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17-Oct-2017
by: Larry Doff

So Annie and I are embarked on the MS Norwegian Jade with 2,400 of our closest friends on a 10 day cruise, New York City to Quebec, Canada.

We’re on Deck 7 on the second day out when we spot a guy with a generic Vietnam veteran’s cap.

Larry:  Welcome home, buddy.

Guy: Thank you, Sir. Are you a vet also?

Larry:  Yeah. I put in two tours in Vietnam and three additional missions up to just before the end.

Guy: Ah.  When were you there?

Larry: My first tour was 1967 to 1968.  I went back 1970 to 1971.  And I went back for a couple of months each in 1972, ‘73 and ‘74.

Guy: Wow.  I was there also in 1967 to ’68.  Where were you?

Larry:  I was in MR II, up in the Central Highlands.

Guy:  You’re kidding!  I was in the Central Highlands too.  Our boat landed in Qui Nhon and we took LST’s in to the beach.

Larry:  Qui Nhon?  That’s where I came in-country also.  I was in the advanced party for my battalion.  We flew in from Fort Hood in a C-130. We ended up working on QL-19 from Qui Nhon to Ahn Khe and on toward Pleiku.

Guy:  Me too!  I was based out of Camp Swampy.  Ever hear of it?

Larry:  Sure. You had to be with the 589th Engineer Battalion. I even have my 589th hat with me.

Sonny Laubach:  I can’t believe this.  What a coincidence. I was with the 70th Dump Truck Company attached to the 589th.  What’s your name? Sharon (his wife who was standing next to him during the entire exchange), can you believe this?

So Sonny and I spent several enjoyable hours recalling memories about our time with the 589th and sharing stories with other veterans who attended the Veteran’s Socials arranged by the Cruise Director on the ship.  Sonny was unaware of the 589th web-site, but happy to find a source of photos and information about the Battalion.

Meeting Sonny and Sharon was a highlight of our trip.

Welcome home, Sonny.

Regards,

Larry Doff

12-Oct-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

I recently sent out an email to all members and had several returned as "Not Deliverable" This is not uncommon as I realize you guys don't always keep us updated on your change of contacts. In this case though I decided to do a search for the returned emails and found that two of them were deceased.

I am sad to report that Thomas Lutrel of D Co and Charles Tockey of B Co have passed away. Rest in Peace Brothers. Here is their obit and Find a Grave articles:

04-Oct-2017
by: Kevin Casey

Fellow 589th Association Members-  Since I've not been able to attend the annual Branson Reunion, I'm thinking of hosting a mini-reunion dinner/luncheon at a Los Angeles area restaurant sometime in November or early December, most likely on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or evening.  I've already contacted other members from the 589th membership roster who are located here in Southern California.  Have I missed you somehow?  If so, and if you would like to attend as my guest, just send me an email and I'll give you details as they become available.  The exact date is not yet worked out as I haven't yet heard back from all the invited guests.  Your wives are also cordially invited as my guest.  I tried to include everyone who would be coming to the event from a reasonable driving distance, there are currently 19 members who live in California although many in the northern parts of the state.  I also may consider having a weekend luncheon instead of a dinner in case I have guests who would rather not drive at night.  I will try my best to take everyone's schedules, etc. into consideration when making the final arrangements.

If you ever find yourself in the Los Angeles/Southern California region, get in touch with me and we can meet up.

Best Regards, Kevin J. Casey  HHC/1967/68

02-Oct-2017
by: Jim Clower

I regret to pass on the loss of another 589th member.

Kenneth Kendrick, B Co. 589 Engr of Savannah, Ga. passed away on 30 Sept. 2017. Kenny was 67.

His Obituary can be found here.

The viewing is tonight Oct.2 from 6:00pm-8:00pm.  Graveside service will be held on Tuesday Oct. 3, 2017 at Hillcrest Abby West.

He is preceded in death by his wife, Donna Ellen Hendley Kendrick

Survivors include three sons and a sister. 

Flanders Morrison Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

16-Sep-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

I just found out from John and Fritz Ryan that Gary Burns was killed in a tractor accident at his home in Cleveland MO this past June. Gary was in the 513th which was attached to the 589th in Vietnam. Gary had attended every 589th Association reunion and was registered for this year's reunion in Branson. I will remember Gary as someone that was a friend to all that knew him. He will be missed. RIP Brother.

25-Aug-2017
by: Bob Spencer

We have welcomed three more members to the association whose contact info can be found on the Membership pages:

First Name Last CO Tour of Duty Date Added City State
Jim Watts D Apr67-Apr68 7-Aug-2017 Kingwood TX
Jessie "Doc" Johnston HHC  Jan69-Feb70 4-Aug-2017 Fontana CA
James Prudhume B Apr67-Apr68 27-Jul-2017 Fresno CA

 

23-Jul-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

We have welcomed seven more members to the association whose contact info can be found on the Membership pages:

First
Last
Co
TOD
Date added
City
ST
Elliott WO1 Mock
D
Oct68-Apr69 3-Jul-2017 Jonesville LA
Clinton Brookner
A
Jun67-Jun68 6-Jun-2017 Citrus Ridge FL
Peter Porter HHC  Sep70-Apr71 28-May-2017 Coker AL
Gary Wallace
A
Jan69-Jan70 8-May-2017 Nacogdoches TX
Joe Schaefer
C
Apr67-Apr68 2-May-2017 Hinkley MN
Wayne Keenan
A
Dec69-Dec70 28-Mar-2017 Foley AL
Richard Nelson
B
Apr67-Apr68 24-Mar-2017 North Platte NE

