CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA 4/13-16/2015
2015 Reunion Hands
Bob Putlock, Chairman
Vice Chairman, Pete Marchewka – Hospitality Room
Bob Strout, Treasurer
KV Hall, Historian
Jon Kennedy, Webmaster
Bill Waters, Special Communications and Golf Expert
Bob Brubaker- Helicopter Current News Editor
Don Van Meter, ADA Specialist
Don Damoth, Newsletter Editor
LINKS TO THE NEWSLETTER ON THE WEB (These are printable links in both html and PDF form)
www.usafhpa.org/Charleston/Charleston Newsletter 1.pdf
Chairman’s Corner—Bob Putlock
Charleston can be summed up in 2 words: “Classic Elegance”. The theme for this reunion is Southern Hospitality mixed with a small portion of the Civil War.
HERE IS A BRIEF HISTORY OF CHARLESTON:
Charles Towne was founded in 1670 in honor of King Charles II of England. During the American Revolution in 1776 South Carolina President and Commander in Chief John Rutledge ordered the construction of Fort Sullivan ( now Fort Moultrie ) and made Col. William Moultrie the fort’s commander. On June 28, 1776 British General Sir Henry Clinton with 2000 men and a naval squadron tried to seize Charles Towne but failed. Four years later in 1780 Clinton returned with 14,000 soldiers and took siege of Charles Towne. It became the greatest American defeat of the war. During the next 3 years a South Carolinian named General Francis Marion, alias “The Swampfox”, harassed the British. After the British left in December 1792 the city’s name was officially changed to Charleston. (Note: In the historic district of downtown Charleston there is a historic hotel called the Francis Marion.) o-On December 20, 1860, following the election of Abraham Lincoln the South Carolina General Assembly voted to secede from the Union. On January 9, 1861 Citadel cadets opened fire on the Union ship, Star of the West, entering Charleston’s harbor. On April 12, 1861, shore batteries under the command of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor. After a 34-hour bombardment Major Robert Anderson surrendered the fort, starting the Civil War. Union forces blockaded the city. In a failed effort to break the blockade on February 17, 1864 an early manufactured Confederate submarine, the H.L.Hunley made a night attack and sunk the USS Housatonic by ramming it After this successful foray she also sank with her crew of 8 to the bottom of the Atlantic where she remained until August 8. 2000. She was raised and is on display in North Charleston at the Warren Lasch Laboratory.
NOW LET’S GO ON TO REUNION INFORMATION:
We are staying at the Embassy Suites-Convention Center (ES). It’s located 1.5 miles from the Charleston International Airport which shares the runways with Charleston AFB. We have contracted for 80 rooms for the 4 nights of the reunion and added 25 rooms the day before and 10 rooms the day after. The ES will add more rooms if the demand requires it and if they are available at that time. The ES is not ready to accept reservations until starting in April. Details for registration will be in the next newsletter. The ES will honor the room rate 3 days before and 3 days after for anyone extending their stay. Here’s the details on the ES:
-A complimentary “Cook to Order Breakfast” is available every weekday, 06:00-09:00, 07:30-10:30 weekends.
-A complimentary “Evening Reception” in the lobby daily from 17:30-19:30 with beer, wine, cocktails, tea and soft drinks to include snacks ( Note: this will relieve our HR service and save the Association $’s)
-Complimentary airport shuttle service to and from Charleston International Airport. (Note: The ES shuttle does not have a lift or the kneeling capabilities for a mobility scooter. Folding wheelchairs and walkers can be transported.)
-Complimentary Internet service in the ES Atrium and Business Office.
-Complimentary parking for ES guests including 4 R/V spaces.
-Complimentary shuttle service to Tanger Outlet/Walmart and local restaurants within a 3 mile radius
-$15 round trip ES Shuttle to Downtown Charleston. ( Note: The City is starting an even cheaper $3 shuttle from the Visitor Center near the ES to the downtown Charleston Visitor Center.) o-There are over 30 restaurants nearby including the Bone Fish Grille, Applebees, TGI Fridays, Panera Bread Company, La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant and other low to mid cost restaurants.
