Destroyer Leader Association
Military Reunion Brings Members Together for Tours,
Tributes and a Taste of Coastal Virginia
Background: The Destroyer Leader Association is comprised of the only five ships that were classified as a “destroyer leader,” including the USS Norfolk. This Association selected Norfolk in 2004 as the host city for their reunion. They decided to return in fall of 2018 and contacted us to submit a proposal to once again deliver a memorable program.Opportunity: We love working with repeat groups and we were particularly excited to welcome the Destroyer Leader Association back to Coastal Virginia. This organization has a special connection to Norfolk as they helped make possible the installation of the USS Norfolk Bell in Wisconsin Square, near the Lone Sailor Memorial along the downtown waterfront. They wanted to include a special memorial service at the Bell during their reunion, along with a celebratory dinner cruise and sight-seeing tours over two days. The group decided to bring all 18 members of the association Board for a planning meeting six months prior to the reunion. Their dates aligned with the annual Virginia International Tattoo and we hosted them for our signature “Taste of Tattoo” pre-performance dinner entertainment and the 2018 Tattoo at Scope Arena. The Board was so impressed with the hospitality and the special events.
Result: In late fall of 2018, 60 members and their guests of the Destroyer Leader Association enjoyed a two-day reunion in Coastal Virginia. In addition to a dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk and a full day of touring including Naval Station Norfolk, the Military Aviation Museum, Nauticus and the USS Wisconsin, we facilitated a memorial service at the USS Norfolk Bell Memorial. This involved podium and chair rentals, audio equipment, floral bouquets, City permitting and securing the Fleet Forces Band to perform at the service. The Reunion Planner, association board and all their shipmates were thrilled with the program from beginning to end. It was an honor to serve these military heroes and the memorial service was particularly memorable for us to plan and witness.
“We worked with Phillips DMC when we came to Norfolk for our first reunion in 2004 and I was happy to be back in 2018. Your entire team was professional and helpful in making our reunion a big success. The Memorial Service at the waterfront with the US Navy Band performing was a highlight for our members—they kept talking about it. I’ve given your information to another group who is planning a Navy ship reunion in the Norfolk area next year. A referral is the best way I can show our appreciation.”
– Mike Bugara, Reunion Planner and Treasurer, Destroyer Leader Association