Whiskey Battery 1-12

2004 Reunion

"Operation Mesquite"


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by Rich Richey   Operation Mesquite was a fine success!

Neil Pipher's pull with Virgin River Resorts landed us decent accommodations at a good bargain. Jonn Forslin's organizational skills put us all in the right town at the right time and in a good frame of mind. Thanks, Marines!
Rich Stepanek was in good form as our Master of Ceremonies. Always thoughtful and witty, I thought he added a most necessary element when he suggested that we keep religion and politics out of the discussion. That helped.

Jonn Forslin came up with a really great idea for a special tradition for Whiskey Battery. He'd heard of a World War I unit that had retained a bottle of booze of some sort from their time in Europe. They brought it to each of their reunions, marking the names of their comrades who had died. It fell to the last survivor to open the bottle and drink the Final Toast.

It was really good to see the increase in attendance. As we meet newer members of W-1-12, we get a whole new slice of our patched history. As expected, all the new guys were just as good as the old ones. Hmmm, come to think of it, we're all old ones! I was a bit startled to note that I assumed command over 38 years ago.
I thought I was the oldest, but Capt Walters beat me out by two years.
I regret that I was only able to spend about 24 hours there in Mesquite. Sandi was still suffering from a nasty bout with shingles . Added to that, my favorite mother-in-law was in hospital for rehab for the leg she broke on Labor Day.
For future consideration, I think it might be a good idea to have a designated area for attendees to sign in. It could be a hospitality room or a form at the hotel desk. That would give us all a quick idea of who has arrived and how to contact them. The impromptu dinner on Friday was a lot of fun. It would be better, though, to have a specific time and place to meet so that everyone could join in the merriment. Let's put that into the hopper for next year.
As I said in my talk, the Brothers of Whiskey have continued to improve themselves as testified to by the women who have chosen to live with them. Well done!
Semper Fi,

Rich Richey


"Hoorah for the Next Man That Dies!"
 by Rich Richey
We closed Operation Mesquite with "Three cheers for the next man that dies!" It went like this:
"Semper Fi!

"Semper Fi!"</[

"Oohrah!" </[pP]>




This title, by the way, comes from a very old song the Brits used to sing. I'll bring the music to the next reunion.
Jonn Forslin, ever attentive to the basic needs of his brother Marines, brought a bottle of very fine Jack Daniels single-cask whiskey to start our own tradition. That got a lot of creative juices flowing--and Jonn's injunction that's the only juice that oughta be flowing! The bottle is only to be entrusted to the care of the least temptation-prone among us.
Mark Steffey, a metalworker, volunteered to create a chrome or brass box to house it. He'd affix an Eagle, Globe and Anchor to the front with a suitable title below. The final design should be the result of input from everyone in the Battery, but the newly established Board of Directors probably should have the final approval.
A molded form inside covered with red velvet would hold the bottle in place. On the cover, under the EG&A, I suggest the inscription:
Battery W, 1st Bn, 12th Marines
3rd Marine Division, FMF
 Viet Nam 
"Hoorah for the next man that dies!"
Inside the cover of the box would be inscribed the names of everyone who served, shown in random order. That would allow adding comrades we find later. The combat deaths could be marked with a star. All other deaths would be acknowledged by an inscribed line through the name. (A jeweler should do that, as a K-bar doesn't scratch straight!)
To ensure the survival of the whiskey down to the last survivor of Whiskey, the bottle should be entrusted to the Marine responsible for the next reunion. He will bring it to each reunion, having attended to the appropriate interlineations of the dead. The Board of Directors should also know of its location, in the event the caretaker should die before it can be passed on.
The last man will open the bottle and toast to all his departed comrades. We will all then rest easy knowing the whiskey is in Whiskey forever.

Semper Fi

       Rich Richey





1st. row sitting left to right:  Clifford Michael, Hank Bobala, Mark Keefe, Steve Samohey, Ron Cummins, Tim Wolf.  2nd. row sitting left to right: Neil Pipher, J.P. Burrage, James Maines, James Chesser, Richard Stepanek.  3rd. row sitting left to right: Harold Mituzas, Jonn Forslin, Standing: Mike Mead, Sitting: Dick Hulslander, Standing:  Hugh Walters.   Top row standing left to right: Virgil Boyer, Greg Weaver, Robert McClintock, Gardner Cannon, Gary Caulkins, "Rich" Richey.



After Action Report 

by Dick Hulslander                                                

Whiskey Battery, 1 – 12 was once again in action over the weekend of 17 thru 19 October 2004 at Mesquite, NV. The Advanced Party arrived Friday evening and partook of evening chow with the natives. It is reported that the AP participated in various forms of gaming with the indigenous peoples as well.

Saturday morning, the entire battery present enjoyed morning chow together and then collaborated on various ceremonial and business matters with Rich Stepanek doing a fine job as Master of Ceremonies.  J.P. Burrage read the names of our brothers lost in combat and then of those who have since left this earth. LtCol Richey (f/k/a Captain) gave the history of the Battery until the time he was relieved by then Captain Huber.  Greg Weaver also spoke about the history of the Battery.

Capt. Hulslander (f/k/a Lieutenant) related the subsequent history through his departure from Con Thien approximately two weeks before Whiskey was pulled off “The Hill.” Hulslander then read from the Third Chapter of Ecclesiastes, after which Tim Wolf led us in prayer.

Vickie Burrage spoke about our website and encouraged each of us to contribute to it.  There was a round of applause and a standing ovation in support and appreciation of Vickie and Joyce.  Jonn Forslin presented Vickie with a beautiful leather photo album and gave her one to send to Joyce as well.

Hulslander spoke again (Perhaps it should be noted for the next reunion to put glue on “The Lieutenant’s” chair as he does not seem to be able to “sit down and shut up.”) giving the financial. After all of the receipts were received and the expenses paid for last year’s reunion, there was a balance of $129.25 remaining.

It was agreed that we will have a reunion in 2005; however, thereafter it may be an every other year affair. It was also agreed that the ’05 reunion will be in New Orleans, LA. Jerry Nevils lives in that area and has volunteered, and if not that  has been Shanghaied into working as event coordinator. John Forslin explained that as an active member of Kiwannis he knows that absence means that the absent person gets elected to a position of responsibility, which he dare not fail. That being the case, Russ Adams was elected President in absentia. Four directors were elected: Bob McClintock, Greg Weaver, Dick Stroud and Dick Hulslander. 

Other matters of note include that we had forty-five people in attendance despite the disruption of air schedules caused by Hurricane Ivan and the resultant inability of several people to get air transportation. We did however get through to Top McFarland.  Many in attendance took the opportunity to express our thanks to Top for all he did for us. It is correctly said that the Marine Corps builds men; what has not been noted is that for the men and officers of Whiskey 1 – 12 is that Top McFarland was the General Contractor for project. Again Top, deep from all the hearts of Whiskey Battery, thank you.

Additionally, $1,340 was paid into the battery treasury. We owe approximately $800 for the breakfast and will need to pay $93 for our website; so, we should have close to $450 available towards next year’s reunion and/or other expenses. Of course if anyone forgot to contribute towards the breakfast meeting or otherwise wishes to contribute to W-1-12 fund, please send check to Dick Hulslander, made payable to me as I do not want to through all of the resolutions and paper work to open a business account, at 80 S. Lakeshore, Ransom Canyon, TX, 79366

Most of us had dinner (evening chow) together Saturday night. Sunday morning, we said our goodbyes over breakfast and went our various ways.

Semper Fi,

Dick Hulslander




 To see pictures from "OPERATION MESQUITE"      just click on one of the links below: