Mini Reunions

Posted on June 25, 2011

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This year (2011) Carol and I will attend two mini reunions. The first is Charlie Troops mini reunion to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are going because there will be several Troopers there that I have not met personally. These mini reunions are held every two years in various locations. This gives those, who for one reason or another, cannot attend the normal reunion a chance to get together with other Charlie Troopers. Now that Charlie Troop has decided to move their reunions around more and more will be able to attend. Next year we will get together in Texas. There are a lot of Charlie Troopers who will be attending that one that once again couldn’t make the reunions that had been held in Alabama and most recently Georgia. It will be good to get to meet those.

The second mini reunion is the one I set up. Phil Merritt gave me the a suggestion on the location. It will be held at the Unicoi State Park in Northern Georgia. I call it a mini Blue’s Reunion because everyone attending will be a Former Blue Platoon member. Many of those attending this reunion it will be their first. This means it will be the first time that these men have seen each other or the few of us that have attended other reunions in over 42 years. It is a small reunion of about 8 couples. Several of these men said they would attend because it is so small.

I can attest to the fact that seeing others after such a long time. It is a nerve-racking experience for many. Once the person gets to the reunion it only takes 30 seconds for the nerves to settle down and the feeling of “I need to make more of these” to overcome the nervousness. I am hoping three things will come out of this. One, the men will want to continue holding the Blue’s Mini Reunion. They will, whenever possible, start making the Charlie Troop Reunions, and by putting our heads together, we can find more Blues and encourage them to start making the reunions.

I will add to this Post when the reunion is over.

We just attended the Charlie Troop reunion in Indianapolis. I was leery about going because I knew most of the people there were Pilots and Crew Chiefs and me being an Infantryman I wasn’t sure how I’d fit in. Most of these men and ladies I had never met before and that made me a little more leery.

First, this was the best reunion I have attended. Lew Robinson did an awesome job at putting this together. Lew is the son of William Cahill one of our men who were  Killed in Action. Lew never got to meet his dad. Lew’s family was great also.

Secondly, these men and women I had never met before are the greatest people. It took five seconds and Carol and I both felt right at home. God bless them all. Carol and I can not wait until the next time that we can get together with them.

Thirdly, there were a few men there that I had met before. Walt Titchenell and his lovely wife Mary Alice were there. Greg Jayne I had known before but that was 43 years ago. His lovely wife, Lisa, was there as well. Greg was an Infantryman as well. So were Gary Farmer and Reb Herron. They had served before and after me in C Troop as Infantrymen.

Let me try to list all who attended: Me and Carol, Mark and Kim Hilton, Greg and Lisa Jayne,

 Fred (Mother) and Barb Joles, Bob and Debbie Andrews, Ron and Belinda Beyers, Bruce Campbell, Nate and Tiz Shafer, Brian and Kathy Holcomb, Jim and Barb Hohman, Galen and Ilah Rosher, Cecelia Vaught ( sister of David Dzwigalski), Gary Farmer, Stephen and Virginia DaCosta, Richard “Reb” Herron, Walt “Titch”and Mary Alice Titchenell, Lew Robinson and Family. Left before we got there: Walker Jones, Russ and Rena Russell, Ron McKiddy. Frank and (SP) Rain McKinnon from HHT also came.

If you haven’t made a reunion before make the next one that your unit holds.

More to come after the Blues Mini-Reunion in September.

When I first joined the Bullwhip Squadron Association and started to reconnect with Charlie Troopers, the one thing I noticed was there wasn’t any Blues (infantrymen) on the website. I started to look up other Blues and encourage them to make a reunion. I was somewhat successful by getting Doc Hipple to attend one and then Jerry Duckworth and Bob Fellin to attend another. I realized that a lot of us were somewhat anxious to be in big crowds and maybe even to re-meet others we served with. At the reunion in Columbus, Ga in 2010 Bob, Jerry and I talked about holding a Blues Mini reunion. One where everyone knew each other. We wanted to keep it small. I contacted all the Blues I could find and set up the Reunion in Northern Georgia. I asked a Blue ( and one helluva good guy) who served in 1966-1967 to attend. I also asked a Pilot (and the founder of our organization to attend. Now he was a Pilot but he is one good guy. We also asked a Blue from the 1970 -1971 era to attend because he had served three tours with 1/9th Cav and he deserved to come to our reunion.  I had asked a few more to attend but did not receive replies.

The Blue’s Mini Reunion was held from  September the 15th through the 17th with people departing on the 18th. Myself, my wife Carol, Phil and Brenda Merritt, Edd Cyphers, Greg and Lisa Jayne and Tom and Karen Betts arrived on the 14th to get things going. On the 15th Claude and Jean Singletary arrived, On Friday Walker Jones, Jerry Duckworth and Pete and Gail Guthrie arrived. Last but certainly not least Richard “Reb” Herron arrived on Saturday.

There was a lot of reminiscing and a whole lot of laughter going on. We had nothing planned except to reconnect with each other. After all it had been 42 or 43 years since we had last seen each other. I wanted this to be a reunion where everyone could relax and mingle. It worked very well. You would see this guy with these two guys and next he would be with three or four other guys.

We had a small cookout the first night. Just Brats, Italian Sausage and hamburgers. Each morning we had breakfast at the Troop Headquarters which was cabin B3. This is where we spent most of the time talking and laughing.

On Saturday we had a Steak cookout. Peter Guthrie was the Blue Platoon platoon Leader for over 16 months. during this time, Charlie Troop never lost a Blue to being Killed In Action. To honor Pete for this after dinner he was called to the head of the table. We had all of the Charlie Troop Blues who served under Pete stand and come towards the front. I began to read a proclamation. As I finished the first part, Phil Merritt stepped forward and presented Pete with a plaque that we had made. Then I started to finish the second part of the proclamation but my feelings got into the way so I had Greg finish it. At this time Claude Singletary and Edd Cyphers stepped forward and presented Pete with a Saber and Scabbard.  Then each one of us took a minute or two to talk about Pete. Then it was Pete’s turn. We all truly believe that he was amazed that we all felt that way about him and still do today.

As always the reunion was a complete success. Everyone was talking about making the next reunion next year in Texas. We the Blues of Charlie Troop realized that the bond we had forged 42 and 43 years before was still as strong today as it was back then.

One point that I must make perfectly clear. The beautiful, gracious and wonderful ladies that attend brought a great amount of dignity to the reunion and a lot of pride to their husbands. The woman bonded quickly as they realized that they now had someone who had put up with the same hardships as they did. Being a wife to a Vietnam Vet is not easy. Not all women can do it. These ladies had been doing it for the past 41 or more years. Not only are they all beautiful but they are all Troopers, Charlie Troopers.

   Claude and Jean            Greg and Lisa         Pat and Carol          Pete and Gail         Phil and Brenda        Tom and Karen  Edd and Phil  Jerry and Me

   Reb in Brown Shirt

 The Men and The Ladies

 Reading of the Proclamation

  Presentation of the Plaque

 Presentation of the Saber

  The Blues and the Man

Carol, Rena, Gail, Brenda, Jean and Karen

   Sharing a Laugh

 Phil, Walker, Tom, Pat,Edd

  Sharing old photographs

  Carol, Rena, Gail, Brenda, Jean and Karen

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Posted in: Reunions