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 . . .
After several less than exciting false starts, Mayor Salas‘ idea of starting a new day on which Columbus will celebrate it beginnings – now called Founding Day – was a great success two weekends ago. If you’d like to guess when that historic date was, just go to the end of the post/story.
Other old time FASF members in addition to Mayor Salasalso played an active role in helping the event go over the top. July McClure, our Recording Secretary and Aerodrome Editor busily entertained the crowds at the East end of town in front of her Tumbleweed Theater. Another long-time member and major donor, our FASF landlord, Norma Gomez,also answered many questions thrown her way by a number of festival attendees as well as participants and caballeros. Your Webmaster took the Mayor aside for a five minute interview about the event, which appears below. Click in the lower right of the screen to view the video full-size.
All in all, the festive celebration was a genuine step back in time to the late 19th Century, when the streets of Columbus were as actively used by horses as by its citizens. Here are some photos taken of the occasion. If you’d like to see them full size and in high resolution, simply click on them:
FASF Office the Chamber of Commerce (White Building) & Tumbleweed Theater (yellow)
Looking West along Broadway Avenue
This was back then, above – and below is today: 1916-Ravel Bros. Mercantile Store Downtown Columbus
City Hall and Sheriff’s Office complex
A look down Broadway to the West in 1916
Broadway blocked off for the Horse Parade- Looking to the West
To East: The Railroad Depot and the railroad to El Paso in 1916 – Today’s Depot is the Historical Society’s Museum. Today that railroad is the bed for NM State Route 9 to El Paso, Texas!
Columbus Court House
Former Mayor Philip Skinner’s Los Milagros Hotel
Celebrants and horsemen chatting outside the Restored Senior Center Facility
View inside the Senior Center where Free lunch was provided for all . . .
Sheriff’s Team Joined the party in the Park
Visitors enjoying lunch outside the Borderland Cafe
After the parade there were still many horses to be loaded for their trip home . . .unless they were among those who rode to Columbus. COLUMBUS WAS FOUNDED ON JUNE 18, 1891!
Thanks to the untiring efforts of our 1st VP, Jason Adams, the FASF now has its own local NM State Historical Marker firmly planted near our historic 1916 Airfield, which, as Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas’official business card proudly states: is “The Cradle of American Air Power.”
Let’s take a photographic look at the sequence of actual physical events that took place before the two-year long process of obtaining state approval for the Historic Marker was successfully completed.
The entire lengthy process took place under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Culltural Affairs. The Department’s web pages describe the process involved: “The markers happen through a strong partnership among the Historic Preservation Division, the Cultural Properties Review Committee, New Mexico Department of Transportation – and the public.”
All of these agencies and groups must have been queried and counselled in order for such a Historical Marker to be approved, and then finally contructed for the site it represents. As you might imagine, Jasonhad a big task in hand to get this objective reallized, and it took no small amount of patience to weather the long process involved in the achievement. But, today, we now have this marker in place, with its own highway tourist/visitor pull-off parking area so that passing motorists can conveniently pull off state Highway 9, right in the town of Columbus itself, to safely read both sides of the sign’s historical inscription.
Remember: Just click on any photo below to see it in full-size and hi-resolution!
L to R: Miguel Garcia,of Deming, NM, and Baltazar Granados, who actually hails from Columbus, are with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT), and did the original site survey work for the new FASF Historical Marker.
Migueland Baltazarpose by their truck before commencing the survey work. The FASF billboard marking the 1916 airfield is behind them to the left.
Here is Baltazar measuring the dimensions for locating the new Marker Sign. Highway 9, in the forefront, has a steep drop-off shoulder closer to the Airfield, so these men had to find the nearest place where the shoulder was relatively flat, so that passing motorists might easily park their vehicles when they go over to read the Marker Sign. These men began this stie work almost exactly one (1) year ago!
