St. Louis was so good to the Manchus during the 2009 reunion we decided to visit again in 2019. It didn't disappoint. We may have all been ten years longer in the tooth but St. Louis was as spirited (get it, spirited? I'm thinking Lindbergh and his legendary airplane here) as it could be.
The Sheraton Westport Plaza hosted us this year as it did the first time. It's mix of meeting space and complex of restaurants and clubs provided plenty of diversions Tour opportunities were abundant though the temptation of spending the day communing with Budweiser's famous Clydesdales was hard to pass up.
The evening dinner cruise on the mighty Mississippi drew a large turnout and had to count as one of the highlights of the reunion.
During our annual business meeting we discussed ongoing philanthropic efforts of the Manchus including a camo quilt project sent to families of Manchus on deployment. We took care of business at the annual business meeting. Larry Eshelman reported that the Camo Project is still going strong.The Camo quilts are sent to the families active service personnel who are deployed. The Manchu Memorial Golf Tournament saw a 22-strong field compete with Matt Switnaowski, John Ruth, Michael Bryant and Lance Machado walking away with top honors. The bonhomie was tempered somewhat when the decision was made to retire the Hole-in-the-Pole award. After two years of no award being given it was clear that no golfer could ever possibly hope to top Alen Fyfe's glorious stroke when his powerful tee shot sent his ball towering more than 10 feet straight up only to land back on the tee from whence it was launched with nary a wobble. With such feats greatness is measured.
As we all know 2020 will see us in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington for our next annual gather. As you also know that are now selecting reunion sites two years in advance the membership had to choose between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and Washington, DC. After due consideration of the competing cities the decision was made. We will meet at the Garden City hotel in Oklahoma City the third weekend in September, 2021.
Alen Fyfe, Dan McKinney, Bob Lannon and I were honored to be selected to serve another term as Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and President, respectively of the association. It is a labor of love though I have to admit it really doesn't feel like work, our looking after details of running the organization.
The Saturday evening banquet saw more than 120 Manchus and guests enjoying each other's company. We also took some time to recognize several for their contributions to the association.
Here's one I already have. Its Kimberly Adams Force. (No points for guessing who sent it to me The goal in starting this whole thing hasn't changed since we began back in 1998. Reconnecting and preserving the friendships forged in the crucible of combat and remembering those we lost.
See you in Minnesota.
Keep Up The Fire
4/9 Infantry Manchu (Vietnam) Association