BB-64 April 13-16 2001
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  THE NEXT CHAPTER IN THE HISTORY OF OUR SHIP

    On April 16th, 2001, the 57th anniversary of the ships christening, the USS WISCONSIN and the National Maritime Center-Nauticus celebrated their Grand Re-Opening. Participating in this grand re-opening were Richard Conti, Nauticus Director, Paul Fraim, Mayor of Norfolk, RADM Christopher Cole, Commander Navy Regional Mid-Atlantic, Mary Mosier, Captain, USN (RET), Operations Manager for Hampton Roads Naval Museum and over 400 crewmembers, friends and family.
    Monday morning started with a parade from City Hall, down Main Street, to Nauticus.  Nothing was going to stop her former crew, they came with canes, wheelchairs and assisted by family members. They marched with their heads held high and a big smile on their face.  They were going to see their MAGNIFICENT LADY.  Among our marchers was 
 Jerry Blesch, Captain USN (RET) who recommissioned the Wisconsin in 1988.  Mayor Fraim and RADM Cole delivered very short speeches before the doors to Nauticus opened.   
  
Prior to this event, on Sunday morning after a buffet breakfast and an Easter Service, we shuttled to Nauticus to Dedicate a plaque on behalf of the Wisconsin Association.  This plaque is dedicated to  the memory of all sailors and Marines who served in this proud and historic warship.    It is to be placed, if possible, aboard the ship. At the present time, it is on display at Nauticus, at the foot of the bridge leading to the Wisconsin. 
  Association members  were then allowed to preview all of  Nauticus' displays pertaining to the Wisconsin.  Among the many displays is "City at Sea" with three movie screens depicting Life aboard the Wisconsin. They continually show short clips and still photos of crewmembers from the three eras that the ship was in service.  You had to hear the "Wow!, that's me"  "I know him"  "That's what's his name" .  If you want to relive your time aboard the ship, this is a  "Must See". There were many other exhibits, Battlescope, Battleship X, etc. just to mention a few.   The Nauticus team has done a tremendous job in recreating our time aboard our ship.  WELL DONE!  Nauticus.
    By 1PM the bridge was opened to us.  We walked her decks once more.  She is beautiful and massive and powerful.  We walked from bow to stern and back again, several times, just remembering and telling sea stories.  Hampton Roads Naval Museum has to be commended for all their efforts in preserving the history of our ship. We met a few of the docents, some who were former crewmembers, all have a very good knowledge of the history of the ship.
For those of you who could not attend this celebration.  I hope the following pictures will give you a feeling of being there.  The first 106 photos were taken by Lil and Dom Menta.

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Wisconsin in her new and hopefully permanent home

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Mary Mosier, Any chance of me getting a duplicate set of keys for the Wisconsin?
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Friday evening. As members were checking in. we wasted no time in gathering so that we could tell sea stories.
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We talked and talked and talked and talked

 

