INFORMATION ON OUR NEXT HQMC
Location: Holiday Inn, 4903 Market St, Wilmington, NC.
Dates: October 18th (Date of arrival) to 22 October 22nd (Date of departure).
Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, NC will provide support.
Your current Board of Directors:
Chairman Emeritus: Wilford H. Couts Jr., 127 Washburn St, Northborough, MA 01532, 508-393-8082. E-mail: Wbcouts@aol.com .
Chairman and Admin Chief: Vaughn L. DeBoever, 3309 Alta Vista Dr, Fallbrook, CA 92028-8740, 760-728-4194. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Treasurer: Ronald J.Emerson, 370 Walnut Hills Rd, Staunton, VA 24401, 540-337-9502, E-mail: email@example.com
Webmaster: Bud Campbell,
635 Hemlock Ave, Myrtle Beach, SC 29577-5064, 843-267-0763,
WMA Liaison: Lucille Mirsky,
8887 Old Pine Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33433, 561-488-1167,
While not a Board Member, Ed Purcell has again offered his services as a personal contact for our Association in dealing with Camp Lejeune and our Holiday Inn site.
Why the East Coast again? Two major factors were involved. First, the extremely low attendance by our West Coast members at our second reunion in Las Vegas was discouraging. Membership demographics is a major consideration. The majority of our members are located on the East Coast, primarily in Virginia and Florida, with a fairly healthy sprinkling in the Midwest. At our Beaufort Reunion it was more or less agreed that a primary factor affecting attendance was cost. One of the larger cost items is that for travel, especially by air. So your committee agreed that the best way to maximize attendance was to choose a location where the majority of potential attendees could drive to the reunion site. Another factor was the availability of Marine Corps support on the East Coast. It is obvious that we can have a successful reunion without being near a major Marine Corps installation; however, the program put on for us by the Parris Island Marines was downright inspirational and generated a great deal of enthusiasm. Moreover, there is that special moment when the Marine band section plays the National Anthem and our Marine Corps Hymn while we stand tall and proud. That moment fully justifies to most of us the effort and cost of attending.
Late last October the undersigned and Ronny Emerson met at Ronny’s home in Staunton, VA and from there, with Ronny driving, we toured the East Coast starting at Wilmington, NC and ending at Quantico. We were pleasantly surprised at the transformation of Wilmington from a sleepy antebellum town somewhat down at the heels in the 1950’s to a thriving city of about 60,000. If you previously visited there back in the 50’s you would be amazed at change in that ancient port city over the past 50 years. Neglected mansions have been restored to reflect their original beauty in the antebellum south, the old Cotton Exchange and Chandler’s Wharf offer 49 stores and restaurants, river boat cruises are available and, in the event you missed our tour of the USS YORKTOWN in Charleston, SC during our last reunion, Wilmington boasts the presence of the USS NORTH CAROLINA, a veteran of every major engagement in the South Pacific during WWII. I have appended a page on a few of the attractions in Wilmington and on the reverse a bit about the II MEF based at Camp Lejeune. We are planning to have a luncheon at Camp Lejeune with a possible tour of the base and a static display of current Marine Corps weapons. As usual, any final arrangements have to wait until approximately 90 days prior to the planned event.
Making room reservations:
Using a credit card and citing our special code “2HQM” you can make your
room reservations directly with the Holiday Inn of Wilmington, phone
910-799-1440. This number is normally answered by the Holiday Inn desk
clerk who should make your reservations. Do not use the TOLL FREE 800-HOLIDAY
NUMBER because it connects you to Holiday Inns’ centralized reservations
computer system that is not designed to handle reservations for blocked
out rooms. If you run into any problems please call Ronny Emerson at 540-337-9502
or Vaughn DeBoever at 760-728-4194
Cost: All rooms, regardless of occupancy, are $59 per day plus 9% room tax for a total of $64.31.
Rooms available: 10 king, 15 queen and 25 doubles. More were promised if needed.
Ask the clerk for the type of room you desire in terms of beds, smoking or nonsmoking, and the first floor if a member of your party is handicapped. Be sure and get a confirmation number.
We suggest that you make your room reservations soon to be sure and get the type of room you desire. You can always cancel should you be unable to attend.
Meals: Costs are not yet firm. Given rising prices we are looking at about $60 per person to primarily cover the banquet, a luncheon aboard Camp Lejeune, some hors d’oeuvres; hosting of a Color Guard, MC Band members, and an honored guest; set up costs, table decorations, and administrative overhead. We are fortunate because the Holiday Inn provides a free breakfast described by the Manager as, “Substantial, including hot dishes.”
