A few years ago (well maybe it was more than a few years ago) we held one of our Spring Meetings in conjunction with the Airborne Festival in Atlanta, Georgia. There was so much camaraderie, enjoyment at meeting old(er) buddies from the various airborne groups and ungodly amounts of beer, liquor and snacks, it was decided to hold our April 2011 Meeting once again with the Airborne Festival.
So the word was sent to the furthermost reaches of our Chapter AO (including California and Alaska) that the Spring meeting would be held at the Airport Marriott, in Atlanta, Georgia on 6-9 April 2011. It was also advised that all members within earshot (or e-Mail range) be on site for the Chapter business meeting to be held at 1300 hours on Saturday, 8 April 2011.
Our soon-to-be-replaced secretary, Art McRae, must have done one hell of a job coercing, begging, threatening or bribing our members to attend because we had one hell of a get-together. All in all, I believe there were 25 signed-in members present for the meeting.
This didn't include the wives, girl-friends, better-halves, significant others or anyone else that decided to go along with the crowd.
Wednesday, 6 April, was just a day to sign-in, get acquainted, pay the registration and any trips that were planned. Once those chores were satisfied, the Hospitality room was open to the gathering masses with ungodly amounts of beer, liquor and snacks.
Thursday was set aside for the various individual airborne units to meet. Every airborne division, brigade, battle group, regiment or regimental combat team was well represented. But mostly the 82d Airborne Division was together as a complete unit for the first time in seven years. This years Airborne Festival was really for the 82d Airborne Division.
Friday's main event (other than the Hospitality room) was a bus trip to Fort Benning. Each year the Airborne Festival makes the 100 mile or so drive to Fort Benning to fire all the small arms the Army used, uses or will use, plus watch a final jump by the young "prop-blasters" and, if desired, pin the wings on these young troopers. The day would end with lunch and a walk along the Airborne Walk and then the return bus ride back to Atlanta. Unfortunately, due to other commitments the firing of weapons and the airborne jump were postponed.
Saturday at 1300 hours, in Solon “F”, the Chapter held its meeting. And we had a quorum! The first time in almost a year. The last two meetings were informational meetings only since there weren’t enough members showing up to hold a business meeting. There was a lot of chapter business to take care of, one of which was the election of new officers. Since there was only one name for each office, the normal balloting and voting was omitted and the four were elected by acclimation.
The four newly elected officers are:
Sid Morgan- President
Chuck James- Vice President
Judy Hines- Secretary
Harry Mathews- Treasurer (he needs a new truck).
The enlistment for the above officers is for two years. They will assume their duties at the Summer meeting in Knoxville and will be sworn in during the Fall meeting in Cleveland, Tennessee in October.
Wish them well and pray for the chapter. These are uncharted waters here.
Saturday night was the banquet and the dinning room was filled to overflowing. Chapter XXXIII had reserved two tables close to the front of the room and thus had birds-eye view of all the special guests. One unexpected “Special Guest” was our own James (Jim) Tumblin who reminded the audience that regardless of whether you were Airborne, Ranger or Special Forces, all of us were, first and foremost, paratroopers: America’s premier fighting force. His remarks left some of the audience in tears; others cheered; and almost all clapped. This was a pleasant surprise coming on the heels of all the chapter members coming to attention when the military choir sang the Ballad of the Green Beret and some rather unkindly remarks could be heard from the rest of the banquet area.
The evening ending, as all evenings end, everyone sitting around the hospitality room finishing up the last of the beer, liquor and snacks. Since we were guests at the Airborne Awards Festival we had to go by the rules set down by the house. The most significant rule was the bars were closed at the stroke of midnight...and, like Cinderella, the hospitality room emptied out and the members staggered to their rooms least the carriage turned to pumpkins and the horses turned back to mice.
Sunday, as always happens, is a time for good-byes, farewells and adios's. It was a good gathering and a good meeting. All chapter business was finally laid to rest and we can start anew in Knoxville.
Mark your calendar to reserve the month of July for the Summer meeting. Sorry but I can’t be more specific as to the date because I haven’t had the alert order from our now fast-fading Secretary, Art McRae. I know, I know. The SFA Convention is being held in Orlando, Florida in June but there’s no gaming tables in Orlando so you’ll still have lots of money left to make the Chapter meeting in July. be there! we need you!
And like always, there were photos galore taken and some of these are attached for your viewing pleasure. I want to thank Ivan Worrell and Jim Tumblin for their contribution with the photos.
“Say Good-night, Gracie.”
Copyright © 1994 Chapter XXXIII SFA. All rights Reserved.
The Larry Alan Thorne Special Forces Memorial Chapter XXXIII
Spring Meeting was created 28 May 2011