2019 Key West Come Around After Action Report

Posted: 2/20/2019

The chapter’s annual come-around in Key West was held 4 – 11 Feb 2019 at the Truman Annex to Naval Air Station, Key West.  The theme for this year’s gathering was “Fun, Fellowship and Memories”, firsties were Tom (’70) and Rose Wolfe.  They were able to negotiate permission for participants to begin arriving at the Truman Annex campsite as early as 2 Feb 2019 and, for those who wished to extend their stay, to remain at the campsite until 13 Feb 2019.  Once again, Mike Currie ’67 supported the event by providing several fishing opportunities aboard his boat “Tailhooker”.

We had 55 members and guests attending with 23 RVs.  Members enjoying the Key West fun with firsties Tom (’70) and Rose Wolfe were:  Bob (’61) and Maryjane Metcalf, Gary (’69) and Valerie Polansky, Mike (’67) and Elizabeth Currie, Jay (’67) and Patti Williams, Jack (’67) and ‘Nita Parry, Dale (’70) and Su Gange, Tim (’72) and Vanessa Hallihan, John (’77) and Eileen Madaio, Hank (’67) and Stevie Giffin, Kirk (’75) and Wendy Daniels, Kathy Shanebrook (’80) and Jerry Cribb, John Schultz (’59) and Gail Kelly, Scott (’78) and Pam (’80) Rodgers, Pete (’76) and Cindy Miller, Dave (’67) and Debbie Scheu, Jim (’81) and Catherine Heffernan, Royal (’70) and Melinda Connell, Tom (’70) and Ellen Shields, Mike (’67) and Kitty Bolier, Marc Farris (’70), Dick (’67) and Jean Farver, Hal (’64) and Sandy Anderson, Tom Keane (’87) (new member, joined during the come-around) and Karen Drake (’01) (new member, joined during the come-around).

Guests included the following:

  • Guests of Marc Farris
    • Alan Hails (’70), USNA company mate of Marc
    • Jim Neale (’70), USNA company mate of Marc
    • Jack Moody (’70), USNA company mate of Marc, Jack also joined the Chapter during the come-around
    • Peter Moody, brother of Jack, retired Navy dentist
    • Myles McGrane (’70), USNA company mate of Marc
  • Guests of Jack and “Nita Parry
    • Dave and Helen Rees of Cooperstown, NY. Dave was former VF-33 squadron mate of Jack’s.
    • Karen Wass and friend Phil, Karen is ‘Nita’s friend from the Chapel Altar Guild and USNA Garden Club,
  • Guest of Kathy Shanebrook and Jerry Cribb on Sunset Cruise – Chuck Weigand, USNA ‘72
  • Chapter guests – Capt. Bobby J Baker, USN, Commanding Officer, Naval Air Station, Key West and his wife, Shantelle.

Come-around participants who went fishing with Mike Currie ’67 throughout the week were Hank Giffin ’67, Jay Williams ’67, Dick Farver ’67, Bob Metcalf ‘61, Myles McGrane ’70, Tom Shields ’70, Tim (‘72) and Vanessa Hallihan, Pete Miller ’76, Gary (‘69) and Valerie Polansky, Dale Gange ’70 and Jim Heffernan ’81.

Sunday, 3 Feb

Scott (’78) and Pam (’80) Rodgers hosted the Super Bowl viewing party at the tent for those who had chosen to arrive either Saturday or Sunday preceding official start of the come-around.

Monday, 4 Feb

The event officially began with the remainder of the participants arriving.  Co-firstie Rose Wolfe (Tom ’70) assisted by Valerie Polansky (Gary ’69), Kitty Bolier (Mike ’67) and Debbie Scheu (Dave ’67), prepared a delightful taco bar for the firstie dinner including Margaritas by co-firstie Tom.

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 Tom Keane (’87)
Key West “Rust Bucket” Award Oldest RV Dale (’70) and Su Gange
Key West “Bright and Shiny” Award Newest RV Tim (’72) and Vanessa Hallihan
Key West “Size Matters” Award (two categories) Longest unit (including towed vehicle) Kathy Shanebrook (’80) and Jerry Cribb
Shortest unit Dick (’67) and Jean Farver
Key West “Road Warriors” Award (two categories) Traveled greatest distance to attend come-around John Schultz (’59) and Gail Kelly
Longest time on the road to attend come-around Scott (’78) and Pam (’80) Rodgers
Key West “Old Salts” Award Attended most Key West come-arounds Bob (’61) and Maryjane Metcalf
Key West “Plebes” Attending Key West come-around for the first time Tim (’72) and Vanessa Hallihan

Pete (’76) and Cindy Miller

Jim (’81) and Catherine Heffernan

Royal (’70) and Melinda Connell

Marc Farris (’70)

Dick (’67) and Jean Farver

Hal (’64) and Sandy Anderson

Tom Keane (’87)

Special Recognition Recently married John Schultz (’59) and Gail Kelly

 Tuesday, 5 Feb

Town liberty was granted all day.  Mike Bolier (’67) organized a golf outing and Dale Gange (’70) organized a recreational bicycle ride for interested participants.  Opening rounds of the corn hole tournament, organized by Jack Parry (’67), began. The pot luck dinner featured participant’s favorite tailgate dish and a mystery dessert of cannonballs made from scratch following the USNA recipe prepared by a team led by co-firstie Rose Wolfe (Tom ’70) who was ably assisted by Valerie Polansky (Gary ’69), Elizabeth Currie (Mike ’67), Kitty Bolier (Mike ’67), Stevie Giffin (Hank ’67) and Patti Williams (Jay ’67).  The team accepted an invitation from the wife of the CO NAS Key West to prepare and bake the cannonballs at her residence. After dinner Jack (’67) and ‘Nita Parry gave a presentation of their travels during the past year to the Gaspé Peninsula in Canada, Iceland and the Cincinnati-Navy football game.

