So, we got together for the 20th time in San Antonio. It's not that we have to keep doing it till we get it right because we're slow learners. It's that each get together just keeps getting better and better. That's what keeps everyone coming back. The 2017 reunion of the 4/9 Manchus proved that. It was the second time the group had met in San Antonio and the roaring success of the reunion proved that the decision to come again was a good one. In the end, we tallied more than 220 Manchus, family and friends for the weekend including Robert "Willy" Dixson who qualified for the Magellan Award for having flown all the way from Vietnam to be there.
As is usually the case, a number of us arrived early to see the sights. Visits to the Alamo and the other missions around the city as well as sampling the goodies to be had at restaurants that line the River Walk made for an enjoyable stay. Once the scheduled activities began we fell into a familiar rhythm. The Manchu Open golf tournament drew a good turnout with 21 of us hacking and slashing our way through the wilds of the Ft. Sam Houston golf club. Bob Lannon, Dan McKinney,Sal Cannizzaro and Ronny Carroll selfishly took the honors for the best performance in the scramble. The Hole in The Pole award was won by Sammy Sanders, Matt Glenn, Cliff Collar and Jim Bennett. The foursome outdid themselves by managing to complete a round of 19 holes. One of them being on the adjacent private country club. Evidently the exclusive nature of the members-only facility provided too great a temptation to resist. Only when the private club's security detail descended on them were the interlopers made to withdraw.
Back at the hospitality room "Willy" Dixson had once again displayed his impressive collection of Manchu Vietnam War memorabilia.
At the annual business meeting Dan McKinney reported that a special ceremony is to be held at the cemetery in LaBelle, Florida next March on the 50th anniversary of the death of Medal of Honor recipient Nicholas Cutinha. The event is to be hosted by the LaBelle American Legion which has offered to house any Manchus who attend. Watch the website and the Manchu Mailing list for details.
We already knew the reunion location for 2018 would be New Orleans. It will be at the customary time - the third weekend of September - the 19th through the 22nd. The membership chose Nashville as the site for the 2019 reunion. Online registration for New Orleans will open sometime early in the new year.
Our goal is to select reunion sites that are the most effective at bringing as many Manchus together as possible. Experience has shown that the more centrally located the sites are the more of us are able to attend.
Iraq and Afghanistan Manchu Brian Monville spoke about Project Manchu, a concept that he is developing aimed at bringing together all 4/9 Manchus to make reunions even more affordable through the creation of a facility that would provide services to aid our group. He will report to the Manchu Executive Board quarterly on the project while its being developed.
The members generously decided to help provide relief to Manchu families devastated by the hurricanes that had ravaged Texas and Florida.
Larry James, Alen Fyfe, Bob Lannnon and Dan McKinney were honored to be re-elected to their posts of president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.
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The annual banquet did not disappoint. The food was good and the company was excellent. The highlight of the evening coming with Michael Henchman delivering a touching eulogy of his father and Manchu 6 Colonel John Henchman.
The evening was capped off with the annual fund raising auction masterfully conducted by Alen Fyfe. The end result was an entertaining event that also managed to help replenish the Manchu treasury. Thanks to all who contributed.
A great weekend. See you all next year in New Orleans.
Keep Up The Fire
4/9 Infantry (Manchu) Association