Squadron news

Squadron news

Patuxent River. VADM John Ryan, Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, was guest speaker at the Patuxent River Squadron’s December luncheon meeting. He described the U.S. Naval Academy’s Strategic Plan, which includes the USNA’s direction for the year 2010 and beyond, and the academy’s role in providing future Navy leaders. He noted that prior to downsizing in the 1990s, Academy graduates comprised 18% of the line corps. With the smaller Navy, Academy graduates now make up over 33% of the Naval Officer Corps. VADM Ryan is a 1967 graduate of the Naval Academy along with his twin brother, VADM Norbert R. Ryan Jr., Chief of Naval Personnel and Deputy CNO for Manpower and Personnel. Local members of the Pax River Society of Engineers and Scientists (SES) and the Greater Southern Maryland Naval Academy Alumni Association were invited to join the Patuxent River Squadron at the luncheon. In the photo, left to right, are Pat Gigliotti, squadron Programs and Recruiting Officer; Dr. Jennifer Long, ANA member and President of the Patuxent River SES; VADM Ryan; and Jack Pappas, President of the local chapter of the Naval Academy Alumni Association. (CAPT Pat Gigliotti)

San Francisco Bay. The San Francisco Bay Squadron held a combined luncheon with the local chapter of the Tailhook Association aboard USS Hornet (CVS12), now a museum at the former NAS Alameda. Guests were encouraged to wear their flight jackets and most did. It was fabulous to see so many chapters in Naval Aviation history aboard one of the greatest symbols in our history. The Hornet represents the tremendous sacrifices of WWII, the recovery operations during America’s space program and the decades-long Cold War. Guest speaker was COMNAVAIRPAC, VADM Mike Bowman. He recounted periods of downsizing throughout his career and the numerous negative aspects associated with each of them. He assured everyone the Navy’s leadership is trying its best to provide today and tomorrow’s Naval Aviators with the best equipment possible to meet challenges worldwide. He thanked ANA for its tremendous support and said the spirit and pride in Naval Aviation are coming back. In the photos by Stan Chin are (1) CAPT Jerry Lutz, USN (Ret.), CEO of the USS Hornet Foundation; RADM Tom Brown, USN (Ret.), ANA Life Member and Chairman of the Board of the Tailhook Association; VADM Bowman; and San Francisco Bay Area CO, CAPT Tom Spink; (2) a portion of the crowd at lunch aboard Hornet.

(CAPT Tom Spink)

Two-Block Fox. In the past year, the Two-Block Fox Squadron of California initiated a project to raise funds for a needy family, to be given during the Christmas season. This effort culminated at the annual Christmas party last December when a representative of the Los Angeles Police Department, Van Nuys Division, SGT Rob Lerner, was presented a check which was used to buy gifts for a disadvantaged family in the San Fernando area. The project will continue in 2000 with donations collected at monthly meetings via a container identified for that purpose. In the first photo are SGT Lerner, accepting the donation from Two-Block CO Pete Prieto. Prieto, incidentally, retired from the LAPD 20 years ago. In January, the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, California, invited old F4U Corsair pilots from the Two-Block Squadron to attend a roll-out and flight of its F4U-1 aircraft. Six members attended, including four who formerly flew the gull-wing bird: Fred Blechman, Roy Erickson, Dan Polino and Wally Thompson. Each provided a crowd of over 300, who participated in a symposim, some insight as to what it was like to fly the F4U, and added a few war stories to spice up the program. In the second photo, Dan Polino tells a story about the trials and tribulations of landing a Corsair aboard an escort carrier in the North Atlantic. In the 3rd picture is the aircraft. A lottery was held among museum members to select a lucky person to ride in a jumpseat behind the pilot on the demonstration flight. It brought back memories when the Pratt & Whitney engine came alive. The lucky rider spent a half hour in the air while the rest of the crowd watched and remembered. (Dan Polino)

