The Golden Eagles Continuing History 2018

This Historical Summary is compiled by RADM J.A. Campbell, USN (Ret),
assisted by Web Master CAPT J.R. Davis, USN (Ret).

This Continuing Historical summary covers the period from the Golden Eagles Reunion of 27-30 April 2017 held at the Westgate Hotel in San Diego, CA, to the Golden Eagles Reunion of 25-29 April 2018 held at the Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, VA.

Golden Eagles Flight Activities

Northeast Flight: Flight Leader Larry Adkinson reported for 41 regular members:
-Conducted extensive planning for 2018 reunion at the Lansdowne resort near Leesburg, VA; AFRI assisting.
-Fielded honorary pall bearers for Arlington funerals for: John Glenn, Bob Baldwin, Paul German, Sam Hubbard, Swede Carlson, Jack Dewenter, Jim Seely, Zeb Knott, Duke Hernandez, and Tom Hudner.
-Arranged for fly overs for many of the above funerals.
-Held a Mini-Reunion Luncheon in Nov. at the Mount Vernon Country Club; speaker was VADM Mark Fox.

Southeast Flight: Flight Leader Bill McCamy reported for 57 regular members:
-Held a Mini-Reunion in Savannah, GA in Sept; 21 Eagles and wives attended.
-Decided upon 2020 reunion to be held in Jacksonville, FL at the Hyatt Regency Downtown.
-Advised NE flight on lessons learned from reunion; suggested permanent magnetic name tags, need to contact Eagle widows, and consideration of sliding reunions from April to May to avoid conflicts.

Central Flight: Flight Leader Jim Ryan reported for 36 regular members:
-Pensacola mafia held four luncheons (two with wives)
-Planned for the 2019 Reunion to be held in Fort Worth, TX at the Westin hotel (near DFW); 500 rooms; contract signed; Bill Bauer is the coordinator; Dan Brandenstein arranging a Lockheed Martin tour; AFRI to administer.
-In the Fall of 2017 the flight toured the Johnson Space Center; set up by Mike Coats; tour guides were recent returnees from space; Mike Coats and Bob Naughton briefed the flight on the Space Center’s operations.
-Snake Morris transferred from NE flight to Central.

West Flight: Flight Leader Denny Irelan reported for 67 regular members:
-Honored Jack Batzler at his funeral (20 Eagle attendees)
-Held a Mini-Reunion Luncheon in October at the Coronado Yacht Club and another Mini-Reunion Luncheon in February with 56 members and guests attending at the San Diego Yacht Club. Hosted by Riley Mixson.
-Continued site planning for the 2021 Reunion scheduled for 29 April–2 May 2021 at The Coeur d’Alene Golf and Spa Resort, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

The Golden Eagles 2018 Reunion

The 2018 Golden Eagles Reunion held at the Lansdowne Resort from 25-29 April was a total success and planning is underway for our 2019 reunion in Ft Worth, Texas, at the Westin DFW Hotel from 11 to 14 April 2019. There were 149 regular members registered, 5 emeritus members, and four widows. The memorial service honored the 18 members who made their Last Take Off since the previous reunion. (five regular and thirteen emeritus).
Larry Adkinson as the Northeast flight Leader and his group of “professional party planners,” along with our friends at AFRI, executed a reunion at the Lansdowne Resort that has set the bar for future outings! Great work Black, AFRI and Northeast flight!

Welcome Aboard Reception

The Welcome Aboard Reception was held in the Resort Lansdowne Ballroom on Thursday evening, 26 April, with South West themed food stations and three bar stations that provided an outstanding start to the Reunion. There were well over 250 attending, with plenty of seating for everyone to enjoy a light meal while renewing friendships.

Golden Eagles Golf

The Golf Tournament was touch-and-go, as rain prevailed through the preceding two days. But on Friday morning, Pilot DeCastro made the command decision to “launch ‘em” and the group braved the elements and had a great round on a beautiful and challenging course at the Resort. The convenience of the course being part of the resort property allowed the golfers to dry out at luncheon served immediately after the round at the resort clubhouse.

