Washtenaw's 2009 Reunion

Washington, D.C. was the site of our 8th reunion, held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel near Ronald Reagan International Airport October 7-11. Our hosts were Mel Vineyard, Jay Brown and Paul Roberge.

Wednesday was our usual register, meet and greet day in the hospitality room, which was stocked with snacks and drinks, and Sandy Weismann provided a round or three of San Miguel! Tom Osmond set up the ship's store.

Thursday was a special day with a group trip to Arlington National Cemetery. Our USS Washtenaw County wreath presentation ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns was a very memorable experience none of us will forget! Jay Brown and David Vicknair, along with two plank owners, Arnie Helfrich and John Strittmatter had the honor of laying the wreath while the rest of us stood in formation on the steps.

Friday was another special day with a trip to the United States Navy Memorial to dedicate our USS Washtenaw County plaque displaying all 17 battle stars, which now resides on the Commemorative Plaque Wall in the museum. Stay tuned for your chance to win a duplicate plaque mounted on hardwood, as we will be raffling off the plaque given to our organization to raise funds.

Our annual association meeting took place Saturday afternoon, with election of officers (all sitting officers were reelected for two more years), plus Jay Brown was voted in to fill the newly created office of Reunion Coordinator. We also voted to support Tom Osmond's "Project Harbor" efforts to create a new display case for USS Washtenaw County's memorabilia located in Washtenaw County, Michigan. Nick Motto will be starting a new library for crew member photos, and Gary Williamson offered to help crew members obtain VA benefits for Agent Orange problems.

Saturday evening we held our traditional silent auction and banquet dinner. Breast of Chicken Dijon and Sliced Sirloin with a Mushroom Bordelaise Sauce were served for dinner, with DJ services provided by a Navy veteran. This year's silent auction generated $800 for the association.

In addition to Arlington and the Navy Memorial, there were side trips to most of the tourist stops including the White House, Vietnam Memorial "Wall", Smithsonian Museum, Capitol building, National Archives, Washington Monument, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and more!

We received greetings and letters of gratitude for our service from the Secretary of the Navy, the Governor of Virginia, Virginia Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, Arlington County Board, and Adrian Fenty, the mayor of the District of Columbia. Arriving too late to pass out at the reunion was a message from the White House, which can be downloaded HERE.

Thank you Mel Vineyard, Jay Brown and Paul Roberge for another great reunion. And thanks also to the wives and people working in the background!

Under lost and hopefully found - Dick Hamill left his digital camera in the hospitality room. It is an Olympus C-740 Ultra Zoom in a black leather purse/case. If you know of its whereabouts, please send Dick an email!

Crew members and wives/girlfriends in attendance:
Gus and Mary Alegado, Craig and Robin Arneson (1st reunion), Tony and Aurora Banaban, Felicito and Natividad Bayson, Jay and Judy Brown, Leonard and Mrs.? Carida, Bob Coombs, Leon Desaire (1st reunion), Ernie and Margaret Durr, Darrell Eldridge, Gary Glanert, Bob Haley (and brother), Dick and Becky Hamill, Arnie and Arlene Helfrich (plank owner), Jim and Margie Hopkins, Art Hughes (1st reunion), Dan and Sue McNamara (1st reunion), John Miller and girlfriend?, Nick Motto and Patty Siegfried, Tom and Lori Osmond, Greg and Judy Pierceall, John and Linda Reed (1st reunion for one of our XO's), Paul and Patty Roberge, Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg, Mike and Kathy Shaw plus grand daughter, Charlie and Jeanette Stevens, Gloyden Stewart (1st reunion), John and Rosalie Strittmatter (plank owner), Ron and Bobbie (son Jim) Telshaw, David and Roz Vicknair, Mel and Mary Ann Vineyard, Al and Diane Weatherill, Sandy Weissman, Gary and Jackie Williamson, Bill Wolber (brother? David)

Plus a few guests not mentioned above:
Brian and Tammy Trice (the Vicknair's daughter and son-in-law), Jerry and Penny Pierce (Nick Motto's friends who regularly come to our reunions), Robert Gross (friend? of Leon Desaire). Let me know if you see any errors or can fill in question marks!

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