San Antonio, TX - 12-15 October 20
PICKING (DD-685) 24th
Sharon and Doyt Sheets, hosts of the Reunion
The 24th Reunion of the USS Picking was held in San Antonio Texas at the Drury Riverwalk Inn and Suites hotel. We had several new attendees which is a good sign of the vitality of our group.
The first day was check-in day. The Sheets were assisted throughout the reunion by Cynthia Daniels and Linda Bolf. We all congregated in the Hospitality Room to renew old friendships and to establish new ones. The room was well stocked with a great selection of beverages and snacks.
The second day was the tour of the city of San Antonio. We first traveled to and toured Mission San Jose, one of the six missions established by the Spaniards in the early 1700s. We stopped for a great lunch at the Menger Hotel, established in 1859, with a rich history of notables who stayed there. Teddy Roosevelt formed the Rough Riders there in 1898. Carrie Nation, a 6'1" 160 lb. amazon who was against alcohol, invaded the bar there in 1908 and smote the bar with her famous axe. We visited the Alamo which now only encompasses a few buildings that were there in the battle for Texas Independence.
The third day was the trip to Fredericksburg to visit the Admiral Nimitz Museum and the National Museum of the Pacific. We had the dedication of a plaque memorializing the Picking at the Nimitz Museum. Most of the ceremony was held indoors as the grounds were wet from recent rains. After this we all proceeded to the site where the plaque is installed. Two of our steadfast WWII veterans, Paul Whitfield and Ed Gavin unveiled the plaque.
The fourth day was a free day with only the business meeting on the morning and the banquet in the evening. The business meeting was open to all hands including our guests. After prolonged pleading by Doyt and ducking by our shipmates for someone to volunteer to host the next reunion, Ernie Tafoya finally bowed the team pressure and accepted the assignment. It will be held in San Diego sometime in October 2011. Capt. Alan Dougall volunteered to assist in setting up tours of sites with Naval and military significance. The banquet speaker was a new attendee, Capt. Clyde Connelley of Arkansas who was CO of the Picking in the early 1960s. He regaled us with humorous stories of Cold War events during his tour of duty on our ship. Numerous prizes were awarded including the great quilts that Cynthia Daniels makes to commemorate our reunions.
Plaque Commemorating the USS Picking
Doyt Sheets thought that it would be fitting to install a plaque commemorating our ship at the Admiral Nimitz Museum in Fredericksburg, Texas. Shipmates contributed and Doyt got the plaque made and installed at the museum. We traveled there the second day for the dedication ceremony. Due to weather, most of the ceremony was conducted inside. We then proceeded to the wall for the actual dedication led by a bagpiper Ian Blackie. The plaque was unveiled by WWII shipmates Ed Gavin and Paul Whitfield.
USS PICKING plaque at Admiral Nimitz Museum, Fredericksburg, TX
Our WWII Vets at plaque dedication - Carey Salassi, Billy Joe Shepherd, Ed Gavin, Paul Whitfield, Bert Radebaugh, and Clyde Connelley (l-r)
Special thanks to Stan and Roberta Cox and Doyt and Sharon Sheets for their photographs!