The Memorial Service

With busses arranged for transportation, the Memorial Service was held at the Capital Community Church in neighboring Ashburn, VA at 1500, Friday 27 April. Midshipmen form The George Washington University NROTC Unit served as Ushers, Mrs. Billie Cash sang a stirring solo of “On Eagles Wings,” and Reverend Tim Christenson, Col, USMCR (Retired) offered the opening prayer. There were 18 Golden Eagles eulogized and 4 Golden Eagle wives were remembered by Pilot DeCastro.

Ladies Tea

Although not a regular event hosted by the Resort, a Ladies High Tea was arranged on Saturday, 28 April, in the “Piedmont’s Table” room of the Lansdowne Resort. Once again, the ladies were dressed in their finery and enjoyed the canapes and champagne that accompanied the tea.

Ready Room

The Ready Room was set in the Terrace Ballroom on the ground floor of the Resort, opening onto an outside patio. The spacious setting easily accommodated the large crowd that prevailed when other events were not scheduled, and the Northwest Flight SDO crew kept the refreshments and snacks flowing to help stimulate sea stories and other exaggerations throughout the Reunion.

General Membership Meeting

The annual membership meeting was called to order at 0900 on Saturday, 28 April in the Falkner Room, by Pilot, Howard DeCastro who led the Pledge of Allegiance.


PILOT’S REMARKS: LtCol Howard DeCastro

• The Pilot thanked Larry Adkinson and the Northeast team for the excellent planning, communication, and preparation in putting this reunion together.
• He thanked all of the Members of the Flight Deck and the Members of the Board of Directors for their support and advice during the year
• He then thanked Bob Hickerson, Flight Leaders, Jerry Zacharias and both Dave Kunkel and Irv Williams for all the work they do in keeping up the Directory, Quarterly Reports, Chronolog and EXCEL files that track our history and membership.
• He thanked Mike Malone for stepping into the breech when Jack Batzler became unable to continue as the Chair of the Membership Selection Committee.
• A reminder to all that the new Golden Eagles and their wives will have a blue dot on their name tag. Take special effort to meet them and make them feel welcome.
• He closed by thanking the Chief Pilot, Bill Knutson for his advice and counsel, and for feedback on emails.

CHIEF PILOT’S REMARKS: Captain Bill Knutson

• The Chief Pilot praised the Pilot for his open communication and organization.
• He gave a personal “Welcome Back” to CAPT Bill Gortney, Emeritus.


• The Co-Pilot recognized Harry Blot as the incoming Chief Pilot.
• He thanked the Pilot and Flight Deck for their prompt action on all personnel matters.
• He reminded the members of the new apparel vendor and procedures for ordering Golden Eagles gear.
• He introduced Bill Cross, who gave results of the Golf Tournament: winners were Parcells, Ernst, McClung, Knutson.


• Navigator Jay Campbell presented the Minutes of the Membership Meeting held on 27 April 2017 in San Diego, CA.

• The Golden Eagle Membership now includes:

o 199 Regular Members
o 48 Emeritus Members
o Three Honorary Members

• During the Year:

o Nineteen members were accepted into the Golden Eagles
o Seventeen Members (nine Emeritus and eight Regular Members) made their Last Take Off
o Thirteen Members transferred to Emeritus
o Four Golden Eagle Ladies passed away

At the Pilot’s request a motion was made to accept the Minutes of the 2017 Membership Meeting and the Navigator’s Report. The motion was made, seconded, and passed.

Colonel Gary VanGysel
• Radio Officer Gary VanGysel presented the Financial Report covering the period from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018.

Annual dues were collected from all Regular Members, netting $10,125 to the treasury.

• He stated he published the financial report to the flight deck and submitted the taxes for FY-17. All numbers discussed for FY- 17 are rounded to the nearest whole thousand:
• FY began with approximately $72k in liquid assets; FY-17 ended with approximately $77k in liquid assets. Those assets are $35k in checking; $21k in savings and $21k in a CD.
• Add to that number the worth of 188 sets of miniature wings valued at $9k, the net worth of the Association is $86k.
• In FY-17 gross receipts were $38k; gross disbursements were $33k. The net change in operating funds was a plus $5k.

• Some highlights numbers were:
Northeast Flight collected $20k in their charitable campaign to help offset some of the costs of this reunion.
West Flight collected $5k during April of 2017 to cover the final costs of the San Diego Reunion.
Membership dues and fees contributed $12k.
$2500 was given to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.
$2500 was given to the Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society.
We purchased the watch for the annual Tomlinson Award (test pilot of the year) (approximately $260.00).
$5k was disbursed back to West Flight to pay for Reunion expenses and $20k was disbursed back to Northeast Flight that they collected.
• Next year:
Proposed to again give $2500 to the NAMF and $2500 to NMCRS and provide the watch for the Tomlinson Award.

• Dues: Dues were collected again this year using only email. Thanked the Flight Leaders who were instrumental in getting the word out and then chasing down those that were delinquent. All dues were in the treasury by 10 March. Saved $300.00 in paper, envelopes, printing and postage by using email instead of us mail.

At the Pilot’s request, a motion was made to accept the Radio Officer’s Report. The motion was made, seconded, and passed.


• The Engineer introduced his relief, Roy Cash and cited historic numbers of accomplishments by former and current Golden Eagles.
• There were (131) regular members attending the 2017 Reunion in San Diego.
• The requirement for attending at least one of the last four reunions was met by all members at the 2017 reunion except for those who transferred to Emeritus.
• There are 149 regular members signed up to attend this year’s Reunion, 5 emeritus members and 5 widows. If all who are registered attend, there will be no regular members who have not fulfilled their “one in four” attendance obligation.
• He emphasized the need for all new members to submit their biographies, citing 9 are still either in progress or overdue.
• He reported that in February, 2018, MajGen Charlie Bolden presented the Tomlinson Award to LCDR Kathleen Pauls, TPS Class 148.
• He summarized the division of Flight Membership as:

o Northeast — 39 Members
o Southeast — 54 Members
o Central — 37 Members
o West — 69 Members

At the Pilot’s request, a motion was made, seconded and passed to accept the Historian’s Report.


• RADM Don Boecker reported that the Membership Committee selected 18 Navy and 6 Marine Corps nominees for induction into The Golden Eagles as slots become available. They were selected from among 41 Navy nominations and 13 USMC nominations.
• He praised VADM Mike Malone for quickly standing up to take responsibility as Membership Selection Committee Secretary and conducting a thorough process.
• He reported that there were an adequate number of nominees from which to make the selections.
• The quality of the nominations varies and we should mention the need to provide outstanding nominations with adequate detail to allow the Membership Nomination Committee to make the best possible selections.
• With this year’s approved nominations, we have 18 USN and 6 USMC pilots who are in the queue, approved and awaiting a slot to become members. This represents the fewest number we have had in the queue for several years.

NOMINATING COMMITTEE REPORT: RADM Fred Lewis provided the following list of candidates for service.

Flight Deck
• Chief Pilot – LtGen Harry Blot
• Pilot – VADM John Mazach
• Co-Pilot – RADM Jay Campbell
• Navigator – Keith Stalder
• Radio Officer – Colonel Gary Vangysel
• Engineer Officer/Historian – Captain Roy Cash
• Member Selection Committee Secretary – VADM Mike Malone
• Web Master – CAPT J.R. Davis
• Special Assistant to the Pilot – Col Bob Hickerson

Board of Governors

• Col Bob Hickerson, USMC (Ret.) Central Flight
• RADM Jim Maslowski, USN (Ret.) Central Flight
• ADM Tim Keating, USN (Ret.) Southeast Flight
• CAPT Kent Ewing, USN (Ret.) Southeast Flight

These four new members replace the following Board Members who have served their two-year terms:
• LTGEN Fredrick McCorkle, USMC (Ret.) Central Flight
• RADM Jerry C. Breast, USN (Ret.), Central Flight
• RADM P.W. Parcells, USN (Ret.) Southeast Flight
• Captain Robert L. Crippen, USN (Ret.), Southeast Flight

These four Board Members have one more year of service on the Board.
• VADM Mike Bowman, USN (Ret.) West Flight
• VADM Marty Chanik, USN (Ret.) Northeast Flight
• Captain Lonny McClung, USN (Ret.) West Flight
• Colonel Dave Seder, USMC (Ret.) Northeast Flight

Flight Leaders
• Captain Dennis W. Irelan, West Flight Leader
• Captain James W. Ryan, Central Flight Leader
• LtCol Michael Stortz, Southeast Flight Leader
• RADM Matt Moffitt, Northeast Flight Leader


• Northeast – Larry Adkinson provided a briefing on the status and work that went into organizing the 2018 Reunion at Lansdown Resort

• Central – Jim Ryan reported that Central Flight has selected Fort Worth, TX for the 2019 reunion, 11-14 April.

