“This is the one reunion that I will NEVER forget! Upon entering the convention center in Peoria, the spirit of the convention was totally overshadowed by the events of that day….. Events that none of us will ever forget.”
Starting out in McAllen Texas, I had been on the road on my Harley for three days camping at KOA’s along the way. The morning of 9-11 was no different than any other day except for the fact that THIS was the day I was due to check in at the Convention Center in Peoria for a USS Sailfish reunion that was being held in conjunction with the United States Submarine Veterans, Inc. (USSVI) convention.
I wanted to ensure that I arrived in plenty of time not only to just register, but more importantly to check into a hotel and take a much needed shower so I made sure to leave the campground well before sunrise.
Around midmorning when I stopped to gas up, things started getting a little weird. It seemed as if the traffic was getting lighter instead of getting heavier, and the price of gas seemed to be going way up. Little did I know what had actually taken place since I’m old school Harley and had no ‘Entertainment Center’ on my Hog.
It wasn’t until I entered that convention center when I saw everyone gathered around several TV’s in the lobby all watching what had taken place earlier in the day. Since all flights in all airports were grounded, and there were still many people due to arrive throughout the day, it soon became obvious that this reunion would probably be short a whole bunch of people.
Never the less, our Sailfish reunion got underway as planned. Being a member of the ‘West Coast’ crew, it was really enjoyable to get together and meet with the mostly ‘East Coast’ crew. The history and transformation of the Sailfish from Radar Picket (SSR) to Fast Attack (SS) submarine along with stories from original ‘Plank Owners’ during her construction all the way to her transfer to Pearl Harbor that these crew members possess was nothing short of mesmerizing.
I’ve attached photos below that when ‘Clicked’ on will open larger in a new window. It’s been too many years ago for me to remember all the names, but I’m sure some of the old ‘East Coast’ crew will recognize some of the faces.
2001 Peoria Reunion Photo Gallery