9th Cavalry Regiment Reunited

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9th Cavalry Regiment Reunited

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“9th Cavalry Regiment reunited in ceremony at National Infantry Museum”

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  1. Patrick Bieneman

    August 7, 2015

    2015 50th Anniversary Reunion was held June 30th through July 2nd, 2015 in Columbus, Georgia. The main objective of this reunion was to honor the men who went to Vietnam in 1965. We had the following 1965 Troopers in attendance:

    Major Billie Williams C Trp Commander
    Mrs Lou Kidd widow of Captain James Kidd
    Captain Charles Knowlen C Trp Blue Platoon Leader
    1LT Dan Honeywell C Trp Pilot
    1LT Joe Rhodden C Trp Pilot
    CW3 James Reid C Trp Lift Platoon Leader
    WO Frank Mosher C Trp Pilot
    WO Gerald Grimm C Trp Pilot
    WO Gene Smith C Trp Pilot
    WO Gerald Toman C Trp Pilot
    WO John Yorke C Trp Pilot
    SP5 Thomas Roe C Trp Crew Chief
    SP5 Michael Kelley C Trp Crew Chief
    SP4 Peter Burbank C Trp Blues
    SP4 Jerry Schmotolocha C Trp Blues
    SP4 Wallace “Titch” Titchenell C Trp Crew Chief
    SP4 John Youse C Trp Crew Chief
    PFC Donald Coshey C Trp Crew Chief
    PFC Thomas Hemmelgarn C Trp Crew Chief
    PFC Armond Salazar C Trp Blues
    PVT Richard Denning C Trp Crew Chief

    Gold Star Family Members all from Charlie Troop:
    Joe Nave Son of Major Billy Nave KIA 27Jun66
    Teri Nave Daughter of Major Billy Nave
    Diane Gleaton Daughter of SP5 Louis Walton KIA 27Jun66
    Kathleen Walton Daughter of SP5 Louis Walton
    Danny Walton Son of SP5 Louis Walton

    CW4 James Goldsberry HHT Pilot
    SP4 Jay “Doc” Hockenbury HHT/C Trp Medic
    Sp4 Butch Mundy HHT/ C Trp Medic
    PFC Paul Eddy HHT Crew Chief

    PFC Robert Embry A Trp Blues
    Elizabeth Dresel Daughter of SP5 Larry Wright A Trp Crew Chief
    Johnny Dresel Grandson of SP5 Larry Wright

    CW3 David Shanklin B Trp Pilot
    Sgt Felix “Tex” Helms B Trp Blues

    SP4 Larry Banks D Trp Infantry
    SP4 Robert Coombs D Trp Infantry
    SP4 James Sutherland D Trp Infantry

    Each of these men were recognized with a “Certificate of Recognition” and All Charlie Troopers received a coin designed for them. It was our Honor to have Gary Sinise to read the Certificate to the men via video. He could be there in person because he was shooting a new TV series. The “Certificate of Recognition” was made for each troop however the one that follows is the one made for Charlie Troop:

    A souvenir Coin was presented to each 65 Charlie Trooper. The coin can be seen on my blog at: http://www.patrick Bieneman.com

    The Charlie Troopers also received a DVD of all 65 Troopers that I could get pictures of, all KIA’s from Aug 65 through December 31st 1966, a slide show called “Facing the Wall” and a slide show of 100 pictures provided by Frank Moser of Charlie Troop leaving Ft. Benning, going through the Suez Canal and ending with Charlie Troop in Vietnam.

    All Charlie Troopers also received a DVD copy of Gary Sinse reading the certificate.

    A total of 73 Troopers, many with familes, were in attendance.

    We will begin with the “Meet and Greet” which was held on the June 30, 2015 at the Holiday Inn North. We were honor to have Miss Jennifer Duncan, a local Celebrity to sing for us. Jennifer sang the songs of 1960’s. Prior to her singing “These Boots are Made for Walking” I called both Gordon Jones and Tommy Betts to the front. Gordon drove Miss Sinatra around for 3 days and this song is Tommy’s all time Favorite. Jennifer than called three ladies up to help her during the song.

