The Commanders Column  --

 2001 Reunion is History

  Greetings to 53-Fox classmates:
   Another great reunion in the history books, this time in Colorado Springs!  A tip of the ol? sombrero to Don Condra and Sharon, Bud Libengood and Annaliese, and our  guardian angel, Jake Watson flying perpetual CAP. A special salute to Jim Mayton and the Hondo squadron--your networking is terrific and greatly admired and envied.  “H” stands for Hondo and hard work in the same breath.
    At each of our practice reunions, I have had fun seeing friends from 1952-53, and making new friends each time.  The Air Force really hit the jackpot in August 1952 when it discovered that 53 Fox guys  were full of pep and vinegar.  The reunion facilities hit the mark, and Bud’s hard work really paid off. The smiles on everyone’s face proved that we had fun basking in memories and in each other’s company.   Two other military reunions were sharing the Ramada at the same time, and the hotel staff paid attention to making us all feel special. 
    The weather cooperated, although some of us chickened out and stayed at the hotel on the day of the Academy football game, when we woke up to a typical Colorado snow storm in early September.  By game time the snow had melted, also typical, but sitting in
the hotel with my glass of prune juice, heck, I was cool with that. 
    Our memorial service was one of the high points--thank you, George  “Hork” Dimon and all the squadron commanders-- as we honored the men who are no longer with us.  It is not surprising that our squadron in the sky is growing in number, which makes our
gatherings even more dear to us.  I continue to marvel at the Doolittle Raider reunions, and even more amazing is that Jimmy Doolittle didn’t take his final check ride until age 98.  Let’s make a goal to keep our 53 Fox group as active as those WWII warriors!
    The sing-along after the banquet on Friday was special, when multi-talented Vernon “Bud” Hesterman and Gene Fox put their Barbershop Quartet skills into leadership mode.  I can see why the musical theater prospers when Bud hits the footlights.
    In our free time, many went into the surrounding area to shop, to sightsee and to keep the economy flowing by getting gifts for grandkids, other family, and friends.  I heard tales of credit card melt down  from such places as  the Broadmoor, Cripple Creek, Central City  and Blackhawk. 
    Joe and Katherine Ann Holt were observed doing Tai Chi in the lobby of the hotel, and taking pictures of all the Fox and Foxie people.  There is a rumor that because of the  increasing size of our love handles, all the cameras had to use a wider angle lens.
    What happened two days after our reunion ended was tragic.  For me, it revitalized what 53 Fox stood for all these years, and how we are as ready now as we were then, to stand up for our country. I went through a mix of emotions, all the way from wondering whether having fun in such a serious situation was proper, to deciding that now is truly the time when we should gather and remember why we took to the air.  My arthritis  didn’t hurt quite as bad, my bald head didn’t look as bare, and my heart said, "stop
worrying, and start supporting our 50th anniversary in the birthplace of aviation in 2003!
    So I close with this request, even if you had contacted classmates and they haven’t shown up, do it once more.  Perhaps circumstances have changed, maybe 9-11 has given them a thought to see everyone while the seeing is available, whatever; call them, write
them, cajole them.  You are cordially "ordered" to bring in one more Fox than you did in the past.  Each one bring one, and voila, we can salute Orville and Wilbur by filling up the ol’ bicycle shop!
      My prayer for all in 2002, that you  have a peaceful, healthy and prosperous year.  And let us all together ask that God blesses America!  

Humbly, John Geron

John Geron
4904 Cleveland Ct.
Temple Hills, MD  20748-5411
Tel:  301-449-6654