USS Robert A. Owens Shipmates Association

Reunion Information & Updates

Reunion DatesOctober 4, 2021 to October 8, 2021.  We’ll check in on Monday 10/4, with side trips on Tuesday 10/5, and Wednesday 10/6.  The business meeting and banquet will be on Thursday 10/7, with check out Friday morning on 10/8.  I’m planning a side trip for the ladies on Thursday, while we’re having our business meeting.  

If you’d like, you can arrive up to 2 days early, or stay up to 2 days later, to explore the city.  The hotel has offered the same room rate if anyone decides to do so.  The room rate is $72.00 + 14% tax per night.  Let the hotel know how long you’ll be staying when making your reservations.


Hotel: Comfort Inn Conference Center

699 Rodi Road

Pittsburgh, PA  15235



You can make your reservations now by mailing the 2021 Reunion Hotel Reservation Form, calling the hotel, or follow this link:   The hotel has blocked 25 rooms for us, but we are under no obligation to fill 25 rooms.  Please make your reservations as soon as possible.  If you are calling the hotel to make your reservations, tell them you’re with “The Owens Ship Reunion”.  Give them the dates and they’ll be able to pull it up on the computer.  If you have any special room requests, make the hotel aware of them, i.e., handicapped accessible, etc.  They can’t guarantee they’ll be able to accommodate your request, but every effort will be made if they can.


Side Trips—There are two trips scheduled for the group and possibly a trip for the ladies.  On Tuesday 10/5, we’ll travel to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville and then have lunch at the American Legion in Stoystown.  The cost for this trip is $45 per person.  On Wednesday 10/6, we’re planning a “Day in the ‘Burgh”.  We’ll be picked up at the hotel on a trolley and given a guided tour through the various districts of the city, a ride on the Duquesne Incline and lunch at Primanti Brother’s in the strip district, on our own.  We’ll be picked up at Primanti Brother’s and taken to Soldiers & Sailor’s Memorial Hall for a guided tour and then returned to the hotel.  The cost for this trip is $70 per person.  On Thursday 10/7, we’re planning a guided tour for the ladies to Phipps Conservatory, while we have our business meeting.  The cost for this guided tour is $55 per person.


Banquet—At this time the banquet will be a buffet style dinner, Thursday evening at 6PM.  However, there may be meal restrictions when we have our banquet, so we have to be flexible.  There will be a cash bar right outside the ballroom.  The cost for dinner will be $35 per person, which includes tax & gratuity.  The menu includes: Tossed Salad with Assorted Dressings

Choice of Two Entrees

Choice of Three Accompaniments

Oven Fresh Rolls and Butter

Assorted Desserts

Coffee, Tea, Decaf, Assorted Soft Drinks


Banquet, Meeting and Hospitality Room—The banquet and meeting will be held in the Seasons Ballroom and the hospitality room will be in the Pennsylvania Room #126.  We’ll have sandwiches and salads for lunch, after the business meeting.  We’re planning to Zoom the meeting, but Jerry is addressing that in a different area of the Ping.  


In Summary— As with all the reunions in the past, the cost for the items shown are based on attendance.  I’ve used 25 as the number of attendees, however the side trip for the ladies on Thursday, to Phipps Conservatory, is based upon 10.  If we don’t get 10, we’ll cancel renting a van, however a smaller group could go in private vehicles and save the transportation fee, which is $35 per person.  If you’d like to check out their website, to see if you’d be interested, the website is  


When it comes to the tours, I tried to pick things that would appeal to the whole group, but by no means is that all there is to do while you’re here.  You can tour the city on the water using the Gateway Clipper, which is a river paddle wheeler, or go to Mt Washington to enjoy the panoramic views of the city on the lookouts, and/or enjoy one of the 4, or 5, star restaurants, or have dinner at the Grand Concourse Restaurant in Station Square, or tour the Heinz History Center, or go to one of the two casinos in the area; not to mention the local restaurants and attractions in the area, where you’ll be staying.  Most of the upscale restaurants require reservations and business casual attire.  


At the beginning of October, the leaves usually start to change.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to enjoy some eye-candy during the bus ride up and back from the Flight 93 Memorial.  As you know, 2021 will be the 20th anniversary of the attack.  I assume the National Park Service will be providing some type of special event, but I don’t know if they’ll be providing a presentation when we attend.  I will continue to reach out to the National Park Service, to see what can be arranged.   


