On Saturday, we flew slot in a four ship and then flew other rides also. This formation flew over the downtown stadium prior to the Columbia Bombers baseball game. The CBS Sunday Morning news did an interview with Dick Cole (co-pilot of Ship #1) in the shade of our wing. He later came over and re-autographed the outside of our B-25. The signatures from a previous reunions, unfortunately, are gradually wearing off, even though we do not clean that part of the aircraft. By this time we had almost sold out of T-shirts and other memorabilia that we had brought in our "PX" on board the Rose. That night was the USO dance at the Adams Mark and we wore our squadron shirts for the occasion. The dance was also well attended and overflowed into the lobby.
We left with most of the others on Sunday morning for a bladder busting 4.5 hour flight to Conroe (North of Dallas). Because of headwinds, we could not make San Marcos non-stop. Many of the other B-25s diverted around thunderstorms in the Midwest, some in formation. When we went to another event the next weekend, a controller in Houston wanted to know if we were a "single" B-25.
Everyone on our crew would not have missed the event for the world. We all decided it was a "lifetime experience." If it is truly the last reunion, we feel deeply honored to have been there. I think even The Rose was impressed, since she gave us no trouble the whole time. Shortly after we returned, Hank Potter, (a member of our wing and Jimmy Doolittle's navigator in ship #1) passed away. The Rose was down for maintenance but Norma Jean and Miss Mitchell came down to fly the formation over the burial ceremony with other airplanes from our hangar. I was honored to fly our T-6 in the missing man formation which included a Tora Kate, Tora Zero, and T-34.
It is events like the Raider's Reunion that make you understand that "true happiness" is following your calling and participating in something bigger than us all!