2023 Blue Spader Reunion

2023 Reunion Information

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Wednesday, August 2 through
Saturday, August 5, 2023



Fort Lauderdale, FL


The Sonesta Hotel
999 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Mail registration to:
26th infantry Regiment Association
875 Gip Manning Rd
Clarksville, TN 37042

To make hotel reservations online click the button below  OR call the hotel directly at 1-800-766-3782 and identify yourself as being with the 26th Infantry Regiment Association (group code # 072323INFG) to get the group rate of $179 per room per night.

Rooms at these highly discounted rates are first-come first-serve so please book your rooms early as we only have a limited quantity. (Rooms during this period are normally over $300 per night).


Call 1-800-766-3782

The Sonesta 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)
  • 50% discount on overnight valet parking ($200 value)
  • 10% off drinks at the Sonesta bar
  • 2 beach towels and two beach chairs daily per room

TRANSPORTATION: The closest airport is the Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL). The hotel is approximately 9 miles from the airport and takes about 25-30 minutes to drive depending on traffic. There is not a dedicated Sonesta hotel shuttle but there are ample taxi and ride sharing services available and rental cars are also an option.

REUNION CHECK-IN: Wednesday afternoon and upon arrival Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Check in will be in the Command Post (CP) which will be held in the “Horizons” rooms on the Penthouse Level. The hotel front desk staff will provide you an information sheet upon check in to orient you to the hotel and where the CP is located.

COMMAND POST, SILENT AUCTION, SUPPLY ROOM: The CP will be in the Horizon room on the Penthouse Level at the Sonesta and the views of the Florida coastline are spectacular. The Silent Auction and Supply Room will be in the same room as the CP. Just like in Las Vegas two years ago, we are not able to bring our own Association purchased drinks and snacks into the CP. Instead, we will be providing a cash bar along with several drink tickets to each registered attendee. The cash bar will be available for several hours in the evening and the hotel bar downstairs will provide 10% discounts on drinks to those with a reunion badge.

SILENT AUCTION: Please bring your items to the silent auction so we can raise money for the association. You can bring items with you or mail them ahead of time. We will provide the mailing address as we get closer to the reunion.

WELCOME RECEPTION: 5:00 – 7:00 pm Thursday evening in the Horizon Room. Join us for heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar as we officially kick off the 2023 reunion.

BANQUET: The Saturday evening reception and banquet will be held at the Sonesta Hotel in the Infinity Banquet Room. We will have a plated dinner to include entre 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 and your family in South Florida.

Here are some great activities, tours, and events in the area to consider:

Fort Lauderdale Beach. The Sonesta Hotel is right across the street from a great stretch of south Florida beach. Your hotel key will get you two chairs and an umbrella at no cost.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. ‘State Park and Oasis” right across the street to the north of the hotel. A great way to experience natural Florida! Floridastateparks.org

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. “Early 20th Century Florida experience and museum dedicated to historic and environmental preservation.” Several hundred yards away to the south of the hotel. Bonnethouse.org

Jungle Queen Cruises. 12-130pm and 230-4pm. “90 minute narrated sightseeing cruises down the New River, sailing through Millionaire’s Row” Junglequeen.com

Jungle Queen Island Dinner & Cruise. 6 – 10pm. “Tropical Island all-you-can-eat BBQ dinner, variety show, & sightseeing cruise to a private island” Junglequeen.com

Alligator Tours. “Airboat tours of the Everglades & Alligator Show” Airboatevergladestours.com

Everglades Holiday Park. “Gator presentations, airboat tours, and more” Evergladesholidaypark.com

Water Taxi. “There’s no better way to experience Fort Lauderdale than from the water and no easier way to do that than on a Water Taxi” Watertaxi.com

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.


Wed, August 2nd:

  • Command Post (CP) in Horizons: 3pm – 9pm (cash bar in the evening)

Thu, August 3rd:

  • CP, Silent Auction, Supply Room in Horizons: 9-10am & 4-9pm (cash bar in the evening)
  • Explore South Florida
  • Welcome reception w/ hors d’oeuvres in Horizons: (5-7pm)

Fri, August 4th:

  • Explore South Florida
  • CP, Silent Auction, Supply Room in Horizons: 9-10am & 4-9pm (cash bar in the evening)

Sat, August 5th:

  • CP, Silent Auction, Supply Room in Horizons: 9-10am
  • Annual Business Meeting in Horizons: 10-1130am
  • Silent Auction last chance: 11am-12pm
  • Silent Auction Closes: 12pm
  • No later than pick up Silent Auction Items: 2pm
  • Explore South Florida
  • Pre-banquet reception in Impressions on the Penthouse Level: 6-7pm
  • Formal banquet at in Infinity on the Penthouse Level: 7-9pm
  • Post banquet festivities / Cash Bar in
  • Horizons on the Penthouse Level: 9pm–1030pm

Sun, August 6th:

  • Check out and travel safely home

2017 Blue Spader Reunion

NOTE: Please mail your reservation form and check soonest.


Click here to download 2017 Reunion Information Sheet


Click here to download 2017 Reunion Registration Form.


