May 2006 News Letter Alaska Via Cassiar Journal | Page 2 | Page 3 | Wyoming Antelope | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6
Reunion After Action Report
This after action report will be just a bit different than previous as I am on the road headed back to Alaska as I write this. Actually I am in a tent in the middle of Yellowstone National Park. The reunion will be included within the trip report, and it will continue on past the reunion updated as I go along and heavily illustrated with pictures since you guys like them so much. So far there are many that will make you drool<G>
First and foremost. The reunion was a complete success in my eyes. The turnout was a little lighter than I had hoped for, but for various reasons it was pre destined due to location, high fuel costs, the days it was held, all took a toll. In addition school graduations cost afew, illness cost a couple, business matters cost a couple, many at the last minute. All that is ancient history now, so onward and upward we go.
I got a rather late start to the reunion since the computer kind of screwed up, or I did , I'm not sure which but none the less it cost me a week. I was supposed to leave the Wednesday before reunion week and stop by Dave Hennards in Colorado and go fishing, zip down to Angel Fire then continue on to the reunion. Alas that didn't happen. By the time I got the computer sorted out it was the Wednesday before the reunion.
Day One May 24, 2006 Miles Traveled 600
I finally got loaded up and on the road at 9 A.M. , Mapquest said it was 756 miles to Colorado Springs, 11 hours and 56 minutes. I figured I would roll in there at 10 P.M. or so, Wrong, it's the first time I have found Map Quest to be off. At 11 P.M. I had only got to Raton NM and pulled up for the night and got a motel. I would do the last 150 miles tomorrow.
Day two broke sunshiny and bright, so around 9A.M. I headed off towards Colorado Springs. I had contemplated making a detour to Angel Fire since it was only 78 miles, but thought better of it since it was the opposite direction. I found a sign leaving town that said Sugarite Canyon State Park 5 miles, so I decided to check that out. It sets on a high Messa just east of town. There is a lake there with some descent trout in it,and a pretty good campground. With a good four wheel drive you could take the forest road on into Colorado and come in the backside of Trinidad, but I opted to not even try it.
By 11 A.M. I had seen all I wanted to see and began the trek on to Colorado Springs arriving at 3 P.M. at the reunion hotel the Silverwood. It is a good hotel, owned by a Vietnam helicopter pilot who bent over backwards to see we had a first rate time. Free Breakfast from 6:30 until 10. Free happy hour from 5 til 7, how much better could it be.
My room mate Bobby Lafond had forgot how to read a calendar, so he had arrived on Wednesday and was already checked in. Larry Kerr and his family had arrived earlier in the day and was off stocking up the hospitality room, so I unloaded everything until they returned. That evening we all got together to work the bugs out of the
reunion, get name tags sorted out and even visited for a bit, until the wee hours.
Thursday people began to trickle in. Bert Rice arrived about noon, so we took off to meet Candyce Thomas, the wife of Roy Thomas who was KIA 10 May 69 in my old aircraft, 085. It was an emotional time, but a good time. She has never remarried but her son Troy has been her life since Roy was killed. He is a Colonel in the Air Force stationed in Virginia. He tried his best to make this event but duty kept him away. She would very much like to talk to George Conger, so George if your reading this , please contact her.
This was a rat race, with people checking in, picking up some at the airport, sorting out rosters,still working out itinerary items. It seemed everything was in chaos,but it was all going together even though much of it was on the fly. Much of the day and early evening was spent visiting either in the hospitality room or in the local pub. Again it was a late night.
Day Five ,(and six) is brought to you from a pick nick table at Black Bear camp ground at the base of Skalkaho Pass near Hamilton Montana, my old stomping grounds.
Day five began with breakfast in the restaurant as usual. Since it was to be pretty much a free day people went their own ways as far as site seeing went. Michelle Comerford, her brother David, Joe Reale and his wife undertook the three hour trek back to Angel Fire New Mexico to the Vietnam Memorial. Others went by train to the top of Pikes Peak and others chose to drive. Several of the others ventured south of town to visit the old Cliff Dweller ruins.
Early in the evening Tony Lazarinni gave us a sneak preview of a documentary he is working on about gunners in Vietnam. It was very very good. It will be entered in film festivals around the country in the coming months, and it will be available to us soon in pre production form so stay tuned on its progress and availability.
After the viewing, it was time for dinner, so we all went to the hotel restaurant as usual. By 8 P.M. we were getting ready to venture up to the Cave of the Winds for the Lazer Light show . It lasted about an hour and it was way cool, with the lazer lights bouncing all over the canyon walls choreographed to a mixture of patriotic and rock music
This was the day of the big event, but we still hadn't taken care of the Memorial Service. At noon myself, Bert Rice, Dave Hennard, and George Smith put our heads together to get it sorted out.
The business meeting was held and it was decided that the next reunion would be held in San Antonio over Veterans Day 2008. The particulars will be in the minutes that follow.
