555th CES (HR) - RED HORSE SQUADRON CLASS OF 1969
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The steins used in the Triple Nickel Remembrance Ceremony are both personalized and symbolic.
The inscription on the front side of the stein represents the officer’s life during the time he was on active
duty in wartime. Therefore, the unit designation, location, date, “Charging Charlie” Red Horse logo,
rank in 1969, and name are significant and displayed. While the officer is alive, this will be the side facing
out in the display box designed by Neal Ford and the stein will be upright—ready to toast the officer’s
departed Triple Nickel brothers. This side symbolizes the vigor, vitality, significance of life, and the role
he played in Red Horse.
The inscription on the opposite side of the stein symbolizes the officer is deceased. Hence only the simple
phrase, “The Triple Nickel” and the officer’s name, along with the official Triple Nickel logo is displayed.
This connotes that, even in death, the bond between each officer and the Triple Nickel Squadron of Red
Horse officers still endures. Locations, dates, ranks, etc., are no longer meaningful. This is the side that
will be facing outward in the display box. Once the officer’s stein is turned over and retired, it is never to
be used again.
Also symbolic, the logos and inscriptions can be read whether the stein is placed upright or upside down
in the display case. While the officer is alive, it is the front side inscription that will be seen. However, by
peering over the edge from the top, one can glimpse the inscription foretelling his ultimate assignment.
The significance of the latter is that each of is looking over the edge of life, even as we toast those who have
already left our presence. Steins are arrayed alphabetically in the display box symbolizing the equality of
our brotherhood as well as the unity that remains.
At each future gathering or reunion of the core Triple Nickel officers who served during our tour of duty
in 1969, there will be a formal and solemn toasting ceremony to pay homage, honor, and to remember our
deceased fellow officers. In accordance with military tradition, the senior ranking officer (SRO) present
or his designee will preside assisted by the junior ranking officer (JRO).
After all officers are assembled, the SRO will call the roll. Assembled officers will respond when their
name is called. Designated representatives of departed officers will answer for that officer. Following
additional words of tribute for each of our departed brothers, the Triple Nickel Bell will ring one time
and his stein will be retired.
This commemoration ceremony will take place at each reunion until there are only two of the nineteen
remaining, at which time the final toast will be given and the steins placed in the display case which will
also be retired.
In commemoration of all the beer we consumed in SEA, beer will be the beverage of choice, however
alternate beverages may be used for toasts.
The SRO will begin the toasting with brief opening remarks followed by a commemorative toast to each
deceased officer. At the conclusion of each individual toast, the JRO will take the empty stein pertaining
to that officer from under our tattered “battle flag,” raise it in the air, slowly invert it, and place it upside
down on the table with the “gone-but-not-forgotten” side facing toward the audience.
The SRO may conduct the ceremony as he wishes with audio/visual effects and such other additions as he
The SRO and JRO shall be determined by their rank and date of rank during the year served in Vietnam.
THE STEIN OF LIFE
The stein of life
Is filled but once
And no man has the power
To tell just when the stein runs out
At late or early hour.
Now is the only time we have
So place no faith in tomorrow
Just live, love, and toil with a will
For the stein that poured our abundant life
May be found upended and still.