USS Kirk FF1087

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Information regarding USS Kirk reunions

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Postby Vice-President » 24 Apr 2012 12:26

Hello KIRK Shipmates and Friends of KIRK,

It is with great regret that I have to announce the cancellation of our planned October 2012 reunion in Newport. We gave it a good shot, but there was just too little interest shown by our shipmates. It is unclear exactly what the problem was, but it is probably many faceted -- the state of the economy, tight personal finances, the location, the time of year, etc., but we will try to get to the bottom of it (remember the "hot wash-ups"?) so we can avoid this fate for our next reunion.

For the seven (7) KIRK Shipmates who had planned to attend, I apologize for this unfortunate outcome. And if you still want to come to Newport to have a personal "October in Newport" family vacation, I will be happy to be your personal guide to show you the great attractions of my home town! We will leave the below information (Newport attractions) on this board for those of you who will visit Newport, RI for your own family vacation.

If you have any comments or recommendations on when and where to hold our next reunion, please feel free to contact me.

All the best,
Hugh Doyle
Vice President, USS KIRK Association.

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Newport, Rhode Island is the site of our 2012 USS KIRK Association Reunion. And it is a fitting venue for a reunion of old sailors like us, since the U. S. Navy has been a major part of Newport for hundreds of years. is the official website of the Newport Convention and Visitors Bureau.


The “official” dates are Friday, October 19th to Tuesday, October 23, 2012. We use the word “official” because we have arranged with the hotel people to offer the same special KIRK room rates on the three days preceding, and three days following the “official” reunion, so that any of our shipmates who would like to spend more time in this beautiful city (at this beautiful time of the year) can arrive early and leave late, if they so desire.


We have negotiated a great room rate of $79 per night, double occupancy, at the Ramada Hotel in Middletown, RI (less than 10 minutes from downtown Newport), and as noted above, this rate will be honored not only for the “official” dates of the reunion, but also for the three days preceeding, and the three days following the reunion, should any of our shipmates choose to arrive early or leave late, to see more of this wonderful region.

Getting there

By air: The most convenient airport is T. F. Green (KPVD) just south of Providence, in Warwick, RI, just 35-45 minutes from Newport (depending on time of day and traffic.) T. F. Green is served by Southwest, USAir, and many other airlines. Boston’s Logan Airport is about an hour and a half away from Newport, by car.

By Car: With GPS and MapQuest, the routes are fairly straightforward:

– From the south and west, the most direct route is through Connecticut via Interstate I-95 (North). Exiting I-95 at Exit 3A will give you a 45 minute ride through beautiful rural Rhode Island, past the University of Rhode Island on RI-138, then across the Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge and the Newport (Pell) Bridge into the City of Newport. You will save about 10 minutes by remining on I-95 until Exit 5, but there is not much to see on that route. If you have the time, Exit 3A is the most interesting route.

– From the north, take I-95 (South) around Boston, then briefly on to I-93, then to MA-24 (South) through Fall River, MA, crossing into Rhode Island, then RI-138 (South) to Newport. (If you fly in to Logan Airport in Boston and rent a car, go south on I-93 and take MA-24 (South), as above.)

WARNING, if traveling by car: the two bridges (Jamestown-Verrazano Bridge and the Newport (Pell) Bridge,) and the short stretch of road between them, have a posted speed limit of 40 MPH. I know from bitter experience that the Rhode Island State Police and the local Jamestown Police are very vigilant, and very serious. Please heed the posted speed limit!

By Sea (yes, by sea!): For you old sailors who need another shot of salt spray, consider driving east through Long Island (New York) along the north shore to Port Jefferson, or further out to Orient Point and taking either the Cross Sound Ferry (Orient Point) directly to New London, CT (on I-95), or the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson Ferry to Bridgeport, CT (also on I-95), then driving on to Newport. You will have to check the ferry schedules for times of crossing and fares ( and and keep a close eye on the weather, but if you have the time, the voyage is well worth it, either coming or going.

By Train: AMTRAK serves Rhode Island on their “northeast corridor” with stops in West Kingston, RI (KIN), and Providence (PVD). There are a number of ways to get to Newport from either station (about 45 minutes travel,) so if you are planning to arrive by AMTRAK, please drop me an email at and I’ll help you with the arrangements. AMTRAK schedules and fares can be found at


ABSOLUTELY no guarantees, but the latter half of October is usually a spectacular time of year in Newport. For planning purposes, here is the weather history for the same dates for last year (date/high/low/precipitation):

October 19, 2011: 64/59/00; October 20, 2011: 68/60/00; October 21, 2011: 62/56/00; October 22, 2011: 59/51/00; October 23, 2011: 57/48/00

Not only is the weather normally fine, but October in New England is prime “Fall Foliage” viewing time (that’s why the rural route through RI-138, off I-95, Exit 3A is highly recommended if you are driving to the reunion.) But caution, although October last year was sunny and dry during the corresponding dates, be sure to bring your rain gear, too. New England weather is notoriously unpredictable!