Flying Beavers. “It’s a red-letter day for Naval Aviation,” reported VADM Mike Bowman, COMNAVAIRPAC, in his address to the Portland, Oregon Flying Beaver Squadron at its January meeting. “In my 35 years in the Navy,” the admiral went on, “I’ve never felt better about where we are.” VADM Bowman recounted the downsizing of Naval Aviation following the Vietnam War, going from 24 carrier to 17, and now 12. He enumerated problems of retention, lack of appropriations in the defense budget and reverberations of “Tailhook.” Said Bowman, “We had lost our forward momentum and some thought we’d never recover. Today, however, Naval Aviation has been re-empowered by first-rate COs in our squadrons. We have come out of the doldrums and coupled with increased pay, a boost in the retirement program, better retention and the availability of a steady flow of replacement parts for our aircraft, things are much more positive.” In the photo taken at the meeting are VADM Bowman, left, and RADM Howard S. “Shack” Moore, USN (Ret.)

Addressing the Flying Beavers at their February meeting was ANA President, VADM Dick Allen. He gave an overview of the Association’s activities and detailed plans for the future. In the first photo, VADM Allen has the attention of squadron members. That’s VADM Allen in the second picture, speaking to the Flying Beavers. (Joe Adams)

Olympic. The Olympic Squadron of Port Ludlow, Washington held a change of command on December 71 during its regular monthly meeting. After 10 years in active command, during which the squadron grew from nine original members to nearly 100, CAPT Ken Sanford swallowed the anchor and was relieved by CAPT John Payne, USN (Ret.) in a ceremony attended by VADM Dick Allen, ANA President. Over 100 members and guests attended. VADM Allen presented Sanford a letter of commendation for his splendid achievements as founder and first CO of the squadron and announced his appointment as ANA’s Vice President for the Pacific Northwest Region. The admiral also gave an address on Naval Aviation issues. CAPT Payne is a Naval Academy graduate, earned his wings in 1968 and during his 30 years, flew several types of carrier-based jet fighters. He also commanded USS Sacramento (AOE-1) and USS Carl Vinson. In the first photo are CAPT Payne, VADM Allen and CAPT Sanford.

The new year got off to a great start for the Olympic Squadron. VADM Mike Bowman, COMNAVAIRPAC, was principal speaker at the January meeting. Bowman gave what the squadron viewed as the most inspiring talk by a senior active duty flag officer heard in the northwest for quite some time. Bowman addressed the future of Naval Aviation and his remarks left members with a feeling of optimism for the coming decade. Other distinguished guests at the meeting were RADM Mike McCabe, COMCARGRUTHREE, and CAPT Bruce Clingan, CO of USS Carl Vinson. In the second photo, left to right, are CAPT Clingan, RADM McCabe, CAPT John Payne, USN (Ret.), Olympic CO and VADM Bowman. (Ted Wright)

Cape Fear. The squadron held a Christmas Dinner Dance in Wilmington, North Carolina which featured an exhibit of outstanding military art. LCOL A.M. “Mike” Leahy, USMCR (Ret.) was an official Marine Combat Artist whose aviation paintings are widespread and well known. In the photo are COL Bob Clark, USMCR (Ret.), left, and Leahy with his painting of a USMC CH-46 in a hot landing zone in Vietnam. (VADM

Deese Thompson, USCG (Ret.))

Heart of Dixie. The Heart of Dixie Squadron of Birmingham, Alabama presented this certificate (left), to individuals who contributed to the fundraising effort which led to the display of this A-7 Corsair at the Southern Museum of Flight. Gordon Flynn, Heart of Dixie CO, also sent a thankyou letter to the contributors. Ed Stevenson of the squadron took the picture. (Cliff Hathway)

