2017 Reunion Report
We held our 2017 Reunion of
the units of the 145th Combat Aviation Battalion at the Wyndham Garden, Baronne
Plaza New Orleans, LA, May 18th through 20th, 2017.
Most attendees arrived Wednesday, May 17 when we gathered
for registration and our early bird reception. It was good seeing everyone
and everything went well thanks to the organizing of Mike and Catherine Breaux.
We had plenty of snacks and refreshments and hotel supplied the good size
meeting reception room. The Earlybird Reception went on till late in the
evening and everyone seemed to have a really good time.
On Thursday 18 May we opened the hospitality room about
8 AM where we was setup for registration. The buses departed for the plantation/swamp
tour at about 8:30 AM.
Since I didn't go on the tours I asked Deb to write a
review of the tours. I stayed back at the hotel to visit with the ones not
on the tour.
At the Plantation, our group went from the ice house,
to the beautiful home, to the slave houses. The plantation produced indigo,
for dyeing clothes, and sugar cane. As we walked around the plantation you
could see the grandness of the life and the harshness of its workers. From
there we were taken to the swamp. Our guide was a hoot, as we ate he took
us on a nice tour of the swamps and told us about his life growing up there.
As a mother of five I would have been a wreck waiting for the children to
get home safe, but he really had a great childhood. He took us up the fingers
of water looking for gators. When we found them he fed them marsh mellows
We also got to hold one of the little guys. I was so lost in the swamp I
was glad he knew his way home
The buses returned to the Wyndham Gardens about
4 PM. People went to dinner on their own, some in unit groups. We had the
hospitality room open all day for registration. And about 5 PM we held our
Thursday night reception with snacks and drinks which went on till late in
On Friday 19 May we opened the registration and hospitality
room about 8 AM. About 8:30 AM the buses loaded for the tour to the national
World War II Museum. We completely filled the bus with one more than capacity
but everything worked out okay.
The Museum was so full of information, to truly see it;
you would need two days. After we walked though the museum we had a delicious
lunch with entertainment. A USO show with the Victory Belles, three beautiful
young women. It was one of the most entertaining shows that I have seen in
years. The singers went out into the audience and sang to the men, sat on
their laps and joyously teased them with songs. Mel Metzger, 120th AML, 63-64,
was picked to go up on stage, but to their surprise he was not shy. Mel danced
all the dances and sang with them. His parents were ballroom dancers and
he was very good. We all laughed and cried during the show, the girls done
a fantastic job. I would tell everyone to go to the museum and see the show.
About 4 PM the buses returned to the Wyndham Gardens where
we had the hospitality room open. People went to dinner on their own some
in unit groups. About 5 PM we held our Friday night reception with drinks
and snacks which went on till late in evening
On Saturday 20 may we opened the registration and hospitality
room about 8 AM. About 9 PM we started a business meeting. The registration
and hospitality room remained open all day. People got a chance to go out
and visit the French quarter and other attractions in New Orleans on their
own and also visit with friends.
At the business meeting we re-elected our officers: Jim
Bodkin - Nat Dir, Debby Bodkin - Nat Sec/ Treasurer, Mike Hoke - Auditor,
Mel Metzger - Historian.
David McCollum, brother of PFC Wayne McCollun, KIA Nov
7th, 1966, 334th AHC, talked a little about his brother, but mostly we discussed
PTSD, his son-in-law Brady Oberg who took his own life Aug 6th, 2015, and
the Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation. The Foundation is trying to help cut back
on the 22 veteran/soldiers who take their own lives each day. You can find
more info on the Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation by contacting David McCollum,
1882 180th St, Mahnomen, MN 56557 email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Their mission is to promote a happy, healthy life for combat veterans. With
your donation they will provide…. Scholarships for combat veterans going
into counseling, Events to get combat veterans together, Combat PTSD awareness.
We discussed and decided that for the 2021 Reunion to
look for a professional reunion organizing group and to look more at the
center of the country, maybe Branson, MO. We discussed about having the Reunion
more during the week days and not just week-end time. We discussed selling
CDs with the website pictures just for our members. We discussed the price
of unit t-shirts, $3 over cost plus mailing, a slight increase. And we discussed
placing a memory in Arlington Cemetery, but the VN pilots and crew members
memorial might have that covered.
From 6 PM to 7 PM we had our social hour before our banquet
began. From 7 PM till about 9:30 PM we had our main banquet dinner with guest
speaker, Col Larry Babin. Very interesting.
About 9:30 PM we reopened our hospitality room with drinks
and snacks and good conversation until way late in the evening.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2019 Reunion
at Ft Rucker, AL.