Archive for Uncategorized


WHERE: South Lake Tahoe
Tahoe Resort Hotel

DATE: May 22 and 23ed. 2018 Tuesday and Wednesday

More information to come. Mark down that date.
16 Reunion 13

Comments (1) »


2016 WFF Cert.
We just received a “Certificate of Appreciation” from the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, giving the Oak Grove Hotshot crew GOLD CLUB MEMBER status in the 52 club. We should all be very proud of our contributions to the WFF and challenge all Hotshot crews to becoming GOLD CLUB MEMBERS.

On July 22, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF) posted on their Facebook page that they had received a $600 donation from the Oak Grove Hotshots. This donation came from the sale of “patches”, coins, tee shirts, etc. Without your support we would not have been able to do it. Fellow crew members like Larry Boggs and Chuck Grennell, jumped right in to do the logistical work necessary to make this happen. Your continued support of the WFF and the Oak Grove Hotshots is greatly appreciated.

Great group and a wonderful time telling and hearing the stories again. As old as we all are now, it seemed therapeutic to see those that we have not seen in years. We had several folks that have never attended a reunion and are planning for the next one in 2018. The Lake Tahoe area and the hotel facility for our event continue to be excellent.
Through sales of patches and trading coins, we were able to donate $600.00 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation in the name of the Oak Grove Hotshots.
We hope to see even more next time and keep those comments and postings coming in.
16 Reunion 13
Steve Arney and his wife Gig from Roseville, CA
Jack Von Ah and his wife Martha from Godfrey, IL
Larry Boggs and his wife Nancy from Chico, CA
Chuck Grennell from Arnold, CA
Wolfgang Tamm and his wife Norma from Sunland, CA
Jim Frakes from Clarkston, WA
George Roby from Claremont, CA
Tom Ralls and his wife Marilyn from Escondido, CA
John (Bill) Vaughan from Coronado, CA
George Hershberger and his wife Mary from Blackfoot, ID
Robert Olin from Olancha, CA
Royal Mannion and his wife Kathy from Redding, CA
Dave Rhodes from Lewiston, CA
Mike McGeragle and his wife Sandy from Angeles Camp, CA
Jim Stumpf and his wife Jean from Meridan, ID
Todd Heckert from Shelton, WA
Greg Ruggles from Temple City, CA
Gary Reynolds from Volcano, CA
Mike Dougherty from Star, ID
Fred Schoeffler from Pine, AZ
Chirs Cuzynski and his wife Suzie from Alta Loma, CA
Claude Marsh and his wife Gwen from Minden, NV
Paul Copeland and his wife Kathy from Sierra Madre, CA
Chet Cash from Arroyo Grande, CA
Duane Casita from Volcano, CA
Bob Concklin and his wife Darlene from Petaluma, CA
John Bowser and his wife Earlene from Alta Loma, CA
Kenny Peugh and his wife Betty Sue from Orleans, CA
Jack Lane and his wife Joyce from Little Rock, CA
Tom Kruschke from Oxnard, CA
Collin Kruschke from Camarillo, CA
Dick Williamson and his wife Patty from Twain Hart, CA
Clar Byers from Minden, NV
Bob Powers and his wife Barbra from Twin Falls, ID
Mike Gutierrez from Norco, CA
Tom Akins and his wife Lorna from Groveland, CA

Where are the attendee’s from:
CA = 26 IL = 2 WA = 2 ID = 7 AZ = 1 NV = 3

16 Reunion 1 Left Collin Kruschke Kenny Peugh
Left Collin Kruschke and Kenny Peugh

L. Dave Rhodes  Chet Cash

L. Dave Rhodes Chet Cash

Jim Stumpf second from R.

Jim Stumpf second from R.

