2021 Shipmate Reunion held in /Oct. As information is received, you will find it here. 



OCTOBER 7, 2021


In accordance with the organization’s By-Laws, Article I, Section 2, a business meeting was held with all members at the reunion present.


1. Minutes from the business meeting of 9/3/2019 were read and approved.


2. An election of officers was held with the following results:

            President                     Larry McCoskey

            Vice President             John Wanko

            Treasurer                    Gary Parks

            Secretary                     Vacant

            Ship’s Store                 Bill Miller

            Chaplain                      Keith Totsch

            Historian                     Bill Miller – acting

            Membership Comm.   Vacant

            Reunion Comm.          Ron Genevese and Bill Miller co-chairs

            Audit Comm.               Bill Miller, Ron Pervere, Vacant

            Ping/Web Editor         Jerry Jackson


3. A budget report was given by Treasurer Gary Parks. All final reunion expenses have not been cleared as of this date, and a present balance of $10,589.15 was in our account. Gary expects that there will be approximately $4000 for reunion expenses yet to be paid. This should be net increase of about $1900 since our last reunion in 2019.


4. Keith Totsch gave a Ship’s Store report and overview. Only 4-5 orders were received in the past year, but more should be expected. Much discussion on store pricing was heard with Keith explaining that some prices were not producing any income due to increased shipping cost. At the close of this reunion Bill Miller will assume the duties of Ship’s Store Manager. He requested permission to hold a Christmas Sale this year with reduced prices to lower the inventory and permission was granted with a vote of the members present.


5. Donations were requested and approved for the following:

            Navy League, Pittsburgh Council (our speaker’s organization)          $250

            Tin Can Sailors, Inc.                                                                             $100

            Disabled American Veterans                                                              $250

All donations have been sent to the respective organizations.


6. The Jim Holden Award was presented to Keith Totsch at the reunion banquet.


7. The next reunion will be held in Cleveland, OH, with Ron Genovese and Bill Miller hosting.


8. Discussions were held on the following subjects:


            A. Naming a new ship after Robert A. Owens. President McCoskey said he had been trying to contact persons – Congress, Senate, Secretary of the Navy – with no success. It was suggested that all members of the organization write their respective representatives with this request as well as any other person(s) who could help in this endeavor. McCoskey will draft and submit to the Ping a form letter to be used as a template for all members to utilize.


            B. A discussion was held regarding Associate Membership to the organization. This is addressed in our By-laws under Article 2, (Membership), Section 2 (Classification of Member), sub-section C, (Associate). Since the present form we use for membership did not include any of the choices other than a regular active member, we agreed to ask Jerry Jackson to revise the form to include Associate Membership. Jerry did this immediately by inserting 3 selection boxes on the original application.


            C. All members are requested to send Jerry Jackson pictures of this year’s reunion. In addition, any pictures of interest that people have and/or any interesting stories of your stay on the OWENS would be welcomed by Jerry to include in subsequent issues of the Ping.


            D. Historic Memorabilia that has been accumulated over the years by the Historian has become increasing difficult to store for any one individual. As much of the memorabilia originally belonged to the ship, we asked Jim Owens (RAO’s nephew and oldest survivor of RAO) to go through all the items and take what he wanted so that it may be passed down to his heirs. With our organization beginning to diminish and so many items in storage from unknown individuals we felt it prudent that these items be transferred to the Owens family. All items, including every issue of the Ping, that were in the custody of the Historian have been electronically documented, photographed and placed on multiple thumb drives that each officer of the organization has. If you have an item(s) that you donated to the organization that you would like to have returned, please contact Bill Miller or Jim Owens and they will make every effort to see it is returned to you.


            E. During the Treasurer’s Report, it was discussed that the biggest expense we have each year is printing and mailing the 3 issues of the Ping. Our dues is $10 per year, but it costs about $16+ to print and mail Pings 3 times a year to those who do not want to receive it electronically.   We understand that not everyone has email and have requested those receiving the Ping by USPS to find someone who will get it electronically and print it for them. We still are mailing about 30-40 Pings each issue. Therefore, it was suggested, moved and seconded that anyone wishing to receive the Ping via USPS and not email have a surcharge on their dues of $5 to cover the cost of mailing. 

Prior to the 2021 Reunion/Business meeting, it was decided to try to "Zoom" (virtual attendance) for the members that might want to do so. I asked (in the PING twice) that anyone that desired to attend should contact me in advance as there is a difference in membership level with zoom in order to have so many attend. 
         To put it bluntly, I received absolutely no requests to attend or be invited to attend, so there was no virtual attendance except for myself. While it was not the same as being there in person, it did give me direct insight as to what was being said and done as well as have input myself on certain matters. This may or may not be something we pursue in the future, once again, depending on interest shown by the members. Let me know if you have suggestions or questions about this.
Jerry Jackson
Web Manager



                Our 2021 Robert A. Owens Shipmates Association reunion was held October 4-7 in Pittsburgh at the Comfort Inn Conference Center off Rodi road. Bill Miller was our host and did an outstanding job of coordinating all the events we had throughout the week. This was another great reunion for those who attended.


