Attack Squadron Twelve
2017 Reunion was held in Portland, Oregon
2017 UBANGI REUNION
The 9th Bi-Annual Reunion of the VA-12 Flying Ubangis was held in Portland Oregon in July 2017. Our base of operations was the Red Lion Hotel at Jantzen Beach. This hotel sits on the Columbia River in North Portland.activities officially commenced at 5 PM on Thursday July 20 and continued until Sunday evening July 23.
Attendees arrived at staggered times as early as Monday July 17 all the way through Thursday afternoon. Most of the attendees flew in to the airport and obtained rides to the hotel, or rented a car. One couple were on a long RV trip across the country and stayed in a nearby RV park.
On Tuesday, early arrival Ed Thomas and the local VA-12 Man-On-The-Ground John Larch met at the Red Lion and took off for a day-trip to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.
On Wednesday, Ed and more early arrivals Joe & Kathy Kyle and RVers Terry & Joan Nies braved what turned out to be heavy and slow Portland freeway traffic to venture South to John L's house near Salem for a dinner party.
Thursday July 20
Hospitality Room Greetings at Red Lion Jantzen Beach, Overton Room. 5 PM. We had use of a meeting room in one wing of the hotel as our “Hospitality Suite” and spent parts of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon catching up on all the latest news.
Friday July 21
Friday, we began the day by meeting up at the hotel lobby and packing ourselves into 3 vehicles for a trip to McMinnville, Oregon. This was made possible mostly by George Hartlein, who offered the use of his 15-passenger van, which 12-14 people boarded. McMinnville is approximately 45 miles from our Red Lion Hotel. About a third of this trip was on freeways and through busy urban and suburban areas and the traffic was very heavy and slow, especially on the freeway. The remainder was through Oregon wine country and agricultural zones in the Northern Willamette Valley. We made it! The Evergreen Aviation Museum houses a large collection of civilian, military, and space craft in an aviation museum building, a space museum building, and an IMax movie theatre. This includes the Spruce Goose aircraft built for Howard Hughes. Most of the Ubangis present went on a tour offered by staff at the Aviation Museum. After attending an IMax movie, we toured the Space Museum. At one point or another, most everyone stopped at the cafe inside the Aviation Museum and had a bite of lunch.
Saturday was a day packed with adventure. The MOG had hired a bus to ferry us around on a trip that was originally going to be about 75 miles out. Visiting popular attractions, with known terrible parking problems - especially on a nice Summer Saturday! All this was cured by hiring the bus and letting the driver worry about getting us all there without one car load of Ubangis or another getting lost.
Our adventure - drive into the Columbia River Gorge and enjoy some spectacular sights and natural wonders!
First Stop: Vista House at Crown Point. Crown Point is an area in the western end of the 80 mile long Gorge where most will take the first notice of the nature of the Gorge - a deep and wide river channel cut into the rocky terrain. Vista House is a viewpoint cut into a giant rock where one can look East into the Gorge.
It was a lovely day and the view was quite spectacular. The MOG was telling some of the Ubangis that this view is of the start of the Gorge, and that it goes on for roughly 80 miles.
We spent a little over an hour there, and then departed for our second destination.
We left Vista House and after a slow, scenic drive through heavy traffic on a narrow, scenic highway built in the 1920's and 1930's, we arrived at Multnomah Falls about 11:30.
This is the highest waterfall in Oregon and a major tourist magnet. The water feeding MultnomahFalls (and 10-12 other waterfalls in the same general area) comes from creeks and streams that originate in the foothills of Mt. Hood. We departed the bus and agreed to meet back at the entrance at 1:30 PM. We wandered around the grounds, the Lodge, viewpoints for the two different Falls, and the pools at the base of each.
There is an extensive network of hiking trails which begin at the top of the Falls and wander off into the mountainous region there, and a main trail from the Lodge goes up to this trail-start area. Part of the way up this main trail is a bridge over a rock formation near the base of the tallest waterfall. Some of the Ubangi clan, with joints feeling fit enough for the climb, took the opportunity and hiked up the main trail to the bridge for the spectacular view of the main waterfall.
