Spindrift December 14, 2023

MEETING – Last Thursday’s luncheon meeting, held on the 82nd anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, convened at BCYC, and there were 27 in attendance, including R. Dale Evans, current President of CA/NV District Exchange; Larry Reed, Col, Ret, U.S.M.C. who is an honored guest and neighbor of Ken Dufour; Gary Barnhill, guest and neighbor of one of our newest members, Barbara Kirkham; and Chase Wickersham III, our speaker for the day. President Shirley Lashmett opened the meeting by having George Lesley recite a prayer by Sir Francis Drake, which encouraged us to not lose sight of eternal life in our quest to satisfy our hopes and immediate needs. Immediate Past-President Ken Dufour led everyone in the Salute to our flag.

ANNOUNCEMENTS – Pres. Shirley passed out flyers inviting us to “Holly House”, 3 Cypress Tree Lane, Irvine, a home with 13 rooms that have been extensively decorated with holiday decor by Holly Ackman and Don Riggs. Their home will be open on Sunday, 12/17, and Wednesday, 12/20 from 5-8 pm. If you are looking for a fun time, please go!!!…..Mike

Gertner sadly announced that Roger Summers passed away while hospitalized a week ago. There will be a Celebration of Life in his memory on Saturday, December 16th at 11 am at the LDS Church at 801 Dover Drive…..Shirley announced some of the results of the “25 Days of Christmas raffle”, and that 3 of the first 6 winners were members of our Club…..R. Dale Evans, originally from Joliet, Illinois and now residing in Fontana commented on his involvement in Exchange and for the need for all of us to access social media, to recruit volunteers and new members, and to engage our new members into participating in those activities that improve our community. Dale has been working on aligning Martin Luther King Day (Jan 16th) with Exchange to make it a day of service instead of just a day off, e.g., working in homeless shelters, helping with church activities, etc….The FOH Committee met to rehab flags last week.

FOOTBALL POOLS – Mike Gertner announced the results of the Week #13 Football Pool. This week’s low number was Leo Fracalosy, with 7 right ($3). The winner with 15 right was Mitch Mitchell ($18), Mike indicated that next week’s Pool will be the last one for the season…..Dr. Bob announced that Ken Dufour won the $50 prize for the last MNF Book.

CHASE WICKERSHAM: “A B-17 Bomber Pilot’s Survival Story” Introduced by Ken Dufour, Chase Wicker-sham III) is a Vietnam veteran who has achieved the rank of 1st Lieutenant in the Army and served as an artillery officer. His grandfather, Chase (I), served in combat in World War I; his father, Chase (II)., the subject of his presentation, was a combat pilot in WW II. After retiring as a businessman, Chase III became active in veterans’ affairs in Orange County, currently serving on the O.C. Veterans Health Advisory Board. The Board counsels and provides expert assessment for affordable housing. Chase is a member of the American Legion, residing in CdM for over 30 years.

Chase (II) is noted for having served as a bomber pilot in the European Theater during WW II who flew 25 combat missions over Germany during the last stages of the war. Chase II’s family moved from Cedar Rapids, Iowa to Los Angeles in 1932. He always wanted to be a pilot and the move to LA suited him, being the hub of the major U.S. airplane manufacturers, including Douglas, Hughes, and Lockheed. Chase II went to Stanford, joining the Army Reserve Corp. After being accepted into Civilian Pilots Training, he was transferred to Santa Ana, CA, where he went to flight school. At the time, during the latter stages of the war, there was a significant shortage of pilots and trainers, and the Department of Defense enlisted all the flight schools throughout the country. Ultimately, over 400,000 candidates enlisted for training, and about 200,000 graduated, (a washout rate of about 50%). Chase II received his Advanced Pilot Training in Marfa, TX in 1941. In 1944, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and learned how to fly the B-17 bomber. After his training, he flew his B-17 to Europe, which was the only way to get them there. Shortly after his arrival, he flew his first mission over Salzburg, Austria. He suffered a shrapnel injury on his last, or 25th, mission, receiving the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross for his courage and leadership in combat.

There isn’t enough space to provide all the interesting facts presented in Chase III’s talk. However, of note: 52,173 airmen lost their lives during the 4 years of WW II; the 15th Air Force, to which CW II was assigned, lost 3,400 planes, of which 2,100 were bombers. It was the efforts of our Air Forces that won the war against the Nazis, by cutting off fuel and munitions to the Nazis.

RAFFLE– George and Dr. Bob won $30 each

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