2004 67th Reunion Cocoa Beach, Florida

(Photos by Ken Kelly) 

October 27 through November 1, Comfort Inn and Suites
Four-day cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean ship Sovereign-of-the-Seas.

Pete Durnell hosted our third reunion on the famous beach just south of Kennedy Space Center. This reunion was planned, because of the location, to include some before reunion events and a post reunion cruise out of Port Canaveral. The pre-reunion events included a visit to the Warbird Air Museum and home to the Valiant Air Command in Titusville, a Patrick AFB Public Affairs hosted tour of Canaveral Air Station with a side trip into the Kennedy Space Center complex, and an evening cruise aboard the Sterling Casino out of Port Canaveral. The post-reunion highlight was a four-day Bahamas cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, with a stop at Royal Caribbean’s special island. Naturally, the traditional events of Friday night buffet, Saturday business meeting, Spouses Forum, and Saturday night dinner were also scheduled.

Planning and organization of all these happenings moved ahead without difficulty until August and September just before our October reunion when three significant hurricanes managed to make Central Florida their “home” for too many days. Many establishments along the coast as well as inland suffered significant damage and this included our reunion hotel, The Hilton, which was completely closed because of the damage. Fortunately the good folks at The Hilton went all out and found us an alternative venue, the Comfort Inn & Suites, farther up the beach and not directly on the water. It is a tribute to the efforts of all our host of the various events we had planned that all was brought back to full operational status quickly and we did not have to cancel or disrupt any of our planned events.

We had 36 people come along to the Warbird Museum on Wednesday afternoon, 65 come on the Patrick AFB hosted tour of Canaveral Air Station/Kennedy Space Center on Thursday morning, and 53 decided to try their luck on the Sterling Casino cruise Thursday evening. For the main part of the reunion starting on Friday we had 91 people registered with some extras, most living locally, coming along either Friday or Saturday.

The Friday night buffet was held at the Patrick Officers Club and, although not particularly oriental in nature, was indeed a reminder of all the great times – and meals – we had at the various clubs in the Air Force and in Japan. A truly great time was had by all. Unfortunately, after having suffered some damage during the hurricanes and recovering, the club was completely destroyed by fire several months later and is now completely closed.

Saturday morning we had our usual business meeting at which Gil Taylor was reelected President, Doc Blanchard elected Vice President, Pete Durnell reelected Secretary/Treasurer, and Peter Preston was elected Director in order to keep our incorporated status in Virginia. Pete Durnell reported that he had applied for and received Internal Revenue Service recognition of our Association as a non-profit 501(c)19 – Veterans Organization – group and as such were not going to be subject to corporate income tax although it would involved some additional reporting. Roy Stanley reported that he has finished his history of the 67th and was in the process of finding a publisher which might very well by a “virtual” publisher rather than a traditional hard copy book publisher. Much discussion was done over the 67th web site which had not been as effective as we had hoped from our last meeting and Roy Cottrell took on the task of organizing a proper web site which he said would cost the Association some money. It was decided to increase the dues from $15 to $20 per membership to cover this expense.

Sally Preston once again hosted a Spouses Forum along the same lines as before. At the conclusion of the business meeting the Spouses Forum attendees, plus others, were invited to all come together to hear Dave Steele speak on “Beyond A Will” or the things that need to be thought of in anticipation of the passing of a spouse.

Saturday night brought us to our usual more formal dinner held in the ballroom of the Comfort Inn and catered by a local restaurant. Our invited speaker this evening was Roy Stanley himself who gave an insight into his history of the 67th. Once again, this concluded our reunion weekend and fond memories were once again shared.

Sunday brought the departure of most of the reunion attendees except for those who were to take the Bahamas cruise. Thirty-one of us had signed up for the cruise and we began our holiday adventure at a local Cocoa Beach Italian restaurant. Monday morning saw us positioning our cars in the special parking lot of the Comfort Inn for cruisers and then off to the ship. The cruise line accommodated us by placing us all together, more or less, for evening dining and we gathered frequently for meals, adventures on and off the ship, and for the shows. This turned out to be a special time where we all got reacquainted more thoroughly then during our short weekends together before. This was a truly great time.   

George and Hopewell Baker, Ginny Mitchell

Dutch Hientztemann, Ken Kelly, Emery and Sylvia Gray

Pete Durnell, Bill Hunt, Sharon and Eugene Blackburn

Dave Stelle, Gil Taylor, Phil Scoggin, Paul Mills, Bill Munson

Phil Scoggin, Paul Mills, Bill Munson

Ed Smith and wife Lillian

Marjory and John Milford

Pete Durnell, Vicki and Lou Monti

Richard “Doc” Blanchard, Bev Kelly, Leah Blanchard, 
Sharon Blackburn

Richard “Doc” Blanchard, Bev Kelly, Sharon Blackburn

Swan and Paul Mills

Amy and Carl Wiles

Ginny Mitchell, Maryann Covington, Walt Covington, Bev Kelly

Marci and Roy McMacken

Ginny Mitchell, Erika Brown, Phyllis Brown, Bev Kelly

Barbara and Roy Mattke

Mary Ellen and Roy Stanley

George Baker and Cecil Brown

David McCaughey, Charlotte Durnell, Pete Durnell, Lou Monti, Vicki Monti

Jack Lundgard, Cecil Brown, Erika Brown, Doc Blanchard

Dutch Hientzlemann, Willie Bounds, Emery and Sylvia Gray