Former Frontline Staffers Reunite After 40 Years
June 12, 2009
Washington, D.C. - The 3rd Infantry Division adage, "Once a Marneman, Always a Marneman," was reinforced when 22 former Soldiers who served with the division in Wuerzburg, Germany, more than 40 years ago gathered for their first-ever reunion in Washington, D.C., in late May.
Traveling from 15 states, from as far away as California, Texas and Washington, the reunion attendees served with the 3rd ID during the 1960s and 1970s, and were assigned to the Public Information Office or Public Affairs Office in Wuerzburg.
A majority had worked for the Frontline newspaper as editors, writers, photographers, columnists and cartoonists. A few also wrote and recorded broadcasts for the Armed Forces Radio Network.
"After 40 years of thinking about some of the experiences that our group shared, I thought it was time to see what had happened to my fellow Marnemen," said Richard Rescigno, one of the event's organizers. "I also think that, subconsciously, maybe I wanted to reconnect with an important part of my youth."
Even though more than four decades have passed since their active duty days, four former Marnemen who kept in touch over the years decided last year to organize a 3rd ID reunion. Besides Rescigno, other organizers were Kenneth Tokarz, J.B. Weilepp and Richard Wiltamuth.
Given the amount of time that had passed since these former 3rd ID Soldiers had been stationed in Germany, Wiltamuth noted that the event could not have taken place without the Internet.
"We found our former military peers residing from New York to Texas to Washington, and everywhere in between. That would have been an impossible task without the availability of online search engines."
As part of the reunion activities, a 40-minute slide show was shown during a dinner held at the CafAfA Mozart, a restaurant noted for its German cuisine.
The slide show included photographs that attendees found from their days in Wuerzburg that had been stored away in attics and closets.
The show was produced by reunion co-organizer Weilepp as well as reunion attendees Chico Arnaldo-Guizar and Steve York.
"As the years have gone by, we realize how important those 3rd Infantry Division years were in our life experiences," said Wiltamuth, expressing the sentiments of every Marneman in attendance. "We continue to feel a closeness that's hard to describe."
(Editor's note: Kenneth Tokarz, one of the reunion organizers, served as acting noncommissioned officer in charge of the 3rd Infantry Division's PIO office, 1969-70.)