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 RPV  Remoted Piloted Vechicle
3 different views
 Do you believe the Iraqis surrendered to this?
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Anyone have a white handerchief?
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Comparison to a 16" shell in weight
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Some Memorabilia
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The start of the Wisconsin
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Wisconsin in the Pacific War
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Desert Shield
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Sunday morning buffet
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No. 4 Engine Room
1951-54 Bill Henson
1988-92 James Dickson
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Our Dedication Service
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Bill Frost-2 terms aboard 
1951/1957
He can still blow that Bosn's Pipe 
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Bill Henson introducing our guest speakers
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Carl Capestrain, Pres.
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Our Plaque
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Carl Capestrain  & Charlie Hartig from the Mayor's office
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Norfolk's Mayor
 Paul Fraim
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Speakers in waiting
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Carl Capestain presents the Busy Badger award to Jennifer Cashat from Armed Forces Reunion
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Carl presenting pieces of numbered teakwood from the deck of the Wisconsin
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Rich Conti
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Jack Kavanaugh
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Jerry Blesch
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Listening audience
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Media coverage including Jody Cox on left
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The Gallery
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Standing Room Only
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Dave presenting  Mayor Paul Fraim with a teakwood clock
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Admiring the plaque
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Rich answering some questions
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Clyde Worley, 
Charles Bryant ,
Clyde Lewis
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Dom Menta and 
Bill Lewis
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Those beautiful 16" guns
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Dick Hamann signing Kathy and Bill up for the cruise
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Betty and Buck Frazier
Jean and John Berry
Marie and James Armstrong 
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Mrs. Morris, Claire Kokidko, Walt Morris, ??,
Bob & Mary Griel
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Is it a case of low chairs or high tables? 
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Albert Prichard, Leonard Goodman & Floyd Sheffler
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Gathering for the March
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The none marchers rode the bus to Nauticus
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Lining up at City Hall
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M Division
Bill Henson, 
Fred Thibeault, 
Jackie Justice
Guy Trigali, 
Frank Romatowki
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City Hall
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Marching toward Nauticus
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Left, right, come on guys stay in step
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Norfolk Police
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They also ride bikes
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Some of Norfolk's natives
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3rd Graders from Tarrallton School
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Girl Scouts
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Copeland Mills, School of the Arts and the 
Boy Scouts
in the rear
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US Naval Sea Cadets Corp
Tophatters Squadron
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The Nauticus Crew
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The US Navy Band
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Here come the Marines
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followed by the sailors
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After looking at all these marching photos, I think we should have gone back to Boot Camp to practice marching.
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The Dignitaries
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We made it to Nauticus and the Welcome Flag is out
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A final speech by 
Mayor Fraim
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Lil and Jerry
Would you believe, Lil is standing on a orange crate
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John Rhine,
 Myron NelsonJohn Pritlow
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Jerry O'Sullivan
George Tully
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Ed Lederer
Jeff Cory
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Ty Houser
Jim Parker
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Carl and Gabe strolling the deck
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Carl and Gabe in the foreground is Dave Kohnan's wife and Mom
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Jack Culp with his in-laws
Betty's sisters
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Tom Lowney, Ed Lederer with wife and ?
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A view of the bow
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The bridge from the ship to Nauticus
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George  Johnson looking over the Donor's list
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Amy Waters Yarsinske signing her book
"Forward for Freedom
The Story of
Battleship Wisconsin"
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John Fox's memorabilia
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Viewing a clip of the Ed Sullivan show
May 22, 1955
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Betty's sister & husband, Bill & Kathy Frost, June & Frank Crawley, Betty & Jack Culp, 
Standing, Sally Fiore,   
Kathy Capestrain, 
Lil Menta

 

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Miriam Zimmerman, Carl Capestrain, 
Dean Giroux, ?,?
 Bob Zimmerman
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Aren't they cute??
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Bob McClure, Harold Seavers, Lin Daggett, Marge Daggett, Standing is Bob Fournier
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Susan McClure 2nd from right
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How about this bus?
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Lil said I had to put this picture on because she took it.
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Dignitaries on the march.
Next 3 photos taken by     
 Claire Hamann
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ADM Cole gives a short speech prior to the start of the parade.
Next 8 photos sent in by  
Paul Hartwigsen
 E Div. 1956-1958
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Old Electricians. 
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Parade assembly.
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Parade assembly.
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Aft Dolphin station.
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Dress Ship.
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View from Nauticus
 3rd deck.
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View from Nauticus
3rd deck.
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ADM Cole being interviewed.
Next 2 photos sent in by  
Al Hilliard
1955

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The one and only
Al Hilliard.
Look who's behind Al,
it's Lil and Dom.
Thanks Al for all the pictures you kept sending me showing the progress being made in the construction of the pier which is now the home of our Beloved Wisconsin.
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Percy Sussex on the
signal light.
Next 3 photos sent in by 
Percy Sussex, Q Div.
1951-1955
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That's Percy
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Starboard signal bridge.
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Photo by Keith Lanpher
(c) GIS Bureau of the City of Norfolk
GREAT SHOT!
 


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