August 2007 Newsletter

Baton Rouge Is Homeport

Shipmates, We hope this letter finds everyone in good health and doing well. This newsletter will serve as our initial 2008 Reunion information letter.

Our plans for the 2008 USS John W. Thomason Association Reunion are complete. The 2008 Reunion will be held from May 29, 2008 to June 2, 2008 at the Holiday Inn Select Convention Center and Hotel in Baton Rouge, LA. Detailed information concerning our Reunion is shown on our website, If you have not visited our website recently, there are a lot of new links and information, including an on-line 2008 Reunion registration form. If you don't wish to register on-line, we are including a registration form with this Newsletter for you to mail in.

Early indications are that we're going to have a large turnout with many newcomers. To assist us in planning this reunion, we ask that you book your hotel reservations as soon as you make plans to attend this reunion. We have blocked a number of rooms aside for our reunion; however, if attendance increases we will have to increase our allotment, provided rooms are available. For this reason, we ask you to book your rooms as soon as possible. The hotel has a 24 hour cancellation policy so there will not be a problem if you have a last minute change of plans. You may book your reservations with the Holiday Inn Select in Baton Rouge, LA by dialing direct 800-678-4065. Room rates are $86 per night plus local and state sales tax. Tell the hotel that you are with the JWT Reunion and ask for the special rate Code U01.

Registration for the full reunion is $85 per shipmate. To encourage attendance at our reunion, we have lowered the registration fees for spouses, family, and friends to $75 per person for the full reunion activities. Included in your registration fees are the following:
  • Banquet Dinner with Entertainment
  • Hospitality Suite with Snacks & Decorations
  • Gift Bag upon registration
  • Unlimited tours of the Louisiana War Museum and USS Kidd
  • Transportation and Activities for Memorial Services aboard USS
  • Opening Social including Seafood, Cajun Band, & Cajun

The Reunion officially opens with the Opening Social on Thursday evening. This is one event you do not want to miss. Food, music, dancing, and down-right fun will be the highlights of the evening. This event will be poolside at the hotel and will be our first gathering which will begin a weekend of fun.

Friday is our day for the highlight tour of the Reunion. We have planned a day trip to New Orleans to see the D-Day Museum and in the afternoon, stroll the streets of the French Quarter. Most shipmates and guests will partake of this tour. During your trip, you should be able to see some of the damage cause by Hurricane Katrina and the recovery which will be ongoing for many years.

Saturday is our day for conducting the Association's business and remembering our departed shipmates. In the morning we'll transport shipmates and guests to the Louisiana War Museum and USS Kidd in downtown Baton Rouge. The Louisiana War Museum has graciously offered their 100 seat auditorium for our annual business meeting. Late morning we will have our Memorial Ceremonies aboard the USS Kidd. At the ceremonies, the USS Kidd will fire her 5-inch guns in salute of our deceased shipmates. We ask that all shipmates wear their blue JWT golf shirts and JWT hats for this event. If you do not have one, you can obtain them from the Ship's Store at the reunion. Make sure you state that you wish to purchase items from the Ship's Store in the registration form to ensure an ample supply of shirts and hats for the reunion.

The final highlight of our 2008 Reunion is the banquet on Saturday night. Our banquet is a more formal event where men usually wear coat and tie: however, if you feel uncomfortable with a coat and tie, slacks and a dress shirt are recommended. We ask all retired Military personnel to wear their retirement uniform. By you wearing the uniform of your highest rank when you retired, it is our way of recognizing you for your contributions to our Country. If you can not fit into the uniform that you retired in, go buy a new one. Think of the fun you will have at the 2008 Reunion, you will want to wear it every two years for our reunion banquets.

For those of you who have never been to a reunion or who missed the last reunion, we raffle gifts at the end of our banquet. Raffle tickets are sold all during the week. This event is lots of fun. Usually, everyone gets a gift. We ask that you bring a gift from your part of the country to donate to the raffle. Most bring more than one gift. This makes our event even more fun with lots of chances to win. Your raffle gift can be something you made or purchased. Small or large gifts are provided by each shipmate. The raffle is our major fund raiser for future reunions. This helps to ensure that the next reunion will be a successful event.

For this reunion, we have planned a post-reunion tour of one of the South's largest plantation homes for those who stay an extra day with us. A tour of Nottoway Plantation is planned. Included in your tour will be bus transportation, a tour of the home and grounds, and lunch at the plantation home. Experience Southern living in the 1800's with a day trip to Nottoway Plantation.

Here is a list and brief description of the tours planned for this reunion, all tours are optional:

Tour No 1 Louisiana Rural Life Museum (Thursday morning/afternoon), May 29, 2008 - Costs $6.00/person

Located just a few minutes from the hotel is one of Baton Rouge's hidden secrets. This tour is being organized by the Association but no formal registration through the Association for this tour is provided. The Association has obtained a lower fee for the reunion guest. Guest can ride over to Louisiana State University's Rural Life Museum on their own and at their convenience, casually stroll and see Louisiana as it was years ago. No transportation will be provided by the Association. The Museum is located within 5 minutes of the hotel.

