As usual we tried to keep activities low-key with the Saturday business meeting and banquet being the only formal events on the schedule. Several of us got together for group dinners on Wednesday and Thursday. We had lots of fun ... despite the wallet lightening aspect of the exercise. I'm not so sure the two restaurants have yet recovered from having some 50 Manchus descend on them en masse.
Even with the outtings there was still plenty of time for visits to the theme parks for those so inclined, and then there was the Manchu Open Golf Classic. Sixteen intrepid souls braved the pre-dawn darkness to head out to the links and a good time was had by all. Alen Fyfe is still tabulating the results and has most of it done - he is hoping the National Security Agency will allow the use of its Cray Supercomputer to add up my score. When that is done then a winner can be announced. Those in attendance at the Saturday banquet know that Watty Smith has already received his justly deserved "Pole In One" reward for singlehandedly slaying a 150 yard marker at the Crooked Dog course. Hats off to Watty!
As happens every year there were dozens of get togethers in the meeting room where a massive amount of memorabilia was on display. There were pictures, maps and souvenirs from the war. We also screened several great videos - the documentary A Time For Honor, and several home movies shot by Manchus during their tours. Seeing Tay Ninh, Mole City, the top of Nui Bah Dinh and many other landmarks in our old AO was fantastic. I hope those who brought that great footage will bring it to the next reunion. I'm sure there are still lots of us who'd love to see the films.
Speaking of next reunions... those in attendance selected Las Vegas as the site of the 2004 get together. They also asked the Executive Committee to put together a list of potential sites for 2005 and we will. The Executive Committee, by the way, remains the same. Cheri Criteser, Alen Fyfe and I were honored to be asked to serve another year as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President and President respectively. The membership also agreed to a minor change in the Constitution and By Laws spelling out that the term of office is one year.
I am happy to announce two new appointments. Bill Fitch agreed to accept the position of Historian for the association. Bill's outstanding work researching and writing parts of the Manchu history are a perfect match for the position and will go a long way in helping us safeguard and maintain a record of our service. And Don Crowley, has graciously accepted the role as Chaplain. Many of you will remember Don from his year as our chaplain in Vietnam. Not many chaplains can list more than 200 combat sweeps in his resume but that was Don, always there for us when we needed him. Regretfully, the memorial service planned for Sunday morning in Orlando had to be postponed due to a scheduling conflict but we will make sure that won't happen next year.
Pictures from Bob Wolfley and Jon Wright are included in photos below.