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BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Navy Nuclear Weapons Bulletin is produced by the Association’s Board of Directors and is distributed free to NNWA members. Edited by: Dave Cobb.
The President’s Message
Shipmates and Ladies,
We are starting a new year and I’m looking forward to our next reunion in Rapid City, SD Monday September 17, 2012 thru Sunday September 23, 2012. Bill Beard is the Host and already is well into the planning. The hotel is the Grand Gateway Hotel Rapid City, SD. Reservations may be confirmed by calling the Hotel directly at (605) 342-1300, or toll-free at 1-866-742-1300. Fax requests for reservations should be sent to the attention of the Reservations Department at (605) 342-0663. The Room rate is $79 per night. We will publish more information about the reunion in our next bulletin. Bill is noted for hosting great reunions so I hope everyone will start to plan their trip to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota.
I want to thank John O’Malia and his wife Nancy for such a great job they did in putting together the Albuquerque Reunion. They stay on top of everything even with all their family sadness with the loss of John’s sister. We were all very sorry for their loss.
I’m looking for a volunteer to help with the Association’s Memorabilia. Mike Snyder has been our Historian since 1999 and he would like to be relieved of some of his workload by having someone to take custody of the Memorabilia (store, transport to and from reunions, maintain, etc.). If there is any member who would be willing to take on this job please contact me or any member of the Board.
I still need a Host for the 2013 and 2014 Reunions to be held in the Eastern and Western Regions respectively. May I have a couple volunteers? Please let me or one of the Board members know if you’re interested.
Hope to see everyone in Rapid City.
From the desk of the Vice-President:
For those of you who didn’t come to the last reunion you missed a good one. It was great being able to go to many of the old hangouts, if they were still there. A big thanks to Tonie Lewin for the tour of the new DOD Weapons School and seeing some of the newer weapons systems that came out after I retired. The one thing that was disappointing was seeing so few of our West Coast members in attendance; in California alone we have 104 members. I would like to see a bigger participation from this group and to see more of them participate on the Board.
On membership I am very pleased with the large number of new members we have had in the last two years. Keep looking for those old shipmates and let’s see a big turn-out in Rapid City for the next reunion. I know that Bill Beard and his crew will do another outstanding job, just like Wisconsin Dells.
Larry J. Sneide
Navy Nuclear Weapons Association
MINUTES OF 19 OCTOBER 2011 BUSINESS MEETING
Navy Nuclear Weapons Association business meeting was held at The Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown Hotel. The meeting was called to order at 0900 with all Board Members present, and attended by 75 members in good standing.
The President asked for all present to stand for the opening prayer by Chaplain Lonnie Cucinitti followed by the pledge of allegiance to the American Flag. All present remained standing as Lonnie Cucinitti conducted the 2-Bell ceremony to honor our shipmates who transferred to the Supreme Commander’s Staff: GMTC Jack A. Summers, Ernest W. ‘Bill’ Herr, GMTC John J. Brown, CDR William H. (Harry) Austin, Jr., LCDR Melvin S. Norris, CW04 Jerry Lee Gillum,Edward J. Digby, GMTCM George Garbers,WTCS Sidney P. Hart, LCDR George W. Duryea, LCDR Jack E. Hayes, WTCM Carroll Smith, GMTCS John D. Clifton, LCDR Richard Arcoleo, GMT2 Joseph A. Weiss and GMTCS William J. Boess.
The President called for all new members to stand and introduce themselves. Twelve new members were recognized.
The President called for the minutes of last year’s general membership meeting to be read.
The minutes of the 2009 business meeting were read by the Secretary, and the results of the 2010 Special mail-in election and by-laws changes were reported.
The President asked if there was any additional information to report.
The Secretary reported no additional information to report.
The President entertained a motion to accept the minutes as read. A motion was made, seconded and vote carried to accept the minutes as read.
The President called for the Treasurer’s Report.
a. The Treasurer passed out copies of the financial report to the membership. The Treasurer stated that there were outstanding bills to pay for this year’s reunion.
b. The President asked for a motion to pay all outstanding bills. A motion was made, seconded and approved to pay all outstanding bills.
The President reported on the 2011 Association accomplishments as follows:
1. The President talked about the mail-in ballots and the conduct of a board meeting by e-mail-phone call that has never been done before. This was caused by the flooding in Nashville that caused the cancellation of the 2010 reunion. The Board conducts many meetings via e-mail in the past (allowed by the state we are chartered in). The past two years the Board has been very busy.