Here we see the men from the P&M Sign Company Team working to erect the new sign, which was made by their firm under contract to the state of New Mexico. P&M makes most of these historical marker signs for New Mexico. They are located in picturesque Mountaiinair, NM. This work was completed by them this past September
Here are the actual text portions of the two-sided Marker, which clearly point out the historical information regarding the location’s importance. This sign is heavy-duty and completely weather proof.
The P&Mteam halfway through to completion. L to R: Larry Archuletaof Las Vegas, NM, Marcos Tavera ,Charles Padilla, and Andrew Lopez, all three from Mountainair, NM
Here is the front side of the sign, with page one of the story facing to the West.
And here, above, is the back side of the Marker, facing East towards El Paso, Texas. You can see by the construction of the Maker that this ediface is both sturdily made – and situated.
L to R: FASF celebrants of the new Sign’s Official Dedication: Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas,Airfield Director, Bob Wright; Long-time FASF member and just-retired Manager of the nearby Pancho Villa State Park, John Read; FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas; Bill Madden, Airfield Site Chairman; Fritz Wagoner, Airfield Survey & Artifact Team; and Historical Marker Committee Chairman, 1st VP of the FASF, Jason Adams, and his daughter, Chloe. All four of the FASF members on the right side of the sign are from Las Cruces, NM. At the left in photo, TheMayorand Bob Wrightare from Columbus, and John Read and Alma Villezcasare both from Deming, NM.
The following photos were taken at the annual Christmas Luncheon for Daedalian Flight 24 at the El Paso Club, All members of the Flight are active members of the FASF. The guest of honor and presenter at the event was Army Aviator, General Laura Yeager(no relation to the famous American Test Pilot, Chuck Yeager!), who briefed the members on her mission at Fort Bliss as Commander of the JOINT TASK FORCE NORTH. All of the below photos are in high-resolution and can be more fully appreciated by simply clicking on them.
FASF members, Col. Bob Pitt(L) chats with (at center) Aviation Hall of Famer, Bob Dockendorf, at Daedallian holiday event. AT the podium, at right, in the background is Flight Captain Roger Nichols.
Daedalians and guests prepare for General Yeager’s presentation . . . Her staff is at left: Aide de Camp, Capt. Sperry,and USAF Sergeant Oliver. The General’s Command is a Joint Command, composed of all the military services.
L to R: Julie and Col. Bob Pitt,Roger Nicholsand Bob Dockendorf
L to R at wall: Alma Villezcas, Virg and Jenine Hemphill, Lt. Pfluger, David Ginn, Alan and Melissa Fisher, and forefront, Julie Pitt, District Court Judge Angie Juarez Barilland her husband, Patrick Barill
L to R: Loading up their buffet lunch, Bob Dockendorf,Judy Campos,Alan and Melissa Fisher
Brig. General Laura L Yeager opens her presentation
General Yeagerexplains how her Command coordinates with many other Federal Agencies in its mission.
Col. Bob Pitt and General Yeager
L to R: Outgoing Flight Captain, Roger Nichols, Gen. Yeager, Sgt. Oliver, Capt. Sperry and Col. Pitt
L to R: Gen. Yeager chatting with Cadet Ammber Valverde, the youngest FASF member and UTEP student.
Col. Alan Fisherspeaking with Cadet Ammber Valverde
L to R: Ammber Valverde, Gen. Yeager, and Alma Villezcas, FASF Treasurer
The following photos and the video are of the Civil Air Patrol Squadron 24 Christmas party in Las Cruces, NM.
L to R: Michelle Phillips, William Benziger Juanita and Robert Macklin, Alan Fisher, and Walter Dutton, at whose home the event was held.
In front row kneeling or sitting are, L to R: Alan and Melissa Fisher, Ric Lambart,Walter and Barbara Dutton, and in the rear: Alma Villezcas, Travis McKenzie, Jim and Luann McConnell, Damien and Carol Blaschka, Robert and Juanita Macklin, William Benziger, Michelle Phillips, and Michael LeGendre.
