Norfolk "invited us back" for a replay of our reunion of 10 years ago! Once again, we stayed at the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside Hotel. While we didn't have the 150 attendees of the 2013 reunion, we did have 72 shipmates and guests.  A number of us arrived on Saturday, to a very busy hotel and area. Some arrived even earlier, but the majority on Sunday 6/11.

    The hotel is located right on the water, the "Waterside District," with a view of several navy ships under maintenance and the rest of Norfolk. There are several restaurants available within easy walking distance on Waterside and the Elizabeth River Trail. The USS Wisconsin is not far up the trail along with the NAUTICUS Museum. Our hospitality room had a direct view of the waterway, with a exit to an outside patio.

     Saturday was also one of the three days (Link...) Norfolk Harbor Fest. Tall ships on display and other things of interest, food vendors etc. See the link above for information on the details. The "Parade of Ships," occured prior to our arrival. This is an annual celebration.  During our stay in 2013, Harbor Fest was also scheduled, except that there was a hurricane in the area. Most tall ships then had left early to beat the weather, thus  there was no parade of ships that year.

    Our reunion formerly opened on Sunday at 3pm, a tradition for many years. Shipmates tend to show up in small groups, which allows for easy registration. Some had been hanging around for a while attempting to break down the doors. It didn't take to long for old friends greeting each other and taking advantage of the various beverages and snacks. There were plenty of remembrances of the past and hopes for the future. The tables were fairly full for a few hours, until it was time to find dinner. There were plenty of choices available without having to venture too far. 

    On Monday, 6/12/2023, our schedule included a harbor tour the Victory Rover, on the out past the navy piers and return, with a running description from the tour operator. The first part points out the area from the hotel to the Wisconsin, various commercial piers and the navel base. There were a number of navy ships in port, some for their normal home-port visits, with others in for various forms of maintenance. There were a number of modern destroyers, and at least three large carriers, including the George H. W. Bush, along with several LHD amphibious attack ships. The USS Comfort was also in port.

    The weather for the cruise was good, but a head winds during parts made the engine noise/vibration a bit uncomfortable a few people.  For the most part, it was a good two hours.

    After returning, we assembled on the pier next to the Rover for our memorial service. Originally this was to be on the Wisconsin,  but due to ciecumstances, that had to change. Chaplain Brian Goode led us in a prayer and the Memorial Service itself. Flowers were then dropped in the water by each attendee. After the service, we were on our own for lunch and to tour the Wisconsin, as it was part of the tour. The rest of the day was "free time" until 3:30, when we met in the hospitality room for the annual business meeting.

    On Tuesday morning, 6/13/2023, we boarded a bus to go to the Mariners Museum in Newport News, VA (link on photo ).  The museum has displays on the iron-clad ship Monitor, from the civil war. A full size mock-up version is outside the building, and displays of items from the ship inside. Much of the Monitor is under de-salinization, a process that takes years.

    Another major part of the museum is about the America’s Cup races of 2013 -2017.  The Orion catamaran hangs from the ceiling of one large room. The Orion was the winner in 2013. Other rooms have large models of various ships that sailed the seas, ocean liners, cargo ships etc. (The website will have photos of some of these items.) There is a model maker doing his work, including answering questions. It takes a good day to see all.  At 11:30 we assembled for our pre-ordered lunch, sandwiches from “Mikes Subs.”

    We returned to the hotel around 3:30 with plenty of time for the hospitality room and to get ready for our formal dinner at 6 pm. Brian Goode opened the dinner with an opening prayer and recognition of those shipmate names that were found as passed since Charleston in 2022.

    After the dinner, we had recognition for two special categories: "Furthest Traveled" and "First Time Attendees." Richard Reno (69-72/EN2), from Grand Junction Colorado  wins as usual. Elmer Peters (62-65/RD2) from Norton MA, attending his first reunion, received his ship pin for his dangler. Then the highlight of the evening, drawing for various prizes, including a quilt, made by Pat Andrews, and the 50/50.

    All in all, we had a successful reunion. Some had a few problems with the hotel, the restaurant wait staff was a bit short handed, especially for breakfast. Not all went as well as in 2013.

    Here is hoping you will be able to attend the 2024 reunion in June (1-13) at Annapolis MD. The home of the US Navel Academy.

2024  Annapolis Reunion Registration available in the March 2024 Newsletter

2010 St. Louis 2011 Washington D.C. 2012 Newport
2013 Norfolk 2014 Jacksonville 2015 New Orleans
2016 Memphis 2017 Harrisburg 2018 Savannah
2019 Hartford 2020 Boston Canceled** 2021/22 Milwaukee Canceled***
2022 Charleston 2023 - Norfolk 6/11-14* 2024 Annapolis MD.*
2025 TBT at Annapolis
  * Planning by George Baker  ** Covid  ***Covid then Hotel problems

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