|WHY I ATTEND ASA KOREA REUNIONS
I became a member of ASA Korea after receiving a post card from John Garrah early
in 1997 which asked if I'd served in the ASA in Korea during the war. I replied
affirmatively, sent in my dues for the year ($15.00 at that time), and later received my
membership card from Dalton Harper. I was unaware that the 501st ASA in Korea (our
name at that time) had organized at a reunion in 1996. As I am an ordained Lutheran
Minister, John asked if I would serve as Chaplain of our veterans organization, and so I
My wife, Mary, and I attended my first reunion at Carlisle, PA in 1997. Here I met the
founders of our association, President Andy Kavalecs and Treasurer, Dalton Harper, as
well as other officers and Board members. Since that first wonderful experience, I
haven't missed any reunions: Madison, WI in 1998; Pensacola Beach, FL in 1999;
Sturbridge, MA in 2000; Camp Hill, PA in 2001; Frankenmuth, MI in 2002, Buffalo,
NY for the 2003 reunion, Baltimore, MD in 2004, Williamsburg, VA in 2005. Reunions
are a joy to attend, and an excellent opportunity to renew friendships with former
buddies from Korea service, and to meet new veterans who served the ASA in "frozen
My biggest thrill at reunions is the sharing of good times and hard times while sitting
around the hospitality room(s). These hours are precious and entertaining and a wealth
of serious conversation, laughter, memories, caring and good old fashion comradeship.
Usually reunion planners include sight-seeing trips and other events to make the 4-day
event a memorable experience. But for me, the high point of any reunion is the
hospitality room, a place of "togetherness", a place where for a couple of days our
former time in Korea can be revisited with men who shared a mutual service to God
and country in the ASA. Had it not been for ASA Korea, I would not be reunited with
buddies I served with in Detachment Dog (The East Coast Homesteaders) of the 330th
CRC, and fellow ASA Korea members: Lt. Dan Self, Sal Corrado, W.W."Moose"
Miller, Bob Cavanaugh, Jim Ludwig, Bill Fretts, Danny "Hootowl" Valletta, Jim Ray,
Bill Nickel, Jim Strait, Bill "Field Marshall" Jackson, Tom Meagher, the late Ammi
Keiper....I pray I haven't forgotten anyone...memory IS fading as aging takes place.
I have stated why I attend reunions. I'm sure many of you do so for the same reasons. If
you have never attended a ASA Korea Organization Reunion I encourage you to do so
this year. I am certain you will come away with a feeling of pride for your service in
ASA Korea. Perhaps you will even be able to plan a future reunion in your "neck of the
woods." Remember, ASA Korea men have "DD-214, will travel".
God bless America! God bless ASA Korea! God bless you and yours!
Rev. Charles Knappenberger, Chaplain, ASA Korea