28 February 2021
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After the war I went into the restaurant business and
one day three of my old shipmates came in.

We talked about our experiences and thought it would be a good idea to hold a reunion.

We've had one every two years since 1954.

Our 1993 reunion in Las Vegas marked the fiftieth year since the sinking.
Sometimes it seems like yesterday.

Terry Dempsey

source : Escape from the Sea
William C Henderson Jr
USS Helena CL-50

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February 2021

The primary sources for Milestones are:

USS Helena Organization web site
Reunions Past

Newsletters begin in 2005
( Dave Brouchoud )

US Navy ALL HANDS magzine

Wallace E Barnette Collection
( Harold Barnette )

From the 1989 Organization Muster

Wesley F Frazier served on
CL-50 January 1942 - July 1943
CA-75 July 1958 - July 1962


Ernest G Grosskopf
FG9 1926

The USS Helena Organization's beginnings date back to 1951 or 1952 with Terry Dempsey being the focal point in
getting things started.

I do not know if Terry was the president as there are no records dating back
to those days.

In 2005 Bill Bunker stepped down as president after 40 years at the helm. This indicates that he ran things
beginning in 1965.

1981 was the first year that men of the
CA-75 were invited to attend a reunion.

Around 1987-88 men of
SSN - 725 were invited.

Presidents since 2005 are:

Bob Kern ( CA-75 )

Gayle Udell ( CA-75)

Jim McNamee ( CA - 75 )

Rus Stoddard ( SSN 725 )




Milestones is not a journey constructed with straight lines.
While the years are in chronological order,
you will encounter many detours along the way.

Most of these detours are from ALL HANDS Magazine.

Every ten years ALL HANDS puts together a special edition to
Remember the Day of Infamy

The November and December 2001 issues considerably expanded this to include 9/11


The first reunion took place in 1953 and were followed every three years up to the 1968 reunion.
Reunions were then held every two years.

Reunion Announcements appeared in both The Naval Reserve and All Hands magazines.
The last issue of The Naval Reserve magazine that I can find is 1956

Following the September 1992 edition, ALL HANDS stopped carrying these announcements.

Dave Brouchoud has a section in the USS Helena Organization web site titled Reunions Past.

These cover most of the reunions since 1965 and there you will also find the link CL-50 gatherings.

The number of photos in each of these reunion pages varies , and only a few have lists of attendees.

The 1968 was the first reunion to have a list of attendees and it was not until 2007
that attendees appear on a regular basis.
( The exception is the 2013 Reunion in Helena Montana )

A valuable source is the newsletters from the Wallace E Barnette Collection.

These newsletters cover the period from the late 1980s through the mid 1990s.
Provided by his son
Harold Barnette



Clifford Casey USS Helena (CL 50) Organization
Membership card

Used with permission from Dave Brouchoud
USS Helena Organization

Vern Johnson CL-50
wearing the first Organization cap
2013 reunion
Helena Montana

Photo taken by
Doug Comella