Reunion 2015 Report
This was a great reunion! I think I can speak for everyone that a great time was had by all. We had a total of 94 people attend this reunion. Several newcomers and many repeat attendees.
The reunion began on Wednesday with the early arrivals. Russ and Jerry setup the Hospitality Room in preparation for the pending arrivals. Needless to say, there was enough refreshments available for all!
Thursday, 15 October 2015
Open Registration began at 10:00 in the Hospitality Room
Car Pool Excursion to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
Pat Mason was able to negotiate a greatly reduced price for all who wanted to attend. Attendees assembled in the lobby at 10:30 and car pooled to Magnolia Plantation.
The Hospitality Room was open for general registration and socializing from 10:30-18:00. It then closed for dinner and reopened at 20:00 until 24:00. A great time was had by all.
Many of the group drove into Charleston to explore and enjoy the local sites.
Many of the attendees ate dinner at D.D. Peckers for good southern cooking.
Friday, 16 October 2015
The Hospitality Room was open for general registration and socializing from 10:30-16:00. It then closed for dinner and reopened at 21:00 until 24:00. A great time was had by all.
Marine Corps Boot Camp Graduation at Parris Island
A group of attendees car pooled down to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Paris Island to watch a graduation.
Saturday, 17 October 2015
The Hospitality Room was open for general registration and socializing from 10:30-16:00. It then closed for the annual banquet and reopened after the banquet was over.
John Veers Martini Golf Outing
The golfers in the group enjoyed a friendly round of golf which included an early round of John Veers’ famous Martinis. John was well know throughout Vietnam for his expertise in making the perfect Martini even under rocket attack!
The non-golfers in the group enjoyed a leisurely day or exploring Charleston.
Annual AVEL Banquet
The Banquet began at 17:00 with a cash bar. Everyone had a good time chatting until 18:00 when Russ called the group to order.
The opening remarks were made by Pete Poirier who welcomed everyone to Charleston.
Roger Shiley spoke to the group about how we were exposed to Agent Orange and everyone needs to be in the VA system.
Pete then introduced all of the Non-AVEL Vietnam vets in attendance. They included John Bishop (147thHelicopter Co., Vietnam), Tom McCabe (Marine Vietnam Veteran, retired L. Col.), Dalton Horne (Air Force Vietnam veteran crew member on “Spooky” gun ship), Chuck James (605thTransportation Co., Sarah Chapman (U.S. Navy Veteran).
Russ then introduced out special guests. We had two Donut Dollies in attendance and what an honor it was have them at the reunion. Barbara “Bobbi” Stephens and Roseann Johnson. Bobbi served in Bien Hoa, Da Nang and Cam Ranh bay from 1969—1970. Roseann served in Bien Hoa and Da Nang from 1969-1970.
We presented Bobbi and Roseann with a special shadow box to show our appreciation for their service. Thank you girls for all you did for us!
Pete then introduced out guest speaker Joe Lysaght. Joe is an Air Force Vietnam Veterans and a strong advocate through the American Legion for veterans benefits. His talk was very informative about disability claims and appeals.
Jack payed the In Memoriam slide show then led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Jerry and Jack folded the flag for presentation to an AVEL Veteran who contributed to the Esprit de Corps that exists today. The first flag was presented to Dennis Kanetake in 2013 in Washington DC. Last year it went to Pete Poirier in Colorado Springs.
This year the flag was presented to Bob Madore whose spirit and positive attitude is an inspiration to us all.
Greg Garrison led us in a prayer and then dinner was served.
After the Banquet we adjourned to the Hospitality Room. Tom McCabe set up his backdrop and took formal portraits for all who wanted them. He did this a no charge and sent everyone a disc with their formals and all the other photos he took at the reunion.
After a few more cocktail and conversation the Reunion ended until next year.