USAF Helicopter Pilot Association

Reunion 2002

Reunion 2002 Information 

 Reunion #10 – April 24-27, 2002 – Biloxi, MS


Wednesday, April 24 –

The Hospitality Room opened to an anxious line of attendees before the official opening at 1200 hours. Registration at that point and for the rest of the day was fast and furious, with a final tally of 357 members registering. We had a total paid registration of 362 members, however, there were 5 cancellations due to health/family reasons. Before the registration, we had randomly selected names of members to receive a complimentary gift. We had solicited volunteers for our Welcome Table and bartending and want to thank those of you who came forth. As you know, the bartending took care of itself and our dedicated staff decided to "sit it out", so to speak, at the Registration Table. Special thanks to Bill and Kimball Smallwood for their diligent efforts to keep one of the most magnificently stocked bars we have ever seen at any reunion.

Thursday, April 25-

This day’s activity started with a Continental Breakfast followed with 132 folks boarding three buses for the Stennis Space Center. All of those attending this event reported it to be most interesting and worth the time. However, it was on this outing that we experienced our only unfortunate occurrence. As HPA member John Caldwell and his guest, Bob Gaskins, were getting off the bus at Stennis, Bob suffered an apparent heart attack. Ron Bachman and his wife, Nelia, (who is registered nurse) were on that same bus and responded to the situation with CPR and other appropriate actions. Once Bob was stabilized, he was transferred to a hospital in Slidell, LA. Much appreciation and thanks go to Ron and Nelia for their timely response.

In the afternoon prior to the Shrimp/Seafood Boil, 255 members gathered around to have a panoramic picture taken by our own photographer, Cary Moore. (Trying to get this bunch settled down is like trying to herd a bunch of cats…) There were 291 members and guests at the Shrimp Boil.

Friday, April 26-

Buses destined for the Big Easy (New Orleans) were boarded by 157 anxious folks. Once in New Orleans, 73 enjoyed a memorable visit to the National D-Day Museum while the remainder languished to a beautiful day in the French Quarter and other local attractions. Others, who stayed around Biloxi, enjoyed gambling, sightseeing, and leisure free time at the Hospitality Room and hotel pool area.

Our golf bash was a lot of fun this year, we played best ball and everyone (30 members) enjoyed the "President Golf Course", and lots of H2O. Everyone got to contribute to their team’s low score, ahh, but the sport is in the chase. The first place team won a golf umbrella and the 4 individuals closest to the pin on the 3 pars each won an animal head cover. Winner’s names will not be published so as not to embarrass the rest of us. Our last place team, for some reason (the dirty dogs in the basement), would not come up and get the can of dog food they won for last place. All golfers were awarded a dozen golf balls for finishing the 18 holes.

PS: All claimed to have a good time, but you know golfers, they exaggerate a lot.

Tourney director: Dick Riecke

Saturday, April 27 –

The General Membership Meeting was attended by more than 250 members. Ogden, Utah was selected as the site of the next reunion and the following Reunion Team has been tentatively announced by Chairman, Dick Van Allen: 1st Vice Chairman – Don Rensch, 2nd Vice Chairman – Paul McComb, Treasurer – Steve Killpack, and Secretary – Ron Bachman. The Reunion will be held September 3-6, 2003. Mark your calendar.

After an uplifting Social Hour, at 1900 hours, 357 happy members and guests proceeded to their tables for a great evening of dining, entertainment and dancing. Following Chairman Roger Gibson’s opening welcome, Dick Riecke gave the Invocation, our Keesler AFB Honor Guard team advanced, and Bill Waters led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Roger introduced our newly elected Chairman, Dick Van Allen and his lovely wife Harriet, and then gave thanks and a small memento to his out-going board.

Making an appearance for the second time on this day was the team of Owen Clark and Quinn Fuller. They related the rescue of downed fighter pilot, Quinn Fuller, by helicopter pilot , Owen Clark. At the conclusion of dinner, we enjoyed the fine dance music of Art DeLorio and his Sugarmill Band. Jim Carroll’s e-mail best sums up the Bands performance: "Most of the bands I hear at parties and weddings these days don’t know what to do except turn up the sound to hide their poor talent. Those guys you hired knew their audience and had great talent". And let’s not forget our own George Kekuna and his impromptu music with the band.

Sunday, April 28 –

The party’s over but "Ya’ll come back and see us some time, Ya hear?"

The Biloxi Gang


Information taken from newsletters and other sources. Kyron Hall, historian.

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