Our 2018 reunion was held at the Ramada Gateway Hotel in Kissimmee, Florida October 14th to 18th. Thanks to our hosts Tom and Lori Osmond and the association board of directors for another memorable reunion! Photos by association photographer Nick Motto will be linked when availableWashtenaw's 2018 Reunion
This year's reunion write-up is compliments of our association secretary Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg:
USS WASHTENAW COUNTY VETERANS ASSOCIATION 2018 REUNION RECAP
Veterans arrived from across the states to gather at the Ramada Gateway in Kissimmee, FL. The hosts, Tom & Lori Osmond, greeted each of us with warm hugs and welcome bags which contained Washtenaw t-shirts, ID wallets, maps, tour information, mirrors, pens and a notebook (decorated especially for us by Lori). Hanging from the bags were luggage tags for each attendee (also made by Lori)! We gathered in a well stocked hospitality room to get reacquainted and make plans for our outings in the area. Greg Pierceall brought the LST1166 logs for all to browse.
During the day attendees ventured out to the many tourist attractions in the Orlando area. There were many things to do including: Disney attractions, Universal Studios, the Kennedy Space Center and air boat rides to see the alligators. At the end of the day, we all gathered in the patio area for the "meet-n-greet". After sampling the appetizers, we regrouped in the hospitality room where Tom and Lori had assembled a buffet of desserts for us to enjoy. Nick Motto brought his camera to capture the many faces of our group. Mike Shaw brought his video equipment to show slides and dvd's of the crew on the LST1166.
Lori and Tom organized carpools for everyone to go the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee. It was a historical glimpse of our military heritage. The exhibits contained hundreds of genuine artifacts, military relics, photographs and memorable accounts by former soldiers. All Vietnam Veterans were invited to sign a large map of Vietnam that hung on the wall.
In the evening, the group went to the Capone's Comedy Dinner Theater where the entertainment included our own JP Miller demonstrating the Charleston on stage with the dancers! Please check our LST1166 Facebook page for a video of this event. Later, the "Detective" bantered with our own Ron Tucker in the audience! Fun times for all.
Groups continued to gather in the hospitality room to share stories and adventures. As many of the attendees have been meeting for the past 16 years, some of the stories are now about prior reunions. While some stories are sad as we recall those who are no longer here to gather with us, we now treasure those memories!
The annual business meeting took place in the hospitality room at 3:00pm. Please see meeting minutes here for details.
In the evening, we gathered in the banquet room for drinks, dinner, dancing, and the silent auction. David Vicknair opened the evening by welcoming the first time attendees, Walter Watts & family and our guest speaker, Walter Wittholz, LST 560. After a moment of silence, the cadets marched in to "present the colors". Gary Williamson recited the "Missing Man Table Poem" as we paid respect to all those who have passed. The guest speaker, Walter Wittholz recanted the bombing of Hiroshima, Japan and his experiences during that time. He is the President Emeritus of the National LST organization and encouraged all of us to join. Check out their website: www.uslst.org.
Dinner followed with a bountiful buffet of parmesan chicken, sirloin beef tips in gravy and baked fish. Sides of salad, rolls and green beans were served. Several desserts were on a nearby table for all to enjoy while the DJ played music and provided a Karaoke sing along. The evening sped by as the silent auction ended, the music faded and friends departed for the evening. A few gathered one last time in the hospitality room for a final farewell.
Departure day for most, but a few lingered on a day or two to explore the sites. A big 'THANK YOU' to Tom and Lori Osmond for planning and hosting this year's event. We also want to thank Mike Shaw for his video equipment, Nick Motto for his photography skills and Greg Piearceall for sharing the ship logs with everyone!
Joe Rosenberg GMG3 69-71
This year's reunion attendees (needs updating):
Len and Lois Carida, Bob Coombs, Arnie and Arlene Helfrich, Jim and Margie Hopkins, Mack and Juanita Lester, Melvyn Metzinger, Nick and Patty Motto, Tom and Lori Osmond, Greg and Judy Pierceall, Bob and Donna Popma, Joe and Carolyn Rosenberg, Mike and Kathy Shaw, Ron and Cindy Stettler (LST1169), John and Rosalee Strittmatter, Ron and Sharon Tucker, David and Roz Vicknair, Reyes and Connie Vega, Gary and Jackie Williamson.
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