The 2017 Reunion was held at the Best Western Greenfield Inn, in Detroit Michigan. Tom Strasser, STS1(SS) arranged and facilitated the reunion and tours, thank you Tom.
September 18: Seven Snook crew members and 2 wives arrive on Monday afternoon and evening. The evening welcome events in the hospitality room included greetings, introductions, drinks, pizza and of course sea stories. The festivities continued until about 9 when plans for Tuesday’s visit to the Henry Ford museum were finalized and the plan to meet early the next morning necessitated a timely conclusion.
September 19: As planned everyone gathered in the Cadillac Room (hospitality room) at 9 in the morning. We then proceeded to the front desk to purchase tickets for the museum and assembly plant tour. The drive to the museum took us past several Ford design and experimental sites and the Ford proving grounds.
The Henry Ford museum (www.thehenryford.org) is a large indoor and outdoor history museum complex which contains trains, planes and (of course) automotive displays, Edison’s laboratory, the Wright Brother’s bicycle shop and many more historical exhibits. We spent the morning exploring the museum.
In the afternoon we took a tour bus to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. The River Rouge Plant once employed 100,000 people and is where Ford Motor Company has built cars since the Model A. Today the facility manufactures only the F-150 truck. The tour includes a new state-of-the-art visitor center highlighting the factory's sustainable aspects and educating visitors on the legacy of the historic manufacturing facility as well as the vehicle manufacturing process that takes place within the Rouge Factory. The tour also includes a self-paced walk through a working automobile factory.
Arriving back at the hotel we gathered in the hospitality room for drinks, German sausages, cheeses and crackers. We discussed the day’s activities events and plans to visit the USS Silversides in Muskegon on Wednesday. Warren EMCM(SS) and Gail Forrest said they would not be able to make the drive to Muskegon for the tour.
September 20: As planned everyone gathered in the Cadillac Room (hospitality room) at 9 in the morning. This morning we had to say an early farewell to Norman Wibel MMC(SS), he had a call from his wife who had been to the doctor and he was departing for home to be with her.
Six of us went in one vehicle on a three hour road trip to Muskegon to the USS Silversides SS-236 museum (https://silversidesmuseum.org). The USS Silversides (SS-236) is a Gato-Class World War II submarine that earned twelve battle stars for World War II service and was awarded one Presidential Unit Citation for cumulative action over four patrols. She is credited with sinking 23 ships, the third-most of any allied World War II submarine, behind only the USS Tang and USS Tautog. The tonnage of the ships sunk by Silversides amounted to 90,080 tons, second only to Tang's total. Judged by such standards, Silversides has the most prolific combat record of any still-extant American submarine.
We arrived at the museum at noon and proceeded directly to a personalized guided tour through the boat, thanks to Tom for arranging the tour. The first thing we all noted was that it smelled like a submarine and we were all happy about that memory. We were allowed to wander, touch, and ask questions of the guide, but we were asked not to turn switches or move valves as many are still operational. As submarine veterans we were allowed to enter areas of the boat that are normally not accessible to the general public, like the conning tower and pump room (we were offered the battery well but passed as the batteries had been removed). We laughed as we did not remember the ladders being that narrow and steep and the hatches being so small (time takes its toll). We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves below deck discussing difference, similarity, and surprises (like the fact that it had four main and two auxiliary diesels. Once we left the boat we proceeded to the museum which had extensive information and artifacts on World War II and military history. This museum is very well done and maintained if you have not been there you should if given the opportunity.
After over three hours at the USS Silversides Museum we started the road trip back to Detroit. But, we just had to stop and partake in the fare of a local brew pub and grill for a late lunch early dinner. We arrived back at the hotel at about 8.
As normal we went to the hospitality room to end the day and discuss the Thursday activities. To our surprise there were four addition crew that had arrived that afternoon. So we all visited and enjoyed the evening discussing the day and re-telling sea stories. Tom told us that there was no Snook business meeting on Thursday and it was a day on our own until dinner at 6. The evening ended at about 10.
September 21: As planned ten of us gathered in the restaurant for the dinner at 6 for cocktails. We were seated for dinner at 6:30. The food and company was very good. There was a lot of reminiscing as the evening went on and we became more aware that the reunion was ending. At about 8:30 we started our good-bye since several had early morning departure plans. We were definitely sorry to see the night end.
Four of us then proceeded to the hospitality room for some additional late night drinks and reminiscing. The proceeding continued till 11 when we decided we need to get some sleep. We said our good-byes.
If you were unable to attend we missed you and most likely had a little fun at your expense. THANK YOU Tom for doing a great job in the planning and preparation for our visit. The time together and tours were enjoyed by all who attended. If you did not make Detroit you missed a great gathering.