February 2017 Chairman Update
Hello again to all our shipmates and family of the USS Enterprise.
The reunion in Branson, MO was a successful gathering for all of us who were able to attend. I saw many smiling faces and Shirley noticed that we all (Sailors and Marines) lost about 30 or 40 years off our age when we retold our stories of great adventures and endeavors. Business meetings were held and everyone enjoyed the entertainment.
I was elected as your Chairman and Ken Ford was elected as the Vice chair for the Association. The membership has put their faith in my abilities to lead our Association into a new era. As of February 3, 2017, the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) ceased to be a commissioned US Navy ship. The purpose of the Association will stay the same, but our focus must be adjusted to strengthen our ranks through recruitment efforts. If any current members have ideas for promoting the Association, I and the Board of Directors are willing to consider them.
My company is owned by Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), who also owns Newport News Shipyard. I was recently sent to the shipyard to work on a project and I had the opportunity to attend the decommissioning ceremony of the USS Enterprise. My assignment to the shipyard was fortunate timing, because the decommissioning announcement and ceremony occurred in a relatively short time.
Captain Todd Beltz, (the final CO) was a very gracious host and invited me to many events leading up to the decommissioning. I had met my former Division Officer, whom I had not seen in over 30 years. I also met with many other officers and dignitaries. As a Petty Officer in the US Navy (30 years ago), I would never have thought I would be sharing cocktails with Captains and Admirals.
I was able to speak with the last crew of the ship and offered them a special 2 for 1 Association membership. I emphasized the importance for maintaining the history of the Enterprise. Benefits of the Association were mentioned and how to join, as well.
The Enterprise is being readied for its final transit for dismantlement. The Navy has not yet determined where final disposition will take place, but that information should be announced early this year. When they make that announcement, I will inform the Association. Knowing this, I hope to have a future reunion close to the final location of the Enterprise, to provide an opportunity to say a final goodbye.
We are still making plans for the 2017 reunion in Cody, WY. More details are continuing to develop. Please be patient while we continue the planning.
I am fortunate and thankful for many things. My family is at the top of that list of importance. During the decommissioning ceremony, Captain Beltz mentioned several times that the Enterprise is more than steel and machinery. It is a family of the crew (past and present), spouses, children, shipbuilders, and supporters. This holds true for our Enterprise Association family, as well.
Please stay healthy. We will see you all very soon.