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2002 REUNION UPDATE

                                                                                                                                    March 31, 2002

 

Troopers and Friends,

 

Planning for our mini-reunions continues.  This is the time for all pilots, gunners, crew chiefs, Blues, LRRP's, maintenance, operations, supply, admin…every trooper and families, to reunite for a trip down memory lane.  Some information will repeat from my initial letter.

 

Charlie Troop is not competing with either the VHPA or the Bullwhip Squadron.  Many Charlie Troopers are already members of those groups.  This endeavor has only one purpose and that it to get veterans to interact with comrades with whom they served and comrades from other year groups.  You don’t have to come to a reunion to do that.  Make a phone call or write a letter.  Most Charlie Troopers attending the Bullwhip reunion are already members of that organization, including some who did not respond to my survey.  That is also OK.  But, at least 12 non-Bullwhip Charlie Troopers are coming to Rucker for the first time and that is really great.  Some have already joined the Bullwhip Squadron Association.  So, this is a newsletter about reunions.  We are asking for your participation in whatever form you wish.  Your comrades want to see you.

 

My first reunion letter was sent to 371 troopers.  Sixty-one letters bounced due to out of date addresses, leaving 310 that should have been delivered.  One hundred responses have been received.  Thirty-five indicate they will attend the Las Vegas Reunion.  Twenty-nine indicate they will attend the Fort Rucker Bullwhip Squadron reunion.  Others did not decide and most wished to be kept informed as planning continues.  This will be the final update for those not responding to either of my two mailings.

 

LAS VEGAS REUNION:  3-6 JULY 2002

 

There is an annual meeting of the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association (VHPA).  Members of the VHPA were pilots in Vietnam.  This event should draw over 2,500 pilots and guests.  Many VHPA unit members hold mini-reunions in conjunction with the annual reunion.  This year, we hope to have the largest number of 1/9 troopers and friends ever.  While Charlie Troop has had strong turnouts for past mini-reunions, other troops are actively planning mini-reunions in Las Vegas.

 

Hotels

 

The Riviera Hotel is the official host hotel for the VHPA and offers rooms at a special rate of $76 per night.  Non-VHPA members are welcome to stay at the Rivera at the same price VHPA members are paying.  Just say you are a guest of a VHPA member.  Guests are welcome in the bars, restaurants, displays, vendor areas, etc.  They don't need to register with VHPA unless they plan to attend a VHPA function like the Banquet, Welcome Party, etc.  If you want to stay at the Riviera, contact them directly as a guest of a VHPA member to get the $76 rate.  The hotel has no group rate for 1/9…only the VHPA rate.

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            Riviera Hotel:                2901 Las Vegas Boulevard South

                                                Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                                Phone:  1-800-634-6753

                                                Web Site: http://www.lasvegas.com/travel/hotels/riviera.html

 

The Stardust Hotel.  Many 1/9th Troopers are staying at the Stardust Hotel across the street from the VHPA’s Riviera Hotel.  The luxurious Stardust Hotel and Casino offers individual rates as low as $55 a night Monday thru Friday and $100 per night Saturdays and Sundays…but, they advertise two free evening meals per day.  No group discount.  We have no 1/9 block of rooms.  Deal directly with the hotel as an individual.  There is a Villas section and two towers.  My feedback is that troopers have made reservations in all three areas.  We will do “room list” at both hotels once we arrive so folks can find each other.  We should find troopers from all five troops at the Stardust.

 

Stardust Hotel:              3000 Las Vegas Boulevard South

                                                Las Vegas, NV 89109

                                                Phone:  1-800-824-6033

                                                Web Site: http://www.lasvegas.com/travel/hotels/stardust.html

 

Some attendees have made arrangements at other hotels.  Bring your RV.  Blues and Rangers can just bring a poncho and curl up in the desert!  There is plenty of sand for your sandbags.

 

Charlie Troop Events

 

John Powell and his meeting planner, Linda Tucker, are looking into Troop-only events.  From past reunions, we know that a banquet is a great place to meet the families and guests who might not attend hospitality suites, or might otherwise just want to see the sights.  Our next update will include information on other activities.

