Before reading further, it is imperative you phone our host hotel,
the Adams Mark, in Buffalo, New York 
and make your room reservation. 
Please do this
right now, time is of the essence.

1 - (716) 845 - 5100

Tell them you are with the USS Newport News Reunion group.  Our special contract room rate includes a full buffet breakfast priced into the 1, 2, 3, and 4-person occupancy rates which will actually be served in our very large hospitality suite each morning.

We have a reserved block of 100 rooms at the Adams Mark Hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY, for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

When they are gone, there is no guarantee additional rooms will be available, as there is another competing event at the hotel and we're all in competition for the extra rooms.

Our special room rate applies 2 days before, and 1 day after, (subject to availability) should you like to come early and help us set up or stay late and see more of the local sights.  Our special buffet breakfast will only be served during the reunion.

So please do it  NOW.... if you snooze, you could lose.

1 - (716) 845 - 5100

Here are our contract rates:


Single Rate Double Rate  Triple Rate Quad Rate
Standard Double $109 $119 $129 $139
Executive Double  $129 $139 $149 $159

Note these prices include a full buffet breakfast for each occupant of the room, based on 1, 2, 3, or 4-person occupancy.
The buffet will be set up in our large hospitality suite each morning, so we're fed and ready for special sea and party detail.
These rates are subject to tax, which is currently 13.75%

1 - (716) 845 - 5100

Next Step:


We now have more than 500 shipmates signed on to our facebook page, where we can keep track of everything of interest concerning our forthcoming reunion in Buffalo.  If you don't "do" facebook, consider joining it ( a very valuable networking tool for us ) or ask a close friend or relative to sign in for you and follow the happenings.  We have a number of friends and siblings of shipmates who now are tracking our planning activities for benefit of  shipmate not on facebook.

It's a "private" facebook page... just for crewmembers, friends, and family of our beloved THUNDER.   On it we share experiences, photographs, and reunion information.  It's really the best way to keep on top of things in your reunion association.

 Please join us.

  Click on the turret above, and request permission to come aboard.
 Master Chief Dexter Goad ( two tours on THUNDER ) will personally approve your arrival and pipe you aboard to boot. 

 What's not to love?


What's new this year?

Over the years, we have accumulated a number of traditional activities which govern our choice of where we can hold our reunions. 

We like to man the rails in uniform aboard a preserved US naval vessel and hold a memorial service in honor of our passed shipmates.

We also like to have lunch aboard the ship and tour any interesting side attractions such as museums and other displays.

Because of our size... 200-300 and sometimes more... we need a hotel large enough to house us, feed us, and provide secure space for our hospitality suite and ship's store.  That usually shortens the list in any city we visit.

This year, old-timers will note our reunion dates are mid-week ... Tuesday, June 13 to Thursday, June 15.  This is because, believe it or not, the weekend slots were already taken.  Conventions and reunions and such are booming, there's a scramble for accommodations for a larger group.  This turned out to be a good idea.  We'll pretty much have the USS Little Rock CLG4 to ourselves on Wednesday, the 14th, for the Naval Park is busy and popular on summer weekends.  Mid-week airfare may be more favorable, as well.

Remember, June 14th.. the day we are aboard the Little Rock, is also     FLAG DAY.  

Note to new shipmates:

If this is your first reunion, you're in for a real treat... a chance to (legally) step back into uniform and man the rails of one of the first guided missile cruisers.  Regulations permit honorably discharged veterans to wear uniforms when attending memorials and similar, and we do just that.

Because few of us fit into our old bell bottoms and white hats, we have adopted a simple uniform:  white short-sleeved shirt, white pants, white web belt, Newport News (blue) ball cap (available in the ship's store) and rate/rank and medals as appropriate.  Frankly, we look pretty sharp... bald heads, pot bellies, canes, crutches, walkers, and wheelchairs.  It's a proud thing to step back into uniform, however briefly.

Uniform pants and shirts are readily available at surplus stores for a few dollars, or new ones available online.  A few actually do fit into their old uniforms, and can still wear them proudly.  So we tell you sincerely:  If you don't man the rails in uniform, you will leave the reunion wishing you had. 

You are part of our Band of Brothers... join us in uniform as we honor our fallen brothers together.

   Here's the general battle/party plan ( subject to change without notice, obviously)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Check-in Day

The Adams Mark, our host hotel, is a large convention center and hotel which has been completely renovated.  It has, at this writing, no airport shuttle service.  We are therefore renting our own 27 passenger coach and running our own shuttle to/from the airport on Check-In Day... Tuesday, June 13th.  Check our facebook page for additional information as to times and such.

So at this time, we must suggest you arrive at the airport wearing your Newport News blue ball caps and keep a sharp eye out for the special Newport News shuttle.   Try to gather as many as possible in our designated pickup point ( to be announced ) and during the time our shuttle will be running (also to be announced).

