2024 Blue Spader Reunion

2024 Reunion Information

Denver Colorado
June 12 – June 16, 2024

WHEN:

Wednesday, June 12 through
Sunday, June 16, 2023

 

WHERE:

Denver, CO

HOTEL:

Embassy Suites by Hilton
Denver Central Park,
4444 Havana St, Denver, CO 80239

hotel room denver
pool denver colorado

Mail registration and your check to:
26th infantry Regiment Association
ATTN: MATT BARTEL
875 Gip Manning Rd
Clarksville, TN 37042

 

To make hotel reservations online click the button below OR call the hotel directly at
1-844-209-1802 and identify yourself as being with the 26th Infantry Regiment Association to get the group rate of $150 per room per night ($173,63 with taxes and fees). 

Cutoff date for the guaranteed pricing is 5/12/2024. (Rooms during this period are normally over $245 per night).

Problems or questions with hotel reservations should be directed to: Mr. Jeremiah Cordova Ph# (720) 587-5097 or email: Jeremiah.cordova@eshgateway.com

The Embassy Suites is very supportive of military service members and veterans, and they have worked with us to provide a great value of benefits for our group, including:

  • Discounted Room Rates (over $300 value)
  • A waived resort fee ($180 value)
  • Discount on overnight parking (12 dollars per night)
  • Made to order breakfast from 0630-1000 (Free but hours may be different on weekends)

Rooms at these highly discounted rates are first-come first-serve so please book your rooms early as we only have a limited quantity. 

 

OR

Call 1-844-209-1802

TRANSPORTATION: The closest airport is Denver International Airport. The hotel is approximately 15 miles from the airport and takes about 35 minutes to drive depending on traffic. There is not a dedicated Embassy Suites hotel shuttle but there are ample taxi and ride sharing services available and rental cars are also an option.

REUNION CHECK-IN: Upon arrival Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Reunion Check-in will be in the Sage Room on the first floor of the Hotel. The hotel front desk staff will provide you with information upon check- in to orient you to the hotel and where the Sage Room is located.

COMMAND POST, SILENT AUCTION, SUPPLY ROOM: The CP will be in room 234, the Silent Auction and Supply Room will be on the first floor in the Cottonwood Room. We will be able to bring our own Association purchased drinks and snacks into the CP, but discretion must be adhered to regarding all hotel patrons. A cash bar will be available in the evening, or the hotel bar downstairs will provide complimentary drinks from 1700 – 1830 for those with a reunion badge.The CP will be in room 234, the Silent Auction and Supply Room will be on the first floor in the Cottonwood Room. We will be able to bring our own Association purchased drinks and snacks into the CP, but discretion must be adhered to regarding all hotel patrons. A cash bar will be available in the evening, or the hotel bar downstairs will provide complimentary drinks from 1700 – 1830 for those with a reunion badge.

SILENT AUCTION: Please bring your items to the silent auction so we can raise money for the association, if not, please consider making a cash donation to the 26th Infantry Association. You can bring items with you or mail them ahead of time to the Hotel. Mailing address is Embassy Suites, 26th Infantry Reunion, 4444 Havana St, Denver, CO 80239

WELCOME RECEPTION:3:30 – 5:30 pm Thursday afternoon in the Sage/ Aspen Room. Join us for hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar as we officially kick off the 2024 reunion.

BANQUET: The Saturday evening reception and banquet will be held at the Embassy Suites in the Cottonwood Room / Aspen Room from 6pm-8pm. We will have a plated dinner to include entree selections of beef, chicken, or vegetarian. This is always a special event!

TOURS: We do not have any formally planned group tours during the reunion to give people the maximum amount of flexibility to enjoy your trip and do what suits you. Here are some great activities, tours, and events in the area to consider. You will need to schedule your own transportation to visit these great attractions.

The Shops at Northfield. This is an Outdoor retail and entertainment center also Bass Pro Shop located 1.5 miles from the hotel, you can walk or taxi and be there in minutes.

U.S Mint. Witness the production of billions of coins. Tickets are free. (10 Miles from Hotel)

Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Tour. Distilled using water from the Colorado mountains. Learn about ingredients, process and equipment with a public guided tour. Whiskey tasting seasons are available to complete your visit. (13 Miles from Hotel)

Denver Art Museum. A must visit for those who are looking to add some culture to your trip. One of the largest Art Museums in the western United States. (10 miles from hotel)

16th Street Mall. Grab a bite to eat at one of the 42 cafes or take in a movie at one of the 12 theaters. Dozens of unique shops and restaurants. (10 Miles from Hotel)

Tour the Coor’s Brewery. Established in 1873. The tour is free and kid friendly, with complementary soft drinks, while grown-ups can sample some Coor’s brews. (21 miles from hotel)

Stroll through Washington Park. Enjoy numerous facilities and a peaceful atmosphere. 165 acres of planted gardens and two massive lakes. (11 miles from hotel)

See the animals at the Denver Zoo. Stop by the African Penguin Point, or the Down Under Experience. You will discover species from Australia and New Zeeland along with over 1800 other animals and 300+ species. (7.2 miles from hotel)

Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Visit Egyptian Mummies, take a trip through space and get a glimpse of Native Americans. (6.9 miles from hotel)

Wings over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. Over 50 aircraft on display with flight simulators. Founded in 1994 at the former Lowery Airforce Base. Named 2016’s best event in the Denver metro. (5.9 miles from hotel)

These are not 26th Infantry Regiment Association organized or sponsored activities and are just a sample of the great opportunities to enhance your reunion experience and vacation.

