The 761st Tank Battalion's 55th Annual Reunion was held September 4th through 7th, 2003, at the Marriott Pontiac at Centerpoint in Pontiac, Michigan. The newly elected officers of the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association are National President - Floyd Dade; 1st VP - Charles Womble; 2nd VP - Newton Long; Secretary - Kenneth Tait; Treasurer - Gloucester Stephens; Chaplain - Rev. Clarence Copeland; and Historian - Associate member Wayne Robinson. The Man of the Year award was presented to Willie Topps. The Woman of the Year was Teresa Tait, wife of Kenneth Tait the National Secretary. Pictures from this year's Reunion are in Floyd Dade's Album in the Gallery (starting on page 3 -- click here.)
The T. G. Hill Scholarship Fund awarded two $1,000 scholarships this year. Choosing the 2004 National Reunion's Persons of the Year will be by accomplished by voting via donations of $1 per vote, with all proceeds benefitting the Scholarship Fund (send the names of your nominees and your checks to the atttention of Rufus D. Taylor, 761st Tank Battalion & Allied Veterans Association, P.O. Box 211009, Detroit, MI 48221.) The general meeting went on longer than expected, as the members considered whether or not to share future reunions with the 758th Tank Battalion. It was decided that in the future, the 761st Tank Battalion will have joint reunions with the 758th Tank Battalion. The general meeting was held following a Memorial Service and lunch, and ran late into the afternoon, before the banquet was held that evening. Rev. Arthur Stephens of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, Pontiac, Michigan, was the Celebrant at the Memorial Service held at American Legion Post #20 in Pontiac. His text was Preparing for Spiritual Warfare. The Signing of the Book was for these members lost in the past year: Dan Caulder (KY), James Koger (MI), Herbert Mackey ((NY) and Naomi Stephens (MI), the wife of National Treasurer Gloucester Stephens.
About 25 tankers attended the Reunion, and also attending were the tankers’ family members and friends. Army artist SFC Charles M. King attended and donated some of his art work to the Post in Pontiac, Michigan. He also brought a beautiful picture he drew of the men. Special acknowledgment and appreciation is given to Mr. William S. Levine for the generous $10,000 donation from his foundation that affords the Association the ability to continue to have annual reunions for a few more years. Edris Dade and Shauna Burwell, wife and daughter of Association President Floyd Dade, told people attending the Reunion about the website. Edris showed the website to Baron Bates, son of the Battalion Commander, Colonel Paul Bates. The Pontiac, Michigan, School Board was happy to learn about the website and will incorporate it into their history curriculum. The members voted to make 761st.com their official website.
Photos from 55thReunion courtesy of Floyd and Edris Dade