Manchus who attended the Las Vegas 2nd National Reunion.
There may have been a few others that I can't recall for the moment and who did not register. Corrections and additions welcome..
Jon C. Drolshagen
Bob Dixson (Willy)
Charles Hellinger (also Bravo)
Frank Burnett (Korea)
Robert M. Lynch (HHC)
Carl Eric Sorenson (HHC 4.2)
Chris O'Cell (HHC 4.2)
Ken Brunelle (HHC & Bn CO RTO)
Keith Bolstad (previously Bravo)
Larry "Bear" Criteser (also Alpha)
Richard Parris (also HHC, Charlie)
The 2nd National Reunion of 4/9 Vietnam Manchus was an unqualified
success. An official count on the number who attended may not be
possible since some Manchus were not able to stay for the whole weekend.
But, the group was probably at its largest at the dinner on Saturday
evening when 61 Manchus, family and guests turned out.
Even with such a large group the atmosphere remained low key, warm and
friendly. By midmorning on Friday we had more than 30 Manchus so we took
over the meeting room about 8 hours early. Videos from Willy's recent
visits to Vietnam ran throughout the afternoon and evening while
snapshots circulated and slides were screened.
Nonprofit Organization Formed
So many Manchus had arrived by 2 p.m. Saturday we held an impromptu
"Business Meeting." I put quotation marks around that because the
meeting was only held to get a concensus on a couple of issues it seemed
we needed to address. By the end of the half hour gathering we had made
some decisions that we hope will serve to make the next reunion even
better. First on the agenda was what to do with the more than $700 that
had been forwarded to Cheri Criteser over the past year by Manchus who
wanted to contribute one Manchu project or another. Cheri had agreed to
keep the money but soon found that the only reasonable way to do it
(that is to keep from having to report the money as income on her own
tax return) would be to set up a non-profit organization that could
enjoy tax exempt status. To make a long story short, the group agreed
by acclamation to do just that. The exact details involve a request to
the 9th Infantry Association to accept our 4/9 Manchu Vietnam
Association as a sub-chapter of the larger organization. Since this
approach involves no cost to us it was also agreed to by acclamation.
At this point, it may be worthwile to mention there is no membership
fee, no dues, no requirement to "join" our new non-profit organization.
The Department of the Army or the 90th Replacement Detachment took care
of that some 30 years ago.
To qualify as a non-profit group officers needed to be elected and we
agreed to do so. We began with the most important and demanding position
- that of Secretary-Treasurer. I am pleased to report that Cheri
Criteser was elected to serve in that capacity. Alen Fyfe was elected
Vice President and I am honored to have been chosen to serve as
President. The three of us will maintain regular e-mail and telephone
contacts over the course of the next year to deal with any issues that
arise affecting the organization. As mentioned earlier, the first job
of the new officers will be to formally request affiliation with the 9th
Infantry Association which will assure our tax exempt status. We have
also been asked to poll all Manchus to decide on a site for the reunion
next year. More on that later.
Treasury Established-Memorabilia Auction
The more than $700 dollars that had been forwarded to Cheri and now
constitutes our treasury has already grown considerably. And that was
because of an idea that developed after Alen Fyfe suggested a raffle to
give away an original Manchu belt buckle. Al Baker, Alen and Willy got
to thinking that since we now have a treasury why not add to it a bit by
auctioning off the belt buckle. That seemed like a good idea but it got
even better when Willy decided to donate nearly a dozen items he had
picked up during his recent return visits to Vietnam. Cheri Criteser
will have a better idea of the total amount raised for our treasury but
I believe it was somewhere around $1,000. That means the funds in our
account may be approaching $2,000. What to do with these monies will be
the subject of discussion here on the Onelist. Watch this space!
Manchu Millenium Reunion
When Willy and Bear decided to get together in a hotel parking lot in
Las Vegas for a beer last year, who would have thought it would become
an annual event? Well, it has and everyone who came to Las Vegas agreed
we need to keep on doing it each year. The questions we now face are
where and when. The group voted to charge the three officers with
conducting a survey to determine the site of our reunion next year.
There has already been considerable discussion here online about going
someplace other than Las Vegas. It was gratifying to hear Manchus
proposing that we not limit the decision to those who had attended this
year -- to open it up to all Manchus. So, the three of us will try to
come up with a procedure that will allow all voices to be heard. Again,
watch this space!
On the mood of the
reunion, perhaps that should be capitalized for it was a singular
event. I can't speak for everyone but I can say that it truly felt like
family. All those people, from all parts of the country, surely could
find something to argue about without breaking a sweat. Nobody did.
The heartfelt prayer from Bob Lynch, the moving remarks by Al Baker
about those things that made us feel like family, and the moving toast
from John Henchman to the Manchus who died will be with me always.
Thank you. Thank you very much.
See you all next year.
Keep Up The Fire
D Co. '68-'69