Mike Linn was supposed to have brought us the last remaining blank Diamondhead Bell to be used for the service, which would later have all of our KIA's names engraved on to it, but business at the last minute sent him to Chicago, so the bell became AWOL. Andy had a friend in Gunnison with a brass bell so he drove the three and a half hours in the nick of time to get it to us. Bert Rice gave the invocation, Dave Hennard gave a stirring Memorial sermon which was highlighted with the bag pipe rendition of Lay Me Down In the Cold Cold Ground from the We Were Soldiers soundtrack. By the conclusion there wasn't a dry eye.
George Smith read the names of our KIA's one at a time, and as he finished each I clanged the bell. There were moments when it became hard, and his voice was broken, but somehow George was able to pull himself back together and continue on, Kirksey and Tex Williams were close friends of Georges and .any others of us that were there.
Somewhere during the day the members that were there had taken up a collection to go towards the web page, but Larry Kerr had attached some strings. I had to do 10 pushups to get it, so I just knocked them out as everyone counted them off and to their surprise I managed them quite nicely, but I am glad it wasn't 20<G>. For those of you that contributed I thank you, it will make more things possible in the future.
For this years reunion I designed a challenge coin that was given to those that attended. It is the division aviation crest in color on the front with the white wing and lightning bolt laid on a blue background. It states around the edge 25thAviation Battalion 1966-1970. On the reverse side is an action shot of a Huey in the center and around the edge it stated Reunion Colorado Springs. For those of you that didn't attend and want one contact me, they are ten dollars and the proceeds go into the reunion kitty for next reunion.
After dinner the DJ played many of our favorite tunes, and with the help of the Kerr gals and Michelle Comerford the dance floor lit up. Tony Lazarinni has to win the iron man award for his performance on the dance floor. By eleven we had had enough and returned ot our rooms, or the die hards back to the hospitality room.
Departure day, many had to catch early flights, so it was a day of unwinding and last farewells. It had been a lot of fun and a total success. Not one unfavorable word have I heard.
May 28, 2006
Larry Kerr Vice President initiated meeting w/ a welcome to new and old members.
Called for the minutes of previous meeting to be read, however the minutes for the last meeting are missing, believed to be in the possession of the current President Justin Miller.
Upon memory the major employments of the last meeting where the
Ass. Name change & 2yr. Reunions.
Andy Asberry motioned that the minutes be approved
Jan Moore 2nd
Called for Treasures report; Tom Fickle Treasure
Short discussion of reunion costs: beer, rooms, & banquet.
See attached pg. for over view.
George Smith motioned to accept Treasurers Report
Dave Henard 2nd motion
Called for Secretaries Report; Ron Leonard Secretary & Webmaster
Discussed the upkeep & donations required for the webpage maintained.
Chet Atkins motions to create a committee to research & create Chart & Bylaws. Committee to be selected by the incoming officers.
David Henard 2nd motion.
Motion to create committee to see to the needs of webpage & other items passed.
Discussion of future location & date of reunion.
Ben Brint motioned to hold the next reunion in San Antonio, Tx.
Matthew McClynn 2nd motion
Michelle Comerford motioned to hold the reunion on Veterans Day weekend,( Nov.11, 2006) or earlier.
Ben Brint 2nd Motion
Election of new officers
Election of President
Gary Paris Nominated Larry Kerr
George Smith 2nd motion
Election of Vice President
Andy Asberry Nominated Bert Rice
Dave Hennard 2nd motion
Election of Treasurer
Bert Rice nominated George Smith
Ron Leonard 2nd motion
Election of Secretary
Larry Kerr Nominated Ron Leonard
George 2nd motion
Charter Committee Members are:
( All members volunteered)
Those attending this years reunion were:
ANDREW E CARR, AND WIFE, ANDY ASBERRY, BEN B BRINT, BERT L RICE, CANDYCE D THOMAS, HONORARY MEMBER WIDOW OF ROY STEPHEN THOMAS KIA PILOT 5/10/1969 DH,CHARLES E. MITCHELL, RON LEONARD, LARRY MUNTZ, GARY EDDY AND WIFE, DAVE HENNARD AND WIFE ,HAROLD DYE, GARY PARIS, LARRY KERR WIFE AND 2 DAUGHTERS, JOHN LAWLOR, TONY LAZARINNI AND WIFE, CHARLES ROGERS AND 2 DAUGHTERS, GEORGE SMITH, MICHELLE COMERFORD AND BROTHER DAVID, JOHN SIMMS, LARRY MUNTZ, MATTHEW MCLYNNE AND WIFE,JOE REALE AND WIFE, JAN MOORE and wife, ROBERT LAFOND, CHET ATKINS,TOM FICKLE AND WIFE, GARY MEAGHER AND WIFE, GERALD FRITZ, (Guest of Larry Muntz), LARRY RACHELLA,