Washtenaw's 2010 Reunion

Sacramento California's Marriott Hotel Rancho Cordova was the site of this year's "Gold Coast" reunion held September 8-12. Gus and Mary Alegado, and Jim and Diana Beuving should be commended for an outstanding job of hosting this year's reunion, turning it into yet another memorable event!

Gus and Jim arranged for a couple of surprise items in our check in "ditty bags" this year, with the addition of a USS Washtenaw County reunion ball cap and two wine goblets etched with a logo of the ship. Plus a handy LED flashlight; how did they know the hotel's power would go out one night! They also arranged for welcome letters from Steve Hammond, President/CEO of the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau, Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, and a nice letter from the guvernator, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As usual, the hospitality room was a popular hangout during the day and evening. Greg Pierceall's collection of deck logs and other ship's records are always popular, as one never fails to find information overlooked at earlier reunions. Mike Shaw brought along his crew diary printout from 1969, and it was fun to see who had been UA or even AWOL. And of course there was plenty of San Miguel on hand!

Many crew members arrived Wednesday or even earlier, but others trickled into town the rest of the week, with a few coming just for the Saturday banquet. There was not much going on Wednesday other than checking in and a little sight seeing and shopping, but a large group headed for the Elephant Bar for dinner!

On Thursday the sight seeing and shopping continued (the Rat Pack rarely rests when the stores are open), and in the evening we held our Meet & Greet, which featured tri-tip sandwiches and all the fixins prepared by Jim and Diana. Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg provided a variety of California wines just for the occasion, along with personalized lucky charms to keep track of all those goblets. There was a drawing for several pairs of airshow tickets.

Friday was a repeat of Thursday, and since there was so much food left over from the Thursday Meet & Greet, we repeated that too! The hotel provided more comp airshow tickets, so just about everyone who wanted to go received free tickets.

Saturday was the beginning of the 4th annual California Capitol Airshow, which was one reason we chose our reunion dates and hotel. Our hotel turned out to be the official airshow participant sleeping spot and watering hole, so there were plenty of pilot and crew types to be seen around the hotel.

There was a lot of walking involved but the show was well worth the price (I know, what price). In addition to all the civilian performers, just about all branches of the military put on demonstrations or fly-bys with their hardware from the WWII era and up to present, including a civilian group of P-38 Lightning's, a U-2 spy plane, and the B-2 flying wing ($2.2 billion each, $870 per ounce) buzzed us a couple of times. The main attraction of the show was a demonstration of the F-22A Raptor, which is an airshow all by itself.

Our association meeting took place late Saturday afternoon. Tom Osmond updated all on the Project Harbor display, Gary Williamson discussed the VA system and again offered to help crew members receive benefits, plus we decided to put off making a decision on holding our 2012 reunion with the LanShipRon 9 group until next year's reunion.

It was also brought up that Dick Hamill still has his Super 8 Washtenaw video for sale in DVD format for $20 plus shipping. This was taken aboard the ship mostly while she was serving in the Mekong River system in 1968 and early 1969, but also contains footage of other areas of Vietnam, along with Thailand, Subic Bay, Hong Kong, South Korea and other tourist attractions we visited. Ordering information can be found here.

Mike Shaw introduced the idea of members sponsoring the purchase of a year of the ship's crew diary (crew listing and other events), until we have a complete collection of all years available. This is available from the government on microfiche for $85 per year, and so far Mike has purchased 1969 and Nick Motto offered to cover 1968. Contact Mike Shaw to sponsor a full or partial year.

The remaining topic everybody wanted to hear about was the location of next year's reunion. We voted to hold our 2011 reunion in Branson, Missouri around September or possibly October, with David Vicknair volunteering to host it. Branson is a very veteran friendly destination, so this should be another good one!.

Minutes of the meeting cover other topics discussed, and can be downloaded by right clicking and saving the link here to your computer. The 2010minutes.docx file can be viewed with a docx file reader.

Our banquet dinner, dance and silent auction followed the meeting. The very tasty main course offered roast beef, chicken and fish, with peach cobler and chocolate moose for dessert! A local DJ provided dance music, karaoke, and even sang a couple of songs himself. If you attended the San Diego reunion, you can guess that the most popular male karaoke vocalist was none other than Mike Redding. His rendition of Johnny Cash was great, with a little backup from the Rat Pack, and it just might have been caught on video! The raffle drawing for the United States Navy Memorial USS Washtenaw County plaque copy was won by Henry Collin. Let's thank everyone for participating in the auction, which raised $??? for our association. Even Jay Brown, who couldn't make the reunion, sent in an auction item, and Darrell Eldredge came through with his usual whopper bid!

Sunday was hit the roads and airports day for most, with a few sticking around for extended vacations or wanting to see the final day of the airshow.

We owe a big bravo zulu and thanks to Gus & Mary, Jim & Diana, Joe & Carolyn, Jay Brown, all those who worked behind the scenes including hotel staff, and to all the board members who put time into making this reunion another winner. And thanks to all who attended; be sure to mark Branson on next year's calendar!

And one last topic is a big thankyou to Joe and Carolyn for taking the time to put together our newsletters. If anyone has a story or request appropriate for the newsletter, click here to send Joe an email!

A list of attendees and group photo will be posted here when available.

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