L.  Dick Williamson

L. Dick Williamson

Collin Kruschke

Collin Kruschke

16 Reunion 3c
16 Reunion 4
Jean Stumpf far right next to Gwen Marsh

Jean Stumpf far right next to Gwen Marsh

L. Suzie Cuzynski  Patty Williamson

L. Suzie Cuzynski Patty Williamson

16 Reunion 5c
L.  Gig Arney

L. Gig Arney

16 Reunion 6c
Betty Sue Peugh

Betty Sue Peugh

L.  Stumpf  Earlene and John Bowser  Claude Marsh

L. Stumpf Earlene and John Bowser Claude Marsh

center  Tom Kruschke

center Tom Kruschke

Gary Reynolds

Gary Reynolds

Chuck Grennel

Chuck Grennel

Tom Akins

Tom Akins

Chris Cuzynski  far R

Chris Cuzynski far R

Wolfgang Tamm

Wolfgang Tamm

Duane Casita  over left shoulder of Chet Cash

Duane Casita over left shoulder of Chet Cash

16 Reunion 11c
16 Reunion 12
16 Reunion 12c
Sandy McGeragle

Sandy McGeragle

16 Reunion 14
16 Reunion 14c
Jim Frakes

Jim Frakes

L.  Bill Vaughn

L. Bill Vaughn

Mike Dougherty

Mike Dougherty

16 Reunion 17c
middle   Clar Byers

middle Clar Byers

16 Reunion 19
L.  Bob Olin

L. Bob Olin

16 Reunion 21
Tom Ralls

Tom Ralls

Bob Powers

Bob Powers

R.  Steve Arney

R. Steve Arney

L.  Mary Hershberger

L. Mary Hershberger

16 Reunion 26

16 Reunion 27

16 Reunion 28

16 Reunion 29

16 Reunion 30

16 Reunion 31

16 Reunion 32

George Hershberger

George Hershberger

16 Reunion 34
Nancy Boggs

Nancy Boggs

Royal Mannion

Royal Mannion

middle  Paul Copeland

middle Paul Copeland

16 Reunion 38
L.  Dave Rhodes

L. Dave Rhodes

16 Reunion 40
Bob Conklin

Bob Conklin

R.  Barb Powers

R. Barb Powers

Mike Gutierrez

Mike Gutierrez

Jack and Joyce Lane

Jack and Joyce Lane

16 Reunion 45

16 Reunion 46

16 Reunion 47

16 Reunion 48

16 Reunion 49

16 Reunion 50

From the top  Norma Tamm  Mike McGeragle  Jack VonAh  Martha VonAh  Sandy McGeragle  Gig Arney  Wolf Tann

From the top Norma Tamm Mike McGeragle Jack VonAh Martha VonAh Sandy McGeragle Gig Arney Wolf Tamm

16 Reunion 52

Larry Boggs

Larry Boggs

George Roby

George Roby

Mike McGeragle

Mike McGeragle

<img src=""

[caption id="attachment_876" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Fred Schoeffler Fred Schoeffler

Your Stay With us

Dear Steve Arney,

Our team is getting a little antsy. They’re coming up with special recipes, creative cocktails and ideas on the best places to ski, hike, golf and explore.

All because they caught wind that you’ll be joining us on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 and have reserved a K suite for 2 night(s). They want to ensure you experience Tahoe like a local. That’s part of our “My Tahoe” pledge; to provide you with an “inside experience” of our little pocket of amazing.

As you can see, we’re looking forward to your visit. As you’re about to see, we’ve also got quite a lineup in place while you’re here.

The Gondola and Heavenly Village (shopping, skating, miniature golf, etc…) is just steps from your room and minutes from the slopes. 24 hour entertainment is just a few steps across the Stateline; Lake Tahoe is a ten minute walk out the front door and scenic hiking trails are just out the back door.

Then again, you’ll find plenty happening right here at the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. You’ll get a free breakfast buffet every morning, including bakery delights, fresh fruit and our special egg casserole. After that, you might consider a trip to our Exercise Room or Pool — conveniently located next to the breakfast atrium. Our 24 hour covered valet parking is just $26 per day and can be added now by calling 530-544-5400, or when you arrive.

Lastly, if you’re the kind who likes to explore destinations through the eyes of a local, chat up any of our staff for details. Each one wears a name badge that says a little about their passions in life, everything from sharing the best hiking trail, best beach, best golf course, or the best ski run.

Your suite is ready and so are we. See you soon.

The Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel Team

MAY 24TH and 25th
LAKE TAHOE RESORT HOTEL 530.543.2114 for reservations
Keyword: for reservation discount OAK GROVE HOTSHOT
Happy New Year! 2016 is here and in only five (5) short months, so will our reunion. Come join us in beautiful South Lake Tahoe, California. This Reunion is not limited to Oak Grove Hotshots. All former and current Forest Service employees are welcome. Space can be limited so get your reservations in now and mark your calendar. See you there and Boggs is buying.
We have made arrangements with the Dunham Manufacturing Company to produce a Woody logo ring and the Pine Tree logo ring. The rings are model 1031-RT in the Category of a Family Crest. The metal is Palisil (silver) and considered white in color. Engraving is free with perhaps the year/s you were on the crew or Forest. Design work has been paid for. The price for the ring is $118 plus $15 shipping. Contact:
Fernando Corral
Dunham Jewelry Manufacturing, Inc.
7730 Trade Center Ave. El Paso TX 79912
Phone: 915.845.1722 Toll Free: 1.866.545.1722 Fax: 915.845.7584
Woody ring 2

For the benefit of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF) all proceeds from the sale of both the “Pine Tree” patch and the “Woody” patch, will go to the Foundation.
Buy one for yourself, your children and grandchildren and tell them the history of these fine patches. We believe the “Pine Tree” patch (circa 1955) was the first unofficial patch used by the Forest Service. Here is how you get them:
Contact Chuck Grennell either by emailing Chuck at: or call him at: area code 209.795.4782. Or even if you prefer snail-mail, his mailing address is: P.O. Box 2506, Arnold, CA 95223
Cost is $4.00 per patch for either one and up to 4 patches for a $1.00 mailing fee. Up to 8 patches for $2.00 mailing fee and Chuck will negotiate on order-by-order beyond 8.
Both patches are on sale now and will also be available at the reunion if any are left, so we suggest you order now because the stock is limited.
Also, please pass the word to those you know about these patches and where the proceeds will go. Support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF).
OGHS patches

