The Golden Eagles Continuing History 2019

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 25-29 April, 2018 held at the Lansdowne Resort, Leesburg, VA, to the Golden Eagles Reunion of 10-14 April, 2019 held at the DFW Westin Hotel, Fort Worth, TX.

Golden Eagles Flight Activities

WEST FLIGHT: Denny Irelan reports:

A 21 February 2019 West Flight mini-reunion luncheon was conducted at the Coronado Yacht Club. Forty-six GE members, GE ladies and family attended. GE lady, Linda Lee Hogan, traveled the farthest — Sun Valley, Idaho, to San Diego. Two new members were welcomed: Robert “Brick” Nelson Jr. and Chuck Sweeney.
• West Flight contracted for the 18 October 2018 mini-reunion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Simi Valley, California with 22 members and guests attending. The day included docent led, small-group tours of the museum, an Air Force One barbecue buffet (seated under the museum Air Force One) and access to the Pompeii exhibit.
• Approx. 32 GE members and 28 spouses/guests attended The Tailhook Association reunion conducted 06–09 September 2018 at the Nugget Resort in Reno, Nev. Golfers enjoyed the GE CDR Dean S. “Diz” Laird Invitational Golf Tournament. Additionally, attendees that were asked to stand to be recognized during the Saturday evening banquet included GEs, former CNO, ADM Tom Hayward and former Vietnam War Naval Aviator POWs, CAPTs Jim Hickerson and Charlie Plumb.

CENTRAL FLIGHT: Jim Ryan reports:

Many hours on the phone and texting with Bill Bauer working our Ft Worth reunion. Everything is looking good, and we cannot say enough about Bill and his support. Also, the coordination being provided by Molly Dey (AFRI) has been outstanding. Marge and Judy Bauer have got the Texas Tea under control --the gals will love the margaritas.

We have had two Pensacola Mafia luncheons this quarter, first in January at the Navy Museum and this month with wives at a local restaurant called the Oar House. We also invited new Golden Eagle Bob Stumpf and his wife Susie to join us. All had an enjoyable time.

NORTHEAST FLIGHT: Matt Moffit reports:

NE Flight gathered in early August for a luncheon at Army Navy Country Club. The well attended gathering allowed all to catch up on the latest issues in DC and life. We also welcomed Jim Short to his first event.

Northeast Flight enjoyed a luncheon at Mount Vernon Country Club in March. Our guest speaker was none other than our own Hap Simpson. Hap spoke to his experiences on Guadalcanal during WWII. It was an amazing story highlighted by the combat actions his squadron engaged in and his own sinking of a Japanese destroyer. Of the original 28 pilots, only 9 survived the tour. Hap is the last remaining of the 9 having just celebrated his 99th birthday! Fortunately, we videotaped the presentation and will make it available on the GE website in the future.

Northeast Flight is also looking into options for the 2022 reunion. We are looking outside the DC area for potential sites, as well as other venues within the Metro area. More to follow on this mission.

In May, Northeast Flight will hold a luncheon at the Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis. We will have a defense industry executive as our guest speaker.

Finally, Northeast Flight supported two funerals in the last month, that of John Hudson and JO Tuttle. It was a privilege to honor them both at Arlington National Cemetery.

SOUTHEAST FLIGHT: Mike Stortz reports:

Planning is ongoing for these upcoming reunions:
• 24-26 Sep 2019 @ Hyatt Jacksonville, FL (Southeast Mini)
• 30 Apr- 3 May 2020 @ Hyatt Jacksonville, FL (GE Annual)
NE Flight gathered in early August for a luncheon at Army Navy Country Club. The well attended gathering allowed all to catch up on the latest issues in DC and life. We also welcomed Jim Short to his first event.
Our mini-reunion scheduled for 25-27 Sep 2018 in New Bern, NC, was cancelled because of damage caused by hurricane Florence. New Bern has been battered by the storm, and Mike WAS busy trying to recover costs where possible. He did a masterful job of keeping Southeast Flight informed about the status of our members in the New Bern area.
The Southeast Flight will host the 2020 Reunion on 29 Apr - 3 May 2020 at the Hyatt Riverfront in Jacksonville, FL. The lodging contract has been signed, and AFRI will, again, be our reunion planner. We will hold our 2019 mini-reunion there to sort out some of the finer details.

