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Reunion 2014 - Colorado Springs
2014 Avel Reunion After Action Report
The AVEL Reunion in Colorado Springs was a great success. A great time was had by all. The Reunion was held at the Hotel Elegante in Colorado Springs.
The Reunion was scheduled to officially begin on Thursday August  7th but many people arrived before that. There was a lot to do in Colorado Springs so everyone wanted to take advantage of the extra time.  We opened the Registration Table on Wednesday so everyone could get their program and see the agenda.  Reunion events began on Thursday.
Thursday, 7 August 2014
The day began with Open Registration starting at 10:00. The table was manned by volunteers. We opened the Hospitality Room at that time. Russ Mason and Orbin Hall already had the room stocked with every beverage and snack you could want.
Many of our vets and guests signed up for a tour of Ft. Carson’s 4th Combat Aviation Bn. The group assembled in the lobby at 12:00 and at 12:30 we were on the bus and headed to Ft. Carson. There was no costs for this tour. We were met at the gate by Major Ruiz of the 4th CAB and he escorted the bus to the airfield and hangers. Once there we greeted by NCO’s of the Battalion and escorted out to the hanger area. They had a Chinook CH-47 and a Blackhawk UH-60 waiting for us to see. The troops were very helpful and explained the various electronics and inner workings of these ships. Many changes have taken place since we were on active service. It was a real eye opening experience.
They showed us around the hanger area ad shops. It was great to see the dedication and professionalism of these young soldiers. I believe everyone was very impressed.
At the end of our visit we were addressed by Command Sergeant Major Duchatelier Jr. He is the Brigade Sergeant Major. He presented us with a Certificate of Appreciation and each of us received a  4th Combat Aviation Brigade Challenge Coin.
We presented Major Ruiz, CSM Duchatelier and Sgt Thiebault with pocket patches of all four AVEL Companies.
Thursday ended in the Hospitality Room meeting old and new friends. The slide was played featuring over 3,000 photos of AVEL Far North, North, Central and South.
Friday, 8 August 2014
We planned a special outing for the ladies on Friday. A trip up Pike’s Peak on the Cog Railway and lunch paid for by the AVEL Reunion Committee and the donations we received. The men were invited to join but they had to pay $40.00 per person which covered the bus and the Cog Railway. The guys had to buy their own lunch!
The group formed up in the lobby at 08:00 and the bus left at 08:30. The day was clear and scenery beautiful. The temperature at the top was a cool 33 degrees with a wind chill!
Lunch was served at The Loop Restaurant in Manitou Springs. Despite the very short notice they were able to seat all 43 of us! We enjoyed a great lunch then headed back to the hotel for a quick rest before heading out to McCabe’s Tavern for dinner, drinks and music! Everyone was in a very festive mood and a good time was had by all!
Saturday, 9 August 2014
Saturday was a day of sight seeing and golf. Those who were not golfing saw the Colorado Springs area sights on their own.
The 4th Annual John Veers Martini Golf Outing was held at Ft. Carson at the Cheyenne Shadows Golf Course. John Veers was not present but he was with us in spirit! The day started with Martinis at the course out of the back of Jack McCabe’s car. Jack took John’s place as bartender this year. The Martinis were great and so was the golf.
Once again the unbeatable team of Aaron Bass, Bill Biggs, Orbin Hall and Marvin York won the Captains Choice competition. We have to switch around the teams next year!
While we were golfing Kelly Crager of the Oral History Project at Texas Tech University’s Vietnam Center and Archive visited the Hospitality Room to talk with our vets about their preservation of Vietnam history project.
The night's festivities began at 17:00 with a cash bar in the Atrium. Late arrivals were able to talk and mingle. We were honored to have the family of Harry Lance (AVEL Central 1967-1968) who passed away last year. His daughter Judy and her husband Michael Thomas and their daughter Samantha attended in Harry’s honor.
The program began at 18:00. Pete Poirier gave the opening remarks. Our guest speaker was Angel Medina, Readjustment Counselor for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. She gave a great talk and was given a standing ovation.
We then played the In Memorium video which is getting longer and longer. We the played a video of Marcus Guy playing his song “Soldier’s Song”.  The acoustics were not very good for a live performance.
Jack McCabe and Jerry Mahanay folded the Reunion Flag and Jack presented it to Pete Poirier. Dinner was then served. During dinner a few words were said by Neil and Tom McCabe.
When dinner was finished we adjourned to the Hospitality Room where a group photo was taken by Tom McCabe. In the room we enjoyed songs played by Jerry Mahanay and Marcus Guy.
Sunday, 10 August 2014
It was time to say goodbye to old and new friends for most. Some stayed on a couple days to sight see some more. As most of us headed home we reflected on our time in Vietnam and all the friends we made and renewed at this years reunion.
The 2014 Avel Reunion Attendees:
Avel Far North
John Andes & Wanda Bennett, Bill & Elaine Cameron, Keith & Sheila Marston, Pete & Mary Lee Poirier, Gary & Vada Timberlake, Marvin & Gale York
Avel North
Aaron Bass, Gary & Janice Bloedorn, Orbin & Carolyn Hall, Bud & Brigitta Parish, John Peacock, Frank & Mei Repinski, Andy Yancey
Avel Central
Frank & Elida Anzaldua, Ed & Darla Ardell, Pete & Bianca Biancalana, Bill Biggs, Gary Bishop, Dave & Patti D'Alonzo, Richard & Barbara Dees, Greg & Gayle Garrison, Dale & Marsha Link, Jerry & Debbie Mahanay, Russ & Pat Mason, Jack & Pat McCabe, David & Dee Porisch, Manny Ramos, Tony & Jean Stribling
Avel South
John Chapman, Mario & Marcella De Leon
Gary Kent (Vietnam Veteran and guest of Dave Bishop), Bill (Air Force Veteran) & Leah Snyder (guests of John Chapman),  Chuck James (Vietnam Veteran - 605th Transportation Co.), Neil (Army Veteran) & Kari McCabe (guests of Jack McCabe)
Guests attending in memory of Avel Veteran Harry Lance who passed away last year
Judy Thomas (Harry's daughter), Michael Thomas (Harry's son in law) and Samantha Thomas (Harry's granddaughter)
Tom McCabe (Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran)
Marcus Guy and his wife Betty Poirier

2014 Reunion Photographs
Marcus Guy plays "Soldier's Song"
Marcus Guy plays "Rolling Thunder"