Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Topics of a general nature that relate to anything to do with the 6th Battalion 31st Infantry that served in Vietnam.
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Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Nov 21, 2002 1:22 am

Perhaps it is too early to ask that question or perhaps this isn't the place to ask it nor am I the one to be asking it. But, any comments?

Note.....I found this string today looking for one concerning something else.The post originated with the early site in 2002. See date at top of post. New posts begin where you see the red letters again a few comments down.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby chosin31st » Thu Nov 21, 2002 10:29 am

The whole 31st Association needs a talk forum. This is the only one that I know of. Maybe if you post something in the 31st guestbook every other day until this thing fattens up, we might get some. Maybe send something out over the 31st email system. I'll see if I can get one out in a few minutes. there is a lot for all the guys to talk about and discuss.
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6/31st Association

Postby jtier » Fri Nov 22, 2002 9:38 pm

I am for it. This is the only link on the net that I have communicated with individuals that I have know from my tour of duty. Thanks Niner Alpha.
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6-31st Inf Assn

Postby klowe » Sun Dec 08, 2002 9:30 pm

I urge members not to start yet another association. We have a very healthy and solvent 31st Inf Regt Assn that includes over 200 members of the 6-31st and over 1200 members from all eras of service. We share a legacy of service under a common flag and we get along like brothers, regardless of when we served. Moreover, the 31st Inf Regt Assn has a link to an active duty battalion that the 6-31st would not have. I've seen associations die out because their members get too old to attend reunions and they lack the energy to keep newsletters lively and interesting. Keeping an organization young and healthy requires that it have a constant infusion of new membership from other generations.

The 9th Inf Div Assn is trying to get started and some of our members are also in the Mobile Riverine Assn. When it comes time to attend a reunion, make a donation, offer up some time, there are lots of choices that end up dissipating our scarce free time.
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Association

Postby Bill McMullen » Wed Jan 01, 2003 9:07 am

I'm with Karl Lowe on this issue. We have an association. The 31 Assn. is alive and well. Let's keep it that way. Keep posting here as this is a good forum for that.
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Hi all

Postby sgmrussellbentonreacom » Mon Mar 03, 2003 6:16 am

6th/31st April 68 - Dec 68
Bill Russell PSNCO HHC/6/31st
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:09 pm

This is where the new posts in 2013 start. Wonder what would have happened if we had started our own association back then, over ten years ago?

Lots of water under the bridge since then.

But outside of having a reunion each year that the former members of the 6/31st could go to....what has the Association done for those who served in the 6/31st? Could things have been better without tying everybody to the 31st Regiment Association? I certainly think so..... Probably too late to worry about it now.

Maybe we should start one of those associations that owns a single bottle of high priced whiskey. Last man breathing gets to drink it.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Delta » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:31 pm

Well, Lowe and McMullen sure were opimistic back then. But I haven't seen much of what
they were talking about, only thing is a reunion once a year, and occasionally a news(?) letter.

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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:44 am

I think the primary failure early on, for those of us that led in this movement to find guys we served with, was that we failed to profit from the numbers of people we gathered and the new enthusiasm we had created. We took all of the new found enthusiastic potential members and dumped them into the unorganized, unsupportive, and out of touch with reality 31st Association. Our goals became all distilled into getting people to go to a 31st Reunion and lost focus of the bigger and more important picture. And......going to a Regiment reunion remains the only goal for whomever is left that can muster any enthusiasm at all.

The Association didn't know what to do with the members that we directed to them in terms of recognizing the needs that fueled their coming, nor even maintaining contact with them after they showed up. I told one of the Association kingpins what I thought about it years ago. I said, " it's like I am pointing at a sign on top of a hill and encouraging people to go to the sign for guidance....and when they got there they find themselves falling off a shear cliff instead.". The Association wasn't really there.....it only pretended to be. And this person was all in agreement and was all fired up to do something....for a few minutes.

There were some other failures to complicate things...like the other, three years newer, 6/31st site divided us as it attempted to put me and my site out of business. The new site's fawning subservience to the Association discouraged any evaluation of what was happening. And, I admit, my animosity towards those who created the new site, out of the contents they took wholesale from mine, played its negative part and frightened some people off.

