Western Reunion 2008 Pictures
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Outstanding Trailblazer Awards

Western Reunion 2008 Pictures, Page 2

Thanks to Dave Mackie, Beau Bowlin and Denise Neptune for sending pics!

A report from Dale Bowlin on the Western Reunion!

America’s Vancouver went all out for the 103 folks who registered for the 20th Anniversary Western States Reunion from May 1 - 4. Trailblazers arrived from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Florida and many other states to join the Friday bus tour that featured a Cathlapotle Indian Plankhouse reconstructed on the banks of the Columbia River at a site Lewis and Clark visited 200 years ago. Wine tasting and a picnic lunch followed at the nearby Bethany Winery. That evening there was a buffet supper at the Water Resources Center also located on the Columbia River three miles from the Red Lion Inn at the Quay, the headquarters hotel. Vancouver’s mayor, retired Army Colonel Royce Pollard, extended a warm greeting. Bill Scott, AM and chairman of the Association’s Scholarship Committee, briefed the group about the value of the program. Clips from the 2005 Return to Europe Tour Trailblazer interviews on Amy and Jim Dantzler’s DVD, "Courage Under Fire," were viewed and a local pianist, Melodie, entertained, thanks to Gene Burtner, L/276, and Annette. First Timers Warren and Wes Hurst, were introduced since they were flying home the next morning. Their father, Warren Hurst Sr. served in F/275 with Doug Jeffery.

As usual the Hospitality Room was a popular hangout with soft drinks and snacks provided by the local Pepsi Cola and Frito-Lay companies. Committee member Phyllis Bowlin arranged the popular continental breakfasts. Saturday morning President Elect John Hildebrand, A/274, chaired the general meeting with introduction of First Timers and report from President Andy McMahon. First Timer Ed Bates, HQ/2Bn/275, and his wife, Abbie, who have lived in Vancouver for fifty years, learned of the Association when the local paper ran an article about the upcoming reunion. Ed was a cook and shared some of his WW II memories. Another Vancouverite, Art DeKoker, D/275, was attending his first Western States Reunion. Bob Hall, A/274, and Paula, volunteered to head up the 2009 Western States Reunion committee. Diane Kessler, AM and Association Secretary, gave an interesting Power Point presentation illustrating how she researches information for families of WW II Trailblazers, many who were KIA or died in German POW camps.

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Raymond Brown (Standing) son of Richard Brown D/275 shares his collection of the Trailblazer magazine with Trailblazer Veterans and "Kids" of Trailblazers. Beth Evans, daughter of John Evans C/884/FA; Monica Morris, granddaughter of Clarence Chester, C/275, KIA, Phillipsbourg, France; Paul Diegan, USAF Retired C-130 Crew Chief, Son-in-law of Rex/Doug Jeffery F/275; Denise Neptune, daughter of Don George K/275 and Amy Dantzler, granddaughter of Joe Dutra, L/276.

Jon Craig F/275 & Mary Ann

Don & Jean Behrends live in Vancouver and found out about the WSR via his local newspaper.

Don Lindgren and Gen

Bob Gray and Heidi Freeman

Dick Brown, Ray Brown,& Andy McMahon. As expected, Dick Brown D/275 was on duty with his portable PX gift shop!  His son Raymond to lend a helping hand and President Andy McMahon E/276 to make sure the troops got fed.

George White (G/276) and Josephine. George served as a BAR gunner until several German soldiers jumped into his trench with him to get out of an artillery barrage.

George Hyde, C/884/FA and Beth Evans,(AM) daughter of John Evans, C/884/FA. It's always very special to meet and visit those who were in the same company unit.  Beth is the Association's Treasurer.

Janet Hunter & her dad, John Hildebrand A/274 -- Proud Janet and proud father! John is President-Elect of the Association.

Joanne Ledue & Raymond Brown -- Joanne Ledue from San Francisco drove her father George White G 276 to the reunion. Ray Brown gleans memories about her dad and the war.

Melode Bertheau - pianist.

Dale & Phyllis Bowlin's (C/883 FA) son Robert (Beau) and his wife Michal. Michal was a tremendous help in keeping track of all the reunion registration fees and other pertinent data.

Bob Heye (L) is the son of Leo Eilert Heye, G/274. Bob is a news reporter for KATU Channel 2 in Portland, OR. Joel Miller (R) is the son of Carl J. Miller, HHC/274. Joel is a video editor for KATU.

To start the Saturday evening banquet with 128 in attendance, Dave Mackie, AM, and his Trailblazer Color Guard, posted the Colors as requested by President McMahon. Following the meal Charter Member Ed Fischer, K/275, and Blossom from Salem OR and Bev Gibbs, widow of Past President Neal Gibbs, L/274, were recognized. The current 70th RRC Commander Chris Ingram, MG, brought news about the Trailblazer monument at Ft Lawton being made available to the Association. American History Professor Elliott Trommald from Portland spoke about his memories of WW II as a young boy, the sacrifices and accomplishments of our WW II generation and the importance of all of us recording our stories for the benefit of future historians.

Thanks to members of the Vancouver First United Methodist Church, an outstanding Sunday morning Memorial Service completed the reunion activities. Retired Pastor Gene Walters shared a meaningful message and the Rick Estep family let hymns while their son, Daniel, brought tears to our eyes with taps, following Diane Kessler’s reading of the names of the 126 Association members who have died in the 12 months since our last reunion.

Reunion committee members Michal Bowlin, Vern Staley, Med/274, Cindy Lamothe, AM, and Phyllis and Dale Bowlin, C/883 FA, were pleased with the attendance and response, making their efforts worthwhile.