2016 San Diego, CA.
This year’s reunion was attended by 70 shipmates, spouses, and friends. Sam & Jeri Chinarian of Irvine, Ca. were the host and did a wonderful job of hotel and activity planning. The Handlery Hotel was the ideal location. The hospitality room had a great view of the pool/patio area and due to the beautiful weather we were able to open the large sliding doors and enjoy the patio outside the room. Registration began on Wed. 9/14 where everyone received a host welcome bag from the Chinarians, full of fun goodies. Each shipmate received a Reunion T-shirt and a USS Neches Cap. Thurs. morning we departed the hotel by bus and our travel planner gave a narrated tour of the City of San Diego including a tour of Coronado Island. The highlight of the day was a 2 hour harbor excursion viewing various ships and five military installations. On Friday we toured the Aero Space Museum where we saw some of the finest exhibits and aircraft on display. From the museum we stopped at the former Naval Training Center where it all began for some of the men. Most of the area has changed significantly for everyone, however the USS Recruit remained the same. Then we moved on to Old Town and visited the Sheriff’s Museum. Many thought this stop was one of the most interesting of the activities. To top off the day we had lunch at the Casa de Guadalajara Restaurant where we were greeted with complimentary margarita’s and seating in a beautiful, Mexican setting.
Friday night there was an optional activity of a dinner cruise aboard the Hornblower Cruise Ship. We were greeted onboard with complimentary champagne, a wonderful 3 course dinner, and a beautiful view of the city lights of downtown San Diego and the harbor.
Saturday morning began with a visit to the La Jolla Mt. Soledad Veteran’s Memorial. Site of our Association Memorial Service with guest speakers from the Memorial Staff. The program included the “roll call of the departed”, the playing of taps, and the dedication of the USS Neches AO– 47 plaque which we purchased and had installed in time for this service. (Plaque was paid from individual member contributions at a cost of $1200). A group picture was taken at the memorial. Then we had lunch at the Tom Ham’s Lighthouse restaurant with a postcard perfect view of the Harbor.
The annual business meeting was held Saturday afternoon. Butch Bequette was elected treasurer to replace Steve McCarthy who had given written notice of intent to resign at end of the fiscal year. Johnny Hanlon was reelected as President. Mike Gargano will be host of the 2017 Reunion in either Savannah, Ga or Jacksonville, Fl. Steve gave the Financial Report . Final report for FY2016 is attached.
Sunday morning we gathered one last time for breakfast and saying our goodbyes until we meet again next year.
2016 Memorial Service
Nine shipmates were recognized at the “Roll Call of the Departed”
1. S1/c Roger Gross 53-54
2. RD/A Bill Crackel 63-64
3. SK/4 Gene Edwards 65-65
4. SF Bill Walke 53-54
5. Sm Archie Redmond 65-68
6. Em3 Dennis Collins 63-66
7. Sk3/c Hal Lawson
8. Sm James Porter 54-55
9. RM3/c Jack Young 53-54