What should have happened....hindsight speaking... and only according to me... is that we should have formed our own organization. Had our own officers, promoted our own projects. Had our own dues. Had one website that was controlled by the organization and not an afterthought to be run by someone who volunteers and then goes away leaving no clue to how to manage it...which has happened at least three times with the 31st Association. Then we should have offered to be affiliated with, and not subservient to, the 31st Association...and maybe...just maybe.... join them in a yearly reunion if there were some mutual benefit to do so.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:57 pm

Very well said.

Jerry
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 4:45 am

Since, not being an "organizational" type of person, I have never volunteered to accept a position in the 31st Association; therefore, I am hesitant to make too many comments but here they are:

I do appreciate the hard work that I have seen done by a few of the men who have held leadership positions in the 31st Regiment Association, for example, Karl Lowe and the late Col Jerry Carlson. I must admit, however, that I have been disappointed over the last few years with the direction that the association has apparently decided to take. I do believe that the association has done an excellent job of honoring both our past and present 31st regiment men with the polar bear monument at Ft Benning and with the attention directed toward our soldiers in both Iraq and Afghanistan; however, I am disappointed in a few other areas.

For example:

(1) The reaching out to locate our 6/31st Brothers that begin in 2004 was really a function of the 6/31st (Mary Doyon, for example) and not the 31st association. Yes, we were, with Vin Zike's help finally able to obtain some financial assistance from the 31st, but that that was about it. After the 2007 San Antonio reunion, the reaching out to locate our Brothers appeared to come to a halt.
(2) Over the last 8 years, the reunion high attendance trophy has been awarded to only 2 companies...Delta and Charlie. Both of these companies have/had an aggressive approach to reaching out to their men and encouraging them to attend the yearly reunion; however, when it has been recommended that the association take the same aggressive approach , they have disagreed. As has been said on multiple occasions..."The proof is in the pudding".....the Delta/Charlie Company results are that "pudding".
(3) Probably the greater disappointment relates to the association's lack of support in helping our Brothers battle the VA for benefit compensation. Why should we have to use the DAV, VFW, etc. when the association could help our men. Remembering the past and remembering our present soldiers is to be commended; however, what about the men who are presently in need of our support?

As to whether or not a 6/31st association would have done any better, who knows? An association with a large number of officers (the 31st has 12), rules in place, formal structure, etc. is not always effective. Maybe (and maybe not) a less formal and structured organization would have been better. Of course, I must admit that the 31st regiment association may have accomplished a lot, in the background, that we have not been made aware of. Maybe, however, we can look at what we have today and identify some things that could be improved upon.

For Example:

(1) We presently have a 31st website that is not maintained . The last Message Board input was Mar 15, 2011. The last Guestbook entry was Sept 26, 2012. In addition, if one were to log on to the website for information concerning the upcoming 2013 reunion, under the reunion section, they would find only that it is scheduled for Dayton, OH in 2013. There are no details, not even the reunion dates. Basically it appears that only the calendar and clock are up-to-date on the website.
(2) The last newsletter appears to have been Sept 2012.
(3) The 2013 Reunion is approximately 4 months away...have you been contacted and encouraged to attend? It has been suggested for the last several years that the 6 Regional Directors reach out to men within their regions to make them aware of the reunion, and to encourage them to attend; however, since the late Col Jerry Carlson left his post as my regional director, I have never heard from my regional director. Have you? When Tim Miller and I requested their support in reaching out to the men in their region to make them aware of the Reno Reunion, and to encourage them to attend, not a single one even responded to our request for assistance. Tim Miller made hundreds of personal phone calls to WWII, Korean and Vietnam vets. Tim was the reason why the Reno Reunion had the second highest attendence (behind San Antonio) of any 31st Regiment reunion. Question: Just what do the Regional Directors do?
(4) It appears that the association itself now reaches out, with reunion information, to only association members via the newsletter. It seems as though, if you are a non-member, you will not be contacted, unless it is by an association member from your former platoon.
(5) Late last week I sent an email to our leadership suggesting that we might want to consider adding a "Health Issues" section to our 31st Regiment Association website, because, we appear to have quite afew men in need of direction as to how best to obtain compensation for Agent Orange, PTSD, etc. To-date, I have not yet even been blessed with a response. As you can see from the new addition to Robert Stewart's website, Robert has taken the step to make this information available to our Brothers in need.

