The concept for the Friends of Distinction was the brainchild of Larry W. Hunt, a retired US Navy Chief, who thought it might be a great idea for several old shipmates to get together and rehash old Sea Stories. Hunt wrote, called and contacted several old Navy friends and in 1989 the group was founded.
They decided early on that the gathering should be repeated annually and the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend would be a great time to set aside, not only due to the significance of the holiday, but also that the additional time off and the long weekend would provide necessary travel time.
The name ‘Friends of Distinction’ was chosen to indicate the level of professionalism of the members and their many distinctive achievements during their service to their country. Although the original ‘Plank Owners’ were mostly Navy men, the group soon began to attract other members from other services and it was decided that veterans from all services would be welcome to join. Today all five branches are represented, as are both genders, and both officers and enlisted.
Our members have served, or are serving on active duty, for various lengths of service, some a single enlistment, others retired with more than 20 years service, but all have served honorably. We represent well over 1,400 years of service to the United States of America. The logo of ‘Clasped Hands’ represents the camaraderie shared over the years by our members.
Over the years the group has grown significantly and now boasts over 75 members, who hail from all over the country. Each year the reunion is held in a different city, depending on which member volunteers to host the event. Reunions are planned two years out and each year they are always held on Memorial Day Weekend. Generally the event includes a Friday Reception, Saturday Dinner/Dance, and a Sunday Cook Out or luncheon.
The By Laws of the organization are very simple and straight-forward, which has contributed a great deal to the longevity of the group. After an initial Membership Fee of $100.00, there are NO dues or financial obligations of any kind. Members are not obligated to attend reunions, but do so at their own discretion. There are NO meetings other than one annual meeting at each Reunion. The Reunion is ALWAYS on Memorial Day Weekend.
Potential members must be introduced and sponsored by a current member. The sponsoring member is expected to have ‘vetted’ the new member, vouches for his/her honorable service, and explains the operation of the organization. New members are then voted on and inducted at the annual meeting.
The group has four elected officers, President, Vice-President, Secretary/Historian, and Sgt-At-Arms, who serve for a term of Two Years. Larry Hunt, the Founder, has been elected Treasurer For Life. Elections are held during the annual meeting and a current list of Officers may be found on this Blog.