Farragut Ships' Association, Inc.
At the last regular biannual meeting of the Farragut Ships' Association, Inc. the majority of the members present voted to return to Norfolk, VA where USS Farragut (DDG-37) was homeported from 1976-1989, the year of her decommissioning. The dates requested (11-14 October 2018) were based when on the tourist season was over and the weather is cooler. Negotiations were made with a third party, Ted Dey, founder of Armed Forces Reunions and we secured a contract with the Sheraton Norfolk Waterside on the Norfolk waterfront that is in Waterside District. The Farragut Ships' Association officers and Reunion Committee met there on Wednesday, October 10 and got the hotel squared away ready to answer all bells. Phil Thedford was relieved of the first watch and assumed the duties as Ships' Storekeeper.
Thursday, October 11th we spent the day calling our Shipmates traveling in the advance of Hurricane Michael; Mike Jensen was stuck in Chicago on a train, Dave Gorham was hunkered down in Georgia, Brian And Keir Butterworth from Bakersfield, CA flew out of LAX and went all over the country by air before finally arriving safely in Norfolk. By Thursday night Phil had the Ship's Store ready for business and the officers had somewhat of a grip on the situation. Juan Yera's wife and family brought a lot of homemade comfort food to the Hospitality Room and made sure we ate a little healthier than we did aboard ship.
Nauticus, the Hampton Roads Naval Museum; and the Battleship Wisconsin (also known a "WISKY") is within walking distance of the Sheraton. We visited it on Friday, October 12th. We went on 'backlot tours', one for Machinery Spaces and one for Command and Control, a.k.a. "the Bridge". General admission spent the day visiting Nauticus and returning to the Hospitality Room to visit Shipmates and family. Friday night Was Pizza Night sponsored by Veterans of Foreign Wars and further supported by donations from the crew. Thank you Granby Street Pizza for delivering some great comfort food and a whole lot of napkins.
On Saturday, October 13th Spirit of Norfolk got us underway on the 243rd Navy Birthday. We had a keynote speaker for the cruise (FORCM (ret.) Robert "Irish Bob" Conklin. Our President Tom Randall passed down a USS Farragut (DDG-99) ball cap to Irish Bob Conklin. That ball cap had been given to Tom by CMDCM (SW) Martin Roberts, the then Command Master Chief of USS Farragut, on the pier the day that Farragut departed for her deployment in 2015. It only seemed appropriate to be the link in a chain between two great Command Master Chiefs. Our President them recognized Senora Josefina Corral, 89 years young, and mother of Juan Yera, GMCM and our FSA 2VP. On our behalf, he presented her with a rose corsage and declared: "To honor you is to honor all of our mothers who waited at home and prayed for our safe return from sea aboard a ship named Farragut.On behalf of all my shipmates, I say our mothers are first and foremost in our hearts and minds." He then adopted her as our Honored Mother.
We then observed Naval Station Norfolk from "sea" in Dress Ship. We watched one large decked amphib that shall remain nameless leave homeport Norfolk remembering the time-honored words of John Paul Jones: "I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not sail fast; for I intend to go in harm's way!"
Email email@example.com for information about membership or the next reunion, the 11th Farragut Homecoming, in Farragut, TN, October 2020. Watch for the next Farragut Flash Newsletter. Here are your 2018-20 Farragut Ships' Association Officers: Kurtiss "Zippy" Hullinger, President, Juan Yera, 1st VP, Gordon Wright, 2nd VP, Randy Campbell, Secretary, and Thomas Randall, Ship's Storekeeper/Treasurer and Chief of Staff. We have four Committee Chairs: Bylaws/Russ Kauffman, Past Pres.; Membership/Hullinger; MWR/Randall; Reunion/Chip Cipolla. Muster Report Follows. That is all.