Did we have a nice weekend or what! Our reunion in Irving, TX was to have started on Friday, May 5th. By Thursday the 4th, we already had over 50 men here. These men were ready to get together. Four former Company Commanders attended the reunion. They were: Lewis Henderson, the original "Rattler 6", Joe K. Bell, Robert Fitzgerald and Myron "Banjo" Davis. Frank Anton and Robert Lewis, two of our three former POWs were with us. We ended up with 170 of our men here and about 60 spouses or girlfriends. Jim Arnout won the coveted "Jesus Nut" award for coming the farthest to attend. Jim lives in Anchorage, AK which is over 4,000 miles from Irving. For every 40 paid rooms the hotel gave us a credit for 1 nights lodging. This amounted to 8 free nights which we made into four 2 night certificates. All the room numbers were put in a can and the four winners (worth $110.00 each) were: Gary Arne, David Crowe, Eric Kilmer and Kent Paxton.
One of the items covered in our directors meeting was the establishing of Association yearly dues. We are going to try to keep this as low as possible and will attempt to get by on $12 per year. We had 137 men join at the reunion and I expect most of the others that were in attendance will join after getting this newsletter. We have 781 men now located and have no idea how many of that figure will join the Association. From this point forward, only dues paying members will receive an address directory. All others will receive the newsletters with "Address Correction Requested" on it so we can keep our address list as current as possible. We have about a 5% change in our addresses every 6 months. If you wish to join our Association as a Charter Member, you have until June 15th to join. Our calendar year will run from July 1 to June 30 of the next year. You will be notified in a May newsletter of each year that your yearly dues are due. At a later time when we are sure how much it takes to run the Association and how many members we have to join us we will offer a lifetime membership that will be the equivalent of about 10 years dues. Our address directories will be mailed via non-profit mail after June 15th. If you join after June 15th, you must send an extra 1 dollar to cover the 1st class postage and you will not be a Charter Member. The Association Membership form is in this newsletter. Please use it.
A vote was put before the men at the reunion concerning when to have our next reunion. The vote was between waiting 2 years and waiting 3 years. The reason the three year wait was considered was to enable us to get off of the same two year rotation as the 145th Bn. Assoc. We have men who would like to meet every year. If we were off the same year as the 145th Bn., our men who so desire could go to that reunion every other year and attend ours the next year. The vote to wait 3 years passed by a large margin. The Association directors have recommended we stay with the first weekend in May for 1998 and that the reunion be held in Orlando, FL. We will require a lot of assistance from our men in that area. A number of these men who were at this reunion have already volunteered. Orlando offers a wide variety of family things to do. The Southeastern corner of America also contains about 21% of our men who are located. This figure is the highest concentration of our men in one area. Another item from the directors meeting concerned the officers of the board of directors being appointed to their positions for this start up of the Association. The office of National Director is to be filled by a vote of the persons on the board of directors from among the board. We will need to have elections in the future for these positions.
Chuck Carlock's Charlie Model Huey was looking good this weekend. Unfortunately his trailer did not look so healthy. The trailer appeared to be overloaded once the 540 head and blades were added to the aircraft. It was apparent that getting this ship from Chuck's place to the hotel would be dangerous. The aircraft stayed at Chuck's and we shuttled several loads out to crawl all over it and take plenty of photos. The gunship was rigged with very realistic looking mini-guns and rocket pods. It also had gunsights, ammo trays and chutes. Naturally it was configured as a Fire Bird should be with the huge red and white birds on the cargo doors and under the synchronized elevators. A rattler adorned the nose from the art of Tony Jones of Tucson, AZ. The 145th Battalion white and blue diamond was on the tail boom and the 14th Battalion company "71" was on the pilots doors. The aircraft had a complete set of new decals to go on the brand new OD paint job and the red-orange and blue stripes across the roof. A lot of memories were stirred by looking at this beast of the sky. Thanks Chuck!
