Members of the 191st Assault Helicopter Company:
While I don't quite know where to start with the story of the fantastic Reunion we all just experienced, I'd like to point out to those that were unable to attend what a wonderful experience it was. We have two years to get ready for the next one, and we who were there challenge you to be there next time.
Thursday dawned a rainy, dreary day, but the activities were all scheduled indoors around the Hospitality Room. All day long, one by one, the Vets of the 191st arrived. There were handshakes, and slaps on the back, and unless I imagined it, a misty eye or two could be observed. We were blessed that so many who had formed the unit in the States, and deployed it to Vietnam were able to attend. The lessons they learned, and the character they imparted to the Unit stood the 191st well during it's entire service in Vietnam. But on that rainy Thursday, the Brotherhood of the 191st met again, and it mattered little who served first or last.
Friday was a cool and cloudy day, perfect for our expedition to Fort McHenry. After a short forced march from the hotel to the Inner Harbor, we boarded water taxis and after a pleasant ride on the water, arrived at the Fort. There we were treated to a film by the Park Service on the History of the Star Spangled Banner, and then proceeded to walk the steps of our forebears who resisted the British shelling of the fort for nearly twenty-four hours. One could stand on the ramparts, and imagine what it must have been like to see those British Men of War positioning to the South.
Our visit to the Fort concluded, we again boarded water Taxi's and were delivered to Fell's Point. There we found charming pubs and intimate restaurants to refresh ourselves. That done, we proceeded back to the Inner Harbor. Some took an opportunity to see the sights there, some made their way back to their rooms, and some met again in the Hospitality Room.
Around Five-Thirty, we again took the water Taxi's to the Museum of Industry and the pavilion there for a Barbeque prepared by Paul Zawicki, our host. Helping him were his wife Connie, Helly and Richard Wilkinson, and the members of the Downtown Sailing Center. The members of the Sailing Center also afforded the opportunity to sail with them on the Inner Harbor. We are indeed grateful to Paul Zawicki for putting together such a fine evening and a Reunion to remember. We are indebted as well to Paul's friends at the Downtown Sailing Center for their hard work, and support.
Now for Saturday. The day began with a Memorial Service for the 191st Lost. The service was officiated by Fathers Ken Strawhand and Ed Meeks. Father Ed's sermon about the importance of the Jesus Nut was both profound, and fitting for those gathered. Following the sermon, the names of the lost were read by Father Ken, and a candle for each was lighted by members of the Unit.
Following the Memorial Service, a short business meeting was held. The members present decided the following:
1) The next reunion will be held in two years.
2) There is no interest in forming an association or corporation.
3) Locations suggested for the reunion are:
San Antonio, Texas
Wright Patterson AFB
Kansas City, Missouri
4) A committee was named to decide the next reunion site:
Following the business meeting, some thirty noses by my count boarded a bus bound for Washington, DC, and a visit to the Wall. Rations in the form of sandwiches, water, sodas, and beer were packed on that bus as well. Orders were given that should any of the party be captured by hostiles, the rest would proclaim they were all from the First Cav. These measures were unneeded however, and all returned on time and without mishap. Those who made the bus trip noted that Washington, DC, and the Wall were something to see.
Meanwhile, the Hospitality Room was busy with slides on a screen, and remembrances of times gone by.
Then, in the evening, came the banquet. Paul Zawicki, our host, welcomed all. Jack Tiesing explained the missing man table set near the front. Don Williams recited Shakespeare's St. Chrispen's Day speech. We truly are "We Few, we happy few, we band of brothers." Following that, we again remembered the names of the 191st fallen, and Father Bud Reick gave the blessing for our repast.
We ate our share of remarkably good hotel fare, shared time with friends, and then were visited by an address from General Stanley Cherrie, who remembered old times, and new.
Following that, there was dancing and merry making with the help of the DJ crew. There was even a visit from the Village People circa 2002, and the Munchkins came to see a General.
If you were there, you saw all this unfold. If you missed this, you want to come next time, don't you?
There will be pictures here as soon as time permits.
Meanwhile, be well my Brothers of the 191st.
Left to Right - Front Row: Larry Miller, Pat Boyd, Gordon Hahn, James Fouse, Joe Esparza, Roger Barkley, Harold Stitt, Paul Vitale, Jerry Kahn, "Country" Fleming, Stephen Roccabello, Ed McKee, Bill Flores.
Left to Right - Back Row: Paul Zawicki, Bill Janes, Bill Sawls, Don Sandrock, Stan Cherrie, Tom Rathge, Harrell Guidry, Art Almarez, Jack Lammers, Bud Patnode, Jack Tiesing, Glenn Phenicie, Bob Kund, August Kraemer, Terry Wilund, Bob Hopkins, Don Williams, Gary Crossland, "Dee" Kennedy
Harold Stitt, Stan Cherrie, Bud Patnode, Dee Kennedy
More Reunion Pictures