There is a Starbucks in the ES Atrium. ES has its own in house restaurant.
-All the ES rooms are 2 room suites featuring 2 double beds or 1 king bed as well as a sofa sleeper with refrigerator and microwave. ADA rooms are available on request.
-Room rate is $150/night + tax.
There is an incredible amount of things to see and do in and around the Charleston area. We have time to generate activities that will be memorable to everyone. There is a listing of the many activities available below. Please review it and select at least 3 items that would be of most interest to you. Send your selected choices by February 15th to me @250 Barbados Drive, Jupiter, Florida 33458. Or E-mail them to Putlock@aol.com. From your selections the reunion planned activities with transportation will be generated and shown in the next newsletter. You will have the option of signing up for all, some or none of the activities. You might elect to do other activities on your own. In general there are active plantation home sites and gardens, a tea plantation, antebellum homes open to the public in the historic section of the city, many museums, horse drawn carriage tours, culinary walking tours, river boat trips, the Citadel, Fort Sumter, the Yorktown, the H.L.Hunley, fishing charters, the old city market, the Charleston River Dogs- a Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, Tanger outlet, antique and specialty shops and restaurant of all types. Consider extending your visit to Charleston either before or after the reunion.
Here are a few Southern Low Country things you can look forward to: menu items like ”shrimp & grits”, Hoppin John, she-crab soup, stewed okra, sweet corn bread. Don’t forget about the Gullah women who fashion the sweetgrass baskets of all types and shapes. April in Charleston is the absolute peak season for all the blooming flowers, plants and trees like azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, dogwood trees, spireas, iris, hostas and more. Charleston is also known as THE HOLY CITY by virtue of the prominence of churches of all denominations.
List of the Charleston and Area activities:
Middleton Plantation offering tours with lunches or dinners- www.middletonplace.org
Boone Hall Plantation-www.boonehallplantation.com
Charleston Tea Plantation-www.charlestonteaplantation.com/Tours.aspx
Historic Carriage Rides-www.palmettocarriage.com
South Carolina Aquarium-www.scaquarium.org
Culinary Tours of Charleston-www.culinarytoursofcharleston.com
Charleston Harbor Tours-www.charlestonharbortours.com
The Confederate Museum
Old Slave Mart Museum
The Charleston Angler-www.charlestonangler.com
The Sound of Charleston-( music )-www.soundofcharleston.com
Charleston River Dogs ( baseball )-www.riverdogs.com
H.L.Hunley- Confederate Submarine-www.hunley.org
Civil War Walking Tour-www.civilwarwalk.com
C-17 simulator time @ Charleston AFB/static display of C-17, Ladies Tea, Golf at same time slot
A day in Historic Charleston 09:00-15:00-Citadel, Battery, Old City Market
Patriots Point Tour-( Includes the Yorktown ) www.patriotspoint.org
Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist Monastery, Moncks Corner, S.C.-www.mepkinabbey.org/wordpress/
TREASURER’S Corner – Bob Strout
I wish to extend my thanks to Chuck Sweeny, President and CEO of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society for his presentation to our members gathered in San Diego. I would also encourage any member who has been awarded a DFC to consider joining the Society. Your award will be preserved, and available to anyone to review as long as there is an internet. You can telephone the organization at 1-866-332-6332 for information, or check out the web site: www.dfcsociety.org. It is your history, preserve it!
Now, to the Treasurer’s Report. We do have money! Our balance sheet at the end of the year showed a balance of $32,475, and we have absolutely Zero liabilities.
I do have some past reunion memorabilia on hand should some one wish to buy anything.
HATS: Blue with the HPA Logo… $7.50–Blue with AF Logo and US Air Force Veteran on the front… $13.50. Credit Card Case silver w/ HPA Logo in Black: $6.50 Post-it Note case Black w/ Branson Logo and post-it notes: $4.50
Challenge Coins: $ 6.00—Decals: HPA $1.00 – San Diego Boondoggle $1.00 – Lapel Pins $1.50 Past reunion Memory Books: $15 to clear them out. I have Orlando, San Antonio (1) Colorado Springs, Jackson Hole (1), and Branson (2).