2. Some of the accomplishments we have seen in the last two years are:
a. The By-Laws were updated and approved by the membership via mail-in ballots.
b. Five Board of Directors were elected via mail-in vote ballots.
c. Progress is being made in the design of the NNWA memorial. This will be
discussed in more detail later in this meeting.
d. The health of the Gray Dragon (Ed Doss) is being followed by the Board. Research is being done to identify the next longest serving member in the Navy Nuclear Weapons program. We need to be prepared due to Ed’s deteriorating health. Although Ed wanted to be at this reunion, he wanted to convey to the membership how proud he was to be presented with the Gray Dragon honor. He also indicated that when he passes, his son will return the Gray Dragon Certificate to display with the NNWA’s memorabilia.
e. Over the last two years we have added 81 new members and reinstated 15 members. We need everybody’s help in continuing to add members. If you know of anyone who is eligible try to recruit him/her into the organization.
3. The President then asked each board member to give their report:
a. Vice-President’s Report.
1. He encouraged each member to try to remember old shipmates and recruit them. He also welcomed all the new members. You can do an ‘Anywho.com’ to search for old shipmates. Most people settle down within 50 miles of where they were raised. So if you knew their hometown, you could start your search there.
b. Secretary’s Report:
1. Nothing to report.
c. Treasurer’s Report. No additional input.
D. Service Officer’s Report.
1. Chuck reminded everyone what a veterans Service Officer and how to find one in your hometown. They can usually be found at your local VFW, American Legion, Fleet Reserve Posts and places like that plus every county in the U.S. has an SO.
2. Beware phony veteran assistance organizations. The most recent ones detected are Veteran Affairs Services and Navy Veteran’s Association.
3. Every veteran is reminded to contact their local Social Security office to see if they qualify for additional veteran’s credit in their benefits computation. Details were provided.
4. The ‘2011 Agent Orange Bill’ has been proposed as the most recent attempt to give Blue Water sailors consideration for Agent Orange conceded diseases. Call your congressmen and senators and ask that they support this bill.
5. I am sure you are aware that Congress’ Super Committee’ to take action on our fiscal situation. If they don’t do it, it will trigger a draconian loss for all of us. It is pretty sure we will take a cut in our benefits, the question is where and how much.
6. COLA: They changed the formula on how they calculate the COLA. They are going to use a ‘Chain Weighted’ formula that will reduce about a quarter to three quarters of a percent every year. The COLA for the fiscal year ending in September is guessed to be approximately 3.7%. With the chain weighted method it looks like about 3.3%.
7. Because I only see you once a year, I want to refresh your memory on some benefits you may have forgotten. Just listed here, you can find out more at www.vba.va.gov/benefits.
a. Service Connected Disability.
b. Veterans Pension
c. Dependents Survival Benefits.
d. Death Pension.
e. Burial and Headstone Benefits
f. VA medical care
8. ID Cards: New ID cards are to be issued without the Social Security Number. This will start June of this year for retirees. Call and make an appointment to find out when the nearest issuer will be taking care of retired personnel.
e. Historian’s Report: Mike started by congratulating the membership for the excellent attendance. It is the largest he has ever been to (180+). He then asked if Joe Harper was here. He left two spectacular plaques in the memorabilia room. Thank you for the addition to our collection. For the membership, continue to bring memorabilia so we can pass on what we did to the next generation. I have received a lot of new personal histories, keep them coming. There are also groups of about 20 unit patches, if you want one take one.
As the Historian, I have been able to read literally hundreds of biographies and thumb nail sketches of careers. I was informed that there were no more than 1400 Navy Nuclear Personnel on duty at any one time. There were no more than 10,000 from 1947 to 1996 (the termination of our program).
The Navy Nuclear Weapons Memorial. You will notice we are not bringing the Memorial plaques anymore. The Board is working to put together a Navy Nuclear Weapons Memorial for the entire association. On that plaque, we will display the members we lost during that year, as well as on our website. Over a period of about 2 years, we have conducted a poll of the board to come up with ideas on what thee plaque background should look like. The Historian can supply details of the progress so far (Mike described what we have so far). If there are any artists’ in the group who can help with the sketches, please let me know. No one on the Board has the skills to translate our concept onto a document that a woodcarver can work from.
f. Webmaster’ Report: We have over 131,672 hits on the website which is an average of about 37 hits a day since its inception almost 10 years ago. You normally see two things changing on the website: 1) new members, 2) and the ‘In Memorandum section of those members that have passed away. These are the mail changes you will see on the main page.
We have changed the way we do the roster. For years we never changed it, so members who no longer paid their dues were not removed. Now when the dues expiration date comes up for a member, one month later the member is marked as ‘delinquent’ in red font. At the end of a year, all information except their name is removed. After another year they will be completely removed from the website. So now the roster will only list current members or those that are no more than two years in arrears. At that point, the Treasurer will remove the name from the ‘paper’ roster. Individuals can change their information by using the ‘Profile Change’ on the website.
The President thanked John and Nancy O’Malia and all those who helped for this outstanding reunion. This has been one of the best and well attended reunions due to their hard work. The membership gave John and Nancy a round of applause.
As you know the Nashville reunion had to be cancelled because of the flood. Also, half way thru setting it up, the sponsor had to leave and it fell upon the Board to continue the preparations for the 26th reunion. Chuck Weber stepped up and had all arrangements made until the flood. He has many contacts there and we can draw on his work should we plan a reunion in Nashville in the future.
As the first order of new business the President announced that 5 positions were open on the board and up for election by the Membership. He informed the Membership that, in accordance with the By-Laws, the following Officer positions were also up for election by the new Board during the Board Meeting to follow the general meeting. Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Historian and Webmaster. He then turned the gavel over to the Nominations and Elections Chairman Chuck Weber to conduct appropriate nominations and elections. Chuck gave a short presentation as to what the Board does all during the year. We are an IRS Registered non-profit tax exempt organization. If you feel like you would like to be on the Board of Directors, please feel free to contact anyone on the Board and tell them of your interest. They will explain the time commitment and the effort that goes into being a Board Member.
Chuck provided an overview of the qualifications and responsibilities of being a Board member. You must be a member in good standing and have email capability. We opened nominations with our June Newsletter being sent to each member. That closed at the end of August and was suspended. There were no responses to that call. He informed the membership that Larry Sneide, Dave Cobb, Frank Kelly, Mike Snyder and Ray Margeson have agreed to remain on the board if reelected, and I strongly recommended their reelection.
The Board of Directors has recommended that the above mentioned 5 members be considered for re-election to the Board for the 2011 – 2013 terms. Are there any other nominations for director? I did receive a nomination by e-mail and I contacted the member to see if he was willing to serve. He declined but said he might be interested in the future. Due to the increasing collateral duties, the President decided it is time to add an 11th member to the Board.
Ron Moran’s name was placed into consideration for the Board. The Chair inquired of the membership if there were any other nominations to the Board of Directors. Edward Krenk was nominated from the floor and was willing to serve. The Chair entertained a motion from the floor that we close nominations. The motion was made and seconded. All present voted ‘aye’. Seven separate nominees accepted. The President of the Board requested to expand the Board one additional member for a total of 12. The chair entertained a motion from the floor to expand the Board of Directors to 12. The motion was made and seconded. All present voted ‘aye’ for the motion. The motion carries without dissent. Nominee Moran volunteered to serve for one year so that 6 members would be up for election each year. Chairman Weber requested a motion from the floor stipulating the Secretary cast a ballot in favor of each nominee representing the unanimous consent of the Membership. Motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously. The elections were closed.
The 27th 2012 annual reunion will be held in Rapid City, South Dakota. The host will be Bill Beard. Bill gave a short presentation on his preparations for the reunion. Sept 17th thru Sept 23rd is the reunion dates for next year. This will be a 6 day reunion. Bill explained activities scheduled for each day.
The 28th 2013 reunion was discussed. It will be held in the eastern region. The President asked for places where we might hold the next reunion. Jacksonville/Mayport Florida was suggested. Charleston, South Carolina, Washington D.C, Pigeon Forge Tennessee. The 29th 2014 reunion we will be back to the Western region. Las Vegas, Nevada, San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon were recommended. We are always looking for volunteers to host one of our reunions. The Board will look at these locations and make a decision on the Reunion locations.
There being no other new business, the President asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. The motion was made and seconded.
