2017 1st Battalion 1st Marines
Vietnam Veterans Reunion

Message from Chairman
Samuel Ortiz Verdeja
Delta Company ‘69/’70

The 1st Bn, 1st Marines Vietnam Veterans Reunion is scheduled for August 23rd – August 26th, and will be held at the Radisson Blu Hotel-Mall of America in Bloomington Minnesota. There is much to see during your visit, and I would suggest arriving a day or two earlier or staying a day or two after the Reunion. So please send in your registration and make your hotel reservations ASAP so we can begin to get a count of attendees.

The success in the planning has been as the result of cooperative efforts and help of a few individuals like our National 1/1 Director, Rick Bazaco, and others which I am calling my kitchen cabinet (a political term). The members of the kitchen cabinet are the core of the planning team and include: Glenn Griffin, Robert Koury Jr., James J. Kirlin, Michael S. Noa, Demarest Newman, Mike Newton, and Bill Ring, Robert McLean and Deane Wegge Ian Johnston and John Keeling.

However, I am asking for your help to reach out to other 1stBN, 1st Marines Vietnam Veterans and encourage them to register and attend the Reunion. Personal calls, letters or social, media or however you can connect with them so that the MN Reunion can have maximum attendance. I have been contacted by Marines who will attend and said to me that this Reunion may be their last due to health complications, travel limitations or reality of aging. So help me to reach out to others to attend! If they have questions or reservations regarding attending, pleases provide them with my contact information at: samuelverdeja@yahoo.com or cell # 952-303-1534 or have them go to the 1/1 website: www.1stBn1stMarines.com

The theme for the 2017 Reunion is “A Dying Breed of Soldiers and Hero’s”. Meaning that while the generations of WW11 and Korean Veterans are rapidly fading into history, we as Vietnam Veterans are next in line to fade into the history books. So please join us in Minnesota during the Reunion to help remember, celebrate and honor our brethren who did not return.

Paul Garcia (1/1 Vietnam Veteran) out of Houston has again spoken with Mrs. Gonzalez, Mother of Medal Of Honor Recipient and 1/1er, Alfredo Cantu Gonzalez, and has agreed to coordinate her involvement as our honored guest. Alfredo Cantu "Freddy" Gonzalez was a United States Marine Corps sergeant who served with the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines and posthumously received the Medal of Honor for service in the Battle of Hu? during the Vietnam War.

In addition to the scheduled activities including the Battalion Dinner, Company Lunches, sighting tour, or just connecting with our fellow 1/1/ers, the 2017 Reunion will include a “Women’s Luncheon”. The “Women’s Luncheon” will be planned and coordinated by Sandra Griffin, Danielle Koury and Wilma Ring, and who are wives of 1/1ers. The primary purpose of this luncheon is to provide a common gathering venue for the wives, significant others and local Minnesota women leaders to talk about common interests. This group will also hold a silent auction to help raise funds for the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines Organization.

As the Chairman of the 2017 Reunion I maintain my commitment to plan a successful and meaningful Reunion, and to also have a sufficient fund balance to help the 2019 Reunion planners. I have added a personal concierge, Ms. Wendy Everett, to the Reunion, and who will be available with her TEAM to help you plan and guide you to the abundance of amenities throughout the Mall of America and surrounding area. The Radisson Blu Hotel is connected to the MOA via skyway system so no need to go outside, however the MOA is complex. There are many attractions located in the Mall surrounding area, and Wendy and her TEAM will assist you during your visit to Minnesota. For additional information about the Mall of America go to: http://www.mallofamerica.com.

The next newsletter will have additional information including contact information for our 1/1 personal concierge Wendy and her TEAM.

Please send in your registration and make your reservations at the Radisson Blu Hotel ASAP. I look forward to seeing and talking with you during the 2017 Reunion in August.

Semper Fi everyone,

Samuel Ortiz Verdeja, Chair
2017 Reunion Committee
Delta Company ‘69/’70