One of the group (Gerry Sunada) went past the bridge, all the way to the top and the trail-start area, and some of the pics show the view he had from up there.
We gathered back at the bus and left Multnomah Falls for lunch at a restaurant in the nearby town of Cascade Locks. The view from this restaurant is pure Columbia River Gorge and amazing in it's own way.
The MOG decided that the last venue of the day was too far out to allow us to return in time for our banquet, so changed the plans and we returned westbound, to stop at the Bonneville Dam. This is one of many hydroelectric power generating dams on the Columbia River, and produces about 1,200 megawatts of electricity.
We spent roughly 90 minutes at the Visitor Center viewing the displays, fish ladders, and media presentations available. We reassembled and rode the bus back to the Red Lion.
Saturday Evening Banquet
After a long day of sightseeing, we eventually reassembled around 7 PM in one of the hotel meeting/banquet rooms. We enjoyed the additional company of some new folks who had not been on the bus traveling with us during the day - Nestor Rodriquez and his wife, and Rich Fifer.
We enjoyed a nice meal with salad course, main dinner course, and a dessert. There was an open pay-as-you-go bar.
After dinner, Joe Kyle said a few words. Then we continued a recent tradition and ceremony to announce the names of VA-12 squadron mates we are aware of who have passed away since the last Reunion. Terry Nies read the names aloud and Gary Venema rang our ceremonial bell. And we conducted an on-site vote to establish two contenders for the site of the next Reunion, possibly in 2019. Amongst nominated sites made while visiting in our Hospitality Room, the two finalists are Myrtle Creek, SC, and a 7-Day Cruise from Port Canaveral, FL.
Sunday July 23
About 9:45 AM, we drove our cars from the Red Lion to a nearby stop on the nearest Light Rail line, Delta Park. There was plenty of parking, which surprised the MOTG. We all bought Senior All-Day Light Rail passes for $2.50 from a ticket machine and eventually boarded a train for a 25 minute ride to a stop in Downtown Portland at Pioneer Square.
We found a kiosk for the Big Pink Trolley Line Tours and bought tickets for $29 for the ride. We were early for a 12 Noon departure by roughly 45 minutes, and so wandered away and found the loading area for the trolley tours, a half block away in front of the Nordstrom's store at Pioneer Square.
The Trolley Tour spent roughly 1 hour 45 minutes taking us on a 14-stop tour of sights and places of note in and around Downtown Portland. The driver added narration, information, and jokes along the way.
The MOG had already arranged at the end of the Big Pink Trolley Tour, for the driver to drop our group of 14 off very near to a dock on the Willamette River where our next adventure was to begin.
We got to the vicinity of the riverfront where the cruise vessel dock is situated, about an hour before the vessel PORTLAND SPIRIT was to depart for a 3 PM cruise. So some of the Ubangi group walked up the street and found several cafes and other possibilities for lunch. Some of us just engaged in people watching near the dock as we tried to find some shade on a warm Summer day.
The vessel eventually began to board passengers who were being photographed while boarding individually or in couples or small groups. We got a group picture of the VA-12 gang.
The vessel departed from the dock and proceeded south on the Willamette River at a leisurely pace. Some of the Ubangis went to upper decks, others with sore knees stayed on the first deck, which was most accessible. We had a great view of the river's edge sights including high-rise condos, stately homes, a submarine museum, golf courses, bridges and freeways, and regular neighborhoods. Every so often, the Captain would use the PA system and pass along remarks about the sights and views along the river. After about an hour, the vessel made a complete 180 turn and went back north. After docking once again, we called a Veteran-Owned cab company we had driven past during the Big Pink Trolley Tour, and got 3 cabs to come take us back to the Light Rail station at Pioneer Square. We got on the correct Light Rail car and made the 25 minute trip back to the Delta Park station we had started from earlier. And then we drove the short distance back to the Red Lion.