Group activities: Nothing planned at this time. Frankly, there is so much to do in the area it has been suggested that we pass out the considerable brochures that we have arranged for when you arrive and let you and your group of friends take your pick. We are open to suggestions in this matter if any of you feel that there is a special event that we should consider for group attendance.
Newsletters and Registration
for the Reunion: We plan on sending out two or three newsletters as needed
to keep members informed, plus a final registration packet on or about
September 18th. The registration packet will be sent only to active, dues
paying members so send your dues in now if you have not already done so.
Dues: They were lowered to $5 per calendar year. Eligible Marines married to eligible Marines get a two for one deal on dues. $5 paid now covers you until December 31, 2001. If you send more than $5 then be sure and inform Ronny how much above the $5 is for future dues and how much is a donation to the cause. Make checks payable to “HQMCAssn” and send to Ronny Emerson, 370 Walnut Hills Rd, Staunton, VA 2440l. (Note the change in his house number from 315 to 370.)
Board Chairman and Admin Chief
OUR ASSOCIATION'S SECOND REUNION REPORT
That same evening the first of several scheduled events was a trip across The Strip to the Riveria to enjoy "An Evening at LaCage", a hilarious show featuring female impersonators who were often better than the singers they imitated. A rain storm hit and several of our group were soaked trying to get back to the Stardust.
Our next get together, on Monday, was a buffet luncheon also in the Avalon Ballroom. Tablecloths and napkins were red and gold. The food was bountiful and delicious as were all the meals prepared by the Stardust's Caterers. LtCol William D. Miears, former Co Commander of "A" Co, HqBn, was our guest speaker. He talked of his early days in the Marine Corps during the mid-1930s and how it was necessary to accept appointment as a Second Lieutenant from Marine Gunnar in order to get into combat in the Second World War. That evening most of our group enjoyed the show "Enter the Night" at the Stardust.
Tuesday morning found a bus full of old Marines headed for the Hoover Dam Tour. On the way we stopped at the Chocolate Factory to see Ethel M. Chocolates being made. We returned to the Stardust about 2 pm to rest and prepare for a photo session followed immediately by our banquet.
The banquet kicked off
with cocktails in the Avalon Room. It was a sit down meal and the entrees
were a choice of chicken cordon bleu or roast prime rib of beef, both delicious.
AA group of five Marine musicians in dress blues, from the Marine Base
at Twentynine Palms, California, played a short program and put us in the
mood for the Color Ceremony. Their final number was the March of the Women
Marines. The I&I Staff of the local Marine Corps Reserve Unit provided
the Color Guard. Our National Anthem followed by the Marine Corps Hymn
filled our hearts with pride.
Chaplain Ed Devan gave the benediction and the great chow was served.
Wilford "Red" Couts was master of ceremonies and he introduced our committee members. Then Vaughn DeBoever introduced our Honored Guest and speaker, Colonel Michael Sullivan as they had served together 20 years ago. Colonel Sullivan was accompanied by his beautiful wife Dana. The Colonel gave an inspiring talk about our Corps of today and our role as the "Old Corps Marines" who helped to set the standards of today's Corps.
On Wednesday we enjoyed a buffet breakfast, our last meal together as a group. A short business meeting was held and two major items were decided. A Board of Directors was appointed to be headed by Wilford "Red" Couts and the decision was made to open our Association to all Marines who served or are serving at Headquarters Marine Corps. Following the meeting group photographs were available to be picked up. One last event remained for the evening, a performance of "MYSTERE - Cirque du Soleil" at Treasure Island which was truly outstanding. But several of our group were departing early and so many "goodbyes" were heard. The joy of meeting was leavened by the sadness of parting as we once left dear friends, hoping that we would meet again some day.
Committee member Pat Kelly outdid herself by begging, borrowing or stealing (?) items to stuff in the packets. She also found items to place on the tables for the Saturday banquet and Monday breakfast. She was instrumental in obtaining special passes which allowed us entrance Henderson Hall, permitted us to purchase items at the MCX and uniform shop, and to enjoy the club facilities. The club served excellent lunches at reasonable prices which was an enjoyable change from hotel facilities. On Saturday she even made special arrangements for the club to be open solely to allow us to eat there. Others who had contacts in the area and were able to obtain assistance, items, and use of copying machines, etc., were committee members Dom Anzilotti, Frank Roelker, Ronny Emerson, and Calhoun Smith.
