USAF Helicopter Pilot

P.O.BOX 966
MEDICAL LAKE, WA 99022-0966

Newsletter #1




2015 Reunion Hands

Bob Putlock, Chairma
Vice Chairman
Pete Marchewka
Bob Strout, Treasurer
KV Hall, Historian
Jon Kennedy, Webmaster
Bill Waters, Special Communications
and Golf Expert
Bob Brubaker- Helicopter Current News Editor
Don Van Meter, ADA Specialist
Don Damoth, Newsletter Editor


Charleston can be summed up in 2 words: “Classic Elegance”. The theme for this reunion is Southern Hospitality mixed with a small portion of the Civil War.


o-Charles Towne was founded in 1670 in honor of King Charles II of England.

o-During the American Revolution in 1776 South Carolina President and Commander in Chief John Rutledge ordered the construction of Fort Sullivan ( now Fort Moultrie ) and made Col. William Moultrie the fort’s commander. On June 28, 1776 British General Sir Henry Clinton with 2000 men and a naval squadron tried to seize Charles Towne but failed. Four years later in 1780 Clinton returned with 14,000 soldiers and took siege of Charles Towne. It became the greatest American defeat of the war. During the next 3 years a South Carolinian named General Francis Marion, alias “The Swampfox”, harassed the British. After the British left in December 1792 the city’s name was officially changed to Charleston. (Note: In the historic district of downtown Charleston there is a historic hotel called the Francis Marion.)

o-On December 20, 1860, following the election of Abraham Lincoln the South Carolina General Assembly voted to secede from the Union. On January 9, 1861 Citadel cadets opened fire on the Union ship, Star of the West, entering Charleston’s harbor. On April 12, 1861, shore batteries under the command of General Pierre G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in the harbor. After a 34-hour bombardment Major Robert Anderson surrender the fort, starting the Civil War.

o-Union forces blockaded the city. In a failed effort to break the blockade on February 17, 1864 an early manufactured Confederate submarine, the H.L.Hunley made a night attack and sunk the USS Housatonic by ramming it After this successful foray she also sank with her crew of 8 to the bottom of the Atlantic where she remained until August 8. 2000. She was raised and is on display in North Charleston at the Warren Lasch Laboratory.


We are staying at the Embassy Suites-Convention Center (ES). It’s located 1.5 miles from the Charleston International Airport which shares the runways with Charleston AFB. We have contracted for 80 rooms for the 4 nights of the reunion and added 25 rooms the day before and 10 rooms the day after. The ES will add more rooms if the demand requires it and if they are available at that time. The ES is not ready to accept reservations until starting in April. Details for registration will be in the next newsletter. The ES will honor the room rate 3 days before and 3 days after for anyone extending their stay.

Here’s the details on the ES:

o-A complimentary “Cook to Order Breakfast” is available every weekday, 06:00-09:00, 07:30-10:30 weekends.

o-A complimentary “Evening Reception” in the lobby daily from 17:30-19:30 with beer, wine, cocktails, tea and soft drinks to include snacks ( Note: this will relieve our HR service and save the Association $’s)

o-Complimentary airport shuttle service to and from Charleston International Airport

o-Complimentary Internet service in the ES Atrium and Business Office.

o-Complimentary parking for ES guests including 4 R/V spaces.

o-Complimentary shuttle service to Tanger Outlet/Walmart and local restaurants within a 3 mile radius

o-$15 round trip ES Shuttle to Downtown Charleston. ( Note: The City is starting an even cheaper $3 shuttle from the Visitor Center near the ES to the downtown Charleston Visitor Center.)

o-There are over 30 restaurants nearby including the Bone Fish Grille, Applebees, TGI Fridays, Panera Bread Company, La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant and other low to mid cost restaurants. There is a Starbucks in the ES Atrium. ES has its own in house restaurant.

o-All the ES rooms are 2 room suites featuring 2 double beds or 1 king bed as well as a sofa sleeper with refrigerator and microwave. ADA rooms are available on request.

o- Room rate is $150/night + tax.


There is an incredible amount of things to see and do in and around the Charleston area. We have time to generate activities that will be memorable to everyone. At the end of this newsletter there is a listing of the many activities available. Please review it and select at least 5 items that would be of most interest to you. Send your selected choices by February 15th to me @250 Barbados Drive, Jupiter, Florida 33458. Or E-mail them to From your selections the reunion planned activities with transportation will be generated and shown in the next newsletter. You will have the option of signing up for all, some or none of the activities. You might elect to do other activities on your own. In general there are active plantation home sites and gardens, a tea plantation, antebellum homes open to the public in the historic section of the city, many museums, horse drawn carriage tours, culinary walking tours, river boat trips, the Citadel, Fort Sumter, the Yorktown, the H.L.Hunley, fishing charters, the old city market, the Charleston River Dogs- a Class A affiliate of the New York Yankees, Tanger outlet, antique and specialty shops and restaurant of all types. Consider extending your visit to Charleston either before or after the reunion.

