The fourth reunion of the Flying
Circus was held in the later part of October amid the bright lights of Las
Vegas, Nevada. The choice of hotel was based on recommendations, and Ken
and Sally Gardiner did a good job getting things lined up from the other side of
the country in a city known for its conventions and busy pace of life. Though
those attending did enjoy their time together, the group as a whole got
"lost in the crowd" in the hustle and bustle of a large hotel and
casino complex. We will allow for this when deciding on a place for the 2006
This gathering of the Circus again
set a record for the number of people attending. A total of 23 members and 17
partners attended the reunion. It was good to see new faces attend, as well as
those returning from previous years. Bob Potvin could not make it this year, but
he was definitely there "in spirit". Bob organized for a case of Champaign
(with the suspicious label "Sex") to be sent to the hotel; and with a
bit of undercover work by Frank Vanatta and Ken Gardiner, the hotel not only had
the beverage chilled by the night of the dinner gathering but also waived the
hefty corkage fee that would normally be applied. It was good to see on old
scout team in action again.
by Frank Vanatta
TIME MARCHES ON
Bittersweet would be the best
description. We know how we were, then. We see what time has done, now.
Some are already dead from
non-combat causes since they were in Vietnam. Some others, of whom we have
no word, may well be. Of those who live, some of the war-wounds, as well as old
age, are catching up with them, aggravated by time and other events. More than
one wear hearing aids; probable initial causes, the noises of close-in warfare.
For those others who might try this,
one suggestion, a lesson learned: Size the venue to the amount of folks
expected. We were at a hotel/convention center that was entirely too large for
the size of our platoon-sized group. Consequently, in the hotel's eyes, our
group was an after-thought. In general, our group got lost in the shuffle.
One of the guys had a room on the
ground floor, next to the entrance to the hotel pool, complete with a little
patio of sorts. That became the point of assembly (and for the beer). Someone
taped a "Vietnam Veterans AGAINST Kerry" bumper sticker to the glass
doors, up high, where it could be easily seen by passers-by. Even though a
fairly large (and liberal) convention of another sort was going on at the same
time, NONE of the passers-by said a word. It was funny -- anyone outside, by the
beer, was just waiting for someone to say something. They may be a step slower,
but the old fires still burn -- the collective look in their eyes was that of a
shark, a predator -- not attempting to decide whether they could take someone
on, but quietly evaluating the most efficient method of destruction, should it
become necessary. Nothing was said -- just "the look". It was
enough. Some scowls, but the passers-by passed on in silence. It must have
killed the liberal set to not say anything.
It was like family. They picked up
right were they left off, even though thirty-odd years had passed. Comments and
remarks were as lively, and as coldly direct as ever. No time for niceties then,
they stayed in that mode in today's time. I got reminded of a few
embarrassing things I did, as well.
An example? One observation on life,
aging, and death: "If one side of my family is any indication, I have about
ten to fifteen years left. If the other side of the family is any indication,
I'm about two years over-due."
Thanks, Lord, for the opportunity to
see these guys again. Thanks for the Internet that brought us together after all
If you know anyone who went to war
-- any war -- have them get up on the net and search on their old unit's name
and numbers, and get back in contact. If a unit page doesn't exist, start one.
The others will find it. Start early: Thirty years is too long a time to wait.
by W. Sullivan -- GAUCHO
The following members attended the reunion :
|Anderson, Pete & Debbie
|Brattain, Bruce & Debbie Scott
|Emberton, Larry & Wilma
|Foster, Mike & Juliette
|Grant, Cleveland & Dora
|Howard, James & Bonnie
|Hurley, James & Karen
|Kuypers, Tom & Pat
|McCann, Mick & Linda
|Rossiter, Steve & Sherry
|Vanatta, Frank & Janice
|Zuhlke, Keith & Deb
names left to right
||S. Estes, W. Lashley, J. Hurley, P. Riley, J. Bell, S.
Rossiter, J. Marr,
T. Kuypers, R. Grossman, P. Anderson
||D. Ciocca, M. Foster, K. Gardiner,
??? (two passing in background not ours)
||J. Bell, C. Grant, R. Grossman, S. Estes, P. Riley,
J. Hurley, W. Lashley, W. Sullivan, P. Anderson, L. Emberton, W. Emberton