PRESIDENT'S RECAP OF THE 2017 REUNION
Our Washington D.C. Reunion concluded on Sunday, September 17 at the Westin Washington Dulles Hotel. Our host, Paul Apuzzo, in conjunction with The Reunion Brat, provided an informative and entertaining program.
To start with a $109 plus tax per night room rate was unbelievable for Washington D.C. In addition, allowing our hospitality room to operate quite freely was an added boost. Their food for our Thursday night Reception dinner and Sunday night Banquet was excellent, along with the service.
Although attendance was small, the cadre who attended made up for the lack of quantity with quality. The "war stories" flowed freely and often.
With Paul's edict of "20 minutes before scheduled departure time", out tours went off like clock work. Adding to our enjoyment was our ever efficient, courteous drive, Tyrone. Besides taking us safely for three days in D.C. traffic, he also took numerous photos for us. Tyrone was a bonus to assist in securing lasting memories.
Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted both our Reunion attendance and program. Numerous attendees cancelled out and Paul's scheduled program at the Thursday night Reception dinner was a no-show. Paul had coordinated with NASA to have a B-57 pilot (one who holds the record time in the B-57 and SR-71) to fly in from Houston, attend our Reception Dinner and present insights on what he did operationally in the Middle East over the past 10 years or so. Paul's work organization and NASA were co-sponsoring. After Harvey, NASA had other priorities to attend to.
On our War Memorial Tour, we had a chance to locate the names on the Vietnam Memorial wall of some of our B-57 comrades. Time also allowed us a trip to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. For most, the "new" Air Force Memorial was heart warming and inspiring. An added bonus was talking with and exchanging stories with the Honor Flight for Vietnam Veterans, who seemed to follow us to all the memorials including the Air Force Memorial. It was a somber day to reflect on those who gave their all.
Another outstanding bonus was our docent for the National Manassas Bull Run Battlefield visit, Jim Anderson. He is Paul's neighbor, who is retired CIA and is really "into" Civil War history. He even brought his own replica-era musket and the various accoutrements used by the Union soldiers. His in-depth knowledge of the battle and their principal leaders added to the enlightenment of all. The hot day at the battlefield tour, while extraordinarily interesting, left us hungry and thirsty, so Jim led us to the Bull Run Winery for great food, wine and frivolity. An excellent end to the day.
We also lucked out by chance and had a very informative docent at the Udvar Hazy Air & Space Museum.
As you will note in our Secretary, Barbara LeBlanc's minutes, Tom and Shirley Godbold have offered to host the 2019 Reunion at Fort Walton Beach. We accepted and thank Tom and Shirley.
Gayle P. Johnson, President