Howard D. Eskridge (K9GYI), 71, passed away peacefully in his country home near Tuscola, IL on Friday, December 9, 2016 surrounded by family and his favorite furry friend, Miss Sadie Schnauzer.

Howard was born May 15, 1945 in Decatur, IL, the son of Homer and Grace (Howell) Eskridge. He married Kathryn (Meyer) in 1979. On June 29, 1986, he married Judy (Blain) Henderson in Arcola, IL. She survives.

Also surviving are his daughters, Kendra Chriss of Gibson City and Jodi Samsa of Chicago, along with granddaughters, Elise Chriss and Ava Samsa. Howard is also survived by his sister, Judy Day of Tampa, FL and several nieces and nephews.

He received a BS in Business from Milliken University and a Master’s in Public Administration from Governor’s State.

Howard lived his boyhood dream of wanting to be a firefighter by spending 30 years as a firefighter instructor at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. In 1973, the Institute was tasked to develop a standardized certified program for fire departments. His work along with others lead to many programs, including basic, standard and advanced level firefighter certification. As a state training instructor, his influence and expertise was often called on to assist fire departments with incidents or designing other training programs. There is no doubt that Howard has saved many lives through his teaching. At the age of 21, he was the youngest paid Fire Chief (Hammond, IL) in the State of Illinois.

Following his retirement from the Fire Institute, he worked part time for Ruhl’s Forensics and Depke Welding-making many new friends along the way. Howard was a unique individual who never knew a stranger.

He was in the US Navy Construction Battalions (SEABEES, MCB3) from 1967 – 1969. Howard proudly wore his Viet Nam Navy Veteran’s hat and always enjoyed interacting with other veterans. His patriotism was an important part of his life. He helped lay to rest many service members.

Howard had many hobbies and talents. He taught himself to weld and keep farm machinery running. His favorite past time was communicating with people all over the world as an amateur radio operator (K9GYI) from his Chicken Bristle Radio Shack. Other talents included public speaking and writing poetry. His greatest joy was living in the country where he could mow, trim and work in his shop. He was a member of the Arcola United Methodist Church, where he once served as lay leader along with narrating choir cantatas for many years. He was also a member of the American Radio Relay League and Arcola VFW Post #7680.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Arcola United Methodist Church, Arcola Fire Department or Arcola Foundation-Allen Roberts Memorial. Howard’s family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Carle Hospital and Carle Hospice for the excellent care and compassion shown to their loved one during his illness.

For further information and to send online condolences please visit


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A section of the Ontario Beach Parkway in Rochester, NY has been dedicated to the US Navy Seabees. Seabee veterans from Rochester, NY Island X-12, Syracuse, NY Island X-19 including state and local officials in attendance. Photos and news video link attached. (Some of you may not be able to open the link directly however you can go to and search for it there.)


Information sent in by Norm Sulock for you to see and be proud of.





The 17th annual reunion of the MCB3 Veterans Reunion Association (MCB3 VRA) ended Sunday in Seattle. We had a blast and everyone seemed to be happy.

The accommodations and food at the Seattle Airport Marriott were superb and the staff at the hotel took great care of our members’ requests as quickly as possible. The Northwest Seattle Convention Bureau and the hotel coordinated everything with great concern for our needs and their work was noted by all.

The figures aren’t in yet but it looks like our treasury will be up above last year’s figures.

We decided in our business meeting that we would change back to electing the entire board for a 2 year term as we had done in the past. Elections for all offices will be held at next year’s reunion in the Biloxi/Gulfport area from October 19 – 21, 2017. (Please consider running for an office if you have the ability and the time to do so.) All details will be worked out by April or May and notices will be sent out as before.

We will hold our 2018 reunion somewhere near Washington, DC. We will be using AFRI to help us plan for those events.

Thank you to everyone that attended the reunion, worked there to make it a success and spent hours creating beautiful gifts for inclusion in our raffle and auction. Special thanks to Tom Biehl, Victor Horvath, Ray Cruz and Phil Weatherwax for their unique donations to the cause.

Now it’s time to rest up for a few weeks and start the preparations for 2017.

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From: 10/19/2017 12:00 am
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This will be int the vicinity of Biloxi/Gulfport, MS.

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We will be holding our 17th annual reunion in the Gulfport/Biloxi area. We will visit the CEC/Seabee Museum while we are there. The hotel and other accommodations are being finalized and will be updated before Christmas. Block your calendar now so you are sure to be there.

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