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, or faxing the 2021 Reunion Hotel Reservation Form, calling the hotel, or following 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 Station Square “on our own”.  We’ll be picked back up at Station Square 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 Duquesne Room #302.  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 the trip, 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  


We have a local transportation company which has 28 & 40 passenger buses, as well as the standard 56.  I’ve priced our transportation on Wednesday, using the 28-passenger bus, but if we have to step up to the 40, we can.  Due to the pandemic, the first trolley company I was working with has gone out of business.  Luckily, I was able to find another trolley company, Molly’s Trolleys, that can accommodate us.  


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.  You can also fax, or send the enclosed form, with your mode of payment, or you can follow the link on the reservation form.  Now that everything is finalized, 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

It’s that time folks!  Time to start making your reservations for our reunion in October.  I recently received my 2nd shot, courtesy of the VA and I’m assuming most of you have gotten yours as well.  


Back in January we sent a letter to the shipmates with email addresses, providing an update on what I had been working on since the Winter Ping.  A lot of what I’m about to share will be the same, but some will be different.


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 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, 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.


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.

          Also, I was able to touch base 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—As most of you know, I was having issues with the trolley company and wasn’t able to complete the itinerary in time for the Winter Ping.  I found out they went out of business and I had to find a replacement.  I was able to receive a contract from Molly’s Trolleys to be our mode of transportation.  They’re a little more expensive, but they’re able to accommodate us.  They’ll 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 Station Square for lunch on our own*.  Before the pandemic there were numerous restaurants to choose from.  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.  

*I was hoping we would have lunch at Primanti Brother’s, a Pittsburgh original, but I haven’t been able to finalize that yet; though it may still happen.  They’re known for putting the meat, fries and coleslaw, between thick Italian bread and serving it stacked.


For Thursday—While we have our business meeting is 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.  If a few ladies are interested in going, you can drive there.  It’s approx. 20 minutes from the hotel.  I’ve arranged for lunch to be served after the meeting.  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, with a guest speaker.


And Finally—If nothing else, the pandemic has taught us we need to be patient and allow for flexibility.  While I’ve done my best to nail things down, some things are out of my control, while others are still being finished.  For instance, right now buffet meals aren’t permitted, but sit-down meals are.  That means we may have a served meal, instead of a buffet meal.  It will be the same meal, but served differently.

          When it comes to accessibility, I have 2 folding wheelchairs and a lightweight aluminum walker, should anyone need them.  At the present time, masks are still required in PA, but as more people receive their vaccines, I believe restrictions will be lifting.  I hope you’re keeping October 4th thru 8th open, to come and enjoy the camaraderie.  Remember, the hotel will honor the rate up to 2 days prior and after the reunion.  I look forward to seeing everyone.