Fellow Dustoff Crewmembers:
The 2019 Vietnam Dustoff Association Nashville Reunion has come to an end. We set out for this reunion to be relaxing and for folks to have fun. Members branched out in small groups and took in the many and varied sights in and around Nashville. The group highlights were our business meeting where two members wounded in April 1970 east of Xuan Loc were reunited with two of the crewmembers (Rob Spitzer and John Sabanosh) who extracted them and their wounded buddies from harms way. The Grand Ole Opry was an awesome event along with the General Jackson dinner cruise. Unknown to our members at the time, one of the crewmembers (our table waiter) took us under his wing, ensured we were called to dinner before it was announced and were headed to the buffet line before it was announced. That service was greatly appreciated. Both venues acknowledged all veterans attending the functions.
Now it is time to plan (which means the board’s first conference call will be in November 2019) the reunion for 2020. During the meeting, reunion options presented were: Return to Dover and do a brick laying remembrance ceremony. Individual members would have the option of purchasing a brick in name of someone they want to remember who was lost during their Vietnam tour or died after tour. We have a special place within the Dover Memorial Park dedicated to Dustoff crews—more specifically to our association. There was discussion of combining a DC memorial tour (Wall, WWII, Korea, etc.) with this event. After much discussion and concern over the political drama that will play out in 2020 in the DC area during our projected reunion dates, it was voted upon to delay the return to Dover until 2021. You will receive more information on this event within the next couple of months.
The membership present at our reunion business meeting, narrowed the favored choices down to Kansas City and Reno with the majority preferring Reno by a small margin. One of the things noted is that we are getting older and mobility for some is becoming a challenge. So, for 2020 and beyond, we want to plan for and accommodate those of us who find it a bit more difficult to get around. We want everyone to come and enjoy themselves and attend as many events as possible. Please share any ideas you may have on how we can enhance your mobility at our functions.
For Reno, the primary event would be attending the Reno Air Races September 16-20. Their webpage link is https://airrace.org/ Snead Airport where the races are conducted is approximately 12 miles outside of Reno, elevation 5000 Feet. You can check their webpage, but essentially they are racing by class around a varied distance (by class type) closed course, surface to about 300 feet AGL at speeds approaching 500 miles per hour. Racing Unlimited’s-P51’s, Bearcats, P-38’s (500 mph), Jets (500 mph+), T-6s (220-350 mph), Formula 1 at 250 mph, and Sport Kit Built (350 mph) $90 General Admission for Sat/Sun with a pit pass (going down on the flight line and talking with the crews) is another $40 or so. We have been in contact with them to see if we can obtain reduced pricing. Our wives may want to join the guys for a day or two of speed. If not, we are looking for events the wives may enjoy (wives—send us your feedback so we know what you want to do).
We are trying to not book at a Casino as hotel first choice as some folks may not want to spend three or four days in a casino environment. There will be many shows by head-line entertainers that we should be able to book reservations once their schedules are published. If Reno is the membership choice, we will look for other events to attend.
It should be noted, the Hot Air Balloon Races are held in Reno Sept 11-13, 2020. https://renoballoon.com/ It might be possible to combine these events if people want to attend one or the other or both. WE need to know your preference.
The Second Option is Kansas City which has been mentioned as a choice at previous reunions. Probably the best weather options would be the last weekend in September or the first week in October given temperature and humidity indexes. Kansas City has been used by the VHPA 2019 and the Quiet Birdmen as reunion/conference locations and the feedback has been very good.
The Westin (Marriott) located at Crown Plaza is within walking distance to WWI Museum. Numerous hotels exist within our general price range. Possible highlights for tour events would be:
The WWI Museum and Memorial https://www.theworldwar.org/
Arabia Steamboat Museum https://www.1856.com/
Negro Baseball Baseball Museum https://nlbm.com/ (if you played or enjoy baseball, there is a great deal of history here)
Kansas City Chiefs Football https://www.chiefs.com/ It might be neat to attend a ball game as a group like we did at our Nashville Events
KC BBQ Scene—and Underground—think Nashville down on Broadway toned down a bit.
We are asking each member to vote for one of three options: _______Reno _______Kansas City _________Not Planning to Attend in 2020.
*The maximum room rate per night that I am comfortable with is: $_____________ We plan to stay in a nearby campground____________
*When we select a hotel site, we “lock in” a certain number of rooms. That is a contractual number which the association is monetarily obligated. If we fall short of our contractual percentage, the association “buys” the unused nights. If you are planning on traveling by RV and prefer to stay in a campground, that’s awesome. We would like to know up front, so we don’t obligate a room for you in our planning process. If plans change and you want to stay in the hotel—it is easier to add to the contract than delete from it. For Nashville, we signed the hotel contract in December 2018—9 months prior to the reunion.
Please note that five board members talk regularly on reunion planning. None of us passed Mind Reading 101. Please help us, help you enjoy your reunion by communicating with us on your desires and preferences.