• Southeast – Bill McCamy reported that Southeast Flight has selected Jacksonville, FL for the 2020 reunion, 29 April-3 May.

• West – Denny Irelan reported that West Flight has selected Coeur d’Alene, ID for the 2021 reunion, 29 April-2 May


• Members should to continue to solicit recommendations to help us be sure we are made aware of the passing of Golden Eagle wives. It is especially difficult to maintain appropriate contact after the husband has made his Last Take Off.
• A reminder to address remaining in contact with widows of our members who have passed and continue to include those who desire to remain involved in Flight events and the Annual Reunion.


• Bill McCamy recommended that we organize a way to recognize our members with “Quilts of Valor”. Perhaps 25 per year starting with the oldest Golden Eagles. It is something the QOV Foundation can do. Issue is pending with a proposal to initiate a procedure at the 2019 Reunion.
• There is a recommendation that we purchase permanent Name Tags, to be received with the Welcome Aboard Package, nicely done, magnetic, clipped, one-time issue of two name tags per person. Getting name tags at every reunion is an issue for some. The membership declined to adopt permanent Name Tags. Issue closed.
• There has been a request that we download the Chronolog on thumb drives instead of disks. Many computers no longer read disks. Jerry Zacharias plans to make the Chronolog available through “drop box” to those who don’t have a CD reader on their computer. The “drop box” procedure was explained and accepted as the new method for sales of Chronologs. Issue closed.
• At the Radio Officer’s request, the Pilot proposed that the Membership agree to an increase of annual dues from $50 to $100 to help minimize the need to solicit contributions from industry, and increase the cost of miniature wings from $48 to $50. The membership voted to increase the dues to $100 and wings to $50. Issue closed,
• ADM Zlatoper presented the establishment of the Admiral Hays Scholarship Fund, initiated by ADM Ron Hays, Emeritus.
• CAPT Jim Joyner solicited interest for members to support the Naval Aviation Wall in Virginia Beach by including their names on the plaque.
• RADM Denny Wisely proposed establishing a similar “Wingmen” or “Escort” program to keep track of our widows. This issue is open and to be continued as Old Business.
• VADM Ed Clexton proposed a new By Law (for ??? I didn’t get this) be drafted by the Navigator for presentation to the BOG at the 2019 Reunion.
• Col Larry Adkinson made a statement for the record, recognizing the Northeast Flight Honorary Pall Bearers for their personal involvement in funeral services for members who have made their Last Take Off.

The Pilot requested a Motion to adjourn, which was made, seconded and passed. The meeting adjourned at 0958.

2018 Golden Eagles Reunion Reception and Banquet

The pre-Banquet Reception was held in the Foyer of the Lansdowne Ballroom beginning at 1800, Saturday 28 April, with drink tickets used for the 3 hosted bar stations. The Banquet began at 1900 in the Ballroom, attended by over 280 Golden Eagles and guests. The Colors were presented by the NROTC Color Guard, and Mrs. Billie Cash led the group singing the National Anthem followed by brief remarks from the Pilot. After the meal, Pilot Howard DeCastro introduced the new Golden Eagles who joined since the San Diego Reunion, and before concluding the evening, Pilot DeCastro passed the “Stick” to the succeeding Pilot, VADM John Mazach, USN (Retired).


The selection of the Lansdowne Resort was proposed by AFRI, and required a significant augment of $20,000 by the Association, to defray the cost of the rooms to the members. That said, the location, amenities and full service of the Resort made the Reunion a resounding success. As noted in the minutes, the membership approved a raise in annual dues to reduce the requirement to solicit industry for donations to support Golden Eagle Reunions, and allow the Flight Leaders more leeway in negotiating room rates for future Reunions.