SCHEDULE of EVENTS

Wed, June 12th:

  • Command Post (CP) Room 234: 6:30pm – 10pm

Thu, June 13th:

  • Registration packet P/U, Silent Auction, Supply Room (Sage/ Cottonwood Room): 10am – 6pm

  • Explore Colorado

  • Welcome reception w/ hors d’oeuvres in Sage Room: (3:30pm- 5:30)

  • Command Post Operations Room 234 (1-3pm then 5:30pm – UTC)

Fri, June 14th:

  • CP, Silent Auction, Supply Room: 10am-12pm & 5- 6:30pm

  • Command Post Operations Room 234 (1pm- UTC)

Sat, June 15th:

  • CP, Silent Auction, Supply Room in Horizons: 9-10am

  • Annual Business Meeting in Sage Room: 10-1130am

  • Silent Auction last chance Cottonwood Room: 11:30am-12pm

  • Silent Auction Closes: 12pm

  • No later than pick up Silent Auction Items: 2pm

  • Explore Denver

  • Pre-banquet reception in Prefunction Area: 5-6pm (Cash bar available)

  • Formal banquet in the Cottonwood Room / Aspen Room: 6-8:00pm

  • Post banquet festivities / Cash Bar: 8:00pm–10pm

  • Command Post Operations Room 234: 8:30pm- UTC

Sun, June 16th:

  • Check out and travel safely home

Strike welcomes Blue Spaders

Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment “Blue Spaders,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division unfurl their unit colors during an activation ceremony at Freedom Fighters Physical Fitness Center. The Blue Spaders lineage dates to 1901 when the United States Congress authorized five additional infantry regiments to include the 26th Infantry Regiment.

activation ceremony

Photo by Sgt. David L. Cox | 2nd BCT.
Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment “Blue Spaders,” 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division unfurl their unit colors during an activation ceremony at Freedom Fighters Physical Fitness Center. The Blue Spaders lineage dates to 1901 when the United States Congress authorized five additional infantry regiments to include the 26th Infantry Regiment.
Posted: Thursday,

The addition of a third infantry battalion brings 2nd BCT on par with its sister brigades within the 101st Airborne Division, which already have added an additional maneuver unit in accordance with the Department of the Army’s restructuring initiative, BCT 2020.
During his speech at the activation ceremony, Col. Peter N. Benchoff, the commander of 2nd BCT, told an anecdotal story about the activation of the 101st Airborne Division in 1942.
“On the activation of the 101st in 1942, Maj. Gen. Lee published General Order No. 5, that stated that the ‘101st has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny,’” Benchoff said. “Unlike the 101st at its activation the [Blue Spaders] have a distinguished and accomplish history and I am extremely honored to know that on any future battlefield, [1-26th] won’t fight on our flank but fighting as a member of this brigade to accomplish our next rendezvous with destiny.”
“This opportunity to build a new unit in 101st is unpreceded,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Wylie, the commander of 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 2nd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. “It’s important to [Leaders and Soldiers of 1-26th] to embrace the legacy of 1-26th Infantry Regiment, and the 101st Airborne Division. Becoming Air Assault qualified [as a unit] is a critical part of our integration into this team.”
Among those in attendance were members of 26th Infantry Regiment Association who have served in the historic unit.
“It’s great to have [Blue Spaders] here in the Strike Brigade,” said Randal Dragon, a retired brigadier general and the honorary commander of the 26th Infantry Regiment. “It’s important to stay in touch with these Soldiers so they understand how much history, sweat and blood has gone into the unit before them.”
The Blue Spaders linage dates back to 1901, when Congress authorized five additional infantry regiments to support the nation’s responsibilities overseas. Since then the Blue Spaders have been engaged in every major conflict from World War I to the Global War on Terrorism.

Blue Spaders 2010-2012 Afghanistan Deployment History

by LTC Jesse Pearson, Former Spader 6, 2010-2012

The 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment Blue Spaders deployed from Fort Knox, Kentucky in December 2010 as the main effort of the 3d Duke Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division. The battalion departed from Louisville International Airport, Kentucky with over 800 Soldiers on multiple passenger jets during multiple weeks in December 2010. We transited on multiple air sorties through Manas Airbase, Kyrgyzstan and Bagram, Afghanistan and eventually established our initial position at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Salerno to begin our relief in place with the 1st Battalion, 187 Infantry Regiment (Rakkasans) and 3d Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment (Red Knights). In January 2011, the platoons and companies loaded CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters at FOB Salerno and moved to six remote combat outposts around Khost Province to assume responsibility for their areas of operation.

