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We officially started the reunion on Wednesday, June 3, 2015 with an early bird registration and reception at the Hampton Inn in Enterprise, AL. We had 2 nice young ladies helping out at our registration table all four days, which also really helped with giving directions to local attractions.
On Thursday, June 4, 2015 we opened registration and reception at 12 noon at the Hampton Inn in Enterprise, AL. At 1:15 p.m. our buses departed for a Huey ride with the Army Aviation Heritage people at Blackwell field and Ozark AL. We arrived just before 2 PM. We had 58 people take a Huey ride. It was a doors open with M-60 machineguns mounted ride. It didn’t seem to be just the average ride, there was a few extra hard banking turns, cyclic climbs and fast descents just to give everybody an extra thrill. We had five people decide to take a ride in the cobra helicopter. About 4 PM we headed back to the Hampton Inn in Enterprise and everybody seem to have had a real good time. At 6 PM we started our Thursday night reception with Debby’s meat and snack trays, soft drinks, beer and wine. Not long after the reception started a young man about 30 years old dropped by with two bottles of Royal Crown whiskey, wishing to stay anonymous, he just wanted to say Welcome Home and Thank You.
On Friday, June 5, 2015 after having breakfast in the hotel our buses departed about 8:15 a.m. for the Change of Command ceremony for the 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment. The weather was really nice, not too hot with lots of sun. Everyone seemed to enjoy the ceremony. From there we went to Adams Hall for a Welcome Brief on what’s happening with the 1st Battalion 145th Aviation Regiment and Fort Rucker. LTC Marcus A Gengler, the outgoing commander for the 1st of the 145th, came over and briefed us on the mission of the 1st of the 145th, flight school training, officer training and what is happening with the Army Aviation Branch. About 11:45a.m. three buses left Adams Hall. One went to Cairns Army Airfield Army airfield for a static display. One went to Larry’s Barbecue in Daleville for lunch and one went to Warrior Hall for a flight simulator tour. At 12:50 PM the bus at Cairns Army Airfield went to Larry’s barbecue the bus at Larry’s barbecue went to Warrior Hall and the bus at Warrior Hall went to Cairns Army Airfield. At 1:50 PM the bus at Cairns Army Airfield went to Larry’s barbecue the bus that Larry’s barbecue went to Warrior Hall, the bus at Warrior Hall went to Cairns Army Airfield. The static display at Cairns Army Airfield included two UH-60 helicopters and one LUH Lakota aircraft. The people that went to Larry’s barbecue had lunch. And the people that went to Warrior Hall flight simulators all got some stick time. It’s really hard to explain how great it is to be able fly the flight simulators. Many of our people had not been at the controls for at least 40 years, and many of the former crew chief s and door gunners hadn’t been able to do that since they left Vietnam. Needless to say everyone enjoyed the flight simulator tour. On Friday evening a large group of 190th AHC people went to The Landing (the old Officers Club) on Fort Rucker for supper. Smaller groups from other units went to some different restaurants in Enterprise, AL for their supper. And we had a reception at the Hampton Inn hospitality room to about 11 PM.
On Saturday, 6 June 2015 the buses departed about 9:30 AM for Adams Hall. From 10 AM to about 10:45 AM we had social time. At about 10:45 AM we started our business meeting which lasted about 35 min. The main item of discussion was election of officers. We kept the same officers as we had before. Jim Bodkin as National Director/ Coordinator, Debby Bodkin as National Secretary-Treasurer, Mike Hoke as Auditor and Mel Metzger as Historian. Our next reunion will be held in the New Orleans LA area with Mike Breaux as reunion chairman. We decided that the 2019 reunion will be held at Fort Rucker AL with Jim Bodkin reunion chairman and Ron Manning assisting. At about that time they said the picnic food was ready, so we ate. After everyone had their fill, we cut the large cake. The incoming commander for the 1st of the 145th, LTC Joseph J Hodgson, talked with us as a group and was able talk with most one to one. Many of the people took the opportunity to visit the Army aviation Museum and return to Adams Hall before the buses departed at 2 PM to return to the hotel. About 5 PM the buses departed the hotels in route to the Daleville, AL VFW Hall. At the hall we had a social hour which was a little longer than planned, the chaplain from the 1st of the 145th, CPT Jim Mitchem, lead us in prayer before the meal. After everyone finished their meal COL. Allan Pepin, Chief of Staff Army Aviation Branch, and former Commander 1st-145th 2077-09, was our guest speaker. I believe everybody appreciated the message that Col. Pepin delivered. COL. Pepin talked with everyone one-on-one that came up, until such time as the buses were ready to depart back to the hotel. Once back at the hotel we had a reception/bull session till about 11:30 PM.
On Sunday 7 June we had a nondenominational memorial service by the 1st of the 145th chaplain CPT Jim Mitchem. Which concluded our 2015 reunion.
I want to thank everyone who helped make our Reunion so special. Ron Manning for assisting with the Reunion, he is the one that knows how to make all the fun things happen. CSM (Ret) Chuck Frye and MG (Ret) Richard Kenyon for advice and guidance. Maj Clay Livingston, former XO that started with the Reunion planning and Maj Erica Witty, current XO, that worked with us to complete all the details. The outgoing Commander LTC Marcus Gengler and the incoming Commander LTC Joseph Hodgson for taking the time to work with us on the Reunion. 1stSgt Shifflett and all his volunteers for giving up their Saturday to provide us with a very fine picnic lunch. COL Allan Pepin for being our guest speaker. Chaplain CPT Jim Mitchem for all his help with the Reunion. Flight School XXI for donating 2 of our buses and getting us the third bus at a great discount from Southern Coaches. The CSC and Flight Safety crew at Warrior Hall for the really great tour. And the crew at the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation for being there to provide Huey, Cobra and other army aircraft rides.