Don't forget to: Send in your annual dues for the 2018 calendar year!
Dues are $15.00 (donate more if you can)
Send in your Registration for the 2018 JWT Reunion and
book your rooms with the hotel.
See details in this newsletter on both hotel and reunion reservations
It’s that time - Another USS John W Thomason Reunion - 2018
Since our last newsletter to you, the Reunion Staff has been busy putting together this year’s reunion. This reunion will be very special for several reasons. First, it will be the 300th Anniversary of San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo and other great features. The City was first established in 1718 by the Franciscan monk which they established the first mission on the San Antonio River. The first missions started with Mission San Antonio de Valero and the spot we now call the Alamo.
Our second and most important reason why you should attend this reunion is that for the first time, we will have a relative of Colonel John W Thomason at our reunion as our guest. Dr Tom Cole, who lives in the home where Colonel Thomason was raised and came back to Huntville after the war, will be with us in our hospitality room on Friday night and will be our guest speaker at the reunion. Dr Cole along with his sister will visit our hospitality room and illustrate several of Colonel Thomason memorabilia he has acquired over the years. Colonel Thomason is buried in Huntsville besides his wife and son. Dr Cole has many interesting remeberances of Colonel Thomason growing up with him in Hunsville, TX.
The final reason is that we will also have as our guest the curator of the John W Thomason Room of the Sam Houston State University which stores many of Colonel Thomason’s illustrations and art. During World War II, Colonel Thomason was know for his illustrations of soldiers in action and wrote many articles which were published during the war. The Curator is Trent Shotwell. He will be available in the hospitality room with some of the original illustrations and documents by Colonel Thomason. This will be an exciting moment to hold and see some of Colonel Thomason’s works while at this reunion. The John W Thomason Room have very little memorabilia on the ship named after the World War II hero. It is our intent at our Association Meeting on Saturday to donate to the Library a permenant spot to hold the collection we have been presenting for years. We will discuss this further in our newsletter our intentions on this issue.
The reunion is shaping up to be one of our best. Consider joining us for a fun time with ole shipmates and families. Bring a guest or two if you wish. Sharing with friends our past of our time at sea.
LOCATION: The Holiday Inn, San Antonio Riverwalk, and San Antonio, TX will be our home base for this reunion. The hotel is located at 217 North St Mary Street. Phone (210)224-2500. We have contracted to reserve rooms from now until August 26, 2018. After that date, guest may make reservations with the Association group if rooms are available. As the deadline nears, room rates may increase depending on availability. You must make your reservations soon in order to get the group discount. Once the hotel changes the rates, there is nothing the Association can do to get you a lower rate. Rooms can begin with our group rate as early as Tuesday, September 25th. When making room reservations call (210) 224-2500 and ask for the USS John W Thomason Reunion group rates. Those room rates will be $131 per night plus local taxes. Check in is at 1600 and check out is at 1200. Parking is located at the hotel for a daily rate of $12 for self-parking and $22 per day for valet parking. The hotel is right on the famous River Walk. There are many attractions on the River Walk, Art Museum, and River Center Mall which features more than 100 retailers, many restaurants and pubs. River cruises are available for a water tour. Public bicycles share a system for those who want to venture out on their own. There is also a city sightseeing tour on a double decker bus. The hotel is totally smoke free. Windows on the River is their restaurant and lounge. The Mugg’s Café and Coffee experience is open 24 hours per day. The hotel has a breakfast $12 per person (not included in your room rate). However, there are numerous restaurants near the hotel to have breakfast at a modest price. You can find more information on the hotel at www.holidayinn.com/sat-riverwalk.
Transportation: Unfortunately, the hotel does not have a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Guest has several options from the airport to the hotel. You can choose a Taxi ($25), Uber (under $20) or a Shuttle bus ($20-$25 per person). All costs are estimated.
Registration: We ask all reunion guests to pay a fee of $25 per guest. This reunion, the Association decided to pay some of the costs of hosting this reunion. The registration fee will offset the costs of the hospitality room and the banquet. Just our banquet fee along will costs $30 per person which the Association will pick up the costs. It is our intention to lower the costs of the reunion to hopefully encourage more JWT shipmates and their families in attending one of our reunions. This is a great opportunity to visit with friends and renew those old relationships we had so many years ago. This year represents the 48th anniversary of the decommissioning of our ship. Enclosed you will find a registration form for the reunion. We ask that you complete this form and return it to the address listed on the form as soon as you can.
