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Spring Chapter Meeting - April 2008

Asheville, North Carolina
11 - 13 April 2008

The chapter members gathered once again for our quarterly meeting. This time it was held at the Days Inn on Tunnel Road in beautiful downtown Asheville, North Carolina. Well actually we weren't exactly in beautiful downtown Asheville proper, but we were in Asheville none-the-less. And as luck would have it, the weather person (this takes care of that position being held by a male or female. Politically correct, you know.) predicted terrible storms throughout the whole of the Southern United States. And, as is the normal situation, those terrible storms didn't materialize and the chapter enjoyed some fantastic spring weather. If you haven't been in the North Carolina mountains in the springtime you are missing some great outdoors enjoyment.

Many of us decided to arrive a day early in order to really enjoy the bounties of the area. These included a side trip to Black Mountain to walk the shop-lined streets and view (and buy) treasures from the local merchants. There are a couple of shops that would shake the hearts of the ladies if their minds were set on jewelry. One shop, in particular--and I won't mention the name, is located on the corner and sells some of the most fantastic one-of-a-kind jewelry that is designed and crafted by the shop-keeper's husband.

It's only a short skip and a hop from Black Mountain to beautiful downtown Asheville. The center of town has been built up into a walking area where you can visit the many shops, taverns and eating establishments. One thing we did notice about beautiful downtown Asheville, is everyone seems to be walking dogs. Some walk more than one dog. Never, though did we see any of the animals become hostile or unruly. In fact, the sidewalk cafes and the numerous dogs leading their owners around, reminded us of Paris.

The real fun started, however, on Friday when the bulk of the chapter members arrived. By 1600-1700 hours (that's 4PM or 5PM for you civilians out there)the main contingent of the chapter had registered and tossed their bags in their rooms and had found their way to the Team Room, commonly known as the Hospitality Room. Snacks were brought out. Beer, wine and the hard stuff was displayed and everyone settled back in their chairs, sofas or bar stools for a long night of story-telling, sipping the good stuff and munching the munchies. Nothing serious happened except one of the members managed to say hello to a door knob as he tried to do the old-timer's version of the push-up. In the process he received a rather substantial gash on his arm but since there were a number of SF medics and nurses around, the flow of blood was quickly suppressed. And no. He does not qualify for any VA compensation or CRSC disability.

MG Jim Guest and Mike Linnane spoke briefly about the new Veterans of Special Forces organization and what they were attempting to accomplish. General Guest was scheduled to speak on this subject in more detain on Saturday after the meeting.

Still, all good things must come to an end and by zero-dark-thirty, the Team Room was dark and everyone was tucked, or tossed, in their respective (we hope) beds.

Saturday comes early. Especially for those of you that had just laid your head down to rest an hour or so before. Many of the members were showing the affects of the Morning-after-the-night-before and were chug-a-lugging copious amounts of black coffee and orange juice in an attempt to gain some resemblance of human form before the 1400-hour meeting started. Some made the transition while others didn't.

The meeting started at 1400 hours and concluded at 1401 hours. Well, actually, it went on a little longer than one minute but not by much. The minutes from the last meeting were approved, seconded; the treasurer's report was approved and seconded and applications for scholarship were approved and seconded. The only thing that wasn't approved and seconded was the comment made by the chapter president, Bill Long, about the new SFA Constitution. This new constitution will be discussed and voted on at the National Convention in Harrisburg, PA in June. Bill stressed the need for at least thirty members to be at that convention. A show of hands of those planning on attending fell far short of that number.

The best moment of the meeting was when Bill Long presented Mrs. Elaine Hammond, widow of Robert E. Hammond, with a Special Forces plaque. Mrs. Hammond accepted the plaque with gratitude and grace and our chapter opened their arms to her. She stayed and we hope enjoyed her time with the chapter the rest of the weekend.

All the old business was taken care of and all the new business was taken care of and a motion to adjourn was made and seconded and approved. The Spring business meeting came to a close.

Major General Jim Guest spoke for a few moments about the new organization for active and retired Special Forces personnel, the Veterans of Special Forces (VSF). He emphasized the need for such an organization that would counter the current mood in the federal government to push Special Forces back into the shadows. He commented there was no need for a Marine or Navy Special Forces when the Army Special Forces had been doing the job for over fifty years. The reason, he said, was the heads of the military were all commanded by navy admirals and they were looking to take the steam out of the Army SF sails. This is the web site of that organization if anyone is interested in learning more about what they are trying to do.

There was no formal dinner planned but the troops didn't have to worry about going hungry. There were numerous eating establishments around and if you didn't feel like eating out, the ladies of the host members brought out meats, cakes, cheeses, soups and many, many other munchies for our dining pleasure.

Our compliments to Kaye Long, Maggie DiRocco, Rose Daves and Brigitte McRae for their efforts of the weekend. If I missed any ladies that assisted these four blame it on Bill Long and Mike DiRocco. After all, the president and vice-president are supposed to keep everyone informed as to what is going on.

And so the weekend ended. Sunday opened with a rather chilly breeze blowing across the land. Most of us met in the breakfast lounge for a quick bite to eat and a few cups of hot coffee to bolster our systems against the bite of the wind. We said our good-byes and so-longs and see you next time. We all headed to the various parts of the South that we call home and plan for the next excursion which will held in Atlanta in July and will be hosted by Wayne Naihe. The particulars will be forthcoming.

See you in Atlanta in July.

I have snapped a few photos of this meeting and you can view them at your leisure. Hope you enjoyed your stay at the Brevard Hampton Inn this last weekend and hope to see you in Ashville, NC on 11 - 13 April 2008 for our Spring Meeting. Right now the Days Inn is scheduled to be our Team Home. Any additional information or changes to the current information will be published on the Alert Page of our Chapter Web site.


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The Larry Alan Thorne Special Forces
Memorial Chapter XXXIII Spring Meeting
was created 15 April 2008
and last update 16 April 2008