 

3-Jun-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

The following are a couple emails I received from Henry McNabb following the HOF Ceremony for his brother, John Joseph McNabb, who was killed in Vietnam on 30Nov1967. John is interred at the Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden, MA. Many thanks to Jeff Pestana and his wife, Fran, for representing the 589th again this year on Memorial Day:

"Tuesday May 30, 2017
                                                    Time 6:48 am

    Dear Mr. Perry Blanchfield,

    I wanted to say Thank You, and 589thEngineers Battalion Association (Vietnam), for Beautiful Flowers that were sent for Our Oldest Brother John Joseph McNabb, as like Always a Nice Gesture in Remembrance to Him.  
    Like to also Thank You too Mr.& Mrs. Jeffrey Pestana, as Jeff & Fran are a Great Couple and are Nice Individuals which is Truly a Blessing to know both of them.
   Jeff is a Great Honor Guard Representative for Your Unit, and Down to Earth when talking with him, as explained how the Members go to All the Fallen Comrades gravesites in All the States, as They are Never Forgotten and Remembered All these Years.
    In closing just wanted to say, that The Entire McNabb Family was Touched and Honored by Gesture and in Our Hearts know that Our Parents Mr. & Mrs. Henry F. McNabb, and brother Francis and sister Sheila were All looking down Upon Us, from Heaven.
                               Sincerely
                                                 Henry John McNabb

P. S. God Bless Entire 589thEngineeer Battalion"

                                                  "Sat. June 03, 2017  
                                                       Time 5:10 PM

          Dear Mr. Perry Blanchfield,

   I just received your email, and by all means will allow you to Post the comments on Website that I sent to say Thank You to 589th Engineer Battalion Association (Vietnam) and You, for Our Oldest brother John Joseph McNabb, along with Mr.& Mrs. Jeffrey Pestana. 
   I'm probably not the best letter writer, but try to convey the deepest feelings, how Our Family is Touched and Honored to know that John, along with his Comrades, are Remembered and Never Forgotten after All these Years.
   Johnny was born February 21, 1945 and died November 30, 1967 which means this year is 5O Years. 
   John was Very Proud to be a Soldier, of the United States Army, and especially liked Heavy Equipment Training at Fort Hood Texas. He used to show us pictures in books of vehicles, that he worked during school training.
    Brother John was the second oldest of seven children as four boys and three girls, as he enlisted in Army. Our Parents Mr.& Mrs. Henry F. McNabb were Very Proud of Him along with Entire Family.
    I have written a few letters to you Mr. Perry Blanchfield, over the years mention how Our Mother Mrs. Kathleen McNabb became President of Chapter of Gold Star Mother's here in Somerville Massachusetts, and how I also a Vietnam Veteran in United States Marines.
    Over the Years have mentioned to a Lot of Friends, about the Memorial Service at Holy Cross Cemetery in Malden Massachusetts, and how Honor Guard Mr. Jeffrey Pestana and lovely wife Fran bring  Beautiful Bouquet of Flowers and take pictures.
    They truly are Great Individuals, for doing this Solemn Tribute, and All your other members throughout this Country, The United States of America.                                       
                            Sincerely
                                         Henry John McNabb"  

29-May-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

29-May-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

2017 HOF Volunteers:
Tommy McLain and Doyle Breeden

Sherlin's Vietnam service honored posthumously
Gabriel Garcia

Almost 50 years after his death in the Vietnam War, more than a dozen friends, family members, and military veterans gathered at the headstone of Freddie Michael Sherlin for a flower-placing ceremony.

Sherlin, an Athens native, was 21 years old when he was lost in Ninh Thuan Province in South Vietnam on Aug. 8, 1969. His cousin, Andy Sherlin, was born years later, and that surviving family member was overwhelmed with the gathering.

"If you had told me that 50 years after I died, there were going to be a dozen people who would visit my grave, I'd have said you were crazy," said Andy Sherlin, present with his son, Jacob. "And that speaks volumes about Freddie, about his friends, about us as Americans. And as his family member I never met him, he died a decade before I was born, but I'm thankful for everyone being here and I will assure all of you that I will continue to exalt his legacy, to honor family down the line."

The ceremony was one of 26 around the country conducted by surviving members of the 589th Engineer Battalion, in which Sherlin served, to honor those who died while serving with the unit. This is the third year the association of that battalion has conducted these ceremonies around the country during Memorial Day weekend.

Regarding Sherlin, Tom McLain brought Bible verse John 15:13 to mind: "No man has more love than the man who would lay down his life for his friends."

"Freddie's friends included all of us, all the citizens of this country," said McLain during the ceremony. "Not only did he volunteer to join the service, but he volunteered for his second tour in Vietnam. He was relieving another equipment operator when he was killed. From what I've heard about him and what I've read of him and people I've talked to, he was always thinking of others, and that's what it's all about."

29-May-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

2017 HOF Volunteers:
Jim Swick, Robert Coy, and Luigi Bersani

                               
                               Stacey Gross - Staff reporter

 
        Jim Swick pores over documents related to his time in the 589th Engineers, and the men he served with in Vietnam.

It’s not often that a Vietnam veteran wants to talk about his service.

