ASAE LEXINGTON GATHERING 2015
REUNION USASA-EUR FRANKFURT, SEPTEMBER 20-24, LEXINGTON KY
10th Reunion of the United States Army Security Agency-Europe convened at the
Hilton Suites Hotel in Lexington KY on Sunday, September 20. A group of 27 ASAer's, spouses and guests registered
for the Reunion. The Hospitality suite
was open and friendships were renewed and old times remembered. There were no scheduled events on Sunday but
many chose to have dinner at nearby restaurants to continue conversations and
remembrances. A return to the
Hospitality suite allowed members to peruse the many offerings for the raffle
and to make their choices for the Wednesday night drawing.
tour bus left the hotel for the Kentucky Horse Park, a premier attraction in Central
Kentucky. Encompassing over 1,200 acres
of rolling Kentucky countryside the Horse Park was the site of the 2010 World
Equestrian Games, the first time the Games had been held outside of Europe. Our first stop in the park was the
International Museum of the Horse, at 60,000 square feet the largest and most
comprehensive museum in the world dedicated to the impact of the horse on
civilization. Many impressive displays
detailed the evolution of the horse and its contribution and uses over
time. We walked through rooms full of
artifacts and trophies. Surely there was
not enough time to take it all in and a return trip may be in order for many of
then went to the Hall of Champions where some of the more famous horses
residing in the Park, all champions in their style of racing, were led out to
the ring and their accomplishments recited.
Shown were Go for Gin, a Kentucky Derby winner, Da Hoss, a two time
Breeder's Cup Turf Mile winner, Mr. Muscleman, a trotter and Western Dreamer, a
The Horse Park is home to
numerous racing champions but only a few are shown at a time. Although advancing in age, the horses we saw
were still impressive in their beauty and conformation.
morning concluded at the Breeds Barn where we saw an American Morgan Horse, a
Paso Fino, a Mustang and an Arabian.
Riders were costumed and took the horses through their paces in the
ring. After the show was finished the
horses stood at the ring fence for the spectators to admire and pet, surely a
treat for many. While many breeds are on
display in their stalls at the Barn only a few are brought to the ring for the
lunch we went to the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) plant in
Georgetown KY, approximately 20 miles north of Lexington. Kentucky won the competition with several
other states for this facility and the first Camry rolled off the line in
1988. It is on display in the Visitor's
Center. Toyota manufactures the Camry,
Avalon and later this year the Lexus 350 at this plant. Over 80% of every vehicle consists of parts
manufactured by Toyota or one of its' 350 U. S. suppliers, over 100 located in
Kentucky. At the present time Toyota
employs approximately 7,500 full time employees and approximately 3,000
plant itself is 7.5 million square feet, the equivalent of 156 football
fields. The tour of the plant is by
tram. Visitors wear earphones and follow
the manufacture of cars from the giant rolls of steel to the inspection line
where the finished product is rolled off.
As the cars are assembled the many parts seem to miraculously come
together and while initially seeming haphazard the process becomes
logical. We saw several examples of
robotics, particularly in the welding.
During the tour the guides explained several principles of "The
Toyota Way", primarily "kaizan" the process of continuous
improvement involving all employees and "jidoka" the ability of any
employee to stop the line if any defect is detected. The guide explained every step of the way but
the sheer size and complexity of the plant is almost overwhelming.
returned to the Hilton for some time in the Hospitality room and to prepare for
the Oktoberfest dinner at Marikka's Restaurant and Bier Stube. We picked from Marikka's extensive beer list
of 525 brands and some were able to find one of their favorites from Frankfurt
days. A hearty meal was had by all and a
return to the Hospitality room for relaxation, conversation and a nightcap was
busy day started with a short bus trip to Keeneland Race Course considered by
most to be one of the most beautiful tracks in the United States if not the
world and a National Historic Landmark.