The Chaplain offered the closing prayer.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:25.
Were you ever a ‘Plank Owner’ for one of the ships where you were stationed? Then you know how important that honor is to any sailor. We are looking for ‘Our Plank Owners’. If you know who was the first group that formed the first meeting of what we now call ‘The Navy Nuclear Weapons Association’, please let the President or Historian know so that they can receive the Honor of being identified as a NNWA Plank Owner. Any information that you may have about our organization (First members, first president, first meeting, etc.) would be very helpful.
NAVY NUCLEAR WEAPONS ASSOCIATION
As the Treasurer and Keeper of the Roster, let me welcome our new and reinstated members since the last newsletter. We have forty-four (44) new and reinstated members for 2011.
We now have 716 members listed on the membership roster; 327 members in good standing, 53 life members (spouses of deceased members), 225 past members (members with unpaid dues for three years), 110 members with dues in arrears, and 1 Honorary member (NAAV). Past members will not receive news letters or reunion information until their dues are brought up to date. Membership is $10.00 per year. Past members can be reinstated by sending $10.00 reinstatement fee plus $10.00 for each year they wish to pay their dues. This is an effective policy due to the cost of mailing newsletters and reunion information. If you are unsure whether your dues are up to date and receive you newsletters by mail, the date in the upper right corner of the mailing label shows the month and year to which your dues are paid.
If you receive your newsletters electronically and wish to know your dues date; Log on to our web site (www.navynucweps.com). The dues date will be listed in the date column on the right of your name on the membership roster. Some members find it convenient to pay several years in advance. This can save you postage and save the Treasurer, Secretary, and Web Master a considerable amount of time in processing payments.
The following members have been listed as past members because of their dues being in arrears for three years. If you know the status of any of these or any past member PLEASE notify the Treasurer or any of the board members.
The current membership is posted on our web site (www.navynucweps.com). Members not on line may request a hard copy by calling or writing Frank M. Kelly, 1087 Frank Kelly Road, Society Hill, SC 29593, PH: 843-378-4026. Again for our survival it is imperative that we keep our roster and dues up to date. Some members
have indicated that they have not been receiving our newsletter. Please review the roster and notify the Treasurer or any member of the board of any changes to your status.
We now have $15,907.20 on deposit with Wells Fargo Bank (formerly Wachovia).
Frank M. Kelly
Treasurer and Keeper of the roster
NAVY NUCLEAR WEAPONS ASSOCIATION
SERVICE OFFICER REPORT
Fellow Dragon Keepers:
Well, the perpetual stagnation in our Congress has provided little in new legislation regarding issues of interest to military veterans and retirees. A couple of exceptions lie below. I hope that you find these tidbits of information useful. If you need further info on any of these matters you can Google the topic or contact the appropriate agencies. I’ve provided internet links for some.
COLA - For the first time since 2009 a cost of living allowance (COLA) has been passed. There is a 3.6% increase in payments for Social Security, VA benefits, military retired pay, etc. This increase takes effect as of 01 December 2011 and is applied to payments made 31 December 2011. Note that some pays have been moved from the first of the month to the last day of the preceding month. (Hurray!)
RX MEDS – The Department of Defense and the Department (DOD) of Veteran Affairs (VA) are looking into establishing a joint electronic pharmacy. They are looking to industry to see if it can provide this service. One of the hurdles is to design the system so it can identify interactions between different prescribed drugs. Civilian pharmacies can already do this – what’s taking the DOD/VA so long to do it? (Stay tuned.)
RTLS – to combat its long term problem of ensuring that medical equipment are and remain sterilized, the VA has launched its new Real Time Locator System. The big problem….the VA employees union which complains that the system could also be used to track its employees. (Go figure.)
HOMELESS VETS – the VA has announced a new program to provide $100 million in grants to local civilian agencies who provide services and shelter to homeless veterans. (Thank God and about time!)
AGING VETS – Recent surveys reveal that military veterans living in rural areas tend to be much older than those in urban and suburban areas. Most general practitioners and other health care providers in these rural areas do not understand the special needs of the aging. Recognizing this the VA has developed a Geriatric Studies Program to provide improved training in these areas. (I hate getting old.)
