Hello Fellow Cacti, several reports from the goings on in Las Vegas.
Reunion notes; By Dave Butters 09/27/99
Morning Report By Dave Butters 09/28/99
The proposed constitution & By-laws were also accepted with slight modification. Jr Vice President changed to Assistant Vice President.
A discussion was held relative to annual dues. A motion was made, seconded and passed unanimously for the dues to be set at Twenty dollars per year. Life membership dues were also approved with cost established by age:
A reunion committee chaired by Bill Burdick was established to submit a report to the Association President on recommendations for next year's reunion. The committee was charged to render a report to the President on location, projected costs and meeting time.
Tonight there will be a banquet which everyone is looking forward to. Guest speakers will be Major General (retired) Bill Moore (Battalion Commander, 2/35)and Kellie Ash, daughter of William Stoval (KIA) B/2-35.
Look for a report on the banquet tomorrow.
The Morning After Report By Dave Butters 09/30/99
Although some guys are still in Vegas, many have returned home with some wonderful memories, renewed relationships with long lost buddies and many new friendships.
The banquet was well attended. Major General (then LTC) Bill Moore, the 2/35 Battalion Commander, was the keynote speaker. He remembered the "Spirit of the men of the Cacti" both then and now. Kellie Ash related her heart warming story leaving many grown, combat veterans, with tears in their eyes.
The men of each time period, (WWII, Korea, Vietnam and current) were asked to stand to be recognized. With all standing, a memorial of boots, inverted rifle, and helmet, was brought out for the playing of taps for our fallen comrades. At this point, I saw no dry eyes.
Without exception, this was the most outstanding reunion I have ever attended. It was our first - and we now know it will not be our last.
I am not known as a good photographer, but I did my best to get a shot of everyone. Check it our in the photo section.
A special thanks goes to Cliff Westwood for creating the space for these reports and the reunion pictures.
Reunion Report By Roger Surprenant 10/1/99
What a great reunion! I got to meet old friends, and make new friends. After much anxiety, over how it would feel to finally see again someone you watched being medic-vaced out, everything about our first reunion gave me a warm feeling.
The whole reunion committee did a fantastic job, they really pulled it off!
Thanks to Major General Moore's speech, we were allowed to give ourselves and our fallen brothers a rousing hand of applause for answering our Country's call of duty.
The most common heard phrases were "Do you remember when?" "I was there too..." "What was his last name?".
I will always cherish the warm, sad, but proud feeling to be part of a band of men who gave
honor to their fallen brothers. We can now move on to better times, now knowing we are back among
our brothers in arms....
Thanks Cliff and Dave By Ben Youmans 10/2/99
Cliff, a great big thanks to you and Dave for all your behind the scenes work on the website to post all the photos and info, you and Dave Butters have truly helped make our reunion a virtual one. Thanks brothers, I love you both.
Ben C 2/35
Reunion Report By Ken Smith 10/2/99
My wife and I had a great time at the reunion, reuniting with men who were in my squad, platoon and company in Vietnam. I was also reunited with some that I went through AIT with, and sailed on the ship to Vietnam with. Thanks Ben Youmans, Doc Johnson and Dick Arnold, and others who helped to put this event together. It was outstanding....
Reunion After Action By Dave Butters 10/2/99
I'm home now with a little time to do some reflection on the past few days. First and foremost, a heart felt "THANK YOU" to all the men who put their hearts and souls (and even money)into making this wonderful reunion a real-time event. I am sure your praises will be sung for a long time.
I left for Vegas with some trepidation, anxiety and even a little fear over how I would react when reuniting with men I hadn't seen in thirty-two years. My concerns were unfounded because I soon learned that everyone else felt the same way. I never saw such a large group of middle-aged, combat veterans exude such open love and emotion as I did in Vegas. Yes, real men do cry; even hard-core, retired, Sergeants Major.
What a wonderful event our reunion was. Initially, men from squads and platoons clustered together. But, it wasn't long before there was a complete melding of everyone - sharing information, pictures and stories with everone else. The common thread was the Cacti - not 1st or 2nd Battalion; not Alpha or Charlie Company; just the Cacti.
The reunion is over but the comradship, love and communication I observed in Vegas will continue. I am overjoyed that I went to Vegas and certainly am looking forward to wherever we go next year.
Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make their dream a reality. A special thanks to Cliff's rapid respose for adding space to his web site for pictures and this forum.
Reunion By Wiley Dodd (Tiny) Recon 69 10/2/99
Thanks Ben and Doc and everyone who worked to make the reunion possible. It was great seeing old friends and making new ones who share the bond of brotherhood. I'm already looking forward to next year.
Reunion By Jim "Andy" Anderson 10/4/99
After 30 years of trying to forget about Viet Nam it was a little strange to be back amoung those who were there and experienced the same things. I'm not sure I would have gone to the reunion if it weren't for my wife pushing me on. I also think this was true for alot of the other guys that were there. My wife knew instinctively that I should go and I heard the same from many of the rest of you. My hat is off not only to my wife, Kay, but to all of the other wives who pushed just a little bit to get us there. Thank you all. We have something wonderfull started partly because of your help.
Reunion By Dan LaRoche 10/4/99
No Cliff I didn't win the big one, in fact I got my ass kicked!...But man was it worth it! What a great time, I was really proud of all the Cacti. I sure hope we can reach out and find the ones that were'nt there. Each of us has to do our best to search for the guys. If any of you know of anyone in Wash. state, just holler and I will make the search!
Already looking forward to next year!
1999 Cacti Reunion By Phil Landis 10/4/99
Defining moments make lasting bonds of friendship. It's as though time has stood still. Almost did not go myself - a friend said "if you go I'll go" - so what's a guy to do, had no choice.
Closed the loop with many memories and unearthed a few new ones. All in all a most positive and meaningful experience. Pride and honor were in evidence - be proud Cacti, we have earned the right.
Thanks By joe freitas 10/5/99
A great time By Kellie and Kerry Ash 10/6/99
Kerry and I just want to say thanks for allowing us to take part in your 1st Cacti reunion. It meant so much to us. We enjoyed meeting you all and listening to the stories. Thanks to those guys that shared with me about my dad. We had a great time and will never forget any of you.
Reunion and then some By joe henderson 10/16/99
I would like to have everyone stand up and salute Ben Youmans, Dick Arnold and Don Johnson and their unknown co-conspiriters who did a fantastic job of making the 1999 reunion a resounding success. We all owe these guys a lot. I know a lot of us tried to forget for 20 years or so, and just recently have come to the realization of what we did and how proud we shoud be for being a Vietnam Veteran, but we would have had a terrific void in our lives had we not attended.. the guys who couldn't make this year should try their best to make Washington next year . The camaraderie, stories, reintroductions and laughs make all your troubles go away. The banquet makes you realize what a big family we really were and always will be. if you attened you came away from the reunion better for it..
So lets all keep in touch until wash2000 by e-mail and 4thdiv chat on wed 2000hrs or anytime another cacti is there.
We now have an assn and if you want to join get in touch with Ben Youmans.
Remember, because of what we did for our country, we will walk together forever.