17th Sabre Pilots Reunion
The 17th Reunion of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association was held March 28th, 29th, and 31st at the Gold Coast Hotel/Casino. The 17th Reunion was significant for many things, not the least of which was the change of location. Because of many complaints from the members about rising costs and slipping service, our Association made the decision to move to the Gold Coast, located next door to the Rio in Las Vegas.
The decision turned out to be god one. The cost per member was down significantly, and the food quality was up. Located off the Strip about 3/4 mile, the Gold Coast offered exactly what we needed - comfortable rooms at a decent price, several classy restaurents including the renowned Cortez Room, and many large rooms to use for the banquet and hospitality rooms. These were really needed on Tuesday when the F-100 Super Sabre Society invaded and took over the hallway for their reunion.
Our reunion opened on Sunday the 28th and everything went smoothly - as usual. The hospitality room was complete with a cash bar. No `freebie' tokens this year but no one seemed to mind. The Flight Line Store was in the same room and was doing a booming business from beginning to end. Which was good as this was the final year for Flight Line Store sales. At the end of the 17th Reunion, the Store was closed forever. There were bargains galore, some things were 50% off, and there were even a few `freebies'. A cocktail party was held Sunday evening and everyone went to their rooms `happy'.
On Monday morning, the buses were waiting to take many of the members to the Red Flag briefing. Everyone that went said it was the best briefing that they'd been to. Thanks to the guys at Nellis for a great show. The Ladies Luncheon featured a talent and fashion show. It was held next to the Hospitality Room and I saw more than one male member sneaking a peek through the doors. A delicious Buffet meal finished off the evening.
While other members were at Red Flag, the Board of Directors held their meeting. Several important topics were discussed including the naming of a new Chairman as Dan Druen had expressed his desire to step down. Dan was not present due to illness. Pat Hughes was asked and accepted the role of Director. Lloyd Ulrich and Bob Slater also stepped down from the Board. The new Board will be Glen Carus, Sam Hollenbeck, Robert Matasick, and Lon Walter, with Director Pat Hughes at the top.
Dick Geiger gave the Association financial report, which was very sound indeed, and he also stepped down. John Martin will take over as Treasurer. It was reiterated that closing the Flight Line Store was for the good of the Association and it was accepted by all. The meeting adjourned at 11am.
Tuesday was the final day of the 17th Reunion. As the members made their way up the escalator to the 9am Brunch, they were greeted by loud and boisterous voices - the F-100 Society had taken up residence in the hall. The Brunch was served promptly at 9am and was a feast to behold. A guard on the door kept the P-100 guys at bay.
A very important Membership Meeting opened promptly at 11am. Members were told of the changes in the Board of Directors, and a new slate of Association officers was voted into effect. The new President is J.R. Alley, who has over 1500 hours in the F-86 with Flight System Inc.. Jerry Johnson will remain, taking the position of Vice President. The new Treasurer is John Martin.
Details of the closing of the Flight Line Store were discussed and it was mentioned that all remaining sales items would be donated to charity once the Association logo has been removed. SabreJet Classics editor, Larry Davis, explained what the problems were that had occurred in the last 6 months, most of which were due to cold weather in Ohio.and a fiasco with the US Post Office.
Glen Carus reported that space is still available on the Sabre Pilots panels that will greet anyone visiting the Udvar-Hazy portion of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum. He also asked that anyone wanting his name on one of the panels, contact him after the meeting, and informed Jerry Johnson that some 70 members had requested information about it. The meeting adjourned at 11:40 am.
The banquet was held beginning at 6:30 pm. Everyone agreed that it was by far, the best food that we'd had at any banquet anywhere. And there was a band playing throughout to top it all off. Our Guest Speaker was Major General Stephen L. Hoog, Commander of the Air Warfare Center at Nellis. He gave a rousing and often comical speech to the members and guests about the status of our Air Force and the men and women that are serving our country. Jerry Johnson presented Major General Hoog with a model of the F-86 bearing his name.
With that, the banquet and thus, the 17th Reunion brake up. The band played for several more hours and everyone went home happy. The last thing heard was "See you in 2011 at the 18th Reunion!"
No portion of this article may be used or reprinted without permission from the President of the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association or the editor of Sabre Jet Classics magazine.
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