2019 Grayback Reunion In Reno Report
Seventy-three strong, we gathered at the Boomtown Casino and Best Western Hotel in Verdi, Nevada just west of Reno the week of 6 May 2019. We had a few last minute cancellations and those folks generously contributed their registration fee to the reunion fund. We also had a couple of unregistered folks show up (Surprise!).
The weather was pleasant and mostly sunny. A couple of light showers during the week and the snow on the Sierra Nevada mountains reminded us it was still Spring.
We got the keys Monday afternoon to room 4219 which served as our hospitality suite. A working party was formed and made runs to Costco and Walmart to secure cutlery, paper products, beverages and snacks. Volunteers "decorated" the suite with pictures of past reunions and set up displays of the collection of Grayback memorabilia.
The well-appointed suite was the perfect watering hole and the center of activities that included kibitzing, stranger than fiction sea stories, competitive cribbage tournament matches, and a late-night mahjong game.
We mustered at 0900 Wednesday for a buffet breakfast. Before partaking, the names of those who we've lost since our last reunion were read and a moment of silence was observed. The Boomtown put out an excellent and bountiful spread. The mic was passed for self-introductions and commentary. A discussion of new business was next on the agenda and included the resignation of Bill Acord as Reunion Coordinator Chair (although he will remain active as the Reunion Fund Account Custodian and in some other admin matters). An unsolicited motion to nominate Kent Weekly to assume duties as Reunion Coordinator was made, entertained and seconded. He initially demurred, but the motion was passed by a unanimous voice vote. Kent also "volunteered" to take custody of Grayback memorabilia (including our coffee pot). A discussion of locations for our next reunion in 2021 ensued...and tabled with no consensus. Under the direction of 'Fast Eddie' Lawson and Kent Weekly a series of group photos was taken. (See the link below to view a slideshow collection of reunion pictures.)
Attendees took advantage of the Reno area and made visits to nearby locations including Lake Tahoe, Virginia City, Donner Summit, downtown Reno, and Carson City, the state's capitol. Don Quinn put together a foursome with Eddie Lawson, Sixto Diaz and Lynn Miller to hit the links on a challenging golf course (and it showed). More than a dozen folks descended on Ken and Connie Anderson's home in Sun Valley for a short notice dinner Wednesday evening. And of course many tried their luck in the host casino (Boomtown thanked us for all the "donations").
On Thursday, a tasty lunchtime spread of Filipino food (fried rice, pancit, adobo) was delivered to the hospitality suite (thanks to Lily Wiley for making that happen).
That evening at 1830 we gathered for a dinner buffet - the food was a hit again by all reports. After dinner we heard from Gunny Sgt Mike Rios, a board member and past president of Honor Flight Nevada. He shared his personal experiences and urged all veterans to consider signing up to make this trip to our nation's capitol to visit the veteran memorials. Here is info on the Honor Flight network (130 hubs in 45 states).
Announcements included Denise Brogan capturing the cribbage tournament title and Lynn Miller as runner-up. Both chose to donate their prize money to the reunion fund. And Sandie Savage's name was drawn as the winner of the 50/50. A door prize drawing followed with winners choosing from credit for one room night at Boomtown (4), two submarine novels, a submarine coloring book, San Miguel belt buckle, a Grayback plaque, a dolphins pen and a model of the boat. The reunion fund garnered donations in excess of $900 (including the 50/50 monies and $60 from the Filipinas who donated a commission from each mahjong pot).
Later that evening a working party collected and packed up the memorabilia, coffee pot and unused supplies and policed the suite. Early Friday morning, a small working party loaded this gear into Kent's Weekly vehicle.
The Reunion Committee thanks all those who attended, pitched in and contributed to making this an enjoyable and festive event. As reported earlier, Dennis Wiley passed away on June 4th. We are indebted and grateful to Dennis who served as the on-scene commander, did the research, leg work, liaison and coordination with Boomtown. He willingly volunteered for this task and approached it as he did every undertaking - with a tireless, git 'er done attitude. It was his hard work that laid the foundation that made this reunion so memorable. We salute you.
Follow this link for Reunion Slideshow
Lynn Miller who is the admin czar behind the curtain in maintaining our Sailing/Eternal Patrol Lists and website has completed a transition of Grayback's email list to a web-based marketing platform. Future All Hands Grayback Association e-mails will read: From: USS Grayback [email@example.com].
THANKS AGAIN FOR THE GOOD TIMES. HOPE TO SEE YOU AT GRAYBACK'S 2021 REUNION.