I am working with the Marketing/Sales director of The Atlantic Beach Hospitality group, a family-owned group of 6 hotels and 5 restaurants that has a great reputation in Newport for being a military-friendly operation. I have dealt with them many times in the past and I have always been pleased with their service (as examples, I hosted my son’s wedding rehearsal dinner at the Atlantic Beach Club, and it was great in all respects; and I have used the Ramada Hotel — the same hotel we will use as our reunion hotel – to “house” visiting friends and family, and they were completely pleased with the experience.) I’m sure all our shipmates will be equally pleased. We have arranged for a large, well-appointed “hospitality” room at the Ramada for the duration of the reunion.


– The Banquet: We will have our traditional banquet in the Atlantic Beach Club, one of the more scenic restaurants in Newport, in a large upstairs dining room overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I met with the restaurant manager and “locked in” our reservation for Monday evening, October 22, 2012. We still need to decide on the details of the menu, seating, and the schedule for the evening, but the detailed banquet planning will occur much further down the road. So please stand by.

– Restaurants: Newport is world famous for its wide variety of eating establishments throughout the city and the surrounding area. Describing them all here would be a daunting task, so just take a few minutes to do an on-line search using the search words "Newport RI restaurants." You will get more than 842 THOUSAND "hits"! I have lived in the Newport area since 1982, and I can assure you that you will find every conceivable type of restaurant almost at your doorstep. Whatever your taste, you will not be disappointed. I can guarantee that!


Newport and the surrounding Southeastern New England region abound with historic, architectural, and geographic attractions to please even the most avid sightseer. Whether you walk, drive, float, or fly, you’ll find something to your liking in Southeastern New England!

– Walking tours: The City of Newport has played a vital role in the history of our country since the mid-1600s. There are numerous walking tours – both guided and self-guided – covering a wide assortment of subjects: historic waterfront tours (including the International Yacht Restoration School —; private garden tours; colonial-era neighborhood tours; “ghost” tours (Newport’s “spooky” side (; nature walks of every complexity, from leisurely strolling to energetic climbing (including the rocky shores of the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and the wind-driven Brenton Point State Park; the forests and fields of the Norman Bird Sanctuary (; the sedate, but stunning Blithewold Mansion and Gardens in nearby Bristol, RI (; the famed Newport “Cliff Walk”; and four incomparable Atlantic Ocean beaches); and of course, the ultimate “self-guided” tour, a “pub crawl” of the fabled Thames Street, and the innumerable inns, taverns, pubs and bars that played host to so many U. S. Navy Bluejackets throughout the years when Newport was the quintessential “Navy Town.” So, if walking is your thing, you’ll love this beautiful area at this perfect time of the year!

– Mansion tours (a combination of walking and driving): Newport is world-famous for its many “cottages” of the pre-income tax, “Golden Age” families who escaped New York during the heat of the summer and decamped to a cooler Newport, the ”City by the Sea.” These incredible, opulent mansions, lining the beautiful Bellevue Avenue, were once owned by families such as the Astors and the Vanderbilts, and are now mostly owned and operated by the Preservation Society of Newport County. These stunning “homes” are open for tours year-round. PLEASE take some time to visit their website ( to appreciate the full scope of the premier tourist attraction in Newport — her mansions.

– Driving: The 10-mile Ocean Drive winds along the rocky coast of Brenton Point, at the mouth of Narragansett Bay, where the bay opens out to the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean scenes are spectacular, particularly the sunsets. Interspersed among the incredible nature scenes on Ocean Drive are many impressive old mansions with expansive, immaculate grounds. For those of us interested in viewing the famous New England “Fall foliage” there are a number of mapped-out driving tours, ranging from as short as one hour, to literally all day. And for the “Lighthouse Aficionado,” Narragansett Bay has numerous historic lighthouses — both operational and restored as museums – some accessible by car, and many others by boat (see below).

