1/83 Artillery

Family News & Events Archive
(News Prior to 2013)

 
• Ted Belajac (69-70) has a new Grandson. Steven was born on November 23rd. Congratulations to all.
• Here are Rich Webekind's (66-67) growing group of Grandchildren.

• Click here to see a Christmas Photoshow of Ken Blank (69-70) and his Granddaughter Bailey.
• Our sympathies go out to the family of Andy Gambill (71) whose Father recently passed away.  Condolences can be sent to Andy and his family by accessing his contact information on the 1/83rd roster.
• Bill Taggart (66-67) and his wife Ronnie and Tom Bailey (66-67) and his wife Bonnie were participants in the Reading of the Names at the 30th Anniversary of the Vietnam Memorial.  It was only the 5th time that all 58,282 names were read. Readings went from 4:00 p.m. until midnight on 11/7 and from 5:00 a.m. until midnight on 11/8, 11/9 and 11/10. On Veterans day there was a ceremony at the Wall with several guest speakers including Jan Scruggs and Eric Shinseki. Here is a link to that video.

30th Anniversary Ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC - November 11, 2012

Here are pictures of Bill & Ronnie.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are pictures of Tom & Bonnie.

• Our Bob Hollis (67-68) is now retired and enjoying his retirement doing Watercolor paintings and playing Billiards on the Eastern US Tour. Here is what Bob passed along:

"I have had the opportunity to play some of the World greats in pool. I played Willie Mosconi in an exhibition in York. I have played Allison Fisher prior to the Philadelphia Expo and played many of the Northeast players in 9 ball tournaments including Brandon Shuff (Virginia) Shawn Putnam, Adam Smith, Allen Hopkins, Shawn Wilkie, Brett Stollemeyer and others. I have a decent game - I am not Great!"

Here is a hawk that Bob painted.

• Our sympathies go out to the family of Don Eikenberry (66-67) whose Father recently passed away.  Condolences can be sent to Don and his family by accessing his contact information on the 1/83rd roster.
• Congratulation to Jerry Kosty (69-70) on this recent achievement. This sure shows the power of perseverance.

• Our sympathies go out to the family of Larry Furtado (66-67) who recently passed away.  Click here to see Larry's obituary. Condolences can be sent to Larry's family by accessing the link at Larry's obituary.
• Rich Webekind (66-67) recently visited Ft Ticonderoga, NY and St Augustine, FL and sent these pictures of some old artillery platforms. Click here to view the photoshow.

Here is what Rich had to say...

"The pictures reflect early artillery platforms in North America. Attached are pictures of the Castillo De San Marcos in St. Augustine, FL. While St. Augustine was the first European settlement in North America, construction of the fort did not begin until 1672. There are also pictures of Ft. Matanzas which was constructed along the inland waterway to guard against an attack on St. Augustine from the south. Also, pictures of Ft. Ticonderoga which was initially named Ft. Carillon by the French during its construction in 1757."

• Clyde Lewandowski, one of our honorary members from the 6/33 Artillery recently visited Vietnam and sent these pictures. Click here to view the photoshow.

Here is what Clyde had to say...

"Good morning Bill,
I am in San Francisco on the way back home from a quick trip to Vietnam. While there we visited all 6 of the Vinh Son orphanages near Kontum and the Sao Mai orphanage in Pleiku that we support, and also provided help for an East Meets West dental mission in Kontum. The dental mission took care of dental needs for 695 children from poor families and the local schools."

Click here for to see video of Clyde's 2008 trip to many of the I-Corps firebases which is posted on You Tube. You can also search for clew4 to see the videos.

• Our sympathies go out to the family of Roger Koopman (68-69) whose Mother recently passed away. Condolences can be sent to Roger and his family by accessing his contact information on the 1/83rd roster.
• Our sympathies go out to the family of Bob Billiards (67-68) one of our Australian members whose Brother recently passed away. Condolences can be sent to Bob and his family by accessing his contact information on the 1/83rd roster.

