Post-Event Blog 2019

Tour of DDG 114! On Saturday, 27 July, NOUS Northwest companions and guests were treated to a personal tour of USS RALPH JOHNSON by the ship’s commanding officer and fellow NOUS companion, CDR Casey Mahon. See the home page on this website for the full story by clicking: https://nousnorthwest.org/2019/07/28/ralph-johnson-ddg-114-tour-a-great-success/

In the meantime, enjoy the photos below submitted by Joe Valenta, Mark Thompson and John Gerten.

Barbecue at the Laible’s Home! On Saturday, 22 June, NOUS companions gathered together to enjoy a festive barbecue afternoon at our Commander’s home, shown in the photo below. This barbecue was one of the many events sponsored by NOUS Northwest, including discussion groups, evening dining and celebrations of key events in our nation’s maritime history.

A beautiful table setting and a full spread of delicious BBQ options awaited
NOUS Northwest companions at the Liable’s home!

As shown above, CAPT John and Cricket Liable opened their home for a first-of-its-kind summer celebration for the NOUS Northwest Commandery. Also attending were Janine Whitaker, Harry and Nancy Stengele, Mark Thompson, Joe Valenta and Carol Kershner.

Be sure to keep an eye on the NOUS Northwest “Upcoming Events” located on this website for an opportunity to take part in the many events scheduled in the months ahead.

Battle of Midway Commemoration Brunch, – Naval Station Everett, 1 June 2019. Ten companions and spouses attended this annual event including Chuck Davis, Bill Boardman, John Gerten, Cindy and Joe Valenta, Floyd and Carol Kershener, John and Cricket Laible and Solon Webb (with the latter three via Skype).

CAPT Joe Valenta, USN (Ret.), standing above, reviewed The Pacific Battles Timeline following Floyd Kershner’s Powerpoint presentation centered on the book “The Code Girls”. Floyd is seated at far right, above.

Floyd Kershner provided an excellent presentation based on the book “Code Girls” by Liza Mundy.  Floyd opened his presentation by covering codebreaking before WWII. He then explained the overlooked – but critical – role played by women in this specialty at that time. Joe Valenta then followed by discussing the WWII Pacific Battles Timeline, summarized on a handout. All attendees then enjoyed an informative post-presentation discussion, including our Skype participants.


The view from a Skype iPhone: Above is the view that distant participants were able to see during discussions of a specific slide. John and Cricket Laible are shown (above left) and Solon Webb (above right) as participants in the Midway Presentation.

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!