709th Maint. Bn. & 99th CSB Assoc.

2011 Reunion Photos

&

2011 Reunion After Action Report

2011  709th & 99th Reunion Photos

Page 1

By Stev Fetty

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2011  709th & 99th Reunion Photos

Page 2

By Steve Fetty

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2011  709th & 99th Reunion Photos

Page 3

By Steve Fetty

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2011  709th & 99th Reunion Photos

By Tony Stabinsky

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2011  709th & 99th Reunion Photos

By Mike Palmeri

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2011 Reunion After Action Report

&

Thank You Notes Below

2011 REUNION RECAP

(From Jim Bury, Assoc. President) 

 

2011 REUNIONóPRESIDENTíS RECAP LETTER

Following is a recap of our Associationís recently completed 2011 reunion. The reunion was held at the countryside home of Dean and Kathy Ayres, about 25 miles north of Baltimore, MD. This has been the site of many of our reunions and was, once again, a fun, energizing and memorable event.

Wednesday 9/14/11

A number of 709th and 99th veterans and guests began to gather at the home of Dean and Kathy Ayres on Wednesday afternoon September 14th for the 7th Reunion of the 709th/99th Association. It was a warm, sunny day as the visiting and reminiscing began. At 6PM dinner was servedógrilled pork loin, scalloped potatoes, broccoli salad, baked beans with bacon and grilled garlic bread. As usual, coffee, soft drinks, beer, wine and selected liquors were available throughout all 4 days of the reunion.

Later in the evening the weather turned cooler and a light rain fell, but that did not dampen our spirits or our zeal to remember the past as about 50 of us enjoyed the evening. As usual, many of us "hit the sackí early this first evening as many traveled long distances to get to the reunion and were tired. We were very excited that a number of "first timers" arrived and we expected even more to arrive the next 3days. 

Thursday 9/15/11

Thursday opened warm and cloudy with forecasts of a cold, wet and windy evening. Many more arrived during the day and by evening we had over 70 enjoying the reunion.

Noon chow included deli-sliced ham and turkey on a Kaiser roll, coleslaw and pasta salad. The afternoon was filled with boisterous recollections of our Vietnam exploits and also filled with many tears as more "first-timers" arrived. It was also fun to watch wives and other non-veterans bond and visit. It is obvious they look forward to these reunions as much as Association members do.

By dinner, the weather forecast came to fruition and thunder, lightning, rain and wind caused many to take shelter in the garage and other buildings. Dinner included delicious grilled chicken, hot potato salad and green beans. Later, in the garage due to weather, Jack DeLong presented an interesting historical perspective on the Civil War and the Battle of Gettysburg. Jack covered a number of general topics, political events and Civil War history, generally covering the early 1800ís up to and thru the early years of the war. Jack presented extremely interesting information on strengths and weaknesses of the North and South forces, leadership and tactics. In an extremely interesting wrap-up, he displayed a reproduction model of a Civil War musket, and discussed its use and effectiveness. Jackís presentation was an introduction to the Friday bus trip to Gettysburg, since we would be spending just 1 day there while normally it takes at least 3 days to adequately cover the battle and its effect on the war.

Following Jackís presentation, John Westbrook spoke briefly of his family ancestry dating back to the Civil War and slavery period. He gave a stirring account of how he, a young black officer in Vietnam, had been apprehensive for some time about attending 709th/99th reunions but found that he "fit right in".

During Jackís presentation, the weather calmed down, and by the time we started back to the hotel from Deanís, skies had cleared, wind subsided and stars filled the skies. It was a beautiful evening. 

Friday 9/16/11

At 7:30AM about 50 of us loaded the bus for a trip to Gettysburg National Military Park. Our favorite driver, Howie, greeted us with his usual big smile and announcements. During the 1 hour and 15 minute bus ride Kenny Foss covered day 1 of the 3-day battle in preparation for our battlefield tour, which would generally cover only day 2 of the 3-day battle.

Our first stop was at the museum where highlights included the Cycloramaís vivid depiction of the famous Pickettís Charge and tremendous displays on Civil War period history, equipment and artifacts. We then met our guide, a 30-year Air Force retiree with 133 B-52 missions as a pilot in Vietnam, where he said he specialized in "small earthquakes." After a preliminary view of the battlefield and box lunches in a nice secluded picnic area, we embarked on an extensive tour of the battlefield. We made numerous stops to stand on ground where, on Day 2 of the battle, some of the most savage fighting ever encountered by the US military took place.

