17th Artillery celebrates 21st reunion
The 17th Artillery was formed May 14, 1917 by the United States War Department. In 1999, a devoted group of Vietnam veterans gathered and formed the 17th Artillery Regiment Association, which celebrated their 21st reunion the week of Sept. 15 at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla. at the Fairfield Inn.
The group spent the week touring places of interest, including their home base at Fort Sill and the General Tommy Franks Museum in Hobart, Okla. and gathering each night to reminisce. They were honored at their banquet by the Buffalo Soldiers of Fort Sill.
The group shown in the photo, included from the left: Avery Hall, Staff Sgt. E6, the Section Chief of one of the six Howitzer guns, and Robert King, Staff Sgt. E7, Chief Firing Battery C Commander, both of Lawton, Okla.; Richard Flowers, Specialist E4, truck driver for Gun #4, of Romeoville, Ill.; and Donald Brooks, Specialist E4, truck driver for Gun #1, of Lowell. These men were part of the Battery which left Fort Sill together in August 1965 on the USS Gordon and landed at Qui Nhon, Vietnam. They were air mobile with the First Cav Division, moved by helicopters and trucks, however they could get into locations for defense. They were all in the major battle of November 1965, in the IaDrang Valley, Vietnam.
Hall also arranged a private surprise reunion for King, Flowers and Brooks at the Veterans Home in Lawton, where Hall and King now reside. King had not seen Flowers and Brooks in 53 years. What a wonderful surprise it was.