Don't forget to send in your annual dues for the 2018 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
A New Year’s Greeting to all shipmates;
Hope 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. With that new year, it is time for us once again to gather together for another USS John W Thomason reunion. The reunion committee has been very busy and planning for this year’s 2018 JWT Reunion in San Antonio, Texas is nearing completion. This year’s reunion will be very special for many reasons. First, the City of San Antonio with all of its attractions. There is so much to see and we will be directly on the famous River Walk with its canal, floating barges, and numerous shops and restaurants. Obviously, if you like Tex-Mex food, you will be in the right place. Located near or along the San Antonio River are places such as the famous Alamo where legends like Davie Crockett, Colonel William Barrett Travis, Jim Bowie, and 186 others died fighting for independence on March 6, 1836. Other places to visit while enjoying your reunion are the Spanish Govenor’s Place, the lively Market Square, Mission San Jsoe, Mission Concepcion or just cruise down the Paseo Del Rio on a riverboat. Our hotel will be only four blocks from Alamo Plaza, six blocks from the Riverfront Mall, and nearby La Villita which was where the original town of San Antonio was located in 1836.
However, the highlight of this year’s reunion will be our banquet. Normally, our banquets are fun but this time, we have two very special guests. We are very excited to have as our guest speaker at our banquet Dr Tom Cole who is the nephew of John W Thomason. Dr Cole and his sister will be our guest for the reunion. We asked him to talk to us during our banquet on his memories of “Uncle John”. In a brief meeting with Dr Cole at the family home of the Thomason’s, he had numerous stories of when Colonel Thomason lived in Huntsville, Texas. Dr Cole has agreed to illustrate several items that he has retained from his uncle during our reunion. We look forward to having Dr Cole visit the Association guest during our hospitality hours.
Accompanying Dr Cole from Huntsville, TX will be Trent Shotwell and his wife. Trent is the Special Collections Librarian of the Newton Gresham Library of Sam Houston State University. Trent is the coordinator of the John W Thomason Room of the library. In this room is all of the collections of Colonel Thomason including all of his illustrations and writings. We have asked Trent to bring with him some of Colonel Thomason’s art work and memorabilia. There will be special times during our hospitality room that Trent will display some of the collections of Colonel Thomason.
DATES: The dates of the JWT Association Reunion are September 26-30, 2018. Guest usually arrives on the Wednesday before the reunion and leave shortly after the reunion.
LOCATION: This year we are pleased to announce our stay will be at the Holiday Inn, San Antonio Riverwalk, and San Antonio, TX. The hotel is located at 217 North St Mary Street. Phone (210)224-2500. We have contracted to reserve rooms from now until August 26, 2018. After that date, guest may make reservations with the Association group if rooms are available. We ask that to ensure your group rate that you you’re your reservations prior to August 26th deadline. Rooms can begin with our group rate as early as Tuesday, September 25th. When making room reservations call (210) 224-2500 and ask for the USS John W Thomason Reunion group rates. Those room rates will be $131 per night plus local taxes. Check in is at 1600 and check out is at 1200. Parking is located at the hotel for a daily rate of $12 for self-parking and $22 per day for valet parking. The hotel is right on the famous River Walk. There are many attractions on the River Walk, Art Museum, and River Center Mall which features more than 100 retailers, many restaurants and pubs. River cruises are available for a water tour. Public bicycles share a system for those who want to venture out on their own. There is also a city sightseeing tour on a double decker bus. The hotel is totally smoke free. Windows on the River is their restaurant and lounge. The Mugg’s Café and Coffee experience is open 24 hours per day. The hotel has a breakfast $12 per person (not included in your room rate). However, there are numerous restaurants near the hotel to have breakfast at a modest price. You can find more information on the hotel at www.holidayinn.com/sat-riverwalk.
Transportation: Unfortunately, the hotel does not have a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Guest has several options from the airport to the hotel. You can choose a Taxi ($25), Uber (under $20) or a Shuttle bus ($20-$25 per person). All costs are estimated.
