3-506th (Currahee) - 2005 Reunion
Arlington VA

After Action Report

by Mike Krawczyk (C Co, 3rd BN, 1967-1968)

Arising from the suggestion that the 2005 Reunion should be arranged to allow for events to be held for Currahee's to pay a special tribute to those of the 3-506th that made the ultimate sacrifice, plans were started for a reunion in Washington DC.

Following an initial recon of hotels in late 2004, a finalization gathering of the organizing committee was held. This was arranged in February '05 to coincide with those meeting for the annual 19th February tribute at the Wall. The Doubletree Hotel, Crystal City, Arlington VA was the venue and the Banquet / Events Manager put in the extra effort sufficient to convince the organizers that this was the right place with the right facilities for the 2005 Reunion and that the 3-506th would be welcome there.

Although the 2005 Reunion was scheduled to start on 27th July, many Pathfinders arrived early to settle in. There was no shortage of volunteers to help assembling registration goody bags, setting up the Hospitality Room and a massive silent auction and of course building the reception area and registration facilities which this year were aided by the use of a computerized database.

A total of 70 Currahee's attended the 2005 Reunion along with 62 family members and friends and 15 special guests. We also welcomed 5 new KIA families. Special mention must be made of our Gold Star Mother from Kansas, Marge Herrick who this year attended with her daughter Lynette Maxwell.

Attendees were issued their reunion bag containing: reunion tee shirt, beer/soda glass with 506th and Task Force logo, maps, schedule of events, KIA list with Wall locations of names, and suggested places to visit and dine area maps plus many other reunion odds and ends. Tickets indicating choice of menu for the banquet were included with the name tags.

The pack also included a very special gift from the estate of the late Joe Beyrle (3-506th WW2). This was an original First Day Cover commemorating the dedication of the Wall in 1982.

Most then quickly retired to the hospitality room which this year was very well organized by the Silent Auction committee and our main bartender and hospitality room host Roosevelt Mitchell. Roosey did a fine job.

Incorporating the cost of the drinks into the registration fee negated the need to issue tickets or to "pass the hat".

The Battalion Colors were on display in the Hospitality Room along with many tables laden with the items donated for the silent auction. There were so many items that extra tables had to be brought in for the display.

Of particular note, available for general inspection, were the large folders containing all the details of the KIA's. There were also maps of the Phan Thiet area, a number of personal photo albums and other items of interest left in the room for all to peruse and discuss.

On Thursday the first "formal" event of the Reunion took place, this was the first of the 3 meetings arranged to discuss the questions of the future organization or not of the 3-506th group. Task Force members and their wives or significant others were all welcomed to participate in the Thursday and Friday open discussion meetings. At these first and second meetings there were some very spirited and emotional discussions but in true Currahee spirit all present kept an open mind. At the outset special note was taken of the importance of taking out insurance to protect any organizers of future reunions from personal liabilities.

The Saturday decision meeting is referred to at the end of this AAR.

The group was also addressed by our invited guests from the town of Toccoa in Georgia, traditional home of the 506th and of course, Currahee Mountain. Representing the Toccoa Chamber of Commerce was Cynthia Brown. Brenda Owens and Ray Ward spoke about the Toccoa Museum and Historical Society. From the 506th Association, Gene Overton, and from the 101st Association Dick Schonberger, both gave brief presentations to the group.

On Friday morning a very moving ceremony was held at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery. The start of the 3-506th wreath laying was delayed by the presence of a full US Navy entourage including 2 Admirals, a US Navy band, full honor guard and 2 color guards. This resulted in a very large audience when the time arrived for the 4 Currahee's to step forward for the laying of a beautiful wreath to the memory of the KIA's. The Currahee's were escorted by the full military representation of the Old Guard with a wreath bearer and bugler who played taps. The whole ceremony took place with great solemnity and silence was impeccably observed throughout. With the bearers of the battalion colors and the US flag as well as the wreath laying party all Company units of the 3-506th were officially represented.

After walking down from the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier another wreath was placed at the 101st memorial this time in a more informal ceremony with many group photos taken as a light rain began to fall.

