USS John C. Calhoun (SSBN 630) Veterans Association
2008 Minutes
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Minutes of the 2008 Reunion


The meeting was opened by President Glenn Gerbrand at 0900 hours in the Finley Lecture Hall at the Chattanooga - ChooChoo Holiday Inn Hotel, Chattanooga TN, and preceded according to the agenda.


The Pledge was led by Glenn, and followed with welcoming comments.


Chaplain Jim Magin gave the invocation.


The following members were in attendance (55 total):


Peter Barlow, George A. Bedsworth, Ed Blockinger, Reb Burton, Jim Byrd, Rosalie J. Calhoun, William J. Cantrel, Bill Caudill, Macon “Bucky” Clark, Garry Collins, Jerry Cope, Jerry Dale, Steven N. Dye, Barry Ensminger, Jon Fader, Ron Faircloth, Glenn Gerbrand, John Gordon, Al “AJ” Gould, Daniel L. Harris, Don L. Holloman, Max Hopkins, Rob Hughes, Dan Hunt, Dean Hunt, Jeff Kollhoff, Dennis Lanier, Maurice L. Laubach, Michael Layman, Bob Lee, Michael Lewis, John D. Lytle, Bruce McKenna, Jim Magin, Al Marshall, Paul Matthews, Charlie Mineau, Mark Paar, Ted Pruitt, Bill Rogerson, Jack St. Pierre, Pete Sarafian, George Shaw, Joe Shook, Bill Smith, Robert Stringfellow, Pete Swiderski, Mike Toomey, Rick Umland, George R. Walrath, Norm Warner, Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, Ken Wethington, Ralph White, and Tom Yingling.


Reports: (all accepted by vote of members)

- Vice President Joe Shook.  As a result of Joe’s efforts to increase our membership, we have added 27 new members, and 27 renewals.  He has had difficulty in obtaining shipmates names as records were destroyed due to Hurricane Katrina.


- Secretary: Jon Fader. A correction was noted in the 2006 Minutes referring to the Dolphin Scholarship Fund – should have been SUBVETS Scholarship Fund. Minutes of 2006 meeting accepted.


- Treasurer: Ralph White. Ralph reported that as of 19 July we have $11741.35 cash in bank; $488.51 cash in PayPal; $12229.86 total cash. Total expenses since last reunion were $988.44.  Total cash received since last reunion was $5213.10.  Ralph announced that he would like someone to relieve him as Treasurer.


- Chaplain: Jim Magin.  Jim pointed out that fellowship is the glue that holds us together.  Communication is the key – needs should be identified to Jim so that he can take necessary action.


- Webmaster: Garry Collins.  Garry emphasized that our web site serves as a way to attract new members.  Garry announced that he is looking for relief as Webmaster.


- Storekeeper: Jeff Kollhoff.  Jeff gave an overview of inventory and sales to date.


Old Business (Unresolved)


Commemorative Plaque.  Details were presented at the 2006 reunion concerning a Calhoun memorial plaque at the Navy Museum in Washington DC at a cost of $3000.00.  It was decided that a distribution of plaque recommendations was to be made to the membership for consideration.  This item was discussed at the 2008 business meeting but not fully resolved.  It was suggested that we solicit donations via our web site.  Donations were received for the plaque at the reunion.  Post-meeting note: Garry Collins has taken responsibility for overseeing a vote, for or against the plaque via a poll of shipmates.  The vote has been posted on our web site, and includes the following: Idea: Proceed or don’t proceed with seeking donations; Donate: I would, or would not donate; Donation: Amount willing to donate; Design: Make deposit now or hold off on making deposit; Treasury: Treasury should or should not subsidize; Name: Name of voter; Email: Email address of voter.  A tally of the votes will determine whether to proceed with placing the plaque in the Navy Memorial.


New Business


Agenda Item 1: Proposed bylaws amendment concerning life membership.  Amendment to Article IV, Section 2 that defines a “Life Membership. This Life Membership will be awarded to a very select few whom the membership feels are deserving. It was decided at the 2008 business meeting that life membership would be awarded for extraordinary service to the organization to one person per year.  The Board of Directors will decide on the life membership award. 


Item approved by vote of membership


Agenda Item 2: Amendment to Article III, Section 8 eliminating the position of Newsletter Editor and incorporate the duties into those of the Webmaster.


It was decided to table this item.


Business Agenda Items


Agenda Item 1: Change website members only password annually as an incentive to keep membership current and renew your membership.


It was agreed to change the web site password annually.  The new password was agreed upon and will be provided to all paid up members.


Agenda Item 2: Create a one time award for Meritorious Service to RADM Dean Axene to consist of a plaque and Life Membership.