– By boat: Rhode Island is aptly called “The Ocean State,” and one look at a map of the state will leave no doubt of that! Coastline tours, lighthouse tours, and island tours are all available through regularly scheduled boat tours (, and there are a number of independent sailboat, schooner, motor yacht, and power boat tours of Narragansett Bay and Newport Harbor (,,,,,, and others.) And it’s all salt water!

– By air: The best way to see ALL of Newport at one time is by air, and in this case, I can “work a deal” for our KIRK shipmates who long for the days of “Flight Quarters” and the comings and goings of our LAMPS helicopter. My good friend Jeff and his wife Kris are the owners and operators (Jeff is Chief Pilot) of “Bird’s Eye View Helicopters,” operating out of Newport State Airport (KUUU), flying a beautiful red Robinson R-44 helicopter. Jeff offers the Mansion Tour, the Exclusive Island Tour, the Lighthouse Tour, and the Bay Tour. See Jeff’s website for tour details and rates, but remember, “I can get it for you wholesale!”


– Golf: October is a wonderful time of the year for golf in New England, and there are three excellent 18-hole public-access courses within minutes of each other on Aquidneck Island: Green Valley Country Club (, Newport National Golf Club (, and Montaup Country Club (

– Tennis: Five minutes away from the Ramada Hotel is the modern sports facility of Middletown High School, including excellent tennis courts.

– Running/jogging: Middletown High School also boasts a state-of-the-art composite outdoor 1/4 mile track, for those of us who prefer an oval path.

– Exercising and gym sports: There is a convenient exercise facility located in our Ramada Hotel, and for any of our shipmates who are members of the YMCA, there is the excellent Newport “Y” located just five minutes by car from the Ramada.

– Casinos (an indoor sport, but a sport nonetheless!): The largest single casino in the world (Foxwoods Resort Casino — is located just over an hour’s drive away in eastern Connecticut, as is its major competitor, Mohegan Sun ( Right here in Newport is Newport Grand ( – video slots and off-track-betting), and just 45 minutes away is Twin River Casino (

- Salt water fishing: There are a number of charter boats operating out of Newport, offering both in-shore and off-shore salt water fishing. ( and http://www.flippinout are just two examples.)

Military Attractions:

– United States Naval War College Museum, located on the Naval Station, Newport, will interest history buffs. The Naval War College was founded in the late-1880s by Alfred Thayer Mahan, and during the 1920s was the site where “War Plan Orange” — the war plan that eventually defeated the Japanese in WW-II — was developed and “war gamed.” http://www.usnwc/museum

– Battleship Cove, in nearby Fall River, MA, is the home port for the largest collection of memorial warships in the United States. Featured are the battleship USS MASSACHUSETTS (BB-59), the destroyer USS JOSEPH P. KENNEDY, JR. (DD-850), the submarine USS LIONFISH (SS-298), the 1980s-vintage Soviet-built, East German missile corvette HIDDENZEE, and the National PT Boat Museum, featuring two WW-II PT boats. Battleship Cove is also the site of the official Vietnam Memorial for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

– USS CONSTITUTION is the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy, constructed in the late-18th century, and famed for her role in the War of 1812. Manned by an active USN crew, she is berthed at the former Boston Navy Yard (now the Boston National Historical Park), and is open to public tours. Across the pier from the venerable “Old Ironsides” is USS CASSIN YOUNG (DD-793), the battle-hardened veteran of WW-II in the Pacific. A "two hit" kamikaze survivor off Okinawa, CASSIN YOUNG is now maintained by the National Park Service, and is also open for public tours. Boston is a comfortable “day trip” from Newport.

- The U. S. Navy Submarine Force Museum, with the first nuclear submarine USS NAUTILUS (SSN-571) as its awesome centerpiece, is located about an hour or so west of Newport, at the U. S. Navy Submarine Base in Groton, CT, just off Interstate I-95. Those of us who are driving to and from the reunion can make a convenient stop to visit this memorable museum (and it is FREE!). USS KIRK, of course, was a surface, anti-submarine warship, so it is interesting to see how the "other half" lived!


Now that we know the reunion dates and have agreed on the daily rates, all that’s left is to nail down the banquet costs, and get the registration info and forms to our shipmates. We are still working on all that, so please stand by – more to follow.
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Postby President » 23 Oct 2013 15:10

Hugh, I know irt has been some time since you sent this out but I would personally like to thank you for all your hard work in trying to get this reunion going. I plan on working on getting a reunion going in 2014 as it has been too long since we last all got together.

Peter Schermerhorn
Peter Schermerhorn
USS Kirk Association
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Postby scotty » 06 Apr 2014 22:12

Any word on a 2014 reunion?
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