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March 2016 Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 2

Ted’s Talk

Ted onlyFixed wing Army Aviation took a great leap forward during the Vietnam War. As documented by the U.S. Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis (Newport News, VA), “one of the most overlooked and under-reported aspects of Army aviation is the fixed wing element. Army airplanes were barred from carrying weapons and restricted in size and weight by agreement with the Air Force. Army aircraft were small and able to use landing strips that were unusable by larger aircraft flown by the Air Force. They were also less maintenance intensive than helicopters. Army airplanes performed intelligence, signal, liaison, scouting, and cargo missions. In supply missions, the airplanes provided a vital link to the remote outposts that were unable to be realistically supplied any other way.”

The largest of the Army planes, the CV-2 Caribou, routinely landed on short, unimproved landing strips. The Otter and the Caribou were deployed in 1962, three years prior to the use of U.S. ground forces. “The mission in those early years was to support our Special Forces and training advisors scattered throughout the Republic of South Vietnam. The aircraft often provided the sole source of contact, supplies and mail for these brave Green Berets.”

In the dense jungles of Vietnam tactical aerial reconnaissance proved vital, and was performed withTed Talk Photo - Birddog photographic, infrared, and side-looking airborne radar sensors mounted on Mohawk OV-1 aircraft. The Cessna O-1 Bird Dog was chosen “to find the enemy and orbit overhead until artillery (or attack aircraft) could be brought to bear on the enemy. While flying low and close to the battlefield, the pilot would observe the exploding shells and adjust the fire via his radios.”

AFR is proud to serve the veterans who flew these aircraft. This year in Washington DC we are planning reunions for the OV-1 Mohawk Association and the 18th/54th Aviation Co. Otternest Assn. In fact, we arranged for a joint gathering at one of our reunion-friendly hotels, which will prove interesting to both groups. In 2015 we planned the first ever All Bird Dog Unit reunion in Dothan, AL (home to the U.S. Army Aviation Museum) and will host the Bird Dog vets in D.C. in 2017. We planned the U.S. Army Otter Caribou Association’s 2015 reunion in Dayton and they’ll have their 2016 reunion in historic Savannah, home to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum.

Mohawker and OV-1’s Reunion Director John Bosch is our Featured Veteran this month. Virginia Beach is our Featured Top Reunion Destination. If your group is interested in visiting the U.S. Army Transportation Museum or the Military Aviation Museum this oceanside resort town is a great place to settle in with a reunion-friendly hotel.

No matter what branch you served in, if you want a 5-star reunion email us or call 800-562-7226! Our hotel partners give our groups the best deal on the books, guaranteed.


DESTINATION OF THE MONTH: VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

Virginia Beach is a dramatic and meaningful setting for military reunions. This coastal resort is centrally located on the East Coast and within a day’s drive of two-thirds of America’s population. Three military bases are located in Virginia Beach: Naval Air Station Oceana, Fleet Training Center Dam Neck, and Joint-Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The greater Virginia Beach metropolitan area is home to nine additional major military installations representing all the branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, including the world’s largest naval base and home of the Atlantic Fleet. The local military installations provide jobs for more than 33,000 service members and civilians, with a combined annual payroll of more than $7.5 billion. Seven of the world’s top defense-related firms have a major presence in Virginia Beach, supporting the largest active duty military population in the U.S.

In Virginia Beach, we pride ourselves in offering the very best customer service to these modern day heroes. At no cost to your organization, our full-time reunion coordinator will give you all the assistance you need to plan a successful military reunion including:

• Helping you find the perfect hotel and hospitality room
• Recommending attractions that will interest and excite your delegate base
• Providing lists and contacts for off-property venues, tours, and entertainment options
• Support amenities such as welcome desk kits, destination materials, and JROTC Honor Guard services
• Site visit coordination, attendance building tools, and on-site meeting assistance
• Suite Salute incentive program offering a marketing sponsorship to groups based on the meeting’s time of year and total room nights that adds $’s to programming

Once here, key attractions include: tours of master jet base Naval Air Station Oceana, the MilitaryVirginia Beach Image for Main BMR Page MilitaryAviation_Horizontal_RGB Aviation Museum, Naval Aviation Memorial Park, the Old Coast Guard Station, the Tidewater Veterans Memorial and Veterans Memorial Park, just to name a few. Virginia Beach is also home to many annual events that can enhance your reunion experience including Virginia Beach Restaurant Week, the Virginia Arts Festival, Pungo Strawberry Festival, Patriotic Festival, Neptune Festival, Virginia Beach Craft Beer Festival, and the McDonald’s Holiday Lights at the Beach.

