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 1st Battalion, 1st 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 1st Battalion, 1st 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 Reunion.
The 2021 Reunion promises to be another well planned and executed event.