Hopefully if any of our association leaders happen to read my inputs, they will take them as constructive criticism, because that is my intent.

In closing, I do want to thank the association, very much, for scheduling the reunions.....if not for the reunions, many of us would have never reunited again with our Brothers.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:09 am

I made this string a "Global string on the off hand chance that the unregistred browsers will have a better chance to see it and maybe draw some comments.

Yes, we were, with Vin Zike's help finally able to obtain some financial assistance from the 31st, but that that was about it


That was something Colonel Vin Zike offered to do right when the bloom was on the rose and he was first promoted to Association Commander. It took a pretty good while for any money to show up. I remember sending him an email about it when I had heard some grumbling about it not being forthcoming as promised. Maybe he had second thoughts or maybe something else was going on and the unseen leadership was balking. Whatever was happening there is no history of it. The Association "transparency" is about as murky as Obama's transparency and continues in that form. I know for a long time Jerry was spending lots of his own money and I doubt seriously he was compensated for more than a quarter of what he spent out of his own pocket. Even our present visible leader, no friend of mine, must have spent a lot of his own cash on that project back in the day when he was just an enthusiastic private in the Association army. I even spent a little of my own money that I never asked any compensation for at all.

I think an organization with some purpose and control and division of duties and responsibilities would be the only way to go. And it must have a workable written and followed set of bylaws for rules in how the game is played....although maybe a little better than the ones the Association suspended a few years ago when they had no use for them. Can you think of any business that operates efficiently without organization? One that operates wthout a visible business plan that the lowest member of the firm can at least sense the meaning of ? One of the root causes of the problem with the 31st Association is that at the core, where the actual soul of the beast lives, is a group of retired senior Army Officers. They are ""leaders". They have always given the orders and somebody has jumped. Unfortunately, in a civilian organization there is nobody to snap to and make things happen by command. I think they have always been baffled what to do when nobody jumps and accordingly do nothing.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:36 am

Niner....as far as I know, none of us were ever compensated for the money that we spent trying to locate our Brothers, and I don't believe that any of us either wanted or expected to be compensated. I believe that we considered it money well spent. We were just pleased to finally get some help from the association, although it is my understanding that there was some resistance from our non-Vietnam era men, because they did not want association money used to locate only VN era vets. In reality, we wanted to use the funding to locate WWII, Korean, and VN vets; however, since from 1968 - 1975 Social Security numbers were on our VN orders, it was easier to locate the men via social security traces. The non-social security numbering system used during WWII and Korea made finding the men very difficult.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:10 am

Jerry, if you didn't get any money, and nobody else did that you know of, then where did the money from the Association go that Zike pledged from the Regiment funds? Who got it and what did they do with it?

As I recall, the promised money was a total of $1000. Hardly a lot...but a start for an Association that claimed to have fifty times that, or a little more, in the bank or invested some place.

Anybody reading this get compensated with any of that money?

And while the thought came to me, as I was re-reading Jerry's post and reflecting on this statement, there is something I want to add.


The reaching out to locate our 6/31st Brothers that begin in 2004 was really a function of the 6/31st (Mary Doyon, for example) and not the 31st association


The "reaching out" was headquarted at my site in 2004. The only 6/31st site that existed then and which at the time was using the old messageboard format as the core and adding in a photo album as a link and a guestbook as another link and the Wall page as a link in Chuck's space but with comments solicited at my site on the messageboard. There was a type chatroom too, as part of the messageboard, where much of the conversation about the effort took place two or three times a week. This new present format you see today didn't come until shortly after the time Jerry talks about, although still now retaining the information accumulated in the former jury rigged setup. It's true the social security hunt was taken up with enthusiasm by Mary and Jerry with about equal force. Chuck Mc Cammon was hard into it, and probably spent nearly as much money as Jerry, as were three or four others to some degree, including myself in sending out letters to some maybe members all over the place. The 31st Association didn't contribute one thin dime nor offer any assistance at all. Vin Zike wasn't "Commander" until August of 2006 when he made his Association funds offer.

