From HMFIC Doug McWhorter

    White Lightnings, shipmates and friends-it is my pleasure to announce a few details about our next reunion. 

   As you know by now, we are holding our next reunion in Boise, Idaho, on 20-21-22 September this Fall. Your committee is: Bullet Bob, Doug, Marta, Billy Bob and Ger. We have hashed out a good plan that should provide a fun-filled and exceptional time for all of us. 

   There will be culture, good food and drink, exceptional weather and tons of local activity. 

   The Grove Hotel in downtown Boise will be our base of operations. This is a very nice place and is situated directly in the best part of downtown Boise. It’ll be $139/night. 

   We recommend taking the free Grove Hotel shuttle from the airport (about 3.5 miles away), as all activity not close to the hotel will have a bus provided. After retrieving your luggage at the airport, call 333-8000 to arrange your shuttle pick up.  

   Your Hotel Reservations must be in by 21 August. Parking is expensive -- $15/night if you park it or valet for $22/night. Make reservations by calling 208-489-2222 or 888-961-5000. 

   Be sure to mention you’re with the VP-17 reunion. The $139/night will apply one day prior and two days after our scheduled dates should you decide to hang out in Boise for awhile.  Late checkouts are approved with a call to the front desk. 

   Scroll down a bit for the Schedule of Events.


"Boise - Beats da hell outta Joisey!"


 (This list updated daily)

Bill Ketchum - President of the Mess, Guest Speaker/21 Sep*

(Recovering from major cancer surgery - doing well)

Doug & Nonie McWhorter/Resident Host

Bob & Anna Barclay/Resident Host*

Marta Heffner & Kelley Hayden/Cheerleader/20 Sep*

Bill & Anna Overend NR Consultant/19 Sep*

Ger & Kar Spaulding - NR Communications/20 Sep*

Ken Crandall/20 Sep*

Jack & Barbara Schrager/20 Sep*

Gary & Eva Davidson/20 Sep*

Lee & May Trotter/20 Sep*

Larry & Leanne Lane/19 Sep*

John & Irene Pendleton/20 Sep*

Mark & Pam Byars/20 Sep

Daryl & Susi Ray/20 Sep*

Bill & Robin Obrien/20 Sep*

Guy & Vicki Leary/20 Sep*

Jon & Cathy Dresel/20 Sep*

Pat & Kate Maley/21 Sep*

Bill Buckingham/20 Sep*

Jim Carlson & spouse, Bridget Zolman/20 Sep

Jim & Pam Whatley/19 Sep*

Don Purdy/20 Sep*

Dennis Murphy/20 Sep*

Lou Rabe/20 Sep*

Dave &  Kathy Bakken/20 Sep*

Tom & Cathy Goen/19 Sep*

* = hotel reservation made 

VP-17 REUNION 2018 - Overview


When: 20-23 September 2018*

Where:  Boise, Idaho

Accommodations:  Grove Hotel http://www.grovehotelboise.com/ 


  Doug McWhorter, email - dougnonie@msn.com


  Bullet Bob Barclay, email - bob_barclay@msn.com


Head Cheerleader/Optimist: Marta Heffner, email - martaheffner@hotmail.com


Communications: Ger Spaulding, email - gerkar@comcast.net

Reunion Consultant Extraordinaire: Billy Bob, email - captoverend@gmail.com

https://vp17alumni.com will be our web site from now on. Be sure to bookmark it and see FYI Note 4 below.

* Arrive Thursday, depart Sunday morning. (VP-17’s hotel group rate will apply 19–24 Sept for those who wish to come a day early and/or remain an extra day or two.)


A few FYIs….

1.     Memo from our Head Cheerleader/Optimist Marta Heffner: Put away your beach wear and paint your wagons!  VP-17 is heading to Boise September 20, 21, and 22, 2018.

