A Military Veteran Reunion in Milwaukee

The U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association (NCVA) Reunion honors U.S. Navy Cryptologists, past and present, and their expertise in naval codes, ciphers, and radio intelligence and hosted their recent reunion in Milwaukee WI. Their earliest members were trained in the 1930s to intercept and decode Japanese Katakana transmissions. Their contributions to real-time combat and ultimate Allied victory in the Pacific war at sea and ashore are legendary. Their reunion was originally slated for 2020, but was postponed for three years due to the pandemic.

A Military Reunion Years In the Making

Milwaukee Food & City Tour itinerary planners were thrilled to with work with the reunion committee to create a custom daytrip to honor the sacrifice made by their fellow Navy members. This cornerstone event included a visit to the USS Liberty Memorial Library in nearby Grafton, WI for an outdoor flag raising ceremony conducted by the Navy at the USS Liberty Memorial Stone at the front entrance of the library. Cedarburg Troop 830 Boy Scouts and local veterans from the American Legion were present as an honor guard as guests arrived. A contingent from the Milwaukee NCO council performed the flag raising for the cryptologic veterans. After the ceremony, participants proceeded inside the library to the USS Liberty Artifacts Room, which is typically open to the public but was reserved for this group to view the many artifacts and scrapbooks from the USS Liberty privately.

One of the distinguished attendees included U.S. Marine Bryce Lockwood, a USS Liberty survivor. Lockwood, a native of New York, was the only Marine survivor of three on board the USS Liberty when it was attached in the Mediterranean on June 8, 1967, killing 34 and wounding 171 others during the Six-Day War. Lockwood served in Vietnam thereafter, and following 13 years of service, earned a Purple Heart and Silver Star for his actions in savings lives of fellow crewmen in the aftermath of the attack on the Liberty. Lockwood spoke to the attendees at the library which is named after the ship, and reflected on the recent publishing of his biography, Liberty’s Wounds by Jeremy Paul Amick.

Showing Off Milwaukee During Reunion Weekend

The reunion also included sightseeing and culinary tours to show off Milwaukee to its attendees. Our team at Milwaukee Food & City Tours has a collection of group tours designed exactly for military reunions visiting Milwaukee. One popular tour offered included Milwaukee’s Greatest Hits, allowed our guests to explore downtown Milwaukee, traveling by bus through key neighborhoods originally settled by Italian, Irish, Polish and German immigrants.  This three-hour tour was narrated to point out architectural highlights and cultural hot spots along the way, including a stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum to see the iconic white suspension bridge and Burke Brise Soleil meant to represent the sails of a Viking ship, a visit to St. Joan of Arc Chapel on the Marquette campus, and finished with time to souvenir shop and stroll through the Historic Third Ward and the Milwaukee Public Market.

Other tours offered to attendees included a Bikes Brats & Beer Tour complete with a visit to the Harley-Davidson Museum tour, a Harbor Cruise; a presentation about the ongoing restoration of Old Main, Milwaukee’s Soldier Home; a Sprecher Brewery Tour; and a wreath laying ceremony at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. It was a beautiful setting for the solemnity of the occasion, with views of Lake Michigan in the background of the Eternal Flame Memorial.

In Milwaukee though, there is just nothing quite like a Friday night fish fry – it’s a classic! On the final night of the reunion, the attendees indulged in Wisconsin’s ultimate comfort food, narrated with a little Milwaukee history and trivia along the way. The three-hour Fish Fry Tour started at Kegel’s Inn, one of Milwaukee’s most popular fish fry restaurants.  Surrounded by hand painted German murals from the 1930’s, the NCVA members were served beer-battered fried cod, coleslaw, potato pancakes and rye bread, before zooming over to MOTOR Restaurant at the Harley Davidson Museum for another delicious take on the classic fish fry; cornmeal crusted and golden fried cod with crispy French fries, fresh jicama slaw, cornbread and tartar sauce.  As always, we needed a sweet ending to the tour by stopping at Leon’s for Milwaukee’s favorite dessert – frozen custard!

It is truly a joy to work with military reunions in Milwaukee, and our work with the U.S. Naval Cryptologic Veterans Association continued this tradition.

Hosting a Reunion in Milwaukee?

Looking for a fun and unique reunion that members of all ages can look forward to? Tired of the same old reunion year after year? Hosting out of town guests and want to show off the great place you live? Rely on Milwaukee Food & City Tours to ensure fun, interactive and educational outings. See Milwaukee through its thriving restaurant scene, enjoy the city’s rich history or appreciate all Milwaukee’s distinctive sightseeing opportunities. We would be happy to plan the perfect experience for you and your reunion. Reach out to gm@milwaukeefoodtours.com to begin the conversation!