VET OWNED BUSINESSES – the VA is being sued by several individuals and is being hammered by Congress for failing to follow the SBA laws requiring it to give preference in contract awards to small vet owned businesses despite an Inspector General report identifying this failure. (What’s up VA?)
NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT for FY 2012 (NDAA) – the Congress has passed the ball for two years without being able to pass a budget. Finally, the House did pass a bill with 400 amendments and the Senate passed a separate bill blocking most of those amendments from consideration. The two bills are now in conference committee to see if they can iron out the differences and send something sane to the President to sign. POTUS says he won’t, but signs are that he will have to. It will undoubtedly result in a big cut in National Defense. The likely final effects on retirees/vets and survivors are:
- The Tricare fee increase amendment has been withdrawn by Sen. John McCain (himself a retiree/vet!)
- End to the ban of receipt of both military retired pay and veterans’ disability compensation
- End to the offset between Survivors Benefit Plan and Disability Indemnity Compensation for survivors
- Consolidation of military exchanges and commissaries and an end to separate commissary funding
- The National Guard Bureau Chief is being nominated to be a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
TDP - The TRICARE Dental Plan has an 88-page booklet that provides an overview of the TDP for members and their families. The booklet includes information about service areas, benefits and exclusions, eligibility and enrollment, filing claims, and costs. This handbook is available for download at: (Brush your teeth!) (http://www.tricare.mil/tricaresmart/product.aspx?id=738&CID=152&RID=3.
TRICARE. The TRICARE Standard Handbook is an 80-page guide for beneficiaries. This handbook is available for download at: http://www.tricare.mil/tricaresmart/product.aspx?id=430&CID=71&RID=3. (Stay healthy.)
TRICARE Pharmacy. There are no ongoing negotiations between TRICARE‘s contractor ESI and Walgreens so it looks like there is not going to be an agreement. If there is no new contract on January 1, 2012 Walgreens will be out of the network. (Try CVS.)
STATE VETERANS BENEFITS
Remember that States provide several benefits to veterans. To obtain information on these refer to your local County Service Officer. Some benefits form States include:
- Veteran Housing and Property Tax Relief Benefits
- Veteran and Active Duty Financial Assistance Benefits
- Veteran Employment Benefits
- Veteran Dependent Education Benefits
- Other State Sponsored Veteran Benefits
MONEY - The new U.S. currency bill will glow under ultraviolet light: $5 bill glows blue, $10 bill glows orange, $20 bill glows green, $50 bill glows yellow, and$100 bill glows red. (OK, who carries an ultraviolet light?)
McDONALD’S - To keep kids healthy, San Francisco banned McDonald‘s from selling Happy Meals, which offer a free toy with its fast food. McDonald‘s answer? It will charge 10 cents for the toy. As MSNBC reports ―The proceeds will be donated to Ronald McDonald House, the company‘s charity for children with cancer. The clown wins! (Hurray for Ronald!)
NAVAL AVIATOR - On a carrier, the Naval Aviator looks over at the Catapult Officer ("Shooter") who gives the run up engines signal by rotating his finger above his head. The pilot pushes the throttle forward, verifies all flight controls are operational, checks all gauges, and gives the Cat officer a brisk salute, continuing the Naval tradition of asking permission to leave the ship. The Cat officer drops to one knee while swooping his arm forward and pointing down deck, granting that permission. The pilot is immediately catapulted and becomes airborne.
AIR FORCE PILOT - We've all seen Air Force pilots at the air force base look up just before taxiing for takeoff and the ground crew waits until the pilot's thumb is sticking straight up. The crew chief then confirms that he sees the thumb, salutes, and the Air Force pilot then takes off. This time-tested tradition is the last link in the Air Force safety net to confirm that the pilot does not have his thumb up his ass.
ARMY PILOT - If you've ever seen an Army helicopter pilot preparing for takeoff, you will note that the pilot gives the ground guy a thumbs up before he is given hover and takeoff signals. There are two theories about the origin of this gesture. One is that it is to show that the pilot has identified which of his fingers is the thumb so that he will be able to properly operate his controls. The most compelling theory says that this is to show the ground crewman that the pilot indeed knows which direction is up.
(Please, don’t go postal!!!)
