Reunion 2009 is now history and what a great time we had! On Wednesday night, the Dinner Cruise was quite a success and John Ebata says the air conditioning was working well on the cruise boat. He and fiance’ Wendy said it felt as cool as the TCH chill box! They had to go topside to warm up! Ron and Anita Koshko also took advantage of the early bird dinner cruise and all said they had a great time and meal.
Thursday morning had us all mustering in the hospitality suite to enjoy some camaraderie and plan the day’s tour event! Fourteen of us are taking the historic Charleston, guided, tour! I know we’re going to enjoy the event as we learn of Charleston’s great history and view the many mansions that make up downtown Charleston. Shipmate Gary Smith has shared his expertise and knowledge of the Charleston tour and has provided some great liaison work for our planners, John and Sherry! Gary works for the Charleston Visitors center! Thanks for the help Gary.
The Thursday afternoon tour of historic Charleston did not disappoint! Our guide navigated the narrow streets of Charleston, narrating and explaining the history of many of the finest homes in Charleston. We stopped for 1/2 hour visit of the Joseph Manigault house located at the corner of John & Meeting Streets. The home, built in 1803 displayed nearly all original trim work and floors. Pretty impressive! The gang returned to the hotel to rest up for the balance of the day which included a great seafood dinner featuring the “local catch”. The restaurant, R B Seafood, located on Shem Creek proved to be a great choice! Shrimp, flounder, oysters, scallops in a variety of dishes helped tame the palate of the hungry TCHVA members. The hospitality suite was there to “help us'” bring this great day to a close. Plenty of cold beverages on hand to help tame this 90 degree South Carolina summer day! To coin a phrase ” A great time was had by all!”. We’re looking forward to Fort Sumter and the Patriot Points museum for Friday.
Friday, under a warm (HOT!!) South Carolina sun 17 members of the reunion crew cruised the harbor to Fort Sumter where the first shot began the Civil War. We heard the geat history of the Fort and how it changed from Union possession to Confederate capture then back to the Union.The fortress remains intact over 150 years including 9 feet of flooding from hurricane Hugo. Everyone found it interesting and the boat ride to and from gave some of us back our sea legs.
The group then toured the USS Yorktown, a WWII Carrier, where we enjoyed a hot lunch in the Chief’s Mess. To see all the sections of the ships and all the different aircraft was fascinating. All commented that there was far more to see than time permitted. Garry Collins gave a personal tour aboard the USS Clamagore, a WWII submarine and recalled his days aboard a submarine.
All regrouped and had a great meal with “Sticky Fingers” BBQ and “pigged” out while enjoying a slide show of some fond memories.
The business meeting was conducted at 0900 Saturday. All reunion attendees were present and elected new officers for the coming two years. Scott Ruerup is the new President. Ron Koshko was elected as the new Vice President. Randy Groen was re-elected as Treasurer. Garry Collins was elected as Secretary. Tom Clark remains as Association Chaplain, and Andy Roberts continues as the Historian. Outgoing President Jerry Leatherwood will be the Chairman of the Board for the next two years! Norfolk was chosen as the next reunion city! Several shipmates will be heading out to tour the historic submarine, USS Hunley. All hands will be attending the formal dinner banquet tonight at the hotel.
Saturday evening’s banquet consisted of Chicken Wellington or Roast Beef, with green beans, rice, dinner rolls, salad, and cheesecake! The hotel presented outgoing President, Jerry Leatherwood, the framed announcement of the TCHVA reunion. Our planner, John Peterson, gave a moving tribute to all veterans by telling the story of “earning your chair” that he heard presented at the Republican convention this past summer. Garry Collins read a poem “Thirty Years Gone” by Doug Hemming that illustrated the reunion spirit and how great it is to be able to see your old friends, just one more time! Jerry announced the newly officer staff and we adjourned to the hospitality suite to continue the festivities! We are all looking forward to a great crowd in Norfolk in 2011!