USS Gearing DD-710
Section #3 of 3.
50 photos and captions from Bill Latta (PC3 65-67)
plus two more from reunion hosts Nancy and Frank Goetschius.
1396 – On Sunday, we took a tour of the National Air and Space Museum
Udvar-Hazy Center near Dulles International Airport. This museum is
affectionately known as America’s Hangar, housing many of America’s
famous and historical aircraft.
1397 – Our tour group enters the Smithsonian Institution
National Air and Space Museum, Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center.
The son of Joan Sickles, wife of the late Russell L. Sickles
(RD2, 1950-54) can be seen at right holding the door.
1398 – The first aircraft to greet our tour group as we entered
the museum was the famous SR71 Blackbird. This high-altitude,
supersonic aircraft flew reconnaissance missions. It set the
aircraft speed record for its flight from Los Angeles to New York
in just 48 minutes, a record it still holds to this day.
1399 - Our tour group went further into the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center on the upper
level to be greeted with a vast array of famous and historical aircraft—military, commercial, and civilian.
1400 - A WWII Navy Corsair hangs from arched hangar ceiling positioned above our heads to easily see and inspect.
1403 - The famous B-29 Enola Gay that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima in 1945 dominates the
center of the hangar museum. A twin-engine, twin-tailed P-38 bomber can be seen on the hangar floor below in the foreground.
1406 - Our tour group could see the last Air France Concorde at one end of the hangar,
with the prototype Boeing 707 in the foreground.
1409 - This is a view of the cockpit and fuselage of the B-29 Enola Gay.
This aircraft is the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945.
1425 - This is a view of the nose of the Space Shuttle Discovery, the third of five orbiters
build by NASA. It saw over 27 years of service, launching and landing 39 times with
more space flights than any other spacecraft to-date.
1429 - This view of the Space Shuttle Discovery on permanent display
in the hangar-museum is of the starboard side and wing.
1441 - A vintage bomber is being restored in the restoration hangar
at the National Air and Space Museum Udvar-Hazy Center.
1446 - Our tour group stopped many times to listen to our well-informed tour guide.
1447 - Roxy Stewart, wife of Sam Stewart (MM1, 1955-58), rests on a bench in front of a RF-8G Crusader.
1463 - We also passed this F-14 Tomcat, another familiar fighter to many shipmates of this aircraft’s era.
1466 - We were surprised to see this contemporary state-of-the-art F-22 Raptor
on display in a museum, especially since it is such a new military aircraft.
1484 - We were privileged to walk under and look up to see this Curtiss P-40 Flying Tiger of WWII.
1509 - This was our group’s first view of the U.S. Air Force’s version of the Super Constellation.
1510 - The immense size and needle nose of the Air France Concorde awed our tour group.
1513 - Our tour group moves in for a closer look at the U.S. Air Force’s version of the Super Constellation.
The aircraft design used the wings and engines from the B-29 in its design and added a
sleek fuselage and tripletail, resulting in this iconic aircraft.
1514 - Our tour group was able to get a close look at the famous tripletail of the Air Force version
of the Super Constellation. It is in remarkable condition.
1516 - Our tour group paused to listen to our guide expound on the specifics of the Air Force version
of the Super Constellation. It was later modified for commercial use and was flown by both
TWA and Eastern Airlines in the 1950s when flying commercial was chic.
1531 - The tour of our first of two tour groups ended near this Boeing Clipper Flying Cloud.
1445a - Here is our second tour group!
Nancy and Frank Goetschius took these two photos of this group at the museum's Gyrodyne
QH-50C Drone AntiSubmarine Helicopter. USS Gearing operated the DASH weapon system from 1963 to 1968.
Drone flights were conducted visually from the ship's small flight deck, and then controlled remotely
from the Comnat Information Center using radar and sonar guidance to reach the target.
1447a - The tour group is now standing to one side to show the DASH helicopter with its payload,
a Mark B57 nuclear depth bomb. It also could deliver two Mark 44 homing torpedoes.
