It was a historical remembrance
for many who experienced the day at MCRD, recollecting a time where we became United States Marines.
Message from Samuel Ortiz Verdeja
Board of Directors, Chairman
First, thank you to those that were able to attend the 2019 Reunion in San Diego,
and for those that were not able to participate, you were there in spirit. It was a
historical remembrance for many who experienced the day at MCRD, recollecting
a time where we became United States Marines.
I wish to express gratitude to General Charles E. Wilhelm as the Reunions keynote
speaker. The keynote address was both inspirational and acknowledged the legacy
of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Vietnam Veterans, and their patriotism. A special
acknowledgement to Brigadier General Ryan P. Heritage, Commanding General,
Marine Corps Recruiting Depot (MCRD) who joined us during the Battalion
Banquet as a special guest speaker, along with the presence of MCRD’s, Sergeant
Major Able T. Leal.
The Reunion was successful because of the commitment of individuals such as
Mike StClair, Bobby McLean, and Bruce Kamin, who setup and coordinated the
hospitality room. I also wish to recognize Bob Jackson, who was instrumental in
obtaining General Wilhelm as our keynote speaker, arrangement and configuration of the Battalion Banquet Ballroom and the “Missing Soldiers” table, which provided us with a solemn moment to remember our fallen brothers. Thank you, Bob!
The sponsorship of Mrs. Dolia Gonzalez was made possible by the Newport Beach
1 st Battalion, 1 st Marines Foundation, thanks to its Director, Mr. Paul Garcia, and
the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Thank you, Bill Baham, of Delta Company, who took responsibility in the
hospitality room to scan pictures brought to the Reunion by 1/1 Marines during
their tour in Vietnam. The scanned images are available on the Delta and 1/1
Websites. It was with the help of Captain Rory Gates that our day at MCRD was
successful and with precision. The Silent Auction, the Women’s Luncheon, both
added value to the success of the Reunion, and raised funds for 1/1 activities. I
can’t say enough of the diligence of the 1 st Battalion, 1 st Marines Vietnam Veterans Reunion Board of Directors in the preparations, and during the Reunion. Amongst them was the work by John Kaper for a well-planned and successful Company Luncheon at the Guadalajara Restaurant: Great camaraderie bonding, food and music. It is with their level of expertise and dedication which attributed to the overall success and goal for excellence. Bill Kendle as the Reunion Coordinator assured that the fiduciary obligations were following compliance required by local and federal guidelines. Bill and his team were also responsible for the processing of all
registration details for accountability and inclusion of relevant information for
transparency to the 1/1 members.
The next Reunion planning is underway and scheduled to be held in San Antonio,
Texas in the Spring of 2021. Once Bill Kendle, Roy Wiltrout and I return from our
scheduled site visits to selected hotels in San Antonio, and finalize plans with the
Board of Directors, we will publicize details and launch registrations for the 2021
The 2021 Reunion promises to be another well planned and executed event.
Samuel Ortiz Verdeja, Chairman
1st Battalion, 1st Marines Vietnam Reunion
Delta Company ’69/’70
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