Association 2009 National Reunion.....
The 2009 Patrol Gunboat Association was held in Virginia Beach, VA.
The Founders Inn and Spa’s name comes from the Founding Fathers who drafted the Constitution in 1787. The resort features captivating Grand Georgian architecture. Renowned art and antiques—including noteworthy period furnishings—adorn the property. Our members experienced the intimate hospitality of a country inn, outstanding recreational amenities, as well as great meeting and hospitality space. The Founders Inn included a luxurious atmosphere in a relaxing setting. Our room rate was $109.00 per night for all standard rooms. For an additional $15.00 per night, breakfast was included.
The 2009 reunion began on Wednesday August 12, 2009 with early check in and registration. As always, we had free ball caps for those who purchased $20.00 in raffle table tickets. K&E Crafts again provided our coffee mugs to commemorate the reunion. Wednesday was a free day with no group events planned so several members headed out to see some of the local sights while others relaxed in the hospitality room and got reacquainted. The beer was cold and of course there was soft drinks and snacks available while we enjoyed the day visiting with friends and shipmates from the Gunboats.
Thursday we headed out for our first tour. Departing the hotel at 8:30, the group and our guide made our way to the charming town of Williamsburg. Our guide provided us with an interesting and informative narration during our ride about the historic Virginia Peninsula and the Hampton Roads area. Once we arrived, we will stepped back into the 18th century while strolling through Colonial Williamsburg. Our historical interpreter guided us through the past and the events that helped shape America’s history as we enjoyed a one and a half hour leisurely walking tour through the restored area of this lovely colonial capital city. Following our overview tour, we had some free time to shop and browse in the many unique specialty shops in Merchants Square. We were able to enjoy lunch on our own in one of the Colonial Taverns or in Merchants Square. Following lunch, we visited the Mariners Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive maritime history museums in the world, housing a treasure trove of more than 35,000 items inspired by human experiences with the sea. For 70 years the museum has illustrated the spirit of seafaring adventure, assembling an internationally renowned and diverse collection of maritime artifacts, including figureheads, scrimshaw, hand crafted ship models, decorative arts, prints and paintings with a nautical theme, and small craft from around the world. Our next stop was the USS Monitor Exhibit. This $30 million exhibit includes artifacts, history and accounts of the career of the USS Monitor displayed in a 63,500 square foot space. The center's galleries are recreations of times and places, reliving the Civil War battle of the iron-clads, USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, which changed Naval warfare forever. We returned to the hotel at 4:30.
We were able to arrange another Dining Out this year. Many of our members joined us for dinner and a show at the Funny Bone Comedy Club. While not "X Rated", the Funny Bone is noted for it's rather mature theme in entertainment. This was not really one of our group tours, it was intended to be an extra dinner out for those who wished to attend. We posted lists of members who were driving and could provide transportation as we car pooled to the Funny Bone. The remainder of Thursday was our own for those not going out to dinner.
Friday morning we got "Underway" for our next tour. Our motor coach departed at 9:30 and headed to the Norfolk Naval Base, part of Naval Station Norfolk - the largest naval installation in the world. Home port to 78 ships, ranging in size from aircraft carriers to submarines, 26 aircraft squadrons comprised of 133 aircraft and headquarters of the Atlantic Fleet, the complex occupies over 8,000 acres of land and is home to more than 160,000 military personnel. Our tour took us past the 14 piers and through the Naval Air Station. We also got to drive by the historic homes built for the 1907 Jamestown Exposition on "Admiral’s Row’ which now house the flag officers. Our day on base ended with lunch at one of the clubs on base.
After lunch we learned about Norfolk's colorful 325 year history as we rode through the lovely historic district and restored areas. Our guide told us about many of the stately homes along the Hague, Old St. Paul’s Church, the Moses Myers House as well as interesting facts about MacArthur Memorial, the Chrysler Museum of Art, the historic Freemason District, Nauticus, the Battleship Wisconsin, the restored waterfront area, as well as many other points of interest.
Then we boarded the Victory Rover for a two hour cruise through the bustling Hampton Roads Harbor, one of the largest in the world. We enjoyed the sight of aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, guided cruisers and some of the other ships that form the world’s most powerful armada. Unfortunately sea duty credit and sea pay was not included.
Friday evening was our traditional buffet dinner. Following dinner we had an open mike session for those who wish to make comments to the group.
SATURDAY BUSINESS MEETING
Saturday morning we took a few minutes and discussed the future of the Association at our 2009 Patrol Gunboat Association Business Meeting. Topics included finances, membership issues and the date and location of the 2010 reunion. We will also be took questions and comments from the membership as well as suggestions from the attendees on where to hold the 2010 Reunion.
The bar opened at 6:00 and everyone was seated in the banquet room in time for us to start the opening ceremony promptly at 7:00. We drew the winning 50-50 tickets during dinner and had the raffle drawings as soon as dinner was over. While some folks sat around for after dinner drinks and conversation, most headed back to our hospitality room to enjoy the last evening of the 2009 reunion.
Sunday morning many of us gathered in the hotel lobby to share hugs and promises to meet next year at the 2010 Patrol Gunboat Association reunion. The hospitality room closed at noon
Updated by Terry W. McManuels
Copyright © 2006 PGRA. All rights reserved. Revised: 08/24/11.