But James Swick, a Warren native and Vietnam veteran, found me instead of the other way around. To be fair, he wanted to talk about an effort that members of his battalion — the 589th Engineers — have made over the past eight years to maintain the relationships that were formed in Vietnam and to honor the men of the battalion who lost their lives there. But Swick’s story of service is inextricable from the story of the memorials the men from the 589th do today.

Swick was 23 years old, he said, when he was drafted in 1968. The worst year to be in Vietnam, arguably, ’68 was the year that 70,000 North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces launched a coordinated and brutal attack on more than 100 cities, towns, and villages in the southern half of the country. The Tet Offensive was the turning point in the war that saw in the long, messy withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country where war had been redefined.

Unlike World War II or the Korean War said Swick, where construction battalions could rest at least a fraction easier when they were “behind the line,” there was no line in Vietnam. Where the construction and engineer troops of earlier wars would have had very little direct contact with the enemy short of air attacks or artillery fire, Swick’s battalion — which operated from April 1967 through April 1971 — were under less pressure than other soldiers, but still in a constant state of fight or flight.

“We’d set up a perimeter at night,” said Swick. “We spent more or less the whole time we were there in tents because we were moving all the time. We’d set up a perimeter and then Puff The Magic Dragon,” the Douglas AC-47 Spooky, developed by the air force to provide support to ground troops, “would come in and just fire security rounds all around us through the night to keep the pressure off. They really didn’t pressure us as much as others,” Swick said humbly. “We were more targets of opportunity than anything else.”

Every third night or so, Swick said, was all a man in the 589th would expect to spend on the line.

Stop and think for just a second.

What were you doing at 23 years old?

Nearly every night for that year of Swick’s life was punctuated by gunfire, and the best case scenario was that it was not aimed at him. Every now and then, Swick said, he and his battalion would be moved by ship from one area to another. “It would take a day or two to pack up and a day or two to get where they were going,” said Swick, and those days? Those days were like vacation. At sea was the safest place to be in Vietnam, and it was where Swick and the 589th rested the easiest.

Swick’s job — the 589th’s whole purpose for having been created — was to build roads from the shore through the An Khe Pass and, from there, into the mountains. “I never saw jungle,” Swick said.

When he got to Vietnam, Swick bought his first camera. “I don’t know what possessed me to do it,” said Swick, but he picked up a Kodak Instamatic, which took an easy to load slide film cartridge and was simple and inexpensive to use. “I mailed the film to Palo Alto, California,” said Swick, “with instructions for them to send the pictures home to my wife.”

His wife. Swick, at the age of 23, had already been married, worked a full-time job, and owned a home. “But we didn’t have any kids yet,” said Swick. If you were married with children, needed at home to support a family, in college, or had a physical or mental issue that prevented you from serving, you weren’t likely to see an exemption if your name came up at the draft board.

They didn’t have any kids yet. Even so, many of the men who served in Vietnam alongside Swick were younger — 18 or 19. Few were older than 20. “They treated me like a grandfather,” Swick laughed. Comparatively, he was significantly more of an “adult” with a wife and a home of his own. But by the end of his year in Vietnam Swick would find a new family member waiting to greet him — his ten month old daughter.

“The only one who recognized me was my wife,” said Swick. “We were black. You weren’t supposed to work with your shirt off,” he said, but the work was hard and hot and everyone did. “My parents didn’t even know me.”

Swick and his wife have only ever lived out of Warren by way of his military service. Aberdeen, Texas, then Fort Benning, Georgia, Vietnam for Jim and on to Fort Hood, Texas, upon his return. And then, he said, the three of them made their way back to Warren. Swick had left a job at G&R Machine Company on Warren’s west end to go to war. And that’s where he went when he got back to town, he said. G&R, incidentally, serviced the Times Observer’s press back in the day and Swick remembers spending plenty of time in what’s now the warehouse.

“It’s a beautiful part of the country,” Swick said about the trip home. “Believe me, from someone who’s lived all kinds of other places, this is a beautiful part of the country. All the trees, when we turned off the highway in Erie and started down through Union City and Corry. All the trees, my wife and I both, we said ‘it’s like driving through a tunnel.'”

Because of his trade, Swick was a machinist in Vietnam. A traveling toolmaker, Swick had his own portable machine shop that he carried with him as he and the 589th made their way from shore to mountain, making replacement parts when they were needed. And parts were needed all the time as the crews built roads and bridges that were occasionally destroyed in the process.

“We were building roads,” said Swick. “We were building bridges. They didn’t put that much pressure on us guys because we used the roads during the day, but they used them at night, you see?”

Eight years ago, Swick said, another member of the 589th reached out to what men he knew had served in the same battalion, and those men reached out to the ones they knew, until across the country members of the small group of ridge crews that went to Vietnam with one purpose and one purpose only, a net had been cast and a reunion was planned. At the reunions, Swick said, Blanchfield made sure that a representative of Veteran’s Affairs would be on hand to help the men of the 589th figure out any paperwork they had, what benefits they had coming to them, and how to get them.

“Pennsylvania is really lucky. Some states have absolutely nothing. I never wanted to go to the VA,” said Swick, but the VA rep at the reunions really encouraged everyone to go. “We have a great local VA,” said Swick. “Ed Burris, he’s great.”

After three years of major reunions and “mini reunions,” one of which Swick said he just got back from that featured tours of Yellowstone, fishing, and horseback riding in the mountains of Montana with the men who served alongside him, Swick said Blanchfield and the rest of the men wanted to do something to honor the 26 members of the 589th that were killed in Vietnam. “We just go to whatever grave is closest to us,” said Swick.

