2018 Reunion - Phoenix, Arizona

There was a great turnout for the 2018 reunion with 50 shipmates, spouses and guests attending from October 28 through October 31. Sunday the 28th was spent checking into the hospitality room and picking up the reunion packets. That evening everyone enjoyed a reception pizza party in the hospitality room and got reacquainted with friends and shipmates.

Monday morning after breakfast we boarded the bus and headed for the Commemorative Air Force Museum. With a guided tour everyone was able to see actual vintage aircraft and displays ranging from WWI through the Vietnam era. After the tour there was extra time to view more displays and visit the gift shop on your own.

Next was lunch time with an arranged lunch at Golden Corral Buffet. They were all set up for our group but the main breaker to the building blew just before we arrived and the power would not be restored for at least 2 hours. They had to throw away all the food. Not to be dismayed we moved on in true Navy fashion and made the best of the situation. The bus driver knew of a fast food Mexican restaurant close by with a Subway next door. We went there and everyone had the lunch of their choice. Hurrah for our team!

After lunch we visited the Musical Instrument Museum with a guided tour where everyone could view and listen to various music and instruments from all over the world and throughout history.

Tiring from the first day’s activities we returned to the hotel. The hospitality room was opened for the evening and everyone had the evening meal on their own.

Tuesday morning we visited the OdySea Aquarium. It is the only aquarium of its kind in the southwestern part of the country. This is a self-guided tour so everyone could view the exhibits at their own pace. Some were surprised to see dolphins and exotic fish in the middle of the desert. After the aquarium visit there was extra time to explore the various gift shops and restaurants for lunch.

Next on the agenda was Western Spirit-Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Through a guided tour you viewed various art and other exhibits from the western and southwestern United States. As with the Musical Instrument Museum we visited the day before this museum had much more to see than could be taken in in one short visit but seemed to be enjoyed by all. Once again we returned to the hotel and the hospitality room was opened for the evening.

On the morning of our final day we visited the Wrigley Mansion. It was originally constructed in 1932 by the chewing gum personality William Wrigley Jr. After changing hands several times it was finally purchased by Geordie Hormel and restored to its present condition. The mansion has lots of history, exhibits and ghost stories and was a guided tour. After the tour we had lunch in one of the mansion’s dining rooms with a special commemorative menu with our ship’s name and picture at the top.

Upon returning to the hotel the memorial ceremony for our shipmates who have passed was held in the hospitality room followed by the Association business meeting. After adjourning the business meeting everyone went to their rooms to get ready for the evening activities and banquet.

Our final day and banquet falling on Halloween it was decided that we would depart a little from our usual formal/ semi-formal attire for the banquet and have some Halloween fun with costumes optional. Many of our shipmates got into the spirit and showed up in some very creative attire. Fun was had by all. The missing sailor’s ceremony was held followed by the president’s gavel presentation to our newly elected president Chuck Gilbert. Everyone enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner and then adjourned to the hospitality room for our traditional raffle. After the raffle it was time for goodnight and goodbyes in the morning.

To all of you who couldn’t make it in 2018 you were missed. We hope to see all of you in Baton Rouge in 2020.

Fair Winds and Calm Seas to all, Joe Bisig