2018 Key West After-Action Report

Posted: 5/10/2018

The chapter’s annual come-around in Key West was held 5 – 12 Feb 2018 at the Truman Annex to Naval Air Station, Key West.  The theme for this year’s gathering was “Fun, Fellowship and Memories”, firsties were Rose and Tom Wolfe ’70.  They were able to negotiate permission for participants to arrive at the Truman Annex facility one day early to view the Super Bowl and, for those who wished to extend their stay, to remain at the campsite until 14 Feb 2018.  Mike Currie ’67 supported the event by providing several fishing opportunities aboard his boat “Tailhooker”.

We had 42 persons attending, 16 couples with RVs and 5 couples who do not own an RV.  Enjoying the Key West fun with firsties Rose and Tom Wolfe ’70 were:  Gail Kelly & John Schultz ’59, Kathy & Merrick Bayer ’65, Elizabeth & Mike Currie ’67, Patti & Jay Williams ’67, ‘Nita & Jack Parry ’67, Netta & Don Wigington ’67, Pat & Jim McNeece ’67, Stevie & Hank Giffin ’67, Kitty & Mike Bolier ’67, Kathy & Dick Meade ’67, Vicki & Mike Tkach ’68, Val & Gary Polansky ’69, Gail & Jim Swoope ’70, Eva & Andy Wehrle ’72, Lynne & Jim Connors ’74, Wendy & Kirk Daniels ’75, Kathy & Fred Weber ’75, Ellen & Steve Howse ’75, Pam ‘80 & Scott Rogers ’78, Tim & Joan Platz ‘81.

Sunday, 4 Feb

Pam ‘80 & Scott Rogers ’78 hosted an “ad hoc” Super Bowl viewing party under the stars outside their rig for those who had arrived earlier in the day.

Monday, 5 Feb

The event officially began with the remainder of the participants arriving.  Firsties, Rose and Tom Wolfe ’70 provided a welcome dinner for the gathering, including a special desert of made-from-scratch mini cannonballs prepared by Rose and baked in Elizabeth Currie’s (Mike ’67) oven.  In keeping with the “memories” component of the event theme, the cannonballs were made according to the USNA recipe but size was adjusted to accommodate age-appropriate dietary considerations.

The Director (RAdm Christopher Tomney, USCG) and Deputy Director (RAdm Stephanie Keck, USN) of the Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATFS) joined us for Happy Hour.  RAdm Tomney, who graduated from U.S. Coast Guard Academy, class of 1986 and was an exchange student at USNA during his 2/c year, briefed the group of the JIATFS mission, recent successes and continuing challenges.  Both flag officers participated in an informative Q & A session following RAdm Tomney’s remarks.

Monday’s activities also included the following awards and recognition:

 

Award Criteria Recipient
Key West “The Goat is Old and Gnarly” Award Recognizes the oldest class present John Schultz (’59) and Gail Kelly
Key West “Billy the Kid” Award Recognizes the youngest class present Joan (’81) and Tim Platz
Key West “Rust Bucket” Award Oldest RV Jim (’74) and Lynne Connors
Key West “Bright and Shiny” Award Newest RV Mike (’67) and Kitty Bolier
Key West “Size Matters” Award (two categories) Longest unit (including towed vehicle) Mike (’68) and Vicki Tkach
Shortest unit Jim (’74) and Lynne Connors
Key West “Road Warriors” Award (two categories) Travelled greatest distance to attend come-around Don (’67) and Netta Wigington
Longest time on the road to attend come-around Don (’67) and Netta Wigington
Key West “Old Salts” Award Attended most Key West come-arounds Jay (’67) and Patti Williams
Key West “Plebes” Attending Key West come-around for the first time Dick (’67) and Kathy Meade

Jim (’70) and Gail Swoope

Kirk (’75) and Wendy Daniels

Fred (’75) and Kathy Weber

Steve (’75) and Ellen Howse

Tuesday, 6 Feb

Town liberty was granted all day.  Mike Bolier ’67 organized a golf outing for interested participants.  Happy Hour featured a blind wine tasting event with 20 entries.  The winner, entered by Lynne and Jim Connors ‘74, was American Muscadine from Stonehaus Winery, Crossville, TN.  The runner up, The Velvet Devil Merlot (2014) from Washington state was entered by John Schultz ’59.  John had purchased the bottle of wine at the Watts Bar_2017 white elephant auction.