• Clarence Mendel (69) has been experiencing some serious health problems and is in need of our prayers and support. Clarence can be reached by accessing his contact information on the 1/83rd roster.

• Neal Schwartz (68-69) sent these pictures from a memorial at the VFW 2995 Post in Redmond Washington along with these comments:

"I've been working on getting a sign up for a memorial at our VFW Post to remember two of our local boys that lost their lives, one in Iraq, and the other in Afghanistan. A couple of us dug the hole, and planted the sign where we thought it should go rather than waiting another few months for some committee to decide.  It was impossible to get a good picture of the sign I made as it was so glossy that it would not photograph.

A local stone monument company donated the stone monuments. A local Nursery, Molbak's, donated the two trees, and I built the sign (inlaying a laser engraved piece of African Mahogany in to a hunk of Cedar, and covered the whole thing in a UV protected epoxy. We had a dedication the day before we got the sign up. The sign was an after-thought, after several people asked us if these soldiers were buried here."

 

• Dan O'Brien (69-70) took these pictures at Westover AFB Airshow a few years ago.

• Jack Hamilton (66-67) and his wife will celebrate their 45th Wedding Anniversary on August 24. Congratulations to them both on this wonderful milestone.

• Jackie (Willie) Williams (66-67) and his wife just celebrated their 49th Wedding Anniversary. Congratulations to them both on this wonderful milestone.

• John (Ziggie) Zagami (69-70) and his wife have been experiencing some serious health problems and are in need of our prayers. Ziggie can be reached here for those wishing to offer their good wishes for a full recovery for both of them.

• Alex Athans's (66-67) daughter has some serious health problems and is in need of our prayers. Alex can be reached here for those wishing to offer their good wishes for a full recovery for this daughter.

• Ken Blank's (69-70) daughter Erica, just got her degree in Chemical Engineering and now is headed to Penn State to study for her Doctorate. Congratulations to Erica on this outstanding achievement.

• Ken Blank (69-70) recently sent this picture. He was at a local VFW and met Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient John Cavaiani. The following links have info on John Cavaiani.

• Neal Schwartz (68-69) ready for his recent stint selling "Buddy" Poppies for the VFW.

• Alex Athans (66-67) and his wife will be celebrating their 49th Wedding Anniversary on June 30. Congratulations to them both on this wonderful occasion.

• Craig Castona (66-67) is currently on a vacation to Australia where he has met up with a couple of his old Aussie mates from Nui Dat.  He visited with Ashley Eyles of 5RAR and spent some time with John Blake and the 131 DLB contingent as they commemorated ANZAC Day. He will be heading to Canberra in about a week for a plaque dedication ceremony, as an honorary 131 member.

• Here is a message, and pictures, I received from Warwick Brooker who saw Craig while he was in Australia.

"G’day Bill

As you probably know by now, Craig did attend the event in Canberra and I believe he thoroughly enjoyed the proceedings. It started with the plaque dedication service at the Australian War Memorial, where Craig and 1st 83rd got a special mention. This was followed by a tour of sections of the Memorial, which took us through to the traditional daily closing of the Memorial at 5 p.m. In the evening, we gathered at the Pavilion Hotel in the city centre for drinks and dinner. I’m not sure what time Craig left, but it wasn’t early (probably about 11 p.m.) and I followed him out not long after that.

The patch that Craig handed me at the dinner is very meaningful and will remain a treasured piece of memorabilia until death us do part.

I’ve attached a photo of the bugler at the AWM closing ceremony. He stands in front of the doorway into the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. When he’s finished bugling, he does a snappy about turn, marches into the tomb and the doors close behind him.

The AWM will be placing some official photos of the plaque dedication on their website. When I locate them (I’ve forgotten the URL they gave us), I’ll send you a link. (I suspect the 131 Locators Association officials might beat me to that.)

Best regards

Warwick
"

ED. Followed up by this addendum...


"Just in case Paul (‘Dicko’) hasn’t sent it to you already, here’s the link to the AWM photos:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/australianwarmemorial
Regards
Warwick"

ED. Click on the Slideshow button after you click on the Flickr link above to see the slideshow for the ceremonies at the AVM.