At the reunion, I was wearing a T-Shirt that had some Hueys on it
and the words "When I left, we were winning" printed on it.
This shirt was a very popular item with our men. It is sold by a former
Rattler, William DiDio, who is listed in your directory. The address
on him is correct, however his new phone number is:
Many of you may have seen Joe Kline's painting "Riders on the Storm" depicting a combat assault in its moment of fury. Joe does a personalized version of this painting where he uses any type of unit markings you would like. In January I made a deal with Joe to give our Association this personalized print for the rate he was selling the regular print. I ordered 3 of these prints. One for me, one for David O'Quinn and one for Everett Jeffcoat. In the latest VHPA (Pilot's Assoc.) newsletter Joe has his ad featuring the painting he did for Everett Jeffcoat. It looks wonderful to see an ad with a Rattler in it. The regular rate for the personalized print is $100.00. You can get it for $80.00 if you tell Joe to give you the Rattler discount. Joe can be reached at 408-842-6979.
The items we sold at the reunion and the money generated by membership applications amounted to over $6200.00. From this we paid the hotel $1242.00 for food and beverages. This leaves about $5000.00 from which the 69 T-Shirts which were ordered will be purchased and mailed for about $680.00. The bottom line is the Association will realize over $4300.00 from the reunion plus with this mailing the 610 men who were not able to be with us will have the opportunity to join the Association also. My thanks to everyone who gave so freely to support us. Remember, as a non-profit organization, your donations are tax deductible.
Someone gave me an American flag at the reunion, and I do not remember the details concerning this flag. Please advise me again so I can write it down this time.
Robert L. McKinney (EM 67-68) is looking for any Rattlers who are ham radio operators. Joe Fornelli (EM 65-66) is looking for any Rattlers who are artists.
Doug Lane, a WO from '71 asked for and received the large Fire Bird decals we had on display at the reunion. He has put them on the "B" model gunship that is on display on a pedestal at the Ozark gate at Ft. Rucker. The photos were great Doug!
My brother-in-law, Wilkie Boyd, who is our "offical Photographer" had a 20' X 40' American flag that we used as a back drop for our group photos. Three photos were necessary to get everyone in. The first photo contained the men who arrived at our unit in '64-'65-'66. The second photo contained the men who arrived at our unit in '67-'68. The last shot was the '69-'70-'71 men. We will offer a three photo 8 X 10 deal for (to be determined) $__________.
A question has come up about our KIA list. I am aware of the death
of Peter Alden Schmidt on 15 Aug 70 and Craig Alan Schmitz on 31 Aug
70. Can any of you provide details of the death of James Drew Schmidt
on 17 July 70? Did we have three men with very similar names die within
6 weeks of each other? Any help would be appreciated.
The book, "Wings of the Eagle" by W.T. Grant has extensive chapters that deal with the author's relationship with a former Rattler pilot, WO David Poley (67-68). Mr. Poley died in an aircraft crash while in Mr. Grant's unit.
The following men have been located since the present directory was printed. Please add them to your directory if you join the Association:
Darrell Dice EM 70-71 Roy K. Saylors EM 70-71
RD 1 Box 286 117 Sharon Dr.
Greensberg, PA 15338 Stevenson, AL 35772
Kenneth W. Doyle WO 69-70 Bernard Smith EM 69
855 Indianola Rd. 590 Harbin Dr.
Boardman, OH 44512 Stephenville, TX 76401
James L. Kidd EM 70-71 Bill Sneed WO 69-70
1320 Maple Ave. 5711 Creekwood St.
Hamilton, OH 45011 San Antonio, TX 78233
Stan Larson EM 67-68 Robert Thompson OF 65-66
P.O. Box 33 231 Columbia Dr.
Bethel, MN 55005 Lake Worth, FL 33460
James P. Lavelle EM 70 Warren C. Lacy EM 68-69
448 10th Ave. 9315 Susquehanna Trl.
