Reunion Recap: Pilot Classes of World War II

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20160908-wwii-pilots-reunion_28923876543_oThe Pilot Classes of World War II held their annual reunion in Colorado Springs, CO this year. The reunion, which consists of Army Air Corps pilot training graduates from 1940-1945, was hosted at the DoubleTree by Hilton Colorado Springs.

The reunion kicked into action on Wednesday, September 7th as members began arriving from all over the country. On Thursday, attendees participated in a special tour to NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) and USNORTHCOM. They began the day by arriving at Peterson AFB where they were pleasantly surprised to receive a welcome by the men and women of the NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Upon arrival, attendees were greated by Gen. Lori Robinson, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander and LTG Dan Hokanson, USNORTHCOM Deputy Commander. The two helped to provide the guests with a better understanding of the unique missions of NORAD and USNORTHCOM to defend the homeland. Attendees received a briefing by NORAD, who is responsible for US and Canada military defense by aircraft, missiles, space vehicles, or maritime avenues. After the tour and command briefing, the group attended lunch at The Airplane Restaurant, an aviation themed restaurant with an intact Boeing KC-97 tanker as its centerpiece. Following lunch, reunion attendees made their way to the National WWII Aviation Museum, which specializes in the unique role of aviation throughout World War II.

Friday included an exciting tour as well, this time to the United States Air Force Academy. The Pilot Classes of WWII20160908-wwii-pilots-reunion_29512646736_o reunion attendees received a personal, guided tour of the 18,500 stunning AF Academy campus. One of the highlights of the tour was visiting the Cadet Chapel, now considered among the most prominent examples of modern American academic architecture. Lunch was served at the Officer’s Falcon Club and was followed by the viewing of the Cadets’ Formation and Parch in Tarrazo Pavilion.

For those interested in taking in the beautiful sites of Colorado Springs, the reunion association offered a tour to the Garden of the Gods on Saturday morning. The bus tour highlighted the 1,350 acre park with magnificent red stone formations that date back 300 million years. The park is now a registered National Natural Landmark, and features dramatic views of 300 foot sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. After taking in the sights, the tour attendees enjoyed lunch on their own at the Trading Post before heading back to the hotel for their banquet dinner. For dinner Saturday evening, attendees enjoyed an option of New York Strip Steak with Peppercorn Merlot Demi, Chicken Saltimbocca with Fried Prosciutto and Sage with Glaze, or Colorado Bass and Shrimp with a White Wine Sause and Pearled Couscous.

Reunion Recap: USS Valley Forge “Happy Valley Reunion Club” Reunion

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The USS Valley Forge “Happy Valley Reunion Club” held their 2016 annual reunion in Pittsburgh, PA! The reunion club is comprised of former sailors who spent time aboard the USS Valley Forge. The reunion was held at the DoubleTree Pittsburgh Green Tree.

Highlights of the reunion included a guided city tour, a walking tour of the Heinz History Center, a visit to the Soldiers and Sailors National Military Museum and Memorial, and a trip to the Nationality Classrooms.

Perhaps the most entertaining part of the reunion occurred at the banquet when four reunion attendees put on a skit for their fellow shipmates and donned hula skirts and coconut bikinis! Reunion club member, Ron Andrews, serenaded the crowd following their banquet dinner.

Armed Forces Reunions always enjoys planning reunions for the Happy Valley Reunion Club and is looking forward to next year’s in Colorado Springs, CO.

Reunion Recap: OV-1 Mohawk Association

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The other Army veterans group from the Vietnam era that met at the Sheraton Pentagon City last week was the OV-1 Mohawk Association.  Almost 300 people were in attendance!

img_2173The reunion kicked off Thursday with registration and free time in the hospitality room and PX to pick up a new reunion t-shirt or other items.  A welcome dinner buffet followed with an open mic for members to perhaps tell a joke or a story.  On Friday, three buses transported the group into Washington DC for a narrated tour.  They stopped at the WWII Memorial and then drove my many notable sites including the Capitol and Washington Monument.  After lunch, they stopped at a central point to see the Lincoln Memorial, Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam Wall.  They were back in time to rest up for the evening trip to the Kennedy Center to see the famed show, Shear Madness, a hilarious whodunit where the audience gets to catch the killer.  After Saturday’s business meeting, the group had a choice of taking a lunch cruise on the Spirit of Washington or free time at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, the annex for the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, and home to the famed Enola Gay along with many other aircraft and flight memorabilia.   The highlight of the reunion, perhaps was the anticipated Saturday evening banquet, full of lights, music, and action, as meticulously planned by the reunion chairman.   After a complimentary breakfast in the hotel restaurant (offered each morning), most said their farewells in hopes of seeing everyone next year.

Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. has been contracted to plan the last four reunions for this group along with the next one in Colorado Springs.  Plans are already underway for AFR to negotiate the Reno contract for 2018.

Reunion Recap: 4/9 Infantry Manchu Association Reunion

assn-officersThe Hilton Kansas City Airport was host to the 4/9 Infantry Manchu Association Reunion this past week.  Over 175 veterans and guests attended this annual reunion of Vietnam Veterans.

The event kicked off on Wednesday with most registering that day and reacquainting themselves with others.  After a complimentary breakfast each morning, a bus departed for the tour of the day.  Wednesday’s overview of the city took them by Lewis and Clark Point, Union Station, and the Liberty Memorial before arriving for lunch and shopping at Country Club Plaza.  On Thursday, they discovered the treasures of the Steamboat Arabia, sunk in 1856, but excavated in 1988.  Now, the remarkably preserved frontier supplies including jewelry, china, and more are on display for all to see.  After lunch at City Market, the group travelled on to the recently renovated Museum of Toys & Miniatures to see various toys dating back to the 1800s… a trip down memory lane for sure.  A visit to the mid-west wouldn’t be complete without going to Independence, Missouri, home of the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum.  Consequently, on Saturday, the group saw a full-scale reproduction of the White House Oval Office, circa 1948 and a film depicting the life of Harry Truman.   Once back at the hotel Saturday afternoon, the group held their business meeting before getting ready for the Banquet and Auction.  Most said their good byes before departing the ballroom Saturday evening, but all are in high-hopes of seeing each other next year in San Antonio.

Armed Forces Reunions, Inc.  was first selected to be the group’s exclusive reunion planner for the 2007 reunion, and we’ve been honored to plan ten of the Manchu’s reunions!

 

Reunion Recap: USS Bennington

14232457_10206774258022252_8143873363401611000_nThe annual USS Bennington Reunion took place August 30-September 3, 2016 in Omaha, NE and was hosted at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. Members came together from across the country to enjoy the four-day event, Tuesday-Friday, reuniting with old shipmates.

On Wednesday the USS Bennington Reunion Attendees got to explore two of Omaha’s biggest tourist attractions – the Strategic Air & Space Museum and Boy’s Town. More than thirty of the world’s most famous military aircraft are on display at the Strategic Air and Space Museum. A 300,000 square foot facility, the museum includes the SR-71 “Blackbird” and the B-36 “Peacemaker. The historic collection is a celebration of aviation and the men and women who served at Nebraska’s Strategic Air Command. Father Flannigan’s Boy’s Town was founded in 1917 and incorporated in 1936. Boy’s Town is a complete community for over 550 boys and girls having trouble at home, or with no home at all. The complex is a world-renowned college preparatory and technical training facility.

On Thursday morning, folks loaded up a bus for a guided tour of Omaha. Tour highlights included: the Lewis & Clark Landing, the historic spot where the duo landed; the historic Gold Coast District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places; Billionaire Warren Buffet’s home, a 1903 Scottish Castle; The Blackstone Hotel, the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich, St. Cecilia’s Spanish Cathedral; TD Ameritrade Park, home of the annual NCAA Men’s College World Series; the Omaha Community Playhouse; and many more hot spots in Omaha! After lunch on their own at the Old Market Downtown District, attendees traveled to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, which houses one of the oldest corporate collections in the nation. The Museum includes artifacts, photographs, and documents that trace the development of the transcontinental railroad to the American West.

Friday morning began with the association’s annual business meeting and the reunion wrapped up on Friday evening with the reception and dinner buffet with Omaha steaks!

Armed Forces Reunions loves planning the USS Bennington Reunion annually and is looking forward to planning the group’s 2017 reunion in Great Lakes, IL!