The mission of the USS Fresno Memorial Association is to support and assist all former crew members of the USS Fresno (LST-1182). From the beneficial social aspects of reunion activities to helping with medical funding and financial needs, the USSFMA is dedicated to providing help to any former crew member of the USS Fresno who may need it. We are committed to our motto – ‘Shipmates Helping Shipmates’
USSFMA Medical Expense Assistance Fund
Shipmates Helping Shipmates
Goal = $10,000
Raised to Date (1/30/23) = $5450
JOIN THE USSFMA HERE:
Join the USS Fresno Memorial Association (incl. your address for your sticker/certificate):
** Your donations to the USSFMA are used to fund the Association’s activities and contribute to the general fund for reunion planning and execution. We use any funds remaining from those functions to support Shipmates in need.
The USSFMA is a registered 501(c)(19) and contributions are tax deductible.**
Just want to make a donation?
Support the USSFMA via Givebutter:
Support the USSFMA via Paypal:
Support the USSFMA via Venmo: @USSFMA1182
Membership Levels: $0-$99 = Pollywog $100–$999 = Shellback $1000+ = KING NEPTUNE
Members of the USSFMA
|Fresno Rate/Rank and Years
|USSFMA Member Level
|USSFMA Member Since:
|GMG3 – ’88 – ’90
|DC2 (SW) ’87-’91
|HM2 ’90 – ’93
|ET2 ’84 – ’87
|Keith C Ratner
|in CIC ’72-’74
Q&A about the USSFMA:
Q: What is the USSFMA?
A: The USS Fresno Memorial Association is officially a non-profit organized and designed to further the bonds of brotherhood forged by our time spent aboard the USS Fresno (LST-1182). We exist to make sure we are not forgotten, and that we never forget those we served with, and the times we had. We will reach out to help those who are down and celebrate the memory of our common experiences in service to this great country
Q: Who can join the USSFMA?
A: Any former crewmember or family of a former crewmember who served aboard the Frez
Q: How do you help former crewmembers?
A: By collecting donations, running fundraisers and holding events, we add to our financial ability to assist. We organize and hold social events to further the connection between Shipmates and make sure our bonds are strong and we are united and healthy. There is nothing like time together to help morale and welfare.
Q: What happens to the money I donate?
A: The donated money to the USSFMA is categorized into three main areas: 1) Medical Assistance, which goes to help any crewmember who may need help with medical issues. Funds dedicated to Medical Assistance are used ONLY for Medical Assistance and nothing else. 2) USSFMA Registration/General Fund which goes to pay for our administrative costs (bank fees/registration fees/website maintenance/mailing and office costs). the general fund is used at the discretion of the USSFMA board to assist other shipmates or to create events to bring in more revenue/increase awareness of the USSFMA. 3) Reunion Fund – this fund is anything solely earmarked for the Reunions. We use this to help make deposits on meeting halls/caterers/hotels and put on reunions in general. Funds dedicated as “Reunion” funds are used 100% to the further the mission of holding a reunion.
Q: Are donations tax-deductible?
A: Yes. We are a recognized 501c(19) charity by the IRS, so all donations are considered tax-deductible
Q: Who runs the USSFMA, and are they paid?
A: The USSFMA is controlled by a 5-member board of directors. The members are listed on the website (www.ussfresno.com). No board member draws any sort of salary or payment. 100% of the funds raised by the USSFMA goes back into the USSFMA and to assisting crewmembers of the Fresno
Q: How can I get on the board of the USSFMA?
A: Board positions are 2 year positions. When the current board’s time is up, we will open the search and take nominations for new board members. Anyone who is a member of the USSFMA is qualified to be a board member.
Q: What is the end goal of the USSFMA?
A: The USSFMA has an expected lifespan of, honestly, about 20 years. The youngest of the Fresno’s crew is around 50, so by the time the young crew hits 70, they will be all that is left of a once-great warship and her crew. Until then, the USSFMA would like to help as many as possible, and bring us together as many times as we can. We look forward to helping anyone who believes in this mission, and will do our utmost to help anyone who reaches out.
Thank you. If you have any questions about the USSFMA, please feel free to respond to this post, or e-mail us at: USSFMA1182@gmail.com and we’ll get right back to you.
HISTORY OF THE USSFMA – by founder, Hoss Peterson
I served aboard the USS Fresno (LST-1182) from November of 1988 to July of 1990. I was on what was known as the “Sea College” program – I did two years active duty and four in the reserves, and in return I got around $19K for college after I got out. As part of the deal, we Sea College enrollees did not get an A-school. We were sent to Apprentice Training after boot and most of us were sent to the Amphib fleet after that. There were a bunch of us on the Frez who were Sea College. I mention that to emphasize that I only spent two years aboard the Fresno, but those two years were the most formative two years of my life. It was truly a case of “came aboard a boy and left a man”. I’ve detailed my experiences in various posts and blog entries for the world to read. I treasured my time on her decks and think back on it fondly. I want to keep that memory alive.
In 2014, I along with most of you, was saddened to hear the Frez had met her fate. Seeing the video of her being targeted in a Navy exercise and slip beneath the waves, sliding to her new home in Davey Jones’ locker outside of Guam gave me an incredible sense of emptiness. There were a lot more of us who felt that way as well. Our online forum had just started. It was a Yahoo messenger board, originally. We started throwing around the idea of having a reunion. Well – that sounded like a lot of fun, and since nobody else was volunteering, I stepped up and offered up my house in Nashville. Originally, it was going to be just a few people from my time aboard, but we expanded it to be all hands. My wife was gracious enough to allow me to offer, so I started a Facebook Page for the Fresno and put the word out. In the summer of 2016, we had about 20 former crewmembers show up in my backyard on what would turn out to be the hottest weekend of the year! It was amazing to hear the stories and get to meet some of the guys who were part of the commissioning team. I had an absolute blast, and knew that we needed to make something like that a regular occurrence.