The 26 graves are visited around the country every Memorial Day and decorated with flags and flowers. Swick’s grave, which he decorates along with Robert Coy of Ohio and Luigi Bersani of Liverpool, New York is in Lockport, New York. The grave is that of SP4 Carleton Philip Hastings, who was born on Sept. 2, 1948 and died on June 18, 1968 in Pleiku Province.

“Perry found every grave,” said Swick. He also compiled lists of cemetery contacts, family contacts, and what information he could on each of the men who’d died from the battalion.

On Sunday, Swick said he, Coy, and Bersani planned to meet at Hastings’ grave with his family. It’s a good sized gathering, Swick said. At some of the graves, one or two family members may come, along with other veterans and members of the public. The services are open to anyone. His is always attended by a group of about 10 or 12.

Hastings, he said, was the youngest of 12 siblings; six brothers and six sisters.

“It’s been satisfying,” said Swick, “to meet these families and talk to these family members.” The Hastings’, said Swick, are a somewhat quiet group, and although he invites each of the brothers and sisters to take one of the individually preserved flowers in the arrangement each year, they don’t. “They don’t want to disturb the basket, they say.” They do, however, invite the three members of their brother’s battalion home for a picnic afterward every year, Swick said.

Of the 589th as a whole, said Swick, “we’re closer than family.”

Photos, stories, and documents related to the 589th can be found at 589thengineers.com.

2-May-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

Jerry Wayne Best “Nephew”, 74, of Florence, passed away April 30, 2017 at his residence. He was a member of Florence Boulevard Church of Christ, and the Laborers Local #366.

Visitation will be Tuesday, May 2, 2017 from 6-8 p.m. at Greenview Funeral Home. The funeral service will be Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11 a.m. in the funeral home chapel with David Rushlow and Dale Boren officiating. Burial will follow in Greenview Memorial Park.

Mr. Best was preceded in death by his parents and a sister.

He is survived by his wife, Marjorie Coleman Best of Florence; son, Jeff Best (Tiffany) of Tuscumbia; daughters, Kimberly Powell (Joe) of Waterloo, and Angela Yeates (Harry) of Elk Grove, CA; a sister, Kathy Harbin of Florence; and grandchildren, Chad Powell (Katie), Carly Powell, Makayeleigh, Abby, and Lilly Best, Tyler and Tucker Yeates, and Jessica Sutton.

Active pallbearers will be Gat Atkinson, Buddy Blaxton, Gary James, Phillip James, Milton Kirby, and Sam Landrum.

Tex Addicks, Lynn Brown, and Larry Westmoreland will serve as honorary pallbearers.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to Hospice of the Shoals.

Services will be held at:
        Greenview Memorial Chapel.
        3657 Old Chisholm Road
        Florence, AL 35633
        256-764-2411

 

29-Mar-2017
by: Wayne Keenan

I just joined the 589th association & was going through the website & noticed the post about W.F. Green veterans home by Perry Blanchfield. I am a lifetime member of the American Legion Post 99. The ladies auxiliary host W.F. Green for bingo and a lunch every month. Small world.

24-Mar-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

I was trying to get in touch with SGM Frank Leeder and see how he was doing and instead found out he had passed away on Feb 22nd, 2015. So sorry to hear it. Frank came to our 2009 reunion in Waynesville, MO and donated several of his mementos including his Engineer Castle from Vietnam. He served in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. A great American and one I am glad I was fortunate enough to meet and talk to. Rest in peace Brother!

Click here to read Frank's obituary:

24-Mar-2017
by: Perry Blanchfield

Cool tag and the car ain't too shabby either. First one that can tell us who it belongs to wins a 589th cap and Unit Crest. Post your answer on the Guestbook.

9-Mar-2017
by: Bob Spencer

We have welcomed two more members to the association whose contact info can be found on the Membership pages:

Kurt Cameron, A Co
        and
        Joseph Riehm B Co

29-Jan-2017
by: Bob Spencer

Willie’s Question on Member Authority 
By Bob Spencer

Willie.  I want to dispel your belief and concern that it is my opinion the members of the 589th Association don’t have any rights in their Association.  I am not sure what I could have done or said to give you that impression; the only comments I have made even close to the subject are in the article “589th Board Responsibility” published November 24, 2016 in the Latest News section of this website.  As I respond, I am assuming the 589th Board Responsibility article is the source of confusion. 

First, I believe we, as individual members of the 589th Association, own all the rights in the organization.  As members (I am going to refer to us as “member-owners” for clarity), we member-owners share the right to authorize all the activities of the association - as long as we stay within our Charter.  We could even exercise what I believe is the ultimate authority, which is to disband the Association.  There is no question about it!  When we exercise our member-owner rights, it is “one man, one vote”. None of us have any more power in those decisions than the next guy – we are equal.   I want to say it again: the member-owners of the 589th Engineer Battalion Association share all the power and authority within the organization.  Having said that, the challenge within organizations isn’t typically identifying the authority of the members, it is in defining just how the member-owners go about exercising their collective rights.  As members we are responsible for making good decisions, in a timely manner, that benefit the larger membership body as well as the organization itself.  

