Reflections on Reflections

We're pleased you've come to visit us
here in this hallowed place!
Where we see you standing there,
you see reflections of your face.
We live through you, our Brothers!
We are never truly gone -
if only one still visits us
we can live on and on.
Some of you brought children
and some, your wives most dear
it comforts us to know you share
the feelings you bring here.
You place so gently at this Wall
a wreath of lovely flowers ~
for you it's been so many years
for us, it just seems hours.
So we thank you for your visit
to this most sacred Wall -
we're still, and always, Brothers -
all for one, and one for all.
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Christina  For the TLCB - 8/19/99
Christina
"ArmyMom"



Pictures From Washington D.C. 1999
Gathering of the BrothersGathering of the Brothers
The Gathering of the Brotherhood
Click here for a picture of the Sisters of the Brotherhood

Copyright information

Thursday, August 12th

John, Joyce and Rodney

John and Rodney Thai Restaurant Takeover

Friday, August 13th

Registration time Man, this is great! Signing in Nipa Hut
Shadow Doubletree "Mac" and Mrs."Les" Warren and Beverly
Doubletree Hotel Hey Charlie Rick and Barbara Kermit and Barbara
Dave and Sally Gene and the Mrs. Mr and Mrs. "Mac" Jimmie Butler
Jim and Donna "Les" Amos, Joyce and Ed Well, Howdy!
Gerald Hank Dusty Jay
Friday night Browsing the tables Shadow - it still fits?? Forming up
Suck it in Shadow!! Whew..we can breath again! The Wheatley's Mac's old brown shoe
Formed up Mac with breakfast Les Strouse Rodney Bell
Leigh and Bill Ski David Neville Doubletree front desk
Mood Music "The Listmaster" More Brothers checking in John Sweet is ready
Buy a shirt, buy a pin Larry Hughes John Pierre-Benoist Dick Anderson
Ron Bogotá and Spouse "Hat Man" John and Margaret Loftus Sammy Bryant
Dave Cook Paul Lee    

Saturday, August 14

Wreath at the wall Hanging the flags Get 'em straight Boys The Board of Directors
More Raffle items Woody and Kermit John Sweet Meeting is starting
The Wreath Rodney opens the meeting Lined up for inspection Presentation of the Bird
The meeting begins Opening Prayer Presidential Speech Before the meeting
Sweet Talker Thanks Art Meeting 3 Leigh's Report
Shadow Knows Membership Report Paul Lee's Report Board Members
Dusty's Report Looking around Mike Dunn, Gary Holman Some raffle items
Ken Griswold Bill Tilton opens the meeting Leigh and Paul Sing Along......

Bill Tilton and Jimmie Butler at the wall.

Paul Lee - This place is almost as good as Texas!
Shooting the breeze Bill Tilton and Pi-Hsiang A Thai serenade Garber
Prepare to present the bird Lounge outside the Nipa Hut
Terry Ryan - Hey where's the Singha?? Don't forget your patches boys...
Enjoying the songs More of the meeting

Donna, Marilyn, Nancy, Grace

Hmm....I'd love that Blood Chit Rodney Bell Leigh at the raffle Ken Griswold
Out at the air show Bob Norway has his hat Plenty to go around Linda Norway w/ bag
All the way from Thailand Buy another ticket!! 2 of the founders look on Hanoi Jane

More of the meeting 2

The Lounge Leigh Hotujec Pick my number..
Kermit Wilkins Shooting the breeze "Famous Amos" Parker Elvis Speaks
So there I was surrounded by 3 NVA Divisions... Larry Hughes, Jimmie Butler, Dave Cook, Sammie Bryant
On the way to Garber Stay together now.. OK, everyone off the bus Garber Restoration facility
Tour Guide On display Inside the facility Josh picks a winner
Almost finished Bob Pruksima Now where did Terry's cooler go
Leigh's Award Bill Gardner Russ Jim Geddes
What most of didn't get to see much of... So Terry, what your saying is....Don't use caps when I type?
Wall Name Reading Group Reading names 1 Reading names 2 Reading names 3
Reading names 4 Reading names 5 Reading names 6 Dick and Bill
Waiting for the Buses Waiting for the Buses 2 Waiting for the Buses 3 Waiting for the Buses 4
Golden Dragon Golden Dragon 2 Golden Dragon 3 Golden Dragon 4
Shadow and Terry The Famous Parker...and Amos too! Mike Dunn at the Korean Memorial Joyce, Amos, Mac, Les, Ken
Bill and Jimmie Bill, John and Shadow Terry, John, Rod, John, Skip Leigh, Shadow, Marilyn
Shadow, Bill and Terry Thai footwear Taking a break John's got his "Chit"
Wall logistics Spectators at the wall Looking for names A crowd gathered
Brothers at the wall Names on the Wall Women's memorial Dusk at the Wall
Boy's of the 388th Remembering In Memoriam Chaplain Maj. G. Paul Herbert
23 TASS Just the F.A.C's 

Aircraft Maintenance Rules!!

Saturday Ceremony Ceremony 2 The Wall Procession Reflections
Ron and Bob at the Wall Ron Bogota Silent Vigil  

Sunday, August 15

Darrel Whitcomb Jimmie Butler's Briefing Pi-Hsiang Award Tom Hanton - POW


Members Reunion Impressions

 

Brothers,

Arrived home safe and sound after a super weekend at the 2nd TLC Brotherhood reunion.  The trip took a little longer coming home due to some bad delays on I-70 but only an hour or so.

The weekend defies description, the reunion committee really did an outstanding job - the tour of the Garber facility was well worth the trip itself.  The ceremony at the wall was - beyond words - very well done - your Chaplain Rodney Bell did you all proud.  It was a special honor for me to be able to participate in that ceremony. The presentations this morning

I need some time to wind down, like Shadow said - it was such an emotional weekend, again - and it was really great to meet some new faces, and to see the old (read familiar) faces.  I am anxiously waiting for next years already.

This one great outfit!

Dick Anderson
23rd TASS - NKP 1969-70


WELL, what a bunch of speechless people.... hehehe. I can understand the problem. Got back home about an hour ago and sat down to review the mail. Good to see the everyone IS getting home OK and safe and sound.