                Monday, we traveled and arrived at the hotel and spent some time in the hospitality room with our shipmates recalling, as we could, the memories, names and events or our times on board. We had plenty of drinks and snacks to keep us sipping and munching all evening. We pretty much used the hospitality room as our base of operations throughout the week.


                Tuesday, we boarded the tour bus for our trip to Shanksville to see the Flight 93 Memorial, which is now managed by the National Parks Service. It is now a National Memorial Site and is extremely well done, as is everything the National Parks Service does. The tour was quite moving with a walk through the Visitor’s Center that was filled with items from the crash, pictures of those lost, recordings of the day of September 11, 2001 and a gift shop with many appropriate items. One can only view the crash site from a distance where a large boulder rests and we were informed that only family members of the crash can actually walk to that area. A very reverend site. We left the memorial and went to the Stoystown American Legion for lunch, a very nice post and a really good lunch. This was followed by a long bus ride back to the hotel. A full day for us all!


                Wednesday we again boarded the tour bus and, along with a very knowledgeable tour guide, traveled all over the City of Pittsburgh. We rode the Duquesne Incline, an 800’ single car trip up the tracks on the hillside overlooking the Ohio River and the main business district of Pittsburgh as well as the sport’s stadiums. We stopped at a very old pretzel shop, watched them being made and received a free sample! For lunch we went to an iconic Pittsburgh restaurant called Primanti Brothers and had time to shop a mercantile district after lunch. To conclude the tour, we went to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall Museum, a very beautiful building with military displays from the history of the U. S. All displays with memorabilia and artifacts were professionally and beautifully done.


                Thursday morning, we attended the business meeting which is mandated in our Constitution and By-Laws of the organization. A copy of the agenda and minutes of the meeting is posted on the web site. Several important things were discussed and passed, a couple of which are in the President’s Message in this Ping. After the meeting, the hotel served a great lunch for the members in attendance.


                While the members were in the business meeting, the ladies took a trip to the Phipps Conservatory and viewed all the items there. They had a great time and went to lunch while touring.


                Thursday evening was our banquet at the hotel. We had the Pledge of Allegiance, Keith Totsch offered the blessing and then we had an outstanding meal. If one didn’t get full in this buffet line, they weren’t trying. After dinner we had a retired Navy Captain who spoke on the trials and tribulations of being a female officer; very eye opening, informative and interesting. After dinner we presented the Jim Holden Award to Chief Keith Totsch for his outstanding service to our organization. Keith didn’t know in advance he would be the recipient and, I believe, was quite surprised. Great job, Keith. We then had a series of drawings for donated items and adjourned after that to the Hospitality Room.


Friday was checkout day and we all returned home very happy with our reunion experience.





            During our last reunion in Charleston we decided to try to find out how to go about naming a new ship after Robert A. Owens. Efforts by Larry McCoskey failed, evidently falling on deaf ears after trying a couple of different things. During our business meeting this year it was suggested by Jack Wanko that all of us try as a group to get something done.


            So we’re asking everyone who receives this Ping to send out 2-3 letters to our representatives and senators and to the secretary of the Navy. Following is how to get in touch with these persons:


Secretary of the Navy


            Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy

            Office of the Secretary of the Navy

            Room 4D652

            1000 Navy Pentagon

            Washington, D. C. 20350


Secretary Del Toro is a retired Commander and was the Captain of a DDG.


To find the name and address of your local representative, the one who represents the constituents of your immediate area, go to At the top right of page there is an icon that says, “find you representative”. Click on that and follow the directions. It’s easy.


Pretty much the same for the senate. and find the drop down box that says “contact” and follow the directions.


With both these, you’ll get the name and office address and, in some cases, the address of the office right in your home town where you can contact your reps. Tell them about Sgt. Owens, recipient of the Silver Star and the Medal of Honor in WWII. Tell them that our ship has been decommissioned and we would like a new ship named for him.


You may also send a letter to the senators and reps from SC, as that was Owens’ home state.


Efforts from us all may harvest some positive results. Together, we can make this happen.


NOTE From Web Manager: For those that may have a problem creating a letter from scratch, please go to the "News And Events" page here in the web site and click on (and print) the letter to the Secretary of Navy that Larry wrote some time is a different person now but all you have to do is copy the letter with the new letter head, copy the information that follows the letter, and forward it to SecNav. It will also give you a form to help create the other two letters.