ODDS and ENDS
This newsletter is being mailed in December because of the date of our reunion in June. Your next newsletter will be after the New Orleans Reunion.
We have some new items for sale on the form on the back page. There are two magnets. The Rattler magnet is 5 ½ inches and the Firebird magnet is 6 inches. Both are $5 each. We also have two new caps in OD and black. These are a Huey Slick and Huey Gunship caps offered at $10 each. See all this and more on our website www.rattler-firebird.org
WELCOME HOME AMERICAN HERO GEORGE ANDREW HOWES
August 1, 2011, WO3 George Andrew (Andy) Howes came home to Knox, Indiana. It's been over 40 years, way too long, but he is finally home. The whole town turned out to welcome home their hero.
Escorted by a family member currently serving in Afghanistan he flew in from the Central Intelligence Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI) arriving at Indianapolis International Airport. Family, friends and comrades were on the airport ramp to meet the plane and remove the casket from the aircraft. A brief service was conducted by a chaplain as Andy was placed in the coach. From there the motorcade procession departed to Knox, Indiana.
Andy’s memorial service was held Tuesday, August 2. After this service Andy made the final leg of his journey home to his resting place at Arlington National Cemetery. Burial was at 0900 Friday, August 5 at the Fort Myer Chapel with full military honors.
Andy was listed MIA Vietnam on January 10, 1970. He was co-pilot of Firebird 91 when returning from a combat mission the helicopter gunship went down. The crew of four were lost in a unfortunate casualty of war.
Remember our fallen heroes. Welcome home Andy Howes!
The Association has been informed of the following deaths since our last newsletter.
- William J. Arink (OF 67), our Rattler “6” from Feb 67 to Aug 67, died on 17 Aug 2011 from lung cancer.
- Leroy Beeler (EM 66-68) died on 21 September 2009 of unknown causes.
- Larry Butler (WO 65) died on 18 March 2011 of unknown causes.
- Shelton Foles (WO 64-65) died on 16 December 2011 of heart failure.
- Jack Gross (EM 66-67) died on 12 May 2011 of complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Ken Linville (WO 65) died on 12 July 2011 of complications from esophageal cancer.
- Roy Lowery (WO 64-65) died on 28 May 2011 from a heart attack.
- Robert Toomey (EM 67-68) died on 16 September 2011 from a heart attack.
- Colonel Joseph F. Rutkowski (USA Retired) 82, passed away on June 3, 2011 from cancer. Rutkowski had commanded the 14th Aviation Battalion as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1971
From Gary R. Fisher (OF 64-65)
Let me share with you a story about Shelton Foles. When he came in country I was assigned to give him one of his orientation rides. For those of you that were fortunate to know Shelton you were aware that he was a bit older than most of us young pilots. Cooler than most,- calmer than most. As we were approaching Saigon he said,-" last time I flew over Saigon we were dropping bombs on it". He told me he was a 17 year old crew member in a fighter in WW II when the Japanese had occupied what was then referred to as The Pearl of the Orient,- Indo China. He had briefly served as a fly Sergeant with Pappy Boynton,- and yes Sergeants did pilot aircraft in WW II. For those of you that did not know of Pappy Boynton he was the commander of the famous Black Sheep Squadron, a Medal of Honor recipient and a hell of a Marine and those that served with him were cut from the same cloth. For those of you that knew Shel you were fortunate to have known a part of history and a true patriot. I render him a final salute. I later learned that Shel was just pulling my leg.
Editor’s note: I like to think that Shelton Foles has joined up with Allie Campbell, Buck Crouch, Roy Lowery and George Freeburg in the Big Hanger with Buck holding court as always saying, “What took you so long Shel?” They left big holes in our future reunions.
By Rattler 11 Dick Birnbach
I read the May Newsletter as I listened to the radio reports of bin Laden’s death at the hands of U. S. forces. The news and the article by Steve Israel made me think of the differences in the attitudes of the general U. S. population toward military personnel in the Vietnam era and in present times. It now seems clear to me that one reason we lacked the kind of support citizens have for today’s soldiers was because there had been no “9-11,” no Pearl Harbor to make the war in Vietnam a personal matter for the folks back home.