The shuttle service is being provided "free" by your ship's store, it is not part of the reunion package cost.

Important Note:  You must be pre-registered to participate as part of the reunion.  Absolutely NO WALK-ONS, no exceptions.  Reunion registration closes precisely on May13th at midnight, none accepted after that date

Our hotel is located pretty much smack dab in the middle of downtown Buffalo, and everything of immediate interest is within a 15 minutes' walk.  There is no "free" parking downtown anywhere, but part of our contract gives us a discounted rate of $5 per day at the hotel lot.  Mention that at the check-in desk.

We have a REALLY large hospitality suite this year.... so our reunion registration desk will be in our own hospitality suite.  There you will pick up your neck lanyard with ID and assorted other stuff, and join your shipmates for an evening of making new friends and renewing old acquaintances in our hospitality suite.  Our included buffet breakfast will be served mornings in our hospitality suite.  Here's the meal situation during our stay:

Tuesday 13th Wednesday 14th Thursday 15th Friday 16th
Breakfast On your own. Provided as part of your room rate. Provided as part of your room rate.

Provided as part of your room rate.

Lunch On your own. Provided aboard the USS Little Rock. On your own. On your own.
Dinner On your own On your own Banquet provided as part of your reunion fee. etc.....

We will be serving light beverages and snacks in the hospitality suite, and the hotel has a fine restaurant and bar from which we can draw our other needed sustenance.  For meals "on your own", the hotel food is excellent, and there are also a number of many other eateries in downtown Buffalo within a few blocks walk.  As we get close to the date, we'll have more detailed information on local pubs and such.

Aside from the lack of a shuttle, the Adams Mark has nice amenities... Full Service Restaurant & Bar, free WI-FI , On-Site Car Rental,  Indoor Swimming Pool,  Business Center,  Fitness Center, and our contract includes a discounted rate ($5 per day) at the On-Site hotel parking.

We'll have a speaker and microphone in the hospitality suite, so you can bring your guitar or whatever if you wish.  Feel free to bring Newport News mementos for show and tell, photos, or anything else you wish to share with your mates.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Visit to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park
Memorial Service and Lunch aboard the USS Little Rock CLG-4

A 10 minute walk from our hotel, the nearby Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park hosts three warships:  The USS Little Rock CLG-4, an early light cruiser missile conversion, the USS The Sullivans DD-537, named after the five Sullivan brothers lost in WWII, and a Gato class submarine, the USS Croaker SS-246. 

Also included in the naval park is a section with static military aircraft, small boat displays, and a museum above the restaurant at the entrance.  We will provide a shuttle bus, or you can walk if you wish.  Your reunion fee includes all access, and a catered buffet style lunch on the fantail of the Little Rock at around noon. 

The Little Rock has a (very slow) elevator at the stern for the handicapped.

We will all need to be aboard the USS Little Rock and ready for our Memorial service by 1100 hours.  Please try to be on the fantail and seated by 1045 hours.  The Little Rock is accessed via gangways from the USS The Sullivans.

For the mobility challenged, there is an elevator at the stern of the Little Rock, but it is small, primitive, slower than death, and carries only a couple at a time.   When we were there on a visit, it stopped dead for a while.  So if you really need handicapped access, arrive at the stern elevator much earlier.

his day (June 14) is also FLAG DAY, and we will all be wearing our uniforms and manning the after rails of the USS Little Rock.  We'll have a catered buffet lunch after the memorial service, after which you are free to stroll the many ships, displays, museum, and other interesting kiosks that spring up along the waterfront in the summer.  It's interesting, and the shuttle bus will be running until about 1600 hours for those too pooped to hike back to the hotel.

This nice aerial view of Buffalo shows one possible path from the Adams Mark hotel (our home base) to the Naval Park and return.  There's lots to see along the waterfront in the summer, and we'll be running a shuttle bus to/from the hotel throughout the afternoon.

And we have a very special person visiting us this evening in our hospitality suite....


Wednesday Evening, June 14, 2017
A Very Special Evening

Upon return to the hotel Wednesday evening, we have a distinguished guest visiting us in our hospitality suite.

Col. Jack Jacobs, USA (Ret.)
Medal of Honor Winner

Here's the interesting back story:

Shipmate Mike Lanier (one of our museum founders, and it's first curator) discovered in Col. Jacobs book, IF NOT NOW, WHEN?, a section in which he describes being in hot water and calling for naval gunfire support in Vietnam.  THUNDER responded and helped pull his fat out of the fire.  Mike got the idea to invite him to our reunion, and meet some of the crew that actually worked on that fire support mission in Vietnam.  (there's bound to be several).

Next, shipmate Al Siegel ( chairman of the 2015 Queen Mary Reunion and founder and first president of our museum), personally raised the
funds necessary to pay his expenses, and donated it to the USS Newport News Museum and Memorial Foundation, our other non-profit that manages our museum aboard the USS Salem CA-139.  The museum, in turn is bringing him to our reunion for a somewhat historic meeting with the crew of the ship that helped saved his bacon so many years ago.
Both of these shipmates are long-time heavy lifters for both our museum and reunion association.

