Just PCS’d back to Bragg from Fort Bliss – where I was Chairman of the Benavidez-Patterson Chapter of the 82d Assoc – and I have built a Facebook Page for the Division Museum at Bragg & have included your webpage on it. Link is here:
I went to the convention in Reno last year; met many of you there – it was an honor & hope to see you all at Bragg again soon.
MSG Chris Lewis
B 3/505 PIR 60mm MTRS 87-91
B 2/505 PIR 60mm MTRS 93-96
HHC 2/505 PIR 81mm MTR PLT 02-04
HHC 1/505 PIR 81mm MTR PLT 04 -05
Guys, it’s taken me a while to write this . . . I did not know this before the Biloxi reunion . . . maybe that’s good, why cast a pall over a party? or, maybe not, why not join together to mourn, and to toast, and to share fond memories of, a fellow trooper, a great friend . .
Tom Fairfull passed away 10 April 2012 . . . quietly, peaceful at the end. CPT Tommy edited and published the Golden Brigade’s first yearbook, as an Assistant S-3 and Brigade Historian in 1969, and then served as a CoCdr in the 1/508. Tommy was always a fun guy, playing poker, strumming a guitar and singing Veenamee war songs in the O’Club at Red Ball, conducting a Ba Muoi Ba tasting and evaluation program, while rigorously teaching the O’Club gals, Hoa and Flower, to scream on cue “Fat Albert” when our Deputy Brigade Commander, COL Smith, dared to enter; the ladies’ timing was always perfect; the source of this outrageous defamation [a tribute to mediocrity?] was never discovered.
Tommy was a professional; he pulled a tour as an ARVN battalion adviser in Quang Ngai Province, a tour as a BCT Co Cdr, a tour with the 101st–the other Airborne Division–and a tour with XVIII Abn Corps’ Command Section, before joining the Golden Brigade in 1969. He retired from the US Army Reserve as a Lieutenant Colonel, and began a career as a curator of military museums from Fort Bragg to Hawaii. He returned to CONUS in 2010 for our Reunion in Dallas, a strained goodbye to old friends who read the signs.
Tommy suffered from lung cancer which rapidly metastasized to his brain, and peaceful death came quickly. He will be buried in the Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii.
Tommy, you done soldiered good. We’ll miss you.
Cards would be welcomed by Mrs. Thomas D. Fairfull [Claire], at the family home at 1950 9th Ave #A, Honolulu HI 96816-2906; phone (808) 735-2038.
This was our largest gathering yet, with plenty of old friends and new friends in attendance. We met in a beautiful beachside hotel with activities galore for everyone. True Southern hospitality with more than a smattering of good times, great memories, and great food. This was one of the best reunions yet! The Treasure Bay hotel staff went above and beyond expectations to ensure that our every need was taken care of–thank you, Kim!
Our hosts, Charlotte and Rick Randazzo, organized a chartered bus trip to New Orleans where we visited the National WWII Museum. The film, Beyond All Boundries, narrated by Tom Hanks, was a true 4D experience–there were plenty of off-screen stimuli that were very well done–we still have our ‘startle’ reflexes. There was plenty of free time to explore the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, and to sample the world-famous beignets. Charlotte also organized a shopping/antiquing trip for the ladies and a Rick led a fishing excursion. Rick’s poolside shrimp and crawfish boil (with Carl Bludau’s homemade spicy wild pig and venison sausage) was to die for! Even with all the scheduled activities there were quiet times in the hospitality suite for reminiscing. And then there was the casino . . .
At the General Membership meeting a VA representative discussed PTSD and claims with follow-up Q&As. This is something that should be available to our families, as well. The Chapter will look to the new Army Museum at Ft Belvoir to display our heritage–Ft Bragg is too far off the beaten path and there’s just not enough room to properly dislpay our history. Carl Bludau will be stepping down as Chapter Chairman on January 1, 2013 after 21 years of service. At a Division reunion in Houston, TX, Carl, Rich O’Hare, and Dickie Keaton posted a small sign inviting and 82nd Vietnam veterans to stop by and have a beer–and thus, the Golden Brigade Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association was born. Carl has served as our Chairman since inception. Paddy Barry was nominated and unanimously approved as our next Chairman. Location ideas for our next and 50th reunions were tossed around without any consensus. Saigon or Hue, anyone?
At our formal dinner, the Missing Man Table ceremony honored our forever young and recent passings were remembered. James Kiser offered the benediction. Richard Armocido won the door prize for a very nice bottle of Gentleman Jack Daniels whiskey etched especially for the Golden Brigade–thanks to the Randazzo’s for donating this great gift! Ken Steelman donated a print of In Contact, the Golden Brigade portrait. It was very nicely matted and framed with our challenge coin as an inset. Leonel and Laila Alvarado very generously won the auction for this great piece of art. nicely framed painting of ou, Rick Randazzo, painting Ken Steelman, James Kiser led us in prayer. Lastly, Carl Bludau was roasted by several friends, icluding Kieth Bell, John Kapranopolous, and Dickie Keaton. We learned all about Willis and the ‘Never Again Club’. It was truly a great roast. Thanks you for your service to our Chapter, Carl–we are all better for your inspiration and steerage of the Chapter. Carl will continue to focus on the Wounded Warriors Project and Division activities.