Smoky Mountain Chapter, NCVA – The Beginning
In early winter of 1998, I received a call from Dave Fiehtner asking if Ann and I would be interested in joining with other former cryptologists to form an NCVA chapter centering in the region around Knoxville. Dave and his wife, Peg (Civil Service veteran of the Naval Security Group), had recently moved to the Knoxville area and were considering a bid to bring a future NCVA reunion to the East Tennessee area. Dave, as usual, was way ahead of the game and thought it would be logical to first form a chapter, then follow up with a reunion bid. It all sounded like a good plan to me, so Ann and I signed on for the ride. Thus began our relationship with a wonderful group of folks who truly have fun in every endeavor they take on!
Dave Fiehtner is a talented team builder, and from the chapter's very beginning, it was evident that he had a good plan. He figured, correctly, that most of us had our fill of tightly run organizations, annual dues, and Roberts Rules of Order. Keep it strictly social, with a bit of fraternal thrown in where needed, schedule an annual "party" in different locations in the region, keep the cost reasonable, keep everything casual and just let everyone enjoy themselves. Genius......where else can you get together with folks with similar backgrounds and experiences, have little or no organizational responsibilities, no expenses other than personal travel related, no long, formal meetings to attend, travel only short distances and see new places, have some good food, and have the opportunity to not only tell your own Sea Stories again and again, BUT ALSO TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO HEAR SOME OF THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS STORYTELLING OF ALL TIME!!
Keeping it simple has ensured success. And that's the way Dave and his fellow chapter officers have maintained the organization. Simple.......Affordable........Enjoyable........with no strings attached!
Since our first Spring Fling in 1999, we have had participants from near and far join our group for it's periodic gatherings. Number of attendees has steadily increased each year and we currently (2005-2006) expect to draw a crowd of about 70-75, We are usually joined by folks from as far away as Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and even Washington.......all are welcome, most return again and again. If you are eligible for NCVA membership, come join us for our next Fling (see schedule elsewhere on these pages). You'll be glad you did!
(The foregoing article was provided by Jake Karoly, our chapter's first President (1999-2004)).