2015/08-DC gathering

 Aug 2015 – DC
        Mike Rudd
 had a Vietnam Helicopter reunion in DC planned in August. He contacted Don Rakestraw….. then Craig ONeill planned a trip to DC,,, then Jim Maloney planned a trip to visit his sister in DC. Then Judy planned to visit Catherine Brousseau..  Gayle Mercurio drove up from Ashville, NC and Don contacted local DC Warriors.. and before you knew it a gathering of WHS’64 Warriors was underway at Rakestraw’s house. Folks from the local area who joined in the rendezvous were Rich Wilhelm, John Hunt, Connie (Coury) Watts, Eileen (Maloney) Simpson ’62, and Greg Bailey ’63.
    
Don Rakestraw hosted the gathering in magnificent style and grace with a magic bar and refrigerator which somehow stayed full.    …. JimM
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From: Catherine Brousseau <cbrousseau@rcn.com>
Date: Fri, Aug 28, 2015 at 2:39 PM
     Hi WHS friends, it was great to spend time with you all at Don’s last weekend.  Don, thank you so much for making it happen!

I was involved in several conversations about books or TV programs.  Here are some that I mentioned.

For all of us determined to downsize, de-clutter, and shed stuff, take a look at bestseller: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  I got it with a birthday gift card.

For some interesting, limited-series, historical-fiction TV shows, consider:

     “Anzac Girls” (6 episodes), about Australian and New Zealand nurses in Europe during WWI.  As you can image…harrowing…and based on true stories.

     “New Worlds” (4 episodes), set in the 1680’s Massachusetts and England, about colonists and English who rebel and spy under the brutality of Charles II.  It looks at the very beginnings of unrest in the New World.

     “The Book of Negroes” (6 episodes), the history of a gifted African woman from childhood in Africa, enslaved in America, and freedom in England.  In the vein of “Roots”, but more historically interesting to me, with its many different perspectives on the American Revolution.  Based on a book of the same name by Canadian author Lawrence Hill, but published in the US, Australia, and NZ  as Somebody Knows My Name. 

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From Don:
Date:    Aug 28

Hi Catherine,

It was so great to see everyone and I only wish I had more time to talk much longer with everyone.  Thanks for the information ….and thanks again for the beautiful flowers you brought Catherine – they are still looking and smelling fantastic.  J

I got Rudd and others to watch several Episodes of “The Men Who Built America”  — originally on the History Channel but now available lots of places.  Very interesting about Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Carnegie, JP Morgan, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.  In turn, Rudd got me into “First Ship” but probably more a guy’s TV series. And Rudd really loved Supermensch since he was such a great fan of Alice Cooper.

      Thanks to everyone for coming as it was so wonderful to see all of you.  I included Craig on this email so you now have his address Catherine.

      Warm Regards,Don
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From: john hunt <johnhuntpilot@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 8:57 AM
    Don and All, 
 Thanks for inviting me to you house Aug 23 rd.  I was surprised to see so many WHS classmates.  Notwithstanding, great to see and talk to all. 
       Don mentioned in his 8-28-5 email “The Men Who Built America”.  I haven’t seen nor read it.  I want to bring up another “group” of men, “The Greatest Generation”.  The  WWII men and women, most were our fathers. 
     While sitting around Don’s dining room table I happen to mention that my father, a WWII fighter pilot, lost his engine over Burma and eventually got captured.  Capt Hunt (at the time) spent 18 months in a Burma POW camp.  Dad was the Allied camp commander of 600 men. 
      I promised you a powerful one age letter written about my father after they were liberated.  Here it is, retyped for clarity.  I’ll bring the original with me to Florida next year.  It has 2 columns of signatures on the back side.   
       Like many young men across America, they dropped what they were doing and enlisted.  My father had just finished his fall semester of his senior year in college and enlisted.  They made him an officer anyway.    
 See you in Florida,

John H. Hunt, Jr., AIC, CFE
Owner, Big Dogs Offroad
Cell – (410) 440-3670  
Email – 
johnhuntpilot@yahoo.com
Website – www.bigdogsoffroad.com  
Est. 1990  

****  142nd General Hospital, A.P.O. 465.                       May 6, 1945 
          While at Rangoon Prisoner of War Camp, Captain John H. Hunt was officially in command of all American troops in our compound ( 8 ).  He did the directing of the food distribution actual cooking and supervised the care of the sick and wounded.
          Although in none too good health or physical condition himself he continually sacrificed his own personal rest, few comforts and risked his physical well being in order to help the rest of us.  
          He was looked upon by others as a tower of strength, always setting the example by his courage and optimistic cheerfulness.  He repeatedly risked and received beatings for speaking up to the Jap “masters” in trying to get more food and medicine for the sick.  
          He was playing a dangerous game in receiving stolen goods from our more fortunate comrades in other compounds.  They would smuggle the stolen food, tobacco or medicine to us in baskets or hidden in rice bags.  Captain Hunt was responsible for the receiving of this material and if he had ever been caught the consequences would have run any where from a viscious beating to perhaps death.  
          During the march from Rangoon to Pegu, three nights of hellish walking, barefooted and hungry Captain Hunt carried the load of at least two other men besides his own.  In addition to this he had no rest whatsoever because he had to officiate during the roll calls and was held responsible for the correct number of men being in line at the end of each hour.  Never was he heard to complain and by his example many men held on that couldn’t have continued without his leadership. 
          He also risked his life at Pegu directing the signaling of friendly air craft.  Many more incidents of this type could be related.  However it is felt that the above gives an idea of the caliber man Captain John H. Hunt was and is.  
          Written by an eyewitness of the above and signed by fellow eyewitnesses and prisoners.  
 

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From: John Andrews <jandrewsinfo@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 3, 2015 at 9:08 AM
Thanks for sharing, John. The more you learn of WWII, the greater awe you feel for those who endured it, and our parents were front and center. Cheers/JA
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Our Generous Sponsors

   Judy (Dramer) Honneger is our sponsor for 2018 & 2019 - THANKS JUDY !! and a very special “VIELEN DANK” to our past sponsors: 2006-Jim Maloney; 2007-John Gornall; 2008-Jim & Diana Lundie; 2009-Jim Thompson; 2010-Catherine Brousseau; 2011-John Hunt; 2012-Don Rakestraw; 2013 & 2014-Mike Rudd; 2015 & 2016-Jim & Suzan Armstrong; 2017-Sharon Reep-Lantzer; 2018 & 2019-Judy Honegger.