Wednesday, 7 Feb

During the Chapter Board meeting the Board voted to donate $500 to the Naval Air Station Key West MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) department to support ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma. The Board also directed the donation to be made via Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society in Jacksonville, FL with stipulation that the funds are to go to Naval Air Station Key West MWR to support recovery efforts from Hurricane Irma.  Jay Williams ‘67, Chapter President, took the lead to effect the donation.

A general chapter meeting, led by Chapter president Jay Williams ‘67, immediately followed the chapter Board meeting:

  • Jay informed members present that the upcoming come-around scheduled for MT Dora, FL is designated as the chapter’s national come-around.
  • Jay also informed the group that terms of several chapter officers and board members will be expiring and that new officers and board members will be seated at the Mt. Dora event. In that regard, Jay solicited response from any chapter members interested in running for any of the chapter officer positions and/or seats on the Board due to expire to advise him accordingly after the meeting.
  • Gary Polansky ‘69 commented about a tentative caravan he and Val are planning for October 2018. Included in the activity are tentative come-arounds in Colorado Springs, CO 5-7 Oct in conjunction with Navy-Air Force football game on 6 Oct, Albuquerque, NM 11-14 Oct in conjunction with the Balloon Fiesta and San Diego, CA 26-28 Oct for the Navy-Notre Dame football game.  Gary requested that, due to the substantial logistical planning requirements for this type of activity, members who are interested in participating in any or all of the stops in this journey to advise at earliest opportunity.
  • Jim Connors ’74 informed the group that dates for Watts Bar_2018 are 23-28 Oct.

Following the general chapter meeting Jack Parry ‘67 conducted a very successful white elephant auction.  Total proceeds from the auction were $837.  Thanks to all members who donated items to the auction and special thanks to all who participated in the bidding. Wednesday’s scheduled activities concluded with a sunset cruise aboard Sebago Watersports’ “Marquesa” with 17 couples participating.

Thursday, 8 Feb

On Thursday morning we enjoyed a tour of the NOAA Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and Eco-Discovery Center where participants learned about the general impact of major storms on the marine environment.  The presentation also included multiple slides pertaining to the recent Hurricane Irma’s specific impact on the Florida Keys marine environment.  After the tour we carpooled to Stock island for a group lunch at Chico’s Cantina – always a favorite.

Friday, 9 Feb

Friday morning featured a group tour of the NOAA National Weather Service facility in Key West.  The tour was conducted by the Meteorologist in Charge of the facility.  Topics included history of weather forecasting, latest technologies to support weather forecasting, communications protocols followed during major weather events, meteorological history of Hurricane Irma and the storm’s impact to the Florida Keys.  The tour concluded with a visit to the facility’s weather balloon launch facility.

Friday evening’s activities included a fish fry under the stars preceded by “Margarita Night” during Happy Hour.  Co-firstie Tom Wolfe ’70 assumed the role of supernumerary for piloting the margarita machine since the Chapter’s margarita OIC, Jim Roberts ’59 was not able to attend this come-around.  The fish fry featured the catch of the week by event participants who had gone fishing with Skipper Mike Currie ’67 aboard “Tailhooker” earlier in the week.  Those fisherfolks prepared their catch according to their favorite recipes, resulting in varied and delightful selection of delicious fish cuisine. Both activities were well received by all.

Saturday, 10 Feb

Saturday’s activities included a pet parade and pageant and a pot luck dinner Saturday evening followed by USNA Jeopardy.  Six owners entered 11 pets in the pet parade/pageant.  Riley, owned by Hank (’67) and Stevie Giffin earned Best of Show honors.  Event participants brought their favorite tailgate dish to the pot luck dinner.  As always, the dinner featured lots of exquisitely prepared food.  After dinner entertainment was a Jeopardy-like contest, but with a USNA theme with all questions and answers taken from Reef Points. There were two teams – Team ’67 which was comprised of members of the class of ’67 and Team “other” which was comprised of members of all other classes.  Due to spontaneous protests and counter-protests attributable to the intensity of the competition and compounded by somewhat lenient judging at times, it is uncertain which team really won.  However, the activity was well received by all.  Everyone had a good time as the activity provided the opportunity for “remembering” many memorable moments.

Sunday, 11 Feb

Sunday featured the Chapter’s traditional Sunday morning pot luck/farewell brunch.  Once again, the Chapter’s chefs prepared an abundance of delicious fare.

Monday, 12 Feb

Key West_2018 concluded.  The firsties provided light morning refreshments as participants set their respective special sea and anchor details in preparation for getting underway.


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