The participation in these ceremonies and in our reunion by representatives of 1/44 ADA from Ft Hood, Texas - the CSM, Color Guard and Bugler - greatly added to the feel and pageantry of the ceremonies and was much appreciated. They were a great addition to the overall reunion and we hope to be able to enjoy their presence again!
The participation of the Honor Guard from Delta Company, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 4th Marines (reserves) - who fired the salutes at and added their precision to the ceremonies - was also appreciated.
We then returned to our HQ (hotel) and readied for the DQS Banquet. After being welcomed and being moved by 'Smitty's' (Jim Smith) offering of the Remembrance Prayer at the POW-MIA Table, we joined Chaplain Dale Childers in offering our blessings and embarked on the task of thoroughly enjoying the bountiful, tasty meal. (It could be said that: 'We met the enemy (food) and it was ours!')
After enjoying some appropriate musical selections, we honored Gary Puro's 'Head Hunting' efforts (700+) by presenting him a custom-made shirt with a picture of Gary in Vietnam on it. We read the Certificates of Appreciation that were presented to Virgil Young and to D-4/4 Marine Reserves. We also recognized and presented a Certificate of Appreciation to the soldiers of 1/44 ADA from Ft Hood. A new plaque and award, 'the Hughie', honoring the fine service of and standards set by long-time DQS President Hugh Roberts was initiated with Hugh being the first recipient. Buddy White was presented a much deserved plaque designating his status as an Honorary Member. Group comments, thoughts, memories and etc. led by Joe Belardo followed. Group singing of a few fitting songs brought this year's banquet to an end. Everyone was in good voice and the songs felt good.
Shortly thereafter, our Annual Business Meeting convened. Information was presented and exchanged with good participation and lively discussion. Of note is the formation of a committee to contact all members possible and invite their personal participation in our activities - including helping to support these activities and the continued efforts to locate and maintain contact with all of those who served in Army ADA units in Vietnam by way of yearly dues donations. We look forward to the very important success of this group! Election of Officers was accomplished and the new reunion attendees were recognized and welcomed.
Sunday's DQS Church Service was again well attended and many emotions were brought forth.
We are proud of our shared service with each other and for others. Sometimes our memories bring laughter, sometimes tears and sometimes even we are surprised. We must always 'be there' for our brothers and it's not always easy; neither was Vietnam-yet we survived in one manner or another. Much as we did then, we will shoulder the load and move on, side-by-side, as we learn from the past and look forward to the warmth and brightness of shared smiles. AT PROUDLY MARCH ON!