The United States Army Chaplain Corps Regimental Association hosted their 8th biennial Family Reunion in San Antonio, Texas last week. The event was hosted at the Historic Menger Hotel in the heart of downtown San Antonio right next to the Alamo.
The event officially kicked off on Wednesday, October 26th with registration. That evening attendees donned their coat and ties (for civilians) or dress uniforms (for active duty members) for the reunion’s reception dinner.
Thursday morning began with Devotionals across the hotel, followed by free time. That afternoon many attendees took a tour to the various San Antonio Missions, now UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The tour began with Mission San Jose, established in 1720 and considered to be the “Queen” of all the missions. That evening attendees had the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime, private, after-hours tour of the Alamo. Established in 1718 as San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo was the first of the five missions established in San Antonio by the Spanish government and the site of the famous battle of 1836 where 189 men gave their lives for the freedom of Texas.
On Friday afternoon, following morning Devotionals, attendees took a tour of the San Antonio City Tour. Points of interest on the tour included a stop at San Fernando Cathedral, the original church of the Canary Island settlers, a tour of the Main Plaza, a visit in the King William District, and the Japanese Sunken Garden. Following the City Tour, attendees met in the Menger’s beautiful ballroom for a Fiesta Dinner Buffet! The association decorated the banquet space with bright fiesta colors and a Mariachi band serenaded the group for over an hour! The association generously gifted AFR’s Event Planner, Allison Clark, with an American flag that flew over the Alamo in her name.
The reunion wrapped up on Saturday, October 29th beginning with a Business Meeting and moving into the Association’s Memorial Service.
This was AFR’s first year working with the US Army Chaplains Corps Regimental Association, but we are looking forward to planning their 2018 reunion in Washington, DC!
Even Hurricane Matthew couldn’t keep the crew and guests of the USS Memphis away from their reunion in Norfolk, VA. Concerns were discussed with the reunion committee and AFR, but based on forecasts and a determined spirit, the group decided, “The show must go on.”
Shipmates and guests started arriving at the host hotel, the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on Wednesday, but most arrived on Thursday in time to register and hang out in the hospitality room. Friday, a bus took the group to the Norfolk Naval Base for a guided tour and lunch at the Officer’s Club. Once back downtown, they stopped at Nauticus, a maritime museum on Norfolk’s waterfront. That evening, most joined together for dinner at the hotel, featuring an Italian Buffet. Despite concerns of the weather, about 60 went on the Spirit of Norfolk for a lunch cruise on Saturday. Saturday night, close to 100 friends gathered in the hotel ballroom for the USS Memphis Reunion Banquet. The committee does a great job with the plans – including a slide show, cake cutting ceremony, and honoring departed comrades with a special table. The reunion wrapped up Sunday morning at the Farewell Breakfast. Many made promises to see each other ‘next time.’
Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. was contracted to hold the group’s first reunion in Memphis, Tennessee in 2014 and was honored to be asked again to plan this reunion.
The USS Missouri BB-63 Association held their annual reunion from September 7-11, 2016 in Washington DC at the Sheraton Pentagon City Hotel. The reunion kicked off on Wednesday with registration and free time to browse the ship store or swap stories in the hospitality room.
On Thursday, attendees saw the sites of Washington on a Memorial Tour. The driving tour included a guided history of the nation’s War Memorials with stops at the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, and Naval Heritage Center, built to honor the sailors of the U.S. Navy. The group had lunch at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, which is the largest building (3.1 million square feet) in Washington, DC.
The group headed to Annapolis, MD on Friday morning. Starting by spending time and eating lunch at one of the many dockside restaurants along the waterfront area of Annapolis. After lunch, attendees had a special Military Reunion tour of the United States Naval Academy. Beginning at the Academy Visitors Center for a warm welcome and slide presentation, the group made their way through the grounds enjoying a personalized walking tour. Stops on the tour included the chapel, John Paul Jones Crypt, and Bancroft Hall. On Friday evening, the group headed up to the 16th floor of the Sheraton Pentagon City to enjoy their annual Beer Bash. A keg of Sam Adams was provided along with some warm cookies, and music – best of all was the beautiful view of the Washington DC skyline.
