Reunion -Western 2005
More Pictures!

The 2005 Western Reunion is history. Write up by Dale Bowlin. Photos by Bayard Walker and Dale Bowlin.

El Segundo Western States Reunion

By April 13th several Trailblazers had registered at the Hacienda Hotel just south of the Los Angeles airport and were wearing their name tags with their first name in bold letters. Bob and Paula Hall, with the assistance of folks like Henry Clarke, Bob Crothers and Frank Ellis, were well prepared for a total of 72 officially registered attendees. The Saturday evening banquet swelled attendance to 114.

The spacious accommodations of the Hacienda provided ample places to gather for reminiscing. Sunny California weather made sitting on the patio pleasant throughout the day. Bob had planned a variety of optional trips, including the Nethercutt Museum, viewing celebrity homes, the Farmer’s Market and the Old Town Music Hall.

Dick Brown and Raymond set up the usual PX in the Hospitality Room. Bob had a display of his WWII communications equipment along with several large Mauldon cartoons with appropriate Blazer names attached. Paula was in charge of the silent auction. An in-house color guard was manned by Frank Lowry, Bob Crothers, Henry Clarke and Les Habagger. Friday evening there was a tasty buffet with entertainment by one of the original 274th Regimental Blues Chasers, Bob Tayek, on the piano.

John Hildebrand opened the general meeting Saturday morning with recognition of the reunion committee, followed by comments from Association President Paul Sumners. Western Reunion First Timers, some interviewed by Dale Bowlin and others who arrived later, included: Al Ernes, C/274, Madison, OH; George Glanzmann, AT/274, Buena Park, CA; Bob Tayek, A/274, Sagamore Hills, OH; J Hughes, F/274, Ft Smith, AR; Jim Relph, C/275, Laguna Hills, CA; Jeanean Hall, daughter of Bob, A/274; Susie Beyer Harper, daughter of Vollie Beyer; Jack Haycock, son of Dick, HQ/3Bn/274, Sacramento; Phil and Marty Dito, sons of Joe, D/274, San Francisco area; Ruben Colunga , son of Jose, C/274, Santa Maria, CA; and Chris Hanson, son of Jim, L/274, Virginia Beach, VA.

At the meeting both Frank Ellis and Jim Hanson discussed the Trailblazer Association and the Historical Society relationship. Paul Sumner stated the subject would be addressed at the Executive Committee meeting in September. Les Habegger and Frank Ellis received applause when they volunteered to co-chair a committee for the Western States Reunion in the Phoenix area next year.

Saturday evening started with a cocktail hour, followed by the presentation of the colors and the Pledge of Allegiance. The "Esquires" band played "Oh Susanna" using a swing rendition written by Bob Tayek when he was a member of the 274th "Blues Chasers." Each place setting included a European Campaign, Good Conduct or Victory medal. After the banquet Bob Hall introduced the speaker, Jim Makimo, a member of the famed 442nd Battalion composed of Japanese-Americans. Their combat record, awards for bravery and casualty statistics were impressive. The evening ended with the Esquires playing many of the big band tunes that enticed several couples to the dance floor.

A memorial service was held Sunday morning with colors presented by our color guard and John Hildebrand leading the pledge. Rev. Jim Lowther shared a meaningful message, followed by a reading of the recently deceased by Bob Crothers. Lynn Lowther provided the hymn accompaniment. As folks prepared to leave for home, Bob and Paula were thanked for a great reunion and plans were made to see each other next spring in Phoenix.

Marty and Phil Dito with Dale Bowlin. They are the sons of Joe Dito, D/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Al Ernes, C/274, and Dale Bowlin, First Timers Meeting. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Bob Hall, A/274, honcho for the western reunion. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Jim Hanson, L/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

John Hildebrand, A/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Paul Sumner, E/276. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Ruben Colunga and daughter Susie. Ruben's dad served with C/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Frank Ellis, Medics/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Bob Tayek, A/274 and Dale Bowlin C/883. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Joe Aceves, B/276 with Dale Bowlin. Photo: Bayard Walker.

L to R: Dale Bowlin, Bob Hall and Les Habegger, Medic/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

L: Jack Haycock, son of Dick Haycock, Hqs 3Bn/274. Photo: Bayard Walker.

Dale with Suzie Harper, daughter of Dick Beyer. Photo: Walker.

Dale and Floyd Freeman, I/275. Photo: Walker.