Hilton Garden Inn, Columbus, Georgia – 21-24 June 2017.
To make hotel reservations, call 706-660-hilton garden hotel1000. Identify yourself as being with the “26th Infantry Regiment Association” that is having a reunion in June 2017. The guest room rate for those attending the reunion is $119.84 per night, and includes taxes, Breakfasts, and two guests per room. Our Group rate is available 3 days pre- and 3 days post-reunion window. Parking and internet are free. If you encounter any problems making reservations contact Ms Gayla Johnson (gjohnson@vhghotels.com) Sales & Catering Manager. Or call or email the event coordinator: Mike Menser (706) 718-9751: mike.menser@icloud.com.

Reunion Check-In.
Wednesday thru Friday
at the Hilton Garden Inn lobby
Columbus, Georgia

Command Post (CP). Tom Wills has graciously volunteered to oversee the CP operations again this year, and volunteers to help run the CP are being sought. Open Wednesday 1200- 2300; Thursday 1500-1800 and 2000-2300; Friday (TBD); Saturday 1200-1830 and 2030-2300. All times approximate.
Supply Room. Located in boardroom across from CP. Hours generally follow the hours of the CP.
Silent Auction. Located in the boardroom. Hours generally follow the hours of the CP. Last auction bids on Saturday, 24 June @1200. We need help in two areas. First, we need contributions that can be auctioned off—all proceeds go into Association fund and help to further our mission. Second, is volunteers donating time and energy to help run this year’s auction (phone Mike Menser (706) 718-9751 if you can spare a few hours while at the reunion.
Annual Association Business Meeting. Located in the CP/Ballroom, 24 June, 0930-1100.
NOTE: Please mail your reservation form and check soonest to: Brynt Parmeter 972 N. California Ave Palo Alto, CA 94303
Please mail soonest—must be received no later than 22 MAY 2016
We are expecting a larger than usual turnout, so let me emphasize importance of early registration in order to guarantee these rates and have enough room for all attendees. There is an overflow hotel but it is a couple miles away.
Thursday 22 June – History, Lunch, Shopping.
0800 hours board bus to visit historic Warm Springs, Georgia, vacation home of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, aka the

“Little White House”.From there we move to lunch at nearby historic Bulloch House— for buffet lunch. After lunch explore quaint Warm Springs and some unique shops. Board busses for return to hotel at 1300 hours. Ladies tea 1500. 1730 bus to VFW for our Welcome Dinner buffet, music and dancing.
Friday 24 June – National Infantry Museum, Fort Benning.

0800 hours (NLT) board buses to NIM; debark in front of museum, for short walk to reserved seats at Patriot Field for the graduation ceremony of a One Station Unit Training (OSUT) company. This is a one-hour great event and very interesting. Then walk to the National Infantry Museum and break into small groups for guided tour. After the guided tour, we are on our own to explore the museum and gift shop. 12:30 re-board the buses. On return to hotel, a lunch of pizza and salad will be waiting in the CP.



Message from the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment

Message from the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment
Fellow Blue Spaders
A number of our Soldiers are currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR). CSM Matt Bartel, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, has provided the Facebook and unit contact addresses so members can send letters or care packages to our deployed Blue Spaders. CSM Bartel recommends sending all correspondence to the 1SGs and they will distribute to the Soldiers.


1SG Michael Starnes (C Co)
C CO 1-26IN, 2BCT Union III
APO AE 09348

1SG Kevin Klepac
HHC 1-26 IN, 2BCT Union III
APO AE 09348

1SG Raymond Geise
D CO 1-26 IN, 2BCT
Camp Taji
APO AE 09378

We all know a short note can mean so much to a Soldier in the field.

CSM (R) Steve McClaflin
Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment

Infantrymen gather at Fort Knox for ceremony

FORT KNOX, Ky., – U.S. Army infantrymen often joke that the skies are blue because, ‘God loves the Infantry.’26th infantry

It was under those same skies that more than 800 Infantrymen with 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team gathered to case their unit colors during a ceremony at Fort Knox’s Brooks Field May 8. The ceremony symbolized the unit’s readiness for its upcoming deployment to Afghanistan, a deployment that has paired the 1st Bn., 26th Inf., Regt., ‘Blue Spaders’ with Special Forces units, with the mission of building stability throughout various Afghan villages. “The Last four times the Blue Spaders deployed, we fought in one hot spot of a country… this time we will fight in all of them at the same time,” said Lt. Col. William Jacobs, commander 1st Bn., 26th Inf. Regt. To ensure they maintain their honor and reputation, the 1st Bn., 26th Inf. Regt., has undergone months of rigorous training highlighted by multiple night air assault raids and numerous live fires exercises. “We have spent the past several months honing our skills at putting the wood to the enemy,” Jacobs said. “We can call for fire, integrate effects of attack aviation, fast moves and indirect fire simultaneously and when necessary we can render aid to keep each other alive until the MEDEVAC arrives.” During the ceremony Jacobs took a moment to share, with the Blue Spader spouses and attendees, what his unit is fighting for. “The Blue Spaders have a very long and honorable history. Our history is written not just in words but in our own blood and relentless pursuit of the enemy. We go where others will not and we do what others are afraid to do,” Jacobs added. “The honor and the history of the Blue Spaders is in our own hands. We owe it to those who have gone before us to maintain our honor and great reputation.” To read more of this article “click here“.

Article written by Sgt. Thomas Duval