A few days ago, at their monthly meeting, the Daedalian Flight 24, all long-time members of the FASF, tried out a new meeting location in picturesque downtown historic El Paso, Texas. They had most recently been convening at the Ft. Bliss Golf Club but missed the elegance and efficiency of the old El Paso Club, which was also downtown.
The Daedalians had held their regular monthly meetings at the El Paso Club for some 37 years, but it was closed because of the COVID pandemic and has not yet re-opened. In the meantime, the group decided to try the historic ANSON ELEVEN restaurant as a substitute gathering facility. The ANSON is dedicated to the memory of General Anson Mills, who built the building in which the restaurant (named in his honor) is located, back in 1911, thus the number after his first name of Eleven. Interestingly, General Mills was the actual designer of El Paso as a city, drafting the plans back in the late 19th Century while stationed at Ft. Bliss. General Mills, after retiring from the U.S. Army, became an extremely successful entrepreneur and millionaire.
Below are a few photos taken of the Daedalian Meeting (Click any picture for hi-resolution):
L to R above: Early arrivals; Col. Bob Pitt, Julie Pitt, Connie Sullivan, Marian Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Mario Campos, and Judy Campos, Virg Hemphill, and Kathleen Martin.
L to R above: Marian Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Col. Mario Campos (Flight Captain), Judy Campos, Virg Hemphill, and Dr.Kathleen Martin.
L to R above members and guests watching “An American Love Affair” about the Curtiss Jenny . . . Mariana Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Melissa, and Alan Fisher . . .
Clockwise from lower R: Mariana Diaz, Josiane Solana, Gerry Wingett, Roger Springstead, Jerry Dixon, Julie Pitt, Melissa Fisher, Cols. Alan Fisher and Mario Campos, Judy Campos and Ulla Rice . . .
Colonel Bob Pitt, USAF Retired, at left, a long-time FASF member, and Daedalian Flight 24 Officer, a former jet fighter pilot from the Viet Nam conflict, wrote up this post. Colonel Pitt has written up each El Paso Daedalian Society meeting in El Paso for more than 27 years, so he thinks that it’s time for him to retire from the responsibility. We will miss his colorful yet accurate reporting more than we can describe.
LC Steve Watson – 12/01/22
Lt Col Steve Watson, USAF (Ret) (R) returned on 1 December 2022 two years after he briefed the 24th Flight on his father’s service as a B-24 pilot in WWII. On this occasion, Steve gave a PowerPoint presentation on an upcoming B-24 Memorial. Steve was commissioned in October 1974 and graduated from Undergraduate Navigator Training in October 1975. He was qualified in five different C-130 models and logged over 3100 flight hours over 12 years as a flight crew member.
Stevebegan his presentation by briefly reviewing his father’s career during WWII. His father flew 30 missions in the B-24 as a lead pilot – flying his first mission in October 1944 and his last in April 1945, earning both the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal during his tour.
Steve then showed a photograph of the B-24 Memorial at the US Air Force Academy (L below) and then went on to speak of the history of Wendover Army Airfield in Utahwhich was the home to B-17, B-24, and later, B-29 training. Wendover also supported the Manhattan Project which developed the first atomic weapons to be used in combat via B-29s.
B-24 Liberator Monument at USAF Academy
Steve then detailed an upcoming B-24 Memorial to be presented to the renovated Service Club/Museum at Wendover. The Memorial will include a highly detailed aluminum 1/20 scale model of the B-24 Liberator and some plaques with the history of the 467th Bomb Group and organizations that donated to the project. Among the donors listed on one of the plaques is the Daedalians 24th Flight which donated $265 to the Memorial fund.
In addition to Colonel Watson’s presentation, the members of the 24th Flight and guests were treated to a Holiday event that included two special Spanish Flamenco Dances (see 4th photo below) given by Professional Dancer (and Friend of the Flight) Connie Sullivan.
Also, special thanks to Judy Camposand Julie Pitt for providing fantastic Christmas table decorations and two very delicious dessert cakes.
L to R: Col. Mario Campos, Mrs. Darci Todd, and her father,Jerry Dixon.
Guest Speaker, Steve Watson (L) discusses the Civil Air Patrol with Flight Captain, Colonel Alan Fisher
L to R Clockwise around the table: Gerry Wingettand Josiane,Connie Sullivan, Julie, and Col. Bob Pitt, Col. MarioCampos, and to his left, his wife Judy, with backs to the camera.