Anyway it was a loooooooong weekend with a lot packed in. Linda and I arrived Friday night after almost losing each other at Dulles for about an hour (I was chasing bags and she was getting the rental car and there was a bit of miscommunication.... :0) ). Anyway, Friday night was greet and meet with all those unknown faces, (about 100 by the time we signed in, don't know what the final count was) look and start buying some of the goodies that Les and Mac brought from Thailand. (Thai wallets, bottles of Mekong). Watch Larry Hugh's 'Call Sign Project' on the 'puter and then hunt him down to buy a copy.... Pay for the shirts ordered and get a hat..... Oh and somewhere in all this get checked in to the hotel!!!! Then settled down with a beer or three ( :0( Only no Singha available.... very sad) and start talking and meeting people.
Doubletree Motel was FANTASTIC!!!!! Absolutely GREAT breakfast buffet and the rooms were OUTSTANDING (Another round of thanks to Dave and Pi-Hsiang Cook for there HARD work)

Saturday morning started with breakfast and then the general membership meeting. I guess Leigh will be posting the minutes in the near future, but one of the things discussed was getting input on where to have the reunion next year. The committee would like to be able to start planning for next year by next month. After the meeting we started the raffle for some of the goodies.... Blood Chits, Singha Beach Umbrellas, autographed books by member authors, etc.

Then it was time for a short break and await the busses for one of the three various afternoon offerings - the Garber Restoration Museum, a reading of Names at the Wall, or tour of DC. It was at this time that we saw Pi-Hsiang Cook REALLY get in action.... Seems that whoever was supposed to deliver the box lunches was late, and the tours were on a pretty tight schedule so that we could get back in time for our dinner reservations. Anyhow, as we were all sitting in the busses waiting to leave (and wondering what the holdup was) we found out when we saw Pi-Hsiang 'stalking' in front of the hotel with cell phone in hand. Some mentioned you could almost see the steam rising..... Anyhow, the food finally arrived 'a few' minutes late and after Pi had some words with the driver we all pitched in to make sure everyone got their box lunch and get the busses on the road. Of course all the best laid plans..... resulted in no-one getting their chips!!!! (At least not till that night). Busses got off and everyone made there tour. I was with the Garber bunch and it was a fascinating 3 hour tour of the restoration work being done for the Smithsonian on aircraft and aircraft related items. I guess this is one of the last tours showing stuff undergoing restoration as they will be moving to a new facility at Dulles International AP, and will not be starting any new projects. A lot of pictures were shot and I'm sure Shadow will be getting 'em up as soon as they are received. All the tours just missed the big rain storm that moved into the DC area as they were on the way back to the Doubletree and it held off till we got INSIDE the Golden Dragon for a GREAT oriental buffet.... all you could eat.... Mongolian BBQ..... ribs, crab legs, shrimp... if anyone left hungry, it was their OWN dam fault....hehehe. The rain stopped just before we were to board the busses for the trip to the Wall, and it stayed stopped the rest of the evening.

At the Wall everyone gathered and made their rubbings, if desired, and then our Chaplain, Rodney Bell, president Bill Tilton and the rest of the committee, marched down to the section of the Wall that holds the names of those lost at the Udorn AFTN incident with a wreath in their honor. Appropriate prayers and words were said, many tears flowed, and we stopped Wall traffic for about 15-20 minutes as we all made our peace at the Wall and our Memorial. TLCB blank calling cards were handed out for any who wished to leave their name, a thought or prayer in writing, on the wreath. A little later, we all gathered on the grassy knoll overlooking the Memorial for our small Memorial Program. We started with a singing of the National Anthem, led by our Chaplain Rodney Bell, to which EVERYONE joined in, followed by the Invocation given by Chaplain Major G. Paul Herbert, USAFR. Rodney read some Scripture verses and did a Tribute to our Fallen Comrades in SE Asia. We then lit candles and heard personal comments from those of us who wished to remember fallen comrades. This was followed by a Pastoral Prayer and the Benediction. Unfortunately, a recording of TAPS was unavailable and we had no bugler to play TAPS, a fitting end to a beautiful ceremony. But I'm sure that everyone, nevertheless, could hear the music in their own minds.

After return to the Doubletree, it was time to relax, kick back and smoke a little.....uh, no... wrong place... wrong time..... hehehe......drink a few brews and finish up the raffle. ESPECIALLY the bottles of MEKONG....... The first bottle was won by ..... ????? dam I forgot......anyway he graciously opened it up and we ALL (spouses included)  shared a taste in a toast to all our comrades in arms! (Maybe that's why I can't remember who won it.) And then we all closed the bar for the second night... and some continued the party till early hours.

Sunday morning after breakfast we all gathered in the Nipa Hut for a presentation by former POW Tom Hanton on some of his remembrances and thoughts and things learned from that time. This was followed by an OUTSTANDING briefing on the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the job our FAC's did there, by our own Darrell Whitcomb.

By noon it was time to wrap things up and say our farewells and shed a few last tears of regret to not be able to see some of these great people until next years reunion. There were some great friendships made or started, I'm sure, and some regrets at not being able to meet and talk, at length, with EVERYONE (sorry AMOS, we seemed to be going different ways each time we saw each other this weekend.. will make up for it next year)

Well, as they say in the news business.....FILM AT 11!..... I'm sure pix will be posted as soon as possible... and I THINK there may be a few more than last year...... there were an awful lot of digital cameras blinking this weekend.......

That's all for now Brothers, need to start d/l'ing pix from my VCR!!!!!

Cheers,
Bob Norway


Greetings All,

Josh and I arrived home about 30 minutes ago, drained (physically and emotionally) after a truly awesome 4 days in DC with the most wonderful group of people.  I knew this was a very special group......but after this weekend I can tell you all that what we have here is a very special gift......I am in awe of what happened and as soon as I can put it into words (if that is even possible) I'll send a more detailed account of the events that transpired. What a turn out!!!

You were all there with us - we could feel your presence!  If there is any way at all that you can make it next year it will be worth the effort.  I know what it was like last year to miss Dayton and after the experience this weekend I know I don't ever want to miss another one if I can help it!! (Josh is already making plans to attend from now on, too!)

A very special thank you to the reunion committee for all of their efforts! And to all of the others, especially the spouses and children, who pitched in to help and participated in all of the events - my (TLCB) hat is off to you!

Cheers!

Leigh Coleman Hotujec


Hi all,

As I'm sure it is for many others, I am still riding a crest of happiness about the reunion that we just completed at noon.  There will be many words said, and the pictures will certainly speak even louder--and there must have been thousands taken!  For now I'll be brief.

One appreciative brother made a remark to me in the lobby of the hotel, as we were leaving, that really sums it up. The thing that made this reunion great (and makes TLCB great) is how we treat each other. The mutual respect and open affection was reflected in the harmonious give-and-take of the reunion.  The character of our brothers and sisters propels our organization.  This tone of joy in being in each other's company was rampant from the beginning of the board meeting on Friday, through the many impromptu events in the evenings, the membership meeting Saturday morning, the deeply-moving events at The Wall Saturday afternoon and night, thru the personal and uplifting talk by ex-POW Tom Hanton, until the conclusion of Darrel Whitcomb's exciting (and -very- interactive) presentation on the Ho Chi Minh Trail--and the farewells--at noon today.

