By all accounts, our Vietnam Security Police (Mini) Reunion was an outstanding success. We ended up with almost 3 dozen former Air Force Sky Cops that served in Vietnam and Thailand during the war, along with another 2 dozen wives and friends.
Patricia and I left Celina about 8AM yesterday, and headed the 80 miles to Wright-Patterson AFB near Dayton. The temperature read 2 below when we headed out....it would not be much warmer outside for the duration of our time at the Museum. But the atmosphere inside the dining room was warm indeed.
You have to remember this "Mini Reunion" was a fly-by-the-seat of your pants plan. Wayne Dezarn, Mike Tillman, Rick Adams, and Larry Dotson and I had met at the Museum in February 2007 for a cup of coffee, photo, and BS session on a Saturday afternoon....we decided to do it again this winter, and would go to the VSPA Bulletin Board and see if any of our brothers from around the Midwest and their wives might join us for lunch, talk, and a tour of the facilities. This would be no frills, no set fees, just a sit down, with lunch, talk, and a tour, if you wished. We set the date for the dead of winter...knowing there was a chance that Dayton would have cold and snow, but not a big chance...heck the average late January temps in that part of southwest Ohio is about 40 degrees.....NO CHANCE yesterday...with 10 inches of snow on the ground, the temperatures struggled into single digits by the time of our memorial service at the Defender Fortes Statue.
At 11AM sharp, 24 of us, cameraman Mike(whose dad was a Vietnam Vet, who passed away 6 months after his return), and a handful of wives met at the statue...in fairness to the other guys, they had been out there and already made the long walk to the Museum when the rest headed out...several guys like Wayne stuck out the entire time, which was well over an hour, in the bitter cold...it may have reached 5 or 10 above(but the lower number was probably closer) with a chill factor well below zero. After Steve Flickinger(DaNang 1972) a retired Dayton and Miami Valley police officer and current History Teacher at West Carrollton High School
gave a moving tribute and prayer for the fallen and the living....Thanks Steve....Then Cameraman Mike(also a Law Enforcement Officer) took many frozen photos outside, before we headed back inside to the dining area that the staff of the Air Force Museum had reserved for us....there for the next several hours nearly 60 of us had lunch, conversation, swapped old stories and looked at old photos...meanwhile our cameraman kept busy taking photos and printing them on the spot....several groups headed for the Presidential Planes, others off to the inside museum...several of us stayed in the dining area(including Patricia and me) and watched the gear and swapped more stories....at 4PM my wife and I headed down to get a quick view of the POW/Vietnam section, after saying our good-byes. Just before 5PM our youngest son Hal, who lives in Fairborn, met up with us....and we headed to the Texas Road House Steakhouse and had either ribs or NY Strip for supper....Patricia and I headed home and arrive in one piece about 8:30PM....over 12 hours from start to finish...and it was worth every minute. Thanks Guys, and wives, you were all great.
Special Thanks to my buddy Wayne DeZarn for his efforts, especially at the statue and keeping things going inside...Bob Griffith, a retired veteran Sky Cop who works at the base, and got his snow blower out on Friday to clear a path to the statue...Steve and Mike for their extra efforts in prayer and photos....Howard Yates for driving through ice covered Kentucky all the way from Orlando to Dayton...James Dunn, who drove 14 hours through the UP of Michigan from Crystal Falls(on the Northern Wisconsin border), and my buddy Sam Lewis and his wife Ruth who came with Jack "Old Cowboy" Smith and his wife Roberta, Sam from Virginia....Tom Oller and wife Denise from over in Illinois.
We ended up with 33(at least) Sky Cops and 24 family/friends, from Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Illinois, and Florida...8 states. An outstanding time and effort, despite the weather...I know another handful had hoped to be with us, but illness, weather, time, and other setbacks stopped that....hopefully they and more can join us next time.......
The Men, homes, and their bases:
Howard Yates, Orlando, Florida, Bien Hoa 67-68
Warren Maynard, Peru, IN, Korat 71-72, NKP 73-74, Utapao 74-75, K-P Handler
Fred Murray, Flint Michigan, Bien Hoa 66-67
Sam Lewis, Virginia, Phan Rang 67-68
Jack Smith , West Jefferson, Ohio, Tan Son Nhut 68-69
Dave Maltzan, Michigan, Cam Rahn Bay 68-69
Dave Ramey, Middletown, Ohio, Tan Son Nhut 68-69
Bob Hovart, Phan Rang 70-71
Thomas Bell, Middletown, Ohio, Tan Son Nhut 68-70
Lew Carver, Newark, Ohio, Bien Hoa/Pleiku 68-69
Wayne DeZarn, Huber Heights, Ohio, Binh Thuy 69-70
Barry McLean, Hamilton, Ohio, Takhli 67-68 and Phan Rang and Tuy Hoa
Tom Oller, Morrisonville, ILL, Phu Cat, Phan Rang, Bien Hoa, 68-69
Fred Krisch, Columbus, Ohio, Pleiku 66-67
James Dunn, Crystal Falls, Michigan, Da Nang
Tommy Webb, Beavercreek, Ohio, Nha Trang 66-67 and NKP 75-76, Udorn
Tom Dierig, Highland Hts, Kentucky, Safeside 68-70, Tan Son Nhut 70-71
Mike McCabe, Cincinnati, Ohio, Bien Hoa K-9 66-67
Don Graham, Bethlham, Pennsylvania, Tuy Hoa 68-69
Bruce Dague, Cam Rahn Bay
John J Scott, Jr, Tipp City, Ohio, Pleiku 67-68
Robert Griffith, Riverside, Ohio, DaNang and Tan Son Nhut 1970
Mark Hatfield, Fairborn, Ohio, Binh Thuy 67-68
Russ Elmore, Indianapolis, Indiana, Bihn Thuy 69-70
Rick Adams, Cincinnati, Ohio, Safeside, 823rd CSPS Phan Rang/Pleiku 1969-70
Steve Flickinger, Miamisburg, Ohio, Da Nang 1972
Harold Turnbloom, Bellebrook, Ohio, U-Tapo 1969 through 1972
Allen Workman, Louisville, Kentucky, NKP, 1974
Thomas McCandless, Phan Rang 67-68
Mike Tillman, Kentucky, Phan Rang 1968
Richard T(Rick) Holstein, Cam Rahn Bay 1970-71
Pat Houseworth, Celina, Ohio, Nha Trang 1969/Tan Son Nhut 1970
photos-top left...Pat Houseworth and my right hand man for all this, Wayne DeZarn...24 of us at the statue in the frigid weather.....Big Sam Lewis, Tar Heel fan(I won't hold that against him) and my friend from Virginia, The Tan Son Nhut gang....Me, Dave Ramey, Jack Smith, Tom Bell, and Tom Dierig. 4 of the original 5..Rick Adams, Pat Houseworth, Wayne DeZarn, and Mike Tillman...only Larry Dotson was missing, Larry, good luck with the surgery, and we will catch you on the next one...best of luck. The Safesiders, Rick Adams, Tom Dierig, Barry McLean, and Tom Oller(hope I got that right)...... and last Sam Lewis, Cowboy Jack Smith, and our long distance traveler...retired Orlando Cop Howard Yates.... DOUBLE CLICK FOR LARGE VERSIONS!