A Professional dancer, Connie Sullivanperforms a short Flamenco Dance routine for the assembled Daedalians.
Flight Capt. Col Alan Fisher introduces the Guest Speaker for the luncheon, Steve Watson (below) while Gerry Wingett, seated to the right, listens.
Steve Watson, the guest presenter, opens his slide show . . .
At the close of the Liberator History presentation, Col. Fisher (r) gives a token of appreciation to Steve Watson.
On October 6, Colonel Mario Campos, (L) USAF Retired, past Flight Captain of the General Nichols Flight of the Daedalians in nearby El Paso, briefed his fellow aviators about the last 75-year history of small arms weapons and their legacy in the Air Force. After his PowerPoint-supported talk, his audience agreed they learned things they never knew, even when on active duty. Remember to simply click on any photo below to see it in full resolution and full size. 2 short videos (A brief 1:00 minute long highlight, and a 10-min. cut of his one-hour presentation, follow below the still photographs.
Col. Bob Pitt, right above, helps the Service Staff plan the upcoming luncheon. His wife, Julie is 2nd from Left.
L to R: Pete Brandon, Virg Hemphill, Jerry Dixon, and Roger Springstead, look over the Ft. Bliss Club’s menus.
L to R: Pete Brandonshows Virg Hemphill some photos on his phone.
Retired Naval Aviator, Roger Springstead, Flight 24’s Chaplain, intently listens to Virg Hemphill and Jerry Dixon.
L to R: Col. Melissa Fisherand her husband, Col. Alan Fisher, look over some photos of Col. Campos’.
Flight 24’s Captain, Col. Alan Fisher, opens the luncheon meeting.
L to R – foreground: Judy Campos chats with her husband, Col. Mario Campos. At the rear, in green and black, is Daedalian Army Aviator widow, Connie Sullivan.
The scheduled speaker for this Luncheon was canceled, so Colonel Mario Camposstepped in with his PowerPoint Presentation about the history of Air Force small arms, entitled, “75 years of USAF Small Arms.”
The following description of the presentation was written by Colonel Bob Pitt.
Mario began by pointing out that while the Air Force has a rich and well-documented history of its major weapon systems since its birth in 1947, little has been written on the small arms the Air Force has used during that period. He also pointed out that the Air Force has been instrumental in the acquisition of small arms that have had an impact on all the other services. He limited the discussion to personal arms and excluded crew-employed machine guns, light machine guns, mortars, handheld rockets, and so on.
He described the period of 1947-1956 which included the transition of the Army to Air Force small arms. He went over the history of the M1 Carbine and the Colt M1911A1 as the primary weapons adopted by the Army during this period. He also covered the M1 Garand, but primarily of its use as an Air Force competition and ceremonial weapon.
Mario then transitioned to the 1956-1990 period by highlighting some unique firearms like the .22 Hornet M4 and .22/.410 M6 Survival rifles. He then went on to give the history of the Air Force’s transition to the Smith and Wesson “Combat Masterpiece” .38 Special and the Snub-Nosed .38 Special as the Air Force’s primary handguns for Security Forces (Police) – and Aircrews.
Colonel Campos then described the Air Force’s role in acquiring one of the legendary battle rifles still in use today . . . the M16. He described how Gen Curtis LeMay was the first of the service chiefs to recognize the value of the weapon and, after being initially rebuffed, it was the Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, who ordered all services to use the M-16.
Mario also went through the different Air Force versions including the Colt Model 604 (M-16) and the XM177E GAU-5 (M-16 Carbine). He also went over the Air Force’s continuing use of the Remington 870 Shotgun.
Finally, Mario transitioned to 1990 and beyond when the Air Force adopted the M-16A2, Beretta M9 pistol, M4 Carbine, M24 Sniper System, M11 pistol, and now the Sig Sauer M18 pistol and the HK 417 Designated Marksman Rifle. He ended the presentation with a description of the new Aircrew Survival Weapon, a foldable M4 Carbine that fits in aircrew survival seat kits.
Here, below, are a short video (1 minute) highlight of Colonel Campos’ hour-long presentation, and a 10-minute version. Please excuse the problem with the variation in the lighting in some sections.
“Full-screen” mode won’t work on the first video clip, but it will on the YouTube version.