More later............lot's to do!
Bill Tilton


Brothers and Sisters of the TLC Brotherhood,

I literally just walked in the door. My computer room is the first room through the back door, I put down my bag and logged on to check mail. Not bad, only 72 waiting since Thursday night.

I don't think I can find the words to describe my feelings regarding this past few days.  I feel on top of the world and at the same time emotionally drained.  As I drove the 70 miles from the San Antonio airport to the house I replayed the weekend in my mind and the same emotions came, read tears.  I think it will take a few days to come back down.

It was great to be able to add more faces to names, to understand a little more where you are coming from.  Before I left the hotel today I told one brother that  was very happy that he was able to be there, but not for the reason he thought.  It was because of past differences we have had through emails.  When you haven't met a person face to face and listened to what they have to say it is too easy to "assume" what you believe to be their attitude when writing email.  Now having met him and listened to him, I am more likely to understand what and why he says some things, to be more tolerant and understanding.  Mainly I wanted to welcome him home.  I hope that makes sense, its late and I'm pretty wiped out.

Before I sign off I want to thank the Reunion Committee for a very memorable weekend.  The Saturday night memorial and candle light service will be remembered by us all.  I repeat what I told many of you today, Rodney and those who helped put the ceremony together did the TLCB proud.

Thanks to all of you who were there for your support of the brothers who were making their first trip to the Wall.  For those of you who could not be there, you were there in our hearts.  We are truly home.

Bless you all,

Paul
VP


Brothers,

What can I say.......it was a high point in my life. Meeting all of you was incredible. From our takeover of the Thai Restaurant Thursday night (I got Rodney and Jimmie nervous with my NY attitude) and the "police raid" on Woody and Grace Freeman (wish we knew that Grace was hiding in the bathroom!) to the impromptu bar party later. To the board meeting on Friday Morning (You would not believe how good Amos swings that cane.) Then to see all the brothers and their families arriving and getting to meet each one brought me back to feelings I have not had in years. Friday nights trek to the mall and the way we all walked proud and together. Saturday's General meeting and the laughs and nods of approval from the membership as each Committee member gave their report. We were all there and doing what needed to be done (sound familiar). My embarrassment at getting that damn bird ( I loved it). The DC tour with several Brothers and their wives was outstanding. 

Then Saturday night......the dinner and Woody Freeman teaching me how to make Mongolian stew. Terry Ryan clearing the skies of rain with a dance and a wave of his arms. How we rode in silence to the Wall. I don't know about you other first timers to the Wall but I was nervous as Hell while we formed up. The procession down the ramp and the way all the visitors that were there stopped in their tracks, its as though they knew they were witnessing something special and not often seen. I cried like I have not in years. I found the name I was looking for and to see it there enabled me to close a wound that had remained open for a long time. I kept saying to myself and Marilyn " I'm here, I'm actually here. I made it." It is truly a healing place. Standing on the hill overlooking the Wall with the Washington Monument behind us during the ceremony made me feel proud and sad at the same time. Why did they have to die? As I asked the question I also already knew the answer. We and our children are here and still free because of them. Whew....emotional again. The return to the Hotel and the love and respect that permeated the lounge, standing tall with my Brothers as we took pictures. Dragging a giggling Leigh to the men's room to see the Hanoi Jane urinal sticker that John Sweet placed there (we wanted to let Leigh take a shot but logistics would not permit.) 

Sunday....The talk by Tom Hanton was inspirational and impressive. Here was a man that most people only read about talking to and thanking us!! Darrel's presentation on the trail gave me a clue that I had not ever had before...each day I launched out the jets loaded up and really didn't have a clue as to what part I had played in the master plan. Now I know. Darrel.....Thank You. Finally having to say goodbye, not an easy thing to do ever.......but this time it was especially difficult.

The knowledge that these Men had been there and done that made me feel a pride I cannot put into words. Hearing Amos Parker's infectious laugh, Larry Hughes and his Call sign CD (I know and can appreciate the work he put into it), Watching Dick Anderson get emotional as each new Brother arrived. Dave Cook, Bob Pruksima and John Sweet with their dedication to getting it all right. Rodney Bell's melodic Elvis voice (which Marilyn loves BTW). Bill Tilton and Jimmie Butler with their quiet dignity of men who have shown the courage that lies inside. It made me truly realize how lucky I am to belong to a group such as this. I could name everyone of you that were there but I don't want you guys deleting it because the message is too long. 

Yes...all in all it was a very special weekend. 

So......when is the next one and where??? 

Fraternally,
Rich "Shadow" Verde and Marilyn Foy


Brothers,

Whew! What can I say that hasn't already been said? Let me at least try. It was even better than I expected. My only regret is that I didn't seem to have time to sit down and talk one on one with every other brother who was there. As someone else said, I kept passing folks who I meant to talk with, but somehow never managed to. To all those who I missed, it was only lack of time or opportunity that prevented it. I wish it could have gone on all week long. 

The fellowship was well under way in the Nipa Hut when I arrived with Rosie and the kids about noon on Friday. I was greeted with hearty handshakes and warm smiles from Rich Verde and Rodney Keith Bell and several other brothers. Though we'd never before laid eyes on one another, it instantly felt like old friends, together once again. Rodney made me try to guess who he was, and even with the other guys making halos over his head, I didn't have a clue. Somehow, I'd pictured him so much differently. As several others have already said, it really is good to be able to finally put faces with those names we've become so familiar with on the list server over the past months and years. After saying a few more hellos, we registered and then retired to the rooms to freshen up and rest up a bit. 

Most of the guys had already left for the Thai restaurant down the road by the time we came back downstairs. (There, I understand the Singha flowed freely, and fortunately, they were able to get the hotel to send transportation to pick them up.) Rosie and I and the kids linked up with Bob and Phyllis Pruksima and their beautiful family as they were preparing to leave for Tyson's Corner for supper. We tagged along with them and ate at a small Italian restaurant in the mall there. We spent a couple of very enjoyable hours eating and chatting and getting to know each other better. Returning to the Doubletree, the remainder of the evening was spent browsing the displays in the Nipa hut and meeting with the other brothers and their spouses. 

