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More than 600 attend 58th convention at Washington, D.C. years ago

Kansas City slated

for next year's event

The 58th annual convention of the 99th Infantry Division Association was held Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, near Washington, D.C.

Approximately 650 veterans, family members, and friends participated in the reunion.

Activities began Aug. 31 with a tour of Arlington National Cemetery and the Iwo Jima Memorial.

That evening, Charles Biggio, C/371 and Joseph Doherty, H/393, gave a presentation, "The 99th's Role in the Battle of the Bulge," to a packed audience. Doherty's remarks are printed elsewhere in this issue.

Saturday's activities included a tour of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The Diggers, well-known friends of the 99th from Belgium, including Jean-Louis Seel, Jean-Philippe Speder, Marc Menestrey, and Jean-Luc Marique, along with historian and author Bill Warnock gave a PowerPoint presentation and program Saturday afternoon. The presentation was so well-received, it was repeated Monday afternoon in a larger meeting room to accommodate more people.

Saturday evening, veterans and their guests enjoyed a tour of the memorials and monuments of Washington, D.C.

More than 600 attended the Memorial Service Sunday morning, which was relocated to the hotel ballroom.

Original plans had called for the Memorial Service to be held at the National World War II Memorial. Due to some last minute changes in seating requirements, it was moved to the hotel.

Following the Memorial Service, former U.S. Senator Bob Dole stopped at the hotel to visit and pose for photos with veterans. He spent approximately 30 minutes in the lobby, talking to veterans and shaking hands.

At 10 a.m. motor coaches began a shuttle service to the National World War II Memorial. The group was transported to the memorial for an opportunity to visit the site on their own.

While there, the Checkerboard Chorus presented an impromptu concert, to the delight of 99'ers and other tourists at the memorial. The Chorus, after 13 years of providing entertainment at annual conventions, has been retired.

In the afternoon, a tour of Washington, D.C., was enjoyed by more than 200.

That evening, a "Welcome to Washington" reception was held at the hotel. Entertainment featured the Brooks Tegler Sextet.

Monday morning, the women attended an informative and musical program while veterans attended the annual membership meeting.

The convention concluded with the annual reception and banquet that evening.

The evening began with the sergeants-at-arms advancing the colors. President Joe Johnson led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance and gave the invocation.

Following the meal, Johnson introduced those seated at the head table and announced the names of the new board members, Charles Eubanks and Lawrence Apple.

Johnson introduced MG William Monk, commander of the 99th Regional Readiness Command, who presented veterans in the audience with a U.S. Army Freedom Team Salute Commendation.

The Salute is an official program sponsored by the Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff, and recognizes U.S. Army veterans with a commendation for their dedicated service and continued support of today's soldiers.

The Freedom Team Salute Commendation package includes an official Army lapel pin, official Army decal, and a certificate of appreciation and letter of thanks signed by both the Chief of Staff and Secretary of the Army.

Johnson then introduced Col. Paul Aswell, Dept. of the Army, G-1, director of Military Personnel Management Office. Aswell gave a video presentation and spoke about the difference between today's Army and the Army of World War II.

Following the speeches, past president John Vasa passed on to Johnson the "Last Man Standing" bottle of cognac. Vasa also was presented with a gold lapel pin, in recognition of his two years as president of the association.

K/393 and F/393 were recognized as the largest groups in attendance at the convention. Winners of the 50/50 drawing were announced and are printed elsewhere in this issue.

The colors were retired and the audience enjoyed the music of the Tom Cunningham Orchestra.