Reminder: Send in your $15.00 donation for the 2016 calendar year. Mail to

USS John W Thomason Association, 131 River Bend Park, Lancaster, PA 17602

January, 2020

A New Year’s Greeting to all shipmates - Wishing that each of you have had a wonderful and rewarding holidays with your friends and families. Now, we have all of the holidays behind us and looking forward to a new year and another chance to get together with our Navy buddies that served together on the USS John W Thomason reunion. We are looking forward to making this one of our best reunions in recent years. Our hope is getting those shipmates who have never been to one of our reunions to attend this one. This may well be one of the last reunions we have for our Association in the future. More on that later. We chose this time of year to take advantage of the New England foliage change. Here is a chance to witness one of nature’s wonders while seeing some of your ole buddies that became friends many years ago. We can promise you that your experinence will be memorable. Renewing friendships from your past and sharing those experiences will be something you will be glad that you chose to be part of this reunion. Our reunions offer lots of time to gather with shipmates while allowing you plenty of free time to explore the reunion city and the many tours and sites it has to offer. Please review this newsletter and provide the association the information we are requesting to assists us in planning this reunion. We look forward to seeing our continuing shipmates who attend our reunion and especially those who may make this their first reunion. For those of you who have never been to any JWT reunions, we would like you to consider this one. First and foremost, we will the opportunity to step aboard a ship so similar to the JWT that it will amaze you. Our reunions are built on having fun and sharing good times with shipmates who served aboard this ship. Whether you are an officer or an enlisted person, we are just one group of guys who had similar experiences and share stories of our overseas adventures while visiting sites around the this country that we may never have seen. So we ask you to consider this reunion for a great time seeing old buddies again and sharing some laughter about years gone by. Our goal is to have fun and renew friendships of our JWT buddies. As we get older, we look back over our shoulders to those good times. We encourage all shipmates, family, and friends of the Association to join us for this year’s reunion.

Reunion Information

Reunion Dates

The dates for the 2020 JWT Association is set for Wednesday, September 30, 2020 through Sunday, October 4, 2020. We selected this time to hopefully coincide with the fall foliage in New England. If you decide to come early or stay late, we have a three day period before and afterwards to book rooms under our contract. Take advantage of this time to observe one of nature’s wonders. In discussing this reunion with other shipmates, many are taking a tour of New England before and after the reunion to see the fall foliage. Spend some time to plan with some of your buddies an extended tour while attending this reunion.



The hotel for the reunion will be the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 801 Greenwich Ave, Warwick, Rhode Island 02886. If you are driving to the reunion, travel north on Interstate 95 and take Exit 12 in Warwick to Hwy 113. Then in a short distance turn right on Hwy 5 for 0.2 miles to the hotel entrance. If you are flying in, the hotel will provide free shuttle service by calling the hotel at 401-732-6000. The van can accommodate about 12 people with luggage. The costs of our rooms will be $129 per day plus a 13% State Tax. This amounts to somewhere near $145 per night. To lower the costs of your stay, the reunion committee negotiated free breakfast in the hospitality room each morning for two hours. The hotel will serve us a buffet breakfast to everyone attending the reunion in our hospitality suite each morning. By providing breakfast, the room costs will be around $115 per room. Included in your room costs will be:

  • Free parking during your stay

  • Free Wi-Fi in all guest rooms and meeting places including the hospitality room.

Free hotel guest shuttles to any place within 3 miles from the hotel. A copy of local restaurants are available on the JWT website and will be included in your reunion packets

A 20% discount on hotel restaurants during your stay (excluding alcohol). There are two restaurants located at the hotel.



Hotel: The most convenient way to make room reservations is by emailing the hotel directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Guest may also reserve their room online at using the three letter group code of JWT. You can also call the hotel reservation department at (401) 732-6000. Guest must identify their affiliation with the USS John W Thomason to receive the $129 per nightly rate. Rates can “not” be adjusted at check in or check out for guest who fail to identify their affiliation with the JWT when making their reservations. The cutoff date for the JWT block is Monday, August 31, 2020. Remember, you can cancel your rooms up to 24 hours prior to arrival without any penalty. So book now to hold your room. We recommend that you contact the hotel directly and state that you are with the JWT. You can book three days before and three days after our reunion. This hotel has undergone a $20,000,000 renovation which should be completed this month. All rooms are new.

Reunion: You must fill out the attached reservation form for the reunion and mail it back to us by

August 30, 2020. Make sure you fill it out completely. On the rear of the registration form is the ship’s store form. If you wish to purchase ship store items, we can have them ready for pick up at the reunion. If you have any questions, visit our website at and ask your question. We will respond with any help we can give. The registration fee costs for each person is $35. This will cover the banquet and other items for the reunion.



