VETERANS OF THE FIRST ENGINEER
|BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Larry Blair, Chairman
Fred (Dick) Haas
Richard Hauri, Treasurer
Ron Libinski, Secretary
Kim Thompson, Editor;
Terry Hueser, Web Master
Diehard Engineers have Another Great Reunion
Submitted by Chairman, Larry Blair
On 9 September, 2007, staff and guests of the Holiday Inn Select were surprised by the volume of attendees of the Veterans of the First Engineer Combat Battalion. Subsequent forays into the Mall of the Americas demonstrated the ability of Engineer wives to demolish the household budget, while their husbands gawked at the engineering marvels therein. Diehard Engineers did significant damage and built amazing structures in WWII and Vietnam, but mostly under fire. This time, we did our damage with plastic (and not C-4)
The "Diehard Engineers" are (or were, until recent reorganization) the oldest and most decorated of all Engineer Battalions in the US Army. We have been a proud member of the First Infantry Division since World War 1, when the First Engineer Battalion was selected by name to be the Divisional Engineer Battalion. Since then, we have fought with and supported the Infantry, Armor, Cavalry, Artillery and other units to make the Big Red One the Premier Division in the US Army.
Our reunion was a great event. 60+ members and family members attended. A special addition to the banquet was the arrival of thirty family and friends to celebrate the attendance of WWII Combat Engineer Gaylord Winfield.
Terri Navratil, Curator of the First Infantry Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton, Illinois, was our guest speaker and presented a great talk about the Museum and the role of engineers in the Division.
Most of those in attendance were presented with packets from the Army's Freedom Team Salute, recognizing their service to the Army and the USA. Other members will receive their packets through the mail.
Big thanks to CSM Bob Brink and outgoing Secretary Brian Juneau, for all the great arrangements, to Treasurer Richard Hauri, to our steadfast Newsletter Editor Kim Thompson, and to our webmaster Terry Hueser.
Next year's reunion will be near Fort Riley, Kansas in September. The Battalion will be back from its tour in Iraq, and we hope to have a great reunion with our Diehard Engineers who have been defending our freedoms. Plan on being there! In the meantime, visit our great website www.diehardengineer.com.
Rom Labinski is a native of Buffalo, NY. His family also lived in Cleveland, OH, where he graduated High School in 1955, and Chicago, where he attended The University of Illinois. He received his degree in Architecture in 1962 and was then commissioned in the Corps of Engineers. He served with the 1ST ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION from 1963 to 1965 at FORT RILEY and Commanded Delta Company while constructing assault airfields for C-130 and F-4 aircraft at Eglin AFB for exercise.
In 1965 he settled in Kansas City where he began his career in Sports Architecture, working on the Truman Sports complex, home to the Chiefs and Royals. In 1981 he founded HOK Sport, which today is the world’s leading Sports Architecture firm. Their credits included more the 40 NFL and MLB stadiums. The Olympic stadium in Australia, and the new Wembley stadium in London. Ron is retired from his firm but is still active as a consultant.. He is a volunteer with the Kansas City Sports Commission and Habitat for Humanity. He and Lee, his wife, play golf and enjoy entertaining their 6 and 8 year old grandchildren.
Thank you for your service, Brian. Welcome aboard, Ron.
Welcome to our new members:
Frank Bogat, 1968-69 C Co., Chad Hagg, B Co., 2005- present, William Bradshaw B Co., 2005-08, David Stuart HHC 1967-69, Tommy Brenner E Co., 1968-69, Thomas Moore B Co., 1966-67, Lyle Le Clair A Co., 1967-68, Dennis York HHC 1969-70, Duncan MacVicar C Co., 1968, Aaron Wagner A Co., 1994-97
FREEDOM TEAM SALUTE
You may have received a packet from the U S Army Freedom Team Salute, containing a letter from the SecArmy and Chief of Staff, a handsome framable certificate thanking you for your service, and a bumper sticker and lapel pin. This is an authorized Army program to recognize Army veterans for their service. As Chairman of the Board, I provided the Freedom Team Salute staff with a roster of our members so you could each receive a packet. Those who attended the reunion in Bloomington MN, received their packets at that time. The information on the roster will not be used by the Army for any other purpose, nor is it released to anyone else.
Call me at 505-821-1386 if you have any questions. Larry Blair, Chairman.
We received some information from Richard Hauri regarding a great book. The title is America’s Legendary 1st Infantry Division from World War I to Desert Storm. More information or to order this book go to the University Press of Kansas website www.kansaspress.ku.edu. Or call 785-864-4155. An excerpt from the article; “ …Meticulously detailed and engagingly written, The Big Red One reflects the larger chronicle of America’s military experience.” Unfortunately we could not publish the complete article. If any one would like to order a copy of this book the order form follows...