Registration Form & Fee: We ask all reunion guests to pay a fee of $25 per guest. This reunion, the Association decided to pay some of the costs of hosting this reunion. The registration fee will offset the costs of the hospitality room and the banquet. Just our banquet fee along will costs $35 per person which the Association will pick up the costs. It is our intention to lower the costs of the reunion to hopefully encourage more JWT shipmates and their families in attending one of our reunions. This is a great opportunity to visit with friends and renew those old relationships we had so many years ago. This year represents the 48th anniversary of the decommissioning of our ship. Enclosed you will find a registration form for the reunion. We ask that you complete this form and return it to the address listed on the form as soon as you can.
Banquet: We have made arrangements with the Barriba Cantina which is located three blocks from the hotel. This will be an all-you-can eat buffet consisting of chicken, beef ribs, pork ribs, brisket, and sausage. Included with your meats you can have homemade potato salad, cole slaw, bean chips and salsa, house bread and tea. As usual, there will be a cash bar. Any additional guest other than Association members and their immediate spouse/guest, we will ask for a $35 fee for the banquet. As stated previously, we have the nephew of Colonel Thomason as our guest speaker whom we feel will give us a first-hand account of the life of the man our ship was named after.
Raffle: Don’t forget to bring with you to the reunion your gift for the raffle. We ask reunion guest to bring one raffle gift for our reunion highlight of the banquet. During the week we sell raffle tickets and at the end of the banquet, we select the winner of each gift. We recommend your gift represents your part of the country. Homemade gifts are especially welcomed.
Tours: As in our last reunion, the Association has not planned any group tours. San Antonio Riverwalk area has numerous tours available for guest. Most may just want to wonder along the Riverwalk stopping at the many shops or look for some organized tour such as San Antonio Grand Sightseeing, Texas Hill Country and LBJ Ranch tour with wine tasting options, or the River Walk Cruise and Hop –on, Hop-off tour bus. For more tour information visit the websites, www.tripadvisor.com and www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com.
Hospitality Room: Our hospitality room is a central place in the hotel where we gather. At our hotel, it will be the Balero Room which is located adjacent to an outside patio. Beer, wine, and snacks are provided for a small fee. Paul Steele is in charge of the hospitality room and is doing a great job in getting this ready for our reunion. We will have memorabilia displayed for all to see and some pictures of the JWT also. 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.
Memory of Fallen Shipmates: At each reunion, we recognize those shipmates who have passed away since our last reunion. We ask if you have any shipmate names, please provide them to the Association so we may recognize them in our ceremonies.
Change of Address: We have received back a large number of change of address on our last newsletter. We feel some of these veterans have passed away; however, some have changed addresses. We ask those Association members to update our files on your current address so we can continue to deliver our newsletters.
Association Meeting: Each reunion, we host an Association Meeting of all shipmates. This reunion we will discuss our finances and the desired location of our next reunion. In particular, we will discuss the final deposition of our JWT memorabilia. Over the years, we have collected many items of the ship that we display at each reunion. Today, the costs of shipping has been very expensive. At our meeting, we will discuss the donation of this memorabilia to the John W Thomason Room of the Newton Gresham Library of Sam Houston State University. This room houses most of Colonel Thomason’s work but very few items of the ship that was named after him. This is an opportunity for us to place these items in a secure place that any of us can visit in the future in Huntsville, TX.
Ship’s Store: On the reverse side of the registration form will be an order blank for items in the ship’s store. Jim and Penny Kulp serve as our Treasurer and handles all items in our ship’s store. We ask that if you want any item from the ship’s store, fill out the order form and return it with your registration for the reunion. Your items will be delivered to the reunion. If you are not coming to the reunion, we can ship those items to you.
Website: Special thanks to Bob Soukup who manages our website. If you have anything for the ship’s log or information to share with us, log on to the website at dd760.org.
Reunion Appreciation: To produce a reunion every two years, it takes a lot of effort. For this reunion we owe a special thank-you to Al and Karen Telck who did a lot of the upfront hotel contact and arrangements. Behind the scenes, Howard Barrett spent numerous hours on the phone scheduling events and coordinating our reunion with Al and Karen. To both of you, we offer a very special Thank You.