25 Sep 2023

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Past Key Reunions

In 2002 Al Singleman and his wife Diane along with a few other shipmates formed a reunion committee and organized the first ship's reunion which was held in Duluth, MN in conjunction with the USSVI convention.   About 50 persons attended.   At that meeting the Key attendees voted to have another reunion in 2004 in Saratoga Springs, NY, again in conjunction with the USSVI convention.

In 2004 the second reunion was held in Saratoga Springs, NY in conjunction with the US Sub Vets convention.  Again about 50 people attended.  The banquet and guest speaker were first rate.  Most of the planned events centered around the USSVI.  This time the Key attendees voted to have the next reunion in Kings Bay, GA in May 2006 as a stand alone event that would run for 4 days.

In May 2006 we had our third reunion in Kings Bay, Georgia.  The reunion ran from Thursday afternoon through Sunday.  Thursday former crew members began to arrive and tended to gather in the hotel bar or the Key meeting room to reminisce about old times.   Friday we toured the Kings Bay Trident Training facility - Amazing building.  Then later that day the guys went for a tour of the USS West Virginia, SSBN 736 in port for a refit.  It is a HUGE ship and we want to thank the entire crew of the West Virginia for their hospitality and kind words.  Saturday morning Al Singleman put on a display of an RC model of the Key he had made.  He put it in the hotel pool.  Read the story below for details.  Then, many of the attendees went to the St Mary's Submarine Museum for a tour of that facility.  Saturday evening was the fine reunion dinner which featured a keynote speaker.  Below is a picture of the motley group that attended the 2006 reunion along with pictures of the SSBN 736 and the Trident Training Facility.  Notice the smiles, it was a really good time.


USS West Virginia SSBN 736  and the Trident Training Facility

On a personal note: I've been to two of the reunions so far (04 and 06) and they were a great experience.  I was a bit reluctant at first, not knowing if anyone I knew would be there, but as it turned out, it just didn't matter.  Everyone there is family, KEY family.  At the 06 reunion in Kings Bay, GA, I met two other launcher guys (Bob Rude and Ron Shouse) that I had not seen in 32 years.  It was like being 22 again.  Oh the sea stories.  They were both senior to me when I reported on board and had given me their share of crap so it was especially pleasing to me to see that they were both, how should we say... folic-ly challenged.  Every time we talked, I'd be sure to casually run my fingers through my ample, flowing, ever growing hair.  It took 32 years but I got even. - Just kidding Bob and Ron ;-)  I would encourage any former Key shipmate to attend a reunion, if possible.  Contact some of your old shipmates on the Crews List and get them to come along.  You don't get many chances to be in your 20s again or to be called shit-for-brains by a guy that signed your qual card 25 years ago.  Roll back the years, at least once, by attending a reunion - while you can still remember being on the Key.

KEY Confusion

Below are two pictures of the KEY.  The first one was taken in her prime, racing through the oceans of the world; the second one was taken in a pond in New York.  The RC/SSBN 657 is the property of Al Singleman.  The 4 foot model actually works by radio control.  It dives, surfaces, broaches, hits the bottom, and shuts down completely without warning - just like the real KEY.  Al put on a demonstration at pool side during the reunion in Kings Bay.  It was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.  The boat developed a problem and before you could blink, every A-ganger there had a wrench out.  The kit is ingeniously assembled.  Maybe we can get Al to put together some pictures and dialog on how it works for all you engineers out there.  We thank Al for all his efforts in hauling it all the way to Kings Bay for us to see.