Because it is not possible or practical for every member-owner to participate in every decision the organization makes, it is customary to select a board of directors to represent the member-owners in those decisions.  When member-owners select their board of directors, they are not giving up their power and authority, they are simply authorizing those directors to exercise the authority on their behalf.   A board of directors has no more power and authority than what is granted to it by the member-owners.  If there are decisions the member-owners want to retain, it is perfectly appropriate for the member-owners not to grant that specific authority to the Board. 

Some member-owners inappropriately feel they are giving away their power when they delegate authority to a board of directors.  That is simply not so; instead there can be several benefits.  A couple of the most important are the reality that each member-owner is not going to be as informed on any given issue as you would expect a board to be. The risk is inferior decisions.  When a board makes a decision, the member-owners can hold them accountable for the results; if the member-owners make a decision, nobody is held accountable.  I believe one of the most important benefits accrues from more equal representation.  When we vote as member-owners, we vote representing our own selfish interests.  However, when a board of directors vote, the board is held to the higher standard of representing all of the member-owners and the organization itself.   

So, in summary, my opinion is:

  1. Member-owners hold all the authority and decision making power within an organization.   
  2. Member-owners delegate authority to a board to allow the organization to function efficiently.
  3. Member-owners delegate authority to their board not to advantage the board, but to advantage the owners and their organization.
  4. A board should have all the authority necessary to make timely decisions. 
  5. If member-owners want to retain the authority over any given issues, they are certainly within their authority to do so, but the retention of responsibilities must be communicated with the board.

 

16-Dec-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

A new photo album for Wayne Heidtke has been added. Look under VN Photos/C Co/Heidie. These are actually some very good quality photos taken from slides.

I've also added new photos for the Boise Mini-Reunion. Look under the Past Reunions/Boise Mini/Photos tab.

Note: I am getting quite a few photos from you guys that are taken vertically. I'm sure this must be a Smart Phone phenomena but it does not lend itself to the best viewing option other than on your phone. When taking photos, and especially if they are to be displayed on our website, a TV, an pad, or a computer, please take them in the horizontal (sideways) plain. Just ask yourself: Is your TV mounted horizontally or vertically? Thanks; your viewers will appreciate it.

13-Dec-2016
by: Bob Spencer

We have welcomed two more members to the association whose contact info can be found on the Membership pages:

Harold "Buddy" Harrison, A Co
        and
        Thomas "Papa Tom" Douglas B Co

1-Dec-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

Bill Heflin and I took a little trip to Bay Minette, AL to visit one of our 589th, A Co Brothers, Woodrow "Woody" Lucy. Woody is in the William F. Green State Veteran's Home (251-937-8049) where, according to Pat and Woody, he is getting some good nursing care. We had a nice visit at the nursing home and then took Woody out for a drive around the Bay Minette area. Woody shared a few interesting stories about his younger days from this neck of the woods, some of which were quite surprising to say the least! Later on we had a great dinner at Street's Seafood Restaurant. Those of you who know Woody and understand what a sizable appetite he has will be happy to know he didn't disappoint us. I'm so glad Bill and I could bring a little joy to Woody, especially at this time of year. We love you Brother!

24-Nov-2016
by: Bob Spencer

589th Board Responsibility

One of the questions visited by every organization is “who gets to make the decisions?”  Our interest in the answer typically varies directly with the impact those decisions have on our day-to-day lives. Thus, most decisions made on our behalf don’t even gain our attention. We don’t want to know.  We don’t want to have to decide. We have enough of our own decisions to make.  Well, that is unless we have strong feelings about a decision we disagree with.   Designating Branson as the site of the 589th Association’s 2017 Reunion is one of those decisions that have gained attention.  Some members are for it, some are against it, while others feel the significance of the reunion is more important than its location.   

While the nature of the organization necessitates the Board making many decisions on behalf of the membership, the board is also obligated to help the membership understand the rationale supporting those decisions. The following text was written to help board members understand the Board’s obligations to its members; the document speaks not only to the selection of the site for a reunion, but also to the many other decisions a Board is obligated to make.     

The 589th Engineer Association’s Bylaws are in place to help define the rules and regulations that govern the affairs of the Association and the rights and responsibility of its members.  As with bylaws in general, the Association’s bylaws cover topics such as the purpose of the organization, qualification of membership, the number, qualification and election of directors, a description of their duties, and how meetings are to be conducted. 

Board governance standards recognize that the membership collectively retain all the power and authority within the organization, except the power and authority delegated to its board of directors.  Due to the difficulty of governance within large groups of members, organizations typically establish a board of directors, made up of its members, to represent them while conducting regular business activities.  When delegating authority to a board of directors, organizations use their bylaws to reflect the duties and responsibilities of the overall board and the responsibility of each board officer.  Article VIII of the Bylaws describes the purpose of the Association’s Board of Directors.  The Bylaws state, “The purpose of the Board of Directors is to maintain oversight over the organization and its activities, maintain an active role in long-range planning, generate and oversee general policy discussions, build a positive public perception and image of the Association, and serve in a fiduciary capacity on behalf of the members of the 589th Association”.  

A thorough review of the Association’s Bylaws reflects that the only responsibility the membership reserved for itself is to approve dates for its reunion if the proposed date falls outside of the period April 15 through October 15.   The Bylaws are quiet as to the authority for setting reunion locations. 

A broad description of the legal responsibilities of a board of directors may be summarized as follows, which is often referred to as the three Ds. 

Duty of Care:  Board members are expected to actively participate in organizational planning and decision-making and to make sound and informed judgments.
Duty of Loyalty:  Board members (and therefore the board) must put the interests of the organization before any personal interests and avoid conflicts of interest (real or perceived). 
Duty of Obedience:  Board members must ensure the organization complies with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations, and that it remains committed to its established mission. 