Keeneland is a non-profit corporation and over the years has contributed
over $1,800,000 to charities for health, education, arts as well as equine
related programs. Keeneland will be home
to the 2015 Breeder's Cup races at the end of October. Other than the Triple Crown races the
Breeder's Cup races are the most prestigious in the sport. The tour of the track included information
concerning its' over 75 year history, a visit to the winner's circle and the
high point, a visit to the Keeneland Sales Pavilion, home of the largest horse
sales in the country. The September yearling
sale was in progress and we were amazed at the beauty of these young horses and
the speed at which the sales were conducted.
Although these young horses are untested they sell for sums from a few
thousand dollars up to the millions.
This year the top sales price was $2,100,000.|
was at the Hilary J. Boone Faculty and Alumni Center at the University of
Kentucky. We were privileged to have our
buffet in a private room at this beautiful facility. Chris Corcoran, a member of Mayor Jim Gray's
staff, welcomed our group on behalf of the Mayor and the Lexington Fayette
Urban County Government. Chris gave us a
brief history of Lexington and presented John Greene with a plaque extending to
the ASA-E the appreciation of the LFUCG for its service to our country and for
choosing Lexington as its reunion site.
Jan Hoffman of Pegasus Travel spoke to the group about the plans for the
2016 Rhine River Cruise.
keeping with the more famous products of Kentucky, we had seen the horses and
now our attention turned to bourbon at the Town Branch Distillery and the
Kentucky Bourbon Ale Brewery located in Lexington. Both are divisions of Alltech, a worldwide
corporation noted for its' animal nutrition products and represented in over
100 countries. We were fortunate to
sample several of the ales produced there, the most notable of which is
Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale. After
brewing, this ale is aged in used, charred bourbon barrels picking up a
richness from both the bourbon which remains in the barrel (called the Devil's
share) and the caramelization from the char in the barrels. We then went to the Town Branch Distillery in
a separate building on the property and sampled several of the bourbons, one
rye and a coffee liqueur. All were
pronounced excellent by our group.
high point for our group came with the sudden appearance of Dr. Pearce Lyons,
founder of Alltech. He started Alltech,
now a two billion dollar enterprise, in 1980 armed with $10,000 capital and a
doctorate in biotechnology. Dr. Lyons is
as Irish as a leprechaun and charmed our group with stories of his youth and
the development of Alltech. He had
always been interested in distilling and brewing and started Kentucky Brewing
and Town Branch after guiding Alltech to its current position and success. Dr. Lyons holds service and veteran's groups
in high regard and it was a treat for him to honor us with his presence. He is a benefactor to many charities and was
the driving force for bringing the World Equestrian Games to Central Kentucky
and the Horse Park.
final event for the day and by far the most moving and emotional one was the
Memorial Service held at Camp Nelson National Cemetery. Camp Nelson sits 400 feet above the Kentucky
River and while typical of military cemeteries in their uniformity gives off a
reverence as one looks over the rolling hills with the straight lines of
gravestones. Our group walked behind a
color guard, a caisson bearing a casket draped with the American flag, a riderless
horse and the burial detail. The
ceremony was conducted with military honors and gun salute. John Greene gave a moving tribute to the
deceased who had served with ASA-E. The
flag covering the casket was folded in the traditional tricorn and was
presented to John for the group. More
than a few tears were shed.
returned to the Hilton for hospitality and dinner on our own.
was a free day for relaxation, shopping and touring. That evening was the final event of the
Reunion, the banquet and raffle. We were
joined by Ernie and Georgia Stamper, Lexington friends of the Greenes and
Palmers. Ernie is a very accomplished
photographer and took the group picture on the stairway at the Hilton and also
many photos during the rest of the evening.
Many excellent prizes were donated for the raffle. More than a few winners were targets of
some barbed comments from the audience (losers). When the last prize was awarded the group
adjourned to the Hospitality room for a last nightcap and some final
were said and thoughts turn to "till we meet again".
There are not enough accolades to extend to
Hosts John and Joie Greene and the Planning Committee and their spouses John
and Heide Minken, Larry and Judy Paff, and Bob and Sher Stegman.
Special thanks to Austin Adams for our Collage
by the Association of the US Army Security Agency Europe 1958 through
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