Gene S. and George B.)
The 2012 HPRA Reunion was held in Warwick
R.I. from June 7th to the 9th. Our home base this year was
Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick. They provided us with a fine hospitality
room, a buffet breakfast every morning, including Thursday.
for those that came in on Wednesday. The room accommodations were
pretty good (I did not have any problems this time). There were shuttle
services to and from the airport, as usual and a shuttle on demand for
transportation to other places within 5 miles.
There were the usual tours, arranged by George,
excellent. For the Friday tour, actually there were two. There was one
to the Newport Naval Base, plus a second choice to two of the homes on
the Newport Mansion Tour. The base tour started with a windshield tour
through Newport, Fort Adams and other spots, including a lot of the big
homes in the area. Some were so big, I think one may get lost in them.
After the windshield tour, we went to the Naval Base proper. Our first
stop was at the Officers Warfare Training center where they train new
officers on the handling of the ship. A naval officer gave a
presentation on what they do there and other information (every one we
saw was an officer). There are simulators, designed to be like the real
thing. One set was for the engine and power generation parts of the
ship (this was based on the Arleigh Burke - DDG51). The second
simulator was for the bridge. It has a 360 degree video wall to display
what you see from the bridge level. Very realistic, not like a game.
Once they started the "ship" moving, you actually felt as if it were
real, especially when they kicked in some bad weather. You felt the
swells, roll and pitch etc. These simulators of today give navy
personal a realistic experience in their training.
After the training center we went to the Officer
a buffet lunch followed by a visit to the War College Museum. We also
had a windshield tour of the base. There is a lot of construction
happening all around. The base has gained quite a bit of function since
the last "BRAC" round. The Supply Training center has been moved to
Newport and a number of other naval functions. There seems to be no
chance of any naval ships being there in the future.
Pier 1 and 2 are still there but are in poor
eventually will be removed. The only active ships in Newport using the
piers are Coast Guard vessels. The area along the shore line where the
piers are is being readied for the Coast Guard use. The USS Saratoga is
tied up to pier 2, not in commission, and will probably be scraped
within the next year or so. There are a lot of new buildings, dorms,
gym's and office facilities. The Rhode Island Army Reserve is also
based there and a Marine detachment.
The alternate tour was a windshield tour of
Newport and a
visit to two of the mansions on the Newport Mansion Tour. They spent
the day in Newport, Rhode Island, known as the playground for the
wealthy. In the morning was a visit to the Breakers, one of the
grandest of Newport's summer "cottages" a symbol of the Vanderbilt
family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century
America. There was a guided tour of the Mansion with a firsthand look
at the lifestyles of the wealthy. Time was allowed for lunch and
browsing, on your own, before visiting Rosecliff. Built by architect
Stanford White for silver heiress Tessie Oelrichs, Rosecliff was
conceived as a stage set for the dinners, balls, and costume parties
that made up the social whirl of Newport during the Gilded Age. As they
departed Newport, they enjoyed a riding tour of Newport, hearing about
Hammersmith Farms, JFK's "summer White House" retreat, and all of the
fabulous homes along famous Millionaires' Mile and scenic Ocean Drive.
The tour enjoyed the water views while hearing about the considerable
history and influential families that make Newport famous.
Saturday was spent at the "Battleship
in Fall River Massachusetts. The ships berthed there are the
battleship USS Massachusetts - BB59, the destroyer USS Joseph P.
Kennedy Jr. - DD850, the
Submarine USS Lionfish - SS298, a landing craft, two PT Boats and the
Hiddensee an East German/German missle corvette built in St. Petersburg
Russia. You could explore most spaces on these
ships, so there was something for everyone. Our lunch was included in
the tour price and took place aboard the Massachusetts. When we first
arrived, we had our memorial wreath ceremony on the fantail of the
Massachusetts. Taps was played by shipmate, Julius (Butch) Guzejko.
Great job! I hope he will available again at our future reunions. See
this link: "Battleship Cove Maritime
" for more information.
We departed the cove around 2:15 and headed back
hotel for the annual business meeting. Two officer positions were up
for election; Vice President and Treasurer. Both George and Ken agreed
to run again and were unanimously voted back. George talked about
Norfolk next year and that it would be Tall Ships week there. Our hotel
will be right on the water and plenty of things to see and do,
including restaurants, within walking distance. It was pointed out that
it will be a busy place and if you come early, it will be to your
advantage. 2014 in Cleveland was tabled to the 2013 meeting.
At the meeting, Howard Ferrell gave a presentation
placing a plaque for the Hugh Purvis in the Navy Memorial in Washington
DC. The total cost would be around $3500 and one of the 50-50's was a
start on that. The proposal was agreed upon and we will find ways of
funding it. One way would be donations from members. It was
pointed out that if each active member gave $10, our funding would be
The annual photo session and dinner was held
around 6:30. Good food, plenty to talk about; a really nice time. There
was a dance floor set up with a boom-box for music after dinner. There
were a bunch of door prizes, two 50-50's and the 2 night free room
There will be photos and slideshows on the
appropriate pages of the HPRA
web site. They should begin appearing throughout June and July. It
a bit of time to get them all from shipmates and the photographer.
There will also be several new videos on the Video page.
If you have something you would like to contribute
the reunion, photos, video or any other comments or experiences, use
the link "Click here to send..." at the bottom of this (or any) page to
send them in. Anything sent by "USPS" will be returned if requested