All Avel Reunion 2012 After Action Report
The 2012 Reunion was filled with fun, laughter and great meaning to all those that attended. Words cannot describe the feeling of seeing your old Vietnam friends for the first time in 40+years! If you haven’t been to a reunion I strongly encourage you to attend next years in Washington DC!
This year all the Avel/Maintenance Companies were in attendance. It was a lot of fun to share our experiences as it was truly a throw of the dice where we were assigned when we arrived in Vietnam.
The reunion was held at the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino, 4111 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas, NV 89121. Our point person at the hotel was Mandy Morgan. Mandy did a fantastic job and took care of all the old vets who attended. The staff at the hotel was most accommodating and bent over backyards to take care of our every need. A big “atta boy” to Brandy and her staff!
Our Reunion Committee consisted of, Jerry Mahanay, Russ Mason and Jack McCabe. They worked hard to make this a great reunion.
Thursday 11 October 2012
The hotel gave us a hospitality suite on the 16th floor to use for our Meet & Greet room and general meeting room. Set up started on Thursday morning. Jerry and Jack went to Walmart and a liquor store to get stock for the room. They had to go back after the first day as the stock was depleted!
Roger Shiley (who could not attend) contributed $250 for the refreshment fund. Dennis Kanetake contributed Hawaiian snacks and sweets for the room and everyone loved them! Thanks guys!
A registration table was set up in the lobby and greeted everyone as they arrived. Everyone received an envelope that contained their reunion ID badge, reunion itinerary, gold outing information, a P-38 can opener, Vietnam key chain and Vietnam Vet luggage tag. Dawn Blatt made the key chains and Jack McCabe donated the P-38s and luggage tags.
The registration table was manned by Jack McCabe, Jerry & Debbie Mahanay, Greg & Gayle Garrison, Mike & Dawn Blatt and Dennis Kanetake.
A slide show of all the photos (approx. 1,860) that were sent in from all the Avel Companies was playing in the hospitality suite. Everyone had a great time talking and sharing laughs of old times.
Friday 12 October 2012
Our diehard golfers left early for the Second Annual John Veers Martini Golf Outing. It turned out to be a beautiful day and the veteran team of Bill Biggs, Marvin York, Orbin Hall and Aaron Bass retained their title of Avel Champion! The routed team of Ed & Darla Ardell, Jerry Mahanay and Jack McCabe were forced to buy drinks for the winners.
The rest of the day was spent exploring Las Vegas or chatting and reminiscing in the hospitality suite. I think I can speak for everyone and say we all had a great time.
Friday evening a large group of Vets and wives had dinner in the Cucina Cucina Restaurant in the hotel where we all celebrated Russ mason’s “Birthday”!
Saturday 13 October 2012
Many people explored Las Vegas on their own and some stayed in the hospitality suite chatting with old and new friends.
The banquet was held in the hotel in the Chardonnay Room. There was a cash bar that opened at 6:00 PM. At 7:00 we started with the speakers.
Opening remarks were given by Russ Mason. He gave us a warm welcome to Las Vegas.
Robert Madore gave a talk about the importance of the work we did keeping the communications going. Bob served a previous tour as a dustoff pilot. He gave us a view from the other side. We never saw the results of our work and how important it was in order for the flying crews to accomplish their mission.
Jack McCabe thanked all involved for their hard work in the planning and execution of the reunion. He singled out our brothers who made the Army (1 Navy) a career and thanked them for their service to our country.
Brigitta Parish read a beautiful poem that she wrote about Vietnam Vets. The poem is displayed in the link below. Thank you Brigitta!
Jack McCabe finished by talking about the next reunion in Washington DC and how we, the veterans of Vietnam are beginning to die off at an alarming rate and how important it is to attend the reunions. The video saluting our dead was then played.
The slide show then played and we all had dinner and shared last memories.
Sunday 14 October 2012
Everyone said their goodbyes and headed home.
Until next year my friends – WELCOME HOME!
The 2012 Avel Reunion Attendees
Avel Far North/263rd LEM
Bill & Elaine Cameron, Ricky & Kathy Elias, Bud & Sue Gill, Pete & Mary Lee Poirier, Graham Weiland & his daughter Megan and friend John and Marvin & Gale York
Avel North/614th LEM
David Abrahams & daughter Rachel, Paul Barnett, Aaron & Judy Bass, Leon Chlebowski, Ivan Christensen, Jim & Patti Conway, Orbin & Carolyn Hall, Jerry Hicks, Richard Kelleher, Bud & Gitta Parish, John Peacock, Frank & Mei Repinski and Andy Yancey.
Ed & Darla Ardell, Warren Beneville & Monica Tervoort, Pete & Bianca Biancalana, Bill Biggs & his buddy Mark Potter, Mike & Dawn Blatt, Gary Clark, Dennis Cole, Manny & Esthe Coronel, Dale Garringer, Greg & Gayle Garrison, Dennis Kanetake, Bob Madore, Jerry & Debbie Mahanay, Russ & Pat Masosn, Jack McCabe, Randy Means, Manny Ramos, Bob Rhine, Rodney Shimabakuro and Tony & Jean Stribling.
Avel South/317th LEM
Dimitri (James) Gurkweitz, Roger & Margaret Kientz, Dave & Karen Lyons, Ted Schwalm and Jon & Rose Velikanje.