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"Let's see... I recognize your voice but you somehow look just a bit different..."

 

True everyone had changed in many ways but in some ways it was almost the same.  For me, voices and smiles seem to have changed little over the years.   We are just a little more mature, not older!

About 3 additional people showed up and registered for the first time bringing the Saturday total to near 25!   Kudos to you brave souls who decided to venture forth to their first reunion.  And how we were all rewarded to realize what a treasure those old friendships are.

We hugged and talked about the early years and what we are doing now; but the excitement of just being together is what dominated our joy.

It seems there's nothing like a reunion to jog the memory of times long past. Most of our known world while we were in Vietnam revolved around the Qui Nhon and Chu Lai area of operations. Some of us had the opportunity to work with the Special Forces out of Khe Sanh.  It was indeed a pleasant experience to see so many friends from years ago and to have an all-too-brief chance to swap war stories and reminisce about almost forgotten happenings of the past. It would have been even better if we could have had more time to exchange our thoughts with each other.

 

Saturday Night with the VHCMA - This was a real blast.  I wish everyone could have come.  There was a DJ, lots of dancing, and lots of drinking.  Iím sure many were glad this was held in a hotel.

Just a great night and great week all the way around!  It was so great to see all of you guys again!

We have certainly traveled many roads in our almost 40 year journey to get here after leaving Vietnam.   Through our lives we have also experienced the acceleration in the speed of change to our lifestyle, country and the world after spending our early years in such a vivid historical era.  In today's fast-paced society, it's all too easy to forget just how fortunate we are to have lived when and where we have. I cannot possibly think of any other time throughout history that I would have rather lived in. We have all been blessed many times over the years and we certainly have also suffered some of life changing events as we progressed to get to this point in time and I just hope that we can all continue to be blessed and hang in there until we get to do it all over again.

Would you like to share your thoughts about the reunion?  Send them to me and Iíll post it on the website.

I really hope everyone uses the website to stay in touch.  Any time you have any news send it my way.  I know all of your buddies would love to hear the news.  And remember if you have a change of address or a new e-mail address please let me know.

I would also like to encourage everyone to help with the missing alumni.  We still have a pretty large list of over 600 individuals (only about half of these with a mailing address) who once served in the 161st.

Well, if you made it to the reunion, please tell all your friends what they missed!  We had a wonderful time and I would like to thank everyone for coming out and making it a great event.  I hope everyone had a great time.

Please keep in touch through the web site and keep us all up-to-date on where you are and how you are doing.

Thanks again for coming and see you in next year in San Antonio, Texas.

 

 

Here is who made the trip to Indianapolis  

  • Ron and Janice Crislip
  • Ray and Maria Cusato
  • Pete Christy
  • Tom and Susan Hooker, and granddaughter Susan
  • Steve Hallmark
  • John Hastings
  • James and Peggy Holt
  • Larry Kenney
  • Denis Kitner, his daughter and her family
  • Robert Mix  (first time)
  • Steve and Jean Noonkesser  (first time)
  • Bill and Norma Lucas
  • Kenneth Newkirk  (first time)
  • Warren Risner
  • Pat and Marie Whalen  

 

L-R Front:  John Hastings, Larry Kenney, Ray Cusato, Jeff (our token Marine), Kenneth Newkirk, Bill Lucas.  Back Row:  Steve Noonkeeser, Pat Whalen, Pete Christy, Denis Kitner, Ron Crislip, Steve Hallmark.Pete Christy, Bob Mix, Steve Hallmark, and James Holt.Ray and Maria Cusato
Bob Mix and Larry KennyRon Crislip and Pat WhalenPelican 839 Crewchiefs, Ron Newkirk (1965-66), John Hastings (1967-68)

Pete Christy, Larry Kenny and Jerry Berstine (USMC)Susan and Tom Hooker; and granddaugher SusanFrom the 1965-66 era:  Ron Crislip, Kenneth Newkirk, Denis Kitner, and Steve Noonkesser

2004_067.jpg (69865 bytes)Janice and Ron CrislipWarren Risner and wife

Some of the wives that made the reunion; Marie Whalen, Norma Lucas and Maria Cusato.First-timers Steve Noonkesser and Kenneth Newkirk are greeted by Ron CrislipBill Lucas, Larry Kenny, and Steve Hallmark.

VHPA:  Vic Raupe and Lance CarpenterVHPA:  Vic Raupe and Pete FranceVHPA: John Hastings and Pete France

VHPA: Lance Carpenter, John Hastings, Vic Raupe

 


2004_268.jpg (53624 bytes)

2004_275.jpg (60044 bytes)

I'm humbled by a surprise presentation to me by Pat Whalen on behalf of the 161st / 123rd association of former members.

At the dinner on Saturday evening, Pat called me up in front of group of 500+ attendees of the VHCMA reunion.  I was totally caught off guard when he talked about the efforts of seeking out former members of 161st AHC.  At the conclusion of his short talk, he presented to me a finely crafted porcelain statue of the symbol, the bald eagle, of our great country.  I truly appreciate your recognition of my efforts to bring us back together and remember those of our brotherhood who were less fortunate and did not return home to their loved ones.

On the brass plaque, it reads...

JOHN HASTINGS
In Appreciation -6/26/2004
from the men of the
161 AHC & 123 AVN BN
Thank You for Keeping Alive
The History of Our Service in RVN.

 

VHCMA Internet website at:     www.vhcma.org

VHPA Internet website at:        www.vhpa.org

 

John H. Hastings (817) 923-2561 at home or (817) 252-8269 at work.
email:
john.hastings@sbcglobal.net   or  jhhastings@pier1.com


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