Hosted by Ray & Vandy Gatti
Fayetteville, North Carolina

 94 people from 25 states 

Many thanks to our reunion volunteers!
We would like to recognize all the hard work that was done stuffing Registration Gift Bags, preparing food and cleaning up by: Susie Alexander, Evelyn Holcombe, Virginia Cantu, Ellie Tingstrom, and Theresa Gillotti. Also, Chuck Alexander who assisted with the Registrations, John Holcombe who served as our Ice Supply Sergeant, and Luis Cantu who helped move and unload supplies. Kudos to Dan Gillotti for his excellent historical displays and memorial service, and to Davo Holdorf and the Cadre of the 15th Association for ensuring smooth running reunion operations.


Click thumbnail photos to enlarge

Holiday Inn at I-95

Breakfast poolside

The breakfast buffet was served poolside every morning


Some 'reunion regulars' gather on the first day

Some of the 'reunion regulars' gather on the first day; Bob Donnan, Luis Cantu, Norm 'Big Daddy' Forsythe and Phil 'Airborne All The Way' Maughan


Ft Bragg tour

Captain Young extended Ft Bragg hospitality to our group

Captain Young showed us some Fort Bragg hospitality by spending the day with us touring the post. He formerly served with the 1/15th Field Artillery in Korea.


Amos Mitchell volunteered to narrate the bus tour through Ft Bragg

On the second bus, Amos Mitchell was kind enough to serve as our unofficial tour guide, showing the uninitiated where the 7/15th was located at Fort Bragg.  


18th FA Brigade HQ

Gary Harrington enjoys our first stop at 18th Field Artillery Brigade HQ, home of the 1-321 FAR, 3-321 FAR, 1-377 FAR, 3-27 FAR, 1ST FAD and 234 FAD. 


18th FA Brigade HQ

Displays on the wall inside 18th FA Brigade headquarters. 


The Commanding General of XVIII Airborne Corps 
Artillery is Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt. 
Earlier in his career he served with the 
1/15th Field Artillery in Korea. 


Cannon at the door of 18th FA HQ

Old artillery pieces stand guard on either side of the entrance.


Roy Everhart at his first reunion!

Roy Everhart enjoying his first 15th Field Artillery reunion in his home state of North Carolina! 


15th FA Brigade monument dated June 15, 1942

The 15th FA Brigade monument at Fort Bragg bears the date June 15, 1942. 


The HIMARS Shoot
(High Mobility Artillery Rocket System)

Our group heads to the buses

Our group remounts the buses for a trip out to the ranges for the HIMARS shoot.


'Cattle Car' transport to the range

Most of us hadn't seen one of these "cattle cars" for over 30 years! They seemed to ride better when you were in your 20's.


Inside the cattle car many Moo's were heard

The sound of "Moo" was often heard as we completed the second leg of our journey toward the range. 


Briefing before the HIMARS shoot

Colonel Schneider gave the first cattle car load of our group a thorough briefing on the HIMARS system. 


Group briefing before the HIMARS shoot

Our group listens intently to battery commander Major Koda about what the HIMARS can do. 


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Most cameras missed these first rocket shots. The troops called these rockets 'telephone poles' since they lacked war heads. 


Movie Clip
shoot (.mpg)

Turn your speakers On! 
The highlight of our reunion was definitely the HIMARS shoot. Click the text hyperlink on the left to see and hear a short movie clip, compliments of Duane Geisen. 


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A ten-second warning helped all the shutterbugs in the group catch the rocket launches during the second shoot. 


HIMARS rockets

Dan Gillotti may have been the only one to catch three rockets in one photo. 


Frank Baker and Norm Forsythe can't believe their eyes!

Frank Baker (left) and 'Big Daddy' Norm Forsythe (Reunion 1995 Host) prepare for the second HIMARS launch. 



One of the only three HIMARS systems in the Army arsenal was brought over after the shoot so we could get a closer look. 



Front view of the "High Mobility Artillery Rocket System."


HIMARS specs

HIMARS Specifications. 


Reunion Memorials

Dan Gillotti's Displays

Dan Gillotti displayed his collection of memorabilia. This uniform matches the one worn by Oliver Baty Cunnigham, who served with the 15th in WW1.