    Jennifer than asked for three volunteers to help her do the Supreme’s song “Stop in the Name of Love”. One of those she got up front was Mrs. Lou Kidd. Although Lou stands with the assistance of a cane she did and outstanding performance.

    A quick note. Mrs James (Lou) Kidd told me that her and her husband met when she was 12 years Old. They dated all through High School even becoming the Homecoming King and Queen and then married when she was 18. I love all the Ladies that come to our reunions, but, she really won my heart. Later during many of her songs to include “The Twist” many of the attendees got up and danced. It was a great time for all.

    The then Major Billie Williams and his beautiful wife Dorris cut the cake in True Cavalry Fashion. There wasn’t any cake left.

    On the1st of July, we conducted our Paver Block and Wall Ceremonies. When Carol and I first saw the “Vietnam Wall” and Paver Blocks on both sides of the Walk of Honor”, we knew we would have to have two Pavers placed. One for Charlie Troop and one for Our Fallen Brothers. When it came time to pay for them, Gordon Jones was told there were insufficient funds on my card and his. Then Lora told him that the Boy Scouts had earned the money to pay for our pavers. The Boy Scouts ended up collecting and crushing 68 pounds of aluminum cans. We now have Paver Blocks Honoring all Charlie Troopers and Our Fallen Brothers in three different locations. Here at the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Georgia, we also have them at the Motts Military Museum in Grovesport, Ohio where one of our own helicopters (Zit990) is located thanks to Nate Shaffer, and a set in Apalachicola, Florida where the only other three man Statute is located.

    The “Wall Ceremony” was outstanding. The Boy Scouts from Troop 128 Smiths Station, Alabama led by SFC Julio Cordero posted the Colors. Diane Gleaton, Danny Walton and Joe Nave carried our Wreath out. All three are Gold Star Family Members. Major Billie Williams, Don Coshey, and Walt “Titch” Titchenell carried the Wreath to it’s final resting place. Pastor Richard Wright, a former Airborne Ranger, gave the benediction.

    Major Billie Williams gave the opening remarks. He then presented our Gold Star Family Members, Kathleen Walton, Danny Walton, Diane Gleaton, Teri and Joe Nave a plaque Honoring “Our Fallen Brothers”.

    The following Ladies of Charlie Troop then proceeded to read the names of our “Fallen Brothers”: Gwynn Smith, Brenda Merritt, Rose Mary Cairns, Peggy Carpenter, Mary Alice Titchenell and Gail Guthrie. We also had SGT Tex Helms read the names of three of his Fallen Brothers. Gwynn Smith came back to the Podium to read the names of 14 Alpha and Bravo Troopers who were all Killed In Action during the same operation on March 30, 1966. This was the 1/9th Cavalry’s bloodiest day.

    The Troopers from all Troops and the Gold Star Family Members were ask to line up on the sidewalk so they could be presented a single Gold Rose with a Black Ribbon tied on it by Jolie and Delanie Brazier. Jolie and Delanie are the grand daughters of Gordon Jones. The rose was for the Troopers to placed at the “Wall” by the feet of “their” Fallen Brothers.

    That afternoon, we conducted our “50th Anniversary Reunion” to Honor our Brothers who led the way. I started with a short Opening Statement. Then Major Billie Williams, C Troop Commander 1965, gave his Opening Statement. This was followed by WO Gene Smith giving a speech on being the “Keeper of the Rock” and what the Rock really meant.

    Prior to Honoring the 65 Troopers, we honored the Boy Scout. One by one SFC Cordero Boy Scout Leader, Tyler Cline, Rafer Springfield, Levin Cordero Pfister, Carl Spaulding, Michael Butler, Brandon Ward and Blaise Woods were recognized by LTC Billie Williams. They received a Certificate of Recognition, miniature 1st Cavalry Patch, and a small “Honor Our Fallen Brothers” plaque. They were welcomed in as “Little Brothers of Charlie Troop.