As the board performs its functions, it is fulfilling its fiduciary responsibilities to the organization and its individual members. Fiduciary means the members have placed the responsibility on the Board to act in good faith, care, candor and loyalty on behalf of all the Association’s members.  There is an important distinction to be made here.  Having a fiduciary responsibility means the Board must act on behalf of all the members when it deliberates, not subsets of the membership.  In this example, a subset of the membership (those present at a reunion held in Branson), voted to make Branson the home of the 589th Engineer Association.  That subset of members may feel their position should rule until overturned by another vote of those attending the business meeting held during a subsequent reunion, but it is not the role of that subset to act as fiduciaries for the overall membership; that is the responsibility granted only to the Board.  The Board may acquiesce to that subset’s vote and hold reunions in Branson, but that does’t mean the Board has not exercised its authority and/or responsibility. 

So, my position is that the Board has the responsibility to act on behalf of all the members.  Some group of members may think they have the authority to represent each of the members during a business meeting, but they do not.  Those present at a business meeting may take a vote, but that vote represents an expression of the interests of those particular members; individual members present at a business meeting have no fiduciary responsibility to those members not present, but the board does.   So, unless the vote is relative to a question not deemed the Board’s responsibility, the membership vote becomes advisory in nature. 

The best way to get our members’ feelings on any given matter is, of course, to ask them; otherwise the board is only using its best judgment. We have never asked the membership in total to vote on the issue of Reunion location, but we did recently conduct a survey every member was asked to participate in.  The survey had some of the same characteristics of a vote.  Every member had an opportunity to participate, even without having to be at a polling location at a certain time.  Every member had an opportunity to express his feelings.  Each member only received one vote.  No member could express his opinion more than one time.  The survey was confidential.  However, when the results of the survey are reviewed, it is obvious the general membership holds an opinion that contrasts with those members voting at Branson.

When the 589th Association bylaws are reviewed, the history of our organization studied, and general board of director responsibilities are considered, the Board must set the location of the Annual Reunion.  However, when doing so, it must represent the desires of the membership, while keeping the purpose of the organization and its goals and objectives in mind.

The Board concluded Branson should be selected for the 2017 reunion, but the Branson option be removed from consideration and plans be made to hold the reunion in other locations in subsequent years.  One primary consideration is the complexity of finding appropriate facilities and organizing a reunion.  With all the factors involved, there was concern that not only would the alternate location be unsatisfactory for some, but that time constraints could make putting arrangements in place difficult.  Branson has the advantage of having hosted the 589th Engineers in the past, it has the necessary facilities, and based on our preliminary work is more reasonably priced than other destination locations.     

Thank you.

Bob Spencer
September 2016

16-Nov-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

Here are a few few items that may interest you:

1) 1LT Barry Hansen's photos have been uploaded to the website. Look under VN Photos/HHC/Hansen. They are very good quality and over 400 of them. Barry was the Design Officer for the Battalion from May68-May69 so all Companies are represented in his photos. His Vietnam memories will be upload soon.

2) I have received quite a few photos from Russell Grove, HHC, that I have added to the Vietnam 589th Operations Map. Vinh Hoa, Phu Quy, QL 1, Phan Rang, and QL 11 were updated.

3) We have welcomed two new members to the association whose contact info can be found on the Membership pages:

1LT Barry Hansen, HHC and

Raymond Moore, A Co

9-Nov-2016
by: Bob Spencer

Hello Brothers,

This is notice of the 589th Engineer Battalion’s 2017 reunion to be held in Branson between the dates of Wednesday, September 6th and Sunday, September 10, 2017.  The Stone Castle Hotel will again be our host. 

There has been discussion and debate back-and-forth on the merits of moving the 2017 reunion to an alternate location.  There is no doubt that most of you are ready for a change, which is evidenced by many discussions, your comments and your survey responses.  Much of the reluctance to change locations this year centers around the extra work to organize this 50th anniversary of the 589th Engineers landing in Vietnam, along with the uncertainty and complexity of holding a reunion in an unknown location.  So, the board has made a commitment with the Stone Castle for 2017, but will fully support another location in subsequent years.  Please give some thought to other locations, as we will undoubtedly be asking your opinion over the next few months. 

We have the 2017 reunion location and the dates identified, now we will begin to work out the details.  If you have any ideas, I would appreciate a short email or telephone call – being our 50th anniversary, our goal is to make it a memorable occasion for each of us.  Other than our business meeting and memorial service, for planning purposes all our time is open. A couple of ideas that are floating out there now is a one-day bus tour to Fort Leonard Wood, along with adding live entertainment to our Saturday evening dinner.

We will make sure to keep the most up-to-date reunion information posted on the 589th Engineer Association’s web page.  What I hope you will do is register early by both calling the Stone Castle Hotel for reservations and filling out our on-line registration form.  When you make your room reservations, the Stone Castle will not charge your credit card until after your stay.  

Thank you.  I am looking forward to seeing each of you in September.    

Bob       

3-Oct-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

What a great Mini-Reunion in Lexington, KY! This was a super location with lots to see and do. The horses, racetrack, countryside, aviation museum, and bourbon distillery tours were all beautiful, fun and very informative. The local people were friendly and welcoming too, especially those that helped us locate the nearest KFC. It was a good question Don!