Saturday was tour day and two busses were ready to load at 0845 for the tour of the memorials. First stop was the Marine Corps Iwo Jima statue. We were allowed 15-20 minutes to view the statue and take pictures. The weather cooperated with beautiful sunshine. Then on to the other memorials on Constitution and Independence Avenues, near the Reflection Pool. The tour concluded at noon and the remainder of the the afternoon everyone was on their own. Banquet festivities started at 1800 with cocktails in the South Ballroom. Seventeen tables, each seating 10 Marines or guests, were resplendent with miniature National and Marine Corps Colors. At each place was a colorful souvenir program provided by Bud Campbell.
Starting at 1845 a Marine Corps Band quintet, in full-dress uniforms, entertained us. Their final selection, in response to a special request from the Women Marines, was the March of the Women Marines. While many folks present did not recognize the march, those who did rose to their feet and in a few moments all were standing. It was greatly appreciated by the Women Marines who had so often passed in review to its strains during the years of their service in the Corps.
At 1900, a Color Guard from Headquarters Battalion, Henderson Hall presented the Colors and the playing of our National Anthem followed by the Marines Hymn put us in a patriotic mood. The Colors were then posted in a static display and proved extremely popular for photos later in the evening. Members of the Color Guard, along with Sgt. Maj. Eff, current Headquarters Battalion Sgt. Maj., and Sgt. Ellen Flannery, were our dinner guests.
Following dinner, emcee Vaughn DeBoever introduced the committee members: Red Couts, Chuck Kurka, Pat Kelly, Mary Zingg, Nona Johnson, Ronny Emerson, Domenick Anzilotti, Frank Roelker, Calhoun Smith and Bud Campbell. Calhoun Smith, who retired as a captain, was asked to say a few words as was LtCol William D. Miears, USMC(Ret) who was CO of A Co, HqBn, in l946-48. Then Brigadier General Michael A. Hough, USMC was introduced. The General was an enlisted man in the US Navy, a Naval Academy graduate, and a Naval Aviator. His father had been a Navy Chief in the Seabees during WWII and fought in many major battles in with Pacific with the Marine Corps. To everyone's surprise General Hough took the microphone and stepped down from the speakers platform to give us an inspirational speech from the center of the dance floor. One of his main points was that our reunion was an historical event. Following his speech he pleased everyone by making himself available for photographs, signing autographs and engaging in conversation with any who cared to talk to him. His was, indeed, a first class act. Dancing to the Oldies from the 40s and 50s concluded the evening. Sunday was a free day for relaxing.
Monday found us again in the Galaxy room at 0730 for avery enjoyable buffet breakfast. our guests were again SgtMaj Eff and Sgt Flannery plus the fine young Marines that had been assigned as our guides (guards?) for the long anticipated walking tour of Henderson Hall. The main gate to Henderson Hall was only a long block from the hotel and our group took off in a steady drizzle of rain with undampened spirits. We then walked to the Post Theater where Col Michael M. Kephart, CO of HqBn and the Post gave us a briefing on future plans for HQMC and Henderson Hall.
We were delighted to learn that Henderson Hall would remain a Post of the Corps and the home of HqBn, HQMC to provide enlisted quarters and support for the Commandant of the Marine Corps and all other Marine activities in the D.C. area. The Navy Annex is to be torn down in a few years for expansion of Arlington Cemetery. The Commandant and the majority of his staff are now in the process of moving to the Pentagon as space becomes available. The Personnel Departments are heading for Quantico. At one time it was planned to move HQMC into a new building located where the old barracks building 12 is located just north of the swimming pool but too much flooding was experienced in that area. Our tour guides were knowledgeable and professional. The tour was nostalgic, heartbreaking to view the pitiful remains (two wings) of barracks 12 where so many of us lived so long ago. The days of steel, double tiered bunks, sleeping head to toe, gang heads, and one phone for 200 Marines are long gone. It was heartwarming to view the living and working conditions of the New Corps Barracks at Henderson Hall now consist of private and semi-private rooms, each with its own head. Telephones in rooms are permitted and Marines can purchase personal items of furniture. The messhall, now called a dining facility, has four person tables and real plates, not steel trays. Many of us sampled the ice cream cones available to all with meals. Particularly impressive was the gym where an ample supply of the most modern exercise equipment was available. The presence of computers was noted in spacious offices. Despite these vast improvements in living and working conditions, everyone agreed that the Marines today have not changed much as esprit de corps was obviously alive and well at Henderson Hall just as it was 50 years ago. HqBn/Post Headquarters remains in same building.
Our last reunion function
was Show and Tell in the Galaxy room where many photographs and memorabilia
were displayed and examined as folks crowded around to reminisce. The Marine
Corps Association had a display of Marine Corps items for sale. All too
soon the time came to bid farewell, with promises to Keep in touch and
let do it again We believe that 98 of us were in attendance, plus guests.
We counted 21 retired Marines and 26 Woman Marines.
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