Tuesday, September 24, 2013


The Metropolitan Detroit Council, Navy League of the United States, hosted CDR Michael R. Wohnhaas, USN, for his first visit to the City of Detroit in early September.  CDR Wohnhaas is the Prospective Commanding Officer of the Littoral Combat Ship DETROIT (LCS 7).

CDR Wohnhaas arrived in Detroit on Tuesday evening, Sept. 3.  On Wednesday morning, John McCandless, chairman, USS DETROIT BLUE & GOLD COMMITTEE, hosted a breakfast meeting at the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC), attend by committee members Gordon Cole and Jim Semerad.  From there, the group journeyed to the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority offices in Port Detroit adjacent to the Renaissance Center.  Joined by committee co-chair John Peracchio, CDR Wohnhaas was hosted by D/WCPA executive director John Jamian for an informative brief, as well as a tour of the Port Detroit facility.  Peter Berry, Harbourmaster, Port of Windsor, and Ben Bostic, D/WCPA director of security provided important information during this visit. 

At noon, CDR Wohnhass addressed members of the Detroit Rotary Club during their weekly luncheon meeting.  Afterwards, he was interviewed by Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin during a visit to the Naval Recruiting District offices in downtown Detroit.

That evening, the MetDet council hosted a cocktail reception at the DAC in honor of CDR Wohnhaas and Mrs. Barbara Levin, the ship’s sponsor.  The reception, supported by generous financial support from Quicken Loans (thanks to the efforts of committee member Beth Jones!) was attended by over 75 Navy League members and community and business leaders. 

(Left to Right) Kevin MacFarland, John McCandless,
CDR Mike Wohnhaas, Barbara Levin and Jerry Moskwa.)

A brief program, emceed by Kevin MacFarland, MetDet Council president, included remarks by Mrs. Levin and CDR Wohnhaas, as well as special plaque presentations to our guests of honor.  Special thanks to: Jerry Moskwa for preparing the plaques, handling the invitations and making all DAC arrangements; Lois MacFarland and Marcia Kuypers for handling registration duties and Lois MacFarland for providing photographic coverage that evening.

On Thursday morning, CDR Wohnhaas and John McCandless started their day with a visit with WJR’s morning show host Paul W. Smith.  An eight minute in-studio interview provided Paul’s many listeners in a multi-state area with key information on the seventh US Navy ship to bear the name DETROIT.

Detroit Historical Society CEO and Executive Director Bob Bury, along with senior curator Joel Stone, shared breakfast with CDR Wohnhaas and committee members prior to a visit to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle.  The museum recently completed an extensive renovation.  John Peracchio is leading the effort to have the museum develop an exhibit on “Ships named DETROIT”. 

Later that morning, CDR Wohnhaas and committee members were hosted by General Motors chief diversity officer Ken Barrett and committee member Doug Waite for a tour of the GM World Headquarters in the Renaissance Center.  The tour included a visit to GM’s Command Center, as well as a roof-top visit to the 39th floor of RenCen’s Tower 100.  Following the tour, CDR Wohnhaas was interviewed by Channel 4 reporter Tim Pamplin at Port Detroit.

That afternoon, committee member Mark Petroff arranged for a tremendously impressive visit to the downtown campus of Rock Ventures/Quicken Loans, led by Quicken Loans Detroit relocation ambassador Bruce Schwartz.  This company has been the driving force behind the revitalization of downtown Detroit. 

To cap the afternoon, CDR Wohnhaas met with United Way CEO Michael Brennan and his team to be briefed on the many initiatives the organization is behind to make Detroit and Southeastern Michigan a better place to live. 

Prior to departing for points East on Friday morning, CDR Wohnhaas and committee members enjoyed a casual dinner at the Bayview Yacht Club on the Detroit River.  Although the commander had switched to casual clothes for the evening, the word quickly got around that the skipper of the new Naval ship to be named DETROIT was in the clubhouse.  Many well-wishes stopped by to wish him “Fair winds and following seas!”

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