The Blue Spaders established our battalion headquarters at FOB Salerno and we partnered with two Afghan National Army Battalions, two Afghan National Police Battalions, and seven Afghan District Police forces. Our area of responsibility included all of the eastern districts in Khost Province along the border with Pakistan as well as Khost City. With our Afghan partners, we were responsible for over 100 kilometers of the Afghan/Pakistan border and faced a challenging set of Haqqani Network and Taliban insurgent cells who continuously attempted to attack us and our partners with direct and indirect fire, ambushes, IEDs (improvised explosive devices), and snipers. Our area of responsibility across Khost Province included over one million Afghan local national civilians.

Able Company (A Co) was responsible for partnering with the 3/2 Afghan Border Police Battalion and Afghan Local Police in Terezayi District. Able Company became border experts and superbly skilled at operating in this remote and dangerous region. They re-opened Combat Outpost Chergotah and transformed it from a remote patrol base into a fully functional operating base and dramatically enhanced our reach into enemy territory along the Pakistan border. Tragically, Able Company lost two Soldiers killed in action in Terezayi District, both from 2nd Platoon – First Lieutenant Demetrius Frison and Specialist Michael Elm. We honor their sacrifice, their memory, and their families’ courage and we keep them with us in our hearts.

Viper Company (B Co) operated in our most contested district – Sabari, and partnered with the 3/1 Afghan National Army Battalion, they also conducted multiple battalion and company air assault missions in the mountainous Musa Khel District above 8,000 feet altitude, hunting for Haqqani Network insurgent cells. Viper Company faced a committed and expert enemy force in Sabari and stopped them cold with their courage and professionalism. From indirect fire 75 and 82-mm Recoilless Rifle and 82- mm Mortar Cells, to IED bomb makers, to insurgent grenadiers – our enemies did everything they could possibly do to try to defeat Viper Company and their Afghan partners in Sabari, but they failed again and again. Copperhead Company (C Co) partnered with the 4/2 Afghan Border Police Battalion and 2/1 Afghan National Army Battalion in Gorbuz and Matun Districts.

Copperhead Company trained 4/2 ABP to be the premier Afghan National Security Force in all of Khost Province, capable of conducting independent targeting and combat operations. Copperhead was also responsible for the strategically critical Ghulum Khan Gate Point of Entry on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. Copperhead Company Soldiers became experts at Company level intelligence operations and targeting and their legacy is the superb combat capability of their Afghan partners in Gorbuz and Matun.

Dragoon Company (D Co) partnered with the 4/2 Afghan Border Police Battalion, the 2/1 Afghan National Army Battalion, and Afghan Local Police in Tani and Musa Khel Districts. Dragoon Company Soldiers operated in both the high altitude plains of Tani District and the rugged alpine mountains of Musa Khel. Delta Company provided superb operational reach to our Task Force and the Duke Brigade and conducted multiple successful battalion and company air assaults above 8,000 feet altitude in Musa Khel and routed the Haqqani Network cells operating in that district. It was truly awe inspiring to see Dragoon Soldiers and their Afghan partners inserting for continuous 5-7 day combat operations with 100+ lb. packs, relentlessly chasing insurgent cells up and over those mountains in their home territory again and again and breaking our enemies’ will to fight.

Hannibal Company (HHC) took on an extraordinary challenge by re-organizing as a maneuver company and fighting as a combat formation in Bak and Jaji Maidan Districts. Hannibal Company partnered with the 3/1 Afghan National Army Battalion and Afghan Local Police and transformed Bak District from an enemy sanctuary along the traditional Manzerra Route from Pakistan into an area of emerging Afghan governance and security. Hannibal Company Soldiers faced a tough fight in Bak and Jaji Maidan every day and performed brilliantly, providing fantastic flexibility and agility to our Task Force. Fletch Company (F Co) was responsible for supply distribution and maintenance for the six companies assigned to Task Force Spader, spread across over 1,000 square kilometers at six separate combat outposts

Fletch Company’s ability to accomplish every one of their combat resupply and recovery missions without fail over 12 months under incredibly difficult combat conditions is a testament to the courage and dedication of Fletch Company Soldiers. Fletch Company Combat Logistics Patrols braved attacks daily to deliver critical supplies and support to Task Force Spader Soldiers across the battlefield and we could not have operated for a single day in Afghanistan without their support.

Our attached 870th Military Police Company (Wolverine) from the California Army National Guard based at COP Matun Hill in Khost City. The Military Police of Wolverine Company partnered with the Khost City Afghan Police forces and provided outstanding training to them on community policing and investigative techniques. Wolverine Company also provided our Task Force Spader quick reaction force for combat in Khost City. Wolverine troops conducted multiple successful combat operations in Khost City and Khost Province that were critical to the success of Task Force Spader.

The Battalion Staff performed magnificently and ensured that our Soldiers had the resources and support they needed to conduct their combat mission 24 hours a day for the entire year in Khost Province, without a single pause or day off. The Staff provided administrative and logistical support and planned our Task Force operations throughout the deployment. The Staff synchronized our fire support and intelligence assets and flawlessly coordinated the deployment and redeployment of the Task Force. In January 2012, Task Force Spader completed our redeployment back to Fort Knox, Kentucky.