|To All Of You Comrades: ~|
is now over.
We were led into uncharted waters and came away with great victory! No one could have imagined the outcome as we marched into Gatlinburg from all parts of the country and the world. It was overwhelming!!
I ran into Sgt. Sullenberger when I was checking into the hotel. We started walking to our rooms together (we were on the same floor) and as we approached his room, along came Jonn Forslin. After a short time of reminiscing, a couple more guys joined us and we kept talking in the hallway. We loved every minute of time we shared and just didn't want to break it up. This went on all weekend! We were hungry to hear things of the past and to catch up on what everybody had been doing since the Corps., but we finally had to break it up so that we could get settled in.
That evening, even though nothing was planned, we all decided to get together and pick up where we left off in the afternoon. More and more of our fellow Marines kept streaming in as the evening progressed. It was interesting to see how much we had changed over the years. Most of us were "twice the men" that we were in Vietnam and the old wrinkles were really setting in. Some of us had changed more than others. Many had changed so much that it took some time to recognize them. Others changed so little that nobody had to explain who they were. Not all of us served the unit at the same time; many rotated out before others came. That was no problem! By the time the weekend was over, we all felt like we fought side-by-side. It was great how we jelled together.
The official meeting, if we could call it that, took place at 9:00 A.M. on Saturday. We started the time off with the "Pledge of Allegiance". Lt. Huslander read out of the Bible from Ecclesiastes, Chapter 3, verses 1-8 (There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to morn and a time to dance; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them; a time for war and a time for peace.") Next we had a moment of silence for those that were killed in action. After the silence, Doc read each name of those who were killed.
We turned to business matters and discussed what kind of "Cruise Book" we want, how often to get together, where to have the next "Operation", etc.. After the business meeting many of the men "took the mike" to speak. Stepanek "took the mike" for one more "fire mission". He read off all the commands to the guns from beginning to end. Nothing was left out! When the mission was complete the order too "Stand Down" was issued, meaning the objective was met. I did not look around, but I for one, had a hard time holding back the tears..............when this was over, we got back to chatting and looking at old pictures, etc..
There were more people there for this thing than Jonn and the other "spear headers" expected. I think Jonn had a headcount of former members that numbered about thirty two. In addition to that, there were spouses and girlfriends. We had a great turnout and a great time! We hope that everybody will make it to Las Vegas next year for our next "Operation".
I think it was a time of closure for some, and a time of healing for others.
Tim Wolf, ("Radioman:)