2017 Reunion

2017 AFEES Reunion – Tampa, Florida

REUNION 2017 – Tampa
By Lynn David
 
The Crowne Plaza Tampa Westshore will be hosting our May 3 – 7, 2017 reunion.  The hotel opened in April 2009 and looks and feels very new.  The hotel has received many awards for superior customer service.  (This is not Mother’s Day weekend.)
Our room rate will be $128.00 per night for one king, one queen or two doubles which includes all taxes and free breakfast for two people per room.  A few larger cabana rooms are available for an additional $50 per night.  The room rate is also available three days before and after the reunion. 
They have a wonderful breakfast buffet which includes the ability to order eggs cooked any way you like them.  Breakfast is served from 6:00am to 11:00am.
 
The other great features of the hotel are:
  • Free Wi-Fi in the rooms and throughout the hotel
  • Totally nonsmoking everywhere within the hotel
  • New pool and cabana area
  • Free parking
  • Free airport shuttle (8-10 minutes) (Taxi cost $20)
  • Excellent Business Center with two work stations
  • Updated exercise room
  • Complementary USA Today Newspaper
  • Free shuttle to any location within 3 miles of the hotel
  • Private room for our free Farewell Breakfast
  • Starbucks coffee bar in the lobby
  • Grab-and-go quick food bar in the lobby
  • Pillow top mattress
  • Refrigerators available at no additional cost, but must be requested at the time your reservation is made
  • They have live music in the lounge on Friday and Saturday evening starting at 10:00 p.m.
 
We were able to hold the cost for the Thursday Welcome Dinner at $35 and the cost for the Saturday Banquet to $45.
 
We hope the reasonable rates and many free items will encourage wonderful attendance at the reunion.  –Lynn David
 

2017 EVENT SCHEDULE

 

WEDNESDAYMAY 3:

FLORIDA BOTANICAL GARDENS.  Over 150 sun-kissed acres filled with more than 25 gardens and display areas showcase a dazzling array of tropical plants–from fruits and herbs to hibiscus and bromeliands.  There is a new botanical treasure awaiting discovery at every turn. In addition, more than 150 types of birds, mammals and reptiles have been documented on the site.  And several endangered species, including bald eagles, gopher tortoises and sherman fox squirrels reside here.   We will leave our hotel shortly after 1 p.m. and be back by 3:30-4 p.m.  You must eat lunch prior to our leaving at 1 p.m. as there are no restaurants on site.

DOLPHIN SUNSET CRUISE.   We have rented the whole boat from Tampa Bay Fun Boat. It is hoped that all of you will come a little earlier so that you can enjoy this cruise. We will leave the Crown Plaza about 7:00 p.m. and will start the cruise as soon as we’re situated on the boat.  For photos, click here. The cruise does not guarantee dolphin sightings as they do not chum the water to bring them in.  Mary Shier went on a cruise and did see three  dolphins.  Included in the price is a drink and meal. Subway? Pizza? To be determined later.

THURSDAY, MAY 4:
FLORIDA AQUARIUM.  Mary Shier personally visited the Aquarium and found it to be a wonderful experience. The aquarium is divided into several different segments, each covering a different topic. The tour cost is $20 paid as part of your Reunion Reservation Form.   If you like, you may also sign up for a BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR or a BACKSTAGE PASS  but those are at an extra cost and you must contact the Aquarium through their website to find out the details.  We will be going a little before 10 a.m. and will stay until 2 p.m. There is a restaurant there where we’ll eat. You can decide the cost of your meal and the time when you eat.  Wheelchairs are available for $6, scooters for $12.  Both of these are on a first come, first serve basis.  You would pay for them when you get there.

 FRIDAY, MAY 5:

MILITARY DAY.  This will take place at the Clearwater Coast Guard Base.   We will leave the hotel about 10 a.m.  All members of our group will need to have some type of legal identification, whether it is a passport, driver’s license, or legal ID card issued by the driver’s license bureau.  We will receive a general briefing about what the Coast Guard does at their multipurpose base.  In the morning there will be a presentation about the tragic incident in 1980 near the Tampa Bay Sunshine Skyway Bridge when the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Blackthorn collided with the U.S. tankship Capricorn, in which 23 Coast Guardsmen perished. Lunch will be served in their cafeteria and will cost $15.   We will tour the C-130 hanger and the H-60 J Hawk (Black Hawk) hanger and the Coast Guard ship.   Transportation  to the base will be by passenger van.  Names of persons taking the base tour will be needed about a week prior.    We will return to our hotel between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.   FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER.  COLUMBIA RESTAURANT-This is the oldest restaurant in the USA. The menu is Spanish. The food Mary Shier had was fantastic. She was leery about it being spicy but that was not the case. They told her that the spice can be added by you later if you like it hot. Though the food is rather expensive they did say you can share the plate if you like. Shortly after our meal we will be entertained by Flamenco dancers.  Mary Shier believes that is for a half hour at a cost of $6. The ambiance and food of the restaurant are well worth the money.

 SATURDAY, MAY 6
PLANT PARK.   Plant Park combines a botanical garden, outdoor exhibits from the Spanish-American War, and the Henry B. Plant Museum, formerly the Tampa Bay Hotel, with exhibits focused on Gilded Age tourism, the elite lifestyle of the hotel’s guests, and the building’s use during the Spanish-American War.  The Henry B. Plant Museum is a National Historic Landmark with a Victorian Museum Store.  We will leave our hotel shortly after 1 p.m. and be back by 3:30-4 p.m.  You must eat lunch prior to our leaving at 1 p.m. as there are no restaurants on site.  Our Saturday night speaker will be Eric Kolwicz, commander of the Clearwater Coast Guard base, who will discuss what the Coast Guard did during WWII  and also their present day position in the military.
 SUNDAY, MAY 7.  FAREWELL BREAKFAST
 SEE RESERVATION FORMS BELOW

TO PRINT OUT THE REUNION FORMS, CLICK ON THE APPROPRIATE LINK BELOW AND PRINT IT OUT AS A WORD DOCUMENT.  NOTE THAT THESES FORMS HAVE THE MOST CURRENT INFORMATION ON EVENTS AND PRICES AND SHOULD BE USED IN PREFERENCE TO ANY FORMS RECEIVED IN THE MAIL.

AFEES T-SHIRTS

To order an AFEES T-shirt, go to the following page on this website: http://airforceescape.org/afees-t-shirts-for-sale/ .  They look like this:

IMAGES OF CROWNE PLAZA TAMPA WESTSHORE

Crowne Plaza Tampa Westmore

Swimming Pool at Crowne Plaza

Meeting room at Crowne Plaza

Guest room at Crowne Plaza

IMAGES OF TAMPA, FLORIDA AND LINKS TO WEBSITES

 

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MacDill Air Force Base:

Members of Team MacDill and the Tampa Bay Rays baseball organization pause for a photo during a base tour at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 18, 2017. Each year the Rays team organizes a tour to gives its minor league players a glimpse into how Team MacDill carries out its mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Heather Fejerang)

American Victory Ship:

Centro Ybor complex with a TECO Line car passing in front (photo by Bobak Ha’Eri):

Centro Ybor complex with a TECO Line car passing in front

For links to some places of interest in and around Tampa, see the following:

If you have any hesitation about attending the reunion, read Jerri Donohue’s “Why Reunions Matter.”

For a list of prior reunions, their locations, and activities, click here.