Inaugural Gathering

Las Vegas

Well, the MCITTA Inaugural Gathering for 2003 is now in the history books. According to the feedback, all had a great time. Of the 60 people registered to attend, 51 were able to make it with the others being set back by health concerns or family matters. A surprise visit by Frank Espinoza was most welcome. Frank was not registered to attend MCITTA due to a conflict with a family reunion that was being held, coincidentally, at the Flamingo along with MCITTA. It was great to see Frank after so many years. Yes, he still has all his hair.

Sunday, 3 August, saw most of the members present and immediately engaging in reminiscing and tall tales. The Hospitality Suite was well stocked with hors-d’oeuvres and drinks. It seemed like no one wanted to leave! The room remained open until late when folks decided to have dinner in one of the hotel restaurants.

Monday, 4 August, began early with a large group departing on the day tour of Las Vegas. By the time they returned it was the Social Hour in the Hospitality Suite where Interim Team Commander Jim Haskins gave some welcoming remarks. At 1700 the bus tour of Las Vegas By Night departed. This proved to be a very special event with stops at several casinos for some real Las Vegas nightlife.

Tuesday morning, 5 August, began with the tour for Hoover Dam. More than half of the members enjoyed that trip and photo op with old friends.

Due to unforeseen events, the banquet had to be rescheduled for Tuesday. Being ever flexible, at 1800 everyone presented in their finery for the Gathering Hour prior to the Grand Gathering Banquet at the Las Vegas Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Our reception by the MCL was exceptional. The meal was excellent and the cordial atmosphere and welcome extended by the members of the League could not have been better. Surrounded by Marine Corps memorabilia from generations past, everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening well into the morning hours with non-stop dancing and gathering. A spectacular event!

Early reveille on Wednesday, 6 August for the golfers found them on the tee at Nellis Air Force Base, the home of the Thunderbirds precision flight team. A spectacular "Hole in One" by Jim Riemer was celebrated with a fly-over by the Thunderbirds themselves in Diamond Formation taking off for a practice flight. Wining team with the lowest best-ball score was John Lopez, Jim Haskins, Jim Riemer and Mitch Paradis (who acted as handicap for the other three.) Jack Parker garnered the prize for longest drive. There were no losers, however, as every participant received golf balls and a golf hat with the MCITTA logo. What a tournament!

The afternoon found everyone back at the hotel and ready to get down to business. The first Business Meeting of the MCITTA began at 1400 with Interim Team Commander Jim Haskins presiding. The first order of business was to officially elect a slate of officers. The membership unanimously supported election of the standing interim officers; however, Jim Haskins declined due to conflicts with his continual domestic and foreign travel demands for Lockheed Martin. A nomination for Harry Todd as Team Commander was seconded and unanimously carried.

Next item was to create a 3rd Sub-Team Commander position with the responsibilities as MCITTA Historian. This motion was unanimously approved with the candidate for the position being elected in absentia, GySgt Doug Brower, NCOIC of the IPW course and the Navy and Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Damm Neck, VA. (IPW is still being taught.) Doug has accepted the position happily, as he has been working to compile the history of the ITTs for some time. Additionally, it was voted to make the Team Chief an MCITTA officer position vice an appointed position.

MCITTA officers for 2003-2005 are Harry Todd, Team Commander; Howard Young, 1st Sub-Team Commander; Tim Corrigan, 2nd Sub-Team Commander; Doug Brower, 3rd Sub-Team Commander; and Mitch Paradis, Team Chief. Congratulations and best wishes!

The matter of membership requirements and dues and/or fees was brought forth. A discussion ensued with most members in favor of a dues requirement. In that the constitution and bylaws of MCITTA state there will be no dues, the item was tabled pending review and recommendations by an ad hoc membership committee chaired by Mitch Paradis with Harry Lee and Paul Anctil volunteering to serve. The committee report will be presented at the Business Meeting of the 2004 Gathering.

Next was a matter of great importance— where and when will MCITTA gather next year. Several venues were proposed including, Atlantic City, New Orleans, Seattle, Honolulu, and Pensacola among others. John Guenther made a strong pitch for MCITTA to participate with the Tri-Intelligence Committee meeting of the MCIA, MCCIA, and MCCA in Reno next August. After much discussion and debate, the consensus was, MCITTA needs to continue to build its membership base before engaging in extracurricular activities outside of our charter. Mr. Guenther’s invitation was gracious and appreciated but respectfully tabled for a later date.

By acclamation it was San Antonio in 2004. Hosted by Frank Espinoza and Felix Conde, this should be a real "Mexican Fiesta" with wonderful food and a myriad of things to do and see. San Antonio is the center of Tex-Mex culture with The Alamo as its heart. We look forward for a special treat with a Mexican beat and flare. Ole!

To allow members ample opportunity for planning, it was decided to project our Gathering site two years in advance. Mitch Paradis, clad in a T-shirt sporting a caricature of a Canadian Mountie, promoted Halifax, Nova Scotia as the site for the 2005 Gathering. Mitch made a strong pitch for ITT "In Country Language Training" in Canada while extolling the fine hotels, restaurants, variety of events and sites to visit, including an International Tattoo similar to the world famous Edinborough, Scotland Tattoo. Jim Tortorici, who expounded further on the appeal of Halifax with its 400 years of history and many connections to the United States, seconded the motion. With only three members opposed, Halifax in 2005 will be hosted by Mitch Paradis who promises "In Country Language Training" (English) at its finest– Eh! Get your passport ready, and keep in mind the great exchange rate that favors the $US.

Much was accomplished at the meeting and the MCITTA is well on its way. At the adjournment we realized a lot is still left to do and we are looking for all the support we can muster to get it done. The more hands the lighter the load. Come on board and share the fulfillment of getting a good thing done.

Well, it was time to fold up our tents and get our gear back in the jeep for the long trek home. But, before we departed, we all sat down for one last dinner together of sushi, sake and tappan-yaki. Following dinner, we adjourned to the lounge for some final farewell cheer.

Thursday morning, 7 August, folks met at the buffet for breakfast, last minute handshakes and hugs, and a firm commitment to meet next year in San Antonio. This was outstanding— so say we all!