From:  Jim White

   Dated:  May 19, 2017

​​​Subject:  Fish or Cut Bait

I don't want to either fish nor cut bait--in other words, I would most certainly prefer that the reunion be on dry land (my apologies to all you "Navy types").   My main objection is that many (if not all cruises) have lots of hidden costs that they hit you with when it is time to debark.  Second reason is that the 30 to 40+ of us would be rather lost in a group of several thousand.  Third reason is that the reunion is meant to be a chance for us to get to know each other better as well as again meet those whom perhaps we haven't seen in many decades--or even those we have never known in person but know them only through our Yahoo group and the website, etc.   Along this line, I think that--with each reunion--the past organizers have been trying to "out-do" the previous one.  Understandably so, we all have an urge to do things "bigger and better."  But having "group activities" every afternoon just cuts down on the "chat and meet" time.  Those who want to come to the reunion as an excuse to see another city or whatever are most welcome to do so--I'll try to say either "Hello" or "Goodbye" to them at least once.  But promotion and advertising of "other activities" should perhaps be as low-key and as "voluntary" as possible. 
Having met in the center in 2012, on the West coast in 2014 and on the East coast i 2016, I think that it is the center's turn again.  South Central (Texas)--less the wild pigs--would be fine and North Central (Minnesota)--less any shopping malls--would be equally interesting.  I'll go where ever the other AFVNers go--but let's stop suggesting more and more "new places."   We'll never arrive at a decision if everyone has a new suggestion. 
I didn't make the reunion in 2016 due to my wife's health problems.   Hopefully, we'll both be in such shape as is possible for "old folk" and I'll be there in 2018. 
Best wishes, 
Jim W 

    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  June 8, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Hello, Hello, is there anyone out there?   This is Station JIMW trying to get something out of this dead group!  Ken wrote the the first message above over two months ago and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED other than my reply, at least nothing has happened as far as I know?  ARE YOU ALL TIRED OF REUNIONS?   WHAT GIVES WITH THIS RATHER UNRESPONSIVE GROUP?  IF I SEEM TO BE ANNOYED--I AM!!  KEN NEEDS HELP AND LOTS OF IT!

    From:  Joe Ciokon

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

I'm game. Last time I was in Albuquerque was at the SAC base to fix and refuel our Neptune in Feb 1957. Our engines froze up over the Rockies and our pilot managed a dead stick landing in Prescott. Willing to get there early and help.

JoeC


    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  April 4, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Ken, 
As a card-carrying land-lubber, I'm not all interested in a cruise.  My vote would be for Minneapolis jus as long as there isn't six feet of snow during September/early October.  At the same time, I won't veto anything. 
Jim W


    From:  Larry Rogers

   Dated:  April 6, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Say,Chief … which landlubber can we assign for mail buoy watch ?  Or has that been changed to watch out for the Internet Relay ??


    From:  Michael Miller

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

It appears to be down to San Antonio, a cruise or Albuquerque. 
San Antonio is beautiful, but here's a brief proposal for Albuquerque.  If we decide to go this way,  I'll prepare a more detailed potential plan before we lock it down. 
The AIBF is always the first weekend through the 2nd weekend of October.  That would be the 6th through the 14th in 2018. 
If we started working on it this early, a block of rooms could be booked in a reasonably priced hotel.  I produce movies here and have connections with all sorts of convention people.  I also have people. 
Weather in October has been mild the last couple of years.  But I would advise warm clothes that can be worn in layers in case it does get cold.  It will get warm as the sun comes up. 
Since this is basic project management, it's very much like producing a movie.  I have every confidence that with Dickie's experienced advice and the help of the connections and people I have here, it would be a reunion we could all be proud of. 
I am more than willing to take on the project, but a decision should be made fairly soon as to the reunion location. 
Thanks, 
Mike

    From:  Jerry Nelson

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Albuquerque or San Antonio would be fine with me but is there anyone there that would set one up?   It has never been mentioned but we had a nice reunion one time in Indianapolis and I would offer to do most of the ground work in setting one up there.  It would just be extremely difficult to set one up from across the country. 
Jerry 


    From:  Tim Bodle

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

I think in October Albuquerque has a rather nice balloon festival.

    From:  John Kafka

   Dated:  April 6, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Brother Joe.....but just think of it Joe, we don't have to stand a bridge watch.


    From:  Rick Fredericksen

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

At the time I had responded with a two word preference: San Antonio.

Rick


    From:  Joe Ciokon

   Dated:  April 6, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Brothers and Sisters, 
Saint Louis is my hometown and I may have a few friends left there, some of whom have planning and catering experience as well.  I could  also enjoy Branson or the Texas locations.  Mary and I are not fans of cruises.  If you don’t gamble or drink, they can become pretty boring.  Although, some have interesting shore tours. 
JoeC


   From:  Bob Morecook

   Dated:  June 8, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

I am here!  Many folks are I think, Best Wishes to you.  Bob M


    From:  Dick Ellis

   Dated:  April 5, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018 Reunion (Dickie's Vote)