Tour No 2 D-Day Museum and French Quarters, New Orleans (Friday all day), May 30, 2008- Costs $32/person

This all day tour begins with a bus trip to the D Day Museum in New Orleans. For 2-3 hours, guided tours of the National Museum dedicated to D Day and World War II will be provided to our guests. After your tour of the museum, the buses will transport our guests to the French Quarters where you will be allowed to have lunch at one of our fine restaurants and tour the Quarters with it's numerous antique and gift shops. Late that afternoon the buses will transport all to Baton Rouge. This tour is the highlight tour of our reunion and a must see.

Tour No 3 Nottoway Plantation (Sunday midday), June 1, 2008 - Costs $42/person

Awe-inspiring Nottoway Plantation, the largest plantation home in the South is not to be missed. Built in 1859 by John Hampton Randolph, Nottoway is a classic Greek revival structure with 53,000 square feet and some 64 rooms. It has 200 windows and 165 doors, one for each day of the year to be opened. It features a 65 foot grand white ballroom, intricate lacy plaster frieze work, hand-carved marble mantels and hand-painted porcelain doorknobs. Once you arrive, the tour of the home and grounds will begin. Upon your completion of your tour, guests will be directed to Randolph Hall for a formal lunch. This lunch is included in your tour fee. Please choose between Cajun Shrimp Creole and Chicken Iberville for your lunch entre.

If you have not attended one of our reunions, you have really missed out on the fellowship of your former shipmates and meeting other shipmates who served on one of the Navy's finest destroyers. Once you attend a reunion of the USS John W. Thomason Association, you and your spouse (guest) will never miss another. Our goal is to reunite friendships and develop new ones. We look forward to seeing you at our reunion in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in late May, 2008. If you need any special assistance during the reunion, please advise us as to your needs. We will endeavor to accommodate your special needs as best as possible.

Schedule Of Events

  • Wednesday, May 28,
Early arrivals and working parties; Registration 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Hospitality Suite opens 2 p.m. until midnight; Dinner - Local Restaurant (on your own)
  • Thursday, May 29, 2008
Arrivals all day; Tour No. 1 - Louisiana Rural Life Museum; Lunch - Local Restaurants (on your own); Registration Noon to 5:30 p.m.; Hospitality Suite opens Noon to 5:30 p.m.; 8:30 p.m. to midnight; Opening Social -Opening Party @ poolside, Holiday Inn Select, 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m., Cajun Band (violin, accordion, etc), Cajun Dancers (to watch or learn), Seafood Boil (crawfish, shrimp, crabs) plus other foods, Kegs of Beer included.
  • Friday, May 30, 2008
Tour No. 2 - D-Day & French Quarter Trip to New Orleans; Depart 8:30 a.m. Arrive back at hotel 6:30 p.m.; D Day Museum Tour - 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.; French Quarter - 12:30 p.m. until 5 p.m.; Lunch - Local restaurant in French Quarter (on your own); Evening-Dinner, Local Restaurant (on your own); Hospitality Suite opens at 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.; Casino (downtown on your own)
  • Saturday. May 31, 2008
Bus to USS Kidd and LA War Museum; Bus will depart hotel every half hour beginning at 8:30 a.m. Trip Time: 10 minutes; Business Meeting - 9:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.-Wives and Guest tour Museum; Memorial Ceremony aboard USS Kidd at 10:45 a.m., Wives and Guest escorted aboard ship, All Shipmates announced aboard ship, American flags flying along gang plank, Bag pipe memorial for deceased members, Guest Speaker and Comments, Memorial reef in Mississippi River, Firing of 5-inch guns, Shipmate group photograph on bow of USS Kidd, Tour of Louisiana War Museum and USS Kidd, Lunch - Local restaurants (on your own, casino), Casino (adjacent to USS Kidd), Bus will depart beginning at 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. on half hour; Hospitality Suite opens at 3:00 p.m. until 6:30p.m.; after banquet until midnight; Banquet - Begin seating at 6:30 p.m.; Program commences at 7 p.m., Cash Bar, Opening Ceremonies, Guest Speaker, Mardi Gras Parade, Slide Show Continuous, Raffle.
  • Sunday, June 1, 2008
Early departures; Tour No. 3 - Nottaway Plantation Home (largest in the South), Depart 10 a.m. Tour Home, Lunch at Plantation Home (included in tour), Arrive Back 3 p.m.; Dinner - Local Restaurants (on your own); Evening-Casino (downtown on your own).
  • Monday, June 2, 2008
Late departures

Association News

  • Special thanks to our Webmaster, Dave Shiver, and his assistant, Bob Soukup, for the work on the website, especially Bob's work on the reunion webpages. Great job guys.
  • Larry Hudspeth has completed all of his cancer treatments and everything is looking good. Larry and Cheryl will be at the next reunion.
  • If you have not made your 2007 JWT Association donations, we ask that you consider contributing to the Association on an annual basis. Your contributions are deeply appreciated.
  • Bill Busching has made his move to Florida. We wish him well in his new home in the sunshine state and closer to his family.