Saturday morning began with a very good breakfast at the buffet just outside the Nipa hut. We got downstairs a little late, and the general membership meeting was already underway. Aside from more serious business discussed, Rich Verde was presented with the coveted Re. Re bird trophy, which he graciously accepted. The meeting adjourned about 11:00 and we went back up to the room to prepare for the afternoon tours. 

Saturday was VERY hot - 98 degrees, and a heat factor of 111 was reported. Even so, the bus tour we took of the DC downtown buildings and monuments was enjoyable and certainly educational. My personal favorite stop was at the statue of the Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima. Although the tours were delayed in departing the hotel while we waited for the box lunches to be delivered, which were very good by the way, the day went off without any serious glitches. The weather report had predicted a virtual certainty of strong thunderstorms for Saturday afternoon and evening, but Mother Nature cooperated, and the rain began coming down, only after the bus tours were completed. Actually, the rain was a blessing in that it helped cool the air in preparation for the evening's activities at The Wall. 

Saturday evening began with a dinner at the Golden Dragon restaurant. The food was excellent and the variety extensive. I saw Rich Verde make at least four or five trips back to the buffet table (but who's counting?) I pretty much pigged out myself and was well sated by the time we had all finished. Pi-Hsiang was a busy bee, flitting here and there, making sure everyone was well taken care of and that everything went as planned. I'm amazed at the tireless energy of that woman! By the time we'd all finished the meal, the rain that had begun again after we'd entered the restaurant had again ended, this time for good. We boarded the busses for the highlight of the reunion - the placing of the memorial wreath at The Wall. 

I noticed, or at least thought I did, the mood of the group palpably changed and became more somber as we neared The Vietnam Memorial Park. I had to fight back tears a couple of times before the busses had even pulled up to park. I suspect I was not alone in that. After disembarking, we gathered on the walk leading to The Wall and were led in a prayer by the Air Force chaplain. Then the group followed along behind as the wreath was carried with tender loving care to its position in front of the panel that bears the names of those who lost their lives in the crash of the Phantom at Udorn. Other visitors to The Wall cleared way and stood back, respectfully watching as our procession approached. 

The wreath was placed and dedicated, followed by a long moment of complete silence. No one, not even the onlookers, uttered a word as respects were paid. Everyone, even the small children present, knew that what was going on here was sacred. Finally, each brother came forward to stand before the wreath and think his private thoughts and leave a note tucked into the flowers of the wreath to the men who died in the AFTN accident and to all the others whose names grace that hallowed wall. It was a memorable and a most humbling experience. 

Afterward, there were hugs and tears, then the group broke into smaller groups to tour the park or to take wall rubbings and to further reminisce on things long past. The evening was topped off with the candlelight memorial service on the grassy knoll overlooking both the wall on the one side and the lake reflecting the lights of the Washington Monument on the other. I'm sorry to say, I arrived late for this and only caught the last few minutes of it. 

We boarded the busses at 2200 for the return to the hotel. Once back at the hotel we stayed up several hours longer, enjoying the fellowship of our brothers and sisters, not wanting it to come to an end. Finally, we succumbed to the beer and the Mekong and the effects of the long day. We retired about 1:30 or 2:00, leaving with the party still going strong. 

On Sunday, after breakfast we were treated to an inspiring, uplifting talk by Tom Hanton, former POW in the Hanoi Hilton, followed by a very interesting, professionally done talk on the war for The Ho Chi Minh Trail by Darrell Whitcomb. Jimmie Butler, Jim Henthorn and others contributed their personal experiences to the talk, adding to the feeling of camaraderie and reinforcing the idea that we all had a job to do, and ALL were important to the air war as it was fought from Thailand. 

About 1030 hours, my family and I reluctantly said our good-byes and hit the road for home with a warm, wistful feeling inside. I'm already looking forward to next year's reunion, and I wish now I had not allowed the opportunity to attend the Dayton reunion to pass me by. For those who might be wavering on the decision whether to come or not, by all means do! It's an experience you will neither regret nor forget. 

Finally, I want to wrap this long message up by saying "Thank-you" to all the brothers and sisters that worked so hard to make this reunion such a smashing success. It would not have been possible without your tireless efforts to pull it all together. 

Good night Brothers. God bless you all. 

Bob Wheatley


I HAD THE BEST TIME IN DC. I saw my old pal from Tech school and Ubon, Lachowski, at the reunion. I made new acquaintances and renewed old ones. It truly
is like seeing my BROTHERS for the first time in many years. These people are truly like family. I do believe DC had more than double the turnout as Dayton.
Emotions ran high when ever we all got together and the trip to the wall was over whelming for most if not all. Amazing great people. This thing is just getting bigger and 
better. I did not hear any words spoken in anger, no insults or snobbery just plain together one for all and all for one. I could go on and on but you just had to be there. Each time I have attended, that is Dayton and now DC, I have learned more about what the hell we were all doing over there. We really get into some interesting history of the Secret War in SEA.

To all who attended I await our next meeting. To all who couldn't make it we await you, we missed you.

Rick & Boonlue (aew)


WOW!

It's 0345 out here on the left coast and I just finished 217 e-ms, and even though I must get up in an hour and a half, I don't want to go to sleep as that will pretty much put an end to the weekend. 

I want to thank you all for making this weekend one of the highlights of my life. Fri was interesting as the faces were put with the names I knew so well. What was truly amazing was the way the handshakes, "great to finally meets you" and general chat developed into true friendships within minutes. The "Brotherhood" became so much more than the title of our group, it became a reality. 

I have always considered myself fortunate to have served in SEA with the finest folks this country has ever produced and this weekend proved that belief to be true. The men and women gathered in DC made me very proud to be a part of this Brotherhood. 

One bonus I had not really considered in the excitement of actually going to the "Call To The Wall" was the families. The wives and children added immeasurably to the gathering (even though Josh did ding me for 10 bucks) and the weekend would not have been complete without you.

I arrived at the Doubletree to meet up with, essentially, an e-mail list and left with over 100 new and real friends. LIFE JUST DON'T GET A WHOLE BUNCH BETTER.

So, to all of you who were there, as well as those not attending, THANK YOU. My life is better today than it was early Fri morning. To bastardize the RAVEN salutation "NEVER MORE'', I raise my glass and salute you, THE BROTHERHOOD, EVER MORE.

Now to bed and the official end to one of the greatest weekends of my life.

