Quarterly luncheons are an important activity and benefit for 786 Club members. The time between visits to the boat can be long depending on the boat’s schedule. The luncheons help keep us engaged with one another and with the Club’s mission between visits. Our guest speakers increase our knowledge and awareness of what’s going on in the Navy and onboard the USS ILLINOIS. Meeting agendas normally include brief Club business, an update from the boat and a presentation from our guest speaker. We normally have 75 – 125 members and guests in attendance. This level of interest has helped us secure important speakers from the Navy and the boat to share their latest experiences and thinking. Informative prepared remarks are followed by time for questions from the floor.
The benefits extend beyond the luncheons. Our guest speakers also use their visits for other Navy out-reach work in our communities. They will visit local V.A. Hospitals, grade school classrooms, NROTC units at High Schools and Universities and also visit Naval Station Great Lakes. So, there are more benefits to our community than just talking to the 786 Club. Our active participation in the luncheons helps ensure that these benefits will continue to accrue to our communities and to the Navy.
To date, luncheons have all been held at the Union League Club of Chicago – we hope to eventually be able to extend this outreach further down state. With socializing included, the duration is 2 hours. The cost is $35 and reservations are required. Union League Club members can reserve a seat through their ULCC account. Non Union League Club members must use the Eventbrite site on-line (instructions are provided in the luncheon announcement). The Club makes no provisions for collecting money at the luncheon. Members of the 786 Club are encouraged to bring a guest.
These luncheons are a unique opportunity to hear from and talk to the leaders of our Navy. We hope you’ll take advantage of these luncheons and by doing so you’ll continue to energize the 786 Club.
To date our guest speakers have included:
Commander Neil Steinhagen, Captain of the USS ILLINOIS
Master Chief Dave Di Pietro, Chief Of The Boat, USS ILLINOIS
Master Chief Jack White, Chief Of The Boat, USS ILLINOIS
Captain Rick Seif, Commodore COMSUBRON Squadron 1
Captain John McGunnigle, Chief Of Staff, Undersea Warfighting Development Center
Rear Admiral Daryl Caudle, Commander Submarine Forces, US Pacific Fleet (COMSUBPAC)
Admiral Bruce DeMars (Retired), Director Naval Nuclear Propulsion
Admiral Cecil Haney (retired), Commander Joint Strategic Command, Omaha
Admiral Frank Caldwell Jr., Director Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program
Rear Admiral Leonard ‘Butch’ Dollaga, Commander Undersea Warfighting Development Center
Rear Admiral Blake Converse, Commander, Submarine Force Pacific
LT General Robert S. Walsh, USMC (Ret.) Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development
April 2020-April-2021; the Pandemic Podcasts
During the Covid Pandemic we could not hold in-person meetings, so we held a series of podcasts, which included:
- VADM Frederick “Fritz” Roegge, President National Defense University, Washington D.C. on “What is the National Defense University and How Does It Support Our National Defense?
- 786 Club Board Member Bob Ryan with a fun podcast “Happy Hour From the Union League Club of Chicago” which ended with toasts to the USS ILLINOIS
- The Fourth Birthday Party of the USS ILLINOIS on October 16, 2021, with the CO and COB serving cake purchased by the 786 Club to the crew alongside the pier at Pearl Harbor
- Former CO, CDR Ron Hatt, with the COB, Ombudsman, and President of the FRG transmitting from Pearl Harbor on what their roles are and how to make a submarine ready for deployment into “Harms Way”
- Chairman Len Wass, retired Submarine Captain, on a podcast to the University of Chicago Military Affinity Group on the topic of “Uncommon Mentoring” featuring 3 of his 4 main mentors as a young man coming from the U.S Submarine Force.
- VADM Frederick “Fritz” Roegge, President National Defense University, Washington D.C.
- Rear Admiral Rick Seif, CDR, Underwater Warfighting Development Center, Groton–August 2021
- Commodore, Captain Mel Smith, ComSubRon One–October 2021
- VADM Bill Houston, Commander Submarine Forces/ComSubLant–February 2022
- RDML Marty Muckian, CDR, Underwater Warfighting Development Center, Groton–July 2022
- Commodore, Captain Aaron Peterson, ComSubRon One–November 2022
- VADM Rich Correll, Deputy Commander, STRATCOM, Omaha–March 2023
- VADM Del Crandall, CDR, Judge Advocate General Corps–April 2023
- RADM Lars Saunes, Norwegian Navy Ret., Distinguished Int’l Fellow, NWC, Newport
- ADM Daryl Caudle, CDR U. S. Fleet Forces Command–October 2023
Future guest speakers who have committed:
VADM Leonard ‘Butch’ Dollaga, Chief of Legislative Affairs–December 2023