Summer 2013

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Remember, it’s not too late to send in a donation or
pay your annual dues for the 2013 calendar year.

 Dues are $15.00 (donate more if you can)
Please mail to:
USS John W. Thomason Association
131 River Bend Park
Lancaster, PA 17602

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If you have news for us to print in the next newsletter please send it to the address above.
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Take advantage of the Early Reunion Sign-up Incentive.   If you sign-up and pay your fees for the reunion before June 1 you can save up to $15.00 per person.  Register early!

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Message from Bob Soukup

Hello again from Long Beach.

The 2014 reunion is coming up fast!   You should be planning your trip to Long Beach now, you don’t want to be left out.   Remember, the reunion runs Wednesday, July 23 to Saturday, July 26, 2014.   A 2014 Reunion Registration form is included with this newsletter.

Reunion Hotel and Registration   

Our 2014 Reunion hotel is the Hilton Long Beach Executive Meeting Center, located at 701 west Ocean Blvd in downtown Long Beach.   The rooms are $109.00 per night, single occupancy, plus taxes.   An extra person charge may apply for 2 or more guests sharing the same guestroom.  The rate is good two days prior and after the reunion based on availability.   Reservations MUST be made prior to June 23, 2014 to guarantee the room rate.   You can start making your hotel reservations now at the Long Beach Hilton by calling 1-800-445-8667 (1-800-HILTONS).   Be sure to request the group rate for USS John W. Thomason DD760 Navy Reunion 2014 when you call.   You can also make your hotel reservation at this link.

Hotel Parking   

The Long Beach Hilton does not have its own parking lot.   There is a parking lot to the north of the hotel that is owned and operated by a third party.  The parking rate will be discounted to $9.00 per day for our reunion.   The parking charge is added to your bill at check out.

Things to see and do around downtown Long Beach
   
The hotel location provides easy access to all that downtown LB has to offer?.  You can ride the FREE “Passport" bus from the hotel to Long Beach’s finest attractions and destinations, including the iconic Queen Mary, Aquarium of the Pacific, Pine Avenue, City Place Mall, The Pike at Rainbow Harbor, Convention Center, Shoreline Village, and Long Beach Transit’s water taxis, the AquaLink and AquaBus.

You might want to consider taking the “AquaBus” water taxi from the Queen Mary to Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier.  Or consider a leisurely walk along the beach pedestrian/bicycle path from Alamitos Avenue on the west to 54th Place on the east. Two six foot lanes are for bicycle traffic and one five foot lane is for pedestrians.

If you should be interested in visiting Los Angeles, the Metro train station is located a few short blocks from the Hilton.  I highly recommend the Metro train for getting to many parts of Los Angeles.  It is a great alternative to fighting LA freeway traffic.

For the kids, and young at heart, Long Beach is near Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Knott’s Berry Farm in Anaheim.  LegoLand is at Carlsbad.   Ask at the hotel front desk about tours and/or transportation.

Long Beach Weather  

If you are wondering what our weather is like in July remember that it is greatly influenced by our proximity to the Pacific Ocean.  The ocean water temperature averages 67 in July and our average daytime high air temperature is 82 and the low is 65.   Since July is the middle of our “monsoon season”, the humidity may be a little higher and we may occasionally get a few drops of rain.

Reunion Itinerary

Wednesday, July 23, 2014:  Check-in for early arrivals and touring on your own.
Thursday, July 24, 2014:   Continue check in.   Hospitality room open.  Optional on your own trip to the Belmont Shore area of Long Beach or take a Harbor Sightseeing Cruise.
Friday, July 25, 2014:    Business meeting, group photos, and hospitality.  Touring on your own.  Banquet dinner in the evening.
Saturday, July 26, 2014: Bus trip to the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro for a tour of the Battleship USS Iowa, the Los Angeles Maritime Museum, and the Old Fire Station 36 Museum.  Lunch on your own at one of the Ports O’ Call restaurants.   You'll also see what has replaced the Long Beach Navy base and shipyard.   

More Tour Info   

I strongly suggest you take a Long Beach Harbor Cruise or a Whale Watching Cruise on Thursday July 24.   The harbor cruise lasts about an hour and the whale watching cruise lasts about 3 to 4 hours.   The cruise dock is near the Aquarium of the Pacific, a short "Passport" bus ride from the hotel.   I have not included this event on the Reunion Registration Form because there may be discount coupons available that I can distribute when you arrive.