  Plans for Pensacola in April were unable to come to fruition, per Billy Bob Billy, and like the good crew members they are, Bullet Bob Barclay (and Anna) and Doug McWhorter (and Nonie) grabbed the reins and are hosting the Reunion.  So,“Boise – beats da hell outta Joisey” (sorry Crash) is the theme for this, our 7th reunion.  Questions/concerns email the Head Optimist:  Marta Heffner

2.     Memo from our Comms guy, Ger:  The results of our “final test message” prior to this announcement were encouraging. We sent that comm-check email to 125 people and received over 80 acknowledgements plus 6 P/Es (kickbacks marked “permanent error”). Thanks to all who responded. The more meaningful math will come later when we ask everyone to RSVP their reunion attendance. But the most important count will be when “Corporate” (Doug because his credit card is on the line) actually receives checks from those who RSVPd that yes, they would be attending.

3.    Regarding the Florida Times Union article that we linked to in the comm-check email -- the article about VP squadrons like VUP-19 flying MQ-4C Triton drones instead of manned aircraft -- we got some entertaining comments, mostly regarding (as you might expect) per diem and medals for drone crews.  Until now, I’ve had a field day teasing my Air Force pilot buds about drones. Now it’ll be their turn for revenge. But given their current PC personnel policies, I’ll be ready with this question and response: What’s the difference between an Air Force pilot and a transgender dude? The transgender dude has a future in the Air Force! 

4.       I am in the process of building this brand new web site. No choice really, because the one we’ve been using for many years has, like us, grown old and decrepit, is not as smart as our cell phones and has become generally unreliable. It was built using a Microsoft program called Front Page, which M/S no longer supports. That means I can no longer add new material or repair the many broken links you may have encountered on our original site. That said, my web host, GoDaddy, has agreed to keep the old site up and limping along until at least April 15th, so feel free to visit away and copy or download anything you wish before the whole thing kicks the bucket. Just don't be surprised if you can’t navigate it the way you used to. Finally, much of what you see today on our old site probably will not appear on the new one, at least not for some time. As a reminder, the link to the old dying site is:  http://www.ghspaulding.com/VP-17homepage.htm

Cheers and hope to see everyone in Boise (not Joisey)


*** And here's a patriotic song by Charlie Daniels in which he mentions VP-17's reunion site: https://www.youtube.com/embed/B2AEkfjc6-o?feature=player



20 Sept, Thursday is the recommended arrival date. Lots of great places nearby and Bullet will provide more info on arrival. Hospitality Room will be open by noon!!!

21 Sept, Friday is a free morning/early afternoon. At 5pm our coach will depart for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival. We will be treated to a private tour of this unique and beautiful venue by the director. We will then have a catered meal in a private setting. At 7:30 “Beehive-A 60s Musical” begins!! This is an exceptional, toe-tapping, jukebox musical celebration of women singers, musicians and girl groups that helped define a musical era. Examples: To Sir With Love, It’s My Party, Downtown, RESPECT, Where the Boys Are, etc. 

Coach back to the Grove.  Hospitality Suite open!! 

22 Sept, Saturday. Will have free time to visit the Farmer’s market (about 5 square blocks of downtown closed to traffic with lots of local wares and food). 

Basque Market will be open and will feature Basque Foods, cultural exhibits, museum etc. Many Basque people migrated here in the late 1800’s as sheep herders and stayed on to make Boise their home. Their culture is a big deal around here and our Mayor is from a big Basque family. 

   At 7pm our banquet will begin in the Grove Hotel. We have picked out delicious stuff and we’ll have plenty of local wine to complement our food. Captain Ketchum will be the keynote speaker and Billy Bob will MC with help from Ger. 

More details to follow as they are set in stone.  

Can’t wait to see everybody in the beautiful setting of Boise. (See Boise slide show below.)


Point of clarification: By September 20th when our reunion begins, the Shakespeare presentation will have run its course for the 2018 season -- succeeded by the 1960s Beehive musical, which we'll be seeing. 


Call the Grove Hotel in downtown Boise at 208-489-2222 or 888-961-5000

or reserve on line at



DRIVING DIRECTIONS: Don't drink and drive. Don't even putt!

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