Actually, I cancelled the meeting that was scheduled for March 12. A combination of things caused me to make the call: The Coronavirus and the fact that our speaker called Cindy Macha that morning to say that the Marine Corps told him that he was not going to be able to make it. We tried getting in touch with everyone who had made reservations, but we were pretty sure that we would have walk-ins. Dave Malmad and I decided to meet at the Elks Lodge at 11:30 to catch them and to have lunch.
I was putting up the “Lunch Canceled” sign when Ken Mayer, the C.O. of the Two Block Fox Squadron, walked in the door. Dave Malmad walked in at about that time. The greeter at the door told me that she would tell anyone who walked in that we were in the bar, I mean dining room, so we sat down and ordered drinks. In short order, Dave Franzen walked in and then I was pleasantly surprised when Captain Jim “Bluto” Allen, USN (Ret.) walked in. He is a retired EA-6G NFO and EP-3 pilot who I met at Tailhook a few years ago. Bluto is a member of the Whidbey Island Squadron but now lives in the area. Shortly thereafter, our favorite politician, Art Brown walked in and sat down and joined us.
What a great lunch. A few stories were told, and “secrets” let out. Did you know that Art served in the Navy, Air Force and Marines? None of us knew. He told us about working at NAS Los Alamitos, on B-47s for the Air Force and as an MP while a Marine. Bluto had a few interesting tidbits too. He has written a book, soon to be published, entitled “Plans That Made God Laugh”. He subtitles it, “A Tale of Aviation, Perseverance, and Faith”. He related a couple of stories that are in the book and it sounds like a really good read. As I said, it will be published soon, and I hope that he will be back as a presenter when it comes out. Ken drove all of the way from the Valley to hear from LtCol Cedar “Shi’Thead” Hinton who had to bow out at the last moment. After our lunch and the ensuing conversation around the table, Ken said that the trip was well worth it. It was equally rewarding to the rest of us as Ken gave us an update on the activities of Two Block Fox.
All and all, just a great meeting. I do wish the rest of you could have attended. Having said that, presently I have no idea when we will meet again. When we do, I really hope that we can get Shi’Thead to be our speaker. By that time, he should have accumulated some hours in the F-35C. Let’s see how it goes. To all of you: stay safe and well. As Doc would have said, “get your flu shots and listen to the medical experts!”