1998 Gathering of the TLC Brotherhood
11-13 September
Dayton, Ohio

 

The 1998 Reunion Logo

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Reunions

The TLC Brotherhood in attendance

Group photo of "TLC Brotherhood" members who attended the Dayton Reunion.



Reunion Photo's: click on picture for larger view

Sat. Dinner at Chop House

Bob Pruiksma, Rodney Bell, Woody Freeman

The Final Flags Flown John Loftus, Jimmie Butler, Bob Pruiksma, Jeff Glasser

Bob Pruiksma at EC121 Eng. Panel

The Gang on Sat. Night Jimmie Butler, Bob Freitag, Bob Pruiksma The Lounge
Mike Case, Joe Provest, Fred Lewis, Rodney Bell John Sweet's presentation Bob Pruiksma, Woody Freeman's best side
The Lounge Pre-Flight O2 up close
  Wives who attended  

~ Dick Williams also has some reunion photo's on his Takhli Site: Click here to view. ~

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Greetings Brothers!

Man what a fantastic time was had by everyone!  Yesterday morning at 5:30 AM Nancy and I drove 13 hours back to New Hampshire.  We left  still feeling we wanted to stay longer like everyone who came to Dayton.  Next year I sure hope that we can all spend longer together - there were so many that we wished to be able to chat with!

We both had a fantastic time - and it was a real pleasure to meet everyone in attendance.   So many Brothers at once was overwhelming to say the least!

Thursday night Nancy and I had the pleasure of having supper with Jimmie Butler, Jacque Sue and his mother at the Cracker Barrel.  Friday morning in the lobby greeting all the guys as they arrived was wonderful, as was the Connie Tour in the afternoon!    The ol fatigue uniform party on the top floor was a fantastic smash event - and a great way to set the tone for the weekend.....felt just like a night in the ol club huh boys?  (Ok - a couple of strippers and a Thai band would have sent it over the top....something which the wives were grateful we couldn't get right?)

The museum was awesome!  When I went back  Sunday afternoon I even managed to find a book I really wanted on the 56th Fighter Group - of the 8th Air Force in Europe in WWII......which became the 56th Air Commando Wing at NKP, using the same patch.   Anyone wants it - send me an e-mail - I have a good jpg for ya.

The ol Chop House was another fine event....we even smuggled in some Singha with permission of the manager as I donated one to him for consumption later.  Following dinner I read the e-mail from Archbishop Khai thanking everyone for the great work all have done for the Thare Orphanage - and everyone can pronounce it now - Tie-Ray!   Father Khai also congratulated us all on our gathering of The TLC Brotherhood and stated we would be in his and the children's prayers during the weekend.

A msg from Tommy Thompson thanking everyone who has assisted along with his personal gratitude as TLC Coordinator for the great work we have accomplished together in Thailand was also conveyed to the gathering

Sunday was the most emotional service I have ever attended.....there are not words with which I am able to express the event in it's great humility, love, compassion and loss.   Yet it was truly a moment of gathering.  For there was in presence - all the Brothers there amongst us  - those who did not return home to their loved ones - those who could not attend this year - and those who stood in the morning sun at the Air force Museum - in spirit together again at last.

I wish to extend my personal thanks to all of you - there are so many who have contributed to make this TLC Brotherhood the fine organization that it has become that I could never thank each person personally. The assistance to the Thare Orphanage Project is just once example of what we are accomplishing together!  Between the raffle for the picture Friday night donated by Mark Raab ($110.) the wallets, Beanie Babies. Singha money, A1E Model, NKP Stones, and cash donations together we raised $1038.00 for the children at Thare Orphanage to be donated "In Memory Of Our Beloved Brothers."   This does not include the mugs and crocks and T-shirt monies which have yet to be wrapped up.  I also found a few more checks waiting when I arrived home.  This money will be well utilized to provide blankets and shoes for the children this winter.

I know we all left with the same feeling - looking forward to next year in Washington at "The Wall" which seemed to be the hands down winner for the location by everyone there.

