Today began early when our huge buses arrived at 0755. Arturo, one of the drivers, called to tell me that he and Jose were at the gate. This prompted a fury of activity to round up all the old guys and get them pointed to the front door of the lodge. Since the buses were too big to enter the lodge driveway, they parked out front on the street after turning around so they were aimed at the gate. This put them in excellent position for us to point the slower movers and give them a little shove toward one of the buses.
By the time they regained their balance they were at the bus and the driver was helping them aboard. Shortly thereafter, their wives arrived, arms flailing, as they chased after their beloved spouses. Photos were discouraged during this revolution because it my have caused issues if any of them had seen them, creating a situation where they may ask questions about what had happened.
It only took about half an hour to get them all loaded. Each bus had 56 seats and we had one empty on one bus, and 4 on the other. Diane and I, getting on last, wound up in the last row, which was just fine because we got to sit by Chris, and her Mom and Step Dad, Vern. Vern was on DD-808 from 1948 to 1954. Pretty amazing fellow. Chris is a remarkable lady, too.
The first stop for this trip was at the Point Loma National Cemetery where we all disembarked and walked through this smaller rendition of Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC.
The purpose for this stop was to read the names of our Buckley shipmates who have crossed the bar (passed on) since our last reunion. Because this group of old sailors is of an advanced age the list was rather long. It was a very solemn time during which we showed our respect for these fallen shipmates. A short distance away, during our evolution, two ceremonies were conducted for one marine and one sailor. The atmosphere was perfect for our purpose.
Then we re-boarded our respective buses and continued on to the Cabrillo National Monument near the old Point Loma lighthouse. Cabrillo overlooks NAS Coronado, the city of San Diego, and the entire San Diego Harbor. It’s a stunning view. The first thing we all noticed was the submarine coming into port. Then we looked toward the city and noticed a guided missile destroyer leaving. We have no idea what the name of the submarine was, but the destroyer leaving port was the USS Preble (DDG-88). I found it very interesting that it was DDG-88, and we were all ex-crewmen of DD-808.
Everything went just great, people were enjoying themselves, and we got most of them rounded up for the next leg of the trip, to the USS Midway. We only left 2 people at Point Loma. It was actually better than I’d originally thought, because I believed we left 5 of them. Luck was with them, however, because a couple of our shipmates drove to the site and ferried the missing couple to the Midway.
Once there, we tromped all over that aircraft carrier. Everyone was having a great time. The guys in the fantail restaurant were a little dismayed when about 100 folks descended on them for sandwiches at the same time, but they weathered it well. Diane and I roamed the ship for a while before grabbing a sandwich so there wasn’t a crowd. But, I think they found out we were the culprits who arranged all of this and didn’t fill our order. It ended well, however, because we each got a sandwich, but only had to pay for one of them. Good customer service.
After lunch we continued wandering around the ship but Diane got worn out and decided to take a nap when we got to the berthing spaces.
I let her sleep for a couple of hours while I continued the tour the woke her up so we could return to the lodge, which we did, about 1630, tired and weary.
Only two more events to go and we can call it done. Tomorrow is the 2-hour harbor cruise at which we’re expecting 116 participants. Arturo and Jose will be back with they monster buses to get us there and back so we know we’re going to be in good hands. It’s good we’re going to be sitting down most of the day because the shrimp I ate yesterday have attacked my left big toe gout. Nice.