The picture of the 1st Platoon, taken in 1964, reminded me how young we were when we went to war. I knew many of the guys in the photo. We were just kids. Reading about my friend John Mateyko’s latest flying adventure reminded me I have not flown a UH-1 since 1989. Getting myself lost in reflection, I recalled there were guys in my Army flight school class who had been pilots in WWII. When I became an Army pilot, there were no P51s as old as some of the Hueys that are still flying as I write this letter.
The Newsletter included a haunting photo of Warrant Officer David Jackson. He seemed so serious and sad in his picture. I don’t think I ever met Jackson. However, from 1966 until 1970 I was a flight instructor at Ft. Rucker and trained scores of men like him to fly UH-1s. He was one of thousands of young men who were much like me. Perhaps Jackson’s apparent pensiveness was due to knowledge of what Army aircrews faced in Vietnam. He may have known that the most deadly job for anyone in the American armed forces was flying helicopters in Vietnam. I did not know this until long after the war when I took a college course in Vietnamese history and read Spencer C. Tucker’s book, Vietnam. According to Tucker, “Army aviators suffered the highest per capita casualty ratio of any US military contingent in the war.” (p. 122). I read basically the same information in Walter J. Boyne’s How the Helicopter Changed Modern Warfare (p. 106).
As I grow older I see things much differently than I did as a young man. I now know myself quite well and see that my shortcomings usually outweigh my strengths. As a young man I was motivated to moderate success in life by love of my family and a passion for flight. I do not consider myself to have been either brave or patriotic enough to knowingly taken on the war’s most risky combat assignment. Yet, it seems those of us who crewed Army helicopters in Vietnam did just that with or without foreknowledge of our peril. To borrow from Hal Moore’s book, we really were soldiers once, and young.
This from George Orwell: "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm."
YOU WERE ALWAYS THERE FOR US
By Earnie Carrier, former CO of C/3/21/196th LIB
We were combat assaulted into cold and hot LZ's by the Rattlers several times. My last was when we got all shot up at Nui Yon out of Tam Ky in May of 69. Ya'll had two birds down that day, got one out and you had to blow the other up. My company was the first ever, to have close air support for troops in contact after dark. I pulled nape in so close it burnt the paddy berm we were behind.
The FAC asked where I wanted the hard stuff and I told him the same place. They were all over us, we were only outnumbered about 150 to 1 and I had 87 men. I had 37 left in fighting shape the next day and they put Bravo Company with me since their commander was wounded and medivaced. They had about the same number of grunts. We lost two more the next day, one of mine and the other from Bravo.
I saw the Rattlers do some brave jobs. I never went to rotary school because you couldn't dig a hole for protection up in the air.
INSTANT TIME TRAVEL
By Wally Dunning (WO 66-67)
Several months ago, Smithsonian Magazine or Smithsonian AeroSpace Magazine had an article titled “TIME TRAVEL”. The article was about a whimsical experimental theory – Do people under stress perceive time accurately?
What they did was to give hapless people a taped up stop-watch to record the time at the beginning of jumping off on an indoor bungee jump. They hit the stop button at the bottom and were quizzed on their estimate of how long they were in “free-fall”. Almost all, grossly over estimated their “flight time”.
I thought the experiment kinda cute for about 10 seconds (real time), before realizing that I have “Time Traveled” as a pilot and while driving, hundreds of times to be able…..(not kidding at all) of creating an almost stop action ability to extend time to problem solve during the most extreme situations. I don’t think this is unique to me, but if it is, send the men in the white jackets, (I will likely see them coming anyway).
“Time Travel” events – one hugely successful and one that very nearly killed us all. Let’s go for the good one first…………………..
Time is late 1967. A long range recon patrol under triple canopy jungle on a mountain crest northwest of Chu Lai was being pursued by NVA and things were looking nasty. Our unit was tasked with three ships to extract them. We were the third ship.
The Air Force (possibly under a Tactical Emergency), and using daisy cutter(s) blew a cylindrical hole in the jungle. Despite my age, I seem to remember that the height of the trees was over two hundred feet.