Just tried to convey my thoughts to you Brothers without duplicating the great info the other Brothers have posted on our reunion in Dayton.....I sure wish next year a speedy flight so we can be together once again!

Warmest Regards To All

Warmest Regards,
John Sweet
Tactical Unit Operations Center
56th Special Operations Wing
NKP  Aug 69 - Sep 70
Air Commando Assoc. # 2924
Proud Member AFTN Memorial  Post -VFW- 10249
Udorn, Thailand - We Make A Difference!

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My Brothers,

Just a quick recap of the Dayton reunion for those of you who could not attend (and believe me, we missed you guys and wished that you could have been there also, especially on Sunday morning at the Memorial Service).

Friday, Sept. 11th  -  many arrived at various times of the day, checked in to the hotel, and then eventually gravitated to the "official" meeting place - The Stars Lounge on the top floor of the hotel.  For the remainder of the day, more and more attendees and spouses/guests arrived here and we continued to move more and more tables together.  The coolest part was finally getting to put a face with a "net" name, and seeing if the mental image one forms came anywhere close!   Thank you Jimmie B. for the name tags! After meeting more and more guys, without them, it would have been chaotic trying to remember who was who again (except for the boys in uniform.....a few of which actually fit!!!  hmmmm...perhaps some pre-reunion tailoring??? ;-)  The lounge also had stocked some Singha, which was seen being enjoyed. The rest of the night was just more meeting, greeting, caring and sharing!

Saturday, Sept. 12   - Meet at USAF Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB 0900 - Many met in the hotel lobby to coordinate the drive to the museum. Many of us shared vehicles (Thank you, Joe Provost,I really enjoyed the ride!), and all met up at the museum, most wearing the TLCB T-shirt which really stood out! This museum is GREAT!  Though it covers about everything related to flight, there were a few specific areas that brought it all home to many of us, and the memories (and tears) were there once again. Whether in groups, or by oneself, we were all immersed in times past that helped bring forward the definition of who we were, what we did, AND how we did it ( we already individually know WHY we did it)....which now forms the who we ARE as a Brotherhood.  A truly great morning.

1300 - We met as a group at the Hope Hotel on the main base to view maps, some photos, sign posters, buy autographed books, and to watch a few slide presentations.  Jimmie Butler, Keith Taylor, Don Brown and Bill Tilton all had some fantastic slides of their various areas of operations and miscellaneous other locations, plus some side stories that were both very informative, and some that were just plain a hoot!  The Tommy Thompson video was shown (the presentation of the gifts to the kids at THARE by the great folks at Udorn VFW Post 10249!), and Tommy, you were right!  Whoever was operating the camera at the beginning should be made to sit and watch it over and over for punishment!   But boy, those kids really looked thrilled with the special attention they received, and it warms OUR hearts to know that we helped contribute to that day! As we had to vacate the room by 1600, we adjourned with the next agenda item being the Banquet Dinner.

1800 - Met at the Chops Steak House in South Dayton. Once seated and quieted down (this group was hard to keep quiet!...I wonder why?), Jeff Glasser welcomed all, we said the Pledge of Allegiance, and proceed to the food and beverage portion of the evening.   The food was FANTASTIC!!!  After dinner, John Sweet auctioned off a few items for THARE, presented the LARGE trophy to Arthur DiDonna (whose stand-in for the occasion was Woody Freeman) as the 1st winner of the RE RE contest...Congrats Art!     A few late-comers arrived after having been attending to "mission requirements" utilizing Don Neiser's O-2 and making strafing runs on boats and water skiers????  More from the "flight crews" (I'm sure) in their debriefing to this list server very soon!   After dinner, folks returned to the hotel and many gathered at the 'Official' HQ.

