Defense Mapping School
28 March 2018
Greetings T3 Folks -
My fault - Iíve been accused of procrastinating but in this case Iíve just put this off too long - I made a trip up north today to a place called Fort Belvoir. The purpose of the trip was to solidify our reservations at the O Club for May 11th and also talk to the present tenants at our old campus. For those of you that answered my plea for deposit money I first want to say thanks and then tell you why itís almost two weeks later that I went up to the O Club - weather and availability. We had snow along with bad timing plus an understanding O Club.
Anyway I had my meeting today with Xenia Chapman, the head honcho at the Ray Chapman home as well as the Manager of the O Club. Ray you should recall is the present web master of our web site www.BelvoirDMS.org. So here is the plans for the 11th of May. We are allowed to come in to the Fairfax Room at the O Club as early as 0930 for a meet and greet or a hug and shake hands or whatever you want to call it. It will allow for socializing a bit and seeing old friends before lunch in the Mount Vernon room at 1130 hours. By a very slim margin the voting for whether we should go for a buffet or a sit down and they bring it to us meal was won by the buffet votes. My thanks to the three of you that voted. I guess a 66 2/3% to 33 1/3% vote tally would be considered a landslide. We are ok in the Mount Vernon room until 1430 hours when we get evicted and our lease is up. At that point we are offered either the ďCastle RoomĒ or the bar downstairs where we can continue greeting and talking. The bar offers a pay as you go refreshment service whereas in the Castle Room all we can do is talk. In the bar staggering may be induced. Iíd like to hear voting on that as well. All it takes is one vote for the bar and Iíll go for it.
The OíClub is requesting a total number of attendees by May 7th. So please if you want to attend and havenít told me yet please let me know. Iím right at 70 names as of now. I gave them a deposit today. Deep appreciation is to all of you that have already sent me your payment. Iíve deposited your money and realized itís still not enough to skip country so I will use it for the 100th. For the rest of you I can live without the $32.50 per head payment now until the 11th but if you wait until then I will need cash as I have to pay the balance then. Iím not relishing running a spread sheet there so if possible if you are attending please send a check to my address below or send it paypal to email address email@example.com. And another please - if you say you are coming please come. If there is an emergency please let me know and Iíll do my best to work around it and hopefully get you a refund if possible. Last minute cancellations will not get a refund unfortunately. If I tell them we have 112 folks coming I have to pay for 112 folks as they will cook enough food for 112. If I had an emoji on my computer with a pleading looking smiley face I would insert it there.
Address for the check:
John L. Batt
7201 Wild Turkey Drive
Spotsylvania, Va 22553
For those of you that would require lodging and havenít been at Belvoir in a while you will be surprised to hear that there are two hotels on post now. I know I was surprised. Right at the main gate across the street from the new hospital (where the golf course used to be) is the Staybridge Suites. A queen bed studio is $171 a night - a king bed suite is $185 per night. Both are the retiree rate. At the Holiday Inn on post, which is closer to the O Club a one queen bed studio is $123 a night. For those of you that recall when our housing allowance was $105 a month its quite an adjustment. Both hotels are owned by the same folks so if you want to make reservations at either call 703-844-0303. Both hotels offer shuttle service on post. Getting to and from an airport is not offered. The O Club has very limited rooms available. They are only $99 per night. There are only ten rooms available so if you desire one of them you will need to call 703-780-0930. For future reference the Staybridge Suites are within walking distance from Bozzelliís at the Community Club. So close as they actually have a dedicated sidewalk from one building to the other. More on Bozzelliís in a bit.
Several of you had asked about visiting our old campus, buildings 214, 215, 211, 210, 220 etc. Today I did some door knocking. Its bum news. Most of the components are sciffed (sorry about that spelling) and entrance is not permitted. I think in Bagley Hall there are three different tenants with all having some degree of secrecy. Sort of ironic that most of us couldnít wait to get out of that building at the end of a long day and now we canít get inside. I tried. If you want to visit Zieres Park our signs are still up and that presents some fond memories.
