The 12th CAV
Volume XVIII, Issue 1 - March 2021
2020/2021 Reunion Update
With Vaccines for Covid being available and administered aggressively, we believe that, by the time of our reunion (rescheduled to October 20th thru the 24th this year) such a gathering will be safe, even for old geezers like us, as well as for our beautiful, young spouses or significant others. Our arrangement with the Sheraton Uptown Hotel in Albuquerque still stands.
There are a multitude of things to see and do in the Albuquerque area, in addition to our normal re-telling of our adventures in Southeast Asia. We are planning some scheduled events, such as group trips , to ride the aerial tram to the crest of the nearby Sandia Mountains, or to visit Santa Fe or Albuquerque’s Old Town for the
shops and museums, or to visit Acoma Pueblo’s “Sky City” – an ancient Native American village on top of a mesa. (Those are not set in stone yet so if there is some other event of broad interest that you would like to do in Albuquerque, let Bob Richards know via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by phone at (505-307-2056).
There are numerous other activities that might spark your individual interest; a hot air balloon ride, a visit to an aviation museum in the nearby town of Moriarty, a search for the best green chile cheeseburger, a visit to the New Mexico Veterans Memorial Park, and many others.
Those who might travel to the reunion by car or RV can also find some interesting sites further afield, while coming or heading home. The David Westphall Vietnam Veterans Memorial near Angel Fire, the “birthplace of the atomic bomb” in Los Alamos, and the museums and shops in Santa Fe that the scheduled tour might not
provide time for.
If you have any questions, feel free to call Keith Eaton at 614-266-8848 or Bob Richards at the number above.
So Get your Vaccinations, and we will see you in October… Bob Richards
Important Dates in 2021
A Troop 4th Squadron 12th Cavalry Regiment Reunion
Start Date: Wednesday October 20th 2021
End Date: Sunday October 24th 2021
Last Day to book rooms at the reunion rate
September 30th 2021
Please don’t miss this date. Rooms may be at a
premium. Get your registration in no later than
September 30th also. We need to pay some bills up front.
The First 2 New Troopers attending the reunion, will have their Rooms costs covered by the Troop. 1st Rooms reserved will be the criteria for winning the rooms.
2021 Reunion Albuquerque New Mexico
Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown
2600 Louisiana Blvd N.E.
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
This years reunion is being hosted by Headquarters Platoon, Bob Richards and Keith Eaton are the co hosts for the event. If you have any further questions feel free to give them a call at their numbers listed below. There are two ways you can make your reservation, At the hotel by calling 505-830-5781 or 1-800-252-7772 or you can go to our web site , A Troop 4th Squadron 12th Cavalry and click on the reunions section and the year 2021 and that will take you to the hotel reservation web site and you can make your reservations online. Room rates are $119 dollars a night and that is for either a King size or two Queens. Included are breakfasts for two daily. During the reunion Wednesday thru Sunday we will have a buffet breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 A.M. at the hospitality suite. If you stay additional days, the breakfast will be at the restaurant in the hotel. This will allow us to enjoy breakfast together as the family we have become.
Don’t forget to get your room reservation in early, the cut-off date for room reservations is Thursday September 30th 2021, Rooms after that date will be charged based on availability and at the current daily rate. If we fill our current block of rooms prior to that date we will be able to add additional rooms at our contracted rate if they are available. So book your stay early.
This years reunion is being held in Albuquerque, for a number of reasons. One is we have not had a reunion in that part of the country for a while and it is close and available to most of our West Coast Brothers. Secondly, our fearless leader Bob Richards volunteered to be boots on the ground working to find a hotel, and go to school for a bartending certificate so we can have a bar in the hospitality suite. Thank You Bob. We are currently working on some other items like a group event. There are so many different things to see and do in the Albuquerque area, and yes there are Casino’s North, South, and West of the reunion location all withina 30 minute drive.
If you can, make it a road trip for the ages, come and enjoy the area and our own brand of hospitality.
Troopers Helping Other Veterans
George Gibbs, was born in San Francisco and doesn’t live far from where he spent his early years. His step father was a Navy Chief who retired as a Lt. Commander. Like many in the military, they moved around. George ended up going to high school in Norfolk Virginia and graduating in Maryland in 1965. He was a gifted athlete and received a scholarship to run track at Norfolk State University. He ran the 440,880, the mile and anchored the relay team.
George got married in June of 1969 and was drafted in July of 1969. He did his basic training at Ft. Benning and 11D armored recon at Ft. Knox. He admits he spent a lot of time AWOL and would be punished by having to run. Something he loved and would do anyway. George was assigned to the second platoon and was severely wounded by an RPG April 8th 1970 which led to the amputation of his right forearm. He went through rehab in Japan, Ft. Meade, and Ft Eustis.
George received a Bachelors’ degree in recreational therapy from Norfolk State and a Masters in vocational rehabilitation counseling from Coppin University, in Baltimore. Work was difficult to find. His wife Lucille worked for the US Navy as a therapist and was stationed in Sicily for two years, George worked as a substitute teacher. Later Lucille transferred to London and George worked for US Military Customs.
Shortly after returning to the US, George started working for the VA in San Francisco. He performed several different jobs with the VA. He provided counseling for incarcerated veterans in prisons and jails in the San Francisco Bay area. George ran a Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program that taught the soft skills of
employment that homeless veterans somehow lost through substance abuse, PTSD, or some other malady.
