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Del Rio UPT Class 70-01 Reunion - Orlando, FL

Top row, L to R: Gary McDonald 68, Don Schneider, Dave Oberg 68, Doug Kirschke, John Burnett, Zim Zimmerman, Al (Mad Dog) Dyer 68, Fritza Ewens, Bill Ewens, Rich Booker 68, John Cowgill.

2nd Row: Judy Schneider, Jeri Oberg, Sue Kirschke, Lorna Boone, Pat Burnett, Audi Zimmerman, Tamara Dyer, our hostess Annesly Wood of NASA, Jeanine (Cowgill) Carlisle

3rd Row: Summitt Boone (Sonic Boom), Duey Mrosla 68, Mar-retta Bogart, DJ Mrosla 68, Dave Bogart 68, our tourguide Art from NASA, and Jay Barnes 68. Bob Hughes 68 and John Chapman 68 joined us later.

"Fallen Comrade Table"


"Salute to Fallen Comrades"
70-01 Orlando Reunion Recap (2/27-3/3/2010)

To all 70-01 classmates and friends -

The reunion is over. Yesterday, we all said our farewells, and it was an emotional moment. Besides the "usual suspects" at the reunion, we had a surprise visit from Mr. & Mrs. Dark Cloud, who originally said they couldn't make it. But, make it they did, and not only was it a delight to see Marie again, but Dark Cloud was in his typical entertaining form.

We also had a surprise in Bob Hughes, the Hugger, who drove over to join us for most of the reunion. And first-timers Dave and Mar-retta Bogart. What a thrill! All of us enjoyed getting back with Dave, and Mar-retta is a total delight! It took her about two nano-seconds to feel at home with the group. As expected, the wives did their own bonding, but it was intertwined with the guys. Of course, Dave Oberg was also in rare form as always, and kept us in stitches the whole time.

Let me summarize the reunion for you. For those who attended, bear with me. For those of you who were unable to make it, this is for you.

I got snowed in up in NJ, and most flights were cancelled last weekend out of NJ. John and Pat Burnett were my white knight and dame, as they had come in from Loveland several days early, and were on-site. As I couldn't even get out of my driveway due to the 2' of snow, John offered to shop for and prepare the "hootch" for the Saturday arrival.

As it turned out, I couldn't get a flight into Orlando, but was able to get to Savannah, where I keep my 1985 Olds 98 "Battlecruiser". I was able to get into SAV about 7 p.m. and was on the road about 30 minutes after landing. With a non-stop drive, I got to the Orlando hotel about half past 11 p.m. The Dyers left the Baltimore area about mid-day Saturday, and were about 4 hours behind me. That got them to Orlando about 4 a.m.

I had been in constant contact with the 70-01 group via cellphone all the way down from SAV, and when I arrived at the hotel at about 11:30, most of the group was waiting for me. As I had hoped, John and Pat had shopped for a heavy "picnic" dinner, so that no one would have to arrive and worry about dinner. They set some sammitches aside for me, and for the Dyers. What a God-send! Plus, a cold beer was a "cool" welcome!

I guess I got to bed about 2 a.m. and surprise, surprise, Mr. & Mrs. Mad Dog called me when they got in, about 4 a.m. Well, I had asked them to do that. So, we re-opened the Hootch and socialized for about 1 ½ hrs. Then I helped them unload their van. I won't go into detail, but you wouldn't believe all the "stuff" MadDog brought in the van!

Sunday, we all met for breakfast at the hotel, and the only planned event was "real" golf. Gary McDonald was inbound from PHX, and I told him I would wait at the hotel for him, and we would carpool to the Kissimmee Bay CC and catch up with the gang. Chappie had arranged the tee times, and we wound up just catching them for the back nine. Nice course, and very affordable.

That evening we all had a wonderful dinner at Pacino's Ristorante in Kissimmee. Then back to the Hootch for cameraderie. A very late night. One of the events was to pass out the 70-01 polo shirts. I encouraged everyone to wear their shirts to the NASA tour in the morning, and every one did. I said I wanted everyone at the facility to know that 70-01 had arrived. I was joking, but it worked. We had free entry to all the major attractions at NASA. And when a "green shirt" arrived, they just waived us through. I guess I got what I'd wished for.

Tuesday was "70-01 Golf" day, and we returned to the same course. It was warmer, but windier than hell. I felt like Jim Cantore in Storm Stories in Kissimmee! But we had fun! DJ Mrosla took Bob Hughes out on the beer cart, and they did a great job making sure that we never went thirsty.

Tuesday evening, we had a poolside cookout. OK, the cooking was done poolside, but we ate in the Hootch. Great job by the organizers, the Obergs, and all their helpers. Pigged out on chicken, brats, and dawgs. It was awesome! Jeri decided to up-scale on us, so we had all kinds of sides, appetizers, salads, and super desserts. 'way to go, Jeri!

Wed, the only thing going was a business meeting, and the Banquet, followed by our last night of together stuff.

At the business meeting, we had an AAR on the reunion. High ratings. Especially on the hotel and the hotel team. In fact, several said that they had been to hotels all over the country, and had never met such a wonderful hotel staff! They couldn't have been more accommodating, and we told them so.

We also discussed future reunion plans. No decisions were made, because we need to give those who couldn't attend a chance to weigh in. If we stay on track with a reunion every 5 years, we will not have many more. So our consensus is to go with 2 ½ to 3 years from now on.

Possible sites were proposed. I offered the following:

I had done a reunion at this hotel 2 ½ years ago, for my Jake FAC group. So, for this reunion, as this was pretty much put together in a hurry, I dusted off my plans from 2008, erased "Jake FACs" and wrote "70-01". (I like to recycle). I have just done a Jake FAC reunion in Buena Park (near Anaheim) last fall. So, we could do the same thing.

Option two was Pat Rabjohn's suggestion to come to Ft. Worth, and he could do a General Dynamics tour. There is also the FAC Museum at Meacham Field. And plenty of good restaurants.

Option three that I suggested is a place that many classmates have never been to - Colonial Willimasburg. It is a fantastic experience, and every red-blooded American should visit CW at least once in their lives.

Other options that were presented were Denver/C-Springs, returning to San Antonio, or go to Mexico, or possibly a cruise in lieu of the traditional Reunion.

Again, no decisions were made. This must allow for input from everyone.

Every day, especially the evenings, centered around the Hootch, and swapping lies and memories with classmates. The other stuff was just icing.

Souvenirs included a 70-01 embroidered polo shirt, an Oscar Brand CD, Mad Dog's pdf version of the yearbook, and a decal (suitable for trunk or window), plus the class "challenge coin" including the text describing the history of the challenge coin tradition. Cain is AWESOME! Lots of decals, CDs and coins left, if you are interested.

This is pretty much a wrap. It was an awesome reunion, and we have raised the bar once more. I hope that all of you will weigh in on the issues we discussed.

That's it. Be in touch. To all who attended this reunion, thank you again for making it so memorable. It was! Cheers -


Thanks Jay for a super event.

Click here for a MS Word copy of the Schedule of Events.

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