Desert Storm. The Desert Storm Squadron of Palm Springs, California hosted a Southwest Region gathering which included members from the Tucson and San Diego squadrons, the Phoenix Roadrunners and the Grampaw Pettibone Squadron. ANA President, VADM Dick Allen, attended the affair which also featured the presence of WWII Medal of Honor hero, MCPO Robert E. Bush (Ret.). In the first photo are George Stettler, Palm Springs CO; John Duncan, Southern California Regional VP; Foster Lewis, Southwest Regional VP; VADM Allen, AOl Baldwin, NAS EI Centro’s Sailor of the Year, who was honored at the meeting; Ed Davis, Tucson CO; and Mr. Bush. In the second picture are Foster Lewis and Bush. Bush was featured in Tom Brokaw’s best selling book, “The Greatest Generation,” as one of the war’s greatest heroes. Bush was a Navy Corpsman who saved many lives of U. S. Marines during fighting on Okinawa. He was severely wounded in the fighting. The meeting brought together many members to discuss ANA matters and to enhance the fellowship of the organization.

(Foster Lewis)

More FromTwo Block Fox. At the annual Two-Block Fox Squadron Flight Jacket Night in February, the squadron hosted the staff and five midshipmen from the USC/UCLA NROTC units. Speaker for the evening was Pete Purvis who was instrumental in founding the Wilmington, North Carolina Seahawk Squadron and is temporarily assigned to the west coast on business. This was an opportunity for the midshipmen to meet some of the veterans and heroes of previous conflicts, and to listen to some sea stories. In the photo are the midshipmen, Two-Block Fox CO, Pete Prieto (center), CAPT William H. Allen at the far right and his adjutant, CAPT Gregg Torgeson at the far left.

(Dan Polino)

Roadrunners. At the November 1999 meeting of the Phoenix Roadrunners Squadron the speaker was MAJ Gunnar Buzzard of the Arizona Air National Guard. He flies KC-135s and participated in recent Mid-East operations. Buzzard, a members of the Roadrunners, is a Naval Academy graduate and a Naval Aviator with 250 traps in E-2 Hawkeyes. He gave an outstanding talk on his Navy and Air Guard experiences. In the first photo are MAJ Buzzard, aviation writer/historian Barrett Tillman and Rick Paylor. Barret, Rick and Foster Lewis were the founders of the Roadunners in 1993. In the second photo is CAPT Bernard W. “Pete” Peterson, USMCR (Ret.). Pete captivated the audience with stories from WWII and Korea. His memoir of Korean action, “Short Straw,” has been well received. Originally a Navy aircrewman he was selected for pilot training and upon graduation transferred to the Marines. He had a lot of carrier duty. He and his wife, Marion, a WWII Marine, are Roadrunners. (Foster Lewis)

Golden Pelicans. The Tampa/Sarasota Golden Pelicans hosted one of ANA’s largest gatherings in February. Other Florida ANA squadron members attending were from Banana River of Melbourne, Central Florida of Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. Slim Russell, Tampa CO, engineered the affair which attracted 166 people who heard ANA President, VADM Dick Allen, update them on Naval Aviation issues. In the photos are Russell presenting Allen a memento of his visit; Allen receiving a “Scottish Sword” – golf putter from Ben Mcleod, a gift from the squadron, and a view of the crowd at the meeting.

(Slim Russell)

(Editor’s Note: for more from Slim see Mail Buoy pg.8.)

Heart of Dixie. The Heart of Dixie Squadron of Birmingham, Alabama held a very successful joint meeting with local chapter members of the U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association on October 15th to celebrate the Navy’s Birthday. In the first photo, left to right, are RADM Jack Natters father, the oldest Navy veteran attending the affair; VADM John Ryan, Superintendent of the Naval Academy; Lance Corporal of the Honor Guard from the Birmingham Naval Reserve; CO Gordon Flynn; RADM Natter; outgoing President of the local USNA Alumni Chapter and a plank owner member of the Heart of Dixie Squadron.

Cliff Hathway became the new CO of the Heart of Dixie Squadron, relieving outgoing CO, Gordon Flynn, in February. The second photo depicts Hathway, left, presenting Flynn a plaque commemorating his tour as skipper.

(Tom McDonald)

Copyright Association of Naval Aviation Spring 2000

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