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Division Association

South Florida Chapter

The South Florida Trooper
Online Newsletter of The South Florida Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association
Volume Six, Issue 02 - March / April 2003

"America's Guard Of Honor"
Chartered By The US Congress
All The Way


The Chapter has had a bad month. Besides Norm Gray’s death our long time member Lou Varrone’s son passed away. Lou has also had a heart attack. Lou told one member that he would try very hard to get to our picnic in March. Here’s hoping that we’ll see Lou there. If any member knows or hears of another member being sick or, God forbid, some member has died, please notify Irv Weinsoff our Sunshine Chairman.

Member John White is presently assigned as an advisor with the Florida National Guards 124th Inf and is stationed temporarily at Fort Stewart, GA. We wish him the best and our prayers go out to him and his family. I wrote his wife, Jan, and let her know that we consider her and the kids as part of our extended paratrooper family and if she needs anything to let us know.

I hereby challenge you all to attend our first picnic of 2003 to be held on March 16th. I drew a 125-mile arc on my map. I expect every member who lives within that arc to be at the picnic. (From just north of Vero on the north and Naples to the west and Marathon to the south) One hundred and twenty-five mile drive takes a little less than two hours. Take a couple hours to drive here, visit with old friends, make some new friends, and have some good food and drinks than drive home – should make for a nice Sunday. I CHALLENGE you to be there. I use the word challenge because I do not know of any paratrooper – past – present – or future - who can pass up a challenge.

In November I gave each trustee a list of members to contact prior to each event, meeting and etc. At the February meeting we had two lost sheep return to the flock as a result of trustee Gus Vass calling them. Good job Gus. If each trustee can get one or two members to ‘come home’ the meetings will become better and new ideas will be heard.

Chairman - Bob Buffington

Lieutenant Colonel U. S. Army Retired
April 18, 1929 - February 15, 2003

The South Florida Chapter has lost a great friend and fellow trooper. Norman Julian Gray born April 18, 1929 passed away on February 15th 2003. You and I now have a pathfinder sitting next to God. Norm has the drop zone marked, the recognition signals set out, and is asking God to lower the wind speed so we will have a softer landing when our time comes. Marneen portrayed Norm, a few days before his death, as a pathfinder standing in the door waiting for his last jump. His ‘last’ flight lasted for several months and must have been one of the most frightening and bumpy flights ever. We can only hope and pray that when our time comes we too will be able to handle it with the strength of inner peace and spiritual blessings that Norm displayed his last few months.

He served three years as the Chairman of the South Florida Chapter, wrote and edited the Newsletter for several more years. He was also our picnic chairman for a total of ten years. Our regular picnics were always fun with a lot of good food and plenty of soft drinks under the stewardship of Norm and his lovely wife Marneen.

We started missing Norm right after he moved to North Carolina; we especially missed him at our monthly meetings. If you knew Norm you know what I mean. He was one to never keep his thoughts to himself.

I was privileged to serve with Norm and under his command. Norman Gray was one of the few leaders I had the honor of serving with who really cared about his men. He referred to us as ‘his boys’. He really felt that we were his boys and did everything within his power (and some things outside his power) to protect us.

Norman was an outstanding trooper and will be missed by everyone who had the honor of making his acquaintance. Norman we all feel better and safer knowing that you have our drop zone secure. Four members from our chapter attended Norm Gray’s services in Nags Head, NC a special thanks go out to Larry Marks, Gus Vass, Ed Meyers, and Don Moffett.

Chairman - Bob Buffington

From the Editor:

To assist with the raising of funds for the FOOD LOCKER at Fort Bragg we are accepting donations. Every member is asked to get at least one firm or person to donate for one ad per issue. The donations we are asking for are as follows: For a donation of $500.00 your name will appear on all printed material published for the chapter as “Printing complements of (insert your name)” for one year. For a donation of $400.00 your name will appear on all items mailed by the chapter as “Mailing complements of (insert your name) for one year.

The chapter also is accepting donations for advertisements placed on our chapter newsletter The South Florida Trooper.

Full Page $ 40.00 an issue or
$ 200.00 for the year
( Six Isues )
Half Page $ 20.00 an issue or
$ 100.00 for the year
( Six Isues )
Quarter Page $ 15.00 an issue or
$ 075.00 for the year
( Six Isues )
Eighth Page $ 10.00 an issue or
$ 050.00 for the year
( Six Isues )
Business card $ 05.00 an issue or
$ 025.00 for the year
( Six Isues )

All donations of $100.00 and higher gives the donor the right to have their name listed on our website with a link to their websites. We are also accepting donations of $3.00 per issue to have your name listed as a booster of the FOOD LOCKER in that issue of the Newsletter.