Thanks,
Larry Hughes


Hi Everyone,

I think I'm the last holdout at the Doubletree. Will leave for Colorado tomorrow afternoon. I would echo many of the good words everyone has said about all the work done 
by the local contingent to make this such a successful reunion. Pi-Hsiang Cook has still been taking care of me, trying to make sure I have everything I need, and get lined up with transportation, etc. I would like to repeat something I said at the end of the General Membership Meeting on Saturday for those of you who weren't able to attend. We had our TLCB Board and key project leaders up at a head table. I told everyone that I have been around since 1997 when we first got our net up and running. I have shared many postings with those people who now are in leadership positions, so I wanted to assure the newcomers that we have a great group of people in the leadership roles of the TLCB. I mentioned also that I greatly appreciated the leadership that has been shown by our TLCB President Bill Tilton, and everyone responded with a well-deserved standing ovation for Bill. So, if you weren't with us in D.C. to meet them in person, you can be confident that we have great people leading the TLCB.

I want to say thank you for having been given the privilege of joining Dick Anderson in carrying the wreath down to it's resting place at Panel 12W, the location of the names of the men that VFW Post 10249 at Udorn is named in memory of. As Dick and I stood alongside the wreath waiting to move it in front of The Wall, I don't think I've ever seen so many camera flashes in my life. It was like being a real celebrity, but the celebrity was the TLCB wreath we were going to deliver as one more tribute to those who were killed in the war and will never be forgotten as long as any of us are still around. After we had it in place, Shadow asked if it would be appropriate for us to 
leave out TLCB cards in the wreath. Good idea! So, many of us added our cards to the wreath. Ron Bogotá (hope I have the spelling correct) also had prepared a tribute for a BATCAT Crew that crashed in a C-121 at Korat (I think) on what was to be their last mission before returning to the states. We all went down to about 25W and Ron told us the story including the fact that he was one of the last persons to see those nearly 30 men alive as he was on the crew that blocked out the aircraft, I think. 

Our candlelit memorial service was moving as well. Now I want to offer the remembrance I was too chicken to come forward with on Saturday night (since last year I couldn't come close to saying the words of the Water Toast after I ventured out in front of everyone in the Memorial Garden at Wright Patterson.)

I would like us to remember Lieutenant Colonel Bruce A. Jensen. Some of you mentioned him about a month ago on the Mission net. He was the commander of 
the A-26s at NKP in 1967. Entertainer Jonathan Winters came through on a USO tour in maybe June and introduced Colonel Jensen as his brother-in-law. Late one afternoon about 21 August 1967, I had the squadron jeep and was heading up to the BX at NKP to get a case of Cokes. Colonel Jensen was walking along the road near the Harley - Wolfe - Smith amphitheater, so I offered him a ride. He got aboard and joked about how he was just going to fly across the bomb line and dump his bombs since he only had two more missions to go before his tour was finished. Turned out he only had that one more mission as his A-26 never returned from Barrel Roll (Northern Laos) that night. We lost two A-26s in four nights, and I believe his was the first one. That's just one little story behind The Wall.


I'm waiting for Ron David to show up, and we're going to spend some time interviewing for his Milestones in the Sky series. (www.milestonesinthesky.com) As Jim Bartholomew mentioned, Ron hosted several of us down at The Flying Circus Air Show down south of Manassas on Sunday afternoon. I'm afraid I missed saying goodbye to a few Brothers as we had to rush off to that earlier than I had planned. Anyway, that was a fun afternoon and a good reason to have a mini-reunion in D.C. some weekend next year. They have their Air Show with Stearmans, wing walking, etc. about every Sunday from May through October and, as Jim said, are willing to list one of 
them as TLCB day. 

We met a couple of brothers. One had spent time at Udorn. I didn't catch his name, but he was eager to get to our site.

The other brother was Captain Jamie Lindsay, a captain for United Airlines who now flies a Stearman as well and flew Marine F-4s including missions out of Nam Phong. That was essentially a big slab of concrete laid out in the jungles somewhere SE of Udorn (see Larry's CD for more information.) probably placed there as a recovery site for B-52s coming out of Russia, if they ever had to come out of Russia. Anyway Jamie was delighted to run into people who knew about Nam Phong as most everyone else he'd run into wouldn't buy that he'd been there. I believe during Linebacker II, they put Marines over there in tents in another operation that never got any publicity. Jamie was the one who came up with the idea of having a TLCB weekend next year at the Flying Circus. He purchased a couple of copies of ACB and asked if the 
money from them went to our projects in Thailand. I said that ACB funds went to me, but I had given John a check for the kids earlier in the afternoon. When Jamie paid me, he gave an extra $20 to help offset my donation. I told him that that wasn't necessary, but I'd be glad to send his extra $20 to John, which Jamie wholeheartedly agreed to. So, Jamie and Ron David are good troops who were very enthusiastic about TLCB and the things we are doing. As someone mentioned Ron is the narrator for Wings, has his own Stearman, is married to Nora, (I think that is her name; might be Nor) Nora used to be his wing walker, was a journalist in SEA, was captured for a few days by the VC but intimidated them into taking her where she was going, and was a White House photographer through a few administrations, and did quite a bit of 
photography of us during the weekend. (Ron and Nora are neighbors of Jim Bartholomew). Ron joined us at The Wall of Saturday afternoon and took video of us throughout the reading of over 1,400 names of Americans who died in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. So, perhaps someday he will find a way to share some of that and what we were trying to do with a much larger audience. When he talked about TLCB to the audience at the Flying Circus, he told them about our reading of those 1,400 names.

Anyway, Jamie told a story I appreciated and I wanted to share it:

He knows another Captain who happened to have Jane Fonda on his plane one day. She got off to a bit of a rocky start because both flight attendants in first class were married to Vietnam vets. When the flight was finally over, the Captain stood at the cockpit door saying Thank you, Thank you, Thank you as passengers filed out. He met Jane Fonda with deafening silence. She looked up at him and said, "Vietnam?" He nodded. She said, "Sorry." He said, "That's not enough."


Once again we have witnessed how special the TLC Brotherhood is. I'm always pleased to see the pride that has resulted from those first early gatherings among men who had had their pride stolen by insensitive Americans, both those who didn't give any of us our due when we came home, and by in-country vets who didn't have a clue that many of them are still alive because of what we all did at/from the US bases in Thailand and Laos. Continue to enjoy the pride and brotherhood we share. In addition to accepting the mission of honoring our fallen brothers/sisters and making life better for young people in Thailand in their names, take on one additional burden. Remind yourselves that the TLCB now numbers in the hundreds. However, there are thousands of TLC vets still out there, and many would benefit the same way you have by discovering what we have discovered. Keep looking for them and help bring them to home.

Jimmie H. Butler


My Dear Brothers and Sisters,


I returned home yesterday after an 18 hour drive back to Baton Rouge, without incident. I'm a little behind on the mail as I was just put back on the server, but I have eagerly read all your postings. Thank you Bob Freitag for forwarding me all the messages.