I hope by keeping the cost for the rooms below $100 a night and the cost for the reunion almost the same as it was in Charleston, 2 years ago, you’ll be able to fit it into your budget.  If you have any questions, or want me to forward website addresses, so you can check things out, please reach out to me.  My email address is and my cell phone # is (412) 622-4154.


You can make your reservations with the hotel at this time, by contacting them directly.  If you call them, make sure you tell them you’re with the Robert A Owens group.  I hope you’ll submit the completed Reunion & Tour Forms, along with your check made out to Gary Parks, for the events you plan to attend.  There’s only one thing that will make this reunion a success—YOU!  Please plan on attending.

2021 Ship’s Reunion

Save the dates—Monday, October 4th thru Thursday, October 8th, 2021, for our next ship’s reunion, in Pittsburgh, PA. At one time, Pittsburgh was known as a dark and dirty city, because of all the steel making facilities. The street lights had to be turned on during the day to be able to see, but not anymore. As you can see from the photo, Pittsburgh is a beautiful city located at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers to form the Ohio River. It has gone through 2 renaissances to be rebuilt and some believe it’s in its third renaissance, right now.  


October is when the Steelers and Penguins are playing games. Who knows, maybe there will be a game during, or around, our reunion we can get tickets for. So please save Monday, October 4th thru Thursday, October 8th, 2021, for the next ship reunion. We’re planning an enjoyable and affordable reunion. I look forward to seeing everyone.

Bill Miller

2021 Ship’s Reunion Details


Deadline date is August 15


It’s that time folks!  We are down to the wire.  We need you to send in your reservations.  As of this writing Larry & Ellen McCoskey, Jack & Carole Wanko, Gary & Betty Parks, Keith, Julie & Cheryl Totsch, Ken & Jackie Talley, Roger & Mary Scherer, Ron Schwartzkopf, James Owens, plus Anna Marie Logan & myself are everyone who has registered, to date.  We need 25 to be able to do all the items on the itinerary, but as you can see, we don’t have that many.  If the deadline arrives and we still don’t have 25 registrants, we’ll address the itinerary at that time.  We may need to change a few things, or the type of transportation, but we’ll still have the reunion.  I hope you’re making plans to join us.


For Monday—It is check in day at the Comfort Inn at 699 Rodi Road, Pittsburgh (Penn Hills), PA  15235.  If you’re flying into Pittsburgh.  We have 2 airports.  Most of the major airlines fly in and out of Pittsburgh International Airport, but being the largest airport, it’s an area that isn’t close to the city.  Our hotel is on the opposite end of the county, about an hour away, and does not offer shuttle service.  You’ll need to get an Uber, a taxi, or rent a car.  I would suggest renting a car.


The other airport in the area is the Arnold Palmer Airport.  It’s in Latrobe, which is east of the hotel.  I know Spirit has direct flights there from Orlando, Myrtle Beach and a couple other cities.  Again, our hotel does not offer shuttle service and you’ll need to get an Uber, a taxi, or rent a car.  I’m going to suggest renting a car again, but because the airport is east of the hotel, you won’t have to travel through the city and negotiate 2 tunnels to get to the hotel.  It’s a less hectic ride from the smaller airport.


I understand rental cars are at a premium, both with availability and cost.  If you want to fly in, but are having an issue with transportation, once you get here, please contact me.  I’m sure we can work something out, even if I have to pick you up and take you back to the airport myself.  My phone number is 412-622-4154 and my email address is   


For Tuesday—I sent an email to the National Park Service, asking if we could have a Ranger board our bus, to explain the various items throughout the park, before we disembark to tour the facility and visitors center, on our own.  I haven’t heard from them, and quite honestly, I don’t expect to.  This year will be the 20th anniversary of the attack, so I’m sure there are events and ceremonies being planned.  The last time I was there, we were able to park and walk around the area at our leisure.  I’m sure we’ll be able to do the same, even though we’ll be on a bus.