The 82nd Airborne Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt veterans organization, and as such all donations are tax deductible. Only checks and money orders made out to the 82nd Abn Div Assoc, Inc South Florida Chapter will be accepted. Please contact Bob Buffington at 954-435-9174 or Terry Watts at 954-476-6755

Spring Picnic, SUNDAY, March 16th, 2003 -TOPEEKEEGEE YUGNEE PARK ( TY Park )

Take I-95 to Hollywood Florida Exit At Sheridan Street or Stirling Road - Go West about a mile to Park Road - Turn North from Sheridan or South from Stirling another mile or so to the main park entrance - Follow the signs to the 82nd Airborne! Pavilion (#1) - Turn to your (military) right just inside the Park's Main Entrance.

The March 16th Picnic begins Sunday at about 11:00 AM for the early-birds, about noon for the rest of us. Bring your wife (and/or girlfriend) but not both, thank you. Kids and grand-kids of all ages are welcome at what is a really enjoyable family affair. The covered Airborne pavilion is on the banks of a peaceful lake with fish, turtles, ducks and iguanas wandering about.

Before lunch there're coffee and donuts for the early-birds. Most everyone is busy chowing down by noon and the eating and socializing take up the better part of the day. There's a short business meeting which takes place generally around 1:30 or so and never seems to interfere too much with the consumption of the complementary burgers, hotdogs and cold drinks which abound. If you plan on eating more than your share, bring a covered dish of your choice so the rest of us won't starve. We supply coffee and sodas - if you want beer or wine just bring your own.

All members and their families are welcome to attend. Troopers who are not yet members but who want to come to the picnic and check out the South Florida 82nd Airborne Chapter are welcome to do so, and may sign up on the spot to become members themselves. A new membership in The South Florida Chapter of The 82nd Airborne Division Association may just be the best $12.50 you'll spend this year.

AIRBORNE! All The Way!

Quote of the month :
“The basic problems facing the world today are not susceptible to a military solution.”
John F Kennedy

MINUTES: It was decided by Tony Altobell and myself that the minutes of our meetings will only be highlighted in the newsletter, as we are only publishing every two months.

January meeting:  Discussed asking for donations for ads in the newsletter with all donations going to the Food Locker – discussion was tabled. Checks were sent to Association Treasurer and Executive Director for re-imbursement of expenses occurred during All Florida Days. Check sent to Food Locker for $1,000.00 for auction at All Florida Days. Motion made – 2nd and approved “That no loaded weapons be carried by members of the Honor guard while participating in chapter-approved activities.”
February meeting: Sunshine Chairman reported that sympathy cards were sent to Marneen Gray and Lou Varrone. Irv Weinsoff accepted position of Historian. Decided that donations for ads in newsletter will also offer a link on our website to the donors website. Don Moffett and Terry Watts appointed as delegate and alternate delegate for All Airborne Week. Don Moffett reported on status of U. S. Paratrooper license plate – should be approved by July 2003. Terry Watts elected to Vice Chairman position to replace Herb “Sarge” Hankerson who had to resign.

South Florida Chapter Boosters

January: Edward DeBarros, Herb Hankerson, Ron Stirlacci, Bob Buffington, Stu Franke, Jimmy Campillo, Gus Vass, Don Moffett, Terry Watts, Avi Mizractti

February: Bob buffington, Anthony Altobell, Terry Watts, Don Moffett, Bob Wirt, Irv Weinsoff, Ed Meyers, Gus Vass, Jim bono, Herb Bunch.

( first month listed – next month let’s fill the page )

We welcomed two new members in January:
Manuel Baez and Gregg Calhoun; and Edward DeBarros became the Chapter’s 60th Lifetime member.

In February we had two of our ‘inactive’ members come to our meeting as a result of being contacted by an active member. Mr Juan Mensese and Mr Herb Bunch were very welcomed.

