By Dick and Leta Holloway
Shipmates arriving at San Antonio on Wednesday, October 25, 2006 for the reunion were greeted with rain and thunderstorms and Leta and I were wondering if our promise of no hurricanes was in danger of being broken. Not to worry, however, it cleared the next day and the weather was delightful for the duration of the reunion. By the way I was happy to see the rain as this area has been in a drought for the past two years.
The hospitality room opened Wednesday morning with help from several shipmates who had arrived the previous day. We were up and running with food and drinks in no time. We had a total of 67 shipmates and spouses/guests attend the reunion with a number of first timers in attendance. It was good to see "old" friends and make acquaintance with some new faces.
On Wednesday evening we were treated to a Mexican buffet compliments of the hotel. After more tacos, enchiladas and margaritas than we needed we retired to the hospitality room to get caught up on sea stories, some new, some old.
Thursday a charter bus took our group to downtown San Antonio for a day of sight seeing. Everyone got a chance to visit the River Walk, the Alamo and the Mexican Market. The bus made two return trips back to the hotel one at 4:00 pm for the "wimps" and another at 8:00 pm for the "liberty hounds". I have to say that the vast majority of our group took the first bus back to the hotel. I am assuming they must have run out of money or could it be Father Time was encouraging them to return for a rest.
Friday morning we were off and running again, this time on a charter bus with a wonderful tour guide to Fredericksburg, TX up in the Texas Hill Country. The first stop in Fredericksburg was at the Nimitz Museum where we held a Bainbridge memorial service for our deceased shipmates. The service was held outside in the Presidents Plaza under a tent with somewhat gusty winds testing the lines holding up the tent. We had a local volunteer Navy chaplain give the service and recognized members who had passed away since our last reunion. The service ended with a bugler playing taps. It was a fitting service for all. We then toured the Nimitz Museum which we could not do justice to due to the limited time available. A number of shipmates did some shopping in the arts and craft stores lining the main street of Fredericksburg. Mid afternoon we left the town and at the last minute our guide suggested returning back to San Antonio via the little town of Luckenbach, TX. Yes the song made the town famous. Town may be an over statement. Luckenbach consists of a general store with a potbelly stove and a few musicians playing and singing songs and a large dance hall across the street. They do have their own Post Office though.
That evening we had a Texas barbecue buffet with all the trimmings. Again too much to eat, too little time to digest the feast. As a special treat we had a local Mariachi trio serenade us during the meal. They were excellent and everyone enjoyed the performance. As a special note Admiral Peet had to cancel his reservation to the reunion, but donated the money to the reunion. This money was used to pay for the Mariachi trio. A special thanks to Admiral Peet for his donation to the Association.
Saturday morning we held our business meeting with spouses in attendance. The Officers elected for the coming year were:
|Vice President||John Burns III|
|Web Master||Bob Hemmingway|
|Newsletter Editor||Bob Rittenhouse|
Jerry Faulk, our 2006 Reunion Coordinator for the San Diego reunion, provided handouts and discussed plans for the reunion.
The rest of the day was open for shipmates to do whatever they wanted. A number of people relaxed outside at the pool enjoying the Texas sunny weather.
The banquet Saturday evening allowed us to dress up a bit. The ladies were stunning and the men didn't look too bad either. A number of awards were made after the banquet: a gift to Bob and Liz Davies for their involvement in hosting the 2004 Las Vegas reunion: a gift to Ed Courtemarche for his effort in the aborted 2005 Ft Lauderdale reunion and a gavel to John Browning for his services as our Past President. A table runner was presented to Leta and I for our work on this reunion. Our thanks for this lovely thought. Lastly a framed lithograph autographed by the skipper of DG-96 picturing all the USS Bainbridge ships was mailed to John Burns in appreciation of all the work he did to prepare for the Ft Lauderdale reunion.
After the banquet we held our traditional raffle. We had a great time holding our raffle tickets hoping ours would be a winner for a particular raffle item. There were lots of winners and of course disappointments when shipmates did not have the winning number. This year we collected more money for the raffle that ever before, over $900.00 in donations. Thanks to all that participated. It was a fun time for all.
Sunday morning we said our good-byes and headed back home carrying good memories of friends and shipmates for another year until we see them next year in San Diego.