Kansas City, MO
July 24-27, 2003
Reunion 2003 was held at the Kansas City Airport Hilton – in the prestigious Air World Center
Those responsible for planning REUNION 2003 were
33 states were represented by those attending the reunion!
After Action Report of the 2003 reunion!
Leo “Doc” Flory
Thanks again for the dedication and time you put into the reunion and the relentless effort you put into finding and contacting us. It is going to take a while for the good things that happened to me at the reunion to sink in fully. I am already looking forward to the next one and making plans. As you may well know, the reunion had an effect on me at a much higher level than I had anticipated and the hardest part of all was leaving.
Kris and I have arrived back from the gathering of the Eagles. I want to thank You Eagles for taking the time and all your efforts in making our
reunion the best one yet! I can tell you only this, you all that were there, kept the flame of my life going! “You are the best”. For you Eagles that were unable to attend, we are less then two years of the next gathering of the Eagles. With Sgt. Duke running the next reunion, I am sure it will be better then this one was and it will be. He will have Ed Ramon, who will get in his way, but “The Duke” will be able to handle it! So now we must start again to get in touch with those who did not attend. You can send me anyone’s telephone number, snail mail address, email address, or just a name. I want to double the population of Oklahoma during our next gathering, and that shall not be hard! For those of you that were not in Kansas City, I want you all to know the reunion was truly a happening!!! Some of us have not seen or talked with each other since we left that hellhole called Viet Nam! You could not begin to understand the energy that was generated in “The Eagles Nest”! I have done a lot in my long life, but I can tell you this, nothing comes closer to true happiness than our reunion. There is so much to say, but I am not smart enough to put those thoughts in words. I really don’t want to single out anyone out but I must tell you that Dan Hefel being there, touched my heart like no other has. True, we were all were in that hellhole together, but Dan had to go to end-of-all meaning of life. When Dan’s chopper went down, he was taken prisoner and somehow managed to survive for three years and a month in the devil’s playpen. Yet Dan, like the rest of us, still loves this country of ours despite us not being able to get him out sooner. Like I said, I don’t like to single out one person, and all you Eagles know that I love you and what you did for our country. I do want to thank you all for your service for our country and say WELCOME HOME!
I will see you in OK in 2005!! Drive On, D.
THE WEB SITE HAS BROUGHT US ALL CLOSER TOGETHER AS ONLY COMBAT VETS CAN BE. THE REUNION AGAIN MADE ME REALIZE HOW LUCKY I WAS TO HAVE SERVED MY COUNTRY AND SHARE THAT WITH ALL OF THE BRAVE MEN THAT WERE THERE. SEEING DAN HEFEL AGAIN BROUGHT TO LIGHT HOW BRAVE WE WERE AND SOME OF US LUCKIER THAN OTHERS. THANKS AGAIN TO JIM JULIEN AND HIS WIFE FOR ALL THE WORK THAT WENT INTO THE REUNION. I HOPE OUR HAT PASS HELPED COVER SOME OF THE MONIES THAT HE AND CAPT JACKSON HAD SPENT ON OUR BEHALF. COLUMBO REALLY WAS STILL THE COLUMBO I REMEMBERED AND DOUG GRIER INSPIRES ME TO BE A BETTER HUMAN BEING WITH HIS TENACITY TACT. I WILL TRY TO HELP JIM DUKE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE WITH THE NEXT ONE TO REACH OUR GOAL OF 101 RETURNING EAGLES
John “Doc” Marks
I plan to be at all future reunions, unless something major prevents us from attending. It is always a big thrill to see RVN brothers that fought with us, and walked the same trails, over 30 years ago!
I had made plans to come back to each of the last few reunions. Each year I would tell myself that I had to go; it would be good for me. Each year as the reunion approached, I had apprehensions that I didn’t quite understand. This year I told my wife that I would go and take her to see Kansas City. We’d never been there. As the the days approached those feelings returned but this time Sue MADE me come. I can’t tell you how happy I was. I can’t understand why I always had these feelings. Fifteen minutes after I arrived, BINGO! all those feelings disappeared . Seeing Brad, Wells, Lassiter, and Arbogast made me feel just great. The entire weekend was well planned and enjoyed by everyone. Many of the first time reunion brothers all said the same thing, how glad they were to come, and WHEN IS THE NEXT ONE?! I can only hope that more brothers from the original deployment will try to make the next one in Tulsa. I think it would be fitting for us to have more than just five of us representing the originals; the most of any group. Let’s do it. I had a great time.