Belmont Shore is a very popular destination spot with lots of unique shops and restaurants.    It’s a great place to just stroll along the walks, take in the sights, or window shop.   You can ride the Long Beach Transit bus that runs every 20 minutes from the front of the hotel to Belmont Shore for $1.25 each way (sixty cents if you show your Medicare card).

In San Pedro the USS Iowa, Maritime Museum, Fire Station 36, and Ports O Call are all within a short walk from each other.   But if you don't want to walk you can ride the historic Port of Los Angeles Waterfront Pacific Electric Red Car Line for only $1.00.   If you decide to ride the Red Car consider staying aboard until you get to the 22nd Street (Marina) stop where "Crafted" is located.   "Crafted" is a permanent craft marketplace featuring the work of over 100 artists and craftspeople, a great place to find unusual, one of a kind, items.  For more about "Crafted" see the web page craftedportla.com

Note that due to licensing, scheduling, and cost issues I had to drop both the cruise aboard the SS Lane Victory and the trip to Griffith Park.  The SS Lane Victory is experiencing financial and licensing difficulties that may prevent it from doing “Victory at Sea” cruises in 2014.   If the Lane Victory does sail I’ll let you know.   The timing and cost of Griffith Park in LA simply wouldn’t work out.   Therefore I have substituted an optional visit to Belmont Shore or a Harbor Sightseeing Cruise as “on your own” for those who desire.

Reunion Fees  

The per person registration fee is $65.00 before June 1 ($75.00 after).  

Tour Cost 

The per person San Pedro Harbor tour cost is $35.00 before June 1 ($40.00 after).  Includes bus transportation to/from San Pedro and admission to the Battleship USS Iowa.   The other museums are free but a donation is suggested.

Getting to Long Beach

If you are coming by air, Long Beach (LGB) airport is the logical choice.   Of course there are also Los Angeles (LAX) and Orange County/John Wayne (SNA) airports.   Shuttle service to/from any of the airports runs about $20 to $25.   I have used, and suggest, “Shuttle 2 LAX” http://shuttletolax.com    If you book on-line the fare is fixed at $20.   If you fly into LGB you can take a cab to the Hilton Hotel (expensive), use a shuttle service (not quite as expensive), or ride the Long Beach Transit bus (cheap, only $1.25 or [sixty cents with Medicare card]).   If you are driving, the hotel is at the very end of the southbound Long Beach (710) freeway, next to the World Trade Center.

I am looking forward to seeing all of you here at “The Beach” for 2014. 

Scuttlebutt by Bill Busching

Important information for all Veterans
Subject:  VA Warning to Veterans of Attempts to Gather Personal Information

The Office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA) has requested that the following information be distributed to all of our Veterans/shipmates.

An organization called the Veterans Affairs Services (VAS) is providing benefit and general information on VA and gathering personal information on veterans.  This organization is not affiliated with the VA in any way.

The bogus organization (VAS) may be gaining access to military personnel through their close resemblance to the VA name and seal.  The VA’s Legal Counsel has requested that all Service Members and Military Retirees be informed of a scam being perpetrated by this group that calls itself VAS and that it is not affiliated with the VA.  The VA does not endorse the VAS and does not support the VAS to provide any services to Veterans.

If any of our shipmates have been contacted by the Veterans Affairs Services (VAS) who have offered to assist any of you with the preparation and presentation of claims for benefits the VAS is in Violation of Chapter 59 of Title 38 United States Code you should notify Mr. Brian Ramsey, Missouri Transition Assistance Advisor at 573-638-9500 ext 7764.  You should also notify:

Michael G. Daugherty, Staff Attorney
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of General Counsel
Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20420

If you need any help, send me an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Newly Found Shipmates

We have located the following shipmates and welcome them back aboard.   We hope to see all of you at the 2014 Reunion.

Darrell Cox, Bob Herington, Fred Kostner, Robin Stedman,

Sick Call

We have been told that the following shipmates are not well.   We hope they recover soon.

Skip Flippin, Marvin Humphrey

Passings

We have received word that the following shipmates have passed away:

Peter A. Casarotto, Arlyn Heath, Charles Arthur Nichol, Louis Bowman

John W. Thomason Jacket

As mentioned in the previous newsletters, we are seeking your interest in purchasing a windbreaker type jacket with “USS John W. Thomason 1945 – 1970 DD760” embroidered over an outline of the ship.   The current price for the jacket 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.