82nd Airborne Division Association, South Florida Chapter
Chapter Officers Elected At September 2002 TY Park Picnic
and Installed At 2002 Florida All Airborne Days Banquet

Officers for 2002-2003

South Florida Chairman

Robert Buffington
2765 Garden Drive
Cooper City FL 33026-3605
( Helga )


Terry Watts
501 NW 78th Terrace
Plantation FL 33324-1435
( Jan )

Secretary / Treasurer

Tony Altobell
Post Office Box 22476
Fort Lauderdale FL 33335-2476
( ............. )

Judge Advocate

Irv Weinsoff
600 NE 36th Street / PH 3
Miami FL 33137-3945
( Sylvia )


Ron Stirlacci
117 Lake Emerald Drive #303
Oakland Park FL 33309-6269
( Lydia )
Directors for 2002-2003

2002-2003 Director

Gus Vass
4511 Thomas Street
Hollywood FL 33021-3539
( Maureen )

2002-2003 Director

Don Moffett
32 Bunting Drive
Key Largo FL 33037-3003
( Phyllis )
Past National President
and 2002-2003 Director
Jimmy Campillo
3444 SW 53rd Court
Fort Lauderdale FL 33312-5538
( Lucy )

2002-2003 Director

French Shannon
Post Office Box 551776
Fort Lauderdale FL 33355-1776
( Marie )

2002-2003 Director

Stu Franke
5210 SW 22nd Avenue
Fort Lauderdale FL 33312-6002
( Elinore )

2002-2003 Director

Bob Wirt
Post Office Box 11280
Fort Lauderdale FL 33339-1280
( Bettye )

Chapter Historian :

Irv Weinsoff

Historian : Irv Weinsoff our new historian may be asking you for help.
If you are a member with over two years with the chapter Irv may be calling for information.
Please assist him when ever you can.

Don't forget Our next regular meeting will be 8PM on Tuesday, April 15th, 2003, at the:

VFW Post 1966
350 SW 25th Street
Fort Lauderdale FL 33315-2616
Phone 954-765-0791

Just South of State Road 84 ( SW 24th Street ), off SW 4th Avenue, behind and East of the Armory

Have You Paid Your 2003 Association Dues Yet?

If your membership card doesn't say 2003,
you haven't paid for this year.
Please send your check for $12.50 payable to:

82nd Abn Div Assoc So Fl Chapter
c/o Tony Altobell, Sec / Treas
Post Office Box 22476
Fort Lauderdale FL 33335-2476

If you'd like to make it out for a little extra,
anything over the annual $12.50
will go directly to our
South Florida Chapter's BOOSTER FUND
... Thanks for your continued help and support!

Honor Guard of The 82nd Airborne Division
Association Inc, South Florida Chapter

If you’d like to serve on the Honor Guard and
show the colors at various functions, contact

Ron Stirlacci at 1-954-730-0773
or Gus Vass at 1-954-989-2831

We can always use an extra trooper or two (or more)
to fill out our roster and make it to the various parades
or memorial activities when other members may not be
able to attend, to keep the ranks closed and our colors flying.

HONOR GUARD: Once again the Honor Guard Leader has kept them busy. Gus Vass reports that the Honor Guard took part in the following activities: -

January: South Miami Christmas Parade, Junior Orange Bowl Parade, and the Three Kings Parade.

February: Four Champlain’s Ceremony, Dania’s Tomato Festival, Miami Beach

Astronaut Services, Services in Nags Head NC for Norman Gray

Medical Convention at Diplomat Hotel.

The Honor Guard is one of the best methods we have in getting our chapter in view of the public. We all should support it. For the parades you do not have to have a uniform to take part, just wear a chapter T-Shirt, Association cap, or a beret. The Viet Nam Veterans have stated that we may ride in one of their vehicles if we desire, so if you cannot march at least come and show your support by riding in a military vehicle.

The Honor Guard is once again asked to present the colors for the Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony on April 29th. This will be the 13th year the chapter has had the honor of presenting the colors during this ceremony. The 82nd Airborne was involved with the liberation of several of the camps during WWII.

Got An AIRBORNE Activity You'd Like Everyone To Know About ?

We plan to use the South Florida Chapter WebSite to keep in closer contact and allow for more frequent updates of information regarding Chapter activities and functions.

Contact our WebMaster / Newsletter Editor (Bob Wirt) and be sure to send your article or announcement by SnailMail to PO Box 11280, Fort Lauderdale FL 33339-1280; or FAX to 1-954-565-5922; or e-mail (preferred)

The online WebSite as well as our Snail-Mail Newsletter are only as useful as you make them. If you have a Chapter activity you'd like to announce, please e-mail the particulars in advance so we can get the word out to everyone:

click here to Contact Our WebMaster and send your article or announcement

If you know of other Chapters' operations or functions which are open to our troopers and would like to pass the word along, send that information as well. Please include dates, addresses and phone numbers plus the contact individuals so we can ensure the word we pass along is complete and correct. We'll do our best to get your announcement onto the WebSite and into the Newsletter so you'll get the most member involvement and best turnout possible.

