Thomasville Times Enterprise

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September 23, 2013

Companion-ship

THOMASVILLE — Two generations of veterans from across the nation came together for a common memory last week.

Two World War II veterans, four Korean War veterans and one veteran who served in World War II and the Korean War journeyed to Thomasville to share memories of the USS Rehoboth AVP-AGS 50, a navy ship.

This year marks the 22nd year that the group has gathered. The first time was in 1991 in Pennsylvania with attendance about six veterans. Later, as the group became established and got the word out about their yearly meeting, more veterans from the USS Rehoboth started coming. Sixty attended one year.

On Wednesday, the veterans checked in at the Best Western and began visiting with fellow veterans and friends. On Thursday, activities included photographs, interviews, a visit to two Cairo museums and dinner at a Cairo restaurant

On Friday, the group took a guided bus tour of Thomasville and lunched at a local restaurant. Later, they traveled to Pebble Hill Plantation.

Each veteran who attended this year’s reunion, even though they were on the ship at separate times, had a story to tell about their experience on the Rehoboth.

Pat Farrell of northern California and a Korean War veteran joined the Navy when “Uncle Sam” sent him a letter. He ended up in Norfolk, Va., and did not have a specific job on the Rehoboth. He had to ensure the ship was clean, however.

He said, “Unless you’ve experienced in something like this, it’s hard to explain. On the ship, we were 18 inches from one another trying to sleep. We were so close to one another, showered together — we got to know one another. There’s not much difference in people, except maybe some of us talk differently. We all experienced, basically, the same thing on the ship. For me, I knew when I came back home that there was more to this world.”

See Tuesday's edition for more details.

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