Monday, October 10, 2011
After the VSPA Reunion....
I picked up Patricia at about 3pm from school, and we made the 75 mile trek in about an hour and a half....checked into our room on the fourth floor, and headed down to the Holiday Inn lobby. Didn't take long for people to stop by and greet us...seems more people know me, or at least my radical right rantings on this blog and the VSPA Bulletin Board, than I know. But it soon became apparent that many of the readers of both were in Dayton for the reunion.
Bill Harris, Bill Ramey, Bob Gephart, Howard Yates, and my old buddy Sam Lewis, were the first folks I saw...by the time the first night's buffet dinner got started, my Nha Trang pal, Harry Bevan, whom, while I had conversed with via e-mail, Blogger, and Facebook over the past decade, I had not seen in 42 years walked over and gave me a big handshake and hug....he took me to his table where another half dozen or so Nha Trang guys from the Philadelphia area were seated with wives. Al Gerard, who was on B flight at Nha Trang and Tony Niemotka, who was with Harry and me on A Flight Law Enforcement, were there with several other guys that were at Nha Trang at various times in the late 60s...also George Maag, a friend of Harry's from Philly, who while not at Nha Trang(he was a SP at Da Nang in 70-71), had traveled with the group.
We shared BS throughout that first night, while we lost more than a few folks as the hours passed, George, Harry, me, and my old Mini-Reunion co-hort, Mike Tillman, a retired State Police guy from Kentucky, managed to hold guard on the beer and booze table until well past 1am Thursday morning....I would feel it the next day at Wright-Patterson AFB.
Thursday October 6th_____
I was just a bit hung over when, Harry, George, Harry's wife Anna, whom although I had never met, I knew her from Harry at Nha Trang....they had married just a month before Harry was deployed to Vietnam in late 1968, Patricia and I ate the buffet breakfast at the restaurant at the hotel. Then we headed to the AF Museum for the dedication of the VSPA Bench next to the Defender Statue in the Memorial Park on the grounds.
After that it was lunch with the new crop of dog handlers and Security Force men and women(something there were none of when we served), of the 88th Security Force Squadron. We were then treated to a show of the dogs working....back to the hotel to rest up, then the Nha Trang group headed out for a Mexican meal, at a restaurant not far from the Holiday Inn....youngest son Hal, and his wife Lisa, joined the group, for drinks and a heavy meal. By the time we were done there, we were pretty much gassed. Most headed off to bed, but Harry, George, and I, head out until about 10 or later, before giving it up...I had to get up early, Friday was going to be a travel day, starting very early, so the second day ended, with me hitting the sack, trying to catch up with my lack of sleep.
Photos-Howard Yates from Orlando played the Bagpipes at the Memorial Bench Dedication on Thursday. Geogre Maag, Harry Bevan, and Mike Tillman, BS during the early morning hours at the Hospitality Room. Tony Neimotka, and me, Tillman and Rick Adams at the dedication Thursday...on opening night, George Maag, Al Gerard, me, and Harry....and finally the SF Dogs put on a show, taking down a "victim" at the demonstration on Thursday at the base.