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The first reunion of Vietnam veterans of the 459th Signal Battalion (CA) was held on June 17th-20th 2004 in Tucson Arizona. The reunion was hosted by former SP5 Howard Bartholf and his wife Janet and was held at the Embassy Suites Hotel near the Tucson International Airport. 

One hundred and five people attended the reunion.  A welcome reception was held on Thursday evening and former battalion commander BG Kenneth R. Symmes addressed the group. A slide show was presented and narrated by Sergeant Frank Morganti. We had the honor of having in attendance LTC Arnold H. Greene, an officer who served in the battalion during World War Two. Also in attendance was Mr. Bobbie Copes representing a group of battalion members who served between 1962 and 1965. 

On Friday morning June 18th, charter buses took the group down to Fort Huachuca our battalion’s home post prior to deployment.  We were warmly greeted by the personnel of the base and given a post tour visiting the old parade field, museums, Reservoir Hill, the post cemetery and our former battalion area. We were given lunch in our original battalion mess hall where a “Welcome 459th Signal Battalion Veterans” banner was hanging. Our mess hall is now known as the “Thunderbird Dining Facility” We were joined for lunch by Major General James C Hylton, currently in command of Army Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Army Signal Command.  MG Hylton had served for fifteen months as the commander of the Army Signal Command at Fort Huachuca.  After his departure, we were treated to an exhibit and demonstration of modern day signal equipment.  Following our nostalgic visit to our old post, we returned to Tucson for an informal social gathering.

The program on Saturday began with a group photo session, followed by a formal banquet.  The Saturday evening banquet commenced with the presentation of colors by the Davis- Monthan Air Force Base Color Guard. The invocation, was given by former battalion chaplain, COL. Calvin E. Fernlund. 

Remarks, were made, by LTC Chester R. Mead the battalion’s first commanding officer and LTC Rupert R Leohner, battalion S-3.  The Keynote address, was given by BG Kenneth R. Symmes.  Ray Jennings gave a reading of the poem “Vietnam Veteran” and presented a very emotional ceremony in remembrance of our POW/MIA’s. Before the banquet ended, presentations were made to our two battalion commanders and our chaplain. Several other individuals were recognized for their assistance in preparation for the reunion. The colors were retired, benediction was given and the reunion came to a close. It was a truly remarkable and memorable weekend for all those who attended.


Reunion 2004 Pictures


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