Washtenaw's 2016 Reunion

Our 15th annual reunion was a notch above our usual hotel locale, as it was held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California. Bravo Zulu to our hosts, Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg (our association secretary, and the secretary's secretary) for the outstanding job they did it putting together this reunion. And of course thanks to all who helped!

Here is Joe's newsletter write-up of the reunion:

2016 REUNION WRAPUP This year's reunion was held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. from August 24th-28th.
The Queen Mary proved to be a wonderful venue with the attention of our Convention Services Manager, Valli O'Donnell from the Queen Mary, along with support from the Long Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau representatives, Lori Elgayar and Regina Richardson. With many Veterans arriving a day or so early, Valli saw to it that we got early access to our hospitality room so the group could gather and enjoy their time together. Additionally, both organizations donated complimentary passes to the group along with gifts for the silent auction. Our success was directly related to their contributions.

The Queen Mary and the Long Beach area had many sightseeing and restaurant choices to keep us both entertained and well fed! Carpools were formed to dine at the Long Beach Cafe, where the breakfast choices were plentiful. The City of Long Beach Passport Shuttle proved to be a wonderful mode of transportation around the city. On Wednesday, thirty or more of the attendees hopped the bus to dine at Bubba Gumps to thank this restaurant who had donated a gift bag for our auction. We agreed to catch the 509 bus for dinner. All of us will remember "Big Al" the friendly bus driver who always had a welcome smile for us and took pictures of us on the bus! The manager on duty at Bubba Gumps, Paul, did a wonderful job of seating our group in a private back room area where we all enjoyed a complimentary appetizer before our dinner. Paul also gave our group an additional gift bag for our auction while we were there. Our friendly waiters entertained us with trivia from Forest Gump.

On Thursday a large group went to tour the USS Battleship Iowa in San Pedro. This organization also donated four passes for the tour which were given out to four lucky attendees. While many toured the Iowa, a group of the wives took the Princess Diana tour aboard the Queen Mary. Everyone returned to the hospitality room with stories to share while enjoying the snacks and drinks in our well stocked room. Greg Pierceall brought the ship's deck logs which were available for all to peruse.

In the evening, we gathered in the Royal Salon/Kings View room for our informal "meet-n-greet" reunion kickoff. The Captain of the Queen Mary gave a brief history of the ship and answered questions posed to him from the Veterans. David Vicknair welcomed the group and raffled off several $25.00 gift cards to Parker's Lighthouse and The Boathouse on the Bay, donated to our organization (thru the LBC&VB). While enjoying the hot and cold appetizers, the attendees posed in a variety of hats for pictures. Our photographer, Nick Motto, took fun pictures of the shipmates and their wives. Nick will make these photos available to the group in a few weeks. As the evening progressed, we had some good laughs to add to our many memories aboard the Queen Mary.

Friday was a free day for all to explore Long Beach and the surrounding areas. Groups ventured to the Aquarium of the Pacific while others took tours around the Queen Mary or shopped at the Pike Outlets. Many ended up at Shoreline Village for drinks, appetizer's and dinner at Parker's Lighthouse to show our appreciation for their donation. Many returned to the Queen Mary's hospitality room to share their adventures and watch slides of past Navy Days aboard the LST1166. Mike Shaw provided the computer equipment for all to enjoy.

On Saturday, the LST1166 board held their yearly meeting, followed by the general meeting for all to attend. Discussions included the 2017 reunion in San Antonio, Texas hosted by Mike and Kathy Shaw and the 2018 reunion in Kissimmee, Florida hosted by Tom and Lori Osmond. Please see meeting minutes for more information. The group gathered later for the banquet dinner, dancing and silent auction at 6pm. The silent auction began during the cocktail hour with many unique and interesting items from around the country. No auction is complete without a little friendly competition, which continued into the evening until the auction was closed. Jim Hopkins, treasurer, announced that we netted over $900.00 to help defray the cost of the DJ and other reunion expenses. A big thank you to all who donated items and also all those who purchased items at the auction.

The dinner hour began with the presentation of colors by the Long Beach Sea Cadets. Their leader, LTJG Keith Silva then read the poem, "Missing Man Table" to honor those who could not be with us. Dinner was then served while the DJ, Martin from Waveform Events, played a variety of music. Later, Martin, got the group on their feet by teaching us the steps to the "Cupid Shuffle, the Hand Jive and Thriller".

Sunday was departure day for most. Some headed home while others traveled to other areas of California and neighboring states to visit family and friends.

Our association photographer, Nick Motto, has posted reunion photos for all to see. View Nick's photos here.

This year's reunion attendees:

Gus and Mary Alegado, Craig and Robin Arneson, Tony and Aurora Banaban, Fel and Nattie Bayson, Jim and Diana Beuving, Jim and Ann Bigelow, Harold and Vivian Bueker, Carlos and Kim Campos, Len and Lois Carida, Bob Coombs, George and Pat Durtschi, Jack Felman, Robert Haley, Dick and Becky Hamill, Bob and Susie Hatfield, Arnie and Arlene Helfrich, Jim and Pam Hogan with Hoosier the service dog (Whitfield), Jim and Margie Hopkins, Richard Leonhardt, Melvyn Metzinger, Nick and Patti Motto, Tom and Lori Osmond, Tony and Jaime Pappas, Jerry and Penny Pierce, Greg and Judy Pierceall, Ken and Melva Rosenbalm, Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg, Bernie and Pat Savko, Mike and Kathy Shaw, Ron and Cindy Stettler (Whitfield), Charlie and Jeanette Stevens, Ken and Stacy Tse, Ron and Sharon Tucker, David and Roz Vicknair, Sandy Weissman, John and Faith Williams

And yes, we did forget to take a group photo during the banquet!

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