MAY 24TH and 25th

LAKE TAHOE RESORT HOTEL 530.543.2114 for reservations
Keyword: for reservation discount OAK GROVE HOTSHOT

For the benefit of the Wildland Firefighter Foundation (WFF) all proceeds from the sale of both the “Pine Tree” patch and the “Woody” patch, pictured below, will go to the Foundation.
Buy one for yourself, your children and grandchildren and tell them the history of these fine patches. We believe the “Pine Tree” patch (circa 1955) was the first unofficial patch used by the Forest Service. You can find a similar patch on ebay for more than twice the price and the profits do not go to the WFF.
Here is how you get them:
Contact Chuck Grennell either by emailing Chuck at: or calling him at: area code 209.795.4782. Or even if you prefer snail-mail, his mailing address is: P.O. Box 2506, Arnold, CA 95223
Cost is $4.00 per patch for either one and up to 4 patches for a $1.00 mailing fee. Up to 8 patches for $2.00 mailing fee and Chuck will negotiate on order-by-order beyond 8.
Both patches are on sale now and will also be available at the reunion if available, so we suggest you order now because the stock is limited.
Also, please pass the word to those you know about these patches and where the proceeds will go. Support the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Well, it’s on!! The 2016 Oak Grove Hotshot Reunion Committee has selected both the location and the date for the next reunion.
Mark your calendars for May 24th and 25th (Tuesday and Wednesday) of 2016 for South Lake Tahoe. This reunion will be informal as was the 2014.
We are returning to the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel at Heavenly for a variety of reasons including central location, a variety of “things to do”, and the companionable atmosphere of the atrium.
Reservations can be made either by calling toll-free to: 1.800.988.9895 or by going to the hotel’s website: and using the group code: OAKGROVE.
Room rates are $109 for a standard King plus tax. The hotel is also giving us a valet parking and Internet (WiFi) reduction during our stay.
We are also working on keepsake items that include patches and ring. The first patch is the pine tree patch on a shield with a green border and “Angeles” written on top with “Natlforest” along the bottom. The next patch is the Woody logo patch. Both of these patches will cost an estimated $2.50 each if you purchase at the reunion. Otherwise $2.50 plus mailing charges if mailed to you. The next item is a ring called a “family crest” style ring with either of the two logos mentioned above. The cost of these rings will depend on the metal you order it with and will range about $90 up. Any proceeds will go to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.
We will need your input on your interest on the patches and ring and please be specific as to the item.
Feedback is always appreciated.
Woody Woodpecker patch
old patch 004

A little update on our proposed 2016 Reunion. At this point the Oak Grove Hotshot Crew Association (O.G.H.C.A.) is about 90% certain that we will have a 2016 Reunion, the question is where. The OGHCA is looking into opportunities at the following locations: Reno (two sites) South Lake Tahoe (same place we used in 2014) Sacramento (two sites) San Fransisco Bay area, San Diego and a nice invitation from Tom York in Ojai. We have established criteria for the site and we know no matter where we have the reunion it will not fit the needs for everyone.
If you have comments please contact us at:

Went out via email contact list on Jan. 15, 2015
Possible Oak Grove Hotshot 2016 reunion
We are investigating interest in having a 2016 reunion to be held in May and we need your help.
We have had two wonderful reunions, one in 2012 that was pretty formal with speakers, memorabilia and a luncheon. In 2014 we had a very informal reunion that was basically a get together.
This reunion is open to any former Forest Service employee and spouses that would like to participate.
Please hit your reply button and tell us yes or no and if a “yes”, let us know what kind of reunion you would like and where.
Thank you, Oak Grove Hotshot 2016 Reunion committee.

I just saw a note from Mike Rogers supporting the proposed reunion in May. Yes I think its a great idea, Reno is a good place. May I suggest the Atlantis—great rates.

Yes. Formal or informal. No location preference.
Dick Williamson

Yes, I am very interested. Tahoe was nice, but is that centrally located for all?
Gerry Himango

Reunion Committee:

Although I had planned on attending the 2012 & 2014 Reunion’s, unfortunately; I was unable. I will be clearing my calendar early to attend the 2016 reunion……so my answer is YES.

Whichever reunion format (formal vs. informal) would yield the greatest attendance may be something to consider.

If you are searching for a location, perhaps San Diego would be an attractive option. I would be able to assist with the logistics and coordinate with the management of potential venues. Just a thought.