VP Joe Shook discussed a one time meritorious award to be presented to Admiral Dean Axene (Commissioning Blue skipper).  As pointed out by Doc Weisbuch, Admiral Axene was responsible for implementing the Sub Safe program that more than likely saved many lives.  A motion was made to establish a similar award be made every two years to an outstanding SSBN 630 shipmate; this award would be incorporated into ARTICLE IV Section 3 of the bylaws.  An award will be presented to Admiral Axene based on recommendations from a committee consisting of Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch, Capt. Al Marshall, and CDR. Bill Rogerson.


After much discussion, it was decided to table the 2-year award.


Agenda Item 3: Establish “Recruiting Awards”.

      Levels proposed are:

    1. Recruit 3 members and receive two years free membership.
    2. Recruit 5 members and receive free dinner for member and spouse at the next reunion.
    3. Recruit 10 new members and receive their hotel stay at the next reunion paid.
    4. The totals will run from the present reunion to the next. Any recruiting totals at the end of the present reunion go to zero.


Glenn Gerbrand discussed the recruiting awards.  The award would also give recognition on our web site to the winners.


This item was approved by vote.


Agenda Item 4: Establish a “Wreath Pin” to the widows of Calhoun Sailors who have departed on Eternal Patrol. The pin will be included with a condolence letter sent by our Chaplain.


Glenn discussed this item. Glenn proposed that our Chaplain Jim Magin would present a wreath pin award to widows of deceased shipmates.  This item was approved by vote.  (Chaplain Jim presented wreath pins to Jo Ann Esposito and Peggy Gilliland at the Saturday evening banquet.)


Agenda Item 5: Purchase a “Commemorative Plaque” at the U. S. Navy Memorial in D.C. (This is a left over item from our last business meeting in 2006. Garry Collins made the original proposal).


This item was discussed under Old Business.


Agenda Item 6: Establish a Scholarship Fund. Every reunion a scholarship would be awarded to a local individual as determined by a local college or university Financial Aid officer. The reunion host would approach the office to pick the person. The recipient and his/her family would be invited to the reunion banquet with the association bearing the expense of their meal, and presented the scholarship and a booklet with the history of John C. Calhoun, the man, John C. Calhoun, the ship, and the John C. Calhoun Veterans Association, and have them presented by Rosalie Calhoun. We will print an appropriate photo, frame it and send it to them after the reunion. I (Glenn Gerbrand) have been in contact with 3 people who administer scholarship funds, one for the Navy League in San Diego, and they all assure me that setting up a fund and managing it is relatively easy. Glenn Gerbrand has volunteered to head this effort if accepted by the membership.


Glenn discussed this item.  Details will be provided at the 2010 reunion.


Agenda Item 7: Mark Lorenzo has donated a beautiful framed picture of the Calhoun, which he received as a retirement gift and had Rosalie sign the back. A proposal would be for the outgoing President to retain the picture for two years, sign the back with their dates of service as board member and then forward it on to the next outgoing president. This picture along with all other items will be donated to a museum or archived as determined by the membership at the dissolution of the association.


Disposition of the picture, as noted above, was approved by vote.


Agenda Item 9: Miscellaneous items.

a. Chaplain Jim Magin led a discussion on how we can help shipmates that are victims of natural disasters.  Jim suggested that we use $2,000 seed money from our treasury.  After some discussion, a motion was made to provide a global notification via our web site when a shipmate is victim of a natural disaster and solicit contributions. 

The motion was approved.


Note: This item was highlighted by Shipmate Lowell Russell’s recent devastating loss.


b. Based on approval of New Business Agenda Item 1 above, Shipmate Barry Ensminger recommended that Secretary Jon Fader be awarded life membership.


Approved by vote.


(Personal note: I am deeply moved and grateful.  JF)


c. Treasurer Ralph White discussed the Dolphin Scholarship Race to the North Pole fundraiser.  The boat that raises the most money wins the race.


A motion was made to donate $500 to the Dolphin Scholarship fund and approved.


Post-meeting note: Ralph received a letter from Randi Cline, Executive Director of the Dolphin Scholarship Fund thanking John C. Calhoun Veterans Association for our donation.  As of 24 July 2008, we are among the top 20 boats.  Progress can be viewed on


d. 2010 Reunion.  The following sites were recommended: Branson MO, Chattanooga TN, New London CT, Huntsville AL, and Charleston, SC.


It was decided by vote to hold the 2010 reunion in Charleston SC, hosted by Tom Yingling.


Election of Officers: The following are our new officers (elected and appointed):

President: Joe Shook

Vice President: Dr. Jonathan Weisbuch

Treasurer: Dan Harris

Secretary: Jon Fader

Storekeeper: Jeff Kollhoff

Historian: Pete Swiderski

Photomaster: Glenn Gerbrand

Webmaster: Bill Caudill


The meeting was adjourned at approximately 1200 hours.


Respectfully submitted,


Jon Fader