Flamin Caiman News
March 28, 2021
This is where you can read the latest news and old news about the USS Caiman Association and it's members and other topics of interest.
We would like to hear your feedback and any ideas you might have for future reunions. Send us an email to
USS Caiman Association Membership
The USS Caiman Association is now over 300. A BIG THANK YOU to all the shipmates that have joined our ranks! Joining the Association is completly voluntary. Membership dues goes 100% towards our on going expenses for newsletter printing, postage, hosting of this web site and planning for reunions. For more information on our USS Caiman Association just go to our Join page. If you would like to join, print out the form and mail it in.
Smitty (Doug Smith, the Association Secretary) continues to look high and low for more USS Caiman shipmates. There are only 47 left that he hasn't found. It's getting real difficult, so if you have any clues or have some time to help us look, please get hold of Smitty. Here's the scoreboard as of 3/28/21:
- Sailing List: 1371
- Live Souls: 426
- Eternal Patrol: 946
- Lost List: 47
We now have a Holland Club list of USS Caiman shipmates that have made it into this exclusive club. As more members are inducted into the club we will update the list.
The Holland Club was established in May 1964 and was adopted as part of the Constitution and bylaws of the US SubVets Association.
The Holland Club was established to recognize USSVI members who had been qualified in Submarines 50 or more years.
CONGRATULATIONS to all of our members for achieving this major milestone!
Take a look at the Caiman DBF video on YouTube.
There are three new CAIMAN Patrol Reports and one Operational Report in the history section. These are reports from 1947 through 1954. Very interesting reading. Check them out.
The Photo Gallery went down mid May 2010 because our web host provider moved the site to a new server. I have been working on it and as of June 27th, have the photo gallery back up. It looks different, but you can see the pics. I will be tweaking it for awhile to get it back in shape. The video gallery is also down. I am troubleshooting that problem and hope to have a solution soon. Meanwhile, I will be posting pics from the Reno reunion over the next few weeks now that the gallery is sort of working. Stay tuned.
We hold reunions every two years. After each reunion, I write up a summary of what went on and post it to this page below from the latest to the first reunion in 2004.
2018 Reunion in Little Rock, Arkansas
The 2018 reunion had a good turnout of 67 sailors and 66 guests. We had two Caiman offspring and six grandchildren in attendance. Some of them plan to attend the next reunion. They enjoyed the sea stories and the other events Caiman provided. Due to medical and other problems we had six sailors plus their guests cancel within the last week prior to the reunion. They all are going to try and make the next reunion. All the prizes at the dinner were donated which helped save Caiman funds for the free beer at the next reunion. We also had several prizes that were made by attendees or relatives for our raffle.
We had a great time visiting the U. S. Submarine Razorback which is located in the Arkansas river a short distance from the Holiday Inn we stayed in. We spent all day on board which brought back a lot of great memories. We enjoyed a wonderful luncheon on the barge moored along side the Razorback. Many of us also ventured out around Little Rock visiting the sites including an interesting trolley tour of Little Rock and the Clinton Presidential Library. We really enjoyed the sights of the historic capitol.
2016 Reunion in Tucson, Arizona
We had another great union in Tucson with 68 shipmates and their guests in attendance. We had six shipmates that attended their first reunion. They all enjoyed it and said they were looking forward to the next one. David Sullivan’s (48/49) wife made a red, white, and blue quilt for the reunion. She also furnished a unique pen and all the CAIMAN shipmates signed the quilt. We had a special drawing for the quilt and Carl Scott (58/59) was the lucky shipmate who won. We had several drawing prizes donated by shipmates. Al “Lee” Vassar (71/72) won the grand prize which was a wood cutaway of the CAIMAN furnished by the CAIMAN Assn. This was the third reunion that a shipmate designed and provided a special tee shirt for each attendee.
Our outing on Wednesday was a visit to Old Tucson. Old Tucson is a movie set that is set up as an old western town complete will all the stores and other buildings. Just like in the movies, Old Tucson has a saloon. Many of us enjoyed the saloon and all that it offers. They had a show complete with dance hall girls. We had a couple of stars among the crew. John Jurcheck (68/70) danced with one of the young ladies and Laurin “Clete” Boyer (69/71) was recruited to be part of the show. Lucky’s wife, Carol Ehrnschwender (69/71) was in the medicine man show. She had to move fast to avoid getting drenched. Phil Punzel (69/72) won the fast draw contest and his opponent did a great death scene.
2014 Reunion in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Our 2014 reunion in Coeur d'Alene was a total success. The Coeur d'Alene Resort is a perfect venue. The management and staff were great and took care of all of our needs. There were very few problems and those were taken care of very quickly. Thanks to Smitty, Yeo and Bob "Dings" Dengel who lives in the area for all their hard work in putting it all together. The photos and videos from the reunion are in the photo gallery.
At the luncheon on Tuesday we honored several new Holland Club members, passed out boxes of choclates to all the ladies and enjoyed Smitty's roast of Dings.
On Wednesday we boarded a double decked tour boat and toured the lake and heard all about the history of the lake and surrounding area. The weather was picture perfect. It was a beautiful warm day.
The banquet was a grand affair as usual. Jim "Tooley" O'Toole stepped in to play auctioneer and auctioned off Gerry Shafer's neck tie, a 1943 submarine Klaxon and a submariner's burial flag. The Association thanks everyone for bidding in these auctions and for buying tickets for the raffle. We brought in over $700 alone on the auctions. Thank you to the many that contributed items for the raffle. Thank you to John Troutman for donating special 2014 reunion tee shirts for every attendee. The grand prize winner of the raffle was Bernie and Evelyn Ritscher. Bernie was the only reunion attendee that served on the Caiman in 1944 and 1945. This was a perfect ending to a great reunion.