I really couldn't add much to what already has been said, but I wanted to convey my personal feelings of the past weekend. As I sit here typing, already tears are welling up in my eyes, at the thought of the events in DC, and of having to bid farewell once again to my Brothers and Sisters. It's hard to explain but it's like saying goodbye to your family. As I walked into the house yesterday there was an overwhelming feeling of sadness, and emptiness that came over me, and like Paul, I was utterly emotionally exhausted from the events at the Wall, and the Memorial.

I'm so proud to be a part of this fine organization, and to be able to know you all. It is an honor and a privilege, and I will treasure it always...I was elated to see all the ones from last years reunion, and to see ones that I've waited over a year to meet. It was like finding lost family members.

The name reading at the Wall was also a complete success, and went off real good. Several of the Brothers took part in the name reading, in the heat of the DC day from about 1 pm to 3 pm as we read the names of 1,429 Brothers who died while serving their country in Thailand-Laos-and Cambodia. Thank you John Sweet for all the hours of hard work preparing the names which were to be read there.

After the name reading several of us walked the grounds of the memorial, and as we stood by the three soldiers statue, we posed for pictures. We stood there sweating in the heat in our jungle fatigues when about that time a man walked up to me with a strange look on his face stood there without uttering a word, grabbed my hand an shook it. I thought it was a Brother as I looked for a name tag. All he said over and over was, "thank you, thank you, thank you, for what you did"... I was completely beside myself, as tears came into my eyes. That was the first time since I came home from Thailand that anyone had ever told me that. 

The wreath Laying was a totally overwhelming experience. As Jimmie Butler and Dick Anderson placed it there where the nine Udorn Airmen were from AFTN, we all rendered a smart salute to our Fallen Brothers, and Chaplain Herbert said a fine prayer. The whole wall, tourist as well, were locked upon us as we said words of remembrance for our Brothers, and tears flowed. It was so quiet and reverent you could hear a pin drop. Words cannot describe the feelings we all felt at that moment in time...

The flags on the wreath you see in the photo were donated by our Brother Jim Geddes. A very special touch, and we sincerely thank him for those.

Also just a few panels down on 26W, Ron Bogotá placed a very nice tribute to some Brothers who were involved with "Bat Cat". A very nice photo in a frame and some unit patches, and some words from Brother Ron, for the Fallen Brothers there. As I looked around the Wall with tears in my eyes it was as if time had stood still, and the whole world was watching, and feeling the tremendous pain that we were feeling. I really don't think that there was a dry eye on the whole walkway.

The Memorial on the hill was indeed very special. All were in attendance and formed up close to the podium, as we started the National Anthem. I hope that my singing didn't hurt anyone's ears, as it was hard to keep my voice together. There were special words from Chaplain Herbert for our Brothers, and scriptures were read, and many of our members came up to the podium and honored their friends who didn't make it back, with some fine words of tribute. The candles were all lit and they were so beautiful in the DC night, as was the Washington monument, as it's reflection was crossing the lake nearby.

I'd like to say a special thank you to all the Sisters who helped out during the reunion in the hotel with all the registration, and selling of memorabilia... And at the Memorial, a special thank you to Peggy Lewis, Leigh Hotujek, Phyllis Pruiksma, Matie Benoit, and Grace Freeman for helping with the distribution of the programs and candles. And to Dave Cooks wife Pi-Hsiang, who worked so hard the whole time we were there seeing to our every need...Thank you so much to all of you!! Of course we cannot forget the Sons and Daughters of the TLCB members who also assisted there in many ways. It was a complete and total team effort by all...

To Fred Lewis, I have to say that if it wasn't for him being behind me all the way, I probably would have gone to the Memorial barefooted. My head was spinning the whole day, Saturday, and he was always there to remind me of something I forgot to do, or to advise me. Thank you Fred, for all your help, and with the video camera!!

Also a big thank you to John Pierre Benoit, who took me back to the hotel from dinner to pick up the cd player for the National Anthem, and buzzed us back to the Wall just in time to meet the arrival of the buses. Whheeew, you saved my butt there Brother!! Ya'll would have had to hear my singing without music... <cough>...

I would say at this point that it was indeed an overwhelming success, and that I feel some long needed healing took place there for our Brothers, and Sisters. I will be reflecting on this reunion for quite some time, and I can surely say that it will only get better in the years to come as we grow, and our family becomes larger. 

For now Brothers and Sisters, Maffei and myself bid thee farewell, and may the goodness, and spirit of our Father in heaven be with all of you, and keep you safe until we meet again.

God Bless You,

Rodney Bell
Chaplain TLC-Brotherhood


I concur with what Rich Verde wrote on Monday, 16 August 99, his words were exquisite! I was so touched by the reunion and "The Wall" that I have to share my thoughts with you also. I have been to many reunions since hanging up the ol'Blue Hat, but this one, The TLC Brotherhood, ranks as THE BEST! This is the first reunion I know of where not a single complaint was heard about the accommodations, food, restaurants, transportation, reunion agenda, or attractions we were bused to. This is almost unheard of today. Outstanding does not adequately describe it. It goes into the "superior" category. The Wall: In the past twenty years I have been in the vicinity of "The Wall" twice, and my wife asked me if I wanted to visit it. I said no, I wasn't ready for it. I wasn't afraid of "The Wall", guess I was afraid of myself. Last Saturday evening was different. I was among MY OWN and MY FRIENDS who' names are inscribed there. I was proud to be a member of the TLC Brotherhood, and a member of the United States Air Force in Southeast Asia. 
"Visitors stopped in their tracks", Rich wrote. --YES, and one could have heard a pin drop, the silence and respect was AWESOME! And the people showed respect to US also!! We stood on sacred ground and paid humble respect to the real heroes of the Vietnam War. The memorial service at "The Wall" and by candle light on the knoll overlooking was touching, emotional, inspiring, and strangely beautiful. I was proud to be an American. There were not many dry eyes at "The Wall" among our Brothers and Sisters. It was not just the sight of the Vietnam Memorial Wall, there was an internal feeling which is difficult to describe, a feeling of sharing with our departed 
comrades/countrymen. I said,"Hi guys and gals!", and in the evening silence I could almost hear them whisper, "Thanks for coming Sarge." -------Yes, we shared with them the heat, humidity, the Monsoons, lousy chow, difficult missions, non-air conditioned environment, separation from family and friends and country, but maybe the saying ,"Been there, done that" was a great catalyst that brought us even closer. I saw a lot of the Brotherhood embracing each other at "The Wall" and I did the same, unashamed. Can't really remember who as I found it difficult to see through tears in my eyes. But what more can I say -- a hug and embrace at "The Wall" and 10,000 words passed between us in thought. All for now.

