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June 2016 Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 5

Ted’s Talk

Our Featured Veteran this month is an old friend of AFR’s: LtGen Fred McCorkle, USMC (Retired). Fred and his wife, Kathy, attend two to Squadron Award - BMR Ted Talk 2nd photothree events planned by Armed Forces Reunions each year.  One of them is the Marine Corps Aviation Association’s (MCAA) Annual Symposium, which recently occurred in New Bern, NC.  The Symposium is the platform for the largest aviation-based award program in the country.  29 awards span the spectrum of Marine aviation & recognize Marines of all ranks who are nominated by their superiors and vetted through Headquarters Marine Corps.  The Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron of the Year Award is justly named in LtGen McCorkle’s honor.  Exhibits from top defense contractors take center stage along with the Awards Banquet.  The Symposiums are usually held near Marine Corps bases to encourage participation of active duty aviators – who relish the opportunity to hear stories told by famous aviators such as LtGen McCorkle, Gen. ‘Spider’ Nyland, MajGen ‘Lancer’ Sullivan, and other top retired aviators.

Earlier this Spring we hosted The Golden Eagles (The Early and Pioneer Naval Aviators Association), in Orlando.  Now there’s an elite club of the nation’s top former Naval and Marine aviators and astronauts!  We also have the privilege of planning the biennial reunions for Popasmoke (USMC Combat Helicopter & Tiltrotor Association).  Their reunion will be at the Jacksonville Hyatt this coming August.  All aviators have call signs, and Molly Dey (President of AFR) long ago gained hers at MCAA – “Too Tall.”  All of 4’ 11”, Molly has many admirers in the Marine aviation community.  The photo here was taken at MCAA’s annual symposium in New Bern.  Joining her are from left to right: ‘Spider’ Nyland and his wife Brenda, Fred ‘Assassin’ McCorkle, and ‘Lancer’ Sullivan and his wife Nicole.  If you represent a Marine Aviation reunion group, we invite you to join AFR’s family of Marine aviation friends.  Come see why we’re #1!


DESTINATION OF THE MONTH: BRANSON, MO

Branson salutes our veterans and active duty armed forces year-round. Their service, commitment and ultimate sacrifice is honored with multiple special events, warm welcomes and VIP treatment. Men and women veterans and active duty personnel from all branches and from all wars, conflicts and peacetime service are appreciated in the Branson/Lakes Area every day of the year.

In keeping with a long tradition of gratitude, many of Branson’s live entertainment shows recognize veterans, military personnel and their families through special patriotic musical numbers.  Frequently the entire audience gives a resounding round of applause to say “Welcome Home” and “Thank You.”  This commitment to honoring veterans can be seen at area attractions, restaurants, museums and other businesses in a variety of ways. Military reunion groups often say that Branson is their number-one destination of choice.  Surrounded by the scenic Ozark Mountains, visitors enjoy pristine lakes perfect for fishing and sailing as well as beautiful countryside championship golf.  Experience for yourself the warmth of the Branson community’s genuine hospitality and appreciation of our nation’s heroes past and present.

Volunteer military reunion planners are invited to join the Branson Convention & Visitors Bureau for our Military Reunion Planners Conference, Aug 8 – 11, 2016. This event gives you the opportunity to site visit hotels, preview shows, taste meals, and experience group transportation, giving you first-hand information for choosing your Branson itinerary and services. Take this knowledge and let the team at BookMyReunion know your choices when you are ready to plan.  Call 417-243-2117 for details concerning the Conference.

BRANSON VETERANS HOMECOMING (NOV. 5 – 11)  Each year, Branson hosts America’s largest Veterans Homecoming celebration. Tens of thousands of veterans, their friends and families arrive for a week of camaraderie. Annually, from Nov. 5 through Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Branson is filled with commemorative events, special appearances by high-ranking military personnel, tribute shows, military era based reunions and more. The Veterans Day parade is held in historic downtown Branson, always at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, and marks the conclusion of Veterans Week each year.

 


MEET OUR FEATURED VETERAN: FRED MCCORKLE

Lt. General Fred McCorkle had plans to become a teacher and high school football coach after he’d served two years in the Marines. That was until a fellow Marine convinced him to go to flight school, where his career trajectory took off.

“I’d never even been to an airport, so to start from there and go on to fly helicopters, jets and to even have the honor to fly the U-2 spy plane makes me feel like the luckiest guy in the world,” said McCorkle, a retired three star general and former Deputy Commandant for Marine Aviation, the highest aviator rank in the Marines Corps. “Being Deputy Commandant of Marine Aviation was a great privilege and job,” said McCorkle, 71. “In that position you’re in charge of all Marine aviation assets, selecting the new planes and helicopters, plus future command and control and aviation support equipment assets. This and taking care of the four marine aircraft wings becomes a big, but very rewarding responsibility.”

McCorkle attended Naval Flight School in Pensacola and in 1969 was designated a naval aviator and sent to Vietnam. Before the end of 1970 he had flown more than 1,500 combat missions and throughout his career was able to accumulate over 6,500 flight hours in 65 different series of aircraft. Many of his flights were helicopter rescue missions.