He ran therapy sessions for homeless veterans with substance abuse problems. George says, “Substance abuse knows no rank”. He had members of this groups that were enlisted, officers, and academy graduates.
Outside of the VA, George was appointed San Francisco City Commissioner for Veterans Affairs by then Mayor and now US Senator Diane Feinstein. George has participated and sometimes was in charge of the “ Stand Down” in the Bay Area. Stand Down events are typically one to three day events organized by Community Based Veterans Services Organizations, Non-Profit Organizations, and County Veterans Service Offices with cooperation from a variety of state, federal, and private agencies. Vital services, such as: food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services such as housing, employment, and substance abuse treatment are provided. In addition, access to homeless courts where veterans are able to resolve minor violations and warrants, are also available. These critical services are often the catalyst that enables homeless veterans to reenter mainstream society.
If you are a homeless veteran in the Bay area, you know “ Double G “ George is a celebrity among the homeless veterans of San Francisco.
George, has attended many of the Cav reunions first with his wife Lucille, who passed in 2006 and with his soulmate Laverne who passed in 2019. Like many of us, being drafted and having military service has changed our lives for the better.
50 Year sitrep from John (Fat Rat) Reynolds, 3rd Plt. (69-70)
When John Sharpe ask me to “write something up for the newsletter,” I realized that my “public” story wouldn’t cut it-not with this audience. We all shared a unique, life-altering experience that has colored our lives in ways that few outsiders would understand. So it feels important to try to tell my story through that uncommon lens that we have in common.
You would understand, for example, that making it back to The World was, for me, a kind of reprieve- the gift of a new life; that my life is really a succession of new ‘ lives,’ each a full lifetime from the standpoint of those whose lives were cut short; and that my life can’t make sense unless it honors brothers who never came home. Maybe it’s the same for you.
My “first life” (before I knew I’d be given more than one) was spent in Latin America. My dad was a CIA officer, though I was in my mid-teens before I learned the facts. Transfers came every 2-3 years, replacing one home in one country for another, with new culture, school, friends. Locals were among my friends, and I blended in pretty quickly for a gringo. Military coups and routine violence became part of the background. I was 5 when I experienced my first aerial bombardment (in Argentina). I was 13, and alone with four younger siblings when I chased an armed robber from inside our home-with old shoes and a golf putter. ( He escaped, but not before firing 4 slugs that, luckily hit only our living room wall). For my 14th birthday, my pals treated me my first trip to the local brothel ( in Brazil, this was a rite of passage akin to, say an American dad giving his son a razor to mark his status as a man).
I was 17 when I returned to California, my “ home of record”. I didn’t know anyone here, and I found it hard to fit in. I dropped out of college and drifted my way to Boston, where the rest of my family lived at the time. At 19, when I received my draft notice, I was more relieved than conflicted. I came from a long tradition of service to country, so answering the call seemed the right thing to do. Ft Gordon for basic, Ft Polk for AIT, a couple of weeks of leave, on to Bien Hoa and my assignment to A/4/12. As an 11B, I was relieved to have been spared a year of humping an 80-pound ruck through thick jungle.
I arrived at LZ Nancy in June, 1969, weeks after a disgruntled trooper dropped a live grenade on the orderly room floor, killing 2 and maiming 3 more. Paul Schiano had been brought in as a replacement for the fallen clerk. Paul was heading home, and Top needed a replacement. I could type, so just like that I became 1SG Church’s clerk (and your mail guy. Your welcome! 🙂
After 3 months living and working with Top, I ask to be transferred to the field, where I felt I belonged. By then I’d been promoted to E-4. No matter that it was for typing up morning reports. Going to the field, I was now the only E-4 on my track (34), so of course!!, I was made track commander. Thankfully, our platoon SGT quickly recovered his senses and picked a more experienced E-3 for the job. Sadly, fraggings and discontent in the Division continued, prompting the formation of a “Racial Relations Committee”. I was named the Troops representative, which meant getting choppered into HQ for monthly meetings. These short trips to the rear earned me the handle” Fat Rat.
My return to The World in June,1970 marked the begining of my “second life.”With a newfound sense of urgency and purpose (and the GI bill) I finished my BA within 3 years ( Ohio State). After a couple more years in corporate sales, I got an MBA (Stanford) There I met some amazing people, a good number of whom became lifelong friends and business collaborators.
That second life was all about career-building. I was in the middle of Silicon Valley, and I got caught up in the frenzied startup world. It was a rough and tumble world. I kept at it for a long time, but I knocked out a couple of singles at best, while developing a much thicker skin.
My “third life” began when I met and married my wife, Jan, with whom I started a family (son, Thomas, daughter, Annie ). I knew it was time to transition to a new life when I realized that chasing business glory was not what it was all about. In 2008 I founded “Veterans2Work”, a nonprofit that helps, less advantaged veterans launch in-demand careers. V2W continues to be the most rewarding work I’ve ever done. In 2012 I was honored at the White House for my work, but the real payoff is when you see a life changing before your eyes.
I’ve always been proud of my service, and I never tried to hide it, even when others projected their contempt onto us Vietnam Vets. Without a doubt, being part of A4/12 made me a better manager, friend, neighbor, and citizen. Last May, “The New York Times”, published my letter in response to David Brooks call for national service. I point to my experience with you as a compelling example of the case for universal national service.
Jan and I recently sold our home and are setting out on a year-long road “recon” of the USA. Let me know if you‘re open for a visit. If we’re in your neighborhood we’d love to say hello
John Reynolds (A34) 69/70