It was great to see "all" my 589th brothers and their wives again especially in this more relaxed Mini-Reunion setting. It was also very nice having someone else handle all the details of the Mini including the Welcome Reception, activities, dinner etc.  On behalf of all of us attending, I would like to extend a special thanks to Bruce Daniels for all his hard work in organizing this Mini and also to his wife, Judi, for her help. Great job Bruce and Judi!

Thanks also go out to all our ladies for their support. I especially want to thank those that kept the 589th Meeting Room at the hotel tidied up and in particular Toni Bersani for her efforts, sometimes even long after most of us had already retired (passed out) for the evening. It did not go unnoticed! 

Thanks also to John and Fritz (Mrs. Wonderful) Ryan for bringing PX items etc. for our guys as always.

Sterling, I forgot to sign the Banner...sorry, I'll get it done in 2017.

Thanks also go out to Chuck Begley for arranging the Van to transport some of us around. That was very helpful and prevented even more of us than we had from being left behind at a red light. I hope we got you paid for the gas.

If I’ve forgotten anyone, please accept my apology and accept our thanks. I do have a severe case of CRS and if you don’t believe me just ask Gloria Swick about the waterfalls I was telling her about. Let’s see, was it Victoria, Niagara, or Viagra Falls? Oh well…does anyone really care?

Let me say a few words now about why I think we mainly come to these events. I think we come because we enjoy visiting with our 589th Brothers, their wives and friends. We enjoy the location and different things to experience and do there. We enjoy our Memorial Tribute to our Fallen Vietnam Brothers. We enjoy the Raffle/Auction. I’m sure you guys could add a lot more reasons, but let's face it, the main reason we all joined this association was to reconnect with those we served alongside with in Vietnam some fifty years ago. Those we worked and sweated with, shared our fears with, laughed with, cried when we lost a fellow Brother with, saw some things that were unpleasant and we would rather not have seen with, got smashed with, went to the strip with, or any of the other things a teenager or young man or woman does when serving their country in war with. There's simply nothing like the feeling you get when reconnecting with "those special Brothers" and reliving those ancient memories when we were merely boys in a hostile environment halfway around the world far from home and our loved ones. 

If you have not personally connected with any of "those special Brothers", I would like to strongly encourage you to take advantage of our Membership Page roster that so many of us have worked so hard to assemble for you over the years or any other means possible to find and reach out to them. Do whatever it takes to reconnect and encourage them to come to one of our reunions. You owe it to yourself and them. We’re not getting any younger and we all have a finish line. Yours, mine, or theirs may be sooner than we’d planned for, so don’t wait. You won’t regret it!
 
So, while I toast all my 589th Brothers, I would like to give a special toast to all my
bona fide A Co Brothers I knew and served with almost fifty years ago in Vietnam. Those Brothers, in a word, are "Special" and you know who you are!

Over and out,
PB

13-Aug-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

A map of Fort Hood from 1943 has been added to the History tab. It is a large file so be patient while it loads.

I have also added some photos of a golf tournament in Sun City, TX that was held in honor of the 62nd Engineer Battalion. This is the same unit that hosted us at the Fort Hood Mini-Reunion earlier this year. Bob Spencer, Dennie Pendergrass and Jerry Cutts chipped in to sponsor one of the holes. Thanks guys for showing these troops a little gratitude. You can see the photos under the "Past Reunions/2016 Ft Hood Mini" tab.

11-Aug-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

I received this email update from Pat Lucy on Woody's and her medical condition etc. a few days ago and wanted to share it with everyone. Thanks for praying for both of them.

"Perry I am so sorry to tell you but Woody is in a VA nursing home in Mobile, AL waiting to be accepted into the VA Home in Bay Minette, AL. I had a stroke in May and our daughter came from Texas but she too has a job. We all went to the Social Worker at the VA in Pensacola and they coordination with Buloxi and found him a bed in Sea Breeze Nursing Home till they can get him in the VA Home. Woody was diagnosed with Cancer of the kidney (right). They could normally operate and remove the kidney in a healthy man. However his heart is so bad that is not an option for us. He had five heavy doses of radiation to try and shrink the tumor but so far it has not done anything. The cancer doctor says he has has this tumor for a very long time and he is not in a hurry to try chemo.

As for me I was in the hospital for another reason and daughter came to pick me up and take me home as I was being released. While waiting for the nurse get the discharge papers I past out and somehow Chris knew right away it was a stroke and called the nurse in. They rushed me to Cardiac Care and gave that drug they administer if they can use it in the two hour time frame from the on-set of the stroke. It must have been a true blessing as I very have Little problems. I have nerves in the left hand that isn't right, still walk a little funny, sometimes sideways, and my speech has gotten alright except when I get tired. But I am able to do everything including driving. I drive to Mobile, once a week on Wednesday to see him and take him fruit, snacks. That is about 60 miles from where we live. I am still able to function at home by myself and since I took care of Woody for 21 years I am now trying to get back into bingo, Bunco, and card games. Things I haven't done in years. Thanks for being our friend.

Truly Grateful,
Pat "

Latest News:

9-Aug-2016
by: Nick Kallas

Glen Clark of C CO called today and informed me that he is home from the VA Hospital after what he said is almost a year. He said he had A FIB and that they "electrocuted me" to stop my heart and then "electrocuted me" again to start it back up. He said he is still kicking and getting better. Those of you that know Glen know that his language was much more colorful than what I related! He said "my feet are up and I have a drink in my hand, so I am getting better". He plans to continue for a long time. Glad to hear from him! Call him if you want to wish him well!