Scranton, PA 18504 Ashland, VA 23005
Gary S. Bouma EM 68-69 Richard Stadtmueller EM 68-69
12799 115th St. 17 Pocono Circle Dr.
Milaca, MN 56353 Dingmans Ferry, PA 18328
Gordon L. Johnson EM 69 Joseph R. Machnacz EM 68-69
4408 Fairway 74 Springfield St.
Pasadena, TX 77505 Agawam, MA 01001
Larry N. Osborn OF 64-65
4608 Picket Rd.
Fairfax, VA 22032
These men attended our reunion:
Norman Anderson, Frank Anton, Gary Arne, James Arnout, Donald Ault, Howard Bahlke, Jim Baragona, David Bascle, Joe Bell, Paul Beverung, Randy Billings, Richard Bleecker, Pat Boltinghouse, Harold Bowen, Dale Bowlin, Stewart Brooks, Joe Bruce, Woody Budig, Pat Callhan, Allie Campbell, John Card, Mike Carlisle, Chuck Carlock, Frank Carson, John Cervinski, Gene Champe, Michael Chauncey, Mark Chowen, John Clapp, Ronald Clements, Jim Collins, Robert Combs, Danny Conn, Rick Cronin, Buck Crouch, David Crowe, Jesse Curb, Michael Curry, Stanley Cylc, Jim Dame, Banjo Davis, Steve Donnelly, Will Drewry, Dick Ducharm, Wally Dunning, Dale Engel, Larry Engen, Jerry Ericsson, Jerry Fairfield, Bob Falk, Robert Fitzgerald, Ray Foley, Will Fortenberry, Charles Fransham, Bill Frey, Patrick Garding, Chester George, James Gibbs, Duane Ginter, Rusty Glenn, Charles Grant, Ben Graves, Chuck Gross, Phil Guimond, Tom Hall, Will Hall, James Hardeman, Shorty Helmick, Lewis Henderson, Bill Hennigan, Johnnie Hitt, Roger Hobbs, Jack Horn, Conrad Howard, Terry Igoe, George Jackson, James Jobson, J.T. Johnson, Billy Johnstone, Tony Jones, Lynn Kazmierowski, Bill Keller, Bruce Kelly, Eric Kilmer, Tom Knapp, Mas Konatsu, Willard Krell, Larry Lackey, Doug Lane, William Lard, Dan LaValley, Joe Lemming, Robert Lewis, J.C. Lilly, Fred Link, Ken Linville, Bill London, Roy Lowery, Bill Lurvey, Donald Lynam, John Lynch, Jerry Lynn, Larry Maitland, James Malek, James Malone, Chico Marcano, Bruce Marquis, Bill Marshall, Ed Maryliw, Kerry McMahon, Robert McMillon, Jerry Meader, Terry Mikels, Dennis Moore, Charlie Morehouse, Art Morgan, David Nottingham, Oley Olson, Roscoe Osbron, David O'Quinn, Greg Palazzo, Chris Palmer, Andrew Palmerin, Bob Parsons, Bill Patrick, Kent Paxton, Pete Perez, Carl Petrey, Michael Pottle, Don Profitt, Michael Reinhardt, David Richard, Jerry Richardson, Pat Riley, Tony Romano, Al Ruter, James Schroll, Ron Seabolt, Milton Shaw, Bernard Smith, Bill Sneed, Paul Spencer, Ernie Stevens, Ted Stewart, Gordon Stone, Raymond Sunberg, Gordy Sundt, Richard Suplita, James Surwillo, John Sylvester, Paul Teelin, Roger Theberge, Robert Toomey, Robert Traynor, James Waddell, Terry Wasson, David Weber, Rick Webster, Harry Welton, Fred West, Dennis Wheeler, John Wiklanski, Jay Wilhelm, R.J. Williams, Nate Wilondek, Les Winfield, Doug Womack, Jim Wynsberge and Robert Ziehl.