After working on the Raleigh reunion for a year I was one of those who jumped on the "cruise" ....(not to be confused with any sick idea that I have a desire to be a sailor!).  I was thinking about the logistics more than anything else.  It is a floating, hotel, convention center, restaurant, and entertainment venue all in one.  I had to visit and negotiate with the hotel, the bus company, the BBQ caterer, the restaurants, get info on the local VA facilities and hospitals...set up a bar, snacks, door-prizes,  rent the auditorium at the history museum, work with the Governor's office and local Vietnam Veterans for the ceremony....on and on....   It also cost a couple of bucks out of my own pocket too.   If we can find someone who is willing to put several months work...some shoe leather, some gas, some prayers and some tears...into it all....and has a wife/partner/secretary or whomever to help....then let's go wherever.   ( Let me take a second here to say...I have been divorced for about 7-years...and have not dated anyone on a regular basis for over a year..so my best friend Rex helped me with the legwork for almost a year.....and when everyone arrived I simply could not have done it without Lila Kalish....She was an angel and can you imagine her keeping Ken and Dickie on track at the same time!!!!)     If we have someone who is willing to put it all together in Texas....let's go....if not, the cruise lines have special convention coordinators, banquet managers or social directors on board to do all the heavy lifting for us.  As for the health problems and disabilities that are growing greater among us every year....once you get on the ship....your every move is taken care of.   My first choice would be a ship-ride because I have a reunion battle star....but I plan to be there wherever it takes place.   Financially, I can't see a cruise costing that much more.  Most of us could drive from east coast, mid-west or west coast to the Texas coast where many cruises leave from,  so driving or flying...getting to Texas is the same.   Hotel in a major city for 3 or 4 nights and 3-meals a day, plus bus rides, tickets to shows, and small things will, cost about the same as a cruise ticket according to my calculations. Like I say....can't wait....I'll be the first one there!  

Dickie


   A somewhat haphazard summary of the above:  

Planning for the AFVN 2018 Reunion 

    From:  Ron Hesketh

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

I thought I replied that my vote goes to San Antonio.


    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  June 8, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Bob, Yes, I know they are there--but they need to get their tree shaken if we are going to plan for a Reunion in 2018.

Jim W


    From:  Michael Miller

   Dated:  June 9, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Interesting you should say that.  I live in Albuquerque and have been participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta since 1982.  There's a great balloon flight museum, many other museums, plenty of art galleries and of course,  Old Town.  Let's not forget the various pueblos and casinos within very close proximity.  There are also many hotels of all different prices. 
Did I mention movies?   Want to see the Breaking Bad locations tour?   Visit an Old West movie set?   Visit one of the largest movie studios in the South West? 
If this is a serious possibility, I am willing to take it on.
Mike 


    From:  Ken Kalish

   Dated:  April 4, 2017

​​​Subject:  2018

Friends,
The time is upon us.  It’s time to get serious about a 2018 reunion gathering.  Some decisions need to be made before July. 
To recap, our first bi-annual gathering was in the Memphis area in 2014.  In 2016 we went west to Joe Ciokon’s San Diego, and last fall we met in Dick Ellis’ domain, Raleigh.  That’s Central, West Coast, then East Coast.  If we continue that pattern, we should gather at a Central area.   Harry said in Raleigh that Texas might be a good location for a land-based site in September and October.  Like the song says, “Somewhere ‘round about Fort Worth, Dallas, or Houston.”  My large refugee family lives in the Houston Area, and Hoa has her own little restaurant operation that would cater for us.  We could revisit Indianapolis after about a decade of having been there.  Minneapolis is a transit hub, easy to get in and easy to get out with lots of cultural stuff and some to-die-for restaurants.  Jax, for instance, has an in-house trout stream.  Shooting for the bellybutton there’s St. Louis, Kansas City, and Branson.  Denver moves us a bit West and elevates us.  In any case we need to commit in the next three months for a land-based reunion. 
As an alternative, several folks have suggested we take a cruise for 2018.  I talked to Peter Berlin this afternoon and picked his brain about possibilities.  Looking at a September to October schedule, we need to recognize that some cruises are not available at that time.  We talked generally about four night, five day schedules.  Those seem to depart on Saturday.  There’s a caveat to pricing as well in that prices do not include insurance, taxes, and port fees. As an example, one apparently inexpensive option was in the $450 per couple range, but port fees and taxes added another $198 per person (that’s another $396 per couple).  Where you want to be on the ship is another pricing issue.  The low price means an inboard cabin.  An outboard or “ocean view” cabin is more expensive, as is a cabin balcony.  We didn’t get into amenities like food and drinks, but I’m pretty sure those can be add-ons for some cruises.  Then comes the question of from where we leave and to where we go.  One less expensive option is a cruise out of Port Canaveral (near the Cape Canaveral launch site) and visits part of the Caribbean.  A cruise out of Galveston hits Gulf ports in Mexico, as might a cruise out of Los Angeles on the Pacific side of the Baja (which is the Mexican state of Baja de California).  Then there’s the question of getting to the departure site.  Like a land-based reunion, you have to get from home to the departure site and back.  I can tell you that I know nothing about booking cruises, so whomever decides to manage this operation may have to work through a travel planning business.  People who have been to sea, like our Navy members and some of our Marines, probably wouldn’t see the romance of going to sea, but we operate more-or-less as a classical democracy system here, and the votes can take us where they may.  After all, the non-salts here will have to see flying fish to believe that they really do exist and bow wave riding dolphins to study their grace.    

If there is anyone interested in stepping up to be HMFIC and/or host, please do speak up.  I don’t want anyone to feel that I consider myself sole owner and titular head of the event.  I can retire to coaching my replacement. 

There are already folks who have volunteered for some reunion-related tasks.  Many hands make fast work
Ken