761st Tank Battalion & Allied Veterans Association
58th Annual Reunion, August 17-20, 2006
(Excerpts from Ivan Harrison's Newsletter article
and click here to see Ivan's photos from the 58th Reunion.)
The 58th annual reunion of the 761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association was held in Killeen, Texas from Thursday August 17th, until Sunday August 20th at the Plaza Hotel and Conference Center. The Association held its 48th annual reunion here almost 10 years ago, to the day, in August 1996. Lt. Col. Wilbert Byrd (Army Ret), assumed responsibility for the 58th reunion.
Friday morning the honorable Timothy Hancock, Mayor of Killeen, invited all attendees to the Killeen City Hall for a reception. Each veteran was given a Killeen “coin,” an idea that Mayor Hancock said was “borrowed” from the military. Everyone enjoyed hors d’oeuvres while the mayor introduced all of the city council members, police and fire chiefs, the city manager and most of the city’s administrative managers.
After the city hall reception, the bus took everyone to Fort Hood to see the 761st Memorial. Brigadier General Vincent K. Brooks, who is now stationed at Fort Hood, took time out of his busy schedule to greet and welcome the 761st reunion attendees at the memorial. Several attendees were also at the dedication in November and felt that seeing the memorial the second time was as impressive as the first.
After stopping for lunch on the way back to the hotel, the first business session was held. The meeting lasted about two hours and the rest of the evening was spent “catching up.” Much of the reunion was recorded by Double 7 Film for use in the documentary they are working on about the 761st . Friday evening was mostly a roundtable type discussion with members reminiscing about the past while Double 7 Film recorded the interaction.
On Saturday morning four candles were lit at the memorial service for the comrades lost this year; John M. Simmons, Lloyd P. Johnson, Mark Henderson and Robert Nealy. The memorial service was followed by a second business meeting.
The Honorable Timothy Hancock, Mayor, City of Killeen was the guest speaker at the banquet Saturday evening. Mayor Hancock spoke of the changes that the city of Killeen went through “because of you.” He stated that Killeen is now a robust city of 112 thousand residents with a city government and populace that embraces all its citizens and celebrates diversity. By the way, Mayor Hancock mentioned: “the bus company that owned the bus that Jackie Robinson had his incident on, is now minority owned.” Because of you!
This year the T.G. Hill Assistance Fund will award Ms Tiara Shanay Millander of Detroit, Michigan, an award of of $1,000 and the “Persons of the Year” awards went to Ivan Harrison, Jr. and Beverly Taylor.