Memorial Service Room

The memorial service was held on Saturday morning. Several individuals participated in the service, which honored 15th FA casualties from all eras. 


Memorial Display

Dan Gillotti created two large displays to commemorate the casualties of the 15th Field Artillery.


Tour of Fayetteville

Tour of Fayetteville

Our bus driver, Mr. Williams, doubles as a tour guide. No one accepted his offer to tell some "old war stories" about the haydays on Hay Street. The honky tonks are all gone now. 


The ladies

Virginia Cantu ready for combat!

With all the bragging males at the reunion, Virginia Cantu was still the only one ready for combat in Iraq, and a female at that!


Ellie and Susie

Ellie Tingstrom and Susie Alexander (R) have attended most, if not all, of the five 15th Reunions. Husbands Ray and Chuck were part of the original 7/15th party, serving together in A Battery during 1967


The ladies (and Big Daddy) on Saturday night

The ladies (and Big Daddy) gather for Happy Hour before the Saturday night banquet


The ladies enjoying each others company in the hospitality suite

Debra Cribb, Theresa Gillotti and Ann Cribb (l to r) enjoy each others company in the Hospitality Suite. 


Saturday Night Banquet

Treasurer Mike Donley selling raffle tickets at the Banquet

How many tickets?
Treasurer Mike Donley ran an exciting and successful raffle during the Banquet. 


Movie Clip
82d Airborne Chorus (.mpg)

Movie Clip
82d Airborne
Chorus (.mpg)

Turn your speakers On! 
One of the banquet highlights was the performance by the 82d Airborne Chorus. Click the text hyperlinks on the left to see and hear short movie clips, compliments of Duane Geisen. 


Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt

Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt, Commanding General of XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery, was our keynote speaker. BG Kimmitt is a second generation artilleryman who served with the 1/15th in Korea. The audience was captivated by an impressive speech about the valuable lessons learned from the Vietnam War. 


Group photos

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Most of our reunion group was present for the photo op in front of the 15th FA Brigade monument on the Fort Bragg post. 


Original 7th Battalion group that went to Vietnam in 1967

Group of 7th Battalion, 15th FA troops who boarded the USNS WALKER and headed for Vietnam in 1967 (...where are Donley & Gillotti?)


The boys from Battery B

The Boys from Battery B, with tours ranging from 1967 through 1971. 


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The original members of the 7/15th who cruised to Vietnam on the USNS Walker. Front kneeling (L to R) - Paul Quigley, Jimmie Knowles, Chuck Alexander, Ron Manwell, Norm Barnes, Ray Tingstrom.  
Back standing (L to R) - Amos Mitchell, Bob Deters, Israel Mechlowicz, Norm Forsythe, Larry Jenkins, Gene Hauri,
Kevin Rothen

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Three original wives still with the original 7/15 Vietnam members. They are (L to R) Ellie Tingstrom, Jean Barnes and Susie Alexander, wives of Ray, Norm and Chuck.



Reunion 2003 - Fort Bragg, NC
'Fighting Fifteenth'

Fort Bragg Boogie

by Gary D. Harrington

Gary D. Harrington   
This reunion started with a sad note, our hosts Ray & Vandy Gatti had two deaths in the family and were unable to attend the reunion, but their expert planning and attention to detail, lent to a fascinating, rewarding and memorable reunion for all that attended. Our heart filled thinks and blessing are extended to the entire Gatti family.

Reunion 2003 was held at the Fayetteville Holiday Inn on Cedar Creek Road just off I-95 and a short way from downtown Fayetteville and Fort Bragg. My Wife and I arrived at around four in the evening and checked into our room. It was a spacious suite with a living room and a bedroom attached, a very comfortable and relaxing accommodation. The wife was tired after the long trip and wanted to rest up and refresh herself, so I wondered down to the Hospitality Room. Stepping inside was like old home week, there were so many familiar faces. This being the fourth reunion for me, I’ve gotten to know most of the people that have attended in the past and have formed endearing friendships with them. This includes the wives. The wives have become an intricate part of the reunion experience and I was looking forward to sharing this experience for the first time with my wife. 

