What keeps bringing us back each year? Is it the friendships built over the years by those who share the common history of having been a Manchu? Is it the bond forged in combat?

Perhaps the answer lies somewhere in this internet meme - "I stood up. I showed up. I raised my right hand. I did not run. I did not hide. I did not dodge. I did not evade. Consequently, I have nothing to prove, no one to convince. Those who matter already know. Those who don't never will."

Whatever the reason the 182 Manchus, family and friends who attended the 2016 reunion in Kansas City were rewarded with a great experience.

     Wet and wooly weather at the start of the week gave way to blue skies and sunshine by the end. Tours of the city as well as the Arabia Steamboat museum were well attended. Even with a full schedule a few baseball fans got away to Kauffman Stadium to watch the 2015 World Series Champion Royals host the Oakland A’s. A lopsided win for the A’s couldn’t detract from the fun atmosphere.

     Charlie company’s Dan McKinney organized dining activities most evenings. Barbecue lovers weren’t disappointed after dining at the Smokehouse BBQ and a few other local eateries.

     The annual business meeting brought everyone up to date on the activities of the association. The membership encouraged the executive committee to continue to look for ways to lower reunion registration fees in the hope that doing so will encourage a good turnout for coming reunions.


     Three choices, Minneapolis, Nashville and New Orleans, were offered up as potential sites for the 2018 reunion. The initial ballot ended in a tie between Nashville and New Orleans. A second vote saw New Orleans edge Nashville by only 8 votes and so will be the location for our get together two years from now.

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     Dan McKinney reported there was a good turnout for the Manchu Memorial Golf Tournament. Twenty four players made the short drive to Ft. Leavenworth where Manchu George Leach had made arrangements and volunteered to serve as host. Generosity has its own reward it seems since the winning team was led by George Leach himself ably assisted by Dennis Neal, Jim Bennett and Michael Bryant. The coveted Hole in The Pole award was also won by Michael Bryant who has the dubious distinction of having scored an eagle with the same shot that earned him the HITP.

     A motion to re-elect the current slate of officers was made, seconded and carried. The officers of the association are: Larry James, President, Alen Fyfe, Vice President, Bob Lannon, Secretary, and Dan McKinney, Treasurer. Sal Canazarro was appointed as Sergeant at Arms. With the business meeting concluded we moved on to group photos and preparations for the Saturday night dinner.


     Since the 4/9 Manchus were reflagged at Joint Base Lewis McChord in June, 2005 we’ve been pleased to welcome representatives of the currently serving Manchus. Sadly, budget constraints have made it impossible for the active duty contingent to take part as they have in the past so there was no representation from those now serving at Ft. Carson, Colorado. The good news is we were happy to welcome Bryan Monville and John Hadley. Both deployed with the 4/9 Manchus, twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. We were honored to have these younger members join us. Brian’s heartfelt address after dinner was a memorable addition to the evening’s activities reminiscent of the late Al Baker.

     This year marked the 19th time the Manchus have reunited since the association was formed in 1998. You’ll want to make sure you join us for the celebration of the 20th get together that will be held at the El Tropicano Hotel on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas from September 13-16, 2017.

All-in-all a great reunion.

Larry James
4/9 Infantry Manchu Association