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August 2016 Newsletter

Vol 3, Issue 4

Ted’s Talk

This week Armed Forces Reunions is hosting The Chosin Few in San Diego – heroes from the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, a brutal 17-day battle in freezing weather during The Korean War. Their amazing story and how the Tootsie Roll saved the day bears repeating. The First Marine Division, along with elements of two Army regimental combat teams, were completely surrounded by over 120,000 Chinese troops in rugged mountains. In the worst winter in Korean history daytime temperatures averaged five degrees below zero, while nights plunged to minus 35 and lower. Jeep batteries froze and split. C-rations ran low and cans were frozen solid. If truck engines stopped, their fuel lines froze. 60-millimeter mortars were the most valuable weapon the Marines had to break up wave after wave of Chinese assaults, but the supply of mortar rounds was quickly depleted. Resupply could only come by air and that was spotty in such foul weather.

The Marines’ requests for resupply were sent by radio, using the code words for 60mm mortar ammo: “Tootsie Rolls.” But the radio operator receiving the request, not having the Marines’ code sheets, passed along the need for Tootsie Rolls, of which there were tons at supply bases in Japan. Parachutes bearing pallet-loads of Tootsie Rolls descended on the Marines. Initially befuddled, the troops thawed the frozen Tootsie Rolls in armpits and their sugar provided instant energy. For many, Tootsie Rolls were their only nourishment for days. Warmed Tootsie Rolls were also used to plug bullet holes in fuel drums, gas tanks, cans and radiators, where they would freeze solid again, sealing the leaks.

After two weeks of utter misery and suffering 3,000 killed in action and 6,000 wounded they reached the sea, demolishing several Chinese divisions along the way. Hundreds credited their very survival to Tootsie Rolls. At every Chosin Few reunion since the war Tootsie Roll Industries has shipped pallets of Tootsie Rolls to the reunion hotel. But ask any Marine and he’ll tell you a good Tootsie Roll is a frozen one.

The Featured Veteran this month is Col. Patricia Chappell USAF (Ret), President of the Society of Air Force Nurses and an amazing woman and Air Force officer with a distinguished 30 year career.  Armed Forces Reunions has planned their biennial reunions since 2007.

And what Air Force reunion hasn’t met in Dayton, Ohio, this month’s Featured Reunion Destination?  A Top Reunion Destination for reunions of all service branches, groups having met there before now have reason to return with the expansion of the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Visitors can once again walk in the footsteps of presidents, astronauts, test pilots and those brought out of captivity as the Museum opened its fourth building on June 8. So make plans to meet in Dayton, the Crossroads of America!

BookMyReunion.com can help find your group the best deal, with attrition-free contracts for groups of less than 50 rooms.  Armed Forces Reunions’ First-Timer Promotion gives groups a chance to earn money just by giving us a try:  http://www.armedforcesreunions.com/reunion-rebates/



Every day is Veteran’s Day in DAYTON!  Home to Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Dayton as a community has a special respect for veterans.

Exciting News! The BEST has become EVEN BETTER!

The FREE National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, the world’s largest and oldest military aviation museum opened a new 224,000 square foot hangar in June 2016.  Your reunion group can be among the first to experience the new 4th hangar which houses more than 70 aircraft in four galleries—Presidential, Research & Development, Space and Global Reach, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Learning Nodes.  Board and tour four of the nine presidential aircraft on display, including the plane that flew Kennedy’s body back from Dallas and that Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as president on.  Board and tour a NASA Space Shuttle.  The museum now has a total of 19 acres of enclosed exhibits featuring more than 360 aerospace vehicles.  Laid out in chronological format, veterans can easily access the conflict periods they are most interested in touring.  The museum is open seven days a week from 9am-5pm and includes a cafeteria, a giant screen 3-D theatre an extensive gift shop, a Memorial Park and free parking.


Dayton, the Birthplace of Aviation and So Much More! is proud to successfully host nearly 75 reunions each year, and we would be delighted to have the opportunity to host your prestigious group! Home to the Wright Brothers your group will be able to explore and enjoy numerous authentic, one-of-a-kind aviation assets (many of which are FREE!).




Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Patricia Chappell knew in ninth grade she wanted to be a nurse, an Air Force nurse and marry an Air Force officer. She did all three. “Not many people know what they want to do in life when they enter college, let alone at such as young age. I was fortunate, followed my dreams and worked hard to make it happen,” Chappell said.

What she didn’t know was that her distinguished career in the Air Force would help lead to a new career of award-winning volunteer service, working for the Red Cross, government agencies and private groups in missions of disaster relief and community support, starting with Hurricane Katrina to today’s onslaught of western wild fires. “Military service instills discipline, steadiness under pressure and an understanding of command and control, all invaluable skills for volunteer service and disaster relief,” said Chappell, a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

She spent more than 30 years in numerous capacities in health care administration with the Air Force Medical Service the Veterans Affairs Administration and Department of Defense. Col. Chappell served on active duty from 1967-1972 and then was assigned to the Air Fore Reserves for the next 23 years. Duties included Flight Nursing, Medical Inspection Team member, and nursing administration. Coinciding with her Reserve career, over the next three decades Chappell moved up from Assistant and Director of Nursing Services for Veterans Administration Medical Centers to Chief of Quality Services with the Office of the Command Surgeon at Strategic Air Command to Director of Clinical Services for DoD Tricare in Colorado Springs. She received the Certificate of Valor from the Department of Veterans Affairs, for her role in emergency evacuation and dispositioning of approximately 1000 patients from the Denver VA Medical Center within two hours. Col. Chappell is also the recipient multiple Air Force recognitions to include the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Legion of Merit Medal before retiring in 2001.

Within a year Chappell was asked to enlist her administrative and nursing expertise for disaster relief. “The Command Nurse at the Air Force Academy invited me to meet with the Red Cross and that was the beginning of a new career – challenging, but rewarding,” she said. On the administrative front lines in missions to assist victims of storms, floods and fire, today Chappell is the Red Cross’ volunteer partner, Division Disaster State Relations Director for Preparedness, Response and Recovery for the nine-state Southwest and Rocky Mountain region. She has received numerous recognitions, including the Red Cross Clara Barton Leadership Designation Award in 2010. In 2012 she was on national TV for her role as Job Director in assisting up to 80,000 people affected by at that time what was the largest wildfire outbreak in Colorado history.

Chappell for the past three years has also been president of the Society of Air Force Nurses (SAFN) with 1,500 members nationwide and in chapters overseas. Nurses from WW II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operations Desert Shield and Storm are represented. This membership also includes Active, Guard and Reserve nurses – a true Total Force approach.

“SAFN exists to be there for our members, and in many cases to provide a sense of family. Nurses in WW I and II could not be married, and when marriage was finally allowed, it was not until 1973 that they were allowed to have children thus so many nurses during that time period have no families,” Chappell explained. “Times of course have changed for the better, but the need for care, support and advocacy continues. We are the “ patient” advocate for many of our nurses, especially those that are on one of our key programs, “Outreach.” Additionally we often provide transportation services to members in need, assist with home care, provide socialization and networking activities, along with memorial tributes and other support functions. It is my job to make sure we have teams and programs in place that meet members’ needs and wants.”

SAFN’s reunions, many of which are managed by Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. (AFR) are another important element of support. “Our reunions and conventions afford an opportunity for the military nursing family to reunite, share mutual memories and a feeling of belonging,” she 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.