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 President's Corner

Published in the October 2003 Ragged Irregular

As I write this on 7 Sep 03 I can't help remembering that just a year and a week ago just after midnight Jack Paxson and I were pushing a baggage cart full of booze and other items from the Hospitality Room through the parking lot of the La Quinta. We were too tired to make sense so we were just laughing about how it would look in the Tacoma papers if a couple of senior citizens ran into somebody's car. But as many of you were kind enough to say, we did have a fun reunion in Tacoma thanks to a lot of you who pitched in. As I read Steve Perri's great article in the July Ragged Irregular about the backgrounds of a typical ground crew, I was reminded that we are of a generation which came from deep "depression" to believing we could do anything.

We are just a bit slower about our accomplishments, now. That seems an appropriate lead-in to a report from your Board's most recent Conference Call on 23 Aug. Marv has conquered the PX backlog and assures us that he will have a 7-10 day turnaround for any orders in the future. If any of you younger folks are looking for a way to help, you might want to consider volunteering for PX duty at the next Reunion. Let me know. While on the theme of monumental jobs, Jake Howland discussed with us his efforts to confirm accuracy in our records of our Honor Roll of deaths during combat; I discovered some discrepancies in working with the Turner book in spite of the wonderful work of Bud Evers and Curly Havelaar in the past. Jake now has 910 confirmed and accurate, but we believe there were as many as 997. Jake, Gordy Alton and others are working to make it a perfect record.

Ace Johnson reported that we have over $29,000 in the Treasury but are gradually drawing down as our membership dues shrink. We also have nearly $2200 in the Memorial Maintenance Fund which we will eventually convert to a Trust Fund.

The Prop Memorial at Bassingbourn is in great shape thanks to the efforts of Vince Hemmings, David Crowe and the British Army. I have asked Peter Roberts, Chairman of the East Anglia Aviation Society, to keep us apprised of the status of the Tower Museum - perhaps elsewhere in The Ragged Irregular if he can get something to Steve Perri in time. We owe all of these friends a real vote of thanks for their untiring efforts to honor our heritage. I sent an e-mail to Peter, today, again expressing our appreciation as I had back in June. I'm sure any of these gentlemen would like to hear some kind words from any of you.

Plans for the 2004 Reunion are taking shape. We will have detailed articles about the hotel and available tours in the January Ragged Irregular.

Other upcoming events we discussed included the 8th Air Force Reunion in Colorado Springs later in October and the meeting of the Arizona Wing of the Confederate Air Force on 8-9 Nov at Falcon Field in Mesa, AZ. For any details on either, please contact Ace Johnson, our trusty Secretary/Treasurer.

Jim and Suzi Shepherd - our valiant guardians of the Web Site - have become our first members to exercise their rights to apply for "Full Member" status. Your Board has approved. Under the provisions of Art. III, Sec. 2 of our By-Laws an Associate Member in good standing may "become Full Members upon written request followed by three consecutive years as an Associate Member." Your Board interprets that to mean if they have been Associate Members for three consecutive years. So far, that and a dollar will buy a cup of coffee (except Starbucks) but not much else. However, it might encourage you to read carefully some proposed changes to the By-Laws coming up next year.

With your good graces and a prayer or two we will make it into 2004.    Ed Gates