Check your Membership Expiration Date: Look in your old rosters, old newsletters, or contact me at: USAFHPA, PO Box 966, Medical Lake, WA 99022.
ADA SPECIALIST CORNER – Don Van Meter Mobility Handicap Considerations
Airlines: Each airline is a bit different in their rules regarding handicapped durable mobility equipment. Walkers and wheelchairs are checked, for free, they do not count as an item of luggage. The same is true for “travel or portable” mobility scooters. The author has a Luggie scooter which folds into a cube less than 2’x2’ and has rollers like most small luggage. United has flown it and stored it in the coat area of the main cabin. Others put it on with the other luggage. Southwest has a 1 hr prior to flight check-in so they can prep it for the flight. The key is a unit that has a lithium gel battery with no exposed terminals. You should check with your air carrier of choice prior to booking a flight for their rules.
Mobility Scooter Rentals: There are several medical supply businesses in SC that rent mobility scooters and will deliver and pick-up the scooter at our hotel. Prices and style differ dependent on the weight of the person using the scooter.
CARTA: Is the name for public bus transport. All of their busses are Handicapped friendly and have lifts and/or the bus kneels for mobility scooter/wheelchair loading which has priority locations reserved.
DASH: Is a part of CARTA and is the smaller buses that serve the old town part of the city. They too are handicapped friendly and have lifts…etc. They have a lift and reserved places for 2 mobility scooters/wheelchairs. The trip charge for public transportation is $1 each trip.
The charge for those with a handicap is 50¢. You will need your VA letter or a handicapped rider card from your local municipal or regional public transport service and get a local Handicapped Rider ID card at their Ticket 1 Stop Center, 1930 Hanahan Rd. You can also mail for an application by calling 1-843-574-1800 or 1810 and requesting a disability riders application for reduced rates.
Taxi: All have full size cars that can hold a folded wheelchair in the trunk, some have vans too, but none with lifts. Please specify full size car or van when calling for pick-up.
Express Cab Company 577-8816
Flag A Cab 554-1231
Safety Cab Company 722-4066
Yellow Cab 577-6565
Public Parking: The City of Charleston has a great public parking lot and garage system (city owned). You can check out locations on line and even load a free app that will automatically locate the lots/garages for you. For those of you that have disability placards be sure to bring one with you as the lot use is Free for the handicapped.
Free Parking: (State code 56-3-1960): Free parking for people with disabilities in metered or timed (garages included) parking spaces. This applies to county, city and state owned facilities only.
Sight Seeing in Charleston:
1. Old Town Market. Note there are only two true handicap accommodating restrooms in the 3 long block building, one at each end.
2. Mostallofthepublicparkinglotsandgarageshaverestrooms,howeverwedonothave information, at this time, as to how handicapped friendly they are.
3. Manyfinerestaurants,andmosthaveastepormoreattheentrance,walkersdoOKandstaffis most helpful in finding a parking place for them and when needed they appear. Careful though some of those good eating places have restrooms accessible up or down the stairs, just ask before seating, and may have undisclosed places or a service elevator that the handicapped may use might just appear.
4. Mostallofthemuseumsandhistoricplaceshavealimitednumberofwheelchairstouse(often just one or two). Handicapped entrances to some of the old historic buildings are not always well marked so a call ahead can be helpful. Example, the old Customs Bldg. entrance is in back and must call for a person to open it from inside.
5. BothFortsSumterandMoultriearehandicapfriendly. 6. Toursofthehistorichomesinvolvemanystairsandforthosethataremobilitylimitedisn’t
All the “Reunion Hands” look forward to seeing you in Charleston. The next Newsletter will have details for making room reservations at the Embassy Suites and a definition of the planned activities.