Post-Event Blog 2019

Remembering Our Vietnam Veterans – Arnie’s Restaurant, Mukilteo, WA, 15 March 2019: An evening for reflection and a time for some great maritime camaraderie.

A hearty crowd of NOUS Northwest companions assembled on 15 March 2019 at Arnie’s Restaurant in historic Mukileto, WA. The theme of the meeting was “Remembering Our Vietnam Veterans”. In attendance (left to right, above) were Janine Whitaker, John Laible (standing, NOUS Northwest Commander), Cricket Laible, Floyd Kershner, Dan Limberg, Joe Valenta, Mark Thompson and John Gerten.

A little history on Mukilteo:

From the Mukilteo Lighthouse information board: “The Mukilteo Light Station (above) began operation on March 1, 1906. The renowned lighthouse architect Carl W. Leick designed the Victorian-style lighthouse, with its 38-foot octagonal tower and the attached building for the compressor for the fog horn. The keepers’ houses were built at the same time, as well as the pump house and windmill. The entire light station cost about $27,000.” The lighthouse is Stop 4 on the Mukilteo Walking Tour. (Historic photos thanks to John Gerten.)

Above is a great shot of Arnie’s, perched on an edge of the harbor overlooking Mukilteo’s waterfront. What a great venue for a maritime history organization!

Above, NOUS Northwest Commander John Laible led the evening remembrance of our Vietnam Veterans. During the business segment of the evening, John also recognized several companions for their accomplishments during the past few months, including Joe Valenta (leading this year’s Study Group) and Floyd Kershner (our revised membership list and introduction of Evite invitations and Skype communications). Discussion was also held regarding getting the “NOUS word” out to local service organizations.

Companion Mark Thompson (above right) shared his experience attending the commissioning of the USS Tulsa (LCS-16) in San Francisco on 16 February 2019 and he showed everyone the special commissioning challenge coins he received.

During the main event of the evening, our Vietnam Navy Veterans recounted their experiences during the war.

In the photo above, CAPT Joe Valenta, USN (Ret) discusses his tour as Gunnery Division Officer on USS Oklahoma City, CLG 5 (Guided Missile Light Cruiser) at Arnie’s during the annual NOUS Northwest Vietnam Veterans’ Dinner. CLG 5 was the 7th Fleet Flagship home ported at Yokosuka from 1964-66.

In the photo above, Joe is holding a picture taken in 1994 when his old ship was docked at pier 88 in Seattle before being towed out to the Pacific for target practice. USS Oklahoma City is now at the bottom of the Marianna’s Trench. Gone but not forgotten!!!

Many thanks to John Gerten, John & Cricket Laible and Joe Valenta for some great photography!