75 Years Later: World War Two Veterans Spend Last Reunion in Fargo-Moorhead

Nineteen veterans from all over the country started their trip at the Hjemkomst Center

MOORHEAD, Minn. — It’s been 75 years of reunions for World War Two veterans who served on the USS Block Island.

The carrier was the only one to sink in the Atlantic during the war after a Nazi attack.

KVRR’s Danielle Church tells us why some of those veterans are now in the F-M metro.

He spent 20 years serving his country in the Navy but it was $581 that almost kept Bernard Savranski from on one last reunion for World War II veterans.

“The only reason I made this trip the girl Robin. She called me and said ‘why ain’t you going,'” Savranski said.

Savranski is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and couldn’t afford the connecting flight from Minneapolis to Fargo. That’s when USS Block Island Association’s Robin Johnson couldn’t take “no” for an answer.

“I said ‘Ski, if you can get to Minneapolis, we’ll come and pick you up and get you there,'” Johnson said.

Now he’s getting to spend an entire week reminiscing with 18 of his old comrades from the USS Block Island one last time.

“Being on that submarine chaser was wonderful but when Block Island was operated, the ship got sunk,” Savranski said.

Six of the 950 soldiers who went into the Atlantic died. The ship was recommissioned and Captain Logan Ramsey took over once again during the Korean War.

“That’s why you see the number 21 and the new one, 106,” Savranski said.

Since 1944, the men have been able to reconnect have been meeting up with each other in a different city.
Fargo-Moorhead’s Vietnam Veterans chapter is hosting them for the third time, showing the veterans the Hjemkomst Center, the Fargo Air Museum and Bonanzaville.

“They wanted to come here for the last one. It wasn’t our choice. I think they feel at home here,” said Larry Nicholson, president of Vietnam Vets chapter 941.

But over the years, the veterans they host have become much more than the men we thank for fighting our nation’s wars.

“It’s like being acquainted with an old friends. There is a connection there. You can’t explain it. You honor those who served and it’s a special feeling you have when you talk to other veterans,” Nicholson said.

For the veterans who were stationed on USS Block Island, it’s both the friendships they’ve made with others…

“I’m 95. Everybody I know is gone. What few of us are left can’t make trips,” Savranski said.

…and enjoying every last bit of time they have left with on their last trip with each other.

Savranski signed up for the Navy one month before Pearl Harbor was attacked.

He has been to Hawaii multiple times but says he still can’t believe oil from the ships comes to the water level’s surface.

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