USS GRANT REUNION MAY 13 - 20, 2009 SEATTLE, WASHINGTON
The reunion was in two parts. The first part was a land based gathering at the Courtyard Hotel in SeaTac. The reunion began with a gathering of fellow shipmates in the Grant Hospitality Room on Wednesday evening. Refreshments and munchies were provided. Many shipmates brought memorabila and photos with them. Salty Tales were told and the room was filled to capacity.
On Thursday, Grant shipmates made a tour of the USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730), which was in port at the Submarine Base at Bangor in Silverdale, Washington. The tour was limited to about 40 ex-military shipmates who boarded buses for the trip to the Trident Training Facility at Bangor. Wives and those left behind went on a shopping tour at one of SeaTac's large malls. The tour group held a "Tolling of the Bells" on the base at Bangor to honor all our shipmates on Eternal Patrol. After lunch, the tour of the boat was began. The Jackson shipmates welcomed us with open arms. The tour was exceptional as we toured the four level Ohio Class boat which serves in SubGroup 9. The security measures were something to behold and extensive in comparison to our days aboard the Grant. Upon return to the hotel, a Pizza Party was held in the Hospitality Room for all. More sea stories and some were bigger than life. The tour of the Jackson will be in the memories of shipmates for some time. What a great lady!
On Friday, Shipmates and their wives were afforded another opportunity to go shopping or visit the exquistite and fabulous Museum of Flight in Seattle. This museum has planes from every era of flight - - - from Kitty Hawk to the Moon. Planes from World War I and II were on display. Interactive educational displays and flight simulators were fantastic. Planes such as Air Force One, the Concorde and the BlackBird were on display. With over 150 historic planes to view, this was definitely one of the many highlights of the reunion for shipmates and their guests. Nothing like crawling into the cockpit of a fighter plane to make your day.
Friday evening was a great dinner at Charley's restuarant at the hotel with a dinner choice of Crusted Halibut or London Broil. At the conclusion of the dinner, Chief Larry Jordan presented several awards and gifts to shipmates. A formal USS U.S. Grant Alumni Association meeting was helf with Ron Lischak conducting the meeting which was called to order at 8:30 pm. Nominations were made, seconded and unanimously voted for John Hnizdil (Vice President) and Rob Hoff (Historian). Ron discussed the progress of the Association over the past year. Mike Arterburn was also unanimously voted for to serve at the new Webmaster. The meeting adjourned at 9:30 pm to the Hospitality Room where more great Grant Sea Stories were told! Approximately 78 shipmates, spouses, relatives and friends were present at the dinner.
A drawing was held each evening and door prizes were won by lucky attendees. Chief Larry Jordan was the M.C. and our host for the reunion. His committee of Chief Ray Lomberk and James Sweany were to be commended for their efforts at putting on a great reunion.
On Saturday, 43 shipmates and guests boarded the Holland America Cruise Ship for the second part of the reunion, a seven day cruise. Below is a summary of the cruise.
Saturday - May 16, 2009 – About the following members embarked Holland America Cruise Ship Amsterdam at Pier 91 Seattle, Washington:
ROBERT & ARNETTE ARIAS
RALPH &MARY BROWN
MICHAEL & RUTH ANNE DAHL
CURTIS & LINDA FROST
JESSE HARMON & LORRAINE HARMON
MICHAEL & JOAN HASTINGS and son THOMAS
JOHN HNIZDIL & HNIZDIL
KENNETH & MARYANN HOFF
JOHN & SUZANNE HUDNALL
LARRY & RUTH JORDAN
NELS & HELMI KELSTROM
LEON & GAIL LEMMA
KARL LETT (Guest)
RONALD LISCHAK & DONNA YAREM
BRUCE & ALLYSON LOMBERK (Guests)
RAYMOND & ELEANOR LOMBERK
GEORGE &ANGELENA NAULT
WAYNE & PHYLLIS ORRISON
WILLIAM & DOROTHY SALEN
JAMES SWEANY & FRANCISCA YORK
GEORGE & ROSARIO WAGNON
The ship sailed at on the Inside Passage which is one of the most scenic sea lanes in the world and one of the few where deep draft vessels can sail close to steep mountain walls. The scenery was unbelievable with forests in a hundred shades of green; tumbling turquoise glaciers; and evocative towns loaded with history, culture and adventure. With most of Southeast Alaska assessable only by boat or plane, the Inside Passage is a lifeline to the outside world. The Grant group met after dinner and agreed to limit the social gathering to three cocktail parties due to the ship’s import schedule.
Sunday - May 17, 2009 – Sailed the Inside Passage to Juneau, Alaska and had our first cocktail party prior to dinner.
Monday - May 18, 2009 – Arrived In Juneau, Alaska at and departed at
Many activities in Juneau were available to us. Some of the sights included a visit to Mendenhall Glacier, an exploration of the lush TongassNational Forest and hunting for souvenirs in town. Some of the more adventurous went on a varienty of day trips: kayaking, dogsled, rafting, whale watching, sightseeing or fishing. There was an abundance of adventures in this bustling frontier capital, including the exhilarating six-minute tram ride to the 1,800 foot level of Mt.Roberts where we hiked, dined and learned about native culture. History buffs on the cruise browsed the AlaskaStateMuseum. Gold rush fans toured the LastChanceMiningMuseum. For those who liked to shop, downtown Juneau was ruled with colorful curio shops and art galleries.
Tuesday - May 19, 2009 – Entered YakutatBay (Location of Hubbard Glacier, Alaska) at 11:00am and Departed at .
