I want to thank the staff once again for stepping up and handling business when I was unable to perform all of my normal duties as your Commanding Officer. I bet that the members and guests at the last four meetings did not notice any declination in the operations of Gramps. Oh, OK, you might have noticed that Andy Benjock was not sitting at his usual place of “business” right next to Carol and Dolores at the front desk. Not to worry, he has assured me that he will be returning at this next meeting to do his wonderful job, alongside Ed Mason, making money for Gramps to allow us to support our Sailor of the Quarter program. Again, thanks to everybody for picking up the slack.
This last week or so I was a little busy representing Gramps at some public events. Last week I was asked if I would like to participate in an inspection of the activities at “Operation Patriot Hook” over at JFTB Los Alamitos. The invitation gave me a summary of what this was all about so I accepted the invitation. Operation Patriot Hook is a training exercise coordinated by the men and women who run the Base. It is training for emergency relief operations after the “Big One”! The Air Force provides the heavy lifters, C-17’s and a C-5M, but all of the other pieces come from local, including Orange County Fire Authority, LA County Fire and Rescue, FBI, Homeland Security, etc., emergency responders. Very interesting and informative. The activities culminated in a tour of the giant, and I mean giant, C-5M, all newly re-engined and spruced up. The walk through was in small groups, about 4 people with each Loadmaster, and we got to go from the flight deck to the empty area in the empennage that is the same volume as the inside of a C-130. Completely empty space! One in our group was Brigadier General Nathaniel S. “Nate” Reddicks, Assistant Adjutant General, Air Installation Commander, JFTB Los Alamitos. General Reddicks is a USAF officer with a background in Logistics. I am hoping to have him as a guest one of these days. Very down-to-earth guy.
I am writing this column on April 25th so the meeting that I will talk about now will happen tomorrow but will have occurred two weeks before you read about it. Tomorrow, I intend to attend a meeting of the Regional Military Affairs Committee. This group of interested citizens meets once a month at the Base to discuss almost everything about the Base as it relates to its neighboring communities. If you want to get on the mailing list for their newsletter and meeting announcement just let me know. Tomorrow, the speaker will be Commander Thomas Cooper, USCG, Commanding Officer of the US Coast Guard Air Station, Los Angeles. It has been awhile since last we had an aviator from that other Naval Aviation arm. I will see about getting CDR Cooper in contact with Cindy Macha, our Operations Officer to arrange something.
That’s about it for now. Oh yes, I really enjoyed talking to Les Shobe while we were ay Patriot Hook. What an interesting history. I did not realize that Les flew the O-2 in Vietnam some years after I was there and gone. He operated a little south of me but it was very cool listening to his stories about operating with the ROK soldiers! I am so lucky to be hanging around with guys who are part of a very exciting time in history, starting with you WWII guys through current events. Thanks for letting me be part of it.