The 4th Reunion and General Membership Meeting of the 506th Infantry Association was held at the Sheraton Colorado Springs Hotel from Wednesday May 17 through Saturday May 20, 2006. The site was chosen because it was near Fort Carson, where Currahee troops who had served as part of the Second Infantry Division in Iraq were stationed. The area offered many favorable amenities to make it an attractive destination. These amenities included the standard tourist amenities of Colorado Springs such as nearness to the Air Force Academy and an active duty Army post, tourist attractions such as the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak and an available facility for an independent group of the Association to hold a parachute jump.
People started arriving on Wednesday for a chance to get settled, meet old friends in our hospitality area and/or do some local touring time permitting.
People continued to arrive Thursday, and those that arrived in the morning were able to join with the members who had arrived before them for a Regimental Picnic at Iron Horse Park on Fort Carson. For many of us Easterners this was the first time we had seen sun for a week or so. Joining us at the picnic were Currahees who had served with the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry in Iraq, a reunion within a reunion, where older veterans of the 506th had the opportunity to mix and talk with these younger veterans, an opportunity that continued throughout the reunion. The weather was very favorable for being outdoors in the cooler parts of the day and we took advantage of that. The Board of Directors met late in the day for its final meeting prior to the elections on Friday.
Friday was basically a free day for our members. Some went to ground school in preparation for a parachute jump while others visited local tourist attractions. The General Membership Meeting was held late in the afternoon. The evening featured a Regimental Dining Out (Currahee Memorial Dinner). Our dinner speaker was COL David L. Clark who commanded the 1st Battalion from May 2002 through its last months in Korea and then took the unit to Iraq for a full deployment with the 2nd Brigade of the Second Infantry Division. He returned the unit to Fort Carson at the end of the deployment and left the 1-506 in September 2005. His dinner talk was most educational and enjoyable, as was his presence. Following the dinner, some of us adjourned to the hospitality room or quiet spaces in the hotel to talk with friends.
On Saturday, we had the choice of touring the Colorado Springs area or of going to the parachute drop area for a Memorial Ceremony and lunch catered by a fine barbeque restaurant from Colorado City. Following lunch, the crowd pretty much divided with the jumpers and their families staying at the airport while the rest headed off on individual pursuits. Saturday evening was highlighted by informal unit dinners and easy conversations with friends throughout the hotel.
Airplanes take off early from Colorado Springs so some of us found ourselves on 6:00 AM flights home. Others managed to get together with friends for one last breakfast. A few parties got together for independent touring of the Colorado area or joint drives that visited sites of interest while heading in the general direction of home. Based on some of the comments, many of our members felt that this was the best reunion we had since we held our first elections in 2000. All in all, it was a bunch of happy Currahees that left Colorado with plans to have a less formal gathering next year at Fort Campbell.