 

John is planning the Charlie Troop banquet for 3 July.  This will give us the best pre-4 July prices.  The downside is that you must arrive on 3 July.  We should not compete with the VHPA banquet on 6 July.  Our events can also be spur of the moment.  Join a gaggle and head for a trough of your choice.  We will attempt to have a bulletin board or another place at the Stardust to offer information for the good of the order.  We will also attempt to coordinate carpooling for off-site events.  John suggests a restaurant called Claim Jumpers. They can handle us.  Will keep you posted.

 

John is also trying to get us a full-time meeting room at the hotel.  We need a place to meet every day.  A place everyone knows they can go to for information, bonding, scrapbooks, leave a message, drink a beer, show your album, or view somebody's slides.  A comfort zone.  This will be in addition to whatever we can arrange at the Riviera Hotel.

 

Jack Schwarz (Cavalier 44) maintains a Charlie Troop Web site and has updates on reunion activities and other information.  Visit:  http://cavalier44.tripod.com.

 

1st squadron, 9th Cavalry Events

 

Lad Vaughan, Apache 31 - Headhunter Lift, is President of the Las Vegas Chapter of the VHPA.  As such he is very involved with VHPA and is a Las Vegas resident.  Lad has been helping troop planners’ to structure mini-reunion events

 

Contact has been made with the operator of Maverick Helicopters, a tour helicopter company in Las Vegas.  The operator's name is Greg Rochna.  He was an A/1/9 Scout pilot during 69-70.  Greg proposes to have a "Hanger Party" at his facility during the 1/9th’s visit to Las Vegas.  The tentative schedule is Friday July 5, 2002 @ 1900 to 2100 local.  The finger food, wine, beer and chilled water are being provided by Greg.  Appearing for your pleasure and photographs will be an AH-1 and a OH-6 fully dressed out with Teeth, Sabers and Weapons of Communist destruction.  Helicopter rides down the Strip and Grand Canyon tours will be very "Dollars Friendly" for those troopers and guests wishing to see the Lights and Splendor of Southern Nevada by helicopter.  This most gracious offer by Greg Rochna is his salute to the 1/9th and the Las Vegas Chapter.  He asks only that this event be invitation only/RSVP with some advance head count.  Chapter Members wear their Chapter Shirts and all (God Bless 'em) 1/9th Real Cav should show up with Cav Hats, Horse Patches or 9th Cav patches. 

 

Please let me know if you wish to attend the hanger picnic and the number of people in your party.

 

Check the roster of those who have responded.  Let me know if there are corrections.  Thanks.

 

ATTENDANCE AT VHPA REUNION EVENTS.  (Extracted from VHPA Web site)

 

Read this if you want to register for VHPA events.  See below for descriptions and prices.  All ticketed events below require that you have a paid registration in addition to ticket prices.

The VHPA will display Special Operations aircraft flown in Afghanistan as well as the display of two AH-64 Apaches to show how aircraft we flew have evolved into today's variants.  The Apache's are very large and the hotel is finding display place for them.

 

July 3, Wednesday.  Charlie Troopers should arrive this day.  This is the night of our Charlie Troop dinner.  VHPA members must register at the Riviera regardless of hotel selected.  As part of their operation, the VHPA will make unit hospitality rooms available.  We will have this information available at both hotels.  We also are trying to “cover our bets” and find a second hospitality room at the Stardust.  To attend VHPA events you must have an official nametag on a lanyard that will be your pass into all the events you choose (or paid for).  Security will be directed to restrict admission to badge holders only.  All pilots and guests over 18 are charged a registration fee of $45 if paid before April 30, 2002.  After that date, registration increases to $55.  If you are not a member and want to attend any VHPA event, please arrange your registration directly with the VHPA.  If you need a member-sponsor, use my member number:  M09699.  Contact data for VHPA registration is below.

 

            VHPA:             1-800-505-VHPA

            Web Site:          http://www.vhpa.org

 

The VHPA Welcome Reception will be held from 7- 10 p.m.  Tickets are $20 for this event.  This is the only VHPA event that conflicts with the Charlie Troop dinner.

 

July 4, Thursday.  Mini-reunions, vendor sales, hospitality suite, and all-day mini bars are scheduled.  In the evening, you have a choice of two stage shows beginning at 7:30 and immediately afterward two great functions starting at 9 p.m., all within the confines of the Riviera Hotel & Casino.  SPLASH! is a non-stop entertainment extravaganza.  See the Riviera Hotel web- site at www.rivieracasino.com/splash.html and download the "sneak peak" of the show.  Ticket price is $42.50.  Four hundred tickets remain.

