Charleston South Carolina
June 20-23, 2002
Photo links at the bottom of the page.
What a time we had.................
If you did not make the 2002 USS MG Vallejo Reunion, you missed a great time! It was a tremendous opportunity to see the great city of Charleston, South Carolina, spend some quality time with past shipmates and to make some new friends all in the course of 3 days! Follow along as we take a short journey through the major events of the weekend.
Thursday June 20th, 2002
Thursday started with registration opening mid day and running well into the night. Registration took place at the host hotel, the Sheraton North Charleston. Several shipmates brought a lot of memorabilia to share. Everything was displayed proudly on several tables for everyone to enjoy. Some great stories and many laughs were generated by the items as shipmates passed them around. As with any good sailor event, we had a cash bar in the room to help set the mood for the many sea stories that could be heard from around the room.
Friday, June 21st, 2002
Registration continued on Friday up until about 2 PM. The two main events for Friday were a tour of Charleston and the Picnic at the Charleston Air force Base.
The Charlestowne Tour was another day well spent. A tour of the old homes, the Battery and the shopping was enjoyed by all.
Charleston Air Force Base Picnic
Attendance at the picnic was well over 200 people! The picnic started at 10 AM and the last people were departing around 6 PM. We could not have asked for much better weather given that it was June in South Carolina! We had a partly cloudy day, light breeze and a high around 80 if I recall. It even broke into a shower now and then to help out. Lunch was catered and we had kegs of beer that were floating by the time the event was mostly over. There was laughter, fun and brand new memories for all. We had a DJ and Karaoke and I had no idea we actually had so many talented people on the Vallejo! Must have been all that half way night practice! A big thanks to all those that stuck around and helped to clean up. The pavilion was left shining clean thanks to a "658 Field Day". The picnic ended but the weekend party was just getting underway.
Saturday, June 22nd, 2002
There were three main events for Saturday, a tour of Patriots Point and Fort Sumter, a tour of the CSS Hunley and the big event, the Banquet Saturday night. We also had a group picture taken just before the banquet outside the Sheraton.
Patriots Point and Fort Sumter Tour
Patriot's Point has grown termendously since I lived in Charleston. The guides told us they are continually under construction as more and more naval artifacts are donated. Plans are underway for an SSBN memorial utilizing one of the 41 for Freedom sails. The Fort Sumter portion of the tour was cancelled due to rain and high water levels in the fort. In true 658 fashion this disappointment was quickly turned into a good thing. When the tour company said they would refund a portion of the cost the attendees quickly voted to give this money to the reunion fund.
CSS Hunley Tour
Seeing such a major part of our submarine history was a very humbling experience. As the tour guide led us up the stairway to the viewing area of the boat, not a word was heard. I do not think any of us were aware of the effect she would have on us. The Civil War lingers as a blemish on our country but the 8 men that died in the Hunley began the journey that our boat was a major part of. The Hunley fought for the freedom of her day and the Vallejo protected the freedom we enjoy today.
SSBN 658 Reunion 2002 Banquet
The banquet was the main event of the weekend and a huge success. We had over 330 people in attendance! The evening started out around 6PM with a cocktail hour and the meal being served around 7 PM. During the cocktail hour, we ran a slide show that was put together by Jim Carter and another that was created by Carl Haley.(Thanks for bringing the computer and projector Carl!) It was two great collections of pictures and memorabilia collected from their time aboard and other sailors who had sent pictures to our web site over the years.
Contributing writers: Chris Farver and Jim Carter