Our 3rd Annual Convention took place in the charming southern city of Charleston, where we visited aboard US Navy Fast Attack submarines, on the base, in the training facilities – the same for Charleston Air Force Base – cameras running all the time. Both Charleston Air Force Base as well as Charleston Naval Shipyard are now closed and out of operation. We also toured historic Fort Sumter, where the American Civil War began, and also a restored southern plantation. Our base of operations was aboard the World War II aircraft carrier USS YORKTOWN where we enjoyed our Welcome Dinner and also our Farewell Dinner. American veterans mingled with German U-boat Skippers (one with the Knights Cross) and other U-boat veterans, with some Luftwaffe veterans as well – all friends now, remembering their days in the war. Many veterans speak at the microphone of their times in combat.
The memories of our 3rd ANNUAL CONVENTION are still living from this week-long “Patrol” where we were at PATRIOT’S POINT and toured the ships:
* USS YORKTOWN – the FIGHTING LADY of the South Pacific,
* USS CLAMAGORE – American fleet-type submarine,
* USS LAFFEY – the destroyer that took 11 bomb hits and 2 KAMIKAZE crashes during an hour-long battle – and lived!
At our Welcome Dinner with the Presentation of Colors of three nations as their anthems played – on the hangar deck of the carrier USS YORKTOWN. It was breathtaking.
We toured Charleston Naval Base, its various facilities, a guided missile frigate – AND we toured aboard two US Navy fast attack nuclear submarines! This was front-line stuff.
We enjoyed a tour of Charleston Air Force Base – through and around a giant C-141 STARLIFTER cargo plane. We were in the parachute shop, the jet engine shop and the training facilities for the guard dogs. And we toured Middleton Place, with its grounds and buildings – one of the loveliest plantations of the Civil War. We took the pleasure cruise with dinner and dancing, to Fort Sumpter where the first shot was fired to start the Civil War – we walked through this Memorial.
This was an excellent tour with many veterans of both sides in World War II.