On behalf of Ken and Sharon Pipes, their son Tim, grandson Connor, and Ken and Betty Rodgers, we wish to extend our most heartfelt thanks and gratitude for making the screenings of BRAVO! COMMON MEN, UNCOMMON VALOR at the Vista, California Alvin Myo Dunn American Legion Post 365 and the Fallbrook, California Charles E Swisher VFW Post 1924 such resounding successes. We were all left nearly speechless at the warm welcome and genuine hospitality we received at each of the venues. The overwhelming emotional reaction and positive comments were tremendously validating to all of us.
We want to extend a special thanks to Marine Bill Rider, who endured the Siege of Khe Sanh along with his fellow Leathernecks in the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines. Bill is the President and CEO of American Combat Veterans of War, an organization of warriors helping warriors integrate back into non-combat environments. Net proceeds from both of the screenings went to American Combat Veterans of War to assist in funding their programs.
The Vista screening began bright and early at 09:00 on Saturday, March 22, 2014, and the standing-room-only 90+ intrepid folks who attended were treated to a continental breakfast of pastries, yogurt, fruit and coffee.
It was good to see David Burdwell, a sniper and member of the 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment, standing outside the Vista American Legion Post, waiting for us to arrive. (Ken and Betty were delighted to meet David and learn that he is one of the Marines in the archival footage used in the film.)
Special thanks are also in order to American Legion Post 365 Commander Haywood Bagley for representing his Vista post at this screening and to Junior Past Commander Chris Yates for all his promotional and technical work in making the morning screening in Vista possible. Chris, retired from a twenty-year career in the USMC, owns a lot of enthusiasm and expertise, which he brought to bear on this project. Ooorah, Chris Yates! Thanks, too, to post board member Raymond Johnson for taking photos of the event and for creating an awesome poster that both Post 365 and we used to promote the event.
At 14:00 on the same Saturday, 125+ viewers joined us in Fallbrook for the second screening of the day.
The afternoon meal at the conclusion of the screening at VFW Post 1924, prepared and served by the Patriots Ministry under the guidance of Tom Langan, was absolutely outstanding, as was the song sung by Tom’s beautiful daughter. Kudos, too, to all those who helped Patriotic Ministries make the tri-tip meal happen—what wonderful folks they all were.
The set-up for the afternoon screening went smoothly and efficiently. We extend our thanks to Robert Styles and Retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Ken Etherton for their onsite suggestions, supervision, enthusiasm and technical expertise. Also, we thank past Fallbrook VFW Commander Berry for the excellent job he did as the MC for the event.
The set-up in Fallbrook would not have been as smooth had it not been for the hard work of the Fallbrook Senior Volunteer Patrol deployed under the able command of the chief administrator, Retired Navy Commander Manny Ortega. We’d like to express our thanks to all the volunteers who so graciously gave us that important boost over the finish line.
Also, it was good to see several members of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Vista unit present and aboard—each righteous and honorable men and Marines—Retired Sergeant Major Brown and Retired Gunny Delgado (both USMC) and Corporal Tutera, who was stationed at the Danang, South Vietnam AO—back in the DAY!
We also send to one of our benefactors, Mr. Mark Van Trees, sincere thanks for the very special and deep-felt appreciation and support he and his organization extended to the American Combat Veterans of War and the Patriotic Ministries. The items that were selected and shipped out here by Mark and the folks at Support the Troops could not have arrived at a better and more opportune time. Thank you, Mark, for making this happen. Those items will go to Marines and their families who have just returned from duty overseas and/or who are in special need.
We wish to relay our appreciation to Retired USMC General Carl Hoffman, Retired Colonel of Marines Lyn Hays, and the Marine officer currently commanding the 5th Marine Regiment, Colonel Jason Q. Bohm, for honoring us with their surprise attendance. Also a surprise attendee was BRAVO! Marine, Ron Rees, whose two daughters made it possible for him to share the Fallbrook screening with us after traveling from his home in Oregon.
We would be remiss if we did not mention how honored we were to have former California State Senator and Mrs. Bill Morrow with us as well as Tom Stinsen, who represented current Fallbrook area State Assembly Member Marie Waldron.
Also joining us was Mr. Alex Dominguez from Norwalk, California. Alex is a veteran of Khe Sanh, a Marine, and a stout supporter of BRAVO! No matter where we screen BRAVO!, Alex might show up to support our efforts.
The support of these fine men, women and Marines and all the other folks they brought with them will not soon be forgotten.
In closing, on behalf of all Bravo 1/26 Marines, we thank you for your support, encouragement, positive comments, and for remembering those of our companions who are no longer with us. To all those who have made this project and so many others possible: SEMPER FIDELIS!
DVDs of BRAVO! are available. For more information about purchasing BRAVO! DVDs, go to http://bit.ly/18Pgxe5.
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