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All ASA Italy Reunion Indianapolis 2001

All ASA Reunion Italy Indianapolis 2001

September 21-23, 2001 in Indianapolis: The reunion happened with reduced attendance due to time and circumstances.
Photo gallery below the After-Action Report.
Photographs provided by Ted Rhuark and Merle Houdek.
After Action Report By Mel Erman

While the smoke of the Sept. 11th attacks on America still rose to the skies, some old soldiers gathered in Indianapolis to reunite, to remember the years of serving in Italy, and to have a good time telling tales, maybe drinking a little wine, and generally getting to know one another again.

There were 11 ASAers and 6 significant others in attendance for some or all of the festivities. A complete list of attendees is at the end of this notice. Several others had hoped to make it, but infirmities of the moment and the Airline scare held some from attending. (Tom Harris, fearless keeper of the web site, flew round-trip from Atlanta).

Bobbie Giddens hosted the reunion, and set up excellent rates at a 4-star downtown hotel, the Omni Severin. Bobbie also had a suite with refrigerator, micro-wave, food and beverages, plus an outside veranda with a view of the city. It was the perfect setting to relax and tell some lies. Did I hear lies? Not.

However, more facts on the saga of the McFadden jeep, its makeover into a Pimpmobile, and then the use of it to take down several yards of Aviano airbase fencing, were explored. (You know, the airforce never really knew what the hell we were doing there, and didn't want to. A fear factor which we somehow continued to feed. Crash into the fence, drive accidentally across the runway, oh, just call their CO and stay out of their way.)

Friday night, a group of perhaps 15 tried to get into the Slippery Noodle Blues Bar and Restaurant, Giddens negotiating a reduction in the cover charge: good man! The place was rocking tho, 2 bands playing in separate rooms, and both were sure we were hard of hearing. If actual fact, by the time we had finished dinner, we were temporarily deafened. By the time we all snaked into the Noodle, though, we lost Ted and Annie Rhuark. As Ted later told it: many years ago some place tried to charge him a cover charge, and as he walked away he vowed never ever to enter an establishment that had a cover, even a reduced one.

Saturday was open during the day, and small groups moved out around the central part of Indy. Almost eerily, Indy is a city of many monuments to war and peace. The center of the city has an obelisk called the Soldier and Sailors Monument. Within minutes by foot are the World War Memorial, Winners of the Medal of Honor Memorial, a plaque and remembrance bench in honor of the crew of the USS Indianapolis, and of course, the headquarters of the American Legion, flags flying high. There was also excellent shopping at the Circle City Mall, which had a skyway from the hotel, the restored Union Station, Eiteljorg Museum, and many other shops, sidewalk cafes and for some, a fairly quick return to the hotel suite on the 12th floor.

Saturday night dinner was at Buca di Beppo's. It was a great Italian feast with massive plates of food which we jointly shared at our tables. Then back to the suite and discussions of how changed and crowded it now is in northern Italy, Vicenza and Camp Ederle. Very difficult to get your bearing when driving there. Part of you remembers how it was, and so wants to see it that way again. Not to be, though. The Italians are the same, though. Just more, bigger, faster cars and trucks. We'd kept the TV off for much of the time, but, eventually, we had to see what was going on. It got kind of quiet. And then, someone would remember a story about Ravenna, or Lecce, or whatever happened to that NCO, and we'd be back in Italy again. Several people brought old pictures, SOPs and directives from The SETAF command, and these sparked more memories.

After breakfast on Sunday, we vowed to do this again soon, try to enlist (bad word choice) some more attendees, and then shook hands all around.

Arrivaderci and Ciao for Now.

Attendees: (not in any particular order)

  • Bob Giddens and Mary Beth
  • Mel and Linda Erman
  • Richard and Wandra Early
  • Jim and Wanda Epps
  • Merle and Carol Houdek
  • Richard Anderson
  • H Roger Miller
  • Tom Harris
  • (John Ted Hoop) and Annie Rhuark
  • Bob Mazzucco and Libby
  • Starting in 2001 we upgraded the Ravenna Detachment reunions to be the 75/600th USASA Company and all ASA Italy reunion.