We would like to hear your feedback and any ideas you might have for future reunions. Just click here and give us some feedback.
The 2012 USS Caiman Association 5th Reunion was held in San Antonio, Texas at the River Walk Holiday Inn. We had over 160 in attendance. It was a fantastic affair. We can measure that in many ways. We had about 15 folks show up on Sunday, a day early, to get a jump on the story telling and help to set things up. We had about 150 for the final banquet on Thursday and we consumed all 20 cases of beer, 3 cases of O'Douls beer and many cases of pop. We had around 4 Shipmates that had not attended any previous reunions and we had the son of a Shipmate that was on Caiman in 1945.
Taken all together, this was one heck of a reunion. The usual suspects that made it happen were Doug 'Smitty' Smith and John 'Yeo' Fagereng. They visited San Antonio in May 2011 to work out the plan and negotiate with the hotel and worked for the next 12 months after that to make sure all the details were taken care of. We owe them a great deal for continuing to keep these reunions going.
For an outing, we went to the National Museum of the Pacific War, also known as the Nimitz Museum, located about 70 miles north of San Antonio. It's truly a gem of a WWII museum and well worth the trip. Part of the museum is located in what was the Nimitz family home and hotel where Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz lived as a child. The conning tower superstructure of the USS Pintado SS-387 is out front of the main entrance.
We held the kickoff luncheon on Tuesday, went on the museum outing on Wednesday and had our banquet on Thursday. In between these events, the hospitality room was the place to be where stories were told and retold and liberal amounts of beverage were consumed. Everyone had lots of free time too to explore the River Walk which was right out the back door of the hotel.
Our May 2010 Reunion in Reno was a HUGE success! We broke all previous attendance records with 240 in attendance. It's hard to believe but the Yeo and Smitty always find a way to make each one of our reunions better than the last one. The reunion was at the Circus Circus hotel and we went to old Virginia City for our outing. You can see all the pictures from this and all other reunions in the Gallery.
What a great time we all had in Branson! Branson is a great location for reunions. The hotel did a great job in taking care of us too. We had over 200 in attendance.
Take a look at the pictures and videos in the gallery and you will see some of what went on. You can also view some of the videos on YouTube. To find the videos on YouTube either use this link, or search YouTube for "flamincaiman". Come back once in awhile as more pictures and videos will be added from time to time.
Some of the highlights of the reunion included: Bent Christiansen gave us an update on how he is doing in recovering from Katrina and how he appreciates the support of the USS Caiman Association in helping him get back on his feet; Ken "Goat" Sanderlin was roasted at the luncheon; We made some changes to our bylaws at our business meeting and we voted to have the next reunion in Reno in 2010; We cruised the lake on the Branson Belle paddle wheeler and saw a great show including a magic show that a few of our own were involved in; We topped off the three days with a great time at the banquet - the food was great too! We were blessed with super weather once again.
The 2008 Reunion was a lot of fun. There are always ways to do it better so if you have any ideas for the Reno reunion, click here and give us some feedback.
At the reunion in 2006, Bob Mehrling and Bob Hyde each graciously donated $500 to fund the cost of a records search by the Naval Personnel Command Manpower Center for 290 USS Caiman shipmates. The list was comprised of all the names on our lost list that were E-5 or above when they were on the Caiman. The results are in. Of the 290 names 33 are on Eternal Patrol and 49 names were found and letters were sent. There were 208 not found. This means the Navy does not have a current record on them. The records only go back 20 years. If one of these shipmates went on Eternal Patrol before that time the Navy will not have a record of them. Thus far we have heard from 3 of those that received letters. The hunt continues.
In late 2004 the Association purchased all the microfilm records from the Navy that shows when people reported aboard, transferred off and other info. Smitty, Yeo and Whit have spent hours going through all of them. The microfilm turned out to be a gold mine of information to help find our shipmates. All shipmates that we have located are on the sailing list. The lost list contains all the names of shipmates we are still looking for.
We have 285 on our email list. If you want to be on our email list you have to put yourself on it! Click here to subscribe. If your email address changes go here.
Are you Lost?
If you served on the USS Caiman and just found our web site, WELCOME HOME! Please fill out our Contact Information form and we will get right back to you.
Every so often we send out a newsletter to our members via snail mail. Just in case you can't find one of them, you'll find them right here:
The USS Caiman Association is a Non-Profit organization thanks to the efforts of Mr C. (Randy Christison). Effective August 12, 2004 we are exempt from Federal Income Tax under section 501(c)(19) of the Internal Revenue Code. See our Join page for further details.
Who Are You?
If you were you on Caiman in the mid 50's you might be able to help us identify this shipmate. Charlie Cloud wants to buy him a drink or two. Anybody?
The Photo Gallery has over 130 photos from our 2008 Reunion in Branson. If you have some pics from the reunion or from your time on the Caiman, please send me an email, or snail mail me or phone me. You do remember the phone don't you. No, no it's doesn't have a crank on it.
By the way, if you haven't taken a look at the Gallery for awhile, you might want to take a peek as there were about 200 pictures added early in 2008. Thanks to the many shipmates that contributed these great pictures.
I collected a lot more pictures at the 2008 reunion and will be going through it all and adding more photos to the Gallery over the coming months.
I'm looking for an original 1957 edition of The Periscope so I can get a good scan of an article of Caiman's visit to Australia and a picture of four of our Caiman shipmates. If you have it, please send it to me and I will get it back to you asap. Thanks!
Please complete our Contact Information Form to get on our Master Sailing List Click here.