Kansas City was incredible! Thanks to everyone that was present. These reunions are the best things in life as far as I’m concerned. Oliver Wendel Holmes said that once a man is in combat he, forever becomes “different” than those that have not. It took so long to get so many 11B’s together and it was worth it. All the guys there were different; real men, real heros, guys with big hearts and souls, no brag just fact. I’m so glad to be a part of this extraordinary group of men. As Doug Grier has said, “Let’s get 101 heros to Tulsa in 05!”
Had an excellent time at the 2003 reunion. The folks that set it up did a great job. I hope more guys come from my time in-country – 4/70 thru 5/71; especially from 1st platoon and during Ripcord time.
Hello to one and all. Thank you to all those who organized the reunion of 2003. It was well organized, the location was perfect. Everything was Wonderful. It brought back all those memories of where I was and those who were in my platoon and my squad. Blessings and prayers to all and I hope to see all of you in Tulsa, Okla.
Thank You for all your help and support for getting all the guys together for the weekend. I had a terrific time and wished it could have been longer. I plan on making the next reunion in Oklahoma and having Deb with me.
Steve “Rudy” Ruden and Dan Hefel
Brad is really COOL , both of us really liked him…Ed Ramon that gave the talk at the end of meal Sat. nite, he flew Cobra gunships , he was neat and he brought a lot of tears…and Dennis Wells, Dan and I call him Chief, out of respect, cuz we believe he is a real Chief; if he isn’t he should be!! I know after listening to him talk Sat. nite, I was ready to hop on a pony and go after Custer myself…plus we got to talk to him and his
wife Sunday afternoon at the bar; it was great; the whole weekend was great…We were going to leave after saying goodbye at the hospitality room; well we got out of there a little after 5:00 pm!
If you missed 2003 you can not afford to miss 2005. 2003 was my first and I can not express enough my appreciation for what went into setting everything up. It was wonderful to see everyone there (It took me a while to finally log everyone there, our minds are not as sharp as they used to be). I hope everyone there contacts and brings just one more in 2005. You will never be sorry for going but you will if you do not go. I just got my pictures back and I realized I did not take any pictures until friday night. I was just enjoying the fellowship that I forgot to take pictures. I’ll do better next time. DON’T MISS 2005!!!
I‘m Shane Sullivan, Dave’s son. I thought I’d let you know that my Father was real skeptical about going to the reunion; he did AND didn’t want
to go, at the same time. But you should know that ever since he got back to Michigan that Tuesday after the reunion he hasn’t stopped talking about it and he seems to be much happier for going. His exact words were, “It was awesome, very impressive, I’m really glad I went.” I obviously didn’t know my Dad before he became a veteran of the Vietnam war; I can only imagine how it had changed him, but it must be really great to have the friends that he had made during such a terrible time, under such terrible circumstances.
Bruce Thompson D-2/501st 68-69
Had a great time at the reunion. Wasn’t long enough. Sure was good to spend time with the guys. Looking forward to the next reunion. Good job to all who worked so hard to put the reunion togather. Thanks for making me welcome to a great bunch of guys of B Co. 2/501
The reunion was incredible. So loving………….I, also, think healing for me. I was terrified of going. It was the best weekend of my life.
REUNION 2003 ITINERARY:
Thursday- July 24:
Checked in at hotel and signed in at hospitality room. Got name tag and saw if you could still recognize your old buddies. Visited, Visited, and Visited some more. Refreshments were available in the hospitality room and we were on our own for dinner.
Friday – July 25:
Visited in the hospitality room. A big group of the ladies went shopping together and some saw the sights of K.C. Refreshments were again provided in the hospitality room. 6:30 PM Buffet Dinner at the Woodlands dog track which included; Track ticket, Cash bar, Group Photograph.
Races started at 7:00PM.
