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Summer Chapter Meeting - July 2008

Kennasaw, Georgia
11 - 13 July 2008

Wayne Naihe and his lovely wife, Gina were host and hostess to our summer quarterly chapter meeting. They chose the Best Western Motel just off I-75 in Kennasaw, Georgia for the location. It was a good choice of motels: easy access to the Interstates, close to the malls and lots of restaurants. The weather held steady for the most part. We did have a couple of downpours on Saturday but other than that, it was sunny, hot (I mean really hot, Georgia summertime hot).

For once, those of us who live in the Atlanta area didn't have far to drive and, unlike our normal custom of arriving a day early, we had the luxury of driving an hour or so to Kennasaw on Friday. Still, there were a few members who, driving more than an hour or so, decided to come in on Thursday and see the sights and sounds of the surrounding area. A couple of hardy members were staying until Monday just so they could really take in the attractions of Atlanta and the surrounding area.

However, most of the troops arrived on Friday and that's when the real fun began. The Team Room opened at 1200 hours sharp (Wayne, pushed by Gina, was punctual on that part). There was only a trickle of troops at 1200 hours but by 1400 hours, the Team Room was packed and jumping. The beer flowed freely, the snacks were gobbled up quickly and the stories flew fast and furious. So fast in fact, that most of the stories zipped by your ears in only bits and pieces. Still, not much was lost since we have heard these stories time and time again. However, each time the spin gets a little different and you have to wonder how the troops could continue to put a different slant on the same story year after year after year. The main contingent had registered by 1700 hours (5 O'clock in the PM for all you civilians out there) and were gathered in the Team Room for spirits, food and stories.

And Bobby, dressed in his finest summer Bavarian garb, was in fine form. He even drove from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Kennasaw by himself. A feat that hadn't happened in all these many years the chapter has been in existence. There's hope for Bobby.

Friday night was on-your-own. Some hit the Chinese Buffet, some hit the Italian places, some hit the Tex-Mex restaurants and some of us even hit the "California Dreaming" place. Now, whoever heard of a "California Dreaming" place in the Deep South? I guess the Metro Atlanta area is really going chic.

After the meal we all retired to the Team Room for more socializing. It's true though. Even the compassionate Special Forces troopers as they gain more years under their belts, tend to disappear earlier and earlier to their respective rooms. And so at zero-dark-thirty, the only occupants of the Team Room were Erna Baier and family, Maid Marion James, Bobby Burke (naturally)and myself (your web guy).

Saturday morning still comes early. This is especially true for those that had just laid your head down to rest an hour or so before. Still duty calls and at 1000 hours we gathered in the Team Room for a Memorial to Ron Hoffman. Ron died in March 2008 and Doris Hoffman asked that we hold a memorial to her husband during our Summer meeting. Vice President Mike DiRocco presided over the memorial and presented Doris with the Special Forces plaque. Art McRae, who had served with Ron for a couple of years in the various SF units, spoke to the group about how Ron and he had met, Art's experiences after graduating from OCS and being the Jump Master on an exercise with Ron.

Erna Baier and family were also recognized and it goes without saying Doris Hoffman, Erna Baier and their families are always welcome to our meetings. We hope to see much of them at future get-togethers.

The meeting started at 1330 hours and concluded at 1500 hours. We attended to all the businesses of the Chapter and Stan Shank briefed us on what went on at the President's Meeting at the National Convention in Harrisburg, PA in July. He also mentioned that Mel Smith, Secretary for the SFA, would hold an informal gathering after the meeting to answer any questions anyone might have about the confusion over the proposed SFA Constitution. Actually, the meeting didn't really end, but we had to vacate the Team Room because of prior arrangements with a group of Koreans who were throwing a birthday party for one of the kids. Apparently, in the Korea culture, the first birthday party is important and they went all out for this one. The party was supposed to end at 1800 but we didn't get back into the Team Room until 2000 hours (again that's 8 O'clock in the PM for you civvies out there). We were going to continue the meeting in the motel's breakfast room but things went astray and Mel Smith was brought on by Stan Shank and, for all intents and purposes, the meeting was finished.

Mel concluded his question and answer meeting somewhere around 1700 hours. What, you may ask, were we going to do for the next three hours. We did what any good Special Forces Trooper does when he has time on his hands and can't get to the Team Room...we went to dinner.

Most of us went to the Chinese Buffet. Gina was really in the festive mood because she booked the seats for us and picked up the tab for about twenty couples. The waiters and waitresses at the Chinese place were impressed when Gina asked for the bill and handed over the cash to pay for it. Of course, unbeknownst to those waiters and waitresses, Gina had collected all the money before we left the hotel. But still the waiters and waitresses were impressed. I suppose they would like Wayne and Gina to come back time and time again.

The Team Room opened at 2000 hours and in a matter of minutes our two world-renown Auctioneers were busy pacing the floor with items held high asking for bids. Items were auctioned to the right and items were auctioned to the left. There were even some items auctioned off before they were placed on bid. All in all, over $800.00 was raised for the chapter. There were no large-ticket items sold so you can well imagine how many items were bought to come up with that amount of money. Thanks to all for a job well done...the Chapter coffers appreciate it.

And so the weekend ended. Sunday opened with a steady downpour and all of us who were from Georgia were hoping that some of this rain would reach out to the southern parts of the state. Most of us met in the breakfast lounge for a quick bite to eat and a few cups of hot coffee to warm our souls. 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 Americus in October. This fall meeting and will be hosted by Bennie and Margie McDonald. The particulars will be forthcoming.

See you in Americus in October.

I have snapped a few photos of this meeting and you can view them at your leisure. Hope you enjoyed your stay at the Kennasaw Best Western this last weekend and hope to see you in Americus in October for our Fall Meeting. Check the Chapter web site for any updates to our October meeting.

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Copyright 1994 Chapter XXXIII All rights Reserved.

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