THE POST-WAR YEARS
GIVEN THE spirit that characterized the 86th in combat, it was only natural that the men who had served so closely together would want to renew acquaintances after settling into peacetime activities. The first known occasion involving a group of former troopers was a Troop E reunion in New York City on November 1, 1947 with 14 ex-assault gunners in attendance at the Hotel Belvedere.
Troop A alumni held a reunion at the Normandie Hotel in Philadelphia the weekend of December 4, 1948 with 32 men on hand, including former company commanders William Poulterer and Fred Eickhoff.
Troop B vets got together in Durham, N.C., July 17-19, 1955 with an attendance of 34 and in Washington D. C., July l-4, 1956, when 45 men turned out, including former squadron executive officer Col. William U. Kennon and former company commander Capt. Donald L. Tillemans.
Meanwhile, the 6th Armored Division Association was organized and 27 erstwhile 86thers attended its initial reunion in Louisville in 1948. From then on the 86th was perennially among the leaders in attendance and earned an enviable reputation for its lively command posts.
The squadron also supplied its share of leaders. Charles W. Barbour served as the Association's second president in New York in 1949-50, Martin J. Lawlor as the ninth president in Cleveland in 1956-57, Leo Pittel as the 1Oth president in New York in 1957-58, James S. Gibb as the 12th president in Pittsburgh in 1959-60, Elwood H. Johnston as the 29th president in Minneapolis in 1976-77, John Cvarovsky as the 34th president in Louisville in 1981-82 and Wayne Field as the 50th president in Colorado Springs in 1997-98.
The 86th ladies also have been active. Ruth Johnston served as president of the Ladies Auxiliary in 1953-54, Virginia Barbour in 1955-56, Mary Catherine Lukasik in 1956-57, Jeri Cvarovsky in 1968-69 and Patricia Field in 1997-98.
Over Labor Day weekend 1979 the 86th held an extraordinary reunion in Arlington, Va., attended by 65 members, their families and guests. The two-fold purpose of the gathering was to honor the squadron's deceased members, both in combat and after World War II, and to pay a special tribute to John Cvarovsky for his many years of dedicated service.
Highlights of the memorable weekend were two services held in Arlington National Cemetery.
First, a wreath in the form of a 6th Armored Division insignia was placed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in memory of all division personnel who died in combat. It was entirely fitting that Maj. Gen. Robert W. Grow, our commanding general, should join Col. William U. Kennon and John Cvarovsky in placing the wreath.
Also participating in the colorful ceremony were B. Harris Sterling and John N. Hughes from Headquarters, Martin J. Lawlor of Troop A, Donald L. Tillemans of Troop B, Edward J. Jamilkowski of Troop C, Irvin C. Shoemaker of Troop D, James S. Gibb of Troop E, Col. Harold J. Fleck and Joseph G. Samson of Company F and Gardner W. Brown, former executive officer of the 68th Tank Battalion, as well as a bugler and guard of honor from the famed 3rd Infantry Regiment.
Then the formation moved to the nearby grave of Col. Harry C. Brindle, third and last squadron commander, where Col. Kennon and Martin J. Lawlor placed a wreath of yellow flowers--for Cavalry--and John Cvarovsky conducted an inspirational memorial service for the 86th's dead.
In the calm that followed the eloquent tribute, former Troop E. First Sergeant William H. Hitchens ordered in stentorian tone:
"86th Recon, present arms'" All troopers present did so proudly--a touching final salute to their departed comrades.
Go to "6th Armored Division Association Reunions" or "Table of Contents" page.