Fort Eustis, Virginia is the home of the United States Army Transportation Corp. They are the movers of massive amounts of equipment and supplies into and near both hostile and friendly areas of the world. Much of this is moved by a very special group of soldiers that we like to call the "Seagoing Soldiers." Their homeport was and is 3rd Port at Fort Eustis. Every year since 1978, we have had a reunion bringing together both the retired and active duty Seagoing Soldiers in an event that we call the "3rd Port Reunion." 2002 was our Silver Reunion of 25 years. We average between 120 to 180 participants each year, some local and some coming to our area from all parts of the United States. We, on the committee, try to make their visit to our area enlightening, meaningful and fun. 3rd Port Reunion is a non profit organization headed and operated totally by volunteers.
The idea of a reunion came about in 1977. CW4 "Slim" Conners had passed away and, as always, people came together to honor his time among them and reminisce the good times. Homer Cox, Lidge Johnson, Dave Oberg and others decided not to wait for a funeral to see old friends and set a date for the first reunion. LTC Lidge Johnson, having just been selected to be Commander of Fort Story, arranged for the 1st Reunion to be held at the Fort Story Officer's Club. The 2nd and 3rd Reunions were held at the Fort Eustis NCO Club. The 4th through 6th Reunions were held at the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station Club. The 7th through 25th Reunions have been held at the Fort Eustis Club.
The Reunion is presently a 3 day affair. The schedule of events begins on Friday evening with our traditional Friday Night Get-Together. A keg of beer, soda, chips and a gathering of comrades makes for an evening of new and renewed friendships. There are door prizes and a continuous slide show of historic pictures provided by reunion attendees that spark memories, create interest and show the development of our Marine Field. Saturday morning we schedule an event that will provide our out of town attendees, as well as our local folks, something extra that will make attendance more enjoyable and worthwhile. Previously, we have had walking tours of 3rd Port, a tour boat providing tours of 3rd Port and the James River Reserve Fleet, and picnics in the 3rd Port area and at the Transportation Museum.
Saturday's events continue with the Social Hours, a prelude to our Banquet. This informal time of greeting is another opportunity to see old friends and make new acquaintances. Due to the success of previous reunions with donations and attendance, there is NO CHARGE for this segment of our events. There is a slide show of past Reunions and historic pictures. We invite all to come early and enjoy the company and good times. Those not wanting to make reservations for dinner are welcome to join us for the Social Hours and see what a good time they are missing! Our Banquet is the main program on Saturday evening. It consists of one of the Ft. Eustis Club's excellent buffets and as usual, a fine array of deserts. During our Banquet there are announcements, recognitions and numerous door prizes. Afterwards, we have the Ballroom open so all can continue their conversations and recollections as a slideshow and music entertain us, and more door prizes are given! As always, the Ft. Eustis Club's Wheelhouse is open for those that want to linger after our event comes to a close.
Sunday is the last day of our weekend. As determined by response, we make arrangements for an informal get together for breakfast or brunch at a local eatery Sunday morning. A time to say "until next time." Most of the out of town participants do stay with us after the formal part of the reunion is finished and enjoy the sights of the Tidewater area of Virginia.
This reunion is growing - in attendance and in potential; so what does the future hold? Working with Mr. Richard Killblane, the OCOT Historian, our committee is exploring more possibilities of what our reunion could entail. Meetings between today's soldiers and veterans of their same units, in the unit area, is an idea we want to pursue. Touring the equipment and discussing past and present missions could provide valuable insight to lessons learned and build unit morale. Knowing that many folks are coming from out of town, the committee would like to provide some sort of visitor package. Motel accommodations, local attraction information, discounted fares and arranged tours are things we think we can do.
If you have any comments or additional information to add to this account please email us.