For this reunion, I had fronted the costs for everything. With the help of an old friend from high school, we revived the USSFresno.com website and used it as a registration forum for attendees and charged a small registration fee to help offset some of the costs. I think we ended up breaking pretty much even on that one, I was about a hundred dollars in the red, but it was well worth it to me. The seed had been sown, and I started looking forward to the next one.
Over the next couple of years, more talk was thrown via Facebook and through text strings, and Las Vegas emerged as the next reunion location. We figured that 2019, as the 50th anniversary of her commissioning, would be perfect. The first thought was to just have everyone show up at a designated spot as an “each pays own” type of thing. Then we started thinking about getting a meeting room at a hotel. The costs were astronomical, and nobody wanted to be on the hook for $5-$10K, so we went with plan A. We announced dates and a base hotel and guys showed up. Around 60 guys and wives. Lucky for us, there was an American Legion about a quarter mile up the road, and they were more than happy to host us on Friday night. We had a great time at the American Legion – SO many stories, so many new and old friendships made and renewed. The 2019 Vegas reunion was amazing in every respect… but it got me to thinking. What if we had some kind of organization that we could fund these through so that no one person would be on the hook for all of the money? We knew we wanted another reunion, was there a way to become a group to do it?
By now, the Facebook page was growing and getting a lot of traffic. We leveraged that to plan a third reunion – this time in Biloxi, Mississippi in 2021. Unfortunately, as we began ramping up for this on, COV!D hit, and we had folks back out. It was still an amazing time for those who made it. Once again, I found myself organizing things and fronting a lot of the costs. We rented an Air BnB in Biloxi, as the hotels were expensive and their COV!D protocols were rather strict. Shipmates from the area stepped up and helped us procure a VFW Hall rental and provided amazing food. We once again had a great time, and the Air BnB “HQ House” was a huge hit as a centralized gathering spot. SO much so, that many of us never made it to the ocean or the casinos that Biloxi is known for. However, the organization of that reunion once again made me wonder if there was a way to create some kind of centralized group to fund everything so that we weren’t putting any one person in financial jeopardy for the whole thing. I got home from Biloxi with a mission…
I knew then that I wanted to do something to help organize more reunions, and draw other shipmates in to help. I knew we needed to form some kind of a committee to work together to plan things. I started looking around and talking to friends, and then realized – we could form a non-profit Association that was based on the welfare and fraternal aspects of our service together. More research, and discussions with shipmates led to an expanded vision for this group. What about doing something to help Shipmates in need? A charity of sorts that could not only bring us together, but also help any of us who had fallen on hard times. An unexpected job loss due to the Pandemic left me with some time on my hands, so I began to research ways to do this. With the help of some friends who ran non-profits, I was led to look into forming a 501C (19) – a Military Fraternal charity organization, that could be a non-profit, tax exempt entity that could function as a group to not only put on future reunions, but could also be tasked with helping shipmates. This to me seemed like a no-brainer. I shelled out $250 of my own money to file the legal paperwork under the name “USS Fresno Memorial Association” and I took nominations for board members and in no time at all, we were a real thing. Now what?
First thing we did was revive the “USS Fresno.com” domain name. We created a website to hold our pictures and all of the information about the ship. We also used it as a place to gather monies for memberships and assistance campaigns. The website became our public face (along with our old Facebook page). The USSFMA was rather rudderless at first. We existed, but how would be do things? Would we just be for reunions? How do we go about helping folks? One of our group pushed us toward the assistance side and made sure that was a main focus of ours, beyond just planning a reunion or two. Not too long after that, we heard of a shipmate who was battling cancer. We stepped in an assisted in fund raising efforts, and ended up bringing in over $5K through amazing donations from our shipmates and funds the USSFMA had collected from memberships. It was just what we needed to be doing, and this felt like our direction – which led us to the question – how to we raise more money to help? We could ask for more donations, we could run separate campaigns, we could create ship’s merch which we’d give away for a donation – all things we did, but what other ways were there to raise money to further your mission? I began looking at other non-profits. Working in the hotel industry, I saw a steady stream of non-profit functions going on in our ballrooms. The Humane Society, The Autism Awareness Coalition, The United Way – all of them were hosting huge galas and parties and bringing in big money through silent auctions and donations. Then we realized – the Reunion. If the USSFMA could put together a reunion, like we had originally been created to do, we’d be able to increase awareness of the group and earn a few extra dollars to be able to help anyone who needs it. That put the final push on REUNIONEX ’23, which had begun planning stages. We could use this reunion in San Diego to not only help our brotherhood come together (which has scientifically-proven benefits in the mental well-being of vets), but also as a way to put a little extra in the coffers of the USSFMA to allow us to continue helping Shipmates in need. A win-win.
The Board of the USSFMA is in agreement that this is how we should handle our mission, and we are confident that we are doing exactly what we’ve set out to do. We are new, but strong, and we are learning and adapting as we go. Change will come, and mistakes will be made, but we are clear in our vision and united in our desire to help. These things will make our mission a success.
We’ll see you in San Diego so we can help more Shipmates down the road. (30JAN23)
– Hoss Peterson, GMG3 (’88-’90)
President, USS Fresno Memorial Association
Legal Documents – Proof of Existence:
Next Ship’s Reunion: SAN DIEGO – 2023 (June 22-25)