John and Toni Titsworth and their wonderful helpers did it again!  The 25th reunion of the Fred T. Berry in Savannah at the Hilton Garden Inn was such fun!  Shipmates and their guests greeted old friends and met new ones.  The weather was lovely as we arrived and continued to be wonderful through Sunday when most of us headed home.


The kick off for most attendees began Thursday with registration at the hospitality room and the "catch up" of each attendee's past year's activities.  We were sad that the Enright’s and the Atkinson's were unable to attend due to poor health, and we missed our other shipmates who also were unable to join us.


Live oak trees with Spanish moss surrounded us as we toured Savannah Friday on open air busses.  Our guides made the history of Savannah come alive.  It was also fun to know about the movies that were filmed in Savannah:  Forrest Gump, the Last Song, General's Daughter, and The Conspirator, to name a few.   It surprised me that Juliet Gordon Lowe's home was the most visited in Savannah: She was the founder of the Girl Scouts and many Girl Scouts make the trek annually.  We visited Ships of the Sea museum which was originally the William Scarbrough house.  We also toured a beautifully renovated church. 


Savannah's river shops were filled with interesting items as well as homemade candy.   Most of us enjoyed lunch on the river.  The sun was shining, the Savannah River was buzzing with activity, and the food was delicious.  What more could we have asked for?


The business meeting was held when we returned.   It was announced that the 2011 reunion will be held in Chicago and 2012's in Washington, DC.  John Titsworth suggested that all shipmates mark their calendars to let him know no later than January 1, 2011 if they plan to attend the 2011 reunion.  This really helps in his and Toni's planning with the hotel and tour folks to insure a great reunion.


Dinner was shared on Friday night at the Hilton Garden Inn.  New shipmates attending their first reunion were introduced and welcomed.  We look forward to seeing them next September. 


Our tour busses set out on Saturday morning for Old Fort Jackson named after James Jackson.  The fort is being restored and we had a knowledgeable young man dressed in Union garb that explained its history and shot cannon for us.  The location of this fort was chosen because of the narrow width of the river, and ships' inability to get through at low tide.  Unfortunately the steam engine which allowed ships to navigate into smaller areas of the river as well as Sherman's march through Atlanta and then into west Savannah from inland cost the fort its Confederate status.  It was overtaken without a shot. The well trained Southern soldiers who were at the fort abandoned it to continue fighting in another area.


The Tybee Island lighthouse and surroundings was interesting.  Those of us who climbed the 178 step lighthouse were rewarded with beautiful scenery and a balmy breeze. Most will be reminded of their trek with some pain in their calf muscles for a few days. 


Our lunch Saturday was at the Crab House and shipmates enjoyed seafood as well as camaraderie.  And there were lots of alligators. The sign above the alligators: "Please be safe.  Do not stand, sit, climb or lean on fences.  If you fall, gators could eat you and that may make them sick.  Thank you!" 


Dinner and cocktails on Saturday evening were bittersweet.  We always look forward to our banquet, but it also signaled the end of our visit this year.  John and Toni were thanked by Ron Howard for their tremendous contribution of their time and expertise to pull our reunion together and were given a standing ovation for all their efforts.  Ed and Norma Teagle were thanked for handling the ship store and Steve Greenburg and his lovely wife Leslie took pictures for our yearbook.  Of course, Elaine Brothers did a fine job of selling raffle tickets AGAIN and not to break tradition, the youngest Tyler Egan, who is surprisingly grown up, delivered the gifts.  Eileen Truman called out the numbers and Norma Teagle assisted with the gifts for our raffle.


We were so fortunate to have Charlie Metcalf's son in law, Lt. Colonel Matt Brooke, as our keynote speaker.  He has spent several years in the Iraqi Freedom war and is an amazing leader and speaker.  He reiterated that the people in the room, shipmates of the Fred T. Berry, and those before them were the forerunners of the freedom we share today. 


Sunday morning came much too soon.  A buffet breakfast was provided.  Goodbyes were said and promises made to keep in touch. 


Fair skies and smooth sailing, my friends, until next year. . .


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