The first major falling out between me and Mary was that she wanted to create a "master list" mixing up the list I had of people that had found my site with people who's names she had found on orders lists. She mixed both contacted and not contacted, found and not found, to my list of real contacts, who had signed in at my site guestbook, and then added in a list Dean Hess had from the 31st Association. Then she wanted to post all of it as single list on my site. One giant list of known and unknown, dead, alive, scumbags and saints...all the same list and all with the same apparent value. I objected. To me it was like mixing shit with ice cream. It didn't do anything to the shit but it played hell with the ice cream. I even backed down eventually and told her she could have her way. But by then she had a better idea. Before her list was added to my new updated site, her site surfaced in late 2005 with her list featured. So...I continued to post a list of only people who signed the guestbook.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 6:54 pm

Niner...the money that we received from the association was well spent locating more of our Brothers, and I have a feeling that Chuck spent quite a bit more of his own money than I spent of mine, in our attempts to locate our Brothers. You are correct.......we were on our own until Vin finally got us some financial assistance from the association, when he became commander in 2006. I believe that we ended up receiving $2,000 over a period of 2 years ($1,000 per year). I could be wrong on the amount.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Delta » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:26 pm

"Jerry, if you didn't get any money, and nobody else did that you know of, then where did the money from the Association go that Zike pledged from the Regiment funds? Who got it and what did they do with it?"





OK, I'm as confused as Niner, if no one here got any money, then who got the $1000 or $2000 that was
furnished by the 31st Assn.?? Did Chuck or Mary get it??


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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 7:53 pm

Guess I was not clear....Mary received the money from the association and used it to locate more of our Brothers. None of the association money was used to compensate anyone for the "personal" money that they had previously spent or donated for searches. In summary, the association money was well spent to locate our Brothers...there is absolutely "no" doubt in my mind.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:48 pm

It was also used to advertise Mary's site to the exclusion of mine...with Association money. I was surprised at the time when they helped the person that wanted to put me out of business by giving her money to help her do it. But.... they didn't owe me anything and I'm firm beliver in the truth that "nobody ever said life was fair". Besides, she had become the designated Association Secretary by that time. I should have seen it coming. No doubt some greater good came out of it for her and the Association. At this point I don't really care about any of it..... although I have taken it to heart and memory just the same.

The bottom line is.....where are we now? Where are you now? How good are you feeling about the Association and how good does it meet your expectations?

Are you willing to say anything about how you feel about it here on this site ? This site may not be here next year. Now's your chance.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:43 pm

Niner, I am afraid that I must strongly disagree with the statement that Mary used the association money to "advertise her site". The only way that that the association money was used to advertise her site is if "locating or attempting to locate our Brothers" can be defined as "advertising her site". I furnished her with the names and the social security numbers of many of the men who were searched for with that money.....and she provided me with the results from each search. I understand that there was bad blood between you guys, but I worked closely with Mary from 2005 - 2007 on these searches, and comments like this are not only a bad reflection on her, they are also a bad reflection on me. As you are well aware, I have always been and hope to continue being a strong supporter of your website, but, as you see, I take these comments personally. Am I happy with the 31st Regiment Association...."No", but I am also not pleased with this comment concerning how the association money was used.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:20 am

[Edit made]

Finding people was the industry that fueled her site. Take a look at her newsletter page. Look at a few of them at her website.

http://www.vietnam6bn31inf.com/newsletters.htm

I only looked at a couple of them and pulled this quote as an example

Over the past year there has been a huge effort to locate each and every man of the 6/31st that served. Many
dedicated individuals have spent countless hours searching every available means to identify and located the
men. Literally thousands of postcards, letters, and of course this newsletter have been mailed to all addresses we
have identified, using e-mail where available to reduce the cost of the mailings. Telephone calls are made on a
regular basis to further enhance the connections being made


Literally thousands of postcards, letters, and of course this newsletter have been mailed to all addresses we have identified
Isn't that pretty clear? The newsletters she is talking about is one of many written by her and directing found people to her site.

The Association did fuel her site. It is an observation of what happened not a condemnation. Whether it was a good move or bad is open to debate. And.... my observation wasn't meant as a slight to Jerry in any way.

