Major Lew Jennings, US Army Ret.
“The Battle for Hamburger Hill (Hill 937): May 10-20, 1969”
Award-winning author Lew Jennings will share his first-hand experience of supporting the 101st Airborne on Hamburger Hill as a Cobra Gunship pilot. His thrilling stories will immerse you into the harrowing experience of helicopter combat. Lew completed 726 combat missions in one tour, receiving three DFCs for valor.Find out more »
Major Bill March, RCAF
“Tales from the Royal Canadian Air Force”
Major Bill March will fly in from Trenton Air Base, Canada to share stories about the people, events, and aircraft that helped shape the service during its illustrious history.Find out more »
Brigadier General Jim Greshik, USAF (Ret)
“The Secret War During Vietnam”
Brigadier General Jim Greshik USAF Ret will share his harrowing stories of a FAC in Vietnam and other places undocumented. Serving three tours in Vietnam flying the KC-135 air refueling tanker and the O-2A aircraft while performing the night forward air controller mission in Laos, he flew a total of 243 combat missions, accumulating nearly 900 hours combat time. By the end of his military career, he was a Command Pilot with 4,600 hours of flying time in a variety of aircraft (KC-135A/E/R, O-2A, OV-10, OA-37, A-10A). His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with three devices, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 12 devices, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry, among numerous others.
Known as the Secret War among the CIA Special Activities Division and Hmong veterans of the conflict, The Laotian Civil War was fought between the Communist Pathet Lao and the Royal Lao Government, with both sides receiving heavy external support in a proxy war between the global Cold War superpowers. The Kingdom of Laos was a covert theatre for other belligerents during the Vietnam War.Find out more »
Former President, 8th Air Force Historical Society
“8th Air Force Berlin Bombing Missions of 1944”
Mark Copeland presents unrevealed details of the 8th AF bombing raids into Germany in 1944 and 1945 based on his private interviews with veteran crews. His stories were acquired through years of dedication to them and the 8th Air Force Historical Society, where he has served as the National President, Board Member and as an Honorary Life Member. He serves on the Executive Committee of the 100th Bomb Group Foundation, is a Historical Consultant for five international war historical museums and is the Chief Historical Consultant for Military Gallery. He has published dozens of articles for aviation magazines and historical groups. He serves as a Program Director for aviation operations near Minneapolis.Find out more »
“The Life and Times of Triple Ace Robin Olds”
The daughter of BG Robin Olds, Christina Olds published his memoirs Fighter Pilot: The Memoirs of a Legendary Ace Robin Olds in 2010. The book became a national bestseller, heralded by reviewers and readers as an exceptionally literary and lyrical biography. Ms. Olds is now working on her second book, the story of her grandfather Major General Robert Olds, an instrumental leader in the development of early air power and the U.S. Air Force. She is also writing and narrating a documentary on her father’s WWII experience, in partnership with the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum.Find out more »
“Army Airbase to International Airport, the History of PSP”
The Palm Spring Army Airbase was the origin of the current Palm Springs International Airport. It was started by the City of Palm Springs but taken over and completed by the US Army for use in WWII. Located where the Desert Regional Medical Center is today, Torney General Hospital was adjacent to the airbase and included the former El Mirador Hotel. Many G.I.’s were nursed back to health at this facility. The fascinating history of these two military installations and how they worked together details an important piece of Palm Springs’s contribution to the war effort.
Sid Burks has been a pilot and teacher for over 40 years. He studies military, aviation, and Coachella Valley history and has a passion for sharing information with others.Find out more »
Col Gordon L. Jenkins, USAF Ret.
“Risky Business: F-105s in Thailand”
Colonel Gordon L. Jenkins shares untold and scary tales of combat in the F-105s. A native of Baton Rouge and an LSU graduate, served as Cadet Wing Commander of the 2000 man Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. A distinguished graduate of AFROTC, he received his aeronautical rating in 1966. He completed advanced Tactical Fighter School, and was stationed in Thailand as an F-105D fighter pilot. He returned from Southeast Asia as one of the most decorated First Lieutenants in the Air Force, having been awarded two Silver Stars, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and 15 Air Medals. He assigned to Laughlin AFB where he logged over 1600 hours as a T-38 instructor pilot. He was named Pilot Instructor of the Year for the Air Training Command in 1969.
In 1973, during his second combat tour, he was stationed at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base flying the F-105G Wild Weasel. He later served as Commander of the 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron flying the F-4G Wild Weasel. He was promoted to Colonel in 1984 and was a Distinguished Graduate of the Air War College Class of 1985. His final assignment was Vice Commander of the Air Force Electronic Warfare Center where he retired on June 1, 1986. He is a member of the Baton Rouge High School Hall of Fame, the Louisiana Veterans Hall of Honor, the LSU Veterans Hall of Honor and the Hall of Honor at the Palm Springs Air Museum.Find out more »
“Aircraft Nose Art: From Sea Monsters to Sirens and Back Again”
Based at Cable Airport (KCCB), Ms. Bergen and her company Victory Girl have designed and painted hundreds of nose art pieces. Join us as she initiates us in the rich history of this unique art form, including its origins in WWI, the heyday of nose art in WWII, and the modern craftsmen who continue the tradition today.Find out more »
Col Blake Lamar
Maintenance Group Commander, 163d Attack Wing, California Air National Guard
“Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations”
Born in Texas, raised in California and enlisted in the California Air National Guard in 1983, Col. Lamar graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in Psychology. He performed several tours of duty, flying combat and combat support missions, in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. In 2006, Lamar was selected as Initial Cadre for the 196th Squadron’s conversion to the MQ-1 Predator, helping pioneer the stand up of the Air National Guard’s first operational Remote Piloted Aircraft Squadron unit, which was recognized as “the most innovative Remote Piloted Aircraft Squadron in the Air Force” by senior Air Force leadership, including in 2013, the first RPA support mission for a California civil disaster by helping firefighters battle the Yosemite Rim Fire.
The 163d Attack Wing is comprised of more than 800 personnel and provides support to more than 200 additional members at geographically separated locations. The wing is the California Air National Guard’s exclusive MQ-9 Reaper operations unit providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, as well as tactical combat support, to commanders and war fighters around the world. Commander of the 163d Maintenance Group, Col. Lamar will discuss the ins and outs of keeping these birds flying including logistical challenges and human factors and share some insightful stories of the more exciting moments of his career.Find out more »
“Lost Stories of Old Bold Pilots”
A multi-engine instrument rated pilot and USAF veteran who made bombing charts during Vietnam, Gene currently teaches computer security, crypto, and operating system topics at UC San Diego and University of Maryland. Gene has been connected with Old Bold Pilots of Oceanside for many years. From first person interviews, he will be sharing some of their incredible stories.Find out more »
“The Golden Age of Planetary Exploration”
We are honored and delighted to welcome Dr. John Casani as our guest speaker. Starting in 1956 as an electronics engineer on some of the nation’s earliest spacecraft, he rose through a series of technical and management positions to Chief Engineer of the Caltech Jet Propulsion Laboratory, with broad management oversight for the Laboratory’s technical activities.
During his long and illustrious career, Dr. Casani has served in many capacities on a wide variety of space exploration projects, manned and unmanned. Up until his retirement five years ago, he was routinely awarded the most prestigious honors in his field, including the Air and Space Museum Trophy for Lifetime Achievement in 2009. You won’t want to miss this unique opportunity to hear from the man who has spent his life taking us to the stars!Find out more »