The NANP sponsored Navy Photographers Reunion was held at the Lexington Hotel on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, Oct. 10‐13. On Wednesday afternoon the well‐stocked hospitality room opened with our 1st VP, Sammy Solt, tending bar. Registration also began with everyone receiving their name tags and visitor packets with information related to the various events. Many arrived early and used the time before dinner to have a few drinks and snacks while getting reacquainted with old friends and making new ones. At 6:00 everyone was directed to the Rigging and Sail room for the meet & greet buffet and the official start of the 2018 Navy Photographers Reunion. It was also day one for the 1524 Online Shoot Off hosted by Johnny Bivera and his crew. After dinner most attendees returned to the hospitality room for a night cap.

Thursday was a nice sunny Florida day for our first tour of the reunion, but before that the NANP board meeting and NANP general member meeting were held and live‐streamed via the NANP Facebook page. A big thank you to Johnny Bivera, Lance Cheung and shoot off crew for making the live stream happen. After the meetings, the van was loaded and headed down to St. Augustine, the oldest city in America. Upon arriving, we picked up a guide for a two‐hour tour of the city starting with a trip to the oldest continuous parish in the U.S., Mission Nombre de Dios where the group learned about numerous artifacts from the very beginning of the Spanish settlement in St. Augustine. We returned to the city of St. Augustine to continue the narrated tour including sights such as the fort Castillo de San Marcos and the Fountain of Youth. After the riding tour we stopped for a late lunch at a traditional Spanish restaurant before our return trip to the hotel.

Thursday evening was open for everyone to explore the Jacksonville restaurant scene or just hang around the hospitality room.

Friday was once again a nice sunny, mild temperature day that began with a tour of Naval Station Mayport to include a tour of USS Tornado (PC 14). The ship’s operations officer met us pierside for a briefing about the ship’s coastal patrol and interdiction surveillance mission, and then we got to go aboard for a tour of the spaces. After the tour, the group headed to Naval Air Station Jacksonville with the first stop at the base golf course for lunch. Following lunch, we headed over to Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, a facility dedicated to the heavy depot‐level maintenance of Naval aircraft and associated equipment for use by the military in operations across the globe. The group then returned to the hotel to relax and get ready for the reunion banquet.

At 5:30 people began showing up for the reunion group photo and to enjoy some cocktails prior to the Banquet dinner. Tony Casullo acted as MC and requested all rise for playing of the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Once everyone was seated, Sammy Solt said some words and commenced the two‐bell ceremony to honor our departed shipmates from the past year. Tony Casullo also assisted in ringing the bell two times after each name was read. The service concluded with a moment of silence. Next, Johnny Bivera spoke about the shoot off and showed some of the outstanding imagery from the event. A plated dinner service began around 6:15, followed by a great presentation by guest speaker, Bob Self a staff photographer with the Florida Times‐Union for over 30 years. Bob was presented a nice camera bag and NANP 100‐year commemorative coin.

After the banquet, many retired to the hospitality room to for a night cap and the 50/50 raffles.
The next morning some of the members gathered for a departure breakfast in the hotel restaurant to enjoy one last meal together and to say their goodbyes until next year.

This officially ended the 2018 Jacksonville reunion.

5 thoughts on “2018 Jacksonville Reunion Recap

  1. Tony, As a former eight(8) time Reunion Chairman, I want to commend you for the excellent event you put together. I am well aware of the time and effort involved. Also, special thanks to Sammy Solt for his contributions.

    The summary was a very nice touch. Wish I had thought of that before.

  2. Have been attending reunions either west coast or combined since 1966 and the 2018 one is the worst advertised and operated that I have been associated with. Harder to get information ahead of time and harder to get results. I guess it is just me since I don’t do facebook or anything other than basic computer work. Late in October you were still listing the starting dates for the reunion.

  3. GREAT JOB TONY, I drove from NE Pa. and it was worth the trip, as I said before getting to know more people from the different reunions then the ones I served with, not a bad thing but wished others could of made it…..ALOHA

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