Thanks in advance for the opportunity to provide feedback.
Brian Fennessy
Assistant Fire Chief Emergency Operations
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department

Yes, definitely.
Larry Thomas

I really enjoyed both reunions, but the informal style left us a lot of options. I’m willing to travel.
Tom Kruschke

Yes, A informal maybe with a dinner.
Claude Marsh

yes, perhaps a mix between 12 and 14
Jim Stumpf

Jim Robb

Yes we would come just let us know when and where
Jack Lane

Hi Steve,
I would support a get together in May. The 1st part of May does not work for us as I am tied up on a large project for the US Navy the 1st two weeks in May. I agree with George Roby, keep it informal and that Reno would be a good location, easy to get in and out of, good room rates, lots of good inexpensive food choices. There are some good Basque Restaurants in Reno that would work for a large group. I like the Basque Restaurant in the Santa Fe Hotel in the heart of downtown Reno. May is part of the slow season in the tourist industry in Reno so you should get some excellent group rates in late May. We do have our oldest grandson graduating from High School in Virginia the 1st week in June, so June of 2015 would not work for me.
Mike Rogers

Happy New Year to you and yours.
I’d be interested in participating again – depending on the dates you choose. I’d recommend an informal gathering again – maybe with an evening happy hour with no host bar and appetizers in Reno again. This would help get/force everyone to gather in one place to mix and mingle and trade war stories – without a formal agenda. Reno’s pretty easy to get to, reasonable room rates, reasonable food, entertainment, etc.
The week you’ve been having it is not good for us (and a few others) due to the conflict with the Los Padres Compadres Reunion at Pozo. Some of us could make it work better if you scheduled the OG reunion for 2 or 3 days during the period of May 20 to June 6. If this makes it difficult for others I wouldn’t change your normal dates.
Just food for thought. Best Regards, G.A.

Yah, Sure getting together again would be fun. Loved hearing the stories that were told!
Greg Ruggles

This sounds good to me. I liked the informal style better of the two.
Chuck Grennell

Yes. Like 2014.
Bruce Hamp

I would definitely attend a 2016 reunion. In fact, if there is enough interest to schedule one, I would be happy to assist in putting it together. I planned a lot of training and other sessions while working for the FS and I have some good ideas for locations and securing good rates for lodging.
If I may suggest, in order to assure good weather, maybe early fall would be better. It seams that every year I plan a trip somewhere in May there is inclement weather for at least part of it. Not so in September. Lodging rates and availability can be much better after schools resumes in fall as well. Also, how about coming up with three choices for location and then putting it to a vote by those who pledge to attend?
Please share my input with your mailing list and let me know if you like any of those ideas.
Wayne Crowder

Yes Do Not care where as long as I can find a trailer park close. Just like to visit with friends.
Bob Powers

Larry & Steve:
Yes. Inviting “all” former USFS is a good idea, although, you may want to consider indicating in your invitation something along these lines: “Who were former Hot Shots anywhere in the system, associated with Hot Shot
crews in any manner, interested in the Hot Shot Program & History & wildland fire suppression issues past &/or present, or persons who worked in other fire management positions including smokejumpers or other persons
with assignments on wildfires.”
McClellan in Sac is a location worth considering. Lots of associated perks on base & nearby to attract attendees. The USFS Fire Training Center & the Air & Space Museum for example. Easy to get to & reasonable & good
quarters. Good food & booze, conference & meeting room setting both informal & formal. Even a swimming pool.
Too big an explanation I know. Also, you could perhaps combine the informal with formal (20% formal & 80% informal).
Bill Derr

sounds good to me
Paul Copeland

YES. Maybe a dinner together w/a guest speaker who would speak the truth about planned direction FS going in general, with emphasis on Aviation and Fire mngt. Forest,Region, or national Staff.
John Bowser

Yes, same location as in 2012
Mike Gutierrez

Mike Page

Hi There,
I would be interested in a reunion of some type. Location anywhere, type, informal.
Tom Way

Tom Hensley

Yes,this sounds like fun and Reno or Tahoe would be great. Thanks for inviting Chilao.
Hans Holtz

Yes I will go. I have no preference where or what kind of gathering. Thanks!

Here’s a thought. Talk to the City of Pasadena (I think they own our former camp) about a huge BBQ at Oak Grove. We get volunteers to clean the place up a little, set up EZ ups, BBQs, beer etc. I would help, might even bring a few kegs of homemade beer!
Robert Hewitt

YES. Something onor closer to the Angeles would be nice.

Steve Slate

Although I was unable to make either of the first two reunions, I would like to see another gathering in 2016 and would plan to attend if possible. I would prefer a location in southern California near the ANF.

Bruce Bundick
Chilao 1971-1991

Yes, I am interested
Lynn Biddison

Yes I would be interested either Reno Tahoe od San Diego might be nice to invite all the area hotshot crews and sorry Tom K lost your e-mail address.
Gene Allara

Yes im interested reno sounds good.
Gary Kruth

Yes it sounds good. Informal.
Joe Gutierez

Yes I would be interested. I’d have to say LA county area.
Glenn Wears

Chris Slate has an interest. Let me know any updates.

No, but thanks and keep up the good work.
Joe Gamm

Mike McGeragle

Would love to attend another reunion! If i can make it i`ll be there. Still like to hear war stores. And there are some real good ones out there. So , don`t care where or what kind I hope to be there.
Jerry O`Dell

Yes I think I would like to attend in May 2016
Ken Mc Cool

Yes, I’ll be looking forward to this reunion, having missed the last one.
Anywhere is good for me, coming from Prescott, az

Bill Barnard

I would be interested, I was on OGHS in 1966

Jack Von Ah

Since Debbie and I own the management agreement for Soule Park Golf Course in Ojai, we would like to offer our facility for a combination golf and BBQ or Banquet in our banquet facility. If you are interested we could either do something in our banquet room after an optional golf outing or we could set up our picnic tables outside. There are lots of options for either a casual or formal get together.