On Saturday morning, the association’s members joined together for their Executive Committee Meeting and General Meeting before heading to the Kennedy Center to catch a performance of Shear Madness that evening.
Sunday, September 11th began with a moving Memorial Service in the Stars Ballroom on the 16th floor of the Sheraton Pentagon City overlooking the Pentagon and Air Force Memorial. That evening wrapped up the reunion with the group’s Banquet Dinner.
The USS Turner Joy reunion group met at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach – Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center over the dates of September 22-25. Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. has been booking groups at this hotel for over twenty years because it’s truly reunion friendly and offers lots of complimentary items like airport shuttle and parking.
The reunion started Thursday with registration and free time in the hospitality room as people arrived throughout the day. After dinner, the group enjoyed an icebreaker reception with various desserts, fruit, cheese, and crackers. On Friday, two buses took the group to the Norfolk Naval Base for a tour led by active duty military and then to lunch at the Officers Club. Once in downtown Norfolk, attendees entered Nauticus, the maritime themed museum and science center, also home to the Battleship Wisconsin. A moving memorial service was held onboard the ship. Saturday’s outing was back to downtown Norfolk where folks enjoyed a two-hour lunch cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk and then a stop at the MacArthur Memorial, a museum and research center dedicated to preserving and presenting the story of General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. As with most groups, the banquet was held Saturday evening which featured a buffet and guest speaker, Cort Barnes. After a complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant (offered each morning), most said their farewells in hopes of seeing each other next time.
Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. has been honored to plan several of the USS Turner Joy reunions over the years and hopes to be of service in the future.
Members of the Society of the 5th Division traveled to Columbus, Georgia to attend their 96th Annual
Reunion. The reunion was hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn in Columbus.
Highlights of the reunion included: a special trip to the National Infantry Museum, a VIP tour of Ft. Benning Army Base, a tour of the National Civil War Naval Museum, and a trip to Andersonville, Georgia to see the National Prisoner of War Museum.
The National Infantry Museum is home to one of the most significant collections of military relics in existence. Recently opened, the museum houses poignant art and artifacts of war that showcase the role of the infantryman in American defense over the past 200 years and include military transport vehicles, tanks, assorted artillery weapons, and rare documents, along with U.S. and foreign military uniforms from nearly every major conflict. One special moment at the museum took place when Society of the 5th Division Member, and WWII veteran, George Klien was presented a Certificate of Honor and a lapel pin by the museum staff for his service. Mr. Klein was a US Army Ranger who scaled the cliffs at
Pointe du Hoc on D-Day. The museum has a depiction of Pointe du Hoc and upon seeing it, Mr. Klein noted, “it looks familiar… but shorter.”
Attendees enjoyed a “Sample of the South” Dinner Buffet on Saturday night. Dinner was followed by the presentation of pins and certificates from President Obama to the Vietnam veterans in the room in honor of the Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. Following the presentation of the pins, the group’s Guest Speaker, CSM Steven McClaflin (Ret.) took the podium. CSM McClafllin is currently serving as the Director of Operations and Security for the National Infantry Museum following a 27 year career in the Army, some of which was spent as a member of the 5th Infantry Division.
Sunday served as a day full of planning and remembrance for reunion attendees, beginning with the Non-Denominational Worship Service moving into the
Memorial Service and General Membership Meeting. Society of the 5th Division members paid a special tribute to their brothers who lost their lives during the three years the company spent in Vietnam. For two hours on Sunday afternoon the association honored all 514 veterans who were killed in action with a photo presentation and reading of names.
The reunion wrapped up on Sunday evening with the dinner banquet and the Installation of 2016-2017 Society Officers, followed by dancing. Armed Forces Reunions has worked with the Society of the 5th Division since 2012 and is looking forward to next year’s reunion in Kansas City, MO!