The Golden Eagles 2019 Reunion

The 2019 Golden Eagles Reunion held at the DFW Westin Hotel from 10-14 April was a unique and very successful gathering in true Southwestern style. Under the guidance of Central Flight Leader Jim Ryan, Reunion Coordinator Bill Bauer put together an outstanding team of local members and spouses to arrange all the events, including the tour of the Lockheed facility, golf, the Fort Worth Cultural District tour and the Friday evening Circle R Ranch BBQ and Line Dance gala. Marge Ryan and Judy Bauer hosted a “Ladies Texas Tea” encouraging southwestern attire and rowdy behavior.

Welcome Aboard Reception
The Welcome Aboard Reception was held in the Hotel Trinity Ballroom on Thursday evening, 11 April, featuring a Tex-Mex style food selection and three bar stations. Along with the chance to meet and greet new members, the Reception set the mood for the weekend in true Southwestern style.

Golden Eagles Golf
The Golf Tournament was held on Friday, 12 April with a 0800 start, and included lunch for the 40-plus attending. The winning foursome comprised of Bill Knutson, Larry Ernst, Steve Abbot and Lonny McClung was announced at the Members meeting.

Lockheed Facility Tour
Nearly 100 members and spouses attended this tour of the famous “mile long” factory that is now home to the F-35 Lightning II, and received briefings on the F-35 program and Skunk Works initiatives. Attendees were able to “fly” the F-35 cockpit demonstrator and meet with one of Lockheed’s F-35 test pilots. The visit concluded with a hosted lunch.

FT Worth Cultural District Tour
This tour, conducted on Friday, 12 April, bussed attendees between two downtown location between the historic Sundance Square and museums in the cultural center. Attendees were able to choose either or both locations, and take advantage of numerous local restaurants for lunch on their own. Attractions included five museums, the Ft Worth Botanic Gardens, and the FT Worth Zoo.

Circle R Ranch BBQ Dinner

A highlight of the Reunion was the Friday evening event at the famous Circle R Ranch, set in an open pasture in the rolling hills with horses and longhorn steers roaming nearby. There was a fantastic Texas-style BBQ dinner, some true ranch-style entertainment, and the a line dancing lesson conducted by the leader of a country western band. Yee HAW!

Ladies Texas Tea

The wives and friends held an afternoon “Texas Tea” in the Oak Ballroom on Saturday, 13 April. The following was submitted by Mrs. Rita Knott to Pilot John Mazach, representing the success of the event:
“Echoing my 4 other friends…each of us opted out of attending the “Tea Party” until an acquaintance advised that the visuals were a “sight to behold.” Arriving at the “venue” (in less than party attire), the surveillance of decorations had the five of us awestruck and acknowledging that we should not have given it a “pass.” Marge (Ryan) sensed the disappointment and immediately went into Reconnaissance mode “rapid and targeted” as we joyfully accepted her encouragement and immediately charged a table like a cavalry unit.”

The Memorial Service

The Memorial Service was conducted in the Trinity Ballroom of the Westin Hotel, due to the extreme distance required to travel to any church in the area. The hotel did a nice job of providing a floral arrangement and cross, with comfortable seating for those attending. Pilot John Mazach provided opening remarks, Mrs. Billie Cash sang vocals, Chaplain Jim O’Neal provided the opening and closing prayers, along with the homily, and Winston Copeland presented the video program for the eleven eulogies for the Golden Eagles who had made their Last Take Off since the last Reunion. Before concluding, Pilot Mazach remembered seven Golden Eagles Wives who had passed away during the year.

Ready Room

The Golden Eagles Ready Room was located in top floor suites 1429 and 1430, with only the hallway separating them. Open each day at 0700, the top floor location provided a view of the DFW Airport and was always well stocked with beverages and snacks to encourage colorful sea-stories throughout the weekend.

General Membership Meeting
The annual membership meeting was called to order at 0900 on Saturday, 13 April in the Trinity 4/5 Rooms by Pilot, John Mazach, beginning with the Pledge of Allegiance.

2019 Membership Meeting Minutes

2019 Golden Eagles Reunion Reception and Banquet

The pre-Banquet Reception was held in the Foyer of the Trinity Ballroom of the Westin Hotel at 1800, Saturday 13 April. The Banquet began at 1900 in the Trinity Ballroom, with nearly 140 Golden Eagles and their spouses attending, approximately 260 in total. Mrs. Billie Cash led the singing of the National Anthem after the Color Guard presented the Colors. After the meal, Pilot John Mazach made brief remarks thanking Jim Ryan and Bill Bauer for arranging an outstanding Reunion venue, then individually introduced all 16 attending new members and their wives.