I spoke with the Assistant Steward/Bar Manager at the American Legion in Stoystown.  She has planned a 2-option hot lunch, with a cold salad and one non-alcoholic beverage; cost is $10 per person, with tax & gratuity included.


For Wednesday—Molly’s Trolleys will pick us up at the hotel and take us on a guided tour of the city.  The tour includes a ride on the Duquesne Incline.  (The Duquesne Incline is the red trolley in the panoramic view of Pittsburgh.)  We’ll be dropped at Primanti Brother’s, in the Strip District for lunch on our own.  We’ll be picked up from lunch and taken to the Soldiers & Sailor’s Memorial Hall for a guided tour.  At the end of the tour, we’ll be returned to the hotel.  


For Thursday—While we have our business meeting in the morning, the ladies are scheduled to tour Phipps Conservatory.  The cost for a guided tour is $20 per person and the transportation is $35.  If 10 ladies aren’t interested, we won’t rent the van.  It’s approx. 20 minutes from the hotel.  

I’ve arranged for lunch to be served after the meeting; sandwich rings and cold salads.  We’re planning to Zoom the business meeting, which is a first for our organization.  Jerry Jackson is coordinating the effort and will address it later in the Ping.  The banquet will be held in the Seasons Ballroom that evening.  Our guest speaker will be LCDR Richard M. Elster.  He enlisted in 1959 as a Boatswains Mate Striker, but when he transferred to the USS Waller (DDE 466), he was a Storekeeper Striker.  He was commissioned in 1989 through the LDO program and retired in March 2001.


Friday is check out day.  Remember, the hotel will honor the room rate for as many as 2 days prior and after the reunion, in the event you want to explore the city.




It has been announced that the “Rolling Stones” will be playing at the football stadium on October 4th, so those of you driving into the city for the reunion may experience some congestion and/or re-routing of traffic lanes. Just a note to Be Prepared…..



May 2021


Shipmates and family members,


This letter is another update of things I’ve been working on since the Spring Ping was published.  Just about everything was in order, but I did have a couple things to finalize.  I’ve had both of my shots and I hope everyone is getting theirs as well.  Things are finally starting to get back to normal around here.  Our contact at the hotel, Heather is back to work.  If you need anything, she is the lady to ask for.   


I don’t know if you caught it, or not, but in the Ping, I indicated I was still trying to get in touch with an original Pittsburgh restaurant, Primanti Brother’s, for lunch on Wednesday.  I heard back from them.  Now that our governor is allowing the bars & restaurants to have up to 75% capacity, they won’t have any problems accommodating us.  They’re the restaurant that puts the meat, fries & vinegar-based coleslaw stacked between 2 slices of thick Italian bread.  We’ll be going to their original location in the Strip District.  If you’d like to see what I’m talking about, you can go to their website 


I spoke with a gentleman who has agreed to be the speaker at our banquet.  His name is Richard “Rick” Elster and he was in the Supply Corps.  He enlisted as a seaman in 1959 and retired as a LCDR in March 2001.  His first ship was the USS Waller DDE466.  The Waller was assigned to Task Group Alfa, which participated in the invasion of the Bay of Pigs and later in the Cuban Blockade.  After 2 years on the Waller, he volunteered to became a submariner.  His first boat was the Redfish AGSS395 and upon completion of that assignment, he served on the Kamehameha SSBN642 Blue crew.  I’m looking forward to his presentation.


And finally, I received an email from Larry.  He reminded me that most of our members are retired and on fixed incomes.  He suggested we offer a couple payments for the fees, to make it easier to be budgeted.  I agree.  To that end, I will accept up to 3 payments if you sign up for all the scheduled events, or 2 payments if you don’t include the lady’s trip on Thursday.  However, there’s a catch, I must receive the last payment no later than August 1st.  After that date, deposits need to be made.  I hope that will help more members attend.


I believe that’s all I have for now.  I’ll put out another update in June, because the next Ping won’t be out until August, which will be too late to register for the reunion.  I hope you’re keeping October 4th thru 8th open, to come to Pittsburgh to enjoy the city and the camaraderie.  It’s time to start sending in your reservations and deposits.  Don’t forget to make your hotel reservations and if you’re flying in, your car rental reservations.  If you’d like to contact me, my email address is  I’m looking forward to seeing everyone.  


Bill Miller