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October 2015 Newsletter

Vol 2, Issue 10

Ted’s Talk

Ted onlyWhen booking your reunion for 2016 and beyond let a professional guide you to a reunion-friendly hotel at no cost to your group. With Armed Forces Reunions’ bargaining power we’ll get you a great room rate with lots of concessions, and even give your group a chance to earn money. AFR has nationwide specials for groups large and small. For groups under 50 rooms we have hotel partners coast to coast offering a great promotion. Visit BookMyReunion.com to learn more. Groups larger than 50 rooms may participate in AFR’s Reunion Rebate program, with the opportunity to earn anywhere from $100 to $2,000. Having booked reunions in 150 cities for 28 years we know how to steer you to savings and reunion-friendly hotels.

In this month’s Veteran Interview we meet Larry James, president of the 4/9 Infantry Manchu Association. This year’s annual reunion was in our hometown of Norfolk. The group paid tribute to fellow infantryman and posthumous Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lt. Rupert L. Sargent, laying a wreath at his grave in Hampton National Cemetery. The Norfolk/Va. Beach area was one of the top reunion destinations this year. We hosted the 94th Infantry Division, 4/9 Manchu Infantry, 5th Marine Division, USS Glacier, and USS Flying Fish. The Americal Division reunion is coming up the last week of this month in Norfolk. Other popular destinations this year were San Antonio, Charleston, DC, San Diego, New Orleans, Nashville, Orlando, and Branson. Give us a call or send an email and we’ll be happy to discuss the options available to your group.


 HELPFUL HINT: EVENT INSURANCE MADE EASY

Many hotel contracts have a clause that require groups to purchase Event Insurance. Now there is a quick, easy, and affordable service that chairmen can use to purchase insurance for their events – www.TheEventHelper.com. The entire process can be completed in a matter of minutes on the company’s website, so you don’t need to worry about purchasing insurance until a few days before your event. The pricing is affordable for any group with most quotes ranging between $100-$200 for the entire event depending on number of people, location, and the length of the event. To learn more, visit www.TheEventHelper.com


MEET OUR FEATURED VETERAN: LARRY JAMES

In what was one of the most deadly single firefights of the Vietnam War. 49 U.S. soldiers were killed and 24 wounded in an ambush on March 2, 1968 at Quoi Xuan village near Saigon. Larry James arrived for duty two months after the carnage and was assigned to D Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, also known as the Manchus; a nickname describing an early-1900s American Expeditionary Force in China that wore long mustaches similar to 17th century Manchurians that invaded Asia. As a platoon leader, 1st Lt. James saw plenty of action in Vietnam, conducting combat sweeps in engagements with Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army at locations from the Iron Triangle to HoBo Woods to Mole City, a mile from the Cambodian border. But it was stories from surviving C Company Manchus at the Quoi Xuan ambush (also called Hoc Mon for the canal and bridge where it took place) that stuck with James, during and long after his tour of duty.

“At base camps and on the move, the guys kept recounting how devastating and horrific the ambush was, the sights and smells, and I assumed that someone would write about it. But no one did, and if the story wasn’t told it would be like it never happened, and I couldn’t let that happen. Soldiers in combat feel they owe each other, especially to those fallen. I wanted to make sure those C Company Manchus were remembered.”

After the war James went onto a successful career in journalism, working for the Voice of America. During that time he began his search for surviving soldiers, family members and friends of those killed in the ambush, writing letters, making calls, following leads across the country and going on the web. In 1998 he joined the 4/9 Infantry Manchu Association, which also helped in finding information for his book. James traveled to Vietnam in 2000 and 2004, where he found two Viet Cong who took part in the ambush.

“I wanted to get their perspective and feelings about Hoc Man and the war. Our battalion had turned the tables on them a few days after the attack, catching their unit out in the open and destroying them. I met Nguyen Van Phil, the intelligence officer of the battalion that carried it out. He was later captured by the South Vietnamese Army and switched sides instead of going to prison. He said he was just happy the war was long over. I also met Nguyen Ngoc Nham, who commanded a company during the attack. He said he had no ill will toward anyone, and then I asked him about the young Americans: ‘It was war, they were the enemy and I tried to kill as many as I could, he said.’”

After years of work, James had found what he needed for Unfortunate Sons, published in 2005. “There were few survivors from the ambush, so it was a lot of research, but I wanted to identify all the dead and let people know what happened on the bridge that day,” said James, who lives in Washington D.C. with his wife Sonja. “It was a very rewarding experience and continues to be. My hope is that it has brought a lot of souls and hearts together in remembrance and some closure.”

James remains very connected to the war as president of the 4/9 Infantry Manchu Association for Sargent Gravemore than 16 years. Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. has managed the group’s reunions since 2006. More than 200 members met last month in Norfolk, VA and while there went to Hampton, VA to hold a commemoration for posthumous Medal of Honor recipient 1st Lt. Rupert L. Sargent, laying a wreath at his grave in Hampton National Cemetery. In B Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division and a fellow Manchu, Sargent died in March of 1967 in Vietnam when he threw himself on two enemy grenades and saved the lives of the platoon sergeant, forward observer and shielded several other soldiers. A Hampton native, the city’s Memorial Administration Building bears Sargent’s name. James was onsite when the structure was dedicated in 2002.

“I was a lucky fellow in Vietnam, I never really got hurt, but many, many soldiers and their families were not lucky. We cannot forget them, their names, their service, their short, incomplete lives, and the ultimate sacrifice they made,” James 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.


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 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

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