Sunday Sept. 13th, 0930  - Memorial Park at the USAF Museum We met as a group prior to the Memorial Service to pose for group photos. It was a beautiful, sunny and warm day.   We grouped together (a few times) for photos, and when finished, the ceremony began with a Color Guard (four fine young men from the local Civil Air Patrol) Presenting/posting the Colors.  We sang the National Anthem, and then Don J. Christensen, Lt. Col. USAF conducted the Service, which consisted of his Greeting and Invocation, he read some appropriate Scriptures of Comfort and spoke to us on the need for "Good and Bad" and why the Good (people) are sometimes taken from us too early.  This was followed by the Tribute to the Comrades Fallen in Vietnam; a wonderful solo by Col. Christensen called "Where can I turn for peace?"; and then the time for personal reflection and comments to help remember Those whose lives were given for Our Country.  This was the most special time of this Service, as many stepped forward to openly grieve and unburden their soul in the company of Their Brothers & Sisters, so that we could all share the healing process.  I don't believe there was a dry eye in the gathering, including the Chaplain, who was a little choked up upon the conclusion of the section. The Service concluded with a Pastoral Prayer, Taps, a Benediction, and the Retiring of the Colors. Jeff Glasser commanded everyone's attention at the end to hold a brief business meeting.  A motion was proposed to make the TLC Brotherhood a legal entity, and the motion had a second. And another motion was made and seconded, but I honestly forgot what it was.  I'm sure Jeff will provide the complete and accurate details of this for you later. This was truly a wonderful morning.   Though many of you could not attend, please be aware that YOU WERE HERE WITH US THIS DAY!  The handshakes and hugs after the Service were done with all of our Brothers & Sisters in mind. I hope that we decide to gather in or near Washington D.C. next year, as it is a furthering of our flight to fulfillment in the bonds of the TLC Brotherhood, which is really "Our Certain Brotherhood"!

The Wall is Callin'

To those who were there, it was more than great to finally meet ya!
To those who couldn't be there, that's why there's Next Year!  See ya there!

Please excuse anything that I may have overlooked.

Bob Freitag
388th MMS Weapons Release   Korat 70-72
Life Member - VFW Memorial Post 10249 Udorn

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John & Nancy Sweet, Bob Pruiksma, Jeff Glasser and all the rest who are to many to mention. Thanks for the great Comradeship from everyone and their wives. Margaret and I had a fantastic time and we can't wait for next year. Then we can renew our friendships and make new friends that couldn't be at Dayton.

Love and God Bless to all, 

John & Margaret Loftus Ethan
Radartech's

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The TLC-Brotherhood reunion was probably the greatest time I've had in more years than I like to think about.  Everything went off great, no problems that I know of.  My wife had a great time, talking with the other ladies there and just kind of finding out what this brotherhood thing was all about.   She had an idea before but now she really understands.

The highlight of the weekend for me was getting the opportunity to ride in a genuine war bird.  Don Neiser flew his Vietnam war era O-2A Skymaster to the Greene County airport and invited several of us to take a ride.  It was an opportunity of a life time.  Don flew four sorties Saturday afternoon and showed us the air tactics the FAC pilots used on typical mission across the trail.  We made rocket passes on several boats on a small lake not far from the airport. It was an experience I will not forget.   If you were to ask my wife what part of the weekend she enjoyed the most, I'm sure the plane ride would be her first choice.  She flew back seat on our mission.   Don let me take the controls and allowed me to make a few gentle maneuvers, it was really fun.  I was impressed with the maneuverability of the O-2 and how many G's it could generate.

We were 2 1/2 hours late for the banquet - but you flight line guys know you can't leave until the last bird is down and put to bed.  We had no write-ups and headed for the Chop House for dinner.  Unfortunately, not being Dayton natives, it took us awhile to find the place.  But we did make it for dinner.  Great meal - great company - great weekend.

Got an email from the Chaplain who conducted our Memorial Service, for those of you who didn't get to talk to him afterwards, like me - he said he was in a hurry to get to another service.  Said he was glad to do it.

The talk was next year might be in Washington DC, for a trip to the Wall.  I hope we can get many more TLC members to make that trip and have a sea of black T-shirts take over the mall.

I guess the question was, did the wives have anything to do?  You bet they did!

Dick Anderson
23rd TASS
OV-10A Engine Mechanic
NKP 1969-70
Proud Member of TLCB, ACA and VFW Post 10249 - Udorn, Thailand
Don brought it (O2-A) and I flew it!!!