“One of the most intense rescues was in Laos where we weren’t really supposed to be, but we had to get our guys out.  We did an emergency extract pulling eight soldiers out of the jungle on a 75-foot ladder. We had to land about half way back to Vietnam and some of these guys were dying. We were taking fire and one soldier already had his arm shot off, but was blasting back into the bushes with his AK-47; toughest guy to ever live I think.”

McCorkle was awarded The Distinguished Service Medal; The Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars in lieu of second through fourth awards; The Distinguished Flying Cross with Gold Star in lieu of second award; The Purple Heart; The Air Medal with Single Mission Award and 76 Strike/Flight Awards; Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” and The Navy Achievement Medal.

Of all the jets and helicopters he flew, McCorkle said that during his time, the F-18A/C/D were “the finest jets that God ever allowed man to build.” He personally helped make sure the MV-22 Osprey was built, a hovering helicopter with rotors that tilt forward to make it a fixed wing aircraft. “I get a lot of credit, but it was beyond a team of us that made sure the Osprey happened. It can fly up to 300 miles per hour, twice as fast as an average helicopter, go three times as far, handle a bigger crew, is capable of air-to-air refueling and has an overall flexibility we never had up to that point. Just ask any of the four-stars who served in in Afghanistan and Iraq what they preferred to fly in,” said McCorkle, who lives with his wife Kathy in Gray, Tennessee.

McCorkle was promoted to Deputy Commandant of Aviation in 1998 and several years later was invited to join The Golden Eagles, an elite organization of Navy, Marine and Coast Guard aviators. This group has included Medal of Honor recipients, astronauts, fighter aces and aviators who have contributed significantly to naval aviation. Established in 1956, membership is limited to 200. “I’m probably more proud of being in the Golden Eagles than any other group,” he noted.  “There are only a limited number of us and someone has to die before you can come in.”

McCorkle retired in 2001, but remains close to his stellar career as a member of many other military organizations, including the Marine Corps Aviation Association and the USMC Combat Helicopter Association. Along with the Golden Eagles, these groups’ reunions are all managed by Armed Forces Reunions, Inc., the parent company of BookMyReunion.com. “It’s all about the memories and camaraderie, like going to meet with a bunch of heroes,” he said. “You get to see these guys from 45 years ago and talk about war, saving lives and everything else in between, sometimes until 2 a.m.”

McCorkle also serves on several boards of directors, including as Chairman of the Board for Atlas Air World Wide Holding, President of JURA Corporation, Rolls-Royce North America and the Lord Corporation. Earlier this month he took some time off for a very important occasion: to celebrate his and his wife Kathy’s 50th wedding anniversary on June 2. “My friends call her a saint because she’s put up, and still puts up, with me after all these years,” McCorkle said.

Scott McCaskey is a contributing writer for BMR.com; Account Director at Goldman & Associates Public Relations and former staff writer for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper.

 


Crowne Plaza Hotel
San Diego
For Reunions held in 2016:
• Specially priced Reunion Menu
• Complimentary internet access in guestrooms and meeting space (valued at $9.95 per day and $75.00 per day, respectively)
• Complimentary parking (valued at $12/day)
• Complimentary hospitality room with client welcome to bring own Food & Beverage, including alcohol
• Discounted daily Breakfast Buffet coupons available
• Complimentary One-Bedroom Suite upgrade for planner (valued at $750.00 per night)

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn Va. Beach-Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center
Virginia Beach, VA
For reunions booked in 2016:
• Complimentary welcome reception (beer, wine, and light hors d’oeuvres).
• Complimentary Breakfast Buffet (two guests per room)
• Large Hospitality Rooms where groups can BYO
• Complimentary internet in sleeping rooms and meeting space
• Free parking and airport shuttle

Click here to request more info

Sheraton West Port Chalet
St. Louis, MO
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand Hotel
Pensacola, FL
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Group may provide own food and beverages (incl. alcohol) in hospitality room
• Free Airport Shuttle 6am-10pm
• No Room Attrition

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn Market Square
San Antonio, TX
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Radisson Suites Tucson
Tucson, AZ
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Hilton San Antonio Airport
San Antonio, TX
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Silver Legacy
Downtown Reno, NV
Rates $69-109 (weekday/weekend)
• Complimentary meeting rooms with no attrition or food and beverage minimum
• Group allowed to provide own wine/beer/dry snacks in hospitality room
• With a minimum of 25 peak rooms Group receives two complimentary upgrades to Deluxe Suites.
• Each room receives $100 in Bonus Coupons including $5 off in Flavors Buffet and Café Central, 2 for 1 cocktails, and 20% discount in Health Spa

Click here to request more info

Crowne Plaza Providence/Warwick
Providence, RI
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

The Best Western Merry Manor Inn
Portland, ME
• Free Full American Buffet Breakfast
• A complimentary one hour welcome reception with beer, wine, soda, cookies, cheese and crackers, and vegetable crudite
• Three free suite upgrades
• Free high speed wifi in the rooms and throughout the hotel
• Free parking

Click here to request more info

Hotel Eleganté Conference & Event Center
Colorado Springs, CO
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

MCM Eleganté Suites
Colorado Springs, CO
• Rates starting at $99/night in summer, and $69/night during the off-season
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space for your reunion guests!
• Rates include breakfast and WIFI
• Located just 10 minutes south of the US Air Force Academy
• You may bring in your own food in banquet space, or have us cater your events!
• Located close to I-25, on Academy Blvd. near many attractions
• Kitchens in all rooms!

