February 2007 Newsletter


This newsletter is the first of many to the Association to inform you of events and activities which have occurred and some which we are working on. We hope this newsletter finds everyone in good health and doing well. Also hope no one has had any damages this winter because of the excessive snowfall or ice storms.

On September 7-10, 2006, the USS John W Thomason Association had another successful reunion thanks to the great leadership of Steve and Mary Lou Petryk. The reunion was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan. Over one hundred sailors, wives, and guests attended the reunion. Tours to the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and the Ford F-150 truck assembly plant offered all an exciting trip. On Saturday, the Association boarded buses for the Grosse Point War Memorial to honor the passing of our shipmates. The memorial services included a color guard from the local VFW with Chaplin John Thomas providing the spiritual services for our fallen shipmates. Each shipmate who passed away since our last reunion was acknowledged by reading their name aloud. A brief pause after each name was allowed for those present to reflect on the memory of their shipmate. After the memorial services, a group picture of the Association shipmates were taken. Once again, we boarded buses to tour Edsel and Eleanor Ford's Home. The guest experienced how the Fords lived in a 60 room English style home on 68 acres of gardens, a garage car museum, and a beautiful view of the Detroit River. Shortly thereafter, we boarded buses again for the Greektown Casino. A brief check of all indicated no big winners but all had a good time. Later that evening, the Association Banquet was held at the hotel. We encouraged all retirees to wear their uniforms; however, only one shipmate, Jim Kulp, was brave enough or able to fit into his old uniform for the banquet. The highlight of the banquet was the raffle. Shipmates and guests who attended the reunion brought items from around the country for the raffle. The Association made over $2000 from the raffle which helped to offset the costs of the reunion.

In closing, the 2006 reunion was a memorable gathering of old friends. Lots of time was available in the hospitality suite to visit with friends and make new friends. All who were there had one thing in common, the USS John W Thomason and no matter when you served, we were all shipmates at one time or another. Once again, a special thanks to Steve and Mary Lou for all the hard work and organizing a wonderful event.

Oscar J Boudreaux, Jr.

Association News

Each newsletter we hope to pass on to you any current information available from members or what we have plans for. If you wish to share any information with your shipmates, write or call us with you comments. All comments are welcomed.
  • At the last reunion, officers were elected for the 2006-2008
    term of the USS John W. Thomason Association. They are as
Oscar J Boudreaux, Jr. President
Paul Steele 1st Vice President
Howard Barrett 2nd Vice President
Bill Busching Secretary
Jim Kulp Treasurer
  • Recently, Larry Hudspeth was diagnoised with throat cancer. The latest reports are the the cancer is confined to his throat and he has begun his therapy. Prognosis is for a full recover. Larry, our thoughts and prayers are with you and hopes are for a speedy recovery.
  • Roy Shiver has transferred all of the Association funds to our new treasurer, Jim Kulp. Jim has provided the Association with a bond to protect these funds. We wish to thank Roy for his services over the many years and we are looking forward to working with Jim in the future.
  • The Ship's Store is now open for business. Thanks to Jim and Penny Kulp who will serve as the managers of the Ship's Store, the Association will have items for sale on demand. Presently, our stock is limited to hats and golf shirts but we are anxious to expand the store in the future with other items such as coffee cups, patches, etc. If you wish to order a hat or golf shirt, email, if possible, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to place your order. Hats are priced at $10 each while golf shirts are $20 for small, medium, large, and extra large sizes. For sizes, XXL and XXXL, the price will be $22.50. A small fee will be attached for shipping depending on where you live. In the future we hope to have all items for sale on our website.
  • Many thanks to Bill Busching for his work on getting a current address on active Association members and locating inactive members. His hard work has resulted in contacting shipmates we have loss contact with over the years. If you can help him locate a shipmate who is not listed on the active listing or we are not aware, email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your information. We'll have more on updating our membership later in this newsletter.
  • Our next reunion is scheduled for Baton Rouge, Louisiana for May 28 through June 1, 2008 at the Holiday Inn Select. Reservation can be made now through the Holiday Inn Select Executive Center's website at www.hiselect.com/execcenterbtr or by calling the hotel at 800-678-4065. The promotion code for reservations on-line will be U01. If you call in, state that you are with the reunion. Rooms will be $86.00 per night not including local sales taxes. The hotel has supplied a 2000 sq ft hospitality room with a bar and free ice supply. The hotel will allow us to bring in our food for the hospitality room. We will have more on the next reunion in our next newsletter later this year. Remember, you can invite family and guest to our reunions. Mark your calendars and set aside the latter part of May, 2008 for the Association's next reunion. We plan on having lots of fresh seafood and Cajun food for all. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
  • The new mailing address for the Association has changed. Since new officers were elected, Jim Kulp has assumed the duties as Treasurer and Ship's Store manager. To maintain a common address for the next several years, we ask that any correspondence be sent to Jim's address and should be addressed as follows:

USS John W. Thomason Association
c/o Jim Kulp
131 River Bend Park
Lancaster, PA 17602

  • A special thanks to Captain Bill Samuels who gave a generous donation at the last reunion to the Association. Capt Samuels served as commanding officer of the USS John W. Thomason from 1948-51. Also, thanks to B. Adams and J. Bigelow who also donated to the Association. All of your generosity is deeply appreciated.
  • We want to thank SMSgt John H Moore, USAF, Retired, the Reunion Manager for the Retired Enlisted Association who has kindly offered to list our upcoming reunion in Baton Rouge on their website for free. It will be listed, along with many other military reunions, in the reunion section of TREA website (www.trea.org) from now until the reunion occurs. It will then be moved to an archive section of the website for anyone to review. SMSgt Moore has asked us if we would put the word out to all JWT shipmates and ask each of you to visit the TREA website and check out reunions that may be listed for any other ship or command that you may have served in. All you need to do to check these reunions out is to go to www.trea.org then scroll down to the left side and click the Reunions/Buddies, and this will bring up the reunion page.

Association Donations

Since the organization of the USS John W. Thomason Association in the late 1980's, the Association has survived financially on the reunion registration fees. The Association has had problems with financial support at times; however, today the Association has a healthy balance. Rather than use these funds for operational needs and also, to reduce the reunion registration fees, the Association will begin requesting annual donations of $15.00. Rather than making it an annul dues, we decided to let member voluntarily donate annually to support the activities of the Association. These donations will pay for postage of the newsletters, bonding fees for our banking, and internet maintenance fees for our website. Our internet website will cost a fee of $500 annually to maintain. Although some may not use the internet, the website helps in locating missing JWT sailors and serves as an outlet for communicating with old friends. Prior to now, Roy Shiver's son, Dave, gave his time and efforts for free to update our site. We feel that in order to keep this website, we need to pay someone for these services. Most military organizations have small dues to keep the Associations active. It is our desire to hold down the reunion costs and use the donations for activities necessary between reunions. Submission of your donations will be every January of each year sent directly to our Treasurer.

Please donate a minimum of $15.00 to the Association at your earliest date. Make checks payable to the USS John W Thomason Association and mailed to c/o Jim Kulp,131 River Bend Park, Lancaster, PA 17602. Your earliest attention to this request will allow the Association to continue on a sound financial footing.

Looking For "Lost" Shipmates

Hey guys, we need to "shake the tree" and find our former shipmates and get as many of them active in our Association as we can. I have "found" 47 former shipmates listed in Military.com under my former unit (JWT) and am in the process of trying to contact each of them so we can get them interested in joining us. The problem with going through Military.com is that you can not email a "contact" directly (no email addresses are publicly available), but I must draft an email and they will send it out to the recipient and then he can choose to respond or not. I am further limited to ten emails per day, so it will take me a few days to get the emails out. Anyway, I would like to ask that all of you who think you know where on of our lost shipmates is, please try to contact them or send me whatever information you have on your buddies and I will try and track them down. The other thing I need is to be sure we have your complete name, spouses name, address, telephone number, email address, and your rate/rating when you were on the JWT and the dates you served aboard the ship. Right now I have 531 names on the active roster. When you think about it, the ship's crew was about 250 men and was in commission for approximately 25 years. Do the math... There are a lot of shipmates still not located. I will do my best to "shake the tree" and ask that you do whatever you can to help. Please complete the attached information request and send it to me or mail it in with your donations.

Thanks, Bill Busching