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My wife Phyllis and I arrived at Dayton on Thursday P.M.  After check in, we walked to the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner.  When we got back, we made contact with Jimmie Butler and John Sweet in the Stars Lounge.  After that meeting, it was off to bed after a ten hour drive.   Friday A.M. went to breakfast, then to the lobby to see if anyone else had checked in.  A sign up sheet was on the counter, and through the day it was filling up.   John Loftus had arranged to have the Connie (EC121) opened up for us at 2 P.M. (thanks John)  Several of us made the trip to the museum for this "inside tour" of ole triple nickel!  A small group picture was taken, and then back to the Hotel for the 6 P.M. meeting at "HQ general", The Stars Lounge!  By this time, quite a group had gathered, including the wild and crazy Don Brown, who had been waiting for us at the bar since 2 P.M.!!!!!!  A great time of socializing was had by all, including, I'm sure, the wives.  My wife is ready for D.C. next year!   Saturday, most met at Dennys for breakfast, then to the museum at 9 A.M.  Lots of memories and good times by all.  My wife and Nancy Sweet decided to use this time to hit the mall!  At 1 P.M. we proceeded to the Hope Hotel for pics and slides and video, then back to Crowne Plaza to clean up for Dinner.  Dinner was at the Chop House-Great food, then back to HQ.  Sunday, a very touching Memorial Service, and then good-byes by many,

My deepest thanks to ALL who had a part in making this happen.  I will not mention any names for fear of leaving out someone.  You know who you are! Looking forward to next year.

Bob & Phyllis Pruiksma

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Brother's and Sister's,

A little more on Dayton now that I've somewhat recovered from the trip.

I'd like to echo what Bob Freitag, Bob Pruiksma, John Loftus, Fred Lewis, Jeff Glasser, spoke of, camaraderie, fellowship, and seeing the
faces. It was great to finally be able to see the group, and put faces with email addresses. My wife was very much impressed with you all, and
commented to me she had never experienced such emotion as was at the Memorial, there was not a dry eye on the scene. I'm stilled choked up Brother's. I could think of nothing else the whole day! Looking forward to meeting the rest of the gang next year!!

Some of my observations to put with the other's. My first stop on the reunion was at the Green Co. airport as I was waiting for Don Neiser,
and Don Brown, to come in, in the 0-2. I was thrilled as the 0-2 was down wind for landing and quickly tried to focus in on it. Got most of
the landing and all the taxi, as well as a joyful reunion of Don Brown and Pat Sullivan, whom they haven't seen for 30 years! 0-2 was awesome, original as it was in VN. Still have goose bumps!!

On to the hotel where we readied ourselves for meeting up in the hotel lounge. I was in my jungle fatigues the whole night, as was John Sweet, and a few of the others had original fatigue shirts, an caps. People continually coming in and the excitement was growing as we all met and shook each others hands off. Sort of reminded me of an NCO Club blow-out! Laughter, noise and Singha, (and other brands) were flowing profusely.

Woody Freeman had on an awesome green shirt with "Jolly Green" patches all over it, and an ammo belt slung over his shoulder like Rambo. Woody, you were awesome dude! You take the prize! Me and the wife loved it! Thanks for a great time!

The conversation was anything but boring. We talked of our times in Thailand both on and off duty, to rice bugs and FY lizards, to bomb
loading, etc.

A special thanks to Jimmie Butler, Keith Taylor, Don Brown, and Bill Tilton for their fantastic footage of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and aerial
photo's of NKP, and other places!

Thank you Dick Williams for the shot of "SAC SUCKS". That was an inspiration. You could see that baby for miles I'm sure. The museum is a classic! The best this ole boy has ever seen! So many varieties of aircraft. Everything from 0-1's to B-52's. I was especially impressed with the A-1 Skyraider that was there. Fully loaded for bear! The best thing, it was at NKP, and the pilot who flew it received a medal for a particular mission flown there. Can't remember the specifics, but I'm sure one of the other guys could fill in the blanks for you.

Guys they also had most of the last American flags that were flown at the bases, and the dates the bases closed, enclosed in glass.