For more pictures of the 2017 activities Click here
The 2015 Ubangi Reunion is now history and
it was a GREAT SUCCESS! We met Thursday evening at the Ice Breaker. Bright and early
Friday morning we mustered and traveled to Midway Airboat Rides for a thrilling and informative ride on the Upper St. Johns
River. Friday afternoon the Golfers Golfed and some ladies went shopping in
Old Cocoa Village. Others relaxed on the beach. In the evening dinners
were at some of the best sea food restaurants that the area at Port
Canaveral could offer. Saturday morning we mustered again and traveled to
the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum where we toured the museum, had
lunch, and dedicated the A7 aircraft. A Girl Scout Troop from Tampa
presented the Ubangi Vets a small quilt each thanking us for our service.
Saturday evening we had our big evening at the hotel. Bill Doody gave a very
interesting talk on the Battle of Midway. Paul Hiott from the VA gave us
some very interesting insight on obtaining our Veterans benefits. We
all learned a lot. We
also took nominations for the location of the next reunion and had a
preliminary vote. Sunday as some Ubangi's
departed several others traveled to the Kennedy Space Center for a day tour
of the facility and to view the Shuttle Atlantis. We had mostly perfect
weather for the weekend.
2012 Ubangi Reunion is now in
the history books as another GREAT gathering of the FLYING UBANGIS! The 2012
Reunion was held in Charleston, S.C. at the Sheraton Charleston Airport Hotel,
October 5-6, 2012. Early arrivers on Thursday October 4 enjoyed a round or
two of Golf and early shopping. Friday evening started things with the
traditional Ice Breaker followed by dinner at the Fleet Landing Restaurant. The
Fleet Landing is an Historical location where the crewmen from visiting ships
came ashore to partake of the sights and sounds of historic Charleston. Today it
houses an excellent seafood restaurant that we all enjoyed.
Saturday we visited Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum where we toured the USS Yorktown and lunched in the Chiefs Mess. Saturday evening was the Banquet at the hotel. We recognized the fallen shipmates and tolled the VA12 Memorial Bell as each name was read. We nominated and voted on the top two destinations for the 2014 reunion. The final ballot will be sent out to those members not in attendance. Sunday was day of departure for most members with fond farewells and promises to see each other again in 2 years. Pictures will be posted as received from attendees.
Click here to see photos of the 2012 reunion
Click here to see a video of the reunion
Courtesy of Eric Harvie
2010 Washington D.C.
It is hard to believe but another
successful UBANGI Reunion has come and gone and now falls into the PAST
reunions. The 2010 edition was held in our nations capital, Washington, D.C. at
the Washington National Crowne Plaza June 24th to the 27th.Thanks again to Joe
(Killer) Kyle for doing a spectacular job of putting this reunion together!
Our Official Photographers Mate, Bob Fossum, has completed his task and has
provided us with a wonderful collection of pictures for all of us to reminisce
over and especially for those that were not able to make it to this one.
This was a very special reunion with the primary mission of dedicating our VA12
Plaque at the US Navy Memorial in DC and visiting the graves of former Ubangi's
at Arlington National Cemetery which was quite moving.
The Ubangi Newsletter has been published with all the details of the reunion.
Remember, you must be a dues paying member of the VA12 Reunion Association to receive the Newsletter.
If you are not a current member, please contact Joe Kyle to join.
Click to view and ENJOY!
2010 Reunion Pictures by Bob Fossum
66-67 West Pac Slide Show from BJ Smith
Video by Eric Harvie
Slide show #1 Thursday Icebreaker from John Gynan
Slide show #2 Around DC from John Gynan
2008 Chattanooga, Tn.
Bob Fossum's 2008 Reunion Pictures << Click Here
2008 Reunion Video <<<Click Here Video provided by Eric Harvie