Reunion after action 2019
The 2019 Super Sabre Society reunion was held on 15 thru 19 May in San Antonio Texas. Home base was the Menger hotel which is a beautiful historic hotel in the Alamo Plaza area. This report is not a compilation of remarks from all attendees but just my personal opinion.
The Menger hotel has a very competent staff. From the time I dropped off my car in the covered valet area the staff was polite, efficient and quick. The lobby Check-in counter was also helpful and knowledgeable.
There was a pre-conference meeting set up for us to meet with a member of every hotel department. Management, food service, front desk, garage, room service, banquet set up and others. They each outlined the service they would provide to the SSS and their contact information.
We were provided an area to set up our welcome desk as well as a space for the FSS. There were two ladies from MRP that passed out name tags, tickets and reunion information. There were six volunteer helpers from SSS. These helpers sold Challenge coins, lapel pins and passed out other goodies. The check in was fairly smooth with minor glitches or request that were handled. They were helpful to a lot of our members. The lobby was spacious with seating for guest to gather. The Minuet room was available and nearby across the garden from the lobby with a cash bar for more serious story telling. The Menger bar was also nearby for drinks and lunch. The staff was very cordial throughout our stay.
The events that MRP set up went off on time and as planned.
Wednesday afternoon the SSS board meeting was conducted with all members present except for Dick Pietro who was connected by phone..
Wednesday evening the Flight suit party was set up in the main ball room. There was a problem with the cash bar. There was only one bartender and a single person pay station. It was aggravated by a large number of members that arrived in a short period of time. There were complaints about waiting in both lines for a drink. Tables and seating in the ballroom was proper for the crowd size. There were a few complaints about food quality.
Thursday there were two-morning events that did not conflict. One was the San Antonio tour. Busses were on time near the hotel front door. I chose to oversee the Stearman flying while MRP handled the city tour. The Stinson flyers traveled by private auto and arrived on time. A one hour weather delay got us off to a late start but the time was used by a pilot briefing that was interesting. The crew for the flying event consisted of the Stearman pilot Darren Bond, Crew chief Jason Bond, Three Lovely young ladies from Sport Clips that helped with pilot entry to the cockpit, flight briefing, harness strap in and helmet fitting. They also helped pose for hero photos.
Thursday afternoon almost all members attended dinner at the cowboy ranch. There was good food, comedy entertainment, rope tricks, hay rides and a visit with some friendly longhorns. I heard many good comments and no complaints about this event.
Friday morning the first two busses left for the War Bird exhibit at the Lewis Air Legends Hangar. The event was orchestrated by Lisa Damuth of Lewis Energy. There were over 100 SSS members that were ushered into the main Hangar where there were chairs and a video presentation on Glacier Girl. This famous P-38 was the fighter that was recovered from deep under 268 feet of ice in Greenland and was in the hangar for us to see. We then broke up into four groups with a tour guide for each group to explain the airplane collection. The world war two airplane collection was amazing. Each airplane is immaculately restored to better than new condition. Everyone enjoyed the tour and were late leaving.
The other Friday tour was to Fredericksburg and the naval museum. It lasted most of the day. I was not on this one but I had very good comments.
Friday evening was dinner on your own.
Saturday there was a riverboat cruise and all the folks I talked with said it was a fun experience even though there was a little rain.
Saturday the membership meeting was held in a portion of the ballroom. Many members attended while present and future Super Sabre Society agenda items were discussed. The Friends of the Super Sabre also gave a briefing on progress at the MAPS museum and the F-100 memorial venue. General Joe Ashy gave a briefing on an idea he has for preserving the legacy of the F-100. Saturday night saw a full house in the main ballroom for the banquet dinner. There was a little problem with seating but it was worked out. JJ Shultz did his usual fine job as the MC for the entire event including the guest speaker Doctor Eileen Borkman. She passed on information about the F-100 that was revealing. We toasted Hoppy Hopkins by phone and he was very appreciative.
The Toasting cabinet was set up in the ballroom during the banquet dinner. I should have promoted it more and it should have been set up at the Flight Suit Party. It was delayed in arrival due to a no-fault automobile problem.
To sum up the 2019 reunion I would say the overall member comments were positive. There were three areas that were a problem but could be easily corrected at the next reunion.
- The cash bar should have a minimum of one bartender per 100 attendees.
- The daily socialization area should have access to refreshments.
- We need to come up with a better seating arrangement plan for the banquet dinner and someone from the hotel food service staff should be included.