Honoring honor graduates

One of the ongoing efforts of the Tri-City Council is working with our community affiliate, Navy Federal Credit Union, to honor the honor graduate of each class of the Field Medical Service Technician Course — the Navy hospital corpsmen who aid Marines — at Camp Pendleton.

Honor graduate HN Parker Furnish, with NFCU rep Michael Dumbrique at right, and Tri-City Council President Bill McDonald. 20 March 2015
Honor graduate HN Parker Furnish, with NFCU rep Michael Dumbrique at right, and Tri-City Council President Bill McDonald. 20 March 2015

These young men and their classmates join the famed “Devil Docs” and the brotherhood of Navy Corpsmen and Marines. The rating of Hospital Corpsman is the most decorated in the US Navy, with individuals receiving 22 Medals of Honor, 174 Navy Crosses, 31 Navy Distinguished Service Medals, 946 Silver Stars, and 1,582 Bronze Stars. Those participating in the service technician course undergo rigorous military training to be able to assist the Marines.

Honor graduate HN Osazuma Ighoosagie, with NFCU rep Melanie Harris, left, and Tri-City Council Director Bill McDonald. 11 December 2014
Honor graduate HN Osazuma Ighoosagie, with NFCU rep Melanie Harris, left, and Tri-City Council Director Bill McDonald. 11 December 2014

 

Wonderful night in WOXOF

Members and friends of the Tri-City Council enjoyed camaraderie, dinner, and an update on today’s Marine Corps at its dinner March 6, held in the distinctive WOXOF Room at the MCAS Miramar Officers’ Club.

Col. John Farnam, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar, addresses the Tri-City Council dinner.
Col. John Farnam, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar, addresses the Tri-City Council dinner. Photo by John Fontanini

As you can see in the photo above, the ambience of the WOXOF Room is quite unlike the generic look of the other banquet and conference rooms at the O Club. As speaker Col. John Farnam, a Naval Flight Officer, explained, WOXOF is an acronym that stands for “weather obscured, zero visibility, and fog.” That means no flying and when that happens pilots visit the bar.

Dinner attendees. The ceiling is intended to represent the weather conditions described by WOXOF. Photo by John Fontanini
Dinner attendees. The ceiling is intended to represent the weather conditions described by WOXOF. Photo by John Fontanini

Col. Farnam, commanding officer, MCAS Miramar, gave the gathering a status report on Marine Corps manning, described recent USMC activities and exercises, described plans for new hangars to accommodate new platforms, and shared updates on the ever-popular Miramar Air Show. The CO said he would end his time at Miramar in late summer, but stay local, moving to a position at Camp Pendleton, and looked forward to continuing to work with the Navy League.

Airman Elise Odom, Naval Sea Cadet Corps
Airman Elise Odom, Naval Sea Cadet Corps. At right is Bob Rombach, regional director of the Naval Sea Cadet Corps. Photo by John Fontanini

Members of the Gunfighter Squadron, Naval Sea Cadet Corps, based at MCAS Miramar, and one of the youth groups supported by the Tri-City Council, constituted the color guard for the event. Four of them stayed for dinner and shared their experiences with other guests. Airman Elise Odom was especially recognized for her upcoming summer as a Plebe at the US Naval Academy, which she will enter in the fall.

Also receiving special recognition was Mehdi Chitgari, immediate past president of the Tri-City Council. He was presented a placque acknowledging his exemplary service to the Council.

Several representatives of the Council’s community affiliates attended the dinner, including representatives of Classic Chariots, Navy Federal Credit Union, and Miramar Federal Credit Union.

Here is a gallery of other views of the WOXOF Room.

Prior to the dinner, several Council members and friends visited the Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum, adjacent to the Miramar Officers’ Club. Docents stayed past their usual closing time to describe the wide range of exhibits and static displays of vintage aircraft. The museum is open to the public (accessible without entering MCAS Miramar) and is free of charge. It is a great collection of artifacts and aircraft, hosted by very helpful docents, nearly all of whom are former Marine aviators.

Docent John Pierce, at right, describes one of the guns on display to Ed Languid, area president of the Navy League, center, and Bruce Renne,  v-p for membership, San Diego Council, Navy League.
Docent John Pierce, at right, describes one of the guns on display to Ed Langmaid, area president of the Navy League, center, and Bruce Renne, v-p for membership, San Diego Council, Navy League.

One of the particularly iconic aircraft on display is this CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter.

DSC_0056

It is the very helicopter in which US Ambassador Graham Martin evacuated Saigon, South Vietnam, on 30 April 1975, signaling the end of official US presence in Vietnam. During the several days previous to the ambassador’s evacuation, dozens of Marine helicopter crews had brought 1,373 Americans and nearly 6,000 Vietnamese and other foreign nationals to US ships offshore.

Here is a gallery of some of the other exhibits and displays at the Flying Leathernecks Aviation Museum.