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The 2008 reunion of the crew of the Francis Scott Key was held at the Groton Motor Inn in New London, CT, April 24 - 27. There were 130 attendees with 71 of those being former crew members with both blue and gold crews well represented. The gathering began on Thursday with meet and greets in the hospitality room and the motel bar - mostly in the bar. On Friday morning about 70 of the attendees visited the Sub Base Training facility for a tour and lunch. While there, the gathering got to watch a Sub School class graduation. The class selected the Francis Scott Key as their class boat and we were told that the Key was the first non-lost sub to be so honored. Friday night there was a dinner organized for the Plank Owners and several other smaller gatherings including one for the Launcher/Weapons guys from the 60s & 70's.
Saturday morning the gathering got to tour the USS Providence. We wish to thank the crew for its hospitality. It was heart warming to see that they were as proud of their boat as we were of the Key.
Saturday night all gathered for the ship's banquet. A fine dinner was followed by a reading of the Eternal Patrol list by the senior former Key shipmate present, XO Chuck Harner, next a talk from the Sub Base Master Chief explaining the history of the sub base and where they hope it will fit into the navy's plan for the future of the submarine force. Below are pictures from the events. A great time was had by all. I can only encourage all former shipmates to make every effort to make it to the next reunion in 2010. You will not regret it. Just look at the pictures. Have you ever seen so many smiles?
There were dozens of cameras there so send in more pictures!
For a list of Reunion 08 attendees, click here.
Weapons gathering: l to r: Ron Shouse, Jesse Sims, Steve Rosen, Danny Miller, Sam Lewis. They were all staring at a naked Ken McCracken.
Dinner just getting started - this is how most of my pictures turned out - too dark. We need to get lighter people attending these reunions.
Plank Owners - standing at as close to attention as they can get these days. Shortly after this picture was taken, they all toppled over - kinda sad.
The whole group of Key shipmates - last picture of them all sober this evening.
Shipmates l to r: Bob Reese, Danny Miller, Lloyd Demmelmaier, Joe Cyr. Joe is demonstrating how your face looks when you put on a breathing mask but forget to plug it in.
l to r: Bob Rude, Harry Baker, Ken McCracken. Ken was one of only a hand full of shipmates classy enough to wear a tie. Harry wore a bottle and Bob an evil smile.
Ken McCracken listening to XO Chuck Harner. The XO was still looking for his stateroom door.
Bob Rude, Harry Baker, Russ Christie discussing a gender-changing submariner - notice both Bob and Harry have their hands in their pockets.
The 80's guys: Jeff Mason, Scott & Kathy Culligan, Ricky Barnes, Jeff Buss. Been sitting at the same table since the 80's waiting for someone to pickup the check.
The Sub Base sign says: Welcome Aboard USS Francis Scott Key Reunion - Very nice of them.
Mustering for the tour
New rescue trainer at Sub School
Our tour guides
Decompression trainer and escape trainer
Kermit Sparks looks on in wonderment.
How to fix a leaky pipe and the "get wet" damage control trainer
Demo of escape gear
Sub School graduation class April 25, 2008
Sub Base enlisted barracks - Home not-so-sweet - Home
Sub School Cafeteria for lunch - What do they know that we don't?
The guys on the tour. Al Singleman was wearing a very large red hat with the number 3 on it. None of us could figure out why.
Tour of the USS Providence SSN-719
Jeff Buss is in Control and Jeff Mason at the BCP - Don't touch anything!
Control and Fire Control Console - And what happens if I push this button - Missile Away!
Sonar and the torpedo room
Deck plate art - beats gum anytime.
Crew's berthing and crew's mess on the Providence
41 for Freedom memorial and the top of missile tube 3
USS Nautilus museum and Sub Base Master Chief speaking at the reunion dinner
Al Singleman speaking to the assembled crew of one.
5 guys and 4 chairs - a friendly crew. Those guys from the 80s really got along - don't ask - don't tell.
Russ Christie thanks Bob Rude for signing his qual card back in 1970.
Still joined at the hip: Jeff Mason, Scott Culligan, Fred Boheim, Jeff Buss
Dan and Susan Nix get ready to tour the Providence
Plank Owners - David Jewell, John Trubee, Gary Walters
Dan Nix shooting during the training facility tour. We didn't know he had a gun - honest.
David Jewell & Dan Nix
Gary and Nadine Becknell
Grant and Marjy Moxley
Harry and Maureen Salvato
Marty Albright and Kathy
Dennis Stopen and Kathy with Larry Sorrenson
PW and Sandy Lothain
Lothain, Nix, Moxley with their wives. Actually they claimed they were their wives. We did not check ID's. What happens in New London, stays in New London.
Sharon and Jim Bohli
Soupy Campbell and Grant Moxley
Susan and Dan Nix in front of the Key banner that once hung in Crew's Mess.
Tom and Emila Miner with Dan and Susan Nix
Vince Mahany and Dan Nix
l to r: Bob Rude, Russ Christie, Nancy Christie, Linda Rude, Sara and John Yeiser and two empty chairs soon to be filled by Dave Zimmerman and his son Matt who is an Air Force pilot.
Kermit Sparks and Steve Rosen. Kermit is explaining to Steve the evils of drinking alcohol as Kermit wrote the book.
Bill Hanley standing beside the world's largest tube of lipstick.