Our next normal (hold back the comments on that please!) get together is Monday April 9th at 1830 in the evening at China King in Woodbridge across Opitz Blvd from the Olive Garden at Potomac Mills. April is month number four in the calendar so an even numbered month is for evening dinner. I still get folks messed up on that. In May on the 14th, the Monday after the Anniversary, we will meet for lunch around 1130 hours so if you are attending the 100th and staying the weekend please consider joining us for lunch as well. Our last lunch netted 19 folks so it was fairly successful. As usual we had a great time.
A couple weeks ago I had the honor of attending CW5 Russ Gaines retirement. It was truly an outstanding ceremony for someone so deserving. I have labeled it My Russ Gaines Experience. With the ceremony starting at 0900 hours at the Agency I gave myself the better part of two and a half hours to get there. Getting up early is one thing I have not missed since I retired but it had to be done that day. All went according to plan until as I was getting ready to leave my house I realized my shoes were desperately in need of a polishing. So I went in to my messy garage to get my shoe shine kit. Not seeing a brush to buff with I decided to use a liquid polish dispenser that was there. You know the type - it has a sponge like applicator on the end and the bottle has a nice black liquid begging to be spread on your shoe. Well the sponge was sort of dry and brittle from somewhere around nine years of non use so dabbing it a few times on the top of the shoe to get the polish flowing was required. So I propped my foot on top of a cooler and started dabbing. Hence problem number one - the dried out tip broke and my shoe was instantly coated with liquid polish. Unfortunately the top and bottom of the shoe were now black as was the top of my formerly white cooler. So now I guess I need to buy more polish before May 11th. The 55 mile trip went fairly smooth until my GPS let me down and the Agency sort of disappeared off my map consequently problem number two. The extra time I allowed got all ate up but I still made it on time. Russís ceremony should have been an emotional event but Russ refused to shed a tear. Accolades were plenty and well deserved. The rendering of ďOld GloryĒ went smooth. We all felt proud of Russ. At the end of the ceremony I got to see a rather good handful of former College and DMS folks. I think I counted nineteen. Almost all said they would attend our 100th.
Today while on Belvoir I went to lunch with Ray Chapman at the premier food eatery on post - Bozzelliís. Itís a well known fact that they have perhaps the best subs in the area. My steak, pepperoni and cheese went as smooth as my shoe polish but this time with desired results. Mr. Bozzelli was still there and at 76 years of age is still smiling. I can remember back to at least 1981 getting subs from his place on route one before progress eliminated that location. After feasting on the sub and saying goodbye to Ray I walked over to the aforementioned hotel to get the information I relayed a few paragraphs above. Then it was back to Bozzelliís to pick up a sub for my wife, one for a friend and another steak, pepperoni and cheese for my dinner. The person standing in line in front of me looked familiar from the back and after he turned around he produced my first Close Encounter of the DMS kind that day. It was COL(Ret) Chris Potomas. The Colonel looked good. His wife however is having health issues so if you are the praying type please pray for her to recover. Anyway I was telling him all about Russ Gaines retirement ceremony when almost magically Russ was standing there with his fiancť hence my second and last Close Encounter today. Although its pushing two weeks since Russ retired he hasnít changed a bit.
Whew - I think thatís it. My procrastination is that I have a few emails about this to answer and I havenít gotten around to them yet. I wanted to get these answers out first but didnít get the info until today. While I was typing this I inquired about the dress code for our 100th. I was told there was none for private events but for the sake of morality I suggest wearing something. Iíll probably wear a sport coat. Basically be comfortable. There will be a podium so if you wish to say something to the group please let me know. Some of you I may pressure. Thanks for reading this far - and please if you havenít let me know you want to attend please do. And if you have and havenít heard from me please let me know again. Payment in advance is appreciated. I know I have a few folks to reply to. And once again if you are in contact with anyone that served the school please spread the word. Please donít assume I know where they are. Iím only missing about 1432 folks.