• Here is a postcard I received from Craig while on his trip to Australia.

• Detachment 131 Divisional Locating Battery RAA Plaque Dedication Ceremony. All members of the Detachment who served in South Vietnam, plus All Battery members and Associates are welcome to attend the Plaque Dedication Ceremony for the Detachment 131 Divisional Locating Battery RAA to be held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, ACT on Friday 4th May, 2012.

(Provided courtesy of Bob Billiards and the 131 Locaters Association)

• Pat Duggan (New Zealand) at Anzac Day 2012 Ceremonies in Christchurch City, NZ. Pat was the parade marshal (for the 25th consecutive year).

• Dan O'Brien, Paul Picciuto, Tom Sellers and Clarence Tiffany had a mini-reunion recently in Buffalo. Look in the Reunions section for pictures.

• Don Eikenberry (66-67) recently competed in the Southwestern Grand American Trapshooting competition in San Antonio. He was a winner in multiple categories. Click here to view the winning scores. Look for events, 7, 8 and 14. Congratulations Don!

• The distinguished Lt. Col. and Mrs. Horace Porter (aka Mike Reetz (66-67) and his wife Shelley). Click here to view.

• Larry Laser "A" Battery 66-67 displays his Christmas present from his family.

 

• Before we told you about out this great addition to Neal Schwartz's (68-69) house (click here) but here is "Joe-in-the-Snow" after the recent storm that hit the Seattle area.

 

• Al Saltzman (66-67) was recently interviewed by Rutgers University on his experiences being a Purple Heart recipient. Here is Al's note to me:

"I recently was interviewed by Rutgers University’s History Department on my experiences, feelings and my being a recipient of a Purple Heart. At first I was kind of unsure what I was going to say. But surprisingly the interview lasted three and a half hours. It brought back a lot of mixed emotions. Some good and some difficult to express about the war. All this was recorded and a CD and a transcript will eventually be sent to me. I told them how proud I was to serve in the First Battalion 83rd Artillery and how we all came together as one force. All this information will be placed in the University’s archives for present and succeeding generations. It was truly an honor and something I will never forget."

• Al Saltzman (66-67) recently welcomed his first Grandchild. Al's new Grandson Adam (courtesy of his daughter) was born 11/3 and was 6lb and 6oz. Adam and Mom are doing great. Congratulations to everyone.
• Bill Taggart (66-67) recently welcomed his first Grandson. John Frank Anastasi III was born 11/4 and was 4lb. 14oz, and 19 1/4" long. John had some issues at birth but we hope he will soon be home from the hospital. His Mom Jessica (Bill's daughter) and Dad Jack are excited to be first time parents. Congratulations to everyone.
• Alex Athans (66-67) has been working to establish a new VFW post in Tehachapi, CA. The new Post (Alex is the Quartermaster) was instituted on October 1, 2011. It was named after a Tehachapi resident (Maj. Jason George) who died in Iraq and who had graduated second in his class at West Point. The news report still might be on the web. Click here to see that report.

• The latest from Lt. Col. Horace Porter, aka Mike Reetz (66-67).

• Our sympathies go out to the family of Larry DePriest (1/83rd - 66-67) who recently passed away.  Click here to see Larry's obituary. Condolences can be sent to Larry's family by accessing the link at Larry's obituary or by contacting Bill Taggart.
• Our New Zealand mate Pat Duggan while he was being interviewed at the 161 Battery Gun Position at Nui Dat in 2008 for a New Zealand television documentary that included a series of interviews with Pat about his time in Vietnam. Click here for info on Pat's book.

 Our Bernie Dugan (1/83rd - 66-67) at Mt. Rushmore.