Thus, your museum is actually the official sponsor of Col. Jacobs visit, the cost of which adds nothing to the reunion fee.

Bravo Zulu to Mike Lanier and Al Siegel for putting this special thing together.  We believe the meeting of the medal of honor winner and the men of the ship that came to his rescue so many years ago is a notable event, and thus we are going to invite and allow press and possibly a TV crew into our hospitality suite for this historic meeting.

Shipmates Mike Lanier (L) and Al Siegel (R)

 And you can click on the book  image above to go to for a copy of Col. Jacobs book,



, June 15, 2017
A Bonus Side Trip to nearby Niagara Falls.

After our morning full buffet breakfast in our hospitality suite at the Adams Mark, we will board luxury scenic coaches for a short drive to nearby Niagara Falls. 

 We'll get off approximately at the point shown on the photo below, and from there we are on our own for the next few hours.  The easiest (and cheapest) trip is a leisurely stroll of a few minutes to view the American Falls.  For the more adventurous, take the elevator down to the Maid of the Mist and get soaked close up and personal.

We do NOT recommend going over the bridge to the Canadian side.  If you do, you will need either an "enhanced" driver's license, a birth certificate, or a valid passport to reenter the U.S.  If customs lines are long, you will miss the last bus back to our hotel and have an expensive cab ride back to Buffalo.

If you are planning a side excursion, take the FIRST BUS leaving the hotel, in order to maximize your time at the falls.  Lunch is on your own from many different international food kiosks.  It's a busy place, lots to see and do, but don't tarry.  Return trip buses will begin at 1400 hours.. we need to rest up for the big dinner/dance on this night.

Below is an image of a brochure you can pick up at the Niagara State Park.



Thursday Evening, June 15, 2017
Our Grand Finale Formal Dinner and Dance

We are fortunate to have obtained one of the most popular dance bands in Western New York.... The Boys of Summer. They have been a fixture in the Western NY music industry since their formation in 1991. Arguably the most visible and recognized, the band plays a versatile repertoire of popular music; from rock to country, classics to disco - they cover just about every style.

On any given night you can catch them at a popular night club, or during the summer, down on the lake at the Dock at the Bay where they have made Tuesday nights their home for 20 consecutive years. In addition to that, they have long been one of the busiest wedding, and corporate party bands in the Buffalo area - playing on average, about 20-25 weddings a year.

One of our shipmates' wives from the Buffalo area was excited to learn we had booked them, and proclaimed them to be her favorite band for virtually any kind of music.   And they gave us a military discount!  

How "Formal" is our "Formal Dinner and Dance"?

Answer:  As formal as you care to make it.

We'll be enjoying a nice dinner in a beautiful room with the best band in Western New York playing for our dance.

For some of us, it's the fanciest party we're going to be invited to in the next two years, so we rent a Tux for the occasion.  Randy Jordan has outdone us all by wearing tails, so the only thing that could top him would be a top hat.  We'll see.

Just wear your Sunday Best with your favorite tie.  Suit, sports coat, whatever.   How much fun you have us up to you.

Finally, the best part...

Our snail mail registration flyers are at the printers and will be out shortly ( this written Feb 23rd.)  If you don't receive one, that means you aren't signed up properly on our web site.  If not, please print out the PDF registration form by clicking HERE and make sure you answer the question that will be on the opposite side of your registration form about your airport arrival time if that is your means of arrival.

We are renting a 27 passenger coach for use as our own private airport shuttle on check-in day, Tuesday, June 13th.  If you are arriving by air, knowing your arrival time(s) will help us schedule the time our bus will be running during the day.

Please print carefully all the requested information, including full names of each guest and their meal choices.  Be sure to indicate any special needs, we'll try to assist but there are no guarantees, of course.

Carefully cut off the registration program, noting that you are sending back the part about joining us on facebook, so we'll
repeat that right here:

Just click here to go directly to our facebook page, sign up, and Chief Goad will pipe you aboard.  If you don't do facebook, get a friend or relative to do it for you.  It's really the best and fastest way for all of us to keep in touch with each other.

After you have carefully filled out all the information on the registration, write a check ( and sign it), get an envelope and a stamp and mail it to:

USS Newport News Reunion Association
PO Box 721
Middlebury, Vermont 05753

Any questions?  Call the home office at (802) 897-2001

Seriously fouled up?  Call President Jim Peden directly on his cell at (802) 238-8512

or you can send an email to peden (at) uss dash newport dash news dot com

(put this number in your cell phone now, it will be a good contact number at the reunion itself to get hold of Jim is something is amiss.  And finally, bookmark this page because any changes will be posted here and on our facebook page.

Join Us!

Jim Peden
Bob Freeman
Vice President