BAVA TO MEET IN CHARLOTTE NC
Plans are moving forward for another great reunion in 2017 with the location to be in the “Queen City” of the south, Charlotte NC. Our dates are September 27 thru the 30th. Following several years in the central and western parts of the country this will be the first “East” reunion and a good attendance is expected. With a major airline traffic hub attendees will find an accommodating and welcoming city with major attractions, good food and a reunion schedule that allows rest times and limited walking. Our Gentle-Men veterans and their families will enjoy the fellowship of comrades and friends. As plans are made updates will be provided here.
2016 Great Falls Reunion Recap.
Returning to Great Falls Montana was a cause to “COMMEMORATE AND CELEBRATE” because it was here in 1948 & 1949 where over 700 aircrews, 2100 airman learned how to fly a fully loaded C-54 with a 70,000 pound weight. These crews collectively went to Germany as they graduated and represented 20% of all U.S. airmen flying the airlift. Without the training at Great Falls Air Force Base, now Maelstrom AFB the airlift might have failed. and the map of Europe today could be quite different. Great Falls played a quiet but significant role in bring freedom the Europe.
Our reunion was filled with events, tours, and lots of stories about the airlift. The welcome reception was hosted at the City of Great Falls Historical Museum with warm welcome by Mayor Bob Kelly. We visited the Lewis and Clark Interpretative Center, and the famous Russel Art Museum before going to Buffalo Jump State Park. Seventy five Veterans and family members attended.
The highlight of the reunion was the fly in and visit by the C-54E “Spirit of Freedom” flown by members of the Berlin Airlift Historical Foundation. This flying museum to the airlift was open daily and toured by hundreds of Montana residents including the Governor. It’s always a special time for the airlift veterans to revive their younger days when they crewed or maintained these aircraft during the airlift.
If you’re not a member of BAVA send a request for a membership form to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear BAVA members,
We had a great reunion in Nashville. Fred Hall went all out on this one and it was very successful. Fred was replaced by Eddie Ide a very capable man. His concern and passion for BAVA was noticeable throughout the reunion.
I was pleased with the outcome of the Board meeting. We welcome Bryce Winnett as the Army representative. He will be a real asset. The Endowed Scholarship, thanks to our Vice-President Tom Hanson is up and running. The new Website, thanks to Eddie’s nephew Kevin Rankin, is ready for the members viewing. Membership is holding and it was suggested that we try for more family members.
The welcome reception on Tuesday evening was wonderful, with a great surprise of the finger food (and cookies). The breakfast buffets were the best and added to the morning meeting. The tours were on time and the lunches were TOO much. My diet went to pot.
The Nashville nightlife and Dinner was exceptional. Thanks to Eddie’s talk as to who we were, we got a warm welcome and a surprise contribution for another visiting group from Pennsylvania. Our final dinner was a great farewell and the entertainment of the Dave and Daphne Show was the icing on the cake. Most important was the Esprit DE Corps of our members throughout the reunion. It was because of you, our members that BAVA is staying alive. My special thanks to all of you.
A special thank you to Berkeley Ide for flying down from Alaska to honor our veterans with certificates, cold war medals and lanyards, plus his special thanks to each of the veterans. This as a very special surprise to all us grateful veterans.
One explanation regarding the retiring of the colors at the final dinner. During rehearsal it was found that the pole for the American flag was bigger than the flag base. Despite effort by the hotel staff it wouldn’t come loose once inserted. To avoid an awkward situation it was decided not to retire the colors.
I personally encountered travel delays going home as many of you did. Mine came from American airlines with late aircraft & re-routing. I should have arrived home at noon Saturday but arrived at 4 Pm without my luggage. To get home I had to rent a car, drive 338 miles and stay overnight on the way. I got home on Sunday; my luggage arrived the following Friday. Good bye American for me.
Regardless of my transportation problems, the great reunion made up for it. Now, get your children to join us and let’s have a great crowd in Oklahoma City next year.
BAVA President – Chuck Childs