• Our sympathies go out to the family of Leon Skeen (1/83rd - 69-70) who recently passed away.  Click here to see Leon's obituary. Condolences can be sent to Leon's family by contacting Bill Taggart.
• Ted Belajac (69-70) has a new Granddaughter. Marissa Orpel was born on July 25th to Ted's daughter. Marissa is having a few problems so keep her and the family in your prayers for a speedy resolution. Congratulations to all.
• Rich Webekind (66-67) has a new Grandson. His third grandchild, Richard III, was born on on July 20th. Rick weighed in at 7lbs., 2oz. and 20" long. Mom and Dad, S/Sgt. Rich Webekind, Jr., are doing well. Congratulations to all.
• Don Donaldson (161 Battery Royal New Zealand Artillery 67-68) sent along this bit of good news. Don (Nod to this mates) just learned that his "Grandson Sam has won two gold medals at the Special Olympics in Athens. He represented NZ in the 800m and 1500m freestyle swimming." Click on Sam Donaldson Athens for the story plus a photograph of Sam.  Nod and Sam's parents are very proud and Sam is to be congratulated.

In addition, Sam has been chosen to be the Flag Bearer at the closing ceremony. He also has the 400 freestyle and the relays to go so maybe more awards are in the future!

Editors Note: The Special Olympics are a wonderful organization that does great work and merits your support.

• Otto Aliffi (66-67) sent along this bit of good news.

 

• Our sympathies go out to the family of Denny Ponsford (1/83rd - 66-67) who recently passed away. Click here to see Denny's obituary. Condolences can be sent to Denny's family by contacting Bill Taggart.
• Our sympathies go out to the family of Billy Lewis Sr. (1/83rd - 67-68) who passed away earlier in 2011. Click here to see photos of Billy. Condolences can be sent to Billy's family by contacting Bill Taggart.
• Bernie Dugan (66-67) really showed his love for the 1/83rd.

 

• Ken Blank (69-70) sent this picture. He was recently at a local VFW event with Vietnam Medal of Honor recipient Brian Thacker of the Army's 1/92nd Artillery. For more on Brian click here.

• Pat Duggan (New Zealand) has written a book titled What Have They Done to the Rain? The story is of Pat Duggan’s life in the Army, and service in the Vietnam War as a Gunner in 161 Battery, Royal New Zealand Artillery. Click here for more details including how to purchase this book. Pat can also be contacted directly if anyone would like to purchase directly from the author. He would also be happy to sign any copies sold this way. Contact me and I will supply Pat's email address.
• Don Aird (70-71) at a local St Patty's Day parade. Don is in the front row, 2nd from the left.

• Mike Reetz (66-67) is a Civil War re-enactor. Here is a recent picture of him as Lt. Col. Horace Porter who was an aide-de-camps to Gen. U.S. Grant.


• Colin Campbell (Australia) has written a book titled More Bang for No Bucks  on self-propelled artillery used by Australian cavalry in Vietnam 1967-68. Click here for more details including how to purchase this book.
• Bill Taggart (66-67) recently became a first time Grandfather. Megan Grace Taggart was born 3/4 and was 8 lb. 6 oz, and 21" long. Megan, mother Michele and father Pat (Bill's son) are all doing great!
• Bill Morris (66-67) sent a picture of his youngest grand daughter, Vivian Paisley Morris/West. She just turned 6 months old. Bill also will be having another grandson on March 17th, Aiden Brody Arnold. 

• As you know, there was a recent large Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. All of our New Zealand members are okay but Pat Duggan sent along this picture of where his office desk was located. Thankfully, Pat and his wife were away on vacation when the Earthquake struck and were not harmed.

• Tom "Beetle" Bailey ("HQ" Battery 66-67) is having some serious health issues. He is in need of your prayers and support. If anyone wants to send Tom a Get Well card to help raise his spirits or to email him, please contact me at artillery_83rd@yahoo.com and I will give you the mailing address and/or email address.
• Lyle Prochnow ("C" Battery 69-70) is having some serious health issues. He is in need of your prayers and support. If anyone wants to send Lyle a Get Well card to help raise his spirits or to call him, please contact me at artillery_83rd@yahoo.com and I will give you the mailing address and/or phone number.
• Angelo Tufano who is the son of our Rich Tufano (66-67) is having some serious health issues and is currently in the hospital. He is in real need of your prayers and support. If anyone wants to send Angelo a Get Well card to help raise his spirits, please contact me at artillery_83rd@yahoo.com and I will give you the mailing address.
• Neal Schwartz (68-69) recently received this artwork from a friend who was his boss at Ft Sill before Neal went to Vietnam and the 83rd. Here is a bit of what Neal had to say:

"This professionally framed art was done by David Graves from 1969.  It is such a realistic drawing of an 8” SP Howitzer and its team in action.  My friend was my boss (a Captain at the time) for the year before Vietnam at Fort Sill .  I was his Asst S3 in a towed 105mm Battalion.  We flew together to Vietnam and departed our separate ways upon arrival. I looked him up after he retired as a Bird Colonel and we again became great friends.
 And today I received this great piece of art from him.  The artist, David Graves (there are several of them with the same name in case you look) was a Fire Direction MOS in Vietnam . Many of his works are done from slides he took around 1969 during his tour."

• Check out this report sent along from Stew Stenberg (68-69). It discusses the effort to have a Native American added to the 3 servicemen statue at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC. Click here to see more.
• Our sympathies go out to Paul Dickson, one of our Aussie mates who recently lost his sister. Condolences can be sent to Paul by clicking here.
• I recently sent out a YouTube video of the "Flash" Performance recently performed at the former John Wanamaker (now Macy's) Department store in downtown Philadelphia. In that same email it talked about some of things that used to be part of the Christmas celebration at Wanamaker's. One of those was a monorail that ran around the ceiling in the toy department. It was a treat for those of us who experienced this ride as kids or later taking our own kids for a ride. Well, that monorail is now located in the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia and the daughter and granddaughter of our Ken Blank (69-70) visited. Below is their picture.

Also, if you click here you will be able to see some YouTube videos of the annual Christmas light show at Wanamaker's as well as a better look at the monorail.

• Our Bill Wiseley (66-67) has his own business "Backyard Wood X-Pressions".  Bill makes handcrafted decorations for your home and yard. They have everything from birdhouses to bird feeders and squirrel feeders. They also have decorations for your home or your yard, or perhaps a nice bench to sit and relax and enjoy the fruits of your labors. Check out their website.
• Check out the pictures of Neal Schwartz's (68-69) recent 2010 trip to Vietnam. Click here to see the Photoshow.
• Howard Sanger (68-69) and Neal Schwartz (68-69) taken in October at their 50 year Reseda High School Reunion. Howard is on the left and Neal is on the right. It's amazing that two men from the same high school ended up in the 1/83 and at the same time. As Howard advised, these two distinguished characters usually pose only for two magazines:  GQ Quarterly and Playgirl. So the 1/83 website is indeed fortunate to have this picture (LOL).

• Mike Reetz (66-67) is a Civil War re-enactor. Here are pictures from Little Round Top (Gettysburg) on 11 September 2010. Lt. Col. John Rawlins on the right and Mike as Lt. Col. Horace Porter on the left. Both were aide-de-camps to Gen. U.S. Grant.

• Sandy Ray's (68-69) son, LT Brian Ray (USN), took a group of students from the Military Academies on a tour of Viet Nam.  They traveled south from Hue on QL1 and stopped at the bottom of the FSB Roy hill.  The NVA build a monument to their victory over the South at the bottleneck on QL1 between Roy and the hill across the highway.  Click here a few pictures of Brian's stop at Roy.

Sandy said that he always thought the hill would make a great place for a resort.  Well one is being built and the web site is: http://www.vedanaresorts.com/home.php.  The rates are about $300 per night.

• Malcolm Decker (69-70) has been a member of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) for three years and is now a Captain and squadron deputy commander. As part of this volunteer organization (which is an auxiliary of the Air Force), he has many duties. He flies cadets for orientation rides and flies search and rescue missions, usually trying to locate an emergency locator. He also helps to train pilots and scanners for the missions and helps the adults with their certification and promotions. Thanks to Malcolm for his volunteer service.
• Check out this great addition to Neal Schwartz's (68-69) house. Click here.
 

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