We shot an overhead approach to a very tight vertical landing to grab the last one or two of the team. My crew chief Bob Falk and door gunner Tom Knapp were soon on the intercom with bad news…..bad guys close and more than two guys to extract. I pull pitch hard for a power check, at least 50 feet and the engine begins to spool down.
Time Travel kicks in….
It is saying that we are overloaded and truly screwed. Let’s see (as we descend)…..maybe if we pulled the radios, dropped the M-60’s and the 600 round trays and maybe even the battery…..some sense of sanity arises…..give the bad guys two M-60 machine guns with 2400 (total) rounds and a complete set of functional radios - are you nuts?
Plan B begins to materialize. This is the part where we all get out and down in the dirt , declare our own TAC E, and try to put all those John Wayne movies we watched, to good use. Who the hell am I kidding? The only guys (including Tom and Bob) who could be up to this are in the back. Just the thought of a Peter-Pilot running around with a loaded M16 with safety off is giving me “shooting pains” inside my now very sweaty helmet. It occurs to me that everyone is likely thinking the same thing of me.
The first thing I did when I got my first ride to the city of Bien Hoa was to purchase a cowboy style gun belt – for my 45 automatic. This was the style where bullets were inserted in leather loops around the belt. After a very late night at the club, I pulled the thing out and practiced manually loading the magazine. I dropped more bullets than the total successfully inserted into the magazine. I remind myself that this travesty of practice did not a have the added spice of real people shooting at me while I am wrestling with my chicken plate under a flak jacket, and while wearing gloves. Clearly, Gary Cooper movies will not provide much value to an ugly present day situation. That pistol belt went away that night.
Time Travel now has us at about 20 feet and still coming down. I momentarily flash on the night live fire crawl though the mud, during boot camp at Benning. I remember laughing at the time. My Mother would have never let me get that dirty. Plan B has a lot of scary “fur” on it….and then of course there’s the dirt. That’s when the magic happened in the form of - - “Why not try this?”
The average guy on the street probably figures that whatever you can put in a helicopter can be lifted out or landed safely vertically. Helicopter crews know that isn’t the way it works. I always estimated a 30% loss in available power while at a hover. So the goal is to move into undisturbed air to achieve “translational lift”, which will return that missing 30% of power. If you watched a Huey at a hover you could see this loss in the form of sand or dirt recirculating. (In some cases, the blast of air could contain loose clothing, lawn chairs or tents – kinda depending on the neighborhood you were trying to leave from.)
Back to the image of the hovering Huey. The pilot is constantly making control adjustments because the aircraft is literally being balanced on a bubble of compressed air. The usual take off to gain translational lift has yet another wrinkle due to the whimsical helicopter gods. You are overloaded using all available power, but as you move forward – you slip off the air cushion and the helicopter begins to descend and requires more power which usually isn’t there. In my case, I have nowhere to move except up or down inside this jungle cylinder. All I have to work with is the air cushion.
Time Travel has us passing through 5 feet. The plan now is to land and immediately pull as much power that I can while letting the engine spool down from 6600 (transmission shaft input rpm) to 6000 and then to bottom the collective pitch (power). We are at about 60-70 feet as this develops. Two things are immediate – one good, one not so good. The good part is that I recover rpm back to 6600. The bad part is that we were dropping at an alarming but expected – lead brick kind of speed. The next part of the plan called for pulling a whole bunch of power just before crashing. If I messed this up we would all be a lot shorter, there would be no Plan B and we would be deemed useless by the NVA and probably summarily shot. If I were to pull this off by bouncing on the air cushion, I hoped to get over the top of the jungle with no less than 6000 rpm and to low level the across the top utilizing ground effect until we could reclaim the power to be able to climb out.
At what I thought was the last second, I pulled all of the power and we bounced vertically. What happened next was not part of my plan. The combination of the cylinder in the jungle and our bounce actually pushed us though translational lift going vertically. The acceleration bounced my head back into the seat rest and we were out of there like a champagne cork. There was no loss of engine rpm and we were homeward bound with no further incident.
There is a postscript….. a certain door gunner referred the maneuver as a Lt. D. H. maneuver. Dennis, this was my maneuver not yours (grin). Tom, I will swat you with my good hand (as if I really have one), if you ever say that again. Now we go to the second (not so good) Time Travel Story.
