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AUSA Spring Conference comes to Tacoma

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Founded in 1950, the Association of United States Army (AUSA) is a nonprofit advocacy group for the men and women who want to "be all that they can be." With 119 chapters all over the world, AUSA bridges the gap between soldiers and civilians - membership is open to anyone and everyone, not just Army personnel. It's not the sort of open-door policy you'd expect from a military organization, but one essential to AUSA's mission to educate and inform the public and foster their support. Also essential to their mission - AUSA's regional conferences.

AUSA's Sixth Region holds its Spring Conference next month at the LaQuinta Inn in Tacoma. Hosted by the local Captain Meriwether Lewis Chapter, the venue marks a return to Joint Base Lewis-McChord's territory for the first time in four years.

At first glance, the Spring Conference sounds like little more than a weekend-long town hall meeting for soldiers, something that would appeal only to members of the top brass, but nothing could be further from the truth. While AUSA wants to be informative, they also want to be entertaining. There are tons of fun events scheduled for this year's conference.

The fun starts right away with the traditional AUSA Hospitality Mixer on Thursday evening, featuring a no-host bar and tons of appetizers.

Friday morning starts with breakfast, followed by a special tour at JBLM to watch a Stryker brigade in active training. Brigade commanders will be on-hand to field questions regarding the intimidating six-wheeled troop transports. The tour then moves to the Port of Tacoma for an afternoon lunch and a tour of Puget Sound aboard one of Tacoma's famous Victoria Clipper ships.

Saturday begins the conference proper, with a panel discussion of experts discussing this year's themes: soldier readiness and family resilience and support, with a midday buffet lunch.

Saturday evening gives this year's conference meeting a fitting sendoff at the annual Sixth Region Awards Banquet. Strykers and clipper ships have their charms, but AUSA saved the best for last - this year's banquet is hosted at the LeMay Auto Museum. Enjoy a cocktail at this ritzy black-tie event surrounded by the peak of automotive technology and artistry while speaker California adjutant general Maj. Gen. David Baldwin brings the evening home.

"The conference is a wonderful opportunity for both locals and visitors to find out about AUSA and see what the community has to offer, whether they're AUSA members, Army personnel or civilians." chapter president Amy Tiemeyer said.

AUSA works hard to foster esprit de corps, not just among its own members and Army personnel, but between soldiers and civilians as well. Finding common ground to unite the two groups isn't difficult. Who wouldn't be at least a little impressed by a Stryker brigade tearing up the turf? How can anyone be blasé about cruising around Puget Sound in a clipper? And who would turn their nose up at a swanky black-tie banquet surrounded by beautiful classic cars and like-minded people? In that like-mindedness lies the common ground.

Whether soldier or civilian, we all like to have fun.

For tickets and info on the Spring Conference and AUSA, please visit

2017 AUSA Sixth Region Spring Conference, April 20-22, LaQuinta Inn, 1425 E. 27th St., Tacoma, 253.383.0146

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