Reunion of Reuben’s Raiders set for Oct. 4

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Features Editor

Reuben’s Raiders will converge on Brundidge Saturday, Oct. 20 at Fort Wendell K. Taylor National Guard Armory.

The Raiders will gather for the 40th anniversary of the activation of the 900th Engineering Company of the Alabama National Guard to Fort Polk, La. during the Berlin Crisis of 196 -62.

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There were 170 troops in the 900th at that time and every effort has been made to contact all members of the company and invite them to, only, the second Fort Polk reunion.

The reunion will begin at 4 p. m. with a get re-acquainted time from 4:30 until 5:30 p.m.

At 6 p.m. a plaque, commemorating the service of the 900th Engineering Company during the Berlin Crisis, will be dedicated.

Roll call and recognition of members will be for 6 until 7 p.m. followed by a barbecue supper and more time for fellowship.

Reuben Lawrence Bowden was captain and commander of the Brundidge unit that received activation orders Oct. 15, 1961 for 12 consecutive months

"We went to Fort Polk not knowing where we might be sent after that," Bowden said. "However, we spent our entire activation on the base there. We returned to Brundidge, almost two months earlier than we had expected,

August 2, 1962."

While at Fort Polk the 900th was assigned to do heavy duty maintenance and also trained for fighting.

Their lives in the bayou country are things legends and tales are made of and members of the

planning committee said they can hardly wait to relive old times with old friends.

"Some of the stories were left at Fort Polk and we’d better let them stay there," said Clayton Berry, laughing. Berry was just out of high school when he went marching off to what could possibly be war.

Growing boys, young men, middle-aged men and older men made up the 900th. So, the stories they have to share will span several age gaps and should be "very entertaining."

"We have made every effort to get in touch with all members of Reuben’s Raiders," said Jimmy Phillips. "We have gotten addresses for everyone except, Willie T. Helms and we have had responses from all except 34 members. We expect about 140 at the reunion. That includes Reuben’s Raiders and their spouses."

Phillips said he would like to encourage all members of Reuben’s Raiders to make plans to attend the reunion.

"We are hoping to hear for those who haven’t responded, so if you are among them, let us hear from you," Phillips said. "We are also asking all members to bring any photographs and other memorabilia from active duty status at Fort Polk to help jog our memories of those days."

The Peanut Butter Festival is also scheduled for Oct. 20 and members of Reuben’s Raiders are invited to ride in the parade at 1 p.m. A vehicle will be provided and those who would like to participate are asked to call Lawrence Bowden at 735-3898.