Time is late 1967 – Chu Lai.
“Arrogance is ok, if you are really good.” Idiot quote by me, 1966-67.“Everyone deserves a second chance for a first mistake, unless of course if you are flying in combat.” Idiot quote by me, 2011.
A lot of people have said that without the sense of smell, that you would have a difficult time tasting your food. From the first time they cracked the aircraft doors open on arrival in country, I immediately knew from the outside smell, that food was going to be tasting a lot differently for a long time.
Fast forward 9 months or so…..we are now on the beach at Chu Lai, south of Da Nang. Flush toilets are a thing of the past. Pre-modern sanitation now comes in the form of cut-down metal drums for solid waste (to be burned) and empty 2.75” rocket packing tubes stuck in the sand, which most of us use for target practice for liquid waste. (Our wives would be proud of our accuracy.)
It’s about this time when I get wind (pun intended) of a new helicopter borne experimental device called a “Sniffer”. I speculate that the creation of this wondrous device was the result of a number of Chemical Corps Engineers who during an extended evening of heavy drinking came up with a unique theory. It probably ran like this…..if you get a large group of people together for an extended period of time that this area will reek of odors that can be chemically detected and quantitatively measured. So it was born. It consisted of a 3’x 3’ box in the cabin with two 4 inch hoses fastened outside to the front skid crossbars on both sides. Large plastic funnels inserted on the forward ends gave the whole thing an earthy kind of appearance, like what you might expect from a flying septic tank. They add a clueless kid to run the thing and we are to provide the rest. At the Officer’s Club one night, CWO-2, Conrad Howard (Superior Army Aviator and Mentor) made an observation which I will have to “sanitize” a little……darn thing probably wouldn’t work with Joey Heatherton. Everyone knows her byproducts don’t smell.
To us, the rest includes a heavy gunship fire team, a high ship (with a ground commander with maps), and an intrepid crew to fly the device as low to the ground as possible. I am bored so I volunteer to fly the low ship. I figure that as long as I don’t over-fly open areas they won’t be able to see to shoot. I hear that the high ship actually has a jungle penetration ladder. That must mean that we are important, but I have never seen such a ladder, much less know how to use one.
Off we go, on the first mission. A hundred knots right on the jungle we get our first “beep” followed immediately by automatic gunfire from the ground. We throw smoke and it’s on with both door guns and gunships firing. Another “beep” again brings the same results. Multiple “beeps” and more ground fire again and again. By this time, I make a mental note to bring a lot more smoke grenades, two more 600 round trays, and have a lingering feeling as to whether we really actually need the box at all.
We do a number of these missions with the same results, getting shot at with monotonous regularity. Then one day our high ship goes down for maintenance and an Air Force FAC (forward air controller), driving an O-2 is drafted to fill in. We give him the usual plan and directions of how we work, the big one being not to be vectored over open territory. Off we go. Lots more of the usual is the standard indicator of us not being welcome. We work our way up the side of the mountain and are vectored over the top. Here is where things take a decided change for the worst.
Crossing over the crest we find ourselves looking down at an open rectangular clearing about the size of a football field. NVA are running scattered all over the place and there are multiple bunkers on both sides. “Time Travel” kicks in suggesting if we low level right down the middle, that the bad guys might have trouble getting a clear shot without shooting each other. So far it’s working as we approach the near end of the field. By now the little “Time” voice has me totally convinced that a base camp this size must have some AAA threat assets. A dual or quad 12.7 mm could tag us well out to one mile if we made a climb out or even flew flat out over the sheer cliff to the right. We are at the far end now and one of the bad guys who probably has my forehead in his sights pulls the trigger a couple of milliseconds after I have pitched up slightly and to the right where the cliff is.
The round comes in through the bottom of the cockpit, pings off the left side collective push – pull rod, comes up through the floor of the cargo bay, and shatters the M-16 rifle stock of a ground commander who is now very unhappy that he came along for the ride.
As we go vertical, we are quite soon below any usable firing angle from above. That’s the good news, the rest is all bad….really bad.
Before arriving in Southeast Asia, I had always thought of the main rotor mast as being solid machined steel. Once here, I found from numerous wrecks, that the mast was in fact a hollow tube made out of some light alloy. The discovery gave me heartburn for a week or so.
