2000 VHPA Reunion

Standing L to R – Bob Hamilton, Jim Furman, Jerry Crews, Bob Morris, Mel Doremus, Phil Hornbeck, Frank Tigano

Sitting L to R Weird Harold & Jim Pfutzner

The Comanchero mini reunion in Washington, DC on July 2, 2000, in conjunction with the VHPA reunion was not only a great success but a tremendous opportunity for our families to see DC.  The children and I arrived early in DC on Saturday the 1st & left late Sunday the 2nd of July.  That Saturday, the children and I visited the different buildings belonging to and surrounding the Smithsonian.  We saw the original Declaration of Independence with all the signatures, the Hope Diamond, the Mona Lisa, visited the Air & Space Museum, saw dinosaur skeletons, paused at the Washington Monument and much more, including riding around the White House and the Capitol.  It was really something special.  Of course, the children and I were priveyed to stand in front of the "The Wall" in remembrance were we touch the names of some of our Comancheros who paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom.  We took pictures with the Vietnam Memorial Statue which is just  "awe-inspiring!"  The statue consists of three dirty, sweaty soldiers setting back from "The Wall" looking upon "The Wall" and is a reflection second to none.  If you haven't seen the Vietnam Memorial Statue along with, "The Wall" which can bring tears to your eyes, a trip to DC would be well worth it.  Our family was fortunate to tie the visit in with the Comanchero mini reunion which made it extra special.  Our family did not plan for more than two days in DC.  We missed the banquet on Monday and some Comancheros coming in later along with the great festivities that followed through the 4th of July.   The mini reunion on Sunday, July 2nd, started at 1pm and went through 5pm.  Jerry Crews and his lovely wife Andie so graciously invite us all to attend this year’s mini reunion in DC and were just wonderful hosts.  We were provided a nice size room that comfortably accommodated our members and those who intentionally made their way over to stop in and chat with the Comancheros in town.  I was impressed on how well the Comancheros are known among the best.  Gary Rossomme was one of our visitors who were with A /158 back in 71-72 and remembers the Comancheros during Lam Son 719.  He was Ghost Rider 17 and was personally aware of some of the attributes that followed the Comancheros.  In fact, in my amazement he informed a few of us of a book that is out by Tom Marshall called, "Price of Exit" which talks about the Comancheros during Lam Son 719.  He warned us that the book was on the technical side but accurate reading for those who are interested.  Comanchero Jim Pfutzner and his wife Diane, I believe, were the first to arrive for the mini reunion.  I noticed Jim with his Comanchero hat on and walked up to him and his wife and introduced myself.  Jim's daughter Diane and her husband Ken and their two children, Andrea and Aydan, accompanied Jim and his wife to Washington, DC.  Being early, I decided to mosey on down and look at some of the other aviation units that had put out displays in coordination with the VHPA reunion.  About an hour later I ran into Jerry Crews and Bob Morris.  Two very special soldiers from back in the old days whom I was so glad to see.  We chatted for a while and decided to head up to the dedicated Comanchero room.  When we got there, we were met by Harold Smith and his wife, Jeannette.  Weird Harold, as he was called way back then, was the original Comanchero 11 and quite a fellow.  He shared some of his old days as Eagle 11 with us and I found him to be very impressive. Sitting at the table with Harold and his wife was Comanchero Joe Thibodeaux and his wife Sara.  In walked a familiar face, Comanchero Jim Furman and his wife Susan accompanied by their grandson Ryan.  Jim quickly set up his lap top computer which began a revolving display of hundreds of pictures from Vietnam he had converted from slides.  Jim offered his services to the Comancheros as an attorney and more important, he has the services of a young man who would be glad to convert slides to the computer.  Jim said the young man can convert approximately one slide every 60 seconds and will be glad to work for $5 an hour.  Those interested can reach Jim by e-mail:  JamesFurman@CompuServe.com or by phone at 512-454-3751.  Anyway, Harold, Joe and Jim were in Vietnam at the same time and they seemed to all agree on Weird Harold's version of how the Comancheros got there name.  Comanchero Ron Carl from the 68-69 era walked in with Kingsmen Jim Little who was with B/101 back in 67-68.  Jim works with one of our own Comancheros, Ray Ferrante and both cannot be away from Trump Aviation at the same time.  I missed not seeing Ray but it was a pleasure meeting and talking with Jim Little. Bob Heisterman stopped in to give us a few laughs with a particular aviation helmet that caught our attention.  Bob was with D/101 back in 68-69 and passed on some good information about the Kingsmen and Black Widow's getting together the next day for their reunion.  Comanchero Phil Hornbeck came in town for the VHPA and noticed on the schedule that the Comancheros were having a mini reunion and hustled right over.  I gave Phil our web address and he was very interested in checking in with the Comancheros.  We had a nice discussion about A/101 during both our transitions.  He was leaving Vietnam and I was there 3 months.  There seemed to be some confusion, probably on my part, on the transition of A/101 from guns to slicks.  Well, it's only 30 years almost, so a few of the details are sure to be a little cloudy.  Mal Doremus, C 2/17 Cav, from the 70-71 era remembers the Comancheros at Khe Shan during Lam Son 719.  We didn't have to do any bragging about the Comancheros, he did it for us.  Also, Bob Hamilton who was with 1/17 Avn back in 70-71 and some others stopped by to say hello.  Our children were having a great time running around playing with each other and the wives gathered together in one corner of the room talking and laughing and just enjoying each other’s company.  Guys and gals, I cannot express to you how special I felt to belong to an exceptional group known as the "Comancheros!"  Am I proud? You bet!  During this mini reunion I found out that the Comancheros call sign is the oldest in use in Army Aviation.  That the Comancheros made a difference and it showed up in print in several books and magazines.  And most important for me, this visit brought closure to a war almost thirty years ago and a new beginning for long lost friendships that just cannot be summed up in a few words. These friendships are automatically extended not only to those Comancheros who paved the way before us or those Comancheros who followed after us, but to all who stepped into the land of the Num as I was so fortunate to experience first hand.  For those Comancheros of the Vietnam era who, for what ever reason, have not been able to get together yet, "need to," it's a big part of becoming whole again!!! 

