Washtenaw/LSR9 2014 Reunion

This year's September 10-14 reunion was held in conjunction with the second Landing Ship Squadron 9 reunion at the Astor Crowne Plaza hotel located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Our hosts were David and Roz Vicknair who put on another great reunion on par with the 2004 New Orleans reunion they also hosted! Thanks David, Roz, and USS Washtenaw County Association board members, and everyone else who helped. Also thankyou Richard Krebs (chairman), David Beekman (treasurer), and all who helped with the LSR9 committee in organizing the reunion.

We have two reunion write-ups this year, the first by our association secretary Joe Rosenberg, and a second by LSR9 chairman Rich Krebs. You'll also find a link to many reunion photos taken by Rich below.

Hello LST1166 Shipmates,

The 2014 reunion has come to an end, but the memories will linger on for days to come. The LST1166 shipmates along with members from three other LSR9 ships gathered in New Orleans for their annual reunion. Hosts, David and Roz Vicknair welcomed us all with open arms and a list of things to do around the city. While some arrived a few days early, the reunion commenced on Wednesday, September 10th, with members getting reacquainted with old friends while making new ones. With the help of maps and information packets in the welcome bags, attendees began making their plans to see the best of New Orleans. Luckily, there was also a poncho in these bags to keep us dry during the many, but brief downpours that did their best to "rain on our parade"!

The bus tour provided access to many adventures. Aboard this hop-on hop-off bus you were free to explore New Orleans on your own terms. Travel in comfort and see many of the popular landmarks and attractions on this 10-stop tour. The tour guides provided insight into the sights and sounds of New Orleans as the bus weaved its way throughout the city. One of the most popular stops was at the WWII Museum.

On Thursday evening we gathered for the official "meet-n-greet" in the St. Charles banquet room at the hotel. The buffet offered a spicy jambalaya, along with other finger foods such as mini sandwiches, cheese, crackers, eggrolls and vegetables. A live jazz band played for our entertainment. In true Mardi Gras fashion, each attendee was given an sealed envelope that contained a "bean". On David's instructions, we opened our envelopes to discover who had the "golden bean", as this was the means of selecting the "king and queen" of the Mardi Gras. Attendees, Jim and Margie Hopkins were delighted to assume the role and lead us in a parade around the hotel lobby.

On Friday many took part in the "Plan of the Day" luncheon cruise on the Mississippi River aboard the Natchez Paddleboat. Attendees found themselves feasting on the New Orleans style buffet while listening to jazz. From all reports, the cruise was a big hit. Throughout the reunion attendees drifted in and out of the hospitality room to enjoy snacks, beer, wine, soda and water. Mike Shaw provided a DVD player for everyone to share their pictures of their Navy days.

On Saturday, the LST1166 held their yearly membership meeting at 1600 (see attachment for minutes). The 2015 reunion will be held in Charleston, SC. Aug. 26 - 30, 2015.

Saturday nights gathering opened with the "Missing Man Table and Honors Ceremony".
Gary Williamson explained the meaning of the special table. The table is round – to show our everlasting concern. The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve. The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers. The red ribbon symbolizes our continued determination to account for them. A slice of lemon reminds us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families who long for answers after decades of uncertainty. The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith in our country, founded as one nation under God, to sustain those lost from our midst. The glass is inverted – to symbolize their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing…………….. (silent moment) We then raised our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs, to the success of our efforts to account for them, and to the safety of all now serving our Nation!

The evening continued with the "posting of colors" by the local Navy Cadets. The buffet dinner followed with traditional foods from the region. We feasted on gumbo soup, salads, rice, etouffee (crab and shrimp sauce), red beans and rice, red potatoes, fried chicken, vegetables, etc., followed by dessert and coffee or tea.

The silent auction took place during the evening with many interesting items from around the country. Attendees showed their generosity in both their donations to the auction and their bidding as we raised over $900.00. After dinner, there was dancing to the jazz band that played throughout the evening. A raffle was held for a single nights stay at the hotel, which also netted over $300.00. This was won by Mike Shaw. After all expenses for the reunion were paid, the balances of the reunion fund will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Fund.

One final note about this years' reunion. Many attendees wore their Navy hat and shirts during the reunion, proudly displaying the names of their ships. On several occasions, strangers stopped us to shake our hands and thank us for our service. I hope all of you have had this pleasant experience happen to you over the years and that you also extend your thanks to those you pass. In New Orleans, one person took their appreciation of our service, one step further. One morning there were nine of us having breakfast at IHOP. When it was time to pay the bill, our waitress informed us that the stranger behind us had already paid the entire bill. He had already left the restaurant so we could not thank him. Nine of us will have memories of New Orleans that will include "a random act of kindness".

Respectfully Submitted,

Joe Rosenberg (GMG3 69-71)
LST1166 Secretary

Washtenaw crew members present this year:
Bigelow, Richard
Blackwell, Michael
Brown, Jay
Bueker, Harold
Carida, Leonard
Carson, Bob
Coombs, Bob
Durtschi, George
Freeman, George
Galace, Willie
Hamill, Richard
Helfrich, Arnold
Hopkins, Jim
Jewell, Homer
McNamara, Daniel
Metzinger, Melvyn
Motto, Nick
Pierceall, Greg
Popma, Bob
Reed, J.J.
Rosenbaum, Ken
Rosenberg, Joe
Roy, Mike
Schultz, James
Shaw, Mike
Strittmatter, John
Tucker, Ron
Vicknair, David
Williams, John
Williamson, Gary
+ many wives, relatives and friends


We have just concluded our second LANSHIPRON Nine reunion in New Orleans.

There were 93 persons in attendance, which included 51 shipmates from three ships. The Washtenaw had 28 members, the Windham had 12, the Whitfield had 8 and the Washoe 3. All had a good time. There were 29 who went on the Natchez river boat on Fri noon. The Meet and Greet on Thur PM had 90 attendees and the Banquet had 89 attendees. The highlight of the reunion was seeing the WWII Museum. Many enjoyed the various trollies and the hop on/off bus.

I would like to thank the following persons for their work on planning and implementing the reunion:

David Vicknair for being the local host and setting up the hotel, the food at the hotel, the music for the two nights, the silent auction and raffle and a host of other items.

Roz Vicknair took care of the table decoration for both nights. They were excellent.

Jim Hopkins organized and collected the funds for the silent auction and the raffle for a hotel night that Mike Shaw won. We raised over $1200 from these two events on Sat night.

David Beekman, our Treasurer. He kept everything straight. It looks like we will be able to donate approximately $500 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Jim Raney maintained the LSR9 web site and posted the reunion forms for all to download if needed.

Many pictures were taken so if I get web links we will send them to all attendees.

I am sorry more ships and shipmates could not attend. It was a great reunion. The food at the two events at the hotel were outstanding. The Hospitality Room was very busy with shipmates reminiscing and looking at pictures.

Rich Krebs

Chairman, LSR9 Reunion Committee

Photos by Nick Motto

Photos by Richard Krebs

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