Continue: (this part happens completely in less than 5 seconds)
We have approached and passed VNE (velocity not to exceed). i.e. – past the airspeed red line. Now the cyclic (control stick) is now making little circles (clockwise). Quite soon the stick is cutting a one foot diameter circle all by itself. I now realize that that we have a solid contact of the rotor hub onto the mast itself. Had this happened with any kind forceful movement, it would have sheared the mast, separated the main rotor and all of us would have become one with the ground.
The collective pitch (up/down) control arm is supposed to be adjusted to a specified number of pounds required for the pilot to move it up or down. I was finding that during long hours of flight that my left arm actually hurt from moving the thing up and down to meet the very tiny power changes that I frequently needed. I asked my crew chief – Bob Falk, if we could make the thing a little lighter to operate. He brought back the equivalent of a gunfighter’s hair trigger. We always applied lots of manual friction on the control at the end of the day to keep some other pilot from reporting the lightness as a maintenance issue.
Using extremely small upward movements on the collective we gradually brought the nose up and got everything back to normal. Everything except me. I knew exactly at that point how close the edge really was. Both Tom Knapp (door gunner) and Bob Falk (crew chief) knew full well when their A/C pushed the limit and they helped make the successes all happen. Well Done Gentlemen.
New Orleans, LA ~ June 20th – 24th, 2012
Welcome to New Orleans
The Mississippi first defined her, 17th century explorers and early settlers laid her foundation, and the artists, musicians, chefs, and others who followed built her into the Queen of the Mississippi. Unlike any other American city, from its unique architecture to its famous celebrations, New Orleans inspires and intrigues residents and visitors alike. The Rattler-Firebird Reunion tour program will give you the opportunity to experience some of the area’s top attractions, including a city tour, sightseeing dinner cruise, and the opportunity to visit the National WWII Museum. New Orleans is the perfect location for the Rattler-Firebird Reunion, and will provide many opportunities to relax and enjoy your family and friends in this ideal setting.
The reunion officially begins on Wednesday, June 20th and ends on Sunday, June 24th. You will be staying at the Hilton New Orleans Airport, located at 901 Airline Drive, Kenner, LA 70062. The room rate is $99.00 plus tax per night, based on single or double occupancy. For those of you who choose to arrive early or stay late, the same room rate is available 3 days before and 3 days after the official reunion dates, based on availability. Please make your hotel reservations NOW by calling Hilton reservations at 1-800-445-8667. Mention that you are with the Rattler-Firebird Reunion to assure you are associated with your group. You may request specific room types when you call to make your reservations (handicap accessible room, etc.).
The hotel check-in time is 3:00pm; please don’t expect to get into your room before then. Make your reservations today; you can cancel up to 48 hours prior to arrival without penalty. They will ask you for a deposit or credit card number to guarantee your room reservation. The hotel is holding rooms until they sell out or May 11th, 2012, whichever comes first. Don’t delay.
There are many more king sized bedrooms in our room block than in the past due to the high demand for these.
Transportation & Directions
For those of you flying to the reunion, the closest airport is New Orleans International (MSY). The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from the New Orleans Airport. The hotel shuttle departs from the Transportation Center which is located on the first floor of the airport, across from the baggage claim area. For those of you driving to the reunion, the hotel offers complimentary self parking. Contact the hotel directly if you need specific driving directions. The hotel is right across the street from the airport.
As with the last two reunions, the Saturday night banquet will have assigned seating. The seating charts will be on display when we set up on Wednesday. We still have the charts from Denver and Nashville and have a pretty good idea who likes to sit together. At the very least all attempts will be made to put guys from the same years at the same table. Please contact Ron Seabolt for seating with certain persons.
There will be two open seats on the board of directors at the business meeting due to term limits. If you would like to serve on the board or wish to nominate someone please let us know before the reunion. A board member and a person nominating a board member must be current with their dues.