Here are a few Southern Low Country things you can look forward to: menu items like ”shrimp & grits”, Hoppin John, she-crab soup, stewed okra, sweet corn bread. Don’t forget about the Gullah women who fashion the sweetgrass baskets of all types and shapes. April in Charleston is the absolute peak season for all the blooming flowers, plants and trees like azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias, dogwood trees, spireas, iris, hostas and more. Charleston is also known as THE HOLY CITY by
virtue of the prominence of churches of all denominations.

List of the Charleston and Area activities:

Middleton Plantation offering tours with lunches or dinners-

Boone Hall
Charleston Tea
Historic Carriage
South Carolina
Culinary Tours of
Charleston Harbor
The Confederate Museum
Old Slave Mart Museum
The Charleston
The Sound of Charleston-( music )
Charleston River Dogs ( baseball )
H.L.Hunley- Confederate
Civil War Walking
C-17 simulator time @ Charleston AFB/static display of C-17, Ladies Tea, Golf at same time slot
A day in Historic Charleston 09:00-15:00-Citadel, Battery, Old City Market
Patriots Point Tour-( Includes the Yorktown )
Mepkin Abbey, a Trappist Monastery, Moncks Corner,

TREASURER’S Corner: Bob Strout

I wish to extend my thanks to Chuck Sweeny, President and CEO of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society for his presentation to our members gathered in San Diego. I would also encourage any member who has been awarded a DFC to consider joining the Society. Your award will be preserved, and available to anyone to review as long as there is an internet. You can telephone the organization at 1-866-332-6332 for information, or check out the web site: It is your history, preserve it!

Now, to the Treasurer’s Report. We do have money! Our balance sheet at the end of the year showed a balance of $32,475, and we have absolutely Zero liabilities.

I do have some past reunion memorabilia on hand should some one wish to buy anything.

HATS: Blue with the HPA Logo… $7.50--Blue with AF Logo and US Air Force Veteran on the front…$13.50.

Credit Card Case silver w/ HPA Logo in Black: $6.50

Post-it Note case Black w/ Branson Logo and post-it notes: $4.50

Challenge Coins: $ 6.00---Decals: HPA $1.00 – San Diego Boondoggle $1.00 – Lapel Pins $1.50

Past reunion Memory Books: $15 to clear them out. I have Orlando, San Antonio (1) Colorado Springs, Jackson Hole (1), and Branson (2).

Check your Membership Expiration Date: Look in your old rosters, old newsletters, or contact me at: USAFHPA, PO Box 966, Medical Lake, WA 99022.

Mobility Handicap Considerations

Airlines: Each airline is a bit different in their rules regarding handicapped durable mobility equipment. Walkers and wheelchairs are checked, for free, they do not count as an item of luggage. The same is true for “travel or portable” mobility scooters. The author has a Luggie scooter which folds into a cube less than 2’x2’ and has rollers like most small luggage. United has flown it and stored it in the coat area of the main cabin. Others put it on with the other luggage. Southwest has a 1 hr prior to flight check-in so they can prep it for the flight. The key is a unit that has a lithium gel battery with no exposed terminals. You should check with your air carrier of choice prior to booking a flight for their rules

Mobility Scooter Rentals: There are several medical supply businesses in SC that rent mobility scooters and will deliver and pick-up the scooter at our hotel. Prices and style differ dependent on the weight of the person using the scooter.

Embassy Suites Shuttle: Offers a FREE shuttle to and from the Charleston Airport which is a joint use A/P with Charleston Air Force Base. ES also offers a free 3 mile radius shuttle to local restaurants, the Tanger Outlet Mall and other locations. Note the shuttle does not have a lift or kneels for a mobility scooter. Folding wheelchairs and walkers can be transported.

There are three CARTA stops near the ES Hotel two are about 300 yards from the front
of the hotel, in opposite directions and a third about 500 yards that is an express. You can go to their web site and they have a tool that allows you to enter a start point and then destination and it maps and gives you the routes to take and the time schedule. The near by routes are:

Rt. 11 –    528 ft., map

Rt. 104 – 1,056 ft. , map

Rt. 105 Circulator – 1,056 ft., map

Rt. 105 Express -- 2,112 ft., map

Public Transportation

CARTA: Is the name for public bus transport. All of their buses are Handicapped friendly and have lifts and/or the bus kneels for mobility scooter/wheelchair loading which has priority locations reserved.

DASH: Is a part of CARTA and is the smaller buses that serve the old town part of the city. They too are handicapped friendly and have lifts…etc. They have a lift and reserved places for 2 mobility scooters/wheelchairs.

The trip charge for public transportation is $1 each trip.

The charge for those with a handicap is 50¢. You will need your VA letter or a handicapped rider card from your local municipal or regional public transport service and get a local Handicapped Rider ID card at their Ticket 1 Stop Center, 1930 Hanahan Rd. You can also mail for an application by calling 1-843-574-1800 or 1810 and requesting a disability riders application for reduced rates.

Taxi: All have full size cars that can hold a folded wheelchair in the trunk, some have vans too, but none with lifts. Please specify full size car or van when calling for pick-up.

Express Cab Company


Flag A Cab


Safety Cab Company


Yellow Cab


Public Parking: The City of Charleston has a great public parking lot and garage system (city owned). You can check out locations on line and even load a free app that will automatically locate the lots/garages for you. For those of you that have disability placards be sure to bring one with you as the lot use is Free for the handicapped.

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