Richard also provided the following articles he found in the Ft. Riley newspaper.
'Diehards' Receive Purple Hearts
Sgt. 1st Class Randolph Stone lives by the warrior ethos, "I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, I will never leave a fallen comrade." Stone was the senior medic for the 111th Sapper Company deployed to Northern Iraq with the 1st Engineer Battalion 'Diehards'.
After hundreds of route clearance missions protecting and aiding other coalition forces and Iraqi civilians, he was wounded during combat operations. Stone has been recovering at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas for several months.
Stone's optimistic attitude is contagious. He is confident he will recover and achieve "self-sufficient" status in a few months. At that point he plans to continue to serve by helping other wounded Soldiers recover.
On July 25, a luncheon was held to honor 1st Engr. Bn. Soldiers who currently are receiving treatment at BAMC. During a formal awards ceremony, Maj. Jose Aguilar, the Diehard Executive Officer, presented Purple Hearts to Spc. Jason Ferris and Sgt. Matthew Smith and applauded their recovery efforts. Following the ceremony an informal reception and question and answer session was held with family and friends. Despite their injuries, Diehard Soldiers at BAMC showed great care and concern for their comrades still fighting in Iraq and are all anxiously looking forward to being reunited upon redeployment.
Engineers Recognized at Award Ceremony Tikrit, Iraq - At a 1st Engineer Battalion Awards Ceremony on 14 July, Soldiers from the Forward Support Company and 41st Mobility Augmentation Company were recognized for their efforts in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Col. James H. Trogdon, Commander of the 105 Combat Engineer Group awarded the Purple Heart to Sgt. Steven Boles, Sgt. David Christensen and Pfc. Sean Worsley, who all sustained wounds during combat operations. Trogdon awarded an Army Commendation Medal with Valor device to Spc. Virik Sim, who saved the life of an Iraqi civilian while under enemy fire.
Trogdon recognized all of the Soldiers in the 1st Engr. Bn., as he compared the 15-month deployments to an "ultra marathon". He applauded the unit for their continuous effort enduring the safety and mobility of the Iraqi people.
Trogdon also recently traveled to Forward Operating Base Warhorse where he awarded Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hartman, 72nd Mobility Augmentation Company, a Purple Heart for wounds sustained during a mortar attack. At Logistics Support Area Anaconda he awarded Pfc. Brandon Moore, 1st Platoon, 11th Sapper Company, a Purple Heart for wounds sustained during a combat patrol.
Dates for the 2008 reunion are September 7th, 8thand 9th. The reunion will be held at the
Courtyard By Marriott
310 Hammons Drive
Junction City, KS 66441
Complimentary USA Today Newspaper
The rates for the Hotel for the 2008 reunion are as follows.
Single occupancy $121.00 per day, Total $363.00
Double occupancy $147.00 per day, Total $441.00
The above rate includes all taxes and gratuities, 2 Buffet Dinners and 1 Banquet Dinner.
To make your reservation please call: 1-785-210-1500. When you call you must advise them you are making reservations for the 1st Engineer Combat Battalion Reunion for September 7,8,9, 2008. You may start making reservations NOW. The cut off date is August 8, 2008. Reservation requests after the cut off date will be accepted on space and rate availability. Those wishing to arrive early, on September 6, may obtain the reunion rate as long as 20 or more rooms are available, otherwise the rate will be $112.00 (not including meals) plus tax. So book early to arrive early.
In the next newsletter you will receive a form for the Banquet Dinner on September 9, 2008. You must fill out this form and send it to the address listed on the form to ensure that you will get your choice. The form must be received by the Hotel prior to August 26, 2008. Tickets for each meal will be distributed when you sign in at the Command Post.
Shuttle Buses (kciroadrunner.com) are available approximately every 2 hours to and from the Hotel and Kansas City International Airport. The travel time is about 2 hours. The cost is $97.00 per round trip. More information will be provided in the next newsletter regarding car rentals
|As a reminder, dues ($10.00) are due in
September of each year. They can also be paid a year(s) in
advance. Please complete the below form and return to our
PO Box 1157
Beloit, WI 53512-1157
For a change of address, telephone number or to request a copy of the roster please fill out the request below and send it to me at the address below.
City:__________________ State:___________________ Zip:____________
Kim Thompson, 243 Niantic River Rd, Waterford, CT. 06385 Tel. (860)-447-0676, firstname.lastname@example.org.