Frank A Tigano
Comanchero 11 

All Photos property of Frank Tigano

Jim Furman, wife; Susan, grandson Ryan and Jerry Crews to the right

L to R  Jim Furman, Jerry Crews and Bob Morris

Jim Furman left shaking hands with Gary Rossomme, A Co 158th 71-72 Ghostrider 17, Diane Pfutzner

Jerry Crews with Wife along side of him. Weird Harold (center) telling stories, Joe Thibodeaux sitting.

L to R, Bob Morris, Phil Hornbeck and Harold Smith

L to R Diane Pfutzner, Mel Doremus, C 7/17th Cav 70/71, and Jerry Crews

Bob Hamilton, 1/17th AVN 70-71, and Susan Furman

L to R  Bob Heisterman, D/101 AVN 68-69, Weird Harold, Bob Hamilton

Around the Table L to R – Jerry Crews, Jeannette Smith, Harold Smith

In Rear – Frank Tigano’s Grandchild Matthew Earl, Jordan Tigano and Andie Crews

L to R Jerry Crews, Jeannette Smith, Harold Smith

Bob Morris

In the center is Jim Pfutzner’s Daughter Angie with her children, holding Aydan and Andrea on her other side. To the left is her husband Ken Willburn and to her right is Grandpa Jim Pfutzner.

Jim and Dianne Pfutzner

All Photos property of Frank Tigano

 

 

[Home] [1995 REUNION] [1999 VHCMA] [2000 REUNION] [2004 Reunion pg 2] [2004 Reunion pg 3] [2000 VHPA mini] [Clewell's Landing 2000] [SOAR 2000] [Snowbird 2001] [2001 VHPA] [2001 Reunion] [Snowbird 2002] [2002 Kingsmen Reunion] [2002 Reunion] [New England Picnic] [2003 SNOWBIRD] [2003 Reunion] [NW Mini] [ITSOTB Premier] [2004 Snowbird] [2004 WOE] [2004 Reunion] [2005 Snowbird] [40th A101 Avn] [101st Assoc 60th Reunion] [2006 Snowbird] 

Copyright © 1998-2003 A/101 AVN. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09/11/04.