If this is something you would like to do, you can contact Debbie at 760-207-8832 or email her at She can go over the options and costs for food or drink. I can be reached at the number below or

Thanks, Tom York

I would be interested if it was local.

Don McCormack

I would be interested in attending. I would be fine with a somewhat informal event.

Mike Dougherty

I would like to come

Rick Waite

Yes. Reno would be a good place. Let me know.

Gary Reynolds

I would like another informal get together. It made it possible to get reacquainted. We’ve had the meetings in the north and south, how about some place in the central part of the state?

I’m interested, I haven’t been to any yet because I’ve been out of town on both occasions. Sounds like fun…

Shawn Walls

Go for it. Tahoe is always a good bet in May. Maybe Vegas if its not to far away for folks.

Mark Sayles

Yes, I am interested in a May, 2016 Oak Grove Hotshot Reunion. I had the time of my life photographing the Hot Shots in the summer of 1968. I was at the reunion in Lake Tahoe and
thoroughly enjoyed meeting forest fire fighters from all eras.
Tim Brehm

yep that yes and tell me where I be there ken Peugh all in

Oak Grove hotshot 2016 reunion committee_____yes I am interested in another reunion. I had to miss the last one due to death in the family. Lake Taco is a great place with lots of things to do.

Duane Casita

Reno sounds fine to me. We like the Silver Legacy in downtown Reno. Reasonable room rates, good close parking, and it’s near other casinos and restaurants.

Royal Mannion

Reno will work for me.

Chris Kruschke


Ron Kilby


Bob Swinford

No , will not make it. Hope u have a great event!

Bob Serrato

Chris Slate is very interested as is my brother Steve. Thank you for chasing me down

Yes I am interested. I prefer a informal get together in the north or central part of the state.

Todd Heckert

wont be able to make it

Ron Shurney

How about Bakersfield, CA. with a luncheon Buffet, and party down at the BUCK OWENS CLUB ? I would like each person introduce themselves and assignments they held. I’ll be there at any location you pick. Jerry Rice Moorhead, Iowa.

I’m interested. Informal, Reno works for me
John schaffer

I’d be ready for another one. I don’t care where it’s held. Tom Ralls

I will not at the reunion thank you Denis Mitchell

I won’t be able to make it. But glad this gathering is continuing on.
Tom Pogue

To:whoever is giving so generously of their time.
I would love to join in, but excuses,excuses; too old, wouldnt recognize anyone etc. etc. I was a summer employee for two summers in the late 50’s. Stationed at Oak Grove Ranger Station. A Hot Shot the first year; foreman was a great man. He died in a fire east of there the following summer. I arrived at that fire as a TTO shortly afterward. I believe his first name was Norm and the last name I do not recall. Another friend I recall from those days was a big tall fellow, Dave Lake.
I was injured on a fire my last summer and they used me to replace the lookout on Mendenhal Peak ( while she took leave ) and then finished the summer at Little Tujunga RS.
I loved my time with the USFS, but went on to another career which I am still at part time. I cannot commit, but this event is in my bucket list. Again thank you and everyone and please keep me on your mailing list. Blue Skies and a low fire danger.
Tom “OB 1” OBryon

No thanks, Ray Coker

Yes, informal
Jim Reveley

Yes!! Jerry Rice

Comments (3) »


2016 Reunion… we have received some inquires about when are we going to have another reunion? Well we have nothing planned but would like to know if there is any interest out there. So post on the blog or email us at:

We still have a few coins (approx. 10) left so if you want one you had better move quickly. Just ask anyone that has one and they will tell you about the quality of the coin. DO IT NOW!!! For coin information read below.


We still have some of these beautiful coins left so if you are interested in purchasing one or more here is the information you need. Each coin is $5 plus the shipping cost. All proceeds for the sale of the coin will go to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation. Contact Larry Boggs at 530.343.1989 or email Larry at: Your going to want one for your children and grandchildren.

Larry is also taking orders for Oak Grove Hotshot Tee shirts. They come in either long or short sleeve and one color black. If you’re even thinking about it, do it, because this is not going to come around again.

Leave a comment »