She made it to the Hospitality Room in time for introduction to the people she had been hearing about all these years. Then we headed to the Cracker Barrel Restaurant for the evening meal. We all sat at a long table and wondered at how Tom “Hawk” Griffin had mastered the peg game. The small board game with golf Tees stuck in holes in a diamond shape. You jump each piece and win only if one piece is left. Hawk admitted he purchased one and had spent hours at home practicing the game. I sat next to our founder Bob Donnan. Besides the 15th Artillery Association, Bob has been instrumental in many Veterans activities in the Pittsburgh area. Bob's a great guy and a caring person. 

After dinner we when back to the Hospitality Room for a night cap and good nights, for the wife and I were worn out after the long trip and need a good nights sleep. 

I was up early and joined Roy Everhart for breakfast. I had known Roy in Vietnam and although he had been trying for years, this was his first reunion. It’s always enjoyable to see the reactions and wonderment of those attending a reunion for the first time. It’s as if one has returned home after a long absence. After breakfast we all gathered to board the Bus that would take us to Fort Bragg, and this is where we were introduced to Captain Deon Young, Liaison Officer for the 18th Corps Artillery. Captain Young was to be our host and became our friend and guide though this experience. The Bus took us far out on the firing range to the end of the paved road, from there we were transported by cattle truck down the bouncy dirt trails to the Bivouac Point. This brought back memories, with its sandy soil and transcending shades of green. Here we were introduced to “MRE’s”, which stands for Meals, Ready-to-Eat, the Today's Army equivalent to C-Rations, they come in a light brown plastic bag and you just add water.

The ground rumbled to the distant drone of diesel engines as the HIMAR rocket launchers moved into position. The officer in charge explained the firing instruction on how the rocket would be guided by radio satellite to its target point. He gave the command and his orders were relayed to the rocket systems. With a thunderous roar the rockets spend off into space, leaving behind a cloud of smoke and dust that filled the air and thickened the throat. “There's nothing like the smell of napalm in the morning!”

It was great to see the soldiers of today's Army at work, with them you could feel a sense of pride and commitment that will see us though these troubled times. We were again loaded onto the cattle truck and transported back to our waiting bus. Next we were treated to lunch and one of the Army's modern day Mess Halls. It was more like a Cafeteria. The food was actually very good and there was a salad bar and desert bar. The Army has come a long way since I was last at Fort Bragg in 1968.

After lunch we were given a static display of some of the field cannon and rocket artillery systems used by the US Army today. The technology is astounding and the training, discipline, and moral of the young soldiers is inspirational.

Saturday began with a Memorial Service in the meeting room and as the ladies left for a shopping tour at Fayetteville's, Cross Creek Mall, the members of the 15th Field Artillery Organization conducted their general meeting. It was decided that the next reunion would be held at Fort Drum NY in two years, more will be posted on this in the Newsletter and on the web site. After the meeting and a quick lunch we again boarded a bus and were taken to the Airborne & Special Operations Museum. A part of the U.S. Army Museum System, the museum tells the story of the Army airborne and special operations units from their 1940 origin and movement to the Fayetteville area in March of 1942, through the present.

After our return to the Hotel we had time for a short nap and then freshen up. The Social Hour began with a cash bar by the pool, then to the banquet hall. The Colors were posted and dinner served. After dinner we were entertained by the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Chorus. This was an outstanding performance by a group of young soldiers who sang and danced their way into our hearts. This was followed by a talk about today’s Army by Brigadier General Mark T. Kimmitt of the 18th Corps Artillery. As Sergeant Tom “Hawk” Griffin put it, “The Army has changed a lot, but it looks like today's soldiers are doing a fine job. I can’t believe that we were that young when we enlisted.”

My wife and I said our goodbyes early as we had a long trip in the morning, but we would like to thank our hosts Ray & Vandy Gatti one more time and we hope to see you at Fort Drum.



  More Reunion 2003 photos (off site)

15th Reunion Pages

  Reunion Homepage

  1992 Reunion - Pittsburgh, PA

  1995 Reunion - Clarksville, TN

  1998 Reunion - Louisville, KY

  7/15th Mini-Reunion - Kenosha, WI

  2001 Reunion - Ft. Sill, OK

  2/15th Reunions, Fort Wainwright