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn & Suites North Beach
Virginia Beach, VA
Spring and Fall 2016 Rates $79 to $119. Sign by Dec 31, 2015.
• Complimentary Personalized Logo Cake for Banquet (send us your logo)
• Three Standard Room Upgrades to Suites (minimum 20 paid rooms per night)
• One Site Inspection Guestroom
• Complimentary Private Hospitality Room
• Double IHG Award Points
• All Guestrooms have a view of the Atlantic ocean from your personal balcony.

Click here to request more info

Crowne Plaza Hotel
Trevose / Northeast Philadelphia , PA
For 2015 Reunions:
• Complimentary Hospitality Room
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Beer, Wine, Light Hors D’oeuvres)
• 10 Free Overnight Guest Room Upgrades
• Complimentary Wireless Internet
• Complimentary Parking

Click here to request more info

Crowne Plaza Dayton
Dayton, OH
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn Opryland/Airport
Nashville, TN
• One hour complimentary wine, beer, and cheese welcome reception
• Complimentary guestroom for reunion planner
• Discounted breakfast coupons available
• Complimentary hospitality room
• Complimentary parking
• Complimentary airport and mall shuttle
• Complimentary wireless Internet

Click here to request more info

Crowne Plaza Phoenix North
Phoenix, AZ
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn San Diego Bayside
San Diego, CA
• Large Hospitality Rooms where reunion groups can BYOB
• Complimentary Internet (WiFi) throughout the hotel
• Complimentary AV during reunion (to watch past reunion footage, listen to CD’s in the Hospitality Room, Banquet Dinner Keynote Speaker’s Presentation, etc)
• Parking fee Waived (regularly $10/day)
• Complimentary Suite Upgrade for VIP of group’s choice
• Reunion rate offered 3 days pre and post reunion
• Free 24 hour airport shuttle

Click here to request more info

Renaissance Orlando Airport
Orlando, FL
Reunion Group Bookings (minimum of 10 rooms for (3) nights based on availability) for July, August and September 2016 Reunions
• Complimentary Hospitality Suite (client permitted to bring in own beverages and snacks)
• One (1) complimentary upgrade for the event planner over their outlined dates
• Complimentary upgrade to the concierge level over the outlined dates
• Complimentary Cookie and Coffee welcome reception
• 15% discount in our outlets on food and beverage (excluding alcohol)
• Complimentary self-parking (Savings of $14.00 per day)
• Complimentary guestroom internet (Savings of $9.95 per day)

Click here to request more info

Best Western Plus Landmark Hotel
Metairie, LA
For Reunions held in 2016:
• Complimentary WI-FI
• Large Hospitality Room ~ you are allowed to BYO snacks & beverages
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception {Chef’s Choice of Food & Beverage}
• Rates from $99.99 to $119.99 – June-August rate is $89.99-$99.99
• Free upgrade for Reunion Planner
• Complimentary Parking
• Complimentary Business Center
• Complimentary: Podium, Microphone, American Flag, Screen & Projector

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn Historic Downtown Mobile
Mobile, AL
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Holiday Inn Riverwalk
San Antonio
BMR Star 2016 Hotel Promotion
• $200 Credit to Group’s Master Account (only good through BookMyReunion)
• Complimentary One Hour Welcome Reception (Hotel’s Choice of Food & Beverage)
• 10% Discount in Hotel Restaurants (Excluding Alcohol)
• Discounted Reunion Banquet Menus
• No Room Attrition
• No Food & Beverage Minimum
• Complimentary Meeting/Banquet Space
• Complimentary Room and Upgrade for the Planner
• Free Wifi in Guest Rooms
• Complimentary Hospitality Room (Group Can BYO Beverages and Dry Snacks)

Click here to request more info

Stone Castle Hotel & Conference Center
Branson, MO
• No attrition
• No food and beverage minimum
• The room rate will include our hot breakfast buffet.
• Hotel will extend the group rate to include the 3 days prior and 3 days post the event, based on availability with the pre and post nights counting toward the room block
• The per day Hospitality room rental will be waived, but a set-up fee will still apply. The set-up fee provides the Group with the ability to bring in own dry/prepackaged snacks and canned/bottled beverages. Perishable food items are not allowed in hospitality room, unless purchased from hotel.
• The Hospitality Package includes ice drops each day, daily trash removal & replacement cloths for tables, hospitality room set up.
• Hotel will provide American Flag, Missing Man Table, Podium & Mic, & up to 3 exhibit tables in hospitality room
• Group will be allowed to bring in own A/V at no charge.

Click here to request more info