The 2009 Bainbridge reunion was held in Savannah, Georgia, April 29 – May 3, 2009. This year we had eighty people there including ten first time attendees. Wednesday evening there was a wine/beer and hors d’oeuvres get-together where old friends visited and first time attendees were welcomed.
Our taste of Savannah began on Thursday morning with a trolley tour of the historic district. This was followed by lunch, a real southern meal, at Mrs. Wilkes boarding house and a tour of the historic Owens-Thomas house. Thursday evening our group enjoyed a production of “Return to Hollywood at the Savannah Theatre.. The production included some audience participation . Two of our own, Jerry Fulk and Ed Haggerty, were “asked” to be a part of a silent movie skit. Both Jerry and Ed demonstrated acting abilities that we didn’t know they possessed. In fact, autograph seekers pursued Ed during the intermission. This just proved that a tour on Bainbridge prepared one for most anything.
Friday morning was devoted to a tour of the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum ending with the Bainbridge Memorial service held in the beautiful Chapel of the Fallen Eagles on the museum grounds. Our speaker for the service was Captain Norm Harbaugh, the first Supply Corps Officer aboard Bainbridge. His comments were about his navy experiences, his days aboard Bainbridge and about the people for whom the memorial service was held. Thank you Norm for an excellent talk. Friday evening we went on a Riverboat Dinner Cruise up and down the Savannah River. There we enjoyed the scenery along the river and the food and entertainment provided by the riverboat.
On Saturday morning we went to Old Fort Jackson, a historic fort build in 1808 and used through the end of the 19th century. There an enactor gave us an interesting talk on the history of the fort and demonstrated the firing of a Civil War Cannon. We then went into historic Savannah there where we visited the Ships of the Sea Museum.
Saturday evening our banquet was held in the High Wycombe room at the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. We were extremely fortunate to have as our speaker Admiral Bruce Newell, the fifth Commanding Officer of the USS Bainbridge, and a first time reunion attendee. Admiral Newell gave a most enjoyable talk about his days as Commanding Office of Bainbridge including working with Admiral Rickover on issues that arose while the ship was in overhaul. After the banquet we returned to the hospitality suite at the motel for our traditional raffle.
After four enjoyable days the reunion ended on Sunday morning. The weather in Savannah was beautiful and everyone seemed to enjoy Savannah and visiting with old shipmates. We look forward to seeing everyone in Seattle and hope to have more first time attendees