RECON OF THE 698 DECOM AND REUNION
What we have, though specific details of the event have not been updated for several months is:
THE DECOM CEREMONY
DECOM will be held at KEYPORT NAVAL UNDERSEA MUSEUM on APRIL 16, 2021.
This is the latest official information and it has not yet been changed.
This is open to the public and will adhere to all of the social distancing rules that will be in effect at that time.
We do not know details yet of how the ceremony may be broadcasted via internet or other method.
However, as of January 2021, the MUSEUM IS CLOSED, but one would presume the DECOM ceremony would still be performed. The situation requires continued monitoring.
As for a DECOM ceremony being held near the boat… that time has long been gone. Basically, for those of you who are late to the game, that’s why Decom ceremonies for boats in Deep Shipyard are conducted at Keyport.
COVID RULE AFFECTED ACCOMODATIONS AND VENUES
Using the Fairfield Inn as a benchmark due to it’s proximity to the Horse and Cow and the waterfront district, we have a condition report as of January 5, 2021.
-BLOCK RESERVATIONS can be made for alumni at a rate of $104 per night for a room with a king size or two queens.
This from the Fairfield Inn group coordinator on Jan 5, 2021: ” For a your group in April, I can quote a rate of $104 per night for the rooms. For the room block we need a cut off date of about 30 days prior to your event, and any cancellations of the group due to Covid restrictions have no penalty. We do ask for 30 days notice of cancellation if possible. We are not requiring deposits for room blocks at this time. ”
Proposed block dates are Wednesday, April 14 through Monday, April 19. How long would you like to hang out?
There are recommended quarantine rules post inbound travel in place but they are not mandatory.
Group meeting areas are limited to 25% capacity. This is the general rule for all meeting spaces. For example the 120 group capacity meeting room at the Fairfield will be limited to 15 people with social distancing. I know that sounds like less than 25% but that’s what it comes to, a ball room could suffice for a welcome area, but not for a major gathering.
Across the board, establishments are subject to quarantine rules.
HORSE & COW and other local restaurants are limited to take out and outdoor social distanced dining when available.
Museums and even the USS Turner Joy (the Destroyer on the waterfront) are closed.
The Fairfield and the Hampton are under the same management, so details will be similar to both hotels.
Even the awesome breakfast buffet has been modified for social distancing some how.
Catering for a group event can be provided by the hotel from the tavern across the street called the AX & ARROW, which is a veteran owned establishment.
At the moment, I don’t see a whole lot of organizing for this event based on the current limitations.
The are no tours on submarines or on anything this time, no getting on base for fun, no late nights trying to get your base security credentials straightened out. No confrontations with Squadron, NBK Security, or any other control point.
Centralized accommodations would make it easy to gather.
A group photo is still important. Don’t forget. And don’t use a mission impossible camera.
A transportation plan is needed for the day of the DECOM ceremony.
-The number of people renting cars and the amount of parking at Keyport would be helpful info.
-Limo bus rental is a possibility since many will not have rental cars. A quick sampling of hired 10-30 passenger options range from $500-1500 or higher depending on the number and style of vehicle.
-LYFT – UBER
Don’t know about your State, but Washington and California, where I live, have similar COVID restrictions.
Personal considerations regarding health, living with any high-risk family members or roommates, your work’s quarantine policies may affect your decisions.
THIS IS THE SITUATION AS OF JANUARY 2021 Things can change, so this is what makes this a bit harder to manage or organize anything too ambitious. It’s possible to see the essentials of a reunion to meet with shipmates, albeit affected by rules of engagement in the public spaces.
Your ideas are welcomed.
THAT IS IT FOR THE SANE SIDE
P.S. WELCOME TO THE UNDERWORLD – THE UNDER THOUGHTS OF A REUNION PLANNER
Trying to develop a picture from a murky situation, when you just want to hear anything.
