Until Next Year Happy Trails to You

The Greatest Bunch Of Brothers A Guy Can Have.

The October 2014 Kentucky Kampout #16 went smoothly.  Forty guys wearing casual loose-fitting attire took this annual opportunity to kick back, remember stressful times, talk about them, and be very social.  Oh, by the way, the Kampout is really in Tennessee and not Kentucky.  Sure confused the heck out of me the first time I went four years ago.  About a two hour drive north of Nashville, just west of Ft. Campbell.  Pretty country.  Fishing country.  Civil War memorials country.  There’s even two buffalo herds nearby.   

        Not everyone who attended this year’s Kampout was a D 2/8 CAV - man, but most were.  It is an interesting mix of people and experiences.  One fellow was a marine who was so old he had been in and out of the corps before VN.  Several artillery forward observers were there, one who lived with Delta Company for most of a year while the others were stationed on nearby firebases.  Bernie saw the war from the pilot’s seat in a HUEY.  (Thanks for the rides; sure beat walking!).  And the times in VN for each soldier were different too: 1965 to 1971; and the places were different; and the stresses were different.  Everyone at the Kampout was well aware that listening was an important part of sharing and the talkers knew that what they were saying was being understood; and understood deep down in the heart.  That’s called brotherhood.  It makes for a great Kampout.  Great stories, too.   

        Our routine is first to let Smiley know you are interested.  Then the emails flow.  Some folks show up on Tuesday and help with the set up.  Most folks arrive Wednesday.  Dinner that night is hosted by the local AMVETS lodge across the driveway.  After dinner, some folks stay at the club and socialize while others go to the fire pit, go watch TV, go to bed.  It’s all up to you.  Breakfasts through Saturday are about 9:30 but sometimes we get started closer to 10:30.  What’s the rush?  Lunch through Saturday is do-it-yourself with the tasty treats all laid out on the tables, if you are there.  Golf, shopping, or sightseeing might interfere with you being there.  So what?  Dinner through Saturday is meat—good meat--and all the fun that goes with a bunch of guys at a sit-down picnic.  Oh there are potatoes and other stuff, too.  Smiley, The Saint, and a few helpers do all the cooking.  

         This year the local American Legion post offered up a free Sunday breakfast in their post a few miles away.  No one went away hungry.  For those flying out early, there is a nice restaurant across the highway that opens at 5 AM.  Just across the highway, 200 meters.  Last year a former Angry Skipper-6 stopped for gas at that restaurant-gas station and then inadvertently drove back to the Kampout motel leaving a passenger, who was another Angry Skipper-6, behind.  I think it was a fatigue thing on the part of the driver, but the driver immediately returned back across the street to fetch his wandering friend.  Elapsed time maybe two minutes.  Since then, the poor forgotten chap has complained bitterly about being abandoned 116 kilometers from home and having to take three days to walk back.  The fun and joshing never stop.

           Billets are in a really nice motel called the Fish Tail Lodge.  Two guys to a room make it half price.  There are cabins for groups and housing for the wife/caregiver if one is needed.  No sweat.  Last year my wife and I stayed at an RV park across that 116 km stretch of highway.  And in the past, care giving wives have come along.   Many of the Kampout group will be in San Antonio, TX, for the formal family reunion.  Seek us out, ask your questions, and get comfortable.   The Kampout is such a great laid-back guys’ bash; we’d like to see more of our brothers enjoy it.

​By Lee Livingston.

  • I Fall to Pieces2:52
  • Love Potion No. 91:56

Kentucky Kampout was a great time as always and as in the past everyone had a wonderful time. Food was more than plentiful and we even had the opportunity to give some of the food left over to the young lady who provides our rooms with fresh towels and made up beds every morning. Danny Barnett  (D 2-8) and Ben Evans ( B 2-8)who both served in 1968-69 were two newcomers this year. A good possibility we might have hooked them on this Reunion and hope they will return in the future. Bill “Henry” LaFerriere returned after a few years in exile and I know he was impressed with this venue.

A quick walk across the parking lot and one finds themselves in the confines of a huge pavilion that is about as efficient a kitchen as a cook could ask for. Stoves, hot chaffing dishes ( mermite), pot , pans, and all the utensils we need to prepare our meals. That along with the decommissioned propane tank we have converted to a combination smoker/grille and we have the conveniences of home. The majority of this has been accumulated over the years by the current President of the 8th Cavalry Regiment Association, Tommy “Smiley” Harris who used to pack, unpack and maintain by his self, everything but the grille. We have evolved in our aging process and now store all these items at our host James”Topgun” Dotson’s home near the Kentucky Lake. There was one late cancellation due to an unfortunate accident. Clyde “Sgt B’ Bonnelycke’s wife broke her foot as they were preparing to leave for the Kampout and we wish her a speedy recovery. See you next year “B”. Things to do when not eating are visit the Civil War Battlefield at Ft. Donnellson, fishing in Kentucky Lake, and this year, a Civil War reenactment.

One of the former CO’s of D 2-8, Henry “Rocky” Colavita brought copies of his new book “Company Grade, the memoirs of an Angry Skipper” for all of us who attended. Looking forward to the read as Rocky was one of the Company Commanders I had during my time with D 2-8 1968-69.

Good food, a huge campfire and allot of great friendships rekindled again this year. A member of this group wrote in his diary many years ago. “Little did we know but we made some of the best friends we’ll ever have during the year we spent in Vietnam”. That isn’t word for word, but you get the picture. I couldn’t agree more Shoop. As stated in the past, any and all former members of the 1st Cavalry Division are welcome.

Would be nice to see and meet some of the newest Veterans of The Cav. We’ll welcome you with open arms, a cold beer, great food, and a Reunion you will remember.

 Larry Hempfling

​Delta 2nd / 8th Cavarly

Kentucky Reunion 2016

The Kentucky Reunion of 2016 was a great one. We had good weather all 5 days. We had a little rain one morning but only lasted about 30 minutes. Like everyone in the south they need rain bad. The nights where a little cool and the days in the low 70’s. We had a group of 39 guys this year. A lot of good food. A lot of good times with all the Brothers.


"Kentucky Reunion Pictures 2014

Kentucky Reunion 2010. They Are Out Of Order. Received Them Late Enjoy.

Kentucky Reunion 2011 They Are Out Of Order. Received Them Late Enjoy.

​Kentucky Reunion 2009. They are out of Order. I received Them A Little Late Enjoy.

Kentucky Reunion 2015