26-Jul-2016
by: Bob Spencer

The Reunion Survey has ended. It ran for 7 days and 121 members participated in it. Here are the results of the survey in pie chart format.

19-Jul-2016
by: Bob Spencer

As you know, during 2017 the 589th Engineer Battalion Association will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of its deployment to Vietnam.  In honor of this special occasion, we want to make it as convenient as possible for the majority of members to attend the reunion.  We have held several reunions in Branson and that location has worked out very well – prices are reasonable and the accommodations are good.  However, some of you have commented that Branson is getting repetitious and you’d like a change of scenery.  So, in an attempt to help the organizers select a location most convenient for the majority of those attending, we would like your participation in a 2017 Reunion survey. We will publish the results on the website for all to see.

15-Jul-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

Received from from Nick Kallas yesterday:

"I am very sorry to report that Robert (Babyson or Combat) Thomas, C CO EM Platoon, Jan 68-Jan 69 passed away Monday July 11, 2016 in Louisville KY. The Family has requested that a memorial to St Jude's be made in lieu of flowers. There will be a Celebration of Life Friday evening at Newcomer Funeral Home 10304 Dixie Highway Louisville KY 40272."

28-Jun-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

We have the 2016 Fort Hood Mini reunion photos and I think the best way to view them is from a link to WO1 Michael Kelly's Google Photos folder. Click on the link below and enjoy!

                                               2016 Fort Hood Mini reunion photos
The photo link can also be found under the Mini Reunions/Ft Hood tab.

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26-Jun-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

The following letter is from Henry McNabb. Henry is the younger brother of John Joseph McNabb who, as you all know, is one of our 589th Fallen Brothers killed in Vietnam. It was received following our HOF Memorial Day ceremonies this year in which we honor all 26 of our Fallen Brothers by placing flowers on each of their graves.

"Saturday May 28, 2016 - time 1:32 PM

Hello to All,
On behalf of entire McNabb Family, want to say a sincere heartfelt thank you, for what 589th Engineer Battalion Association ( Vietnam ), did for our oldest brother John Joseph McNabb. I also want to mention Mr. Jeffrey Pestana of 589th Engineer Battalion Assn. Honor Guard Volunteer, along with lovely wife Fran for presenting Our Family with Beautiful Bouquet, of Flowers and taking pictures.
This is second year, that we have been presented with this Tribute to brother Johnny, as deeply appreciated with this HONOR on His Behalf.
Believe me it was a Honor for Our Family, as to know that brother John, along with other Soldiers, of The United States Army were Never Forgotten, and Remembered all these years.
John was Very Proud to be a Soldier of The United States Army, along with Our Parents Mr. & Mrs, Henry F. McNabb and Family, as might Add that Our Mother Mrs. Kathleen McNabb, became President of Gold Star Mothers', and helped many through the years.
I myself a Veteran of The United States Marines,
know what Military Life, instills in you throughout your Lifetime, as you Never Forget the Veterans', that served this Country, The United States of America throughout the Years.
In closing just wanted to say, a Sincere Thank You, as entire McNabb Family was Touched and Honored by Gesture.

God Bless America
Sincerely
Henry John McNabb
"

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24-Jun-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

New members added in 2016:

First Name Last CO Tour of Duty Date Added City State
Walter "Paulsan" Swetkoff B Jul70-Apr71 2-Jun-2016 Montrose CO
Gary  Trammel B Apr67- 22-May-2016 San Augustine TX
Elliott WO1 Mock D Oct68-Apr69 11-May-2016 Jonesville LA
Joseph Lomonaco C Apr67-Oct67 21-May-2016 Lewes DE
David "Jac" Jacobs D Jun69-Feb70 11-May-2016 Las Vegas NV
Kevin Casey HHC  Sep67-Sep68 10-May-2016 Pasadena CA
Douglas Nadeau B Nov70-Nov71 21-Apr-2016 Monument CO
Randall Koshaba B Apr68-Apr69 25-Feb-2016 Reno NV
John Wolfe A Mar69-Jul70 23-Feb-2016 Bridgeville PA
Robert Burris A Apr67- 16-Feb-2016 Toomsboro GA
Moses "Mo" Diggins C Aug69-Aug70 5-Feb-2016 Denver CO
Lynn White A May68-Aug68 21-Jan-2016 Saco ME
Dennis Knight B Dec68-Jul70 8-Jan-2016 Warwick RI

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23-Jun-2016
by: Perry Blanchfield

  1. The C Co Em Platoon Vietnam Wall Mini photos are now uploaded. Look under Mini Reunions.
  2. I have the Fort Hood Mini video and photos and I am working on getting them added.
  3. I am working on getting all the photos taken at our HOF Memorial services uploaded.
  4. Ralph Maxwell\'s C Co photos have been uploaded.
  5. The Blog Page is back to the menu. We will hopefully be adding some new content there soon.
  6. I am considering adding a "Recent News" page to put stuff like this on it rather than the Guestbook.
  7. I have been working on making the site more "Smart Phone" friendly. Be patient on this one!
  8. We are still working on adding a couple more Mini's for this year so hang in there.
  9. I am getting over 1,000 photos from 1LT Barry V Hanson who was the 589th design officer from May68-May69. The few samples he has sent are some of the best quality I've seen. These will take some time to sort out and get uploaded.