First, a sincere thank you to those who have already registered for the 2019 Reunion. As of this letter, we have over 160 registrations of veterans, family members, and friends. An indication that 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Vietnam are strongly supportive of our dedicated efforts to keep organizing 1/1 Reunions. We expect additional registrations up to Reunion time.
Upon arrival and after you check into your hotel room, also check-in with Bill Kendle and his Team at the Hospitality Room where you will get your t-shirt and Reunion information.
The Reunion promises to be one of the most, if not the best, gathering in recent years. Accolades to the leadership of the Board of Directors, who have committed to assuring a memorable conference for 1/1 Vietnam Veterans, their family, and friends.
As Chairman of the Board of Directors, it is my honor to be guided by these individuals in all the work accomplished during the past 18 months. They have performed “above and beyond the call of duty” in planning this Reunion and merit acknowledgement. Please thank them when you meet and see them in San Diego. You will recognize them wearing gold color t-shirts.
Meanwhile, we have added a Women’s Luncheon. They will host a silent auction guided by Sandy Griffin. Along with webmasters Bill & Nick Kendle, they have created a 1/1 Ladies Link on our 1/1 website. Please let your wives know, and significant others, and have them to go the 1/1 Web site. Enter any thoughts or comments on the 1/1 Ladies Link. Also have them contact Sandra Griffin: firstname.lastname@example.org for auction items needed.
Mrs. Dolia Gonzalez, Mother of 1/1 Medal of Honor Recipient, Alfredo Gonzalez, will honor us by attending the Reunion. According to her, she wanted to see her “boys” again. Mrs. Gonzalez’s presence is made possible by the Newport Beach California, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Foundation, and the commitment by the Foundation’s Director, and 1/1er, Mr. Paul Garcia, along with its Board of Directors. We wish to express our gratitude for their sponsorship of Mrs. Gonzalez and her travel companion, Odie Norquest to attend the Reunion.
We will also have a Battalion Auction, which will help raise funds for the organization. Please bring any items to the Reunion if you choose to donate to this activity and coordinate with Sergeant at Arms Bob Jackson, at the Reunion.
While every board member has been an asset to the organization, I need to recognize Nick & Bill Kendle, who created an excellent website. Bill is 2019 Reunion Coordinator and Board Treasurer. He has done a great job of fiscally recording all funds, and which he will report to you during the Reunion’s Battalion meeting as part of our commitment to transparency.
I wish to thank Mr. Bob Jackson, our Sergeant at Arms. Because of his alliance with General Charles E. Wilhelm, Bob able to obtain the Four Star General as our Battalion Banquet Keynote speaker.
I can’t say enough of the other Board members: Glenn Griffin, Bill Ring, John Kaper, Seth Wolfe, and Robert Black. They have taken on the responsibility of chairing different committees, and have added value, structure, and accountability to the Board. They have also assured inclusion of other 1/1er’s as volunteers in the committees they represent.
I want to give a special mention to Captain Rory Gates, stationed at MCRD. His Uncle, Mr. Rodney Lewis, a 1/1er who is not able to attend the Reunion due to poor health. Captain Gates will represent his Uncle during the Reunion. Also, because of Captain Gates and Bill Kendle’s efforts, we were able to plan a day at MCRD, including a “boot” graduation parade ceremony. Captain Gates and Bill were instrumental in having the MCRD Commanding General, Brigadier General Ryan P. Heritage, join us during our MCRD visit luncheon, and as a guest speaker during the Battalion Banquet. Thank you, Captain Gates.
I wish to acknowledge the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Vietnam Veterans, family members and friends for their encouragement, and for attending the Reunion. For those not able to join us due to health and unavoidable circumstances, please know that you will be with us in spirit.
As for future Reunions (2021), if you have the interest to host a Reunion in your city, please submit a summary of the city, hotel accommodations cost, possible sites, military related activity, and a time frame (month) to hold Reunion. Submit the proposal before the Reunion via the 1/1 web site or provide a copy when your check in at the Hospitality Room. Verbal proposals will not be considered. Finally, as Chairman, and in collaboration with the Board of Directors, we are focused on making this and every Reunion memorable.
Marines, remember we celebrate our service and duty to our country in the Vietnam War as proud United States Marines, and with HONOR!
We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.
Samuel Ortiz Verdeja, Chairman
1st Battalion, 1st Marines Vietnam Reunion
Delta Company ’69/’70