Best regards,
Ken Griswold


GREAT, GREAT, and MORE GREAT !
"And that is all I have to say about that"--Forrest Gump

Really though,

I met a hundred great dudes that served over in the land of the Big Rain or Big Red Dirt Ball, depending on the season (GRIN) (My middle son Stephen calls Korea the land to the Big Stink)..to each an opinion, Right? Right!

I was very impressed by all the work that the volunteers did to keep this moment in our lives in tune, especially Dave Cooks wife..Pi-Hsiang. A big Huzzah to her!! Without here attentiveness, Jim Geddes and I would not have been able to keep those Beers COLD..yep..and they sure were cold from Saturday through Sunday night.

I was very impressed by all the Board Members. Especially when Rich the Shadow Verde bushwhacked me. splat!!! Slap!! Bump!! Slam! Thanks for the Bruised dude hahahah Just kidding.. we both hugged and beat each other nearly to death in our excitement of finally meeting.

I finally met the infamous LEIGH. wow. Nuff said. GRIN. And she had her son Josh there too. whom at one point took about 10 bucks off of Larry Hughes..HAAHAHA

Well, my flight there was good, dodging Thunderstorms on the way in. I got my baggage and caught the Super Shuttle to the Doubletree Hotel ($15). I arrived at about 5:15PM. Registered, and then registered with the TLC. AND everyone came out of the woodwork to meet me. Rich, John Sweet and Nancy, Bob Pruiksma, Dick Anderson, Les Strouse, Mac Thompson, Rick Middleton, David Cook, Jim Henthorn, Jimmie Butler, Darrel Whitcomb, Dean Barrett, James Bartholomew, Jay Cole, Richard Reeves (we served together at Ubon in the 10th Wx Squadron), Russel O'Neal, Bill Tilton, Skip, William Chervak, Larry Hughes, Leigh Hotuchek and Josh, Amos the Famous Parker (hey dude), Rodney Keith Bell the Baht Man, and on and on and on..and the wives, not to be excluded, were there as they supported their other halves. Without them, most of you would not have been there. SO, Huzzah to the Wives of the TLCB. If I left your name off it was not on purpose but my brain just slipped..

THEN, in strolled Jim the Geddes..AHHAHAHA. I immediately recognized him even though he shaved off his beard..us biker dudes have that 1000 meter stare, you know, from dodging BUGS. HAHAHHAHAHA and Trucks and Cars. GRIN.

We got to drinking and yakking and BSing so much, and every time we were heading out the door to round up dinner, another glass or bottle of booze floated miraculously into our hands. Friday night Jim Geddes and I never got a solid dinner but we did get a liquid diet..as if we needed it. Nonetheless, the party dwindled down to about 5 of us by 0130 hours: Les Strouse, Rich Middleton, Jim Geddes, Leigh H, and the wives whom kept trying to drag them upstairs cause 0700 came mighty early Saturday for Breakfast and a meeting.

Saturday was great. 18 of us went to the wall to read off the names of our brothers listed on the Wall whom made the ultimate sacrifice for our continued freedoms in this country. Ron David taped the whole thing and he is one great dude. Our bus arrived about two minutes before the RAIN fell. We got on before it started.

That night, more partying and BSing and otherwise socializing continued. But this time Jim Geddes and I did eat as we all went to the Golden Dragon and got stuffed on enough food to feet the state of Nevada. I think I saw slim Rich Verde make about 5 passes to the buffet. HAHAHAHA.

The memorial service at the wall left me with teary eyes, as with most of us. It was a real touching moment or series of moments which are burned into my mind forever. The night ceremony was awesome, with the capital in the background.

One of the most AWESOME sight is the Korean Memorial with the Squad on patrol in the Frozen Chosin..the lightning effects sent chill up and down my spine. And if you ever go see it again..take note of the Last dude on the left side of the formation with the walkie-talkie..he is definitely caught in a situation of surprise. The figures are so well done, that you can tell that the wind is coming from their behind. AWESOME.

Sunday was great with all the farewells etc. I missed a lot of you before I could say goodbye so..I will say..HELLO instead. About 1PM, Jimmie Butler, Jim Geddes, Larry Hughes, James Bartholomew and his wife, David Cook and Pi, went with Ron David to Bealeton to the Fly Circus he works with and the AIR SHOW was great! Thank you RON! Jimmie brought us all too attention to salute the crews during their Fleur De Lis (?) while the final notes of America the Beautiful played. AWESOME..and we all came to attention as if we never left the service. Jim and I left with the Cooks back to the Hotel while Jimmie, Larry, and I think James and his wife stayed. I know Larry was all excited about getting a ride in one of the Steamans. Jim and I would have stayed, but we were meeting with Rich Middleton and his lovely wife for dinner at the "Vientiene-Lao Restaurant" and it was just the best meal we have had since our arrival. The food was excellent as we opted to have Rick's wife order for us and order she did..we felt like we were back in Ubon or Udorn or Korat or Tahkli or Utapao or NKP or Don Muang/Bangkok or some obscure field that was built and no one knew about (well, almost no one..HAHAHA). UmmUmm!! 

Well, that ended a great night in DC, so Jim and I tried to finish off another 40 brewskies.. no such luck..fell asleep so I could get up and NOT miss my flight Monday AM.

I want to thank Pi, David's Wife, for what she did for us. Especially the cooler for the Beer we got. GRIN.

And RICH...I hope you enjoy that trophy! I even got to make a speech Saturday AM when I presented it to Rich.!! Congratulations dude.!! Next year the RE RE will become a different TURKEY award..so watch for it>>!!! HAAHHAHA

Later dudes and dudettes
hang ten
Terry SP


Our reunion began when Nancy and I drove to NYC to Rich Verde's home Tuesday afternoon. After warm greetings and hugs all around, we headed to a Thai restaurant a few blocks away for supper and the hours flew on past! Seems I sat underneath a picture of the "old boy" around my neck that Mac sent from Thailand and the Thai owner recognized it immediately from his famous squatting position - cigar in hand - on the amulet. After that, I could do no wrong.

Wednesday we journeyed to meet Dean Barrett for an extended lunch and sharing of stories at another Thai restaurant downtown and procured signed copies of his new book released that very week entitled "Kingdom Of Make Believe" which has been dedicated to the TLC Brotherhood. Stories and Singha flowed, as did the eyes and nasal passages from real Thai hot sauce! Dean signed my book as being able to consume Thai hot sauce better than anyone he ever met. Now that is indeed a compliment. Shadow might be tough but when the chips are down (corn chips) and the hot sauce is on the table....see John!