Major Natalie Franc, a native of Glenhrothes, Scotland, is the current commanding officer of the El Paso, TX Civil Air Patrol (CAP) “Composite” Squadron. As distinguished from a regular squadron, a Composite Squadron includes a CAP Cadet Corps, along with its Senior Members.
Natalie began her career with the CAP when living in Hawaii after having been in the Royal Air Force (RAF), in which she enlisted when 18 years old, after having first served, since she was 13, in the Air Training Corps of Great Britain. In the RAF she was assigned to Intelligence, where she used her skills as a linguist with a fluency in the Russian Language.
When on active duty with the RAF she met and married her husband, Michael, who was also in the Intelligence branch of the U. S. Army. When he was transferred back to the U.S. in 2002, she moved there with him. Before finally settling in El Paso, Texas, Natalie had lived in Maryland, Hawaii, Arizona, and Germany. As a civilian, in addition to her work with the CAP, she has worked in various capacities in Emergency Services and has been a volunteer with Army Family Programs and has also been an Armed Forces Caseworker. Natalie now runs her own business in El Paso.
The Major showed a custom prepared Power Point slide show to the Daedalian Flight members, who are also members of the FASF. The following photographs of this event are all in high-resolution, and can be seen full-size by simply clicking on them as they appear below.
L to R: Major Natalie Franc, Colonels Mario Campos and Bob Pitt.
L to R: FASF Aviation News Scout, Virgil Hemphill, Colonels Norman Rice (back to camera) and Alan Fisher. Colonel Fisher is also an active volunteer pilot for the Las Cruces, NM Squadron of the CAP.
L to R: Mark Pfluger, Active Duty Army Rotary Wing Pilot from Ft. Bliss’ Biggs Army Airfield, and his mentor, Flight Captain, Roger Nichols.
L to R: Maj. Franc, Col. Camposand his wife, Judy, Julie and Col. Bob Pitt, Retired USAF Colonels, Melissa and Alan Fisher, Virg Hemphill and Roger Springstead (USNR Ret.) Anselmo Rocha, Assistant to Col. Norman and Mrs. Ulla Rice, Jerry Dixon (USMC), Dave Ginn, Charlie Overstreet, Jim Brandon, Col. Pete Brandon’s visiting brother, and just out of camera range to Pete’s left is his guest, Skip Orrell.
Major Franc adjusts computer projector . . . as she explains that the CAP has the largest single-engined fleet of Cessna Aircraft in the world. The powered aircraft total is about 560, and she reported that the CAP also owns 47 glider-sailplanes, which are used to train Cadet members, along with several Hot Air Balloons, which select Cadets are also taught to operate and fly.
The Major explains the National CAP organization’s composition . . . which inlcudes the Continental U.S., Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
In this set of slides, Major Franc gives some examples of the CAP role in Search and Rescue Operatrions (“SAR” Ops).
L to R: Melissa and Alan Fisherand Virg Hemphill listen to Maj. Francexplaining her El Paso TX CAP operation . . .
Here the CAP Commander explains the role of the CAP in disaster Relief Operations, noting her own squadron’s heavy involvement in Hurricane Harvey, which struck East Texas, in particular, the Houston area.
In this slide the Major explains that the CAP mission also includes other roles in addition to Search and Rescue and Disater Relief . . . pointing out that her squadron plays an important role in Border and National Air Space Security.
Here Nataliedescribes the numerouis mission qualifications in which CAP members work throughout the Squadrons.
And here she shows the Daedalians and their guests how the CAP stays in constant radio contact with its mission personnel and aircraft during operations . . .
Major Franc sums up her presentation and takes questions from the audience . . .
L to R: Major Francand Flight Captain Roger Nicholsstudy one of the slides shown during the presentation.
L to R: Col. Bob Pitt, Major Natalie Franc, Flight Captain Roger Nichols, and Colonel Campos, who invited the Major to make the presentation . . .
L to R: Flght Captain Nicholsand newly inducted Daedalian, Dave Ginn, and Colonel Bob Pitt.