Port of Call: Biloxi - Our get-together on the Gulf Coast this year was a mighty fine time!
2009-11 President Bob Johnson
The Landing fills up
Up the plank - USS Alabama
Buffet lunch in the BB-60 Wardroom
|USAF Chaplain Calton, former Sterett CO's McPherson (DDG 104) and Sullivan (CG 31) meet after invocation.||
"Honorary Shipmates" join in.
Yes, the DD 407 Plaque is Back!
Well, with all those Sterett ball caps and sharp name tags on display and
going in and out of "The Landing" function room, the other guests and
casino patrons at the Isles Hotel sure couldn't help but notice
that there was a sailors' reunion running in full steam that weekend. Yes, it all came together in
the last few weeks leading up to the May 20-22 Reunion weekend. The
Mississippi Gulf Coast peak season was "peaking" and the weather for our
weekend in Biloxi was great.
In April, your Reunion Coordinators and Board were pleased to learn that our 2011 gathering would provide the first opportunity for many of the Vietnamese refugees taken aboard CG 31 in the humanitarian rescue operation of 1983 to be able to meet the Captain and crew of once again. It was a good chance to mark a milestone in many lives and the history of our ship, after the passage of 28 years.
As the Reunion approached, we were also delighted that CDR Darren McPherson, CO of the DDG 104 had accepted our invitation to the Reunion and agreed to be the guest speaker at the Dinner. This was a real treat for salty Navy vets to find out about the DDG 104's recently completed maiden deployment and the pride he feels for ship's crew who have carried on the USS Sterett high standard of service to the Fleet.
DD 407's vets Jim Botkin and Art Marrs reported for the 2011 muster and were once again an inspiration to all. As promised, Jim brought along the reacquired DD 407 Commissioning "mystery plaque" - now authenticated by the Historian at Parrot's Point in Charleston where the ship was commissioned in 1939. Thanks to all who gave testimony on the history of the plaque. The latest word is that the plaque may now be on its way to DDG 104 in San Diego. Standby, we will try to keep you posted.
The full Business Meeting minutes are available (in pdf format for easy printing) through the link above.
Here are the highlights:
After discussion of several possibilities, including Charleston, SC and Reno, NV, Branson, MO was selected by vote as our next reunion site. Key factors in the decision was it's mid-west location and potential for the Association to get a good deal at this popular Heartland destination.
A new slate of officers for the 2011-2013 term was elected by vote of the members present.
President Steve Hayes
Vice President John King
Secretary-Treasurer Don Hageman *
Officer at Large Wayne Wright *
Officer at Large Fred Cross *
Officer at Large Evan Mickel
* Re-elected from the last term.
Also the membership approved the installation of shipmate Tom Jacobsmeyer in the new post of Ship Historian.
The Saturday afternoon outing to the USS Alabama Memorial Park in Mobile, AL was a great venue for us - although many soon got "lost" inside once they left the wooden deck! We had a great lunch buffet in the ship's huge Ward Room and those in good shape managed to ascend up to BB60's amazingly tiny bridge. After rounding the Battleship, the tour route proceeded on to a flight hanger with a collection of vintage and latter day war birds, along with a mockup of the "Hanoi Hilton" POW Camp and "brown water Navy" craft displays from the Vietnam Era. Finally, it was on to what has to be the most ship-shape submarine in the museum ship fleet - the USS Drum SS-228 - proudly maintained by dedicated vet volunteers.
Message to the Membership:
(Lead photos at top provided courtesy of shipmates Mike Garrity, John King and Wayne Wright)
(Gallery Photos courtesy of shipmate John King)
Local TV Coverage of the Reunion: