We are excited to announce that our USS WILLARD KEITH Reunion Association 2023 reunion will be held this year in sunny Pensacola, Florida! We are looking forward to a great event, at a superb hotel overlooking the water and centrally located for beached restaurants, sightseeing and shopping. Like past reunions, it will be full of fun adventures and great camaraderie. We hope you will join us!
October 1- 4, 2023 Hampton Inn, Pensacola Beach, FL
Sunday, October 1
•We will kick this reunion off by meeting each of you in the reunion hospitality suite at the hotel starting at 4:00pm. You will receive your name tags & welcome packets. We’ll meet "first-timers”, and all be able to get reacquainted. •Our Welcoming Reception, with buffet and in-hotel cash bar, will begin at 7:00 pm in the hospitality suite. Back by popular demand will be our always popular and fun “Chinese Auction” where everyone brings a gift valued at $X and bidders buy tickets and submit them in hopes of winning a coveted prize. Please support this auction by bringing a quality item as the variety adds to the fun and the revenue subsidizes the refreshments in our Hospitality Suite.
Monday, October 2
•We will depart at 9:00am for a leisurely one-hour drive to Mobile, Alabama to have a self-guided tour of the USS Alabama (BB-60), one of the US Fleet's mainstays during WWII. After a short orientation film depicting the Alabama's wartime service, you will have the opportunity to compare the spaces and compartments on this battleship to those you experienced on the Keith. As you will see, there is not much in common! Everything is bigger. •Lunch will be available in the Alabama's cafeteria. Note that only the main deck is handicapped accessible. Following lunch, and a visit to the bookstore & gift shop, we will return to Pensacola for an afternoon of free time. It will be a good opportunity to walk around and tour Pensacola or rest by the beach. •Dinner Monday night is at the Crab Shack, a four-minute walk from the hotel.
Tuesday, October 3
•We will depart the hotel at 10:00am for a 30-minute drive to the National Museum of Naval Aviation which expertly chronicles the history of US Naval aviation. You will have the opportunity to experience cockpit trainers after a guided hour-long tour of the museum. If the Blue Angels are scheduled to have a practice training flight that day, you will be able to observe their maneuvers from the atrium of the museum. •Lunch is available in the museum cafeteria along with the opportunity to visit the gift shop. •After arriving back at the hotel at 1:30 pm, you will have free time (the Hospitality Suite will be open) until our Annual General Membership meeting begins at 4:00pm. Our memorial service will begin at 6:30 pm, followed by our reunion banquet dinner at 7:00 pm. Our guest speaker will be a member of the US Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron.
Wednesday, October 4
•Hotel checkout is scheduled for Wednesday morning or as individually arranged.
Hotel: We have a group rate of $109 on the sound side of the hotel or $159 for rooms with a gulf front balcony. These rates include a hot breakfast, free parking and Wi-Fi, and other amenities as identified on the hotel website (google: Hampton Inn, Pensacola, Beach, Fl. 32561).
•When making reservations, please be sure to book at least 31 days prior to your arrival date by calling the hotel and using the three-letter booking code "UWK" for the USS WILLARD KEITH REUNION. Reservations can also be made online using the Hampton Inn central reservations site and the group code “UWK”. •Cancellations need to be made 48 hours prior to arrival to avoid charges. This rate is valid three days before and three days after the reunion, but these extended reservations need to be booked separately through the hotel by contacting Josh Lucking or Rhaena Dawson at the hotel. The address and contact information for our hotel are: Hampton Inn, 2 Via De Luna Drive, Pensacola Beach, Fl. 32561 Tel: (850) 932-6800.
Airport Transportation: Our hotel, like all others in this area of Pensacola, does not provide transportation to and from the Pensacola airport. As of the date of this letter, our Association intends to rent a van to pick up and return reunion attendees to the airport, a distance of about 12.5 miles.
•If you need to be picked up at the airport, please contact Mike McHenry via email ([email protected]) and provide Mike: your name, arrival date and time, airline, and flight number WITH YOUR CELL NUMBER, prior to September 1. Mike will confirm the pick-up location at the airport and pick-up time with you via email. In case of flight scheduling changes on your day of arrival, Mike's cell phone number is (757) 813-5320.
Individual Cost: The cost of the 2023 reunion is $215/per person, exclusive of the room rate and taxes. This cost includes the Sunday evening reception and buffet, transport to and entry fee to the USS Alabama, transport and guided tour of the National Museum of Naval Aviation, the Tuesday evening reunion banquet/guest speaker, transportation to/from the airport, and administrative costs including the hospitality suite.
•A cash bar will be available in the hotel for the buffet and banquet. Dinner on Monday night at the Crab Shack, and lunches both days, will be at members’ expense.
Cancellations: Registration fees are non-refundable. As we are required to pay vendors and the hotel for all meals and events booked, the Reunion Association cannot reimburse members’ registrations fees due to the inability of the member, or his guest, to attend.
Reunion Point of Contact: Mike McHenry, 2308 Chesapeake Avenue, Hampton, Virginia, 23661; (757) 244-6648/home or (757) 813-5320/cell, [email protected]. Mike will be more than willing to answer your questions or recommend additional sightseeing options in the Pensacola area.
We look forward to having another great reunion and seeing each of you!
Board of Directors
USS Willard Keith Reunion Association