The formation meeting of the 101st Airborne Division Association’s Florida West Coast Chapter was held on the 37th anniversary of D-Day, Normandy, June 6th 1981 at Vales Steakhouse in Tampa, Florida. Twenty-four people attended this first meeting. The Chapter was later reformed as the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, “Above and Beyond”. The “Above and Beyond” Chapter was activated on March 17, 1982 . It is part of the 101st Airborne Division Association, a non-profit fraternal veteran’s organization, and was formed in accordance with Article VI (Chapter) of the Constitution of the 101st Airborne Division Association.
To preserve in patriotic reverence the memory of those who served in the 101st Airborne Division.
To strengthen the bonds of comradeship which have distinguished all members of our Division.
To provide for the patriotic assembly of all chapter members in local and national reunions, and to provide a means which members may gather on an informal basis.
To perpetuate and preserve the Screaming Eagle heritage and traditions for our future generations.
Anyone who has ever worn, or now wears, the most recognized division insignia in the world, the Screaming Eagle patch, regardless of when or where they served, are welcome to join our chapter and the association.
Family members and friends who desire to perpetuate the Screaming Eagle spirit are also welcome and encouraged to join our chapter as associate members.
The chapter officers are voted into office for a two year period during the month of December. The positions are President, Vice President and Secretary/Treasurer. There is also an eight person Chapter Board of Governors that is elected in alternating years for a two year period. Together, the Chapter Officers and the Board of Governors meet every quarter to decide issues that affect the Chapter. All members of the Chapter are invited to attend these quarterly meetings.
Army ROTC/JROTC Program Support
The Gulf Coast Chapter currently supports three University and twenty-two High School programs within the Tampa Bay region by recognizing outstanding Cadets each year. The Cadets are selected on the basis of their leadership abilities and their academic achievement. The Chapter formally presents a certificate, a ribbon, and a medal to each of these deserving young citizens and sponsors trophies for local drill competitions.
The Above and Beyond Chapters Color Guard participates in patriotic events and parades throughout the year. The guard also provides a flag detail and firing party for church or grave side services of veterans of the 101st Airborne Division.
Veterans Hospital Support
Chapter members provide volunteer support to both the Bay Pines and James A. Haley VA hospitals and our wounded 101st soldiers. The Chapter also supports three student volunteers each summer at St Petersburg Bay Pines VA hospital.
Active Duty R&R Program
Each December, the Gulf Coast Chapter hosts two young soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. The soldiers are selected by their chain of command and the Chapter provides transportation to Tampa, a rental car, hotel accommodations for the week on Clearwater Beach, walking around money, and tickets to Bush gardens. The two Troopers are the guests of honor at our annual Bastogne luncheon where they are presented with the Chapter’s Joseph P. Lapointe Award.
The Gulf Coast Chapter hosts four social events each year for members, family, and friends. Each spring the chapter attends a buffet lunch and a day at the races at the Tampa Bay Downs track. In June, we have our D-Day event, with a hospitality room, light lunch and then a banquet in the evening. In September, we host our Market Garden BBQ at the Clearwater Sailing Center on Sand Key and in December there is a Bastogne Luncheon at the Clearwater Yacht Club. During this event we recognize two active duty soldiers with the Joseph P. Lapointe Award.
In February, we host the Snowbird Reunion for all members of the 101st Airborne Division. This event lasts for four days, and includes a golf tournament, tours, the National Association Board of Governors meeting, and a banquet on Saturday night. In 2012 and 2013 the reunion will be at the DoubleTree Westshore Hotel in Tampa, Florida. Many of our members also attend the 101st Airborne National Reunion each year in August.