2003 Reunion Houston...                  

The Annual Reunion of the 281st Assault Helicopter Company Association was held at the Wyndham Greenspoint Hotel in Houston, Texas, Thursday the 11th through Saturday the 13th of September 2003.  This was the first "stand alone" reunion held by this association and it was a resounding success.  

Thursday saw many Intruders arriving early to get a head start on seeing their old buddies.  Some were seeing each other for the first time since RVN.  The 281st AHC Executive Board met and finished up the loose ends for the reunion and accepted the report from the Reunion Committee.  It was determined that the Reunion would actually pay for itself and no funds from the Association General Fund would have to be used.

On Friday the golf outing came off as scheduled with a few less participants due to the possibility of rain.  More Intruders rolled in from all over the USA.  There were many small gatherings of old crews and buddies and the war stories started.  The Association PX was opened and swarmed by everyone in attendance.  Many items were offered up from the Association plus items of interest from RADIX Press (Steve Sherman, Archivist for SOA and SFA)  Several groups went out for dinner and drinks and the festivities continued on into the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday morning began with breakfast gatherings all over the Hotel.  The PX was opened for more goods to be purchased by the membership.  From 0900-1100 the General Membership Business Meeting was held.  Norm Kaufman and Rich Schleher were awarded long over due decorations.  Norm received the Purple Heart and Rich the Bronze Star Medal with "V" for Valor.  Brian Paine and Bob Mitchell were co-recipients of the "Intruder of the Year," presented by Jack Interstein, Committee Chair.  All business was attended to and we had a short presentation from Steve Sherman on the importance of searching for the old records, orders and letters to help document our history.  New Officers for the Association were introduced and took charge of the meeting.  First order of business for new President Lynn Coleman was to adjourn the meeting.  Fred Phillips is the new VP and Ken Hamilton and Norm Kaufman are the new members at large.  

At 1230 we broke for a Deli Style Luncheon (Hosted by 281st Assn for members and quests) and continued the renewing of acquaintance and the making of new friends.  

We took a couple of hours for a break after lunch and reconvened for one of the best Remembrance Ceremonies we have had.  Jim "Mom" Torbert did an excellent job of organizing this event.  A highpoint in this Ceremony was the fact that we had family members of Four different lost Intruders present.  

Again, we went into a break from the scheduled activities and continued our visiting.  At 1800 we began a stand up Cocktail party that was hosted by 281st Assn, everyone took advantage of the free drinks.  At 1900 Dinner was  served, TEXAS BBQ, most attendees dressed the part.  Bob Ohmes took the price for largest cowboy hat.  Live entertainment was provided by Beetle Bailey of Wolf Pack, singing and playing the songs of our time with the 281st twist.  James Drury "The Virginian" was our guest for dinner and was very cordial in signing autographs for the members.  Several members walked away prizes from the raffle.  Before midnight folks started wandering off into small groups again and continuing the visiting.  Les White, Mike Fellenz, Ron Lee, Brian Paine, Bill Cnota and Bob Mitchell, all Bandits, made their way to Les Whites Room for a nightcap which ended at 0300.  I am sure there were other such meetings taking place all over the hotel.

Finally, Sunday with many hugs and handshakes and even a few tears were seen as everyone began the task of leaving.

Kudus to Earl Broussard and Brian Paine for their hard work in making this the best reunion yet for the 281st AHC.  To view the many pictures taken at this year's reunion follow the links below:


Ray Oksa's Mug Shots

Missing Man Table Reading
Reunion Budget Report
President Bush Letter