OnLine Roster : Some troopers who are online have their e-mail addresses published in The South Florida Trooper News Letter so that other Airborne Troopers can more easily maintain contact with them, and they are:

Tony Altobell, South Florida
Secretary / Treasurer

Jim Battaglia

Robert Buffington,
South Florida Chairman

Herb Bunch

Jimmy Campillo

Chris Collins

Michael Davino

Barry Dearden

Edward DeBarros

Jim DeMatteo

John Desormeau

Patrick Devine

Captain Laura M Foglesong

Jean-Marie Funke

Brian Gehling

George Gutshall

Norman J Gray

Joe Guilbert

Herb "Sarge" Hankerson

Al Hernandez

Angel R Jerez

Joe Lanzillo

Ted W Mauzey

Edward Meyers

Don Moffett

Robert V.

Joseph J Pappacoda

Jose L Perez Ortiz

Peter Portilla

Bill Radcliffe

Frank Rivera

French Shannon Jr

Thomas Skrzyniecki

Ron Stirlacci

Jack Sullivan

Terry Watts

Phil Webb

Irv Weinsoff

Bob Wirt

If any others are interested in joining our e-mail group please let us know by sending your current e-mail address, preferably on-line, to:

Also, we plan to offer members personal page links from our domain for some nominal annual fee, which funds would go into our Booster Club to help cover online site costs. To see what a sample personal page might look like, click on the name Bob Wirt but keep in mind that your Webmaster just got carried away with his, not knowing when to stop posting stuff.

---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ----

Membership Application - The South Florida
Chapter 82nd Airborne Division Association
Phone Number
1 ( ________ ) ___________ - _____________________
Check One
___ Renewal; ___ New Member; ___ Re-Instatement
Enclosed is $12.50 _____
my annual membership dues for the year 200__
subscription to PARAGLIDE & Newsletter included.
Enclosed is $13.50 _____
( includes an extra $1 for the Educational Fund )
Enclosed is $150 for Life Membership _____
( $100 _____ if applicant is over 50 years of age )




_______________ 9-digit Zip


Airborne Unit(s)
Include all
Airborne Unit(s)
continue here:
Dates of Airborne Service
Month & Year for each
Dates of Airborne Service
continue here:

Present Occupation
Single ___ Married ___
Spouse's Name __________________ # Children____

Chapter Preference
New Members MUST include a copy of official proof of
either glider or airborne military qualification & service.
Mail Check payable to:
82nd Abn Div So FL Chapter
Tony Altobell, Secretary / Treasurer
Post Office Box 22476
Fort Lauderdale FL 33335-2476
Phone: 1-954-583-8081

---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ---- Print, Clip & Mail ----

For you lucky TROOPERS with enough spare time on your hands to spend it surfing the WEB click below to check in on your Fayetteville NC HQs

Past Newsletter Issues Archive

In the past this home page of our website has been used to post online a copy of the printed newsletter sent out bi-monthly to our membership. Below are the archive links to these 2000-2001 newsletters.

Beginning with the January /February 2002 issue, at the request of Irv Weinsoff, I turned over production of the printed newsletter to others and agreed to publish it online each time, once I received a text copy of the newsletter via e-mail. As I have not received any e-mail copies, no 2002 newsletters have been published online.

I apologize for this situation as everyone seemed to benefit from receiving the online version. Anyway, here is the past issues archive:

Click here for the January / February 2003 Newsletter Page

Click here for the November / December 2001 Newsletter Page

Click here for the September / October 2001 Newsletter Page

Click here for the May / June 2001 Newsletter Page

Click here for the March / April 2001 Newsletter Page

Click here for the January / February 2001 Newsletter Page

Click here for the November / December 2000 Newsletter Page

Click here for the October 2000 Newsletter Page

Contact Your WebMaster
Bob Wirt, Post Office Box 11280, Fort Lauderdale FL 33339-1280
Phone 1-954-565-8123 or FAX 1-954-565-5922

© 2003 82nd Airborne Division Association Inc, South Florida Chapter
Post Office Box 22476, Fort Lauderdale FL 33335-2476

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