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'Truckmasters' host fourth annual reunion
Vietnam veteran Rafael Morales, right and retired Staff Sgt. Ron Dunlap, center, share photos with Brig. Gen. John P. Sullivan, U.S. Army Transportation Corps and School chief July 19 during the fourth annual 24th Trans. Co., 541st CSSB, 1st Sust. Bde., 1st Inf. Div. reunion. The event drew more than 250 current and former Soldiers and their families to Fort Riley's Moon Lake.
July 24, 2014The 24th Transportation Company, 541st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Sustainment Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, hosted its fourth annual reunion July 19 at Fort Riley's Moon Lake.
More than 250 "Truckmaster" Soldiers, veterans and families welcomed guest speaker Brig. Gen. John P. Sullivan, U.S. Army Transportation Corps and School chief, to the Saturday event.
"I want you all to know there is no other place I'd rather be," Sullivan said.
The 24th Trans. Co. reunion started as an idea of former Truckmaster Soldier and retired Staff Sgt. Ron Dunlap, better known to his friends as "old retread," a name he said he picked up due to frequently blowing truck tires while out on missions.
Brig. Gen. John P. Sullivan, U.S. Army Transportation Corps and School chief, becomes an honorary "Truckmaster" Soldier as he is presented a 24th Trans. Co.,541st CSSB, 1st Sust. Bde., 1st Inf. Div. hat by retired Staff Sgt. Ron Dunlap July 19 at the company's fourth annual reunion. The reunion drew more than 250 current and former Soldiers and their families to Fort Riley's Moon Lake.
"This all started back in 2009," Dunlap said. "It's taken this long to get to this point."
Dunlap said he always wondered what his battle buddies were up to after their years of service. He decided to get in touch with former and current 24th Trans. Co. Soldiers by using social media. With the help of fellow Soldiers, he organized a 24th Trans. Co. reunion that has grown larger every year.
"As years go by we keep gathering more support," he said. "This year's support was the greatest it's ever been."
This year, more than 250 current and former Truckmaster Soldiers and their families turned out for food, fun, games and an opportunity to catch up and exchange stories.
"We have 24th Trans. (Soldiers) all the way back from Vietnam today," Dunlap said. "I want to thank you all for being a part of this."
The event gave those present an opportunity to catch up, exchange stories and connect over shared experiences while serving in the 24th Trans. Co.
For Capt. Chad Scott, 24th Trans. commander, the reunion was his first after taking command of the company July 10.
"It's a wonderful event that brings previous Truckmasters together with current Truckmasters so we can share the great history of such a storied company," Scott said. "We appreciate Gen. Sullivan for taking time out of his busy schedule to honor us."
As Sullivan addressed the crowd, he attributed the success of the 24th Trans. Co., which has 28 campaign ribbons and streamers, to the Soldiers who are serving and have served in the company.
"The success of any unit is rarely explained by the resources or equipment available," Sullivan said. "Much more typically it's due to the training, the cohesiveness, the esprit de corps of the Soldiers who populate that unit's ranks. That cohesiveness and esprit de corps is very much in evidence this morning and I feel privileged to be able to be a part of it."
Lt. Col. Ronnie D. Anderson, 541st CSSB commander, was pleased with his Truckmaster Soldiers, recognizing the individuals who made the event possible.
"I'm proud to be one of the leaders that get to influence the Truckmasters," Anderson said.
"There are other truck companies who have the same equipment, the same resources and who were organized in the same manner as the 24th Trans. Co., Sullivan said, adding not all those units have a record even remotely on par with the company's.
"Your service has made the 24th TC's service nothing short of legendary and thank you as well for coming together to celebrate your service in this fantastic unit," Sullivan said. "By doing so, you strengthen the bonds between those who have served in the past and those serving today."