3rd Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry
Currahees Complete Operation Hampton
Reunion 1999

by Jerry Berry (A/HHC, 3rd BN, 1967-1968)

HAMPTON - Operation HAMPTON ends at 88; Operation CLARKSVILLE Underway. Operation Hampton, the largest offensive gathering of Currahee Veterans from the 3rd Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry (3-506), 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division terminated 15 August 1999. Head count for Operation HAMPTON (11-15 August 1999) reached 88 on 15 August as the Currahees completed another successful reunion. The fourth reunion-in-force took place in Virginian-held territory in downtown Hampton at coordinates Mercury Boulevard and 2 Eaton Street.

Members of the 3-506 held their reunion August 11-15, 1999 in conjunction with the annual 101st Airborne Division Reunion this year in Hampton, Virginia. The Currahee rendezvous point was the Quality Inn and Suites in Hampton.

The five-day affair included many hours of fun, conversation, refreshments, and fellowship among old comrades in the 3-506 hospitality room. The members, along with wives, friends, and families, also enjoyed sightseeing and special tours in historic Williamsburg and the surrounding area. Others enjoyed recreation at the beach during relaxing afternoons at Virginia Beach.

Those in attendance were: Joe Alexander, Knoxville, TN (LTC Retired), James Atwood, son James Mitchell, and significant other, Barbara, Newport, KY; Edward T. Bassista, Bridgewater, NJ; Robert Bell, Chicago, IL; Jerald (Jerry) and Donna Berry, Libby MT; Eddie, Flushing, NY; Larry J. Bowman, Port Republic, MD; James L (Chaplain) and Marilyn Burnham, Williamston, SC; Gene Carne, Jr., Fitzgerald, GA; Emett F. Clark, Edmond, OK; Paul and Patti Clement, Sauté Ste Marie, MI; John and Ann Colone, Pinckney, MI; Wylie (Bucky) and Christine Cox, South Pasadena, CA; Thomas (Tom) and Esther Croff, Lansing, MI; Leobardo (Leo) and Linda DeLeon, Streamwood, IL; Edward C. and MaeEllen Dowdy, Newport News, VA (LG Retired) ;Charlie and Janet Dozier, Ranson, WV; Barry and Marsha Dassualt, Billerica, MA; William (Bill) Edney and significant other, Joanne, Clearwater, SC; Cliff L. Farmer, Hamilton, OH; Joseph (Joe) D. and Elaine Fisher, Bradley, IL; Ronald (Ron) G. and Lois Ford, Billings, MT; Thomas F. and Carolyn Gaffney, Aiken, SC (Major Retired); Thomas W. and Doris Gentry, Clarksville, TN (CSM Retired); Gordon T. Gant and wife, Washington, DC; Frank P. Griffo, Jacksonville, FL; John E., wife Sandy, daughter Johnna, and son Jake, Alexandria, VA; Loren and Marge Herrick, Kansas City, MO; Marshall Hill, Fairmont, NC; William F. Hustad, Monticello, WI: Earl and Rebecca Irelan, Paris, TN; Joseph L. Jerviss, Marina, CA; Robert Mark Jones, Daytona Beach, FL; Michael (Mike) J. and Donna Krawcyzk, Valparaiso, IN; Leonard (Len) C. and Joann Liebler, Williamsburg, VA; Daniel (Dan) Lopez, Anchorage, AK; Andrew (Doc) Lovy, Olympia Fields, IL: Arlen (Ray) R. and Dianne Mayfield, Lewisville, TX; John Melgaard, Coeur d' Alene, ID; Barry and Karin Meyerson, Fayetteville, NC; James (Jim) and Rita Mezzetta, Vallejo, CA; Michael (Mike) D. Moore and wife, Hague, VA; Michael (Mike) and Charlotte Mullican, Olney, MD; Nicholas (Nick) M., and Rosalie Nahas, Vienna, VA (LG Retired); Guadelupe (Lupe) G. and Dora Noriega, San Benito, TX; Linwood Pearce, Chesapeake, VA; William (Bill) T. Pepper, Manasquan, NJ; Gary and Doreen Purcell, Montrose, MI; David Rattee, Cheshire, England; Stacy L. Raynor, Hope Mills, NC (CSM Retired); Curtis, and Sandi Rowe, Sarasota, FL; Gale Shire, Kasilof, AK; Michael (Mike) Stuart, Redding, CA; Stephen (Steve) and Betty Wilke, LaMirada, CA

The 3-506 Group Dinner was held at the Quality Inn and Suites on Thursday night, August 12, 1999. In addition to the excellent meal, everyone enjoyed the after-dinner program of special toasts, roasts, and remembrances. Honored guests at the dinner included Mr. & Mrs. Loren Herrick of Kansas City, Missouri. Marge is a Gold Star Mom and was honored in Washington, DC. Organized in 1928, the Gold Star Mothers is a nondenominational, nonprofit organization of mothers whose children died in the line of duty. Loren and Marge lost two sons to the Vietnam War. Their son, Bennett (Bennie) James, served with Bravo Company, 3-506 and was killed on 25 March 1968. Their son Dennis Haldane, even though draft exempt as sole surviving son, enlisted in the Army and volunteered to serve in Vietnam. He arrived in Vietnam August 5, 1970, and his parents were notified of his death shortly thereafter.

Also honored was David Rattee of Cheshire, England. David was invited to join the group in honor of his cousin, Sgt. Carl Allen Rattee, who served with the 3-506 and was killed in action on 19 February 1968. Memorable presentations were also given by Andrew (Doc) Lovy on "Patriotism" and Anne Colone on "Those Who Waited".

Special slide presentations were given by Jerry Berry, the battalion combat photographer and reporter, on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. The Currahees were taken back some 32 years to a period of time when they were young, proud soliders fighting side by side in Vietnam. The chronological presentation of photographs and slides recalled those events in the Currahees' lives from the battalion's reactivation and training at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in April 1967 through October 1968, when the remaining "Original Currahees" DEROSed from South Vietnam. The presentation also gave the wives a glimpse of what life was like for the paratroopers during that difficult period in their lives.

The Currahees of the 3-506 gathered for a final farewell in the hospitality room on Saturday night, August 14, and joined together to sing "Blood on the Risers" in remembrance of their Airborne training and the unique comradeship that remains even stronger today. The following morning, Sunday, August 15, 1999, a small group of Currahees made the trip by caravan from Hampton to Washington, D.C. to visit The Wall in honor of their fallen comrades. From there, the Currahees departed company for their separate homes and other destinations.

The group looks forward to the special reunion of the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell, Kentucky in June of 2000. Preparations are already underway to insure the biggest turnout ever for the representation of the 3-506 at "The Gathering of the Eagles."

3rd Battalion, 506th Airborne Infantry, 1999 Reunion Photos

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506th Airborne Infantry Regiment Association (Airmobile - Air Assault)
This page updated 04/06/13