No more edit.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:03 pm

Maybe its time to put the subject related to Mary's website split "to bed". Yes, the split of the websites was an emotional time for several; however, it occurred 6 - 7 years ago. Having now passed on, Mary is no longer with us, and for all practical purposes, her website is now "dead in the water"; therefore, I personally see nothing that could be gained from further discussion related to the split. I don't believe that any of our Brothers who are just now beginning to visit this (Robert's) website have any interest in something that happened 6 - 7 years ago that is no longer relevant to them, and all of us regulars, who have been around for several years, are probably ready to leave this bad experience in the past, and to move on to a brighter future.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Fri Mar 22, 2013 8:30 pm

Amen. I would prefer to never mention anything about this split subject...or Mary.... ever again. And...in a way I wish I never had to talk about the 31st Regment Association ever again. But unfortunately....that's a subject that will linger for probably a long time.

I've reduced this string from Global status. It needs a lower level of significance.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Ron » Sat Mar 23, 2013 4:18 pm

Wow,
I can only say that there is one hell of a skirmish now encircling the (our) association! I never new Robert could draw so much input (21 comments) from so few men on a subject I'm sure won't go away any time soon. It's muddy water under the bridge and the tide is going out. This is not a time to rehash or mad mouth passing individuals just because one still has this bad taste in his mouth. It's all one sided and the goal is to resolve the lack or failure of the associations officers in questioning where they're headed w/o newsletters, snail mail or e-news! True, there isn't much if anything posted about help with our medical issues, but how old are we, that we haven't checked out the VA website or our local Veteran Affairs officer? There's also the veteran legions to assist, of which being a member is not a necessity. There's a reunion coming up and maybe that's why more members should speak up during the meeting. Nothing said is nothing done!

As far as trying to have certain individuals post something on Robert's site per the reunion, I have yet to see that. We're coming upon the month of April with dates, times, costs and reservations needing to be handled ASAP so I hope someone out there in amongst the 31st officers notices or even reads this and takes action. If this is just the word of few brothers, what are the remaining members thinking? :shock:

I've got my hotel reservations in and all that remain is the registration form to be mailed (had to go to Facebook to download it)!

By the way all........Have a Great Easter! :D
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Delta75 » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:38 pm

Good point Ron.... about someone needing to speak up in the business meeting about issues that concern them. At the business meetings that I have attended, I can't remember a single suggestion or negative comment directed at how the association operates. I had no significant complaints prior to the Reno Reunion; however, I have to plead guilty for not speaking up at the Reno Reunion. I have not attended a reunion since Reno; therefore, I have no idea what has been discussed in the business meetings since then. Tim Miller did an excellent job in coordinating the Reno Reunion, and received basically no assistance from the association, in reaching out to encourage men to attend the reunion. Unless something changes, I doubt that any future reunions will exceed or even match the attendance at Reno. From an input that I received from a former officer, apparently the association is not concerned with the reunion attendance figures; that is, they are pleased, regardless of the attendance level, as long as those who do attend enjoy themselves. Who knows? That could very well be the correct approach. I need to admit to myself and others that my thoughts as to "the bigger, the better", could be entirely wrong.
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Re: Any interest in a 6/31st Infantry Association?

Postby Niner Alpha » Sun Mar 24, 2013 9:12 pm

What I was interested in at the start of my site was never about the 31st Regiment Association. The link I'll attach to this is the earliest post that remains from the original site and says what I had in mind for the site at the beginning. I'd like to go back and work on that original motivating reason again and get away from thinking the Association is an answer to any need any of us have. I think everybody who thought the Association would answer any need besides a reunion once a year were fooling themselves. And to think the Association leadership would welcome and respond to any criticism at all is wishful thinking.

Some years ago I had some suggestions about the Association, and the Commander at the time....the only one that has posted anything at this site while being Commander... seeing my suggestions, objected to me having any suggestions outside of a Reunion meeting as well as asking others to contribute their thoughts and left in a huff and never returned. He wasn't interested in any suggestions at all outside of those attending a formal controlled Association meeeting. The Association wants cheerleaders and loyal supporters.... and no criticism...constructive or not.

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