The Surf Beat: February 12th, 2019

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February 12th, 2019


President Kevin Quinn called the meeting to order and welcomed fellow Rotarians and guests to the Rotary Club of La Jolla.  To mark Valentine’s Day this week, the tables were beautifully decorated by Judy Nelson with decorations provided by Laurnie Durisoe.

Inspiration:Ken Lundgren shared the following inspiration:

 

Here at Rotary we will find service and commitment,

Here we will experience caring and community,

Here we will transcend obstacles,

Here we will deliver results,

Let it continue to be so.  Amen.

Pledge: John Donaldson

Song: Kevin Quinn invited all the past presidents of our club to lead us in the National Anthem “The Star Spangled Banner.”


Rotary Welcomed:

Pollyanne Cady and Allan Cady from the Mesa West Rotary Club in Arizona.  They are both retired and keep a boat near Seaport Village, and visit San Diego often. Richard Golden and his wife from the Rotary Club of McLean, Virginia. They recently purchased a condominium in San Diego. Other guests included Rosanna Salcedo, a guest of Femie Cupit; and Maryjo Dase, sister and guest of Sid Stutz. Maryjo lives in Colorado and maintains a part-time practice in Psychology.


Announcements:

  • Paul Harris Award: President Kevin with the help of Will Creekmur awarded Cindy Goodman her sixth Paul Harris award (Paul Harris plus six) recognizing her generous contributions to the Rotary International Foundation. “Our donations help other Rotarians do good in the world. Right now, there are 1.2 million Rotarians in the world representing over 200 countries and over 350,000 clubs”, Will shared as he thanked Cindy on behalf of Rotary International.
  • Honorary Membership: Zeke Knight was awarded an Honorary Membership to The Rotary Club of La Jolla by President Kevin and Dirk Harris. Zeke was recognized for his long-term contribution to our club and for distinguishing himself by meritorious service to the furtherance of Rotary.  President Kevin also thanked Zeke for welcoming him to the Club when Kevin first joined Rotary. Zeke is enjoying gardening, painting, reading and his time with his wonderful wife Ellen.
  • PETS: Charles Hartford shared his experience attending the President-Elect Training Seminar this past weekend. He said it was an opportunity for him to learn about the larger organization that our club is part of and to understand directly from the President of Rotary International what the priorities are for the upcoming year.  Charles shared that he feels blessed we have a club with very few conflicts, if any. He feels fellowship is the number one reason that members stay with Rotary.  It may also be the reason why more young people want to join Rotary. People want to be involved with changing their communities and the world.
  • Susan Rutan, as International Chair of our club, has been recruited to present and speak at the District Conference on March 2ndabout her humanitarian mission to Puerto Rico. Some members have volunteered to help Susan with this mission. Susan is looking for commitment from them and is looking for additional volunteers.  Please contact SusanRutan at 858-361-4436 or rutan@gmail.comwith questions and if you are interested in joining this worthwhile effort for our citizens in Puerto Rico.
  • Camille McKinnie gave us an update on Claude Rosinsky’s health as she will be undergoing eye surgery. We wish Claude a speedy and complete recovery.
  • The Rotary District Training Assembly is on March 30, 2019. Held only once a year, the District Training Assembly offers training for Rotarians including club officers, directors and committee chairs to help them become more effective club leaders.  All club members, especially Red Badgers, are welcome and encouraged to attend.
  • Rotarians at Work Day is on April 27, 2019.
  • The 2019 District Conference is from March 1-3, 2019 at the Catamaran Hotel in Pacific Beach.
  • The 2019 Rotary Foundation Gala is on April 29, 2019.
  • The 8thAnnual District 5340/Kroc School Peace Forum is on Saturday, February 23, 2019 from 8AM-12Noon at the Joan Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. This year’s theme is Human Trafficking. The event is free of charge
  • The La Jolla Music Society’s concert with pianist George Li is on Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3 PM. The tickets are $38.  We have put a deposit down for 40 tickets.  Please contact Sally Fuller if interested.
  • RYLA interviews will be on Thursday, February 28, 2019 from 8 AM-Noon.
  • Sue Ball announced that she will be retiring this month from the YMCA after 35 years of service. She is planning to do some service work for the Y in South Africa and is also planning to travel for pleasure.

Member Update:

In a post-meeting communique, Kevin Quinn confirmed that Pat Stouffer is “in the free and clear” in terms of good health and expected to return to Rotary post haste. We look forward to welcoming Pat back soon!


Happy Bucks:

Davis Cracroft for retiring from Emergency medicine; Claire Reiss giving thanks; Bill Burch on behalf of Jane Reldan and as a tribute to Burton Housman; Pollyanne Cady, visiting Rotarian; Donald Lincoln; Elyse Banksfor being back from her travels.


 

Speaker:  Oscar D. Teel, member ofThe Tuskegee Airmen

Charles Hartford introduced our speaker, who joined us to speak about The Tuskegee Airmen. Mr. Teel entered the Army Air Corps in 1945.  He was scheduled to attend The Tuskegee Army Air Field for training as a pilot.  After waiting for four months, Tuskegee was suddenly closed since the war had ended. As a consequence, he never became a pilot.  After the military was integrated, Mr. Teel became a radar technician on B-29s, F-94s, F-89s, F-101s, F-102s and F-106s.  He became an instructor in electronics and later was appointed Commander of a Field Training Detachment.  While assigned to the 86thAir Division in Germany, he was appointed Division Armament and Electronics Officer.  He retired from the USAF in 1966 as a Chief Master Sergeant.

