It was a deadly time for members of Hotel Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, with 114 members paying the ultimate price in the Vietnam War.
But decades have passed, and surviving members of Company H are looking forward to a special reunion just days away in Buffalo.
The infantry unit’s 20th reunion is set for June 5-7.
“This coming together of brothers helps us move past some of the distressful memories of Vietnam,” said Ralph B. Sirianni, a well-known local Vietnam War veteran and artist, who is organizing the reunion. “I also organized the very first reunion in 1995.”
An estimated 170 former Marines, corpsmen and their relatives are expected to attend the three-day gathering, Sirianni said.
“It’s happening right back in the same town, Buffalo, and at the same hotel, the Adam’s Mark, where we began the reunions,” he said.
Sirianni credited area Elks Lodges and other donors with supporting the reunion.
Highlights of the gathering for the veterans, who were involved in a number of major operations in Vietnam, include a trip to Niagara Falls on June 5, followed by dinner at the Elks Lodge in that city. Later that evening, they will stop in at the Twin Cities Elks Lodge for a social.
The Ken-Ton Elks Lodge is hosting a dinner June 4 for members of Company H and their families who arrive early. In addition, the Lancaster Elks Lodge is donating $500 to help cover the costs of the reunion.
The main banquet dinner is scheduled for 5 p.m. June 6 in the Adam’s Mark.
At 10 a.m. June 7, the only event open to the public will commence with a memorial service for Company H members who died during the war. It will be held at the Western New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Buffalo & Erie County Naval and Military Park at Canalside.
If it rains, the service will be conducted in the Adam’s Mark.