Bert Bates, Mitch Greene and Art McRae were the hosts for the Fall meeting in Cleveland, Tennessee on 7 — 9 October. The three had picked a “New” motel/hotel for this meeting. It is now known as the Howard Johnson Inn, Cleveland but all chapter members remembered the establishment as “Le Chalet”. Give thanks to these three for putting on a great meeting.
Fridays, as usual for our meetings, was occupied by the troops reporting for duty, recharging the batteries at the Hospitality Room and then heading out to beautiful downtown Cleveland for a bite to eat. The Cleveland Clan had reserved a number of tables at a new (at least new for most non-Clevelandites) restaurant, the Catch Bar and Grill. This restaurant was a refreshing change from the Cracker Barrel or the Chinese Buffet or the Mexican Ranchero or the Waffle House. The food, at least from what I heard, was outstanding and the liquid refreshment list uptown. One of our guests, a Scot, John Matherson, ordered exotic scotch whiskey direct from the King’s distillery in downtown Edinburgh, Scotland.
The troops returned to the Hospitality Room and continued the war stories which have been so meticulously preserved through the ages. Some dating back to 1865 and earlier. We do have a couple of members who probably fought in one of those wars.
A couple hard-liners remained glued to their chairs long after the lights had been turned off. These two finally departed the area somewhere in the wee, small hours of the morning. It’s probably best if you don't delve too deeply into the who’s and what’s surrounding this incident. It's doubtful if the two would (or could) remember much of what went on after the “Witching Hour”.
Saturday arrived on the scene exactly like it has done since the beginning of time. Well, maybe not since the beginning of time, but at least since the beginning of the first calendar. The morning was brisk and cool and a little windy. Just right for an early morning breakfast at the Cracker Barrel a hundred yards or so from “Le Chalet”.
The business meeting started at 1400 hours and ended around 1530 hours. There were 29 members present (enough for a quorum) and three guests. The three were introduced by Bert Bates. Air Force Command Chief Master Sergeant (Ret) John Matheson, former Command CMS of the 1st Air Force. Dr. Ron Coleman and his son, SGT Matt Coleman. Sgt Coleman is a Special Forces Medic and Dr. Coleman was a Special Forces medic in Viet Nam. Dr. Coleman is now retired but spends many weeks traveling the world taking care of the sick. Both Coleman's may join the chapter.
1830 hours on Saturday, we adjourned to the dinning room for a sit-down dinner. Bert Bates swore in the new officers and Margie and Bennie McDonald presented a shortened version of the MIA/POW presentation. Sid presented the SFA Memorial Plaque to Mrs. Mary Bridges, widow of William W. “Bill” Bridges. Prior to this presentation, Jim Hamilton who had served with Bill, gave a short eulogy for Bill. Sgt Matt Coleman gave a short dissertation on his experiences in Afghanistan (if you remember the first photos of SF personnel riding horses in Afghanistan, that horseman was Matt Coleman). Matt then introduced his father, Dr. Ron Coleman, who also entertained us with his experiences, first as a medic in Viet Nam and then as a doctor doing his part to save the world.
We presented a toast in remembrance to those members who have passed on and then broke for dinner. The dinner of prime rib or fish, was catered by the Catch Bar and Grill.
There was no auction and the group returned to the Hospitality room for some quick nightcaps before retiring to their rooms for a restful nights sleep. Not everyone retired to their rooms for a restful nights sleep. The die-hards were still wooping it up into the wee hours of the morning.
And since the dawn of history, Sundays has always followed Saturdays. Regardless of how one feels after an Saturday evening of fanfare, one has to rise and vacate the premises (or pay for an extra days' lodging). We said our good-byes, gave the hugs and kisses and went our separate ways until our next meeting in January.
And like always, since the dawn of this web site, there were photos galore taken and some of these are attached for your viewing pleasure.
meeting for the next 9 months
1- The Winter meeting will be on the weekend of 20 January 2012 at the Park Vista Hotel, Gatlinburg in beautiful Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The Park Vista Hotel as created a Chapter XXXIII web page on their system. You can visit this web page via the following url:
You may have to cut and paste this address on your browsers address line.
You can also make your reservations on this web page. If you use this page, the special rate will automatically be charged. I have made my reservation using this web page. It is fast, easy to use and the rate of $77/night x nbr of days stayed is computed instantly. You can view the total cost of your bill including taxes. Your confirmation will be sent to the e-mail address you use to register.
Sid Morgan is hosting this meeting and he will furnish more details when he finalizes the particulars.
2- The Spring meeting will be sponsored by Judy Hines in Madisonville, Kentucky in April 2012. The particulars have not been finalized and will be announced at the Winter meeting in Gatlinburg.
3- The Summer meeting will be sponsored by Bill Little and “Bull” Durham in Monteagle, Tennessee on 20-22 July 2012. The particulars will be announced either at the Winter meeting or Spring meeting.
So members, you can not claim amnesia about the meetings. You will either get an e-Mail or Snail Mail from Judy or you can read this tidbit about the last meeting in Cleveland, Tennessee or check the Bulletin Board on our chapter web site. Mark your calendars for January, April and July! We have really had great turnouts the last 3-4 meetings. Let’s make these next three as big or bigger.
“Say Good-night, Gracie.”
Copyright © 1994 Chapter XXXIII SFA. All rights Reserved.
Chapter XXXIII, SFA, The Larry Alan Thorne Special Forces Memorial Chapter
Fall Meeting was created 18 October 2011