1551 - Shipmates, spouses, family, and friends gather outside the Grand Ballroom of
the Crown Plaza Dulles Airport Hotel for the traditional reunion banquet.
1552 - Joan Sickles, wife of the late Russell L. Sickles (RD2, 1950-54)
arrives with her son in the lobby for the reunion banquet.
1553 - Becky and Lee Gilbert (SM3, 1964-65) chat with Bill Basnett (FN, 1956-57)
before the traditional reunion banquet.
1561 - Joan Witkowski, wife of Bob Witkowski (FTG3, 1965-66) poses at their table for photos
with Pam and Ken Baker (ETN3, 1962-64).
1562 - Joan and Bob Witkowski (FTG3, 1965-66) seated at their table
before the traditional reunion banquet begins.
1563 - Ti and Leo Dougherty (RM2, 1967-68) seated at their table
before the traditional reunion banquet begins.
1567 - Jim Tracy (SH2, 70-72) and his wife Sue chat with Gladys Flynn daughter-in-law Janet
before the traditional reunion banquet begins. This was the first time Jim and Sue have been
to a Gearing reunion. They seemed to enjoy themselves very much.
1568 - Scott Coy (FN, 1952-54) and his wife Joyce chat with Margaret S. prior to the reunion banquet.
1571 - Bobby Harris (BT1, 1965-69) and his wife Dianne pose for a photo at their table before the reunion banquet begins.
1572 - Bruce Putinas (HT1, 1971) and his wife Pam wait at their table for the reunion banquet to begin.
1573 - Jim Peiffer (SKSN, 1962-64) and his wife Marilyn enjoy conversation with Sandy Cuny,
wife of Paul Cuny (EM2, 1959-62) at the reunion banquet.
1576 - Don Hilaman (FTSN, 1952-54) shares a laugh with Dave Petrie (SN, 1956-58) at the reunion banquet.
1583 - Vern Clark (LT, 1970-72) and his wife Connie are seated at the reunion banquet with Len Holmberg (CO, 1970-1972) and his wife Lee. Vern Clark served under Len Holmberg’s leadership as the Gearing’s commanding officer. They remain very close friends to this day. With the encouragement of Captain Holmberg, Vern Clark rose through the ranks during his Navy career to eventually become Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) under both presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush.
1584 - Len Holmberg (CO, 1970-72) and his wife Lee enjoy conversation with
Vern Clark (LT, 1970-72) and his wife Connie.
1586 - The color guard from a local high school ROTC unit lines up to honor us
with their presence to present the colors as the reunion banquet begins.
1591 - The color guard from a local high school ROTC unit presents the colors
as the reunion banquet begins.
1593 - The DC-3 band entertained us throughout the evening with dance music and a bit of humor.
1595 - The dance floor came alive with popular music and country and western favorites
played by the very talented and entertaining DC-3 band.
1597 - Connie and Vern Clark (LT, 1970-72)
enjoy dancing to the music of the DC-3 band during the reunion banquet.
1598 - Marilyn and James Peiffer (SKSN, 1962-64) enjoy a dance at the reunion banquet.
1600 - Leo Dougherty (RM2, 1967-68) clowns around with Bob Witkowski (FTG3, 1965-66) during the reunion banquet.
1602 - Nancy and Frank Goetschius (LTJG, 1963-65),
our hosts of the Washington, DC, reunion
enjoy dancing to the music at the reunion banquet.
1605 - Ray Bento (GMSN, 1956-60) and Bob Witkowski (FTG3, 1965-66) surprise everyone with
an impromptu dance, complete with a towel skirt and napkin handkerchief for attire,
during the reunion banquet. It is rumored this has happened before.
1611 - The Table of Honor sits empty as a solemn reminder
in honor of those shipmates who are no longer with us.
Each item on the table symbolizes the importance
of all the shipmates who are no longer with us.
End of 2016 reunion photos, Section #3 of 3.