 

An “Evening at La Cage” is the second production choice.  Although costing less, it is no less an entertainment spectacular.  The show highlights Frank Marino performing as Joan Rivers and features the "most accomplished female impersonators in the world."  Price is $22.50 for the 600-seat capacity house.  Preview at www.rivieracasino.com/lacage.html and get a glimpse of an entertaining burlesque.  Eighty seats remain.

 

The Top of the Riviera, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer a dramatic view of downtown Las Vegas and the fireworks display is SOLD OUT.

 

July 5, Friday.  Friday is the day set aside by VHPA for doing nothing if you choose.  Tour information is available at all hotels.  Remember, this is the night of the 1/9 Cavalry/Maverick Helicopters “hanger party”.

 

July 6, Saturday.  VHPA business meeting and elections are from 9 a.m. until noon.  Consider this day for a Maverick helicopter tour.  Let your family experience the thrill of what Daddy did in the war!

 

The closing banquet is in the immense Royale Pavilion Ballroom.  Your $50 banquet ticket pays for your meal and all the following events.  With your choice of broiled New York steak, baked orange roughy, or pasta vegetarian meal, the hotel banquet staff assures us this is no "rubber chicken" banquet.  After dinner (with minimum speeches), you'll remain seated for a spectacular one hour-plus live stage show designed for the VHPA reunion.  Following the extravaganza, a short walk to the Grande Ballroom (across the hall), and you'll be able to dance and party the rest of the night.  One of the best stage groups/bands in the U.S., the Los Angeles-based “The Zippers” are absolutely unbelievable with their performance, presentation and musical talent.

 

July 7, Sunday.  Departure day for most.


BULLWHIP SQUADRON REUNION:  11-13 October 2002

 

(Extracted from www.bullwhipsquadron.org)

Troopers,

 

The clock is ticking down to 11 October 2002 for the start of the next Bullwhip reunion.  This is the advance notice for motel registration.  As many of you remember from the last reunion, procrastination guarantees that you will not be in the motel of your choice.  So make reservations now!  Recommend you call and reserve rooms ASAP.  We hope to have the largest assemblage of Black Stetsons seen outside of Fort Hood.

 

The three motels have been locked in for rooms and prices.  We have over 200 rooms reserved for our troopers.  When you call, inform the desk that you are reserving for the Bullwhip Squadron reunion, dates 11, 12, and 13 October.  Yes, you can come earlier and stay later if you desire.  A credit card will be needed for reserving, or prepay.  The desk will answer all your questions.  The Holiday Inn is the reunion host hotel and is fully booked.  The Jameson Inn is filling fast.  The All American Inn has rooms for Charlie Troopers and will provide a hospitality room that will be stocked with refreshments courtesy of the Bullwhip Squadron Association.  Information on hotels follows.

 

Holiday Inn: (Reunion headquarters) $51.84 per night.  Includes Buffet breakfast and Hospitality Room.

Phone 1-334-774-7300.  This is fully booked…SOLD OUT

 

Jameson Inn: $54 per night.  Includes Continental breakfast and. Hospitality Room.

Phone 1-334-774-0233 for reservations.

 

All American Inn: (formerly the Best Western) $48.60 per night for the standard room.  Includes deluxe Continental breakfast.  Hospitality room.  Note: They have guaranteed a number of economy rooms at $29 for single and $32 for double for those of you that would like a price reduction.  Charlie Troop will have a full-time hospitality room at the All American in addition to the Squadron hospitality room at the Holiday Inn.

Phone 1-866-768-5970 for reservations.

 

Call the above numbers only!  Do not call the national 800 numbers as you will be told that all rooms are reserved.  Again, call the above numbers only.  All motels allow four per room at the standard rates, with the exception of the economy rooms.  Special arrangements can be made for young children.  Ask the desk.  All the motels are on highway 231 in Ozark and are within three short blocks of each other, same side of the road (west side).  For you pilots that means if you are driving south, they will be on your right.  More information on the reunion will be in the upcoming Bullwhip news magazine.

 

Check the Bullwhip Squadron web site:  www.bullwhipsquadron.org.  Join today.  Their newsletter alone is worth the price of admission.