114th Aviation Company
By J.P. Landahl
If you missed the 2003 Reunion, you missed a very compact view of the Nation’s Capital as well as good times with the many members and their families that were there. We had a very busy schedule for all the attendees and they were offered the opportunity to see much of the Nation's Capital, the Viet Nam Wall, National Cathedral, the White House, the Capital Building, Smithsonian Institute, Arlington Cemetery and most of the famous monuments.
There were the golf enthusiasts who started the reunion activities on Thursday. The golf tournament was organized and managed by Mel Cook. Special prizes were given to the outstanding golfers as well as the not so outstanding players. All the players came in laughing, a sign of having a good time.
While the men participated in the golf, many members and guests were taking in the shopping sights at the Potomac Mall Outlet stores. This is the largest outlet shopping mall on the East Coast and is visited by hundreds of thousands each year. Our group spent several hours going from store to store applying their buying skills; some actually found bargains that they took home with them.
Friday daytime was filled with tours of the White House, the Capital Building and a special funeral ceremony for George J. Young at Arlington Cemetery. Special preparations were required to get members into the White House. Due to the 911 disaster, no group had been approved to tour the White House until our request. Bette Cook, Mel Cook’s wife who works on “Capital Hill”, spent endless hours getting to the right person to get approval for us to see inside the mansion. We were approved but limited in the number who could attend. For this reason, prior to the registration for the reunion, urgent pleas were given to the members to get information in early so that they would be able to attend. Some attendees did not make the cut-off point and were not able to attend.
Friday night we had a "Fun Night Auction" and it was attended like no other event ever seen at any of the other reunions. Special "Knight Dollars" were given out to the members and guests to bid with on items such as watches, radios etc. There were items for all ages and the kids were just as excited as the adults. It was found at the last minute that the auctioneer could not make it. As always when the person in charge finds this type of problem, guess who is it? Having never held an auction but an "auction junkie", J. P. Landahl just applied all his buyer auction experience and added a twist. He dressed up as a clown. Well, in full make-up and uniform, the auction proceeded as planned. He told no one what he was going to do so no one knew who the clown was for a while. All the sudden the clown just appeared and made a few balloon animals and chatted with the audience. After a while, someone discovered who was the clown and then the show was on the move. There was a break in the pace of the auction with a presentation from the fabulous fire fighters from Columbia, MO. This is the same group that gave us such strong support at the last reunion in Columbia, MO. Then Mel Patterson’s daughter, Paula Meredith, sang Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from WWII fame and brought the audience to loud applause. She only did one song but it was fantastic. Then there a magician held the audience spellbound for several minutes before the “Clown” finished the last hour of the auction. Everyone had a ball and took the off the wall jokes with the humor intended leaving everyone with laughs.
Saturday night was equally impressive with a memorial ceremony at the Viet Nam wall. We had a special area set aside for our group, posted the colors, gave a prayer, Mel Patterson’s daughter, Paula Meredith, sang the National Anthem and a short talk was given about our comrades noted on the wall. A candle was lit as each name was called. The night was clear and the setting was serene with the moon dropping into the background of the Washington monument and the Capital Building. Other visitors visiting the "Wall" stopped and observed our tribute with equal respect. The wall and the ceremonies produced emotional moments for everyone there.
Sunday started out with a visit to the National Cathedral. Many attended this impressive attraction and each shared a special moment there. The Sunday evening banquet brought together all the attendees for one final moment to share good times together. The guest speaker was one of our own members, Bob Orr, who was one of the last CO's of the 114th. He and some local Washington DC members who also served in the 114th in Panama gave all of us an insight of the last activities of our unit before it was deactivated. We held our standard raffle and one of the items given was a slot machine. The machine had been on display all during the reunion and everyone played it. There was an anticipated moment of excitement by everyone before the ticket number was read. The new owners were very excited and quickly proceeded to the 114th meeting room to claim their prize. It had been loaded with the "Knight Dollar coins" which pleased them.
Monday many departed with memories that only those attending could share. Wish everyone could have been there.
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Created by Terry A. Dell, White Knight Crewchief 69-70' Republic of Vietnam
in association with members of the 114th Assault Helicopter Company
who served May 1963 to February 1972.
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