    When we began to Recognize our ‘65 Troopers” we began with Gary Sinise, via video, reading the Certificate of Recogniton. The I called each Trooper up one at a time by the rank they held when they first went to Vietnam. Major Billie Williams was the first to be called. He then became , LTC Billie Williams so he could present the Certificate to each of his men and the men of the other Troops. 1LT Peter Guthrie, C Troop Blue Platoon Leader 1968-69 assisted LTC Williams. Colonel Galen Rosher was the one who presented Major Williams with his Certificate, coin and DVDs.
    Captain Cecil Smith, C Trooper who served as a pilot under then Major Rosher assisted Colonel Rosher in presenting the DVD’s and coins.

    Upon the conclusion of presention to our ‘65 Troopers, we then called their wives come up front to be recognized and to be presented a Gold Rose with Black Ribbon.

    We also recognized Jolie and Delanie Brazier with a Rose for their participation in presenting the roses to the Troopers at the “Wall”.

    CW3 Jim Reid then presented Colonel Billie Williams and his beautiful wife, Dorris, with a Gift from the “Men of the 1/9th” and to Colonel Galen Rosher and his beautiful wife, Ilah, with a gift from the “Men of the 1/9th”.

    SFC Don Coshey presented Elizabeth Dresel with a Hummel Figurine Called the “Soldier Boy” in Honor of her father Larry Wright.

    Lora Warren-Davis was presented with an 8×10 of the plaque “Honor of Our Fallen Brothers”. Tiffany Hoffmann was presented with the Hummel Figurine “The Volunteer” for all of the work she had done to make this reunion so special. Tiffany worked hand in hand with Carol, myself, Gordon and Susan Jones. It was Tiffany that set up for the Boy Scouts, The Bugler, to include the uniform of Jungle Fatigues and much much more.

    We had a few Troopers who couldn’t make the trip. I relayed their messages. There was Mike La Chance who is fighting Stage 4 Brain and Lung Cancer. Darwin Heffner who ran into complications from a Stint and was under doctors orders not to travel.

    Then I had to give the sad news of LTG Charles Bagnal’s death. LTG Bagnal was the Officer who signed my first set of Certificates even while taking treatments for Leukemia. He was willing for me to send him the rest of the Certificates (HHT, Alpha, Bravo, Delta Troops and those of the Boy Scouts). I called his wife, Patsy, and told her I would not send them and I would have Billie Williams sign them.

    Before we left the room, we had Teri Nave and Kathleen Walton light the Candles on the missing man Table. As they were doing this I read the following: This is MY Modified Version.

    The table is round to show our unending love for Our Fallen Brothers and our Everlasting concern for the missing.
    The tablecloth is white to symbolize the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty.
    A single Red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of these men, their loved ones and Brothers in Arms.
    The vase is stained in Red to symbolize the blood that Our Fallen Brothers shed and a symbol of our continued commitment to account for our missing.
    A slice of Lemon on the plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured or Killed in a foreign land.
    A pinch of Salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families to seek answers and the families of Our Fallen Brothers who still miss them today.
    The bible represents the strength gained through faith of the men Killed in Action, their families and those lost from our country, founded as ONE NATION UNDER GOD.
    The glass is inverted and their plate is empty to symbolize their inability to share in this evening’s meal with us and the chair is tilted forward against the table because they are not here.
    The Stetson represents the Brotherhood of the 1/9th Cavalry.

    The Stetson on the table was the same Stetson that Ernie Cairns wore in Vietnam. Ernie donated the Stetson with the understanding that it would be on the table at all reunions.

    We then had Sgt Phil Merritt say Grace as we were being fed Buffet style and no better opportunity would come available.

    Overall, I really do believe that every Trooper had a great time. I know there weren’t many that didn’t ask “When is the next one”. Carol and I have not decided yet but we are looking at 2017. Location unknown.

    All of our attendees made it home safely.

    To see the photos that go with this story go to http://www.patrickbieneman.com and go to Reunion.

  2. Paul S. Davis

    August 10, 2015

    Great post… AND it was a GREAT Reunion ! So glad I was able to attend.

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