Posted - 06/01/2014 : 20:36:18
| Reunion Notes – 2013….New “French Connections”……
The 2013 Reunion in Ft. Worth had another profound French “influence” to the proceedings. I would briefly like to recognize their contributions to the reunion festivities.
Unfortunately, Milt Staley (359/L) was unable to attend the reunion himself due to having undergone major surgery a few weeks prior. Nonetheless, Milt was responsible for making it possible for the Chalmeton family ( father and mother, Herve & Sylvie, along with daughters Cindy and Samantha) from the southern French town of Saint-Chely d’ Apcher to visit the United States, as well as attend the 90th Reunion for the first time.
Milt and I met the Chalmetons in June, 2011 at Pegasus Bridge near Caen. Milt maintained regular communication with the Chalmetons over the next year via e-mail and Facebook. We visited with them again in Normandy during the D-Day and 90th Division Commemorations the first two weeks of June in 2012.
A few months later Milt invited them to attend the 90th Reunion in 2013, which they did. The Chalmetons proceeded to endear the Friday and Saturday night banquet crowds with a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, which they sang in English. We also were able to skype Milt at his home in Redding, Ca. during the evening activities.
In addition to the Chalmeton’s, the reunion was fortunate to have Vincent Orierre and his friend, Marie, attend from Mayenne, France. Vincent has become a loyal and persistent researcher of the 90thDivision’s time in the Mayenne and St. Suzanne areas in early August of 1944. He is the President of a dedicated group of 90th re-enactors. Each year they set up camp near St. Mere Eglise during the first week of June. Their organization, de L’Association Mayenne-WW2, honored the 90th Division in June, 2012, with ceremonies at the McKracken Bridge in Mayenne, the town of St. Suzanne, and the village of De La Bazouge-Des Alleux. They hosted, Sophy Lyndon, Marianne and Carver McGriff (357/M), Milt, my wife, Linda and I during our stay in Mayenne.
Vincent served as the guest speaker at the Friday night banquet in Ft. Worth and gave one of the most emotional and heartfelt visual presentations that reunion attendees have experienced in many years. In addition, Vincent’s re-enactor group will again host several 90thveterans and family members for yet another commemoration dedicated to the 90th Division on June 14 – 15, 2014.
Last, but certainly not least, was the presence of Tristan Rondeau of Argentan, France, which is near where the closing of the Falaise Gap occurred. This was Tristan’s second reunion. He has contributed many photos of 90th soldiers that were taken during the Falaise Gap and has assisted Historian Tyler Alberts with the maintenance of the 90thmuseum. Tristan has also hosted Milt and myself in the Chambois area while re-tracing Milt’s and my father’s (Clyde Richards 358/D) combat sites. The 2013 Reunion was another wonderful time for renewing friendships and making new ones….plus it was made even more special by the presence of the Chalmeton family, Vincent Orierre, Marie, and Tristan Rondeau.
Submitted by Norm Richards Assistant Historian 90th Division Association