2012 REUNION EVENTS
EVENT A: NEW ORLEANS CITY TOUR
Thursday, June 21st (9:00am-3:00pm)
Board your luxury coach and travel through three centuries of history as you tour some of New Orleans’ top attractions. Absorb the sights & sounds of the world famous French Quarter and historic Jackson Square, home of the Cabildo and Presbytere Museums. Visit one of the historic cemeteries, referred to as “Cities of the Dead,” and learn about this unique above ground burial system. Marvel at stories of voodoo and piracy on Bayou St. John, the waterway used by Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates, as you make your way to the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, where you will see the longest bridge over water in the world, the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway. Follow the path of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, the oldest continuously operating passenger railway system in the world, past the homes of former Kings & Queens of Mardi Gras, stately mansions and the world-famous, exclusive Garden District. Tour includes a drive through the Lower 9th Ward, one of the areas most affected by Hurricane Katrina, as well as the Lakeview area. The guided tour will end in the French Quarter, where you will have time to browse on your own before returning to the hotel. The bus will depart the French Quarter at the designated spot at 2:30pm.
Thursday, June 21st (4:00pm at the Hotel)
The Rattler/Firebird Ladies Meeting will be held at the hotel in the Rivertown ABC Room. There is no need to pre register for the Ladies Meeting.
Please Select Golf Outing, Event B or Event C for Friday, June 22nd
FIREBIRDS GOLF OUTING
Friday, June 22nd (7:30am)
The seventh annual Firebirds Free Fire Golf outing will be held on Friday, with tee times beginning at 8:00am at the Audubon Golf Club in New Orleans. The cost is $30 for 18 holes and cart. Golf club rental is available from $27 to $40. There is a café on site that serves breakfast from 8am to 11am and lunch from 11am to 2:30pm For those who sign up for the golf outing, you will be contacted by the Golf Coordinator.
EVENT B: PADDLEWHEEL LUNCH CRUISE & WWII MUSEUM
Friday, June 22nd (10:30am-5:30pm)
Board your authentic steamboat and take a step back in time, when cotton was king and life was as slow as the current on the Mississippi River. As you cruise on New Orleans’ only authentic steamboat, you will be amazed by the sights of one of the world’s most active ports and the beautiful view of New Orleans from the comfort of your steamboat. Your narrated 2 hour lunch cruise includes an all-you-can-eat buffet which includes 3 entrees, several side dishes, salads, and an extensive dessert display. After lunch, enjoy the view as you relax to the sounds of the “Dukes of Dixieland” jazz band. Don’t miss this wonderful day out on the river, and the chance to spend time with your friends and family. Following the cruise board your coach for the short ride to the National WWII Museum. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as the country's official World War II Museum. This remarkable attraction illuminates the American experience during the WWII era with moving personal stories, historic artifacts and powerful interactive displays. From the Normandy Invasion to the sands of Pacific Islands and the “home front”, the museum brings to life the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won the war and changed the world. You will have the afternoon to visit the Museum at your own pace. Your tour includes the film Beyond All Boundaries, narrated and produced by Tom Hanks, a unique and powerful film about the Greatest Generations journey
EVENT C: PADDLEWHEEL LUNCH CRUISE & NEW ORLEANS ON YOUR OWN
Friday, June 22nd (10:30am-5:30pm)
Board your authentic steamboat and take a step back in time, when cotton was king and life was as slow as the current on the Mississippi River. As you cruise on New Orleans’ only authentic steamboat, you will be amazed by the sights of one of the world’s most active ports and the beautiful view of New Orleans from the comfort of your steamboat. Your narrated 2 hour lunch cruise includes an all-you-can-eat buffet which includes 3 entrees, several side dishes, salads, and an extensive dessert display. After lunch, enjoy the view as you relax to the sounds of the “Dukes of Dixieland” jazz band. Don’t miss this wonderful day out on the river, and the chance to spend time with your friends and family. Following the cruise board your coach for the short ride to the French Quarter. You will be dropped off in the French Quarter where you will have the afternoon to explore on your own. You may choose to browse the French Quarter, tour the Aquarium, or try your luck at the nearby Harrah’s Casino. Maps will be provided to help you navigate your way through downtown. The bus will pick you up at the predetermined location at 4:30pm.
