Well, we are just finishing up a period where we have had a SOQ or SOY program for three months/meetings in a row. Thank you to Bill Thompson for making things go so smoothly and efficiently and then writing the press releases that appear in the local papers. Thank you to the Command Staff at NWSSB and NMC for getting the Sailors to the meetings and for their participation in the awards programs. Thanks to retired Force Master Chief Jim DeLozier of USAA for his support of our efforts. And finally, thanks to the local restaurants (and especially The Crab Cooker in Tustin) for supporting the program with gift certificates and coupons that we pass on the Sailors. A list of the restaurants who have participated is on our website. Take a look at that list. When you visit one of them, let the manager know that you appreciate what they are doing for our enlisted personnel.
It has been a sad couple of months for GPS. Last month, we lost Hal McDonnel and in January, we lost Doctor Robert “Doc” Helton, our Fight Surgeon, who passed away recently with his family at his bedside. A number of us attended his services this last weekend. Our Chaplain contributed significantly to the service. Our former C.O. Bob Olds said a few words and got a good laugh when he mentioned Doc’s admonishment to “get your flu shots”. We lost a couple of good shipmates when Doc and Hal left us. I will miss them both.
Moving forward, we have a very interesting speaker set for this month. Colonel Greg Raths, USMC (Ret), flew the F-4 and F-18 for many years before going to work in the White House Military Affairs Office and he will tell us all about his exploits. He has written a book about his experiences so I am guessing he might try to sell one or two copies while he is at the meeting. I hope that you will join us for a great Elks Lodge buffet and an interesting and entertaining presentation by a retired local Marine aviator. Bring a friend.