Brian Fennessy Red Helmet center

Brian Fennessy
Red Helmet center

It was announced last week that Brian “Buster” Fennessy, has been promoted to Fire Chief of the San Diego City Fire Department.
Brian has a long history with Hotshot crews including assignments with the Oak Grove Crew and Chilao Hotshots.
1978 – YACC/Oak Grove HS (went on numerous assignments)
1979 – Angeles Crest E-10
1980/81 – Chilao Hotshots
1982/83 – Arroyo Grande Helishots
1984-86 – Kern Valley Hotshot Foreman
1987-88 – Apple Valley Helishot Foreman
1989-90 – Apple Valley Crew Superintendent
Was hired by City of San Diego at end of 1990 fire season.
Recently, Larry Boggs wrote Brian with congratulations and Brian wrote back the following that pretty much spells out the comradery that all Hotshots feel. His words are below.
Hey Larry……thanks for the congrats!!!
I had a good chuckle when I opened up the e-mail………you just described me….old broken down hotshot!!!
One of the foremen (now I guess they are called captains) that worked for me when I was a superintendent sent the attached photo (1989) after he received word of my appointment. It reminded me of how much I loved the work and most of all, the brotherhood that quite honestly is talked a lot about in our profession, but in my experience, doesn’t exist to the level it does within the current and/or former hotshot or smokejumper community.
We have something special that other than perhaps those within the military special operations community; enjoy. The fact that former hotshots stay in touch as they do throughout their lives and even though haven’t seen or spoken in years, is pretty amazing. Even former hotshots that haven’t worked together or are from different generations share a unique bond. I try to hire as many hotshots as possible on this job as I know that if they have spent more than a couple years on a hotshot crew, they likely understand the team aspect and work ethic and I too have benefited.

Believe it or not, I continue to wear my 12 inch top Whites (smokejumper) boots everyday as my work boot. People ask all the time why and I tell them that quite honestly that they are the most comfortable boot I own. Also a reminder everyday of where I’ve come from and to not lose sight of those hotshots that came before and after us. Also, they last a lot longer now that I walk on mostly carpet!!!
Thanks for all you do to keep the former hotshot community together Larry……it means a lot to me and I’m sure the others that are proud to have thrown dirt while serving on hotshot crews.
Stay in touch brother!
Brian (aka Buster)
Brian Fennessy

I don’t know if you remember me? My name is John W. (Bill) Alexander. Tony Morton and I had joined the OGHS in 67. You made me ‘Lead Hook’ on that years crew and trained as a crew truck driver in that old Ford crew truck.
I have not associated with anybody in that years crew other than Tony, which I had lost contact for maybe 10 years, then just recently reconnected. He informed me about the OGHS Blog and said something about a past reunion, (which he didn’t attend). I looked it up and found it, then found your contact email address and thought I ought to drop you a line. I had always thought about you, where you are or even if your still kicking? I truly loved that work and it helped me understand the meaning of being a ‘Team’.
Now for a little history on my career: I had stayed for ‘winter work’ and was set to go to Lassen Jr. College. You had helped me with a job application and was accepted to ‘Smoke Jumper School’, which I was going to pick McCall, ID, (since I grew up in Idaho) for the following season. I wanted to be in associated in ‘Forestry’, but I never made any of those goals. It all went up in smoke when the ‘Draft’ came after me. At that time it was not the lottery system.
Tony and I ended up joining the Marine Corp. He didn’t go in right away after signing like I did. After training I spent 13 months in the Vietnam bush, as a radio operator, with a combat Battalion Landing Team, 2/26, 9th MAB, operating in many search and destroy missions, in what they called the ‘I-Corp’ areas, that stretched from the DMZ, south to Hoi An. Tony ended up in Cam Ranh Bay as a plumber. For me, you should know that your training and experience as a Hotshot gave me the physical and mental strength which put me at the top of my ‘Series’ through boot camp and ITR.
I made it back without a physical scratch, but survived some harrowing combat experiences and close calls. I did loose half my hearing though, and stomping through all that bush, I was over exposed to ‘Agent Orange’ and have been fighting pulmonary disease for many years. Keeping physically active all these years must have helped, or I would probably be under by now?
After returning from Nam and getting out of the Marine Corp., I enrolled in Valley Jr. College, which lasted less than a few months. The anti-war movement was rampant and reached into the professor’s instructions. Being a vet, I was hiding, and afraid of being discovered. All I wanted was to continue my education, but I became terribly depressed and near suicidal. Back then there was no help for vets and PTS was not a diagnosed issue. I didn’t fit back in society! I know being brought up in a religious family helped and after finding a job in Meridian, ID, I dropped out of college and moved out hell hole. It was working with a commercial/industrial fire protection company, which covered work throughout the northwestern states (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Utah). After completing 5 years of apprenticeship training, which included correspondent courses from Penn State University, I was officially ‘turned out’ as a Fitter, then Fitter Foreman running jobs. Eventually I worked my way into management, design, (which included hydraulic calculations), and estimating, etc. Eventually I left and started my own company and after years of that, my health dropped to a point where I had to get out of the 24/7 contracting rat race. I sold the business (which is basically selling your workers, used tools, trucks, material inventory, and your clientele), and moved into the other side of the fence, which was fire code enforcement, as an ‘AHJ’ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) in Fire Department-Fire Prevention Bureaus, interpreting, reviewing, permitting, inspecting, testing and enforcing the (adopted) fire codes. This basically involved working with architects, utility, mechanical, and fire protection contractors, along with public business’s, meeting the minimum Fire-Life-Safety requirements. Doing this eventually brought me back to California (where the money was). My first in California was with the Redondo Beach Fire Department-Fire Prevention Bureau, and my last was with the Huntington Beach Fire Department-Fire Prevention Bureau, which is where I worked till I finally called it quits and retired and moved back north.
We have 3 children and 13 grandchildren now. My wife and I live in Star Valley Ranch, WY, a township outside of Thayne. We are tucked in a 30 mile valley called ‘Star Valley’, between the Teton and Bridger National Forests. Our home is 7,200 feet above sea level. We are 50 miles from the old tourist traps of Jackson Hole and Teton Village, and a 100 from the south entrance to Yellowstone Park. If you ever want to get out of the ‘rat race’, you are very welcome to visit and stay, anytime. We have plenty of accommodations in our home.