MEMORIAL SERVICE & BUSINESS MEETING
Saturday, June 23rd (9:00am at the Hotel)
The Annual Rattler/Firebird Association Memorial Service & Business Meeting will take place on Saturday morning in the Ballroom AB. Following the meetings there will be a group photo session followed by our “War Stories” segment there is no need to pre register for the Memorial Service or the Meetings. The Memorial Service and Business Meeting will adjourn in time for you to take the Mardi Gras & Mayhem Tour.
EVENT D: NEW ORLEANS: MARDI GRAS & MAYHEM
Saturday, June 23rd (10:00am-3:30pm)
New Orleans is renowned for Mardi Gras Celebration, in recent years the city has also become known for the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Today you will learn about both. Since 1699, when Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville celebrated his arrival at the mouth of the Mississippi on Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras has been integrally linked to Louisiana's cultural heritage. Your tour begins at Blain Kern’s Mardi Gras World. Mardi Gras World is literally the place where Mardi Gras magic is made. Step inside the giant warehouse filled with the famous Mardi Gras floats and props. Walk among the towering figures of fantasy, and watch the artists of Blaine Kern Studios, the world-renowned masters of Carnival sculpture and float building, at work in their shops. Mardi Gras World is a world of wonders, and the most unique expression of the spirit and culture of this annual Carnival. Then take the short ride to the Presbytere located in Jackson Square. You will see two fascinating exhibits: the Mardi Gras Exhibit and the Katrina Exhibit. Based on original research, the Mardi Gras exhibit traces the emergence of New Orleans' parades and balls to the present-day statewide extravaganza that attracts millions. The vast scope of the Museum's collection appears in three focus galleries complete with favors, souvenirs, invitations, which are displayed in huge cases and “open storage” cabinets. The most dazzling focus gallery - the Crown Jewels Vault - houses an astonishing array of tiaras, scepters, necklaces and other baubles worn by generations of royalty. Katrina & Beyond is a must-see exhibit on the history and science of this awesome storm. Eyewitness accounts, state-of-the-art multimedia displays and iconic objects collected in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, provide an unforgettable experience of loss and devastation. This exhibit will inspire you; it is ultimately a celebration of the spirit of service and resilience in the face of catastrophe & Mayhem. Lunch will be on your own at a suitable location.
Saturday, June 23rd (7:00pm at Hotel)
Join your friends for your Banquet Dinner at the Hotel. Cocktails will be available from the cash bar at 6:00pm; dinner will be served at 7:00pm. Please make your entrée selection on the reservation form. Our guest speaker will be LTC Bruce Crandall who was awarded the Medal of Honor as the CO of the aviation company in the Ia Drang Valley fight in November 1965. Another special guest who is attending once again is Joe Galloway, famous war correspondent and author.
TOUR CANCELLATION INSURANCE
Protect yourself from unforeseen expenses caused by sickness, injury or any other causes that impact your travel plans. This insurance enables a refund of Tour & Banquet expenses up until three (3) days before the start of your reunion. If you need to cancel – please call our office immediately (817-251-3551) for a cancellation number. If you have not purchased cancellation insurance all tour and meal money is non-refundable 6 weeks prior to the reunion.
Important Reunion Notes:
- Tours may be cancelled if a minimum of 30 people per bus is not met. In this case, full refunds will be given.
- Please understand that a certain amount of walking is necessary from the bus to attractions and in some instances, to also see the attractions. Please consider your abilities before purchasing tours.
- Be sure to bring photo identification (like a driver’s license) on all events.
- All tour times are subject to change. A final itinerary is available at registration.
Reservations are due by May 11th, 2012. Late reservations accepted on a space available basis with a non refundable $10 per person late fee. You should make a copy of this form for your records. For information call weekdays: 817-251-3551 or Email: info@MilitaryReunionPlanners.com. Requests for refunds must be made in writing and postmarked before due date above. No refunds will be made after this date, unless you have purchased Tour Cancellation Insurance. Sorry, no refunds will be given starting 3 days before the reunion for any reason. There is a $10 per person refund processing fee. Your cancelled check is your receipt and proof of purchase. There is a $25 return check fee for NSF. For a written confirmation please enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope. MRP will not be held liable for failure of vendors to provide contracted services or any injuries/accidents that may occur during the reunion. Tours require a minimum of 30 people in order to operate. Full refunds given for any cancelled Event.