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USS Ponchatoula Shipmates Association

AOG 38   AO 148   TAO 148

Painting by Huntzinger, 2003, copyrighted.

Commissioned by the USS Ponchatoula Shipmates Association and presented to the City of Ponchatoula, LA.
2004 Reunion in Las Vegas:

Once again our association gathered in Las Vegas for our 2004 reunion. This time we stayed at the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino. The success of this reunion was in no small way do to the advance work done by Bob Collins and his wife Phyllis.  Bob is the Association's Public Affairs Officer.  The Association extends a thank you and a "well done" to you both.  Unlike our previous reunion in Ponchatoula, LA, this one had more free time and less scheduled activities (although the casinos kept some of us very busy).

The arrival party was held in the Stratosphere’s Crazy Armadillo Bar. As always, it was fun to see old friends as well as meet new ones. Camaraderie and the hottest hot wings I have ever eaten contributed to a good time for everyone.

As usual, we had a hospitality room that was open at different times to give us a gathering place. In the three reunions I have attended, I think the best times have been in the hospitality rooms where people gather to relive past times and pour over photo albums. Roger Smith had his slides scanned into his computer and presented a slide show that we really enjoyed..

One event that PF put together for us was a boat trip on Lake Mead. A number of people went, and, aside from problems with the tour operator, I heard the boat trip itself was very nice. I played golf with Phil Rahlander, Steve Van Meter and his son Roy at Craig Ranch (just outside of town). I think we should make golf an organized event at our next reunion. So, if you’re a duffer, you may want to hit the old driving range before Branson.

We all had a little scare. It seems we may be over- working PF. At this reunion, we caught him laying down on the job! Yup, for two days he was on his back at Valley Hospital doing nothing (something to do with his tummy). To the relief and delight of everyone present, he got himself released just in time to make a fashionably late, grand entrance at the banquet. Not only does he seem to be on the mend, but he has agreed to continue as our Secretary/Treasurer (slave) for another two years. Bill Lounsbery stepped down as President and Dave Schneider (myself) was elected to the position.

The main event of every reunion is the banquet and business meeting. PF outdid himself here.
Dinner was served in the Twilight Room in the Stratosphere’s Tower. We gazed down on the Las Vegas strip from level 104! You couldn’t not be impressed. We enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner and the business meeting was very productive. Some major changes were made to our By Laws that will make the reunions better than ever.

Gordon Busby won the 50/50 cash drawing. Hope you got it past the casino, Gordon. We had two consolation prizes this year. Jack Evans and Connie Frame both won 8"x10" prints of the Ponchatoula oil painting that was presented to the City of Ponchatoula at last year’s reunion.

We only had the Twilight Room for three hours. So, we retired to the hospitality room to wind down the evening and say our farewells til our next gathering.

Thank you, PF, for another wonderful reunion!