We have two tours during our reunion. You may attend any of them but we encourage you to take the Battleship Cove tour since we will have our memorial services onboard the USS Kennedy, a Gearing class destroyer on Saturday. Here are the tours we have set up:

Tour 1 – Breakers and Shopping in Newport Costs per person is $30

This tour will begin with a 2-hour tour of the Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI. This mansion was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1895. It has 125,339 sq ft with 70 rooms. After the tour, the bus will take our guest to the Newport waterfront where there are numerous shops, restaurants, and breweries. After several hours of walking the streets shopping and stopping for lunch or refreshments, the buses will return to the hotel in late afternoon. This tour is scheduled for Friday, October 2nd. The costs for the tour will cover the entrance to the mansion and bus service.

Tour 2 – Battleship Cove, Falls River, Massachusetts Costs per person is $20

On Saturday morning, the buses will load for the 45 minutes trip to Falls River, MA. Here is a naval museum of actual ships who served in World War II. Included is the battleship, USS Massachusetts, the Gearing Class destroyer, USS Joseph P Kennedy, Jr. (850), the submarine USS Lionfish, several PT Boats and a Maritime Museum. It is our intention to have our memorial services aboard the Kennedy shortly after our arrival. Afterwards, the Kennedy as well as the other ships will be available for touring. The below decks of the Kennedy will be open for shipmates and their guests. We ask all shipmates and guest attend this tour as it is part of our memorial services. As customary, we will wear our blue JWT shirts and hats for our fallen shipmates. We are looking at including a stop for lunch (your costs) on this tour.


Hospitality Room

Our hospitality room will be the Tiverton Room which is a central place in the hotel where we gather. Beer, wine, and snacks are provided. The hotel asked that for the free breakfast each morning, we eat in the hospitality room since there is limited seating in the breakfast area. We will have some pictures of the JWT shown in this room. 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.


Registration Desk

On the first floor near the Tiverton Room will be our registration desk. So after checking into the hotel, turn directly down the hall and check in with the reunion. Our registration desk will be open on Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm. Then again, we will open on Thursday from 8am to 10am, then later that day from 4pm to 6pm. After Thursday, you will need to check in with any of the reunion staff to obtain your packet. Also in the registration area will be the ship’s store. If you order any items from the ship’s store, they will be available when you register. After the registration period, you will need to check with Jim Kulp for purchase of any items. There will be a limited time in the hospitality room where ship store items will be sold. Your packet will have information on restaurants and shopping areas.



This reunion will have our reunion raffle after the banquet. We ask each of our guests to bring something from your area of the country for a contribution toward a raffle at the conclusion of our banquet. You may either make a gift or purchase something you wish to contribute to the raffle. During the reunion, our woman auxiliary will sell raffle tickets. Your contribution and the purchase of raffle tickets contribute to the success of this reunions.


Association Meeting

On Friday afternoon at 5:00 pm, we will have our JWT Association meeting where we will go over business of the Association. By your attendance, you are a member of the Association. Jim Kulp will give his financial report and we will discuss the day’s activities and future reunion locations. This meeting should last about one hour. It is important that you attend this meeting since this reunion may be our last as the JWT group. As our organization gets older, we get less and less members. We will have as our guest a representative of the Tin Can Sailors to speak to us about joining their reunion. Many destroyer organizations are collectively joining together for a single reunion each year. Tin Can Sailors plans all reunions and we can still be together as the JWT group at these reunions.


This is the final event of our reunion after our day at Battleship Cove. It will be held in the Ocean Room of the hotel beginning with a cash bar starting at 5:00pm with dinner being served at 7:00 pm. Pictures of couples and/or families will begin around 5:30pm. After a few brief words for the committee to outline the future of the JWT reunions, we will have dinner and our raffle. . The Italian banquet will have minestrone soup, tomato and mozzarella salad or Caesar salad, chicken saltimbocca or sole parmigiana, pasta marinara, along with chef selection of potato and vegetables, with rolls and butter, cannoli, coffee and tea. The hospitality room will be open for the last time after the banquet.


Memorial Services

On Saturday morning around 10:00 am, we will have our Memorial Services on the fantail of the USS Kennedy. All shipmates and guest are encouraged to attend. A brief ceremony will occur with the laying of a wreath over the side of the ship in honor of those shipmates we have lost since the 2018 reunion. All shipmates are encouraged to wear their blue polo JWT shirts with the Navy baseball caps. After the ceremony, a group picture of shipmates will occur in front of a gun mount on the bow of the ship. Once the ceremony and pictures are completed, you will be free to tour the USS Kennedy and the other ships for the remainder of the day. Each shipmate who has passed since the 2018 reunion will have their name read aloud to honor them.


Fair Winds and Following Seas, may the lord fill our sails with fair wind, support our hulls in inviting seas, guide our hands upon the tiller toward pleasant places, and bring us home, O Lord, to a safe and loving harbor.”


Remember to call the hotel and send in your registration.