As a year-round meeting destination and Virginia’s most populous city, it’s no wonder Virginia Beach offers every kind of accommodation imaginable – from first class hotels in resort, suburban, or retreat settings to cottages, condos, and campgrounds. Whatever your group needs, you’re sure to find it in Virginia Beach with over 11,000 guestrooms.

Allow your new friends at the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau help provide you the perfect setting to reconnect with your old friends!


MEET OUR FEATURED VETERAN: JOHN BOSCH

John BoschEquipped with some of the most sophisticated aerial surveillance technology of the time, U.S. Army Technical Observer Specialist John Bosch’s job was to locate enemy positions and report to American forces on the ground. In the right seat of the OV-1, a two-seated, fixed-wing, twin turbo prop, Bosch was the pilot’s eyes and ears, scouring the jungles of Vietnam, Cambodia and near the border of Laos in 1970-’71.

“The OV-1 Mohawk was a very early predecessor of drones. We flew at night, alone and loaded with the newest photographic technology, including infrared and SLAR, or side-looking airborne radar sensors,” Bosch said. “We were outfitted with a screen and film-development capabilities to plot coordinates and provide crucial information that could be brought to bear on the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese in a hurry. Many of the Mohawk’s missions helped generate intelligence and data for B-52 strikes, critical in conducting the war. An OV-1 stands in the Army Intelligence Memorial Park at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona.”

Due to an agreement with the U.S. Air Force, fixed wing aircraft were barred early in the war fromOV1 photo carrying weapons. Their objective was target acquisition. Relatively light and highly maneuverable, the aircraft could operate from short, unimproved and often remote runways. Missions were clandestine, classified and intelligence gathered a secret. Mohawks played a significant role during the Lam Son 719 Campaign in Laos, where more than 1,300 B-52 bombing strikes were conducted. Bosch was among the only air crews in Army history where enlisted airmen flew in the critical right seat of the Mohawk.

“It was a real honor to fly with the best pilots the Army had,” said Bosch, 68. “Our orders were not to engage and take evasive action. Many missions were routine, others were white-knuckle moments. On one flight we were tracking a particularly important target, so we didn’t take evasive action, flew low and became quite vulnerable. We took some incoming rounds, mostly small arms, but were lucky, relayed the enemy location and got out of there. I was trained to fly the Mohawk in case the pilot was injured, but that was primarily for the purpose of returning safely to a friendly air field, or in more dire situations, to eject him and then myself. Fortunately that didn’t happen.”

Bosch racked up about 500 hours of airtime in the OV-1 and received a Vietnam Service Medal, Good Conduct Medal and several air medals. “It was just a wonderful aircraft. I was mostly in the B and C models, which were powerful and very performance capable. They had three pieces of tail that gave it tremendous maneuverability. But it was the surveillance technology and tremendous visibility that supported the primary objective. Adding to all the instrumentation was the sight advantage of being surrounded by an open canopy, almost to leg level,” he said.

Bosch returned to the states after Vietnam and resumed his career in the construction industry, working for Solomon Colors, Inc. in Springfield, Illinois before retiring. He remains affiliated with the Mohawk as the Reunion Director of the OV-1 Mohawk Association, which has about 1,400 veterans from Vietnam to Desert Storm. Their next gathering is set for September 22 – 25 in Washington, D.C. followed by Colorado Springs in 2017. The association’s reunions are managed by Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. “One of our members likens our events to a traveling barn dance, all about the guys getting together to tell stories that get bigger every year, a great time of fellowship,” Bosch said.

Living with wife Cecilia in Laguna Hills, California, Bosch also stays connected to the plane as a member and docent at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, CA. An OV-1 static is on display, but the museum is working to get the real thing later this year.

“I’m really hoping to get back in the cockpit, airborne and enjoy some peacetime landscapes,” Bosch 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