I’m sure your retired now and taking life easy somewhere. I think Tony (above) retired with CDF when he was in his mid-50’s? I gave up when I was 63. I hope your still blessed with health and your happy? Drop me a line, for I’m interested in knowing how you’re doing and how your life ended up?

Here is a current picture of my wife and I:

John (Bill) Alexander

What are you doing these days. Drop us a note so we can let everyone know.

We here on the Oak Grove Hotshot web site are wondering what crew members are doing these days. Well Chuck Grennell, has been painting and has submitted his beautiful watercolor below. If you have something your proud of and want to show up, let us know and we would be happy to post it.

cow camp cabin 008

I’ve been working on this watercolor, Cowboy Cabin Near Highlands Lake, for a while; I recently finished it. This painting is based on a photograph that I took of a cabin near the top of Ebbetts Pass off of State Route 4, in Alpine County. This is a transparent watercolor on a half sheet of 300 pound Arches Aquarelle paper; it measures 22.5” X 15.25”. Chuck Grennell

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We are getting down to the last of the 2014 Reunion coins and it is beautiful, and your going to want one. They are $5 plus shipping. Get your order in now. Email Larry Boggs at: All profits will go to the Wildland Firefighter Fund. We have raided over $400 selling coins for the fund so please join us with this great cause.

OK for all of you that attended the Tahoe reunion, please send us your photos so we can put them on our site.
Thanks to all that attended and please make comments on our site for all to read. Steve


If you have not already registered you need to by April 21st to secure the great deal at this 5 star hotel.

If you register after that date, call Theresa Hiatt-Downer, the Hotel Conference Sales Manager at: 530.543.2114 direct to register. If the hotel is not full she will honor our special low room rate.


The hotel has agreed to reduce the daily room rate from $119 + tax to $99 + tax. This is a great rate for this hotel.

We also found an option while visiting the beautiful Lake Tahoe area. It is always fun to get out on the lake and one way is to travel to Emerald Bay on one of two paddle wheeled boats. You can get discounted tickets through: Go to there search block in the upper right corner and type in: $23 – Lake Tahoe: Scenic Cruise to Emerald Bay Reg. $49


Due to not having enough requests for a minimum order we are unable to fill the few requests we did get. If you still want a Tee shirt contact the company below. They have our artwork and will fill your order.

730 W. 9th Street
Chico, Ca 9598



Oak Grove Hotshot
2014 Reunion
May 20th and 21st
South Lake Tahoe

Happy New Year, the clock is ticking and if you have not looked at the clock lately, time is ticking away for the May 2014 Oak Grove Hotshot Reunion. To secure your room and rate, you need to make your reservations now. There is a limited block of rooms available with excellent rates which are way below the standard room rate for this time of year. If something comes up you can always cancel your reservations up to 72 hours in advance of arrival date.

Collectively, all of you know where more Oak Grove and Chilao crew members are than we do, so we are asking you to contact fellow crew members notifying them or reminding them of the up and coming Oak Grove Reunion. Todd Heckert found Gerry Himango, crew of 1960, and both are planning to attend. Come and join us watch beautiful Lake Tahoe dry up along with everything else in California.

And please reply to this reminder telling us if you are planning to attend or not.


It has come to our attention that there maybe some folks that either want another “Tee shirt” or missed out on getting one at the 2012 reunion. The organizing committee wants to help but here is the reality.

The artwork will be the same as for the 2012 Arcadia reunion, so your cost will be the price of the shirt(s). Shipping adds cost and time to the high tee shirt cost so we will not ship but will bring the shirts to the 2014 reunion and deliver there.

We will only offer one color, BLACK in either short or long sleeve.

Price for short sleeve will be $21.00
Price of shirts includes taxes.
Price for long sleeve will be $25.00

March 1 will be the cut off for shirt orders.

Send shirt orders to:

Larry Boggs, 838 Jacobs Court, Chico, California 95926.
Shirt orders are to include Name, phone number, email, mail address, shirt quantity, size, specify Short or Long Sleeve Shirts and a check for the full amount of the order.

If you have questions you can contact Larry: or call 530-343-1989


Oak Grove Hotshot
2014 Reunion
May 20th and 21st
South Lake Tahoe

Our next reunion is informal, no speakers, no raffles, no nothing except seeing each other and talking old times. Our basic plan is to have a place, a time and we hope you show up. Bring your family and tell your old fire fighting friends. This reunion is open to all not just the Oak Grove Crew.

Make your reservations now so you don’t miss out on this reunion. You can always cancel if plans change.

We have made discounted block room arrangements for the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel; formerly the Lake Tahoe Embassy Suites. For room reservations call: 800.988.9894 The group name is: HOTSHOT.

Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel really does it all. Free Breakfast Buffet served in the atrium, and nightly Happy Hour, also in the atrium, are included in every reservation at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel. Lunch and dinner are served, for your dining pleasure, in Echo, featuring California Casual Cuisine, in a relaxed environment where you can catch all the latest sports action on the many flat screens surrounding the room.

We have had a challenge coin designed specifically for this reunion. All former Oak Grove Hotshot crew members that attend the reunion will receive this beautiful special coin.

If you have any questions please call Steve at: 888.532.5196 and email us at and let us know your coming. We would love to hear from you and don’t forget our blog at:

The images below represent both sides of a 1 3/4″ coin that will be given to every former crew member that attends the 2014 reunion.

Oak Grove Hotshot Challenge coin

Oak Grove Hotshot
Challenge coin

Oak Grove Hotshot
2014 Reunion
May 20th and 21st
South Lake Tahoe

Our next reunion is informal, no speakers, no raffles, no nothing except seeing each other and talking old times. Our basic plan is to have a place and time. We have both now and we hope you show up.

We have made discounted block room arrangements for the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel; formerly the Lake Tahoe Embassy Suites. For room reservations call: 800.988.9894 The group name is: HOTSHOT.

We are also having a challenge coin designed specifically for this reunion. All former Oak Grove Hotshot crew members that attend the reunion will receive this special coin.

There has to be at least one of the activities below that is still on your bucket list.

Just some of the area activities include:

Golf at six area golf courses

Lake Tahoe Cruises.. Either the Tahoe Queen or MS Dixie Paddlewheel Boats

Tahoe Ducks… tour boat


Balloon Rides

Spa Services

Horseback Riding


Charter Boat Rentals

Helicopter Tours


Power Boat Rentals

Bike Rentals

Bike Tours

Almost forgot Gambling

I am going to be there so make plans now and do not forget to network with your fellow crew members. If you missed the 2012 Reunion you do not want to miss this one.


Due to everyone having had so much fun recounting stories with fellow crew members at our 2012 Reunion, we are planning another in May, 2014. This will also give crew members that were unable to attend the 2012 Reunion, a chance to catch up.

The 2014 Reunion will be much lower key with no speakers or fan fare. Basically, we are just picking a place and a time to get together.

The place is Lake Tahoe, and as America’s largest alpine lake, it’s easy to have a fun time at Lake Tahoe. The recreation at this mountain vacation paradise is virtually unlimited. Hiking and biking, world class golf, water sports, paddlewheel boat cruises, trail riding and so much more.

Lake Tahoe is famous for 12 months out of the year. Casino gaming. Black Jack, Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Sports Books are all there. Tahoe casinos also boast a wide variety of excellent restaurants and the biggest names in entertainment perform regularly.

We are planning two nights at the Embassy Suites ( Embassy Tahoe is located in the heart of South Shore’s action, right on the state line.

Fly into Reno (approx. one hour away) or into the South Lake Tahoe Airport.

We will keep our blog up to date and remind you as we get closer. Until then continue to help us find former crew members who would like to join us.

We know this is two years off, but please let us know if this sounds interesting to you so that we can get an estimate of attendance.

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IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE 2012 REUNION PHOTOS, GO TO: Reunion photos can be purchased from this site.

PASSWORD = crew1 (the number one)

If I spelled your name wrong, let me know at

Please post comments and let us know what you think.

If you wish to purchase a photo CD from Doug Beck, he can be reached at: 707.443.2639 (H) or 707.834.4646 (C)

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January 17, 2013

Due to the great financial support of friends and fellow crew members at our 2012 reunion, we have paid all our bills and have been able to donate $3,000 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. This was a promise we made and have kept. Oak Grove Hotshots will continue to support our fellow Hotshots as they go into harms way.

Read the details at:

The Oak Grove Hotshot 2012 Reunion was held on May 23, at the Supervisors office of the Angeles National Forest. With over 140 crew members and their families attending from as far away as Fairbanks, Alaska (Dave Maxell) and Huntsville, Alabama (Ron Shurney). The Reunions master of ceremony was George Roby, former Arroyo Seco, District Ranger and Angeles National Forest Supervisor. The Reunion started with members of the Forest Service Honor Guard presenting the American flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. Welcoming former crew members was current Angeles Forest Supervisor Tom Contreras and District Ranger Mike McIntyre. In attendance were five former Oak Grove Superintendents, Tom Ralls (1961-62), George Pond (1963-64), Larry Boggs (1965-71), Chet Cash (1971-73) and Steve Arney (1974-78). Acknowledgements included the Reunion organizers Larry Boggs, Bob Serrato and Steve Arney, as well as those that donated cash and auction items. Doug Beck (crew of 1968) supplied professional photography for the Reunion and Gordon Rowley brought in an impressive historical display of firefighting equipment. Crew members from the Del Rosa, Little Tujunga, Dalton, Chilao and Los Padres Hotshots, also participated. Lively conversations, yarn telling and reacquainting with old friends and crew members continued on at the Embassy Suites Hotel.

More details on our donation to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation and crew photos to follow.

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