Our guide displayed tremendous knowledge and gave us numerous, interesting accounts of specific skirmishes, tactics and results. He related many stories of individual and unit heroism as well as the tremendous confusion and chaos during the battle, largely due to excessive smoke from canon fire, close quarter musket fire, hand-to-hand combat, poor maps and communications, and the numerous casualties suffered by officers. We spent all day on the battlefield, leaving at about 4:30PM. It was a visit I will long remember.

We arrived back at the hotel about 5:45PM, which gave us all time to freshen up and head to Deanís for the evening meal and camaraderie.

Those that did not go on the Gettysburg trip, lunched at Deanís on tuna salad, chicken salad, and leftovers from the previous day. Or they used the time to do some personal sight seeing and shopping nearby.

Dinner included sweet Italian sausage, sliced pit beef, coleslaw, baked beans and scalloped potatoes. 

Saturday 9/17/11

A light drizzle lasted most of the day, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm for visiting and reminiscing.

Many of us met at Deanís by 10AM in anticipation of meeting a number of "wounded warriors" from Bethesda Naval Hospital who were invited to spend the day. The wet, cold conditions likely caused them to "no-show."

At noon we had lunch of grilled hamburgers and coleslaw, and 1:30-2:45 we held the annual Association meeting, minutes of which will be posted on the website. In general, we voted to hold the next reunion at Deanís about the same time next year. Mike Palmeri was voted Vice President and I succeeded Wendell Schafer as President. As a reminder, our bylaws call for the President to serve 2 years and then the Vice President moves up. We all applauded Wendell for his work as President.

Following the Association meeting, Kenny Foss led Soldier Stories from 3:15-5:30pm. He asked all who were at their first reunion to introduce themselves and to share whatever they wished. As usual, we enjoyed many storiesóhumorous as well as emotionalómany of us were misty-eyed.

Due to the all-day drizzle, hayrides were cancelled, and at 6:30pm Dean served the last eveningís dinner--New York strip steak, potatoes, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, broiled mushrooms and onions, and buttered asparagus. It was DELICIOUS!!!!!!!

Around 8:30 we were entertained by a stunning fireworks display accompanied by patriotic music. The closing ceremony followed with thanks to those who helped make this reunion another huge success, a tribute to the 709th/99th brothers who died in Vietnam, and a closing prayer.

After thatóit was smiles, handshakes, hugs, bids of a safe trip home and goodbyes and "see you next year." 

Personal thoughts

Many of you asked for a copy of the prayer that I read at the closing ceremony.

A VETERAN"S PRAYER

Lord God, we give you thanks for the opportunity we have had to meet together as fellow veterans who have served our beloved nation.

We thank you for the times of fun and companionship we have enjoyed. Now, as we are about to leave one another, we would remember those who are not with us today.

Be with those who are in despair and those who are lonely. Comfort and strengthen them with your presence. Inspire us, O Lord, to continue to seek peace in our world, peace with compassion and justice.

And may we be ever ready to serve others and to serve you, even as we have served our nation. Amen.

At the risk of overlooking others, I would like to personally single out a few people from this reunion:

-Dean and Kathy Ayres for their spectacular hospitality

-Steve Fetty for his relentless computer work--turning out various lists, pictures and helping many members search for brothers

-Jack DeLong for his presentation on the Civil War and Gettysburg Battle, as well as planning and coordinating the Gettysburg bus trip

-Kenny Foss for his mastery in getting "the best" out of Soldier Stories

-Deanís cooking crew, including brother Tony Stabinsky, who helped prepare the delicious food for 4 days.

Personally, the reunion was a high for me. I reconnected with 3 brothers from the pastóBob Bahl, who I last saw in Dong Tam in August 1968; Frank Stapleton, who I last saw 20 years ago at Aberdeen Proving Ground; and Don Wellen, who I last saw at Bearcat in 1968. In addition, I met for the first time Ron Tichy who lives 40 miles from my cabin in northern Minnesota.

A big WELCOME to a dozen brothers who joined us for the 1st time, largely the result of members getting the word out, twisting arms and telling brothers what a great time they can expect at our reunions. In addition, our Always Able website was a factor in adding FNGís. Be sure to visit the website frequently to look for updates. In addition, we encourage you to write your "Soldier Story" and send it and pictures to Dean Ayres for inclusion on the webpage. We have had children and grandchildren of our brothers requesting any information we have on their loved ones. The website is a terrific place to record your story and pictures.

To those of you who have attended our reunions, thank you for your active participation in our Association and adding to the camaraderie we enjoy. You are the Old Reliables-the Always Able-the Active Support!!!