Banquet: The Banquet will be held in the Holiday Inn Hotel. It will include traditional Mexican food. The fee for the banquet will be included in your registration fee. The Association will pick up the difference in the costs of the banquet. At our banquet, we will hold our bi-annual raffle for our guests. As stated previously, we have the nephew of Colonel Thomason as our guest speaker whom we feel will give us a first-hand account of the life of the man our ship was named after.
Friday Night Dinner: We have made arrangements with the Barriba Cantina which is located three blocks from the hotel. This will be an all-you-can eat buffet consisting of chicken, beef ribs, pork ribs, brisket, and sausage. Included with your meats you can have homemade potato salad, cole slaw, bean chips and salsa, house bread and tea. As usual, there will be a cash bar. The Association will include this meal in your reservations. Any additional guest other than Association members and their immediate spouse/guest, we will ask for a $35 fee for this meal.
Raffle: Don’t forget to bring with you to the reunion your gift for the raffle. We ask reunion guest to bring one raffle gift for our reunion highlight of the banquet. During the week we sell raffle tickets and at the end of the banquet, we select the winner of each gift. We recommend your gift represents your part of the country. Homemade gifts are especially welcomed.
Tours: As in our last reunion, the Association has not planned any group tours. San Antonio Riverwalk area has numerous tours available for guest. Most may just want to wonder along the Riverwalk stopping at the many shops or look for some organized tour such as San Antonio Grand Sightseeing, Texas Hill Country and LBJ Ranch tour with wine tasting options, or the River Walk Cruise and Hop –on, Hop-off tour bus. For more tour information visit the websites, www.tripadvisor.com and www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com.
Hospitality Room: Our hospitality room is a central place in the hotel where we gather. At our hotel, it will be the Balero Room which is located adjacent to an outside patio. Beer, wine, and snacks are provided for a small fee. Paul Steele is in charge of the hospitality room and is doing a great job in getting this ready for our reunion. We will have memorabilia displayed for all to see and some pictures of the JWT also. The hospitality room will open on Wednesday afternoon and evening for those who arrive early. On Thursday, the room will open all day. When the door is open, come on in. Share time with friends and your ole stories about our days aboard the USS John W Thomason.
Memory of Fallen Shipmates: At each reunion, we recognize those shipmates who have passed away since our last reunion. We ask if you have any shipmate names, please provide them to the Association so we may recognize them in our ceremonies.
Change of Address: We have received back a large number of change of address on our last newsletter. We feel some of these veterans have passed away; however, some have changed addresses. We ask those Association members to update our files on your current address so we can continue to deliver our newsletters.
Association Meeting: Each reunion, we host an Association Meeting of all shipmates at 9:30 am in the Balero Room. This reunion we will discuss our finances and the desired location of our next reunion. In particular, we will discuss the final deposition of our JWT memorabilia. Over the years, we have collected many items of the ship that we display at each reunion. Today, the costs of shipping has been very expensive. At our meeting, we will discuss the donation of this memorabilia to the John W Thomason Room of the Newton Gresham Library of Sam Houston State University. Trent Shotwell will make a short presentation on how he intends to present the memorabilia we will donate to the Library. The JWT room houses most of Colonel Thomason’s work but very few items of the ship that was named after him. This is an opportunity for us to place these items in a secure place that any of us can visit in the future in Huntsville, TX. It is only proper for us to give our collections a permanent place for our shipmates to visit. If you drove to the reunion, you may include a side trip to Sam Houston State University to visit the JWT Room.
Ship’s Store: On the reverse side of the registration form will be an order blank for items in the ship’s store. Jim and Penny Kulp serve as our Treasurer and handles all items in our ship’s store. We ask that if you want any item from the ship’s store, fill out the order form and return it with your registration for the reunion. Your items will be delivered to the reunion. If you are not coming to the reunion, we can ship those items to you.