That evening a fine banquet dinner program was held with an excellent meal provided by a very helpful hotel staff. Our guest speaker Clancy Lyall, a WW II Currahee and a member of the Band of Brothers, gave a short but poignant presentation.

The color guard drilled and lead by Jerry Gomes performed impeccably.

Following the meal the winners of the silent auction were announced. This was followed by a live auction of a number of select and rare items, including some special gifts from the estate of the late Joe Beyrle, and a US Flag with certificate of Authenticity that had been flown on a combat mission in Iraq by the US Air Force at the request of Mike Krawczyk in memory of the 3-506th KIA's and a genuine WW II D Day cricket donated by Tom McLaughlin. The Flag was purchased by our good friend David Rattee and the cricket by Bud Blazer and both of these fine men donated their purchases to the Currahee Museum in Toccoa, Georgia.

The total amount raised by the silent auction and live auction will be reported separately but it is noteworthy to mention that many thousands of dollars were generously given by all the successful bidders. The group decided that half of these funds will go to the Flower Fund and half will go into the fund for the group's next reunion.

Mention must be made there were a few complaints about some of the language and humor used at the dinner. This will be addressed and improved on for the next gathering in order to ensure that we maintain a family friendly atmosphere throughout. Future consideration will also be given to our non-Christian members in any invocations or prayers.

Saturday was the Day of Day with the group photo call on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, followed by our evening Memorial Service at The WALL. This took place under welcome cover of an open sided tent on the knoll next to the Wall and with plenty of seating and cool water for refreshment. Thanks must go to John Colone for an excellent job of planning and executing the service! Families of our fallen Comrades Furman Johnson, Marshall Nelson, John Viktoryn Jr., Gerald Wrazen and Lawrence Keister attended. Each of the first year KIA families was introduced by Ed Bassista and after a ceremony involving a number of very moving readings each family was made the traditional gift of a folded US Flag.

Thanks must go to Sterling Chapman and Roosevelt Mitchell who stood guard with the colors in the heat of the day throughout the ceremony.

The final event of the reunion was the traditional singing of Blood on the Risers. There were a good number present and a good effort was made by all.

Future Organization

On Saturday the third and final meeting was held with only Currahee's or Task Force members allowed the vote. With 70 Currahee members present and proxies considered the vote was unanimous to do the following;

1: Establish a Charter and By-Laws steering committee to have these items ready to be presented for a vote in 45 days.

A brief over view of a draft for these proposed Charter and By-Laws was given, indicating the following major positions to be in the document.
1. Accountability of funds
2. A Board of Governors, consisting of;
Past President
President Elect

A 45 day time frame was given for the draft to be completed and presented.

Members of the Charter and By-Laws Steering Committee are the following;
David Bentley, Mike Krawcayk, Dee Dallas, Bud Blazer, Andrew (Doc) Lovy,
Joe Alexander, David Rattee, Sterling Chapman & Joe Jerviss.

2: Appoint a Finance Committee to assure accountability of funds for the group.

Until a formal governing body is formed the meeting agreed that in the interim full authority to expend funds is granted to Carolyn Mitchell, Kaye Gomes, and Joe Jerviss.

Financial report from the monies generated & expended by the 2005 Reunion to be ready to post to members no later than August 15, 2005

3: Create a Reunion Committee for the purpose of planning the next reunion.

The following people have volunteered and have been appointed as the Committee for the next reunion; David Goddard, Lynn Dallas, Bucky Cox, Paul Clement, Carolyn Mitchell, Mike Stewart, Bill Brightman, Ed Bassista, Patti Clement, Marshall Hill and Al Thomas.

It was also agreed to look at the pros & cons of combining our even year reunions with either the 506th Association or the 101st Association to save funds, gain the advantage of greater numbers, hence, lower room rates etc but always with a separate hospitality room for our 3-506th people to socialize in and have our silent auction.

The same 45 day time frame was given for the committee to give an initial report to the group.

4: All major issues to be voted on must be by signature ballot either by US mail or email.

The ballots will be sent to the existing mailing list of 600 +/- known Currahee's & Task Force Members.

5: Immediately obtain liability insurance.

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