Saturday – July 26:
Visited in the hospitality room. A big group of the ladies saw the sights of K.C. together. Refreshments were again provided in the hospitality room. 6:30 PM Company Memorial Dinner was held in the Shawna room emceed by Bob Colombo. Brad Jimerson offered grace for the meal. Presentations were awarded to Brad Jimerson and Dave Reinheimer for all their efforts over the years in finding so many of the B-2/501st members, Cathy Jimerson for her website contributions and Jim Julien for all his efforts for the reunion. Ed Ramon, chopper pilot and Jim Duke’s friend, offered an Indian psalm to honor B Company members. Dennis Wells announced the third recipient for the traveling Eagle Staff that represents B Company; Rick Arbogast. He also presented Brad Jimerson with a handmade Indian quilt for being the first recipient of the Eagle staff and mailed another presentation to the second recipient who was unable to attend the reunion; Ron Peabody. A letter was sent by Ron regarding his time with the Eagle Staff:
Thank you so much for letting me be the caretaker of the Staff for two years. It has been an experience and a pleasure to represent our unit and all the men who served and lost their lives defending our country. God bless the next caretaker of the staff and may it bring them as much good luck as it has brought myself, and all around it. Sorry I can’t be there this year, but there will be many more to come. I’m sending some pictures of the staff being blessed by many of the Indian tribes of Washington, along with the wall. It was at 12:01 AM, what a heart-warming ceremony
and celebration. I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. God bless all of you, and thank you for serving in the best unit of all the 101st Airborne Division.
A meeting was held after dinner in the hospitality room to discuss forming a non profit organization with two people looking into the legalities.
Group pictures were then taken and drawings were held for various prizes.
Sunday – July 27:
Said our goodbyes and left for home.
THOSE WHO ATTENDED:
Rick Arbogast 67-68
Brad & Catherine “Cat” Jimerson 67-68
Luther Lassiter 67-68
Jim & Sue Motika 67-68
Dennis & Carlene Wells 67-68
James & Robin Hallums 68
Russ Benson 68-69
Walter & Mila Bouman 68-69
Carson & Vickie Crouse 68-69
James Duke & Friend, Ed Ramon 68-69
Gary Ervin 68-69
Leo “Doc” & Ann Flory 68-69
Dwayne & Terri Huseman 68-69
James & Ruth Julien 68-69
Dave & Pam Krautscheid 68-69
Irvin “Moose” McCoun & Son, Spencer 68-69
Pat & Debbie O’Leary 68-69
August Padalecki 68-69
Ed Paradis 68-69
Dave & Lynn Reinheimer 68-69
Luther & Judy Starks 68-69
Dave & Brenda Testerman 68-69
Mel Waite & Girlfriend, Susan Willard 68-69
Dan & Pam Wakefield 68-69
Robert & Brenda Clark 69
Charles & Susan German 69
Dan & Sue Hefel & Son, Jesse & Daughter, Sue & Friend, Steve “Rudy” Ruden 69
Larry & Glenda Muller 69
George Schorr 69
Ed & Gale Wick 69
Dan Baker & Son, Dan Jr 69-70
Don “Doc” Betzen 69-70
Bob Colombo 69-70
Jerry & Gloria Copeland & Daughter, Jena 69-70
Gerald De Boy 69-70
Mike & Clorinda Dzikas 69-70
Doug Grier & Son, Kris 69-70
Phil Hazen 69-70
Leo “Butch” & Virginia Hiller 69-70
Mike Malone 69-70
John “Doc” & Sherry Marks 69-70
Keith & Nancy Maxwell 69-70
Larry & Renee Parkhurst & Daughters, Kayla & Kelsey 69-70
John Pate 69-70
Mike & Sue Silverthorn 69-70
Dave Sullivan 69-70
Larry & Gerri Wedig 69-70
Lyle Kohmetscher & Friend, Carole Fischer 70
Bob Layton 70-71
Don Otto 70-71
ACTIVE DUTY attendees
Jeffrey Carman 1-501 PIR
Todd & Matti Nibarger 1-501 2001-2003
Click here for reunion photos!
There were a lot of people who worked hard on making this reunion our biggest and best ever!
DOUG GRIER took it upon himself to call many of our B-2/501st comrades to give them his PERSONAL invitation. He said his goal was that at least 101 of us make it to the reunion. We almost made that goal! Doug’s goal for 2005 is to DOUBLE what we had in 2003. CAN WE DO IT? DOUG thinks we can! Start saving those pennies NOW!
Credit for Tet Survivor Graphic
Design ~ George Crofton
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