Past Reunions


Attack Squadron Twelve
2017 Reunion was held in Portland, Oregon


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.

Red Lion Inn

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

Evergreen Museum

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.


SaturdayJuly 22

Vista House Crown PointColumbia Gorge

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.

Pink Tour Bus

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


Attack Squadron Twelve
2015 Reunion was in Cocoa Beach, Florida

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. 
Ubangi? Ubetcha!

2015 Reunion photos are here Click to see them

2015 Group  Photo

2012 Reunion

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.

The VA12 Ubangi's 2008 Reunion was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee May 22-25.  At the Courtyard by Marriott in Downtown Chattanooga.  Bill ( Pig) and Lynn Heck and Robert and Dottie Kaplen were very gracious hosts for their city. We all had a wonderful time! Thank You! 
The 2008 Gathering of the Attack Squadron Twelve Reunion Association was a tremendous success! We all gathered at the Courtyard Marriot to renew old friendships and to meet new shipmates from other eras other then our own. A few of the hardier arrived a couple of days earlier for rounds of golf in the wonderful weather that the Chattanooga area presented us.
The icebreaker Thursday evening provided for a nice event to have a drink and to relax after a long days travel.
Friday "on our own" afforded several of us the opportunity to visit some of the many other sites in and around the Chattanooga area such as the Chattanooga Choo Choo and Lookout Mountain to name a few. Of course Bob Kaplan gave us all a history lesson in how Lookout Mountain got its name.  Friday evening we all gathered for an informal dinner at a local brew pub and enjoyed great fun and food.
Saturday was filled with the tour of the Tennessee Aquarium. This aquarium was very well stocked and laid out with two separate buildings. One for the fresh water and a second for the salt water inhabitants. The evening was filled with a very enjoyable and relaxing two and a half hour dinner cruise aboard the Southern Bell on the Tennessee River. This was followed by a gathering in the hospitality room where Joe remembered our recently fallen shipmates and thanked the Hecks and Kaplans for the great job that they did setting up this reunion event. This was followed by a presentation to Joe of our gratitude for all the hard work and dedication that he has committed to keeping this organization afloat and organizing the VA12 Reunion Association.
After the tributes several of us stayed and viewed a slide show until most of us old farts had to turn in for early departures the next morning. The slides brought back lots of memories. We all look forward to 2010 when we will Muster again.

Bob Fossum's 2008 Reunion Pictures  << Click Here 

2008 Reunion Video  <<<Click Here Video provided by Eric Harvie


The 2006 Attack Squadron Twelve Reunion, was held in Pensacola Beach, FL April 20-23, 2006. Best Western Resort Pensacola Beach hosted our event. All that Attended reported having a really Grand time. The highlight of the event was the Naval Aviation Museum for both the tour and the banquette.
Thanks to Bob (Bolter) Brooks for being the "Man on the Ground" for us in Pensacola Beach.

Ubangi's one and all!

Ubagie's with their better halves!

Bob Fossum's excellent 2006 reunion pictures 


The 2004 Attack Squadron Twelve Reunion was held at the Holiday Inn Sun Spree Resort in Jacksonville Beach, Fl. April 23-25, 2004. 53 veterans of VA12 representing the 1950s to the 1970s were in attendance.

2004 Reunion  Photos
Bob Fossum's 2004 Jacksonville Reunion Photo Page  


The 2002 Attack Squadron Twelve Reunion was held in Norfolk, Va. at the Lake Wright Resort.

2002 reunion photos << click here


The first ever 2000 Attack Squadron Twelve Reunion was held June 2000 in Roanoke, Va. Fourteen Ubangi's from the 66,67 WestPac Cruise gathered for the weekend. No one was shot, no one went to jail, and the Shore Patrol didn't show up.  All and all a very successful first reunion.

2000 reunion photos << click here