To those of you have not been to a reunion, I encourage you to take that step forward and attend one as soon as possible. We are not getting any younger. You will laugh and cry, be taken back 40 years during Soldier Stories, have personal conversations around the tables, enjoy terrific meals and take bus trips to interesting destinations. But more importantly, you will partake of the camaraderie and spirit of your "band of brothers."

And it is easy to get to reunions at Dean Ayresí place. This was the 3rd reunion I attended at Deanís and this time I did not rent a car. From the BWI terminal, the light rail stops within 5 blocks from the Comfort Inn and 2 blocks from the new Marriott Residence Innóthe 2 hotels most of us stay at. Itís a 75-minute ride and costs seniors 65 cents. And there are always plenty of rides available to ride "shotgun" to and from Deanís.

God bless, good health and I hope to C-U at next yearís reunion!!

Jim Bury 9-22-2011

709th HQ&A 67-68

Association President

 

What a great time Ruth and I had. Thanks Wilson for all that you and your family do to make the REUNION what it is. It is a shame that some, had to miss such a great time. After the side trip to Buffalo with Bob Bahl to visit with his Cousin and see where he grew up we hooked up with Billy Bommer for more fellow ship. We got home last night (9/25) Total trip 3702 miles, with only 1 scratch, happened leaving your drive way with a sharp right turn. Hope your trash bin wasnít damaged. Will be in touch. Thanks again.

 Les  O Haley

Jim,

You did a remarkable job of putting into words our time together. For that, speaking for all, we thank you! Let's hope that our brothers will all avail themselves and read this recap, especially for those who did not attend this year's event. As you so stated, it was a grand time!  

Congrats to you and Mike P. as our new President and Vice-President!  

Thanks are in order to all the officers for their work this past year namely Wendell Shafer, Jack Delong, John Blanchette, and Roy Francis. And, how could we ever forget the yeoman work of Dean and Kathy; Steve and EJ Fetty.  

And this is a big thank you to all those, whose working behind the scenes, went unnoticed. You know who you are and the satisfaction for a job well done is your reward. THANKS! 

See you all next year. And, remember your challenge for the upcoming reunion is to bring a "new" brother into the fold. You have the lost and found lists, please work on it!

Kenny Foss

Dean, Kathy and crew,  (all 709th and 99th) 

I arrived home in Bismarck, ND with a wonderful feeling that I had just spent three days with some great friends and brothers in arms.  The atmosphere at your home is simply terrific and your hospitality can not be matched by any hotel.  Once again I felt the warmth of everyone's comradely.  The stories and pictures brought back many memories to me.  My grateful thanks to Dean, Kathy and their crew plus the 709th officers that worked to put together the various details of the 2011 reunion.  Jack DeLong has performed the treasurer's job since we started the Assoc.  He along with others have spent many hours organizing details and answering all of our questions nearly year around.  Thanks guys. 

Bob Gregoire 

Attached is a recap of the reunion.

Thanks to all who came and helped make this the biggest and best yet.

Let's make the next one even bigger and better!!

Get the word out, twist some arms, pick up a brother on the way!!!

Thanks for the interest all of you show--in our website, in our reunions, in veretans' issues, in our "band of brothers".


Jim BURY


Dean,

Got home at PM local time after almost 2 weeks of great friends, food and times. Thanks for everything and all you do for us. If we were back in Tan An you would have George's job and he'd be driving the wrecker.

Love you Brother,

Steve Fetty

Dean,

I really can't find adequate words to express my gratitude and thanks for the wonderful job that you, Kathy, and all

your helpers did in support of the reunion. It was the first reunion for me and I'm sorry that I didn't attend any of the

earlier ones. The fact that both you and Kathy were still smiling at the end of the reunion shows what devoted people you are.

Thanks from the bottom of my heart.

Frank Stapleton

Hey Dean,

With your continued support and help, we can make it better every year. The challenge is out. Each one of us should bring another brother into the fold next year! Let's grow bigger and better.

It was a tough year for you and Kathy with all the foul weather and economic tempest. We support you and Kathy. WE thank you for all of your efforts this year and past years. Your ghost town will flourish once more NEXT year.

Thanks for everything you and Kathy do for us all!

Kenny Foss

I guess you must have finally run out of food and drinks so that's why Steve & E.J. left?

Dean, when you think of it give me those two dates in Oct. & Dec. and then I'll touch base with you as we get closer.

Tony Stabinsky


Page Started 11/18/2011

Last updated 11/18/2011

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