write a report on your activities
at the reunion; send some pictures. nvsoar 20sep2006
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2006 VP-2 Reunion
Skagit Valley Casino Resort, Bow, Washington
Before September 2006, a lot of VP-2 people were saying Where/What is Bow, Washington. Now we all know. The 2006 VP-2 Reunion was held at the Skagit Valley Casino Resort in Bow, Washington, which happened to be the biggest, the best and the closest hotel complex to Oak Harbor that could accommodate a group of our size. The Skagit Valley resort did themselves proud in providing our Association with luxurious rooms and fine dining during our four-day reunion. The reunion committee of Bob and Pat Wolfe, Dave and Dottie Michel, Joe and Esther Brown, Harvey Jansen and Mary Lou Hall went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we all enjoyed our reunion experience.
This reunion was expected to attract a larger than usual crowd because it coincided with the dedication ceremony of the Whidbey Patrol Squadron Memorial, a VP-2 project that had been in the works for six years. More than 300 VP-2 Association members, wives, widows, sons, daughters and significant others checked in to the resort on Monday, September 11th in time to attend a cocktail reception where many old friends saw each other for the first time since the San Antonio reunion. Not since the disestablishment of VP-2 in 1969 have so many VP-2ers been together.
On Tuesday morning, the Association business meeting was held in the resort ballroom. Among other items of business, the members voted on a slate of Association officers for a new four-year term, including Floyd Palmer, Joe Ryan, Bill Haeckler, Joe Chruma, Al Hall and Vic Gulliver. Doug Donohue remains in office as treasurer. The Association voted to hold the 2008 reunion in San Diego with Dave Krogh volunteering to serve on the hosting committee. After the meeting, a deli lunch was served prior to the group dispersing for afternoon outings, either at the golf course or on various sea-going cruises.
On Wednesday, a limited number of fortunate people were able to take a combined tour of the Boeing factory in Everett and the Paul Allen Flying Heritage Collection. Guided tours of the Boeing 777 production line and the Paul Allen facility were most interesting and enjoyable. Paul Allen of Microsoft fame is responsible for the rebuilding of flyable WW II relic aircraft from the U.S., U.K., Soviet Union, Germany and Japan. These aircraft are being restored to near factory condition and are a marvel to see. Did you know that the Boeing factory in Everett is the largest building (in terms of square feet of floor space) in the world? Its square footage exceeds that of the entire Disneyland complex and it is all under one roof.
Also on Wednesday, more than fifty folks went on a five hour whale watching adventure. A pod of several Orcas were observed feeding near Victoria, B.C., providing many photo opportunities.
Thursday was a monumental day for the Association (pun intended). The dedication ceremony for the Whidbey Patrol Squadron Memorial began at 10:00AM, emceed by Bob Wolfe. An eighteen piece Navy ceremonial band was only one of several highlights of the ceremony. Captain David M. Taylor, the VP Wing Commodore, was the featured speaker at the ceremony. After Floyd Palmer turned the Memorial over to the city of Oak Harbor, Mayor Patty Cohen addressed the audience (estimated at close to 700) on the close ties between the city and the Navy. Most of our Association saw the Memorial for the first time that morning. All of us were moved by the sentiments expressed at the dedication ceremony and by the artistic beauty of the completed Memorial.
After the Memorial dedication, four buses transported our members to the Naval Air Station Officer’s Club for lunch. After lunch, the commanding officer of the base provided a “Command Brief” updating our Navy veterans and their guests on the current mission of this NAS where we were all once stationed. Following the briefing, a narrated bus tour provided a look at the base that has undergone many changes from years past. A fifth bus took a group to the CPO Club for lunch. After lunch that group went to Fort Casey, where they enjoyed a guided tour of the Fort and the Lighthouse.
The final event of the reunion was the grand banquet held back at the Skagit Valley resort that evening. A cocktail hour and an excellent meal highlighted an evening of fun. We were all “wow-ed” by the evening’s entertainment provided by the “Shifty Sailors,” a fun, robust choral group from Whidbey Island.
Without a doubt, this was the mother of all VP-2 reunions. Our thanks go out to the reunion committee and to the Memorial committee for their countless hours of service to our Association. Volunteers are at the heart of everything we accomplish. We would be nothing without them.
Vic Gulliver 20Sep2006