“SONAR-CONN -TALK TO ME, SONAR…”
Putting into words the current situation in regards to the upcoming DECOM of the USS Bremerton (SSN 698) is not something I’m gung-ho about but given I am a blogger with a light finger on the pulse of the 4-month period leading up to the April 2021 DECOM date, the dilemmas deserves some effort to unpack during this time of unparalleled and real complications.
So this is what you want the sonar supervisor of a writer to do sometimes, make subjective calls and reports to the CONN:
What I am going to write is not based on anything official, oh not at all, but just observing the international and national state of affairs, insight from shipmates who have either a better view of things than I do, and the blank responses from people which can mean more than saying nothing in particular.
For many of you who will look at this as sort of no holds barred go for broke attitude towards planning that parallels your pent up desire to party, un-shelter, or just plain explode, what I am going to write may sound like a restraining order. Yet, in either case, it can spur dialogue and ideas in these unconventional days we live.
“SONAR-CONN: COMMENCE REUNION PLANNING”
Planning an event like a reunion attached to a DECOM ceremony requires some known factors, things we usually take for granted in an open and law-abiding peacetime society, like:
- Unrestricted group and individual travel
- Access to military units and facilities
- Direct and indirect support from the military
- Unrestricted accommodations and meeting facilities
“SONAR-CONN: SECURE REUNION PLANNING”
“CONN-SONAR, AYE. GOING ACTIVE.”
Now, let’s be blunt. You don’t hear much about it with all the noise but in so many ways our military, our US Navy in particular with their long term deployments, is at a high state of alert and between internal and external threats and the restrictions based on health issues and/or political overreach, we have one difficult situation to plan anything, at least anything that you would expect to stick that rises to the level of an EPIC BASH.
It’s a sobering thought and one that puts DECOM ceremonies and reunions attached to them in a priority somewhere far below national security and operational readiness of all active duty personnel.
As another shipmate pointed out, submarine tours have long become a thing of the past in today’s ever tightening security environment, not to mention COVID, yea, the CCP virus, the possible operation altering virus is an unwanted enemy collaborator.
Moreover, the Badfish, is in DEEP SHIPYARD getting ready to have her atomic guts removed and the only people who can see her are hard-hatted googley-eyed aliens who are hovering with sinister intentions to our ol’ gal’s feminine figure. Hazardous work zone, no public access. Dig it? Those yellow and black cross striped signs keeping the creeps out.
If you as a retired 698 bubblehead weren’t caught stealing aboard the Navy Bus to tour the 698 when she was last seen tied up at NBK BREMERTON Pier D in 2018 during that slimmest of opportunities to see the American Classic in one piece, well, sorry, you missed it.
If you blinked too long when she arrived from Pearl then left for Puget-Sound Naval DEEP SHIPYARD, you missed the boat. Literally.
As one associated with reunion organization, I must believe, the reunion space will avail itself, if at all, close to the scheduled date on April 25th, it’s highly likely that any action taken will occur much like in 2018 – close into to the target, where the target solution is known, it cannot evade, the options are clearly defined and the immediate environmental conditions are unlikely to change. High probability mean less wasted effort although it’s likely to be like an emergency drill just like in 2018 or maybe worse, unless there’s not much to organize.
While we have little control of the national requirement for operational readiness in our volatile world, we can continue to assess the changes and effects of COVID restrictions and be prepared to move if there is any certainty closer to the planned date for DECOM.
Until the situation gets more clear, it will take more personal assessment (especially for any quarantine requirements affecting your work and travel plans), patience, flexibility, imagination, possible local organization on part of reunion participants, maybe a private date with your own bottle of your favorite brown liquid, and a crucifix pointed at the commie-controlled ZOOM software, as we take part in commemorating the formal ending of the Commissioned life of the Bremerton, a veteran of the COLD WAR.
If there’s anything to contradict what I’ve written, I’m sure I’ll get word. I’m sure you’ll tell me.
“SONAR-CONN, BELAY YOUR REPORTS”
“CONN-SONAR, BELAY MY REPORTS, AYE”
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