Officer Candidate Class 4-64
Page updated on: 15-May-18
48th Anniversary Reunion After Action Report
ANOTHER GREAT REUNION! From 11 April to 15 April 2012, classmates from OCS Class 4-64 gathered in San Antonio, TX for the class’s 48th Year Reunion. Although the Reunion did not “officially” begin until 1730 hours on Thursday, many early arrivals checked in on Wednesday and gathered in the Hospitality Room for greetings and conversation. George Lordi checked in early to play some golf but he had twisted/sprained his ankle before arrival and it was really swollen. He had to nix the golf but hobbled along with us for all the reunion activities. Ray Kaufman, Larry Hjorth and Hank Farr checked in early and got in a round of golf. Gene & JoAnn Rutland also arrived early complete with name tags and all his photographic equipment to capture our reunion activities.
For the first time in our reunion history, the Hospitality Room was open 24 hours a day for the entire reunion. To be honest, it wasn’t planned that way but the lock on the door was broken and we could not lock the door! George Wilkins kept this a secret in order to prevent copious consumption of the beverages stored there by select members of the class – all of whom shall remain nameless to prevent embarrassment.
On Thursday Class members continued to arrive and check in and, the same three early arrivals played a round of golf. Chuck and Estella Kierce took a few on a tour of San Antonio’s Missions (not the Alamo) and for breakfast and lunch at two famous restaurants.
The “Official” start of the reunion was the 1730 hours Reception/Cocktail Party/Dinner hosted by George and Donna Wilkins at their house. As usual, George and Donna were outstanding hosts, the food was plentiful and delicious and the camaraderie super! Although George stated the “party” would last until the food and drinks ran out, our aging group could only make it until 2030 hours – or thereabouts – until heading back to the hotel and for some, another visit to the Hospitality Room.
Friday was a busy day. Again a group took off early to play a round of golf while Chuck and Estella Kierce took the remaining folks to a tour of the Alamo and then a leisurely stroll on the famous San Antonio Riverwalk and a boat cruise on the San Antonio River. Gene Rutland informed me that it was written in the Texas State Constitution that every Texan must make a “pilgrimage” to the Alamo at least 6 or 7 times in their lifetime. Something like Mecca only more intense! So that explained why every Texan at the Reunion took the trip to the Alamo – they were fulfilling their Texas requirement.
By the way, the San Antonio River, most of the time, is a small slow flowing river so our boat cruise was more sight-seeing than adventurous. As the barge’s captain informed us, if you fall over board, please stand up and walk ashore (it’s only 3 feet deep). It was “sprit zing” (a light rain) during the cruise so we all pretended it was “bow spray”.
At 1330 hours Ron and Camelia Ray hosted a Cocktail Party and luncheon at the Westin Hotel on the Riverwalk. Wow, what a bash! Ron and Camelia were warm and cordial hosts and put on a great event. We enjoyed a great buffet luncheon, complete with “Red Solo Cups,” after which Reunion photographs were taken both inside as well as outside with the river as a backdrop. It was a great way to end a great afternoon.
Everyone was pretty beat after the day so only a few met for dinner at the hotel or visited the hospitality Room. Saturday morning, 14 April, we gathered at 1000 hours at the Viet Nam Veterans Memorial in downtown San Antonio for our Memorial Service which was led by Hank Farr. Hank did a wonderful job conducting the service and the reading of the names of our classmates who have answered the Last Roll Call by a member of their platoon was a really nice touch. MG Freddie A. Valenzuela, US Army (Ret), a personal friend of Estella’s family, spoke during the memorial service and his thoughts and remembrances were apropos. And, as usual, the playing of TAPS brought the lump in the throat, a tightness of the chest, and tears to the eyes. We must thank our Bugler, Tawny Huron, 2nd cousin of Estella Kierce, for taking the time to play for us.
A short drive brought us to the “Mi Tierra” Restaurant for a 100% Mexican meal accompanied by strolling singers with guitars. With open time after lunch, some went shopping in the open market adjacent to Mi Tierra, did some more sight-seeing and others just relaxed.
At 1800 hours, Saturday, we gathered for cocktails in the Hospitality Room and at 1900 hours trooped across the hall for our Banquet. After a delicious meal, we listened to a great talk by COL Christopher L. Shepherd, USA (Ret), who spoke to us about his role in planning for future military contingencies. Chris is the brother of our own Chuck Shepherd and we thank Chuck for arranging to have Chris join us for the evening. The day ended for many with a last call at the Hospitality Room.
Sunday morning was “get-away day” but a few managed to gather for a farewell breakfast. Art and Cynthia Carter could not join us as they left at “Oh Dark Thirty” to head home to Maine. It takes them 3 planes just to get to Bath and then they have a long car ride home. Art has the distinction of being the oldest member of our class and one of the few who can still get into his dress blues! Larry Evans attended his first Reunion and is still slim and trim. Asked if he can still get into his blues, Larry said “I don’t know because I don’t know where they are!
Plans are in place for ”Our 50th Year Reunion which will take place in April, 2014 at the same place where it all started – Fort Benning, Georgia. Our host will be Ray Kauffman who has already begun planning for this event. Please visit our class website (www.ocs4-64.org) for current information on the 50th Year Reunion.
Here is the list of names of those attending the 48th Reunion: 1st Plt – Art and Cynthia Carter; 2nd Plt – Larry Evans, Hank and Gloria Farr; 3rd Plt – Larry and Betty Hjorth, Ray Kaufman, Chuck and Estella Kierce, George and Virginia Lordi; 4th Plt – Ron and Camelia Ray; 5th Plt – Gene and Joann Rutland, Ron, Joyce and Kelly (daughter) Sommer, John Schade and Sybil Letzing, Chuck Shepherd and Elonka Spector, Roy and Jackie Stewart and daughter Dr. Cynthia Barkley, Bill and Dorothy Volkman with Son Daniel and his wife, Polly and daughter, Scarlett, and George and Donna Wilkins. We thank all who attended and sincerely hope they had a great time. And special thanks to George and Donna Wilkins and Chuck and Estella Kierce for being our gracious hosts and outstanding tour guides. Four of our classmates planned to but could not attend. Henry Franklin was planning to attend but passed away in June 2011. Fred Meyers and Bill Moat had to cancel as their wives were ailing - it would have been Fred’s first reunion. And Sherm Williford had to back out as he had a family emergency. But to those who made it, THANK YOU ALL AND SEE YOU AT FORT BENNING IN 2014!
A DVD (with some 350+ pictures) has been created and mailed to all attendees. Should any of our classmates, who could not attend, would like to receive a copy of this DVD, please email Gene Rutland at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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