After the "Greenies" website was launched in Australia, ex-RAN greenies Les Figg and Mick Thomas learned each others email addresses and phone numbers. Although they had not seen each other for several years they started communicating. Through the greenies website they learned about "meet and greets" that were being conducted throughout Australia so they decided to organize a meet and greet in California.
Les and Mick shared the information they already had about other ex-RAN sailors who were now living in the USA. They noted that the people were spread throughout California from the San Francisco Bay area in the north to San Diego in the south so they decided to look for a meeting place somewhere in the middle of the state.
One of Mick's contacts, Steve Grindrod, lived in Morro Bay, a small town on the Central California coast. Mick contacted Steve and asked him if he knew anyplace suitable for a meet and greet. Steve recommended the Cayucos Beach Inn in the nearby beach town of Cayucos. Steve was familiar with the Inn and knew the owner and the people who managed it and said it would be a good location for us to meet.
Cayucos is a beautiful little beach town just north of Morro Bay, so Les and Mick made arrangements to meet there over a weekend and check out the place then get together with Steve. That weekend the decision was made to organize the meet and greet. The Inn was a great place for a meet and greet and Cayucos was an ideal location for us to gather. It is a quiet community located about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles, has mild weather year round and is close to a variety of attractions and activities.
Les then made contact with with other ex-RAN personnel through various navy related websites and our group was formed. The first meet and greet was held in April 2005. The dates for the annual Meet and Greet is set to coincide with ANZAC Day and each year, although few in numbers, the participants conduct a memorial service to remember their shipmates and those who have gone before them. By scheduling the meet and greet to coincide with ANZAC day, it gives the group an opportunity to celebtare this special day together with shipmates and other Australian veterans.
The annual meet and greet provides a warm and friendly atmosphere for old salts, both officers and enlisted, male and female, to renew their cammeraderie, share old memories and tell of new experiences. In 2010, however, the location for this event has been changed to nearby Atscadero and our memorial service will be held at the newly built War Memorial there.
Although our group started with ex-RAN sailors, we welcome veterans and their families from any of the armed services. Even if they cannot stay for our meet and greet, they are invited to join us for our ANZAC Memorial Service.