Of course the second love of my life was there, the wife being my first love...The F-4 that Col. Robin Olds flew out of Ubon was there and also
loaded to the gills. I spent about 45 minutes there...Must have launched that aircraft three or four times. As I stood behind the right wing
thoughts of the past flashed through my head. I was totally caught up in my thoughts imagining I was back in Thailand. Call me a sentimental
fool, but I quickly choked up, and tears filled my eyes thinking of those years past and the love affair I had with both my Phantom's. God, how sweet it was.

The Memorial was really the pinnacle of the Reunion, as we remembered our fallen Comrades, and the men who never came home. The C.A.P. Honor Guard did us proud as they brought forth the colors. The whole group was called to attention, and those in uniforms rendered a sharp salute. Some scriptures and words from the Chaplain which really sank in. Then the Chaplain sang a solo song. I could hear what sounded like a C-141 taking off during the ceremony. The mood was a somber one and I'm sure by now all eye's were swelling with tears. My personal feelings were that of being proud, and strong feelings of sorrow and grief as some of the Brother's came forward to say words for the Brother's that lost their lives in service many of whom were personal friends. These are the things I came away with, and they will be with me always.

Thank ever so much to all of you who shared these special moments with my wife and myself, and we deeply cherish our new friendships made while there. God bless you all, and God willing and the river don't rise, we'll look forward to next year once again meeting you, and meeting the one's who could not attend this year. ALL OF YOU were with us...

This is Truly A Brotherhood, and this is what will keep us strong through thick and thin...

Sincerely,

Rodney & Maffei Bell

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9/14/98

All,

Just got back to TX from Dayton.  Sunday afternoon when we left Dayton Steve and I went to Dick and Cheryl Anderson's in Massillon OH and spent the night.  Dick has a neighbor down the street who was Red Horse at NKP in 68.  When he found out Steve was there he came over and we had a mini reunion as a follow-up.  It was the first time Jack had visited with a fellow Red Horse since leaving NKP.  Naturally he showed up with lots of pictures of how the base looked then.  He helped on the construction of the paved runway.  He wanted to go to the airport to see us off today but couldn't make it so he showed up to take us to breakfast.  Jack Gorius is a computer impaired member of the TLCB.

I'll try to get my impressions of Dayton into words in a day or so.  I'm still to hyped to get my thoughts clear.  I have seen messages about the "missions" flown on Saturday.  Dick Anderson, Jim Young, Kermit Wilkins, Steve and I thought we were just going to get a quick ride in Don's O-2.  Two of us went up with Don at a time  and what we got was a 30 minute E ticket ride!  After he showed us how to do aileron turns and banked turns he turned the controls over to each of us for about 10 minutes.  What a thrill.  Then he demonstrated what a rocket pass was like, a couple times.  Coming in for landing we did a 360 approach.  It was something I'll never forget.  Sure brought back a lot of memories when I stood out front of the O-2 and gave direction for engine start and taxi.  The only thing missing was being able to pull pins at the end of the runway.  I did get to assist on preflight though.  With the four missions flown we chocked up 8 boats, had to be N. Vietnamese, and 1 water skier.

Well better go, very tired both physically and emotionally.   We proved we are not only a Brotherhood, but also a family.  It was a fantastic weekend.  I am looking forward to the next time we meet.

9/16/98

I have read what the others have written about last weekend and find it hard to improve on or add to their description.  It was a great time from start to finish.  When I walked in the lounge it was like walking back in time, listening to all the stories.  There were no strangers in the room.

It was great to finally be able to put faces with names.  And if an award were to be given for enthusiasm it would have to go to Don Brown!  I don't know how many times he shook everybody's hand and said how glad he was that he was there. I  only recall one other feeling I experienced that would compare to this weekend.  That would have to be when I was a kid and would come downstairs on Christmas morning and see all my presents under the tree.  It was like all my wishes had come true.  That's the feeling I had this weekend.  Thanks guys for the biggest present ever.

Paul Lee
23rd TASS, O-2 Fixer-upper
NKP & Ubon Class of 69
Udorn VFW Post # 10249
VVA, ACA

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