Yours in service,
Spalling and Exudate
The NNWA Historians Report of January 2012
When I received the memorabilia from Don Micco in 2000 there were, perhaps, eight or ten cardboard boxes of models, cruise books and reunion photos. There was printed material, flag staffs, banners, a few other miscellaneous items, and one a memorial plaque. Since then we have dramatically increased the amount of material we hold. So much, in fact, there is more than I am able to haul and display at each event. Over the past several years I’ve begun to pick and choose enough material to make an interesting and informative display that doesn’t overwhelm the volume of my truck yet satisfies the needs of the association. What that usually means is about 12 cases of items and some loose material such as flag poles, the NNWA banner, a T-289, and a couple of dragons. Along with the increase of material and passage of time has come an increase in the numbers of shipmates reporting to their final duty station on the staff of the Supreme Commander. The number of memorial plaques is now at four with five not too far off. About two years ago, after the introduction of the web site and its’ Memorial section, the Board of Directors recognized that ever-increasing the number of memorial plaques at each reunion was not the direction we wished the display to go. Rather, after lengthy and dynamic discussions (thanks to the internet and e-mail) we decided to develop and display a permanent memorial plaque that best represents all the members who have gone before us along with a presentation list of those lost over the past year and a booklet with the names of all our departed. Over an extended period of idea-gathering and element-vetting the Board developed a list of things that should appear on the NNWA Memorial Plaque, and its’ general appearance. That was a great hurdle passed! We then began to develop sketches for rendering by a wood carver. Some tried free hand drawings, another tried computer graphics and one enlisted the help of a formally trained artist but with no naval experience. All fell short of expectations. That’s when we concluded the NNWA Board of Directors has a distinct and readily identifiable ARTISTIC TALENT GAP. We can build some pretty good bombs, but we can’t draw worth a damn!
So now, we request the assistance of the general membership in designing the NNWA Memorial Plaque. The NNWA Board of Directors asks for design inputs from anyone who wishes to submit one or more. They can be rough sketches or a finished work adequate to submit to a wood carver for rendering. Ultimately, the finished product will be a bas-relief wood carving containing an attached brass plaque with appropriate words inscribed. Below is the general description of the memorial plaque your design should represent.
The plaque will;
Be rectangular, in landscape format, about 30 inches wide.
Rest on some form of a pedestal or pad.
Be made of wood
Have a twisted rope border
Have a fouled anchor attached to the rope.
The anchor will be of an antique design similar to that found on chiefs and officers caps.
Be partially painted rather than all natural wood in color
Within the border will be a small sun with rays
The sky will have scudding clouds above a rough sea.
Design elements of the plaque must incorporate:
Stylized surface ship
Rating badges of NW, GMT, WT,
Flaming pisspot, torpedoman, electrician and star officer devices
Small, unobtrusive nuclear detonation (there’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one)
The board voted to have a stylized sailor rising above a rough sea toward a hand reaching down from a cloud with suns’ rays emanating from behind.
There will be no explicit religious elements on the plaque anywhere.
The words, having been composed or suggested by the membership, will be engraved on a brass plate. Space must be reserved for a modest brass plaque within the design.
You may submit words for the plaque separately or as part of the general design. (That means writers as well as artists can be involved)
Many of the required elements may be included in or be part of another element such as stylized bomb and nuclear rings being represented by NW rating badge.
Please submit your designs to me by any means, manual, digital, snail mail or e-mail, before the end of June 2012. The board would like to present the final design to the general membership at the South Dakota reunion. Then we can go forward with the rendering in wood.
Now, a short commercial! Shipmates, remember to write your histories. If you don't, your special weapons experiences will be lost forever. If it isn't written or recorded they will exist only as long as you do. I guarantee you'll enjoy the experience and your kids and grandkids will thank you for it. And please send a copy to the NNWA historian. Also remember to send photos or copies of photos of SWU's and W Divisions with as many names as possible identified. Group orders and rosters and lists compiled from your memory are a big help in identifying the men and woman of the Navy Nuclear Weapons Program.
Live well and stay safe.
Mike Snyder, NNWA Historian
Shipmates and Ladies,
Bill and Carol Melby, Corinne and I, along with many others that met in Rapid City, SD in 2010 have what we believe is a great reunion set for Sept. 17-23, 2012. It will be the longest reunion to date, but we have tried not to put too much in any one day. I have included a tentative tour schedule for your planning.
The Grand Gateway Hotel in Rapid City will be reunion central. Reservations may be confirmed by calling the Hotel directly at (605) 342-1300, or toll-free at 1-866-742-1300. Fax requests for reservations should be sent to the attention of the Reservations Department at (605) 342-0663. The room rate is $79 per night.
Entertainment: Elvis will be in the house with a larger repertoire.
Hope you can join us,
Tentative tour schedule for 2012 Reunion, Rapid City, SD
Monday, September 17, 2012 -- Explore Rapid City:
Meet group at motel at 5:00 pm, dept. 5:15 pm for downtown Rapid City and off load at Prairie Edge Galleries. Unearthing the beauty of the past while embracing the unique mark of the individual artist, contemporary Native art collection embodies the spirituality of the Lakota people and reveals the heart of the amazing culture. Stroll around downtown to take in the City of Presidents, a series of life-size bronze statues of our nation’s past presidents along the city’s streets and sidewalks. Dine on your own at any of the many restaurant options such as Firehouse Brewery, Tally’s Silver Spoon, Corn Exchange, and more. Reload at the side street beside Prairie Edge Galleries at 8:00 pm for return to motel.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 -- Badlands National Park:
Meet group at motel at 9:00 AM, dept. 9:15 AM for the Minuteman Missile Silo for touring. Travel to the Cactus Flats entrance of Badlands National Park with a short stop at the Ben Reifel visitor Center. Reload for a scenic drive in the park with stops for photos and short walks. This scenic adventure takes you through the magnificent area where rain, wind and frost have carved steep canyons, sharp ridges, gullies and pinnacles, providing a glimpse into the relentless pace of geologic change. A lunch break on your own will be planned as well at the Cedar Pass Lodge. Exit Badlands National Park for some free time at the world famous Wall Drug. This unique shopping emporium is filled with fun activities, displays and more. Return in Rapid City est. at 3:45-4:00 pm.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 -- Hill City/Mt. Rushmore:
Meet group at motel at 1:00 pm, dept. 1:15 pm travel to Keystone. Board the 1880 Train for a vintage ride through history which will depart at 2:30 pm. Group arrival in the town of Hill City; take some time to explore downtown Hill City known for their art galleries such as Jon Crane, jewelry shops to geological history. Stop at Prairie Berry Winery with South Dakota wines since 1876. They currently offer more than 15 grape, fruit and honey wines to taste and purchase, all completely made onsite. Enjoy BBQ Pork, House Potato Salad, and Beans.
Reload 6:30 pm and travel to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial via Hwy 385/244 with a short stop at Washington’s profile, then free time to explore Mt. Rushmore. Tour, photos, then prepare for the patriotic nightly Lighting Ceremony program which begins at 8:00 pm. Return in Rapid City est. 9:45-10:00 pm.
Thursday, September 20, 2012 -- Crazy Horse/Custer State Park:
Meet at the motel at 9:00 am, dept. 9:15 AM for Custer State Park. Travel down scenic Iron Mountain Road known for its pig-tail bridges and tunnels that frame Mt. Rushmore in the distance. Arrive at a gracious stone and wood lodge set in a beautiful mountain valley, surrounded by ponderosa pine forest known as the State Game Lodge. While at this “Summer White House”, enjoy an included lunch buffet. On the menu: fresh greens and an array of fresh fruit and vegetables. Delicious prepared salads followed by Chef’s hot bar selections, soup, genuine Custer State Park buffalo stew, carving station and dessert table. Includes choice of soft drink, ice tea or coffee. Travel to Crazy Horse Memorial, another awe-inspiring rock carving over 50 years in the process. Return to Rapid City est. 3:15 – 3:30 pm.
Friday, September 21, 2012 -- Northern Hills:
Meet group at motel at 2:00 pm, dept. 2:15 PM for Deadwood. Long before the modern day gaming halls were built, Deadwood was known as a lawless town run by infamous gamblers and gunslingers and home to legendary characters like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. Depart at 3:30 pm on Deadwood’s finest journey through time. As you travel down Deadwood’s cobblestone streets, you will hear about an era gone by. Arrive at Mt. Moriah Cemetery where you will learn about all the characters who contributed to Deadwood’s history. Enjoy free time in Deadwood to explore the casinos and more. Gather at the Silverado for your evening Crab buffet included (time est. 6:30 pm). Reload at 8:00 pm for return to Rapid City at 9:00 pm.