2023 VLCA T Shirt
Hello fellow Land Clearers,
In assessing things to acquire a reunion location for us in 2023, I was presented with offers from prospective hotel venues in Huntsville, AL, Nashville, TN, and Omaha, NE, which were our three given choices arrived at by our board of directors at our 2021 event. Well, after looking them all over, I was disappointed to find that all of them had raised their room rates and were unwilling to provide us with more attractive group rates. Plus, in Huntsville it was found that the hotels didn’t have event space large enough to accommodate our projected count of attendees, while we would have had to rent an off-site event center for three days minimum, to serve as our meeting room and banquet hall. In Nashville, the hotels with the lowest rates were found to be 20 miles away from the city’s entertainment areas, and their ratings were noted to be not all that good. So, as your president, I had to make a judgement call on this, and decided to disregard all three of the proposed locations, while considering a return to Branson instead. Our 2021 site there, the Lodge of the Ozarks had offered to give us the same room rates at $89 a night, along with the same event space fees that we had. It will keep affordability for all clearly in the picture again, while most everything we need during our stay will all be there for us, as we won’t need to go off site, except to dine and see some shows. So, I just thought it made so much more sense to simply go back to that same location again, where they truly appreciate us as veterans.
After holding our event there twice already, everyone I spoke with had given it positive reviews, while many even wondered why we would want to consider going elsewhere. For those who were there in 2021, this should give them a chance to see and do some of what hasn’t been experienced there yet, as there is still so much for everyone to take in.
In the next few months, I will be mailing out informational flyers to all of our members, detailing all that everyone will need to know, with a sign-up form included. So, I truly hope this may entice those who otherwise might not be able to afford to attend our reunion, to possibly consider coming out and joining with us in celebrating the legacy of Land Clearing in South Vietnam. The dates of this event have been set for May 9th, 10th, and 11th of 2023. More information will be forthcoming as you receive your flyer in the mail. I will also post that flyer on this website, for further reference.
So, I hope to see you all there on those dates, at the same friendly and familiar place.
My best to all,
Terry T. Brown
President / Secretary
Vietnam Land Clearers Assn.
* 86th & 501st Company Reunion *
The 'Rome Plows' are coming to
Current plans for this year's late Summer gathering of former members of the 86th & 501st Land Clearing Engineers, who helped to clear the way in South Vietnam, have been set for this coming September, God willing, at the farm home of Bob & Rita Dreyer in Emporia, Kansas.
Where : 1954 County Road S, Emporia, Kansas 66801
To announce your planned attendance to all or part of this event, with whomever may be accompanying you, and to obtain further details regarding lodging, call ahead or email the hosts.
The 86th Land Clearing Team had been in existence in South Vietnam from mid-1967 through December of 1968, while operations were initially based at Bearcat base camp until the 86th Engineer Battalion moved it's construction companies and base of operations south to the Mekong delta town of My Tho in mid-1968, to follow and maintain it's assigned support of the 9th Infantry Division, who had earlier relocated to the nearby area of Can Tho. Despite the departure of it's support battalion, the 86th LCT remained in Bearcat while working independently with various infantry divisions within the III Corps Tactical Zone, until moving later that year to Di An, north of Saigon, to join with the 168th Engineer Battalion and it's sister unit, the 27th Land Clearing Team. Then, in December of 1968, the two Land Clearing teams left the 168th in Di An and moved southeast to Long Binh Post to join with the 62nd Engineer Battalion, where they became part of a new consolidated Land Clearing support battalion. As a result, The 86th Land Clearing Team at that point in early January of 1969 had changed it's numerical unit designation to the 501st Land Clearing Company, and remained there in Long Binh as one of the three Land Clearing line companies of the 62nd Engineer Battalion until April of 1970, when the unit was then deactivated, with their equipment and some of the men dispersed to other units; while others had rotated out from their tours and returned to the states.
For their arduous efforts and dedication over the span of five years of constantly clearing the thick and dangerous jungled landscape within the III Corps area, their noble reward, despite the loss of some of their men from enemy action and from accidents, was in knowing that their efforts and participation had served to save many lives; people who otherwise would have been lost to enemy ambush along the jungle-lined edges of roadways that existed prior to the introduction of the Rome Plow and what it was projected to ultimately do, in greatly improving security within the various areas of South Vietnam.