2012 Silver Spur Reunion
After Action Report
This reunion’s activities began on Thursday, April 19, with a Gray Line tour of the Hermitage Mansion, the home of our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, followed by a Welcome Reception at the Radisson Opryland Hotel. Forty-eight Silver Spurs registered for this reunion and brought 35 guests. Thirty squadron members, mostly from C Troop, also registered and brought 18 guests, for a registered total of 131, compared to less than 100 two years ago. Allan LaGrange headed up the registration desk at the hotel, with help from Wayne Welch.
The first day ended with 63 attending a great buffet and country music at the Nashville Nightlife Dinner Theater across the street from the hotel. Those who did not go made good use of our hospitality suite under the supervision of Claude Whittle.
Friday was a day of fun with tours of the Hermitage Mansion again, Belle Meade and downtown Nashville, including the historic Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Most opted for lunch aboard the General Jackson Riverboat while cruising the Cumberland River. The afternoon ended with a very solemn memorial service present by Chuck Oualline and a new DVD presentation created by John Pepper. Squadron Troopers have now been added: 4 from HQ Troop, 19 from B Troop, 30 from C Troop and 11 from D Troop. Forty six Spurs were lost in Viet Nam. Of these, only one is classified as BNR and not been returned from Cambodia.
That evening, the group split between a Gray Line tour of downtown Nashville, with a Bar B Que dinner at Rippy’s and a couple of hours visiting the honky tonks of Broad Street, while the majority attended the Friday night show across the street at the Grand Ole Opry.
At our business meeting Saturday morning, John Pepper was elected president and Clayton Marsh vice-president for 2012-2014. Bill McCallister was re-elected treasurer, and since John Briggs was the only volunteer to serve as Reunion Chairman for 2014, he was elected by default. We briefly discussed potential locations for 2014, and the most support appeared to be for Savannah, GA, since the 3/17 Air Cav Squadron is now based at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, and this would be a great opportunity to get current A Troopers involved in our reunions so the torch could be passed on to them.
At the conclusion of the business meeting, John Briggs chaired a history round table. The session began with LTC Thomas von Eschenbach, who was the 3/17 Air Cavalry Squadron Commander starting in January of 2009. He accompanied the squadron to Afghanistan in November 2010 for a one year deployment. While there he served as the commanding officer of Task Force Lighthorse. He discussed the modern composition of an Air Cavalry Squadron and the missions/equipment being used by 3/17 in Afghanistan. An interesting aspect of the reorganization is that A Troop is now totally comprised of scouts. The guns and lift have been moved into separate troops. His presentation, including photos and video, was followed by our troopers who shared, with photos, the troop’s organization at Ft. Knox and deployment to Viet Nam in 1967, through its return to the US in 1972.
Saturday night, everyone was privileged to hear LTC (ret.) Hugh Mills, the former Darkhorse 16, talk to us about his career in Army Aviation, including his year (1969) as the scout platoon leader of D Troop, ¼ Cavalry, in Phu Loi, just a few miles from us in DiAn, which he later memorialized in his book, “Low Level Hell.”
His talk was preceded by a touching presentation by Steve Tedder of the original A troop guidon from Viet Nam to the father of A Troop, Nathan Pulliam, our first Spur 6. Tedder recovered the guidon from the trash when it was being replaced with a new one in 1971 and had stored it until this reunion.
After a number of group photos, everyone retired and we all are looking forward to our next reunion in 2014.