IMPORTANT! Due to the increasing costs of producing and mailing the newsletter we are limiting our mailings. From now on, ONLY those WITHOUT a valid e-mail address will receive a newsletter by mail.
Attached to this message you will find the Newsletter as mailed and a Ship's Store Order Form
For a printable copy of this newsletter click For a printable copy of the Ship's Store Order Form click
Please remember to send in your annual dues/donation of $15.00 or more to:
USS John W. Thomason Association
131 River Bend Park
Lancaster, PA 17602
Ahoy from Long Beach, ("The Beach")
Mark your calendar now! Our next reunion will be Wednesday, July 23 to Saturday, July 27, 2014 at Long Beach, California. I have contracted with the Hilton Long Beach to act as our reunion hotel. Look for more details in future newsletters.
I have some exciting plans for our 2014 reunion. The combined ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together make up the busiest cargo container shipping facility in the nation, there are many historic and interesting things to see in, and around, the ports. And, as you know, there is even more to see and do in the greater Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Orange County areas.
The events/tours I am working on will be fun, educational, and interesting for all. So you might want to consider bringing guests such as your children and/or grandchildren too.
I have a very special event in mind that only occurs a few Saturdays a year. I am hoping to coordinate our reunion to it. At the South Bend reunion I announced that due to the timing of the special event I may not have a banquet dinner. Since then I have decided to have a banquet dinner, but it will be on Friday instead of Saturday.
One thing some of you may not know is that the Navy is no longer in Long Beach. The former Navy base and shipyard closed in 1997. Containerized cargo facilities now occupy the site of the base and shipyard. Where the Navy hospital was is now a regional shopping mall. The only major Navy facility still in the area is the Naval Weapons Station at Seal Beach. You may recall that Seal Beach is where we loaded and off loaded ammo for the JWT.
I am looking forward to seeing all of you here at "The Beach" for 2014.
-- Bob Soukup, President
Past President's Message
Greetings once again and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my shipmates and their guests who attended the reunion in South Bend, IN. It was my goal that all the attendees would have a great time here in northern Indiana.
We had a great time visiting different sites around the city including the campus of Notre Dame University. We also visited Jayco RV and we were treated to a tour of their facilities to see how RV's are produced. We also visited Shipshewana, IN and we had a terrific lunch at the Blue Gate Restaurant. While most shopped and purchased items they could not live without, others just walked around and took in the sites or just found a shady spot to sit and talk.
It seemed that everyone enjoyed the Studebaker Museum and most of us had one evening meal at the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant, which was the Studebaker Mansion.
As usual good times were had in our hospitality room talking over old times and getting to know new faces. We had five first time reunion attendees this year and it was great to see them.
The reunion was capped off by a banquet and a good time of fellowship. We had plenty of door prizes and of course the 50/50 drawing. A special thanks to all who brought items for the door prize raffle. The funds collected for this helps to defray some of the reunion costs.
Once again thanks for all who attended and if you have never attended a USS John W. Thomason Reunion you do not know what you are missing and I would like to encourage all to do so.
As we go about our ways I want to say that may God bless you all and I hope to see you in Long Beach, CA in 2014 and let's give Bob Soukup a lot of support.
2012 Business Meeting Recap
(For those not able to be at South Bend)
- Jim Kulp presented the financial statement.
- Ship's Store price increases were announced.
- $200 donation to Tin Can Sailors approved.
- All future newsletters will be sent by e-mail. Only those shipmates WITHOUT e-mail will be mailed a hard copy.
- Bill Busching remains as Secretary.
- Howard Barrett took over as Chaplin from Bob Kimbro.
- No one volunteered to host the 2016 reunion. Former reunion hosts plan to organize a 2016 reunion by committee.
Deceased shipmates remembered and honored at the 2012 reunion
First Time Attendees at South Bend
Pictured below are shipmates attending their first JWT reunion. Welcome aboard!
David Hawks, James Nolan, Van Tubbs, Griffie Ratterree, and Richard Thompson
A note from Tim Lewis of Tim's Tours
To all of the shipmates attending the reunion in South Bend last week: Imagine my surprise and total elation today when I opened that letter from the shipmates and spouses thanking me for my services! I am so pleased that your reunion went so well and that I could be a small part of your enjoyment in the Michiana area. I obviously love my hometown and enjoy showing it off and talking it up despite the naysayers who think this is a dying area. You all saw that's its not and enjoyed some of our history but also enjoyed seeing our progress too, especially at the University of Notre Dame. Your collective service of all of your shipmates for our country with your time on the USS John W. Thomason is certainly worth honoring you and giving you all the service you deserve. It was truly a pleasure to be at your service. I salute you all. God bless you all.
Humbled by your thank you letter,
From David Waymire at the Magnuson Hotel
I just wanted to put in writing how much we enjoyed hosting your event. The people were very pleasant and interesting. I also thank you for all the nice comments and letters given to Ivon for her hard work. I will personally thank the rest of my staff that also worked hard for your event. See you soon!
David L. Waymire, CHA
SCUTTLEBUTT by Bill Busching
It sure was a great reunion, wasn't it? I hope you got to spend lots of time with your old pals and become reacquainted. Maybe you even got a few names and addresses of other shipmates who didn't get to attend whom you wished did. Well, the best thing to do is to start working on your old shipmate network and convince all of them to gather with us in 2014 in Long Beach, California. Our new President, Bob Soukup will be hosting that reunion. Bob was on board JWT from 1967 through 1970 and was an ETN2 while on board. If you have any ideas or are willing to help Bob in any way put on the next reunion, send him an e-mail through the web-site. If you have any suggestions about how we can make our reunions better, in addition to Bob, feel free to send an e-mail to Jim Kulp or Bill Busching. We will be glad to hear of any ideas you may have.
Now is the time for each of us to start planning to attend the 2014 Reunion. One of the first things we can all do is to help us build the treasury back up to where it was before this past reunion in South Bend. As you all know, much of the reunion is subsidized by treasury funds so we can keep costs to you low, such as banquet costs, room charges etc. We build the treasury by paying our dues every year (even if you do not attend reunions) we still have expenses such as postage, paper for the newsletters, etc. Many of the officers of the Association contribute our time and pay expenses out of our pockets just to help save the Association a few bucks a month. What I am asking each of you to do is to pay your $15.00 dues early each year and please consider adding a few dollars extra as a donation to the Association. Thank you guys. Our first order of business will be will be to find the "perfect hotel at the right price". We'll keep you informed.
While Audrey and I were unable to attend this year's reunion because I was hospitalized, we sincerely missed seeing all of our old friends. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.
-- Bill Busching, Association Secretary
John W. Thomason Jacket
At the South Bend reunion Howard Barrett displayed a sample windbreaker type jacket with "USS John W. Thomason 1945 - 1970 DD760" embroidered over an outline of the ship. We are seeking your interest in having one of these jackets (pictured below). Currently we have about ten shipmates interested in the jacket. The price for just those ten is $46.00 each. This is a break even, pass through price. We hope to get a lower price if we can get orders for at least 35 jackets. Please let us know if you would like to have one (or more) of these very unique items. The jacket is blue with gold lettering.
Use the Ship's Store Order Form to indicate your interest in having one of these jackets or if you want to order official JWT merchandise.