Thursday morning at 10 AM we hit the road for Washington, D.C. and after two hours we were 34 miles from Rich's house (ya gotta love the traffic in NYC!)  ;-) We did manage to arrive at the Doubletree a little after four PM - after a few loop de loops that any 01 bird dog driver would have been proud of! I won't tell ya when Rich made a right hand turn four lanes over from the left hand turn lane at a red light, unless you ask me! ;-) 

Checking in we started meeting all the Brothers again who had been at Dayton last year! Seems that they knew - come early and stay late! There were hugs and handshakes with real big smiles all around, and the addition of each new friendship made over the internet getting a face to face was the beginning of what we have all know for months would be a real special weekend. 

A contingent met in the lobby for an excursion to supper in the local area - Thai bound of course! What luck! The Vietnamese Desk Clerk informed us that a great Thai eatery was just two blocks down the street from the hotel. Off We Go!! 

After the first mile, I had visions of the famous "Trek To Denny's At Dayton" but it turned out to be only half that distance, a mile and a half. This of course, must become an annual early bird event to be known as "Ho's Foes Goes Where Nobody Knows" to eat Thai!! Well, they wanted us to wait an hour for a table. After watching several other smaller parties behind us being served we commandeered tables until they gave up and let us all sit together to order. Following an excellent meal we called the Doubletree for a SAR Mission to hoist us up hill to the hotel.

The rest of the night, we kept hooking up with more and more Brothers and shared a few brews. Then when the urge came, we hoisted a few to Hanoi Jane who had miraculously assumed her position in the closest urinal to the bar and she was dammed thirsty! You might say she was a big splash! 

Everyone hit the sack about midnight in preparation for all the events scheduled for Friday! 

Friday morning we had a great breakfast followed by our first ever in person Board of Directors Meeting. Everyone pulled together and the operation was smoother than a NORAD drill. All parties effective and interacting for the enhancement of the TLC Brotherhood. The members would have been proud. Ask Ken Griswold, he sat in as our board meetings are always open to all members.

Friday afternoon more and more Brothers arrived and the sales table took off! The T-shirts were flying around the room and the hat sales! Dick Anderson and his family were all working hard as was Bob Pruiksma and his wife Phyllis at the hat table! Hat man was in a frenzy! Next year we need to have a formatted form to make things easier on those volunteers. Their dedication was first class, but they worked like dogs! All of Larry Hughes magnificent CD sold OUT! There will be more available soon. Then we started selling raffle tickets, 3 for five bucks, or two bucks each! We raffled off everything from Mekong to umbrellas. Several of the authors were in attendance as well signing their books, and offered to make contributions to our cause. We sold pins, hats, patches, books, wallets, and CD's until we were exhausted! 

All this took place while we were hanging our great flags around the room. Thailand, Laos and Cambodia (time period of course, forget the meatball) as well as Old Glory and the POW/MIA flags, all four feet by six feet. Of course, at this time, John Loftus and his wife were knee deep in accounting for the registration fees and lunchbox and dinner sales! Dave Cook and his wife were jumping all around the hotel to insure that everything was conducted in perfect harmony for the entire weekend.

What can I say about your President Bill Tilton! The guy was awesome, never other than in a state of calm, conducting all affairs in a thoughtful manner. Bill has a presence in a room and we could even call him the "FAC with Tact" because he came through for us when we needed to pop the flags up onto the wall. 

Saturday after a few hours sleep (NOT enough!) we all jumped into the shower and headed to breakfast and our First Annual General Membership Meeting! It was wonderful, and the reports of those writing before me say it all - splendid!

I cannot thank each person individually for all they contributed, but I can honestly say that everyone worked and everyone had a great time! Finally meeting so many with whom so much has been shared both years ago and yesterday left a tear in the eye of the toughest Brother!

I can't even begin to convey the emotion Saturday afternoon when 18 of us read the names of 1429 Brothers at the wall. We were not hampered by the Park Rangers, even though they were sure we could not have obtained a permit for were we were located less than 50 yards from the v in the center of the wall. We were certain that our permit was procured, and were so damn respectful in our response and in conducting our reading they were convinced as well and we continued on. We stood in a semi-circle facing the wall with the reader facing front and center of the U. Each man read three pages of names and passed off to the next reader. All others stood at parade rest awaiting their turn. We opened with Chaplain Rodney Bell's invocation of thoughtful remembrance to our fallen Brothers. Jimmie Butler commenced the reading of the names, and finished conducting the ceremony with a few remarks then calling us to attention and we saluted our Brothers together on the other side of the wall and they saluted back in what some would perhaps call a reflection, but not any Brother present. We then left with a soulful prayer invoked by Chaplain Bell. Following the ceremony Rodney Bell and I walked the wall together and made a rubbing of Jim Herrick's name. Jim was with the 602 Special Operations Squadron at NKP flying an A1-E Skyraider. Jim was lost in October, 1969 over central Laos. Then while standing looking at the bronze statue of our three Brothers, some came up and took our pictures because we were in fatigues. Catching us off guard, several then thanked us for serving. We were dumb struck and it was very special.

Saturday night was a night to remember always. The wreath was beautiful against the black wall. Jimmie Butler and Dick Anderson did us proud in conveying it with great dignity in a solemn procession to the center of the wall. There were many tears, and salutes rendered, to our Brothers as well as hugs in the hushed silence that surrounded us all. The two flags added by Jim Geddes were perfect on the wreath and a special touch! Then we climbed to the knoll to our candlelit ceremony which was a very touching memorial tribute to close the evening in the twilight. 

Sunday following breakfast we gathered to hear Tom Hanton speak of his experiences as a POW in Hanoi. He was uplifting and positive in the quiet strength reserved only to those who have truly met the greatest challenge and conquered even themselves.

Darrell Whitcomb followed in a thoughtful fact filled presentation of events concerning the conduct of the operations against the trails in Laos over the years of our involvement. It was wonderful to hear someone so knowledgeable and able to convey vast amounts of information in such a enthralling manner.

Before we knew it, the weekend was drawing to a close and Brothers were headed home all over the country! I am convinced that next year, the turn out will be even larger, as the TLC Brotherhood will no doubt be ever growing during the coming year with the wonderful experiences that will be shared with everyone they encounter in the coming months!

To all of you, Nancy and I can not express our feelings to thank you enough for making this happen, and from the poor and handicapped children to whom you have become the bright light in their lives, which now shines on from our Brothers on the knoll.

Brothers Forever,
John & Nancy Sweet


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