The Pilot Classes of World War II held their annual reunion in Colorado Springs, CO this year. The reunion, which consists of Army Air Corps pilot training graduates from 1940-1945, was hosted at the DoubleTree by Hilton Colorado Springs.
The reunion kicked into action on Wednesday, September 7th as members began arriving from all over the country. On Thursday, attendees participated in a special tour to NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) and USNORTHCOM. They