 

After retirement, Mr. Teel earned a degree in mathematics from CSU Northridge and was consequently employed by the Hughes Aircraft Company to work on radars and missiles as an engineer, project engineer, senior project engineer and program manager. He moved to Rancho Bernardo in 1993, where he resides with Hilda, his wife of 48 years. Mr. Teel has served on the Board of the Rancho Bernardo (RB) Historical Society and is a member of the Rancho Bernardo Lions Club and the San Diego chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.  He currently prepares the newsletter for the RB Lions and the local chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen.

 

The Tuskegee Airmen is the popular name of a group of African-American military pilots (fighter and bomber) who fought in World War II.  They formed the 332ndFighter Group and the 477thBombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces. All black military pilots who trained in the United States trained at the Tuskegee Army Air field in Tuskegee, Alabama.  The group included five Haitians from the Haitian Air Force, one pilot from Trinidad as well as an Hispanic airman from the Dominican Republic.

 

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. During WWII, black Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws and the American military was racially segregated.  The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to discrimination, both within and outside the army.

 

Before the Tuskegee Airmen, no African-American had been a U.S. military pilot.  After two decades of advocacy by prominent civil rights leaders, on April 3rd, 1939, the Appropriations Bill Public Law 18 was passed by Congress designating funds for training African-American pilots.  War Department tradition and policy mandated the segregation of African-Americans into separate military units staffed by white officers.  In 1941, the first all-black flying unit, the 99thPursuit Squadron was constituted.  The budding flight program at Tuskegee received a publicity boost when First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt inspected it in March 1941 and flew with an African-American chief civilian instructor C. Alfred “Chief ”Anderson.  After landing, she cheerfully announced “Well, you can fly alright.” Eleanor Roosevelt used her position to arrange a loan of $175,000 to help finance the building of Moton Field in Tuskegee.

 

With African-American fighter pilots being trained successfully, the Army Air Force now came under political pressure from the NAACP and other civil rights organizations to organize a bomber unit. On May 13th, 1943, the first Bombardment Squadron was established.  There was still rampant segregation.  African-American officers were not allowed access to the only Officer’s Club on base.  Also, white personnel were classified as cadre and African-Americans as trainees even though they had similar training.  In some cases, the Tuskegee Airmen had logged over 900 flight hours, which was much more than their white counterparts.  Off base, local laundries would refuse to wash their clothes, yet willingly laundered those of captured German soldiers.  In early April of 1945, the 118thBase Unit transferred in from Godman Field. Its African-American personnel held orders that they were cadres, not trainees.  On April 5th, officers of the 477thpeaceably tried to enter the whites-only Officer’s Club.  A Major ordered them to leave and took their names so as to get them arrested. They refused.  This started the Freeman Field Mutiny.  One-hundred-and-ten officers were arrested.  Charges against all were dismissed except for one, Roger Terry, who was court martialed. Later he was pardoned by Bill Clinton.

 

In all, 992 pilots were trained in Tuskegee from 1941-1946.  Of those, 355 were deployed overseas and 84 lost their lives.  The Tuskegee Airmen were credited with many accomplishments including Distinguished Unit Citations and 8 Purple Hearts. Tuskegee Airmen were considered some of the best pilots in the U.S. Army Air Forces due to a combination of pre-war experience and the personal drive of those accepted for training.  After segregation in the military was ended in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman with Executive Order 9981, the veteran Tuskegee Airmen were in high demand in the newly formed United States Air Force.  In May 1949, the 332ndFighter Group flying P-47s were awarded trophies in a hotel in Las Vegas that only one day earlier had refused admittance to several members of the 332ndFighter Group.

 

Tuskegee Airmen were instrumental in postwar developments in aviation.  They paved the path for Navy admirals. Marine Corps Generals, Astronauts, members of the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds.  Lloyd Newton, one of the leaders of Thunderbirds, became a Four Star General. Congress introduced legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Tuskegee Airmen.  The bill was signed into law by President Bush on April 11, 2006. The medal was presented to over 300 of those who participated in the “Tuskegee Experience” from 1941-1949.

 

Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation was formed in 1973 with 44 chapters nationwide and in Germany.  The San Diego chapter was formed in 1994. The objectives of this entity are: to foster recognition and preserve the achievements of blacks in Aviation and Aerospace and inspire and motivate young men and women towards careers in these fields. The Tuskegee Airmen National Scholarship Program grants 40 annual $1,500 scholarships nationwide to High School students who qualify.  A portion of I-15 has been named “Tuskegee Airmen Highway” and a plaque honoring the members was placed at Mt. Soledad.


President Closing Quote:

 

“Love isn’t finding a perfect person.  It’s seeing an imperfect person perfectly.” — Sam Keen


Surfbeat

Surf Beat:

 Reported by Shabnam Miglani. Photos By Shabnam Miglani .  Edited by Diane Salisbury.


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