Wednesday, 6 Feb

Dave (’67) and Debbie Scheu organized a tour of the Harry S. Truman Little White House.  This activity was an ad hoc substitute for a previously scheduled tour of the U.S. Coast Guard facility that had been organized by Jay Williams (’67) but which the Coast Guard was forced to cancel immediately prior to the come-around.  Wednesday evening’s activity featured another memorable Sunset Cruise with 42 members and 2 guests.  This year’s cruise was organized by first time Key West come-around participants Tim (’72) and Vanessa Hallihan.

Thursday, 7 Feb

On Thursday morning we enjoyed a tour, organized by Jay Williams (’67), of JIATF South (Joint Interagency Task Force, South).   Tour participants learned about the combined effort of multiple U.S. government agencies in cooperation with multiple Latin and South American countries and several European and Asia-Pacific nations to interdict the flow of illicit drugs globally.  After the tour we carpooled to Stock island for a group lunch, organized by John (’77) and Eileen Madaio, at Chico’s Cantina – always a favorite.

Friday, 8 Feb

Friday morning featured a Chapter Officer and Board meeting followed immediately by a general chapter membership meeting led by Chapter president Jack Parry (’67).  The general meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance and concluded with all singing verses 1 and 3 of our Alma Mater.  Jack announced that he and “Nita would be the firsties for Key West_2020 and that Jim (’81) and Catherine Heffernan had volunteered to serve as the firsties for Key West_2021.  He reminded the forum of what constitutes a come-around according to Chapter policy and encouraged members to organize future gatherings during football season that coincide with Navy away football games.  Jack also reminded the forum of upcoming come-arounds for 2019 and asked the firsties for each to offer comments pertaining to their respective event.

Lunch for Friday featured “light” pot luck fare.  This activity was new for 2019 and provided a relaxing break between the general chapter meeting and the annual Key West White Elephant auction.  Jack Parry (’67) conducted a very successful auction and Kathy Shanebrook (’80) served as the clerk.  Total proceeds from the auction were $845, topping last year’s record event by $7. Thanks to all members who donated items to the auction and special thanks to all who participated in the lively bidding.

Happy Hour featured a blind wine tasting event with 20 entries.  The winning entry, Menage a Trois, California Red Wine was provided by Jay (’67) and Patti Williams.  Jay and Patti had also entered this wine in a contest they had organized several years ago and it had also won that event.  Prior to beginning the blind wine tasting event, Bob Metcalf (’61) gave a brief but informative history of the Key West come-around.

Saturday, 9 Feb

Saturday’s activities began with a golf cart rodeo, in which the blindfolded “pilot” of the golf cart had to navigate an obstacle course that included backing into “garages” and navigating around orange safety cones.  In navigating the course, the “pilot” was assisted by a “navigator” who could only offer verbal commands.  This activity was a hit with all who participated.  Jay (’67) and Patti Williams won the event with Patti as the “pilot” and Jay as the “navigator”.

Saturday evening’s activities included a fish fry under the stars preceded by “Margarita Night” during Happy Hour with co-firstie Tom Wolfe (’70) piloting the margarita machine and ably assisted by Vanessa Hallihan (Tim ’72) and others.  The fish fry, organized by Hank (’67) and Stevie Giffin, featured the catch of the week by event participants who had gone fishing with Skipper Mike Currie (’67) aboard “Tailhooker” throughout the week.  Stevie provided a “special recipe” black sauce and assisting Hank in the grilling function with their grills were Gary Polansky (’69), Dave Scheu (’67), Tim Hallihan (’72), Scott Rodgers (’78) and Tim Kaine (’87).  Mike Bolier (’67) also assisted by providing a “non-fish” grill for those who do not eat fish.  Once again, the fish fry was well received by all.

The Chapter was honored to have as its guests for the evening activities the Commanding Officer of NAS Key West, Captain Bobby J. Baker, USN and his wife Shantelle.  Capt. Baker also presented an informative overview brief of NAS Key West and later in the evening served as both the judge and emcee for the USNA jeopardy contest. Once again, the jeopardy contest was a hit with all who participated.  Capt. Baker’s participation made it especially memorable since he is a graduate of West Point (’93) who completed Army Aviation Officer training and was designated an Army Aviator before executing an inter-service transfer to become a Naval Aviator.  Gary (’69) and Valerie Polansky began the evening’s entertainment agenda with a presentation of the western caravan (Navy-Air Force football game in Colorado Springs, CO, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM and Navy-Notre Dame football game in San Diego, CA) that they had organized and led during Oct 2018.

Sunday, 10 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.

Happy Hour on Sunday featured both the semi-finals and finals of the corn hole tournament.  The tables and chairs were rearranged in the tent to form an “arena” in which the contests were held.  Tom Shields (’70) won the singles tournament with Jack Parry (’67) runner-up.  Hank (’67) and Stevie Giffin bested Tom (’70) and Ellen Shields to win the doubles tournament.

Monday, 11 Feb

Key West_2019 formally concluded.  The firsties provided light morning refreshments as participants set their respective special sea and anchor details in preparation for getting underway.

Tuesday, 12 Feb – Wednesday, 13 Feb

No scheduled activities for those who wished to extend their stay at the Truman campsite.  Bob (’61) and Maryjane Metcalf, Jack (’67) and ‘Nita Parry and firsties Tom (’70) and Rose Wolfe all departed on Wednesday morning.