Hubbard Glacier - From its source on Mt.Logan in Kluane, Hubbard Glacier stretches 76 miles to DisenchantmentBay. It is the longest tidewater glacier in Alaska and the most-visited attraction in America's largest national park, Wrangell-St. Elias. This immense wilderness is the size of six Yellowstones and boasts two of the continent's tallest peaks. Yet Hubbard Glacier manages to steal the show. Nicknamed the "Galloping Glacier," it made its reputation back in 1986. Advancing once again, it threatens to turn Russell Fjord into ice-dammed RussellLake. We learned about this glacier's headline-making history from a park ranger, and a Tlingit interpreter who shared colorful native lore - a Holland America exclusive.
As we cruised this remnant of the Ice Age, we watched for seals basking on ice floes and listened for loud deep rumbles as lustrous shafts of ice split off the glacier. You can't help but be awestruck by an open calving face that measures over six miles wide, has icy towers standing 400 feet high, and sends icebergs the size of small buildings into the bay. We arrived here via a 150-mile-long chain of glistening mountains. It's no wonder Hubbard Glacier is one of Alaska's most sought after cruising experiences.
The Grant group met before dinner for the second cocktail party.
Wednesday - May 20, 2009 – Arrived in Sitka, Alaska at and departed at A tender was required to go ashore.
Modern Sitka is a vibrant cultural center. There are two colleges, two major museums, plenty of bookstores and art galleries, and the totem collection at the national park is one of the world's largest. We were surprised to learn that Sitka was Alaska's first capital until the seat of government was moved to Juneau in 1913. Bishop's House is a national historic landmark and Sitka's breath-taking setting raised a contented sigh. We kept our eye peeled for a wild bald eagle. Along with Alaska's other majestic native species, they are once again thriving.
To complete our visit to Sitka we made a stop at St. Michael’s Cathedral. Built in 1844, the church was restored following a devastating 1966 fire. The traditional Russian Orthodox structure is filled with antique relics, gold, jewels, vestments, altar cloths, and a 19th-century silver-bound Bible. Its collection of priceless Russian icons ranks among the world's finest. The townspeople were able to save most of the antique religious artifacts from the 1966 fire. The renovated church is on the National Historic Landmark registry. At first glance, it looks sort of like a slatted wooden home, but its crowning classic cupola and spire betray the fact that it is a place of worship.
Thursday - May 21, 2009 - Arrived in Ketchikan, Alaska at and departed at .
Ketchikan clings to the shores of TongassNarrows and drapes the mountains with a cheerful air. Besides the main attractions of Creek Street, the TotemHeritageCenter, the TongassHistoricalMuseum, TotemBightState Park and SaxmanVillage, Ketchikan is home to beautiful MistyFjordsNational Monument.
Our group met again before dinner for the third cocktail party. All cocktail parties were MC’ed by the one and only Larry Jordan. His quick wit and great sense of humor made the gathering very enjoyable. As usual, Larry Jordan had brought along with him many submarine and Grant memorable items to ensure that every shipmate receive at least one door prize. In addition to the items provided by Larry, Bob and Arnette Ariasprovided Grant Reunion 2009 baseball caps which were use as door prizes at both the land and cruise reunion.
Friday - May 22, 2009 – Arrived at Victoria, B.C., Canada at and departed at
The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria boasts many historic buildingsand some of the most fascinating museums in Western Canada. The city benefits from one of Canada's mildest climates, which allows its residents to pursue outdoor pleasures all year round.
Victoria also enjoys some of the country's most exhilarating scenery. There is an ocean or mountain vista around every corner while the city's flower gardens are famous the world over. Whether your taste runs to golfing, hiking, biking. and fishing or you're more the shopping, dining and theatre type, there were no end of delights for our group in Victoria.
Established in 1843 by James Douglas as a fort for the Hudson's Bay Company, Victoria's British ancestry is apparent in the double-decker buses, horse-drawn carriages, formal gardens, and tea rooms. The city is now a cosmopolitan centre with a lively entertainment scene and a wonderful array of attractions.
Highlights of the city that were available to our group included:
Inner Harbor - Savor the sights of Victoria's downtown Inner Harbor, which includes the historic Legislative Buildings, home of the provincial government; the Royal BC Museum; and Thunderbird Park, with an amazing display of 15 impressive totem poles. End your journey at the imposing, yet elegant, Fairmont Empress Hotel with a traditional high tea.
ButchartGardens - Victoria is famed for its gardens and none more so than Butchart. Over 100 years old, more than one million people visit this botanical wonderland each year for the rare, dramatic and colorful displays.
RoyalBritish ColumbiaMuseum - The fascinating history of BC is on display here with exhibits covering human and natural history from pre-Ice Age to the present day.
Chinatown - Enter through the Gate of Harmonious Interest to North America's second oldest Chinatown to view such fascinating sights as the narrowest street in Canada .
Explore the city - Explore the city in a variety of unique ways: by horse-drawn carriage, double-decker bus, rickshaw, scooter, bicycle, water taxi as well as by canoe or kayak.
Miniature World – See the worlds smallest operational sawmill, view two of the worlds largest doll houses, experience one of the world’s largest railroads, visit the wonderful world of circus, take a space ship to the stars, travel through the Enchanted Valley of Castles, witness the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and further adventures. Tiny treasures and little pleasures await all who continue into Frontierland, the Fields of Glory, the World of Charles Dickens and much more.
Saturday - May 23, 2009 - The Cruise ended where we began and all departed the ship for home. The Cruise was filled with unbelievable historic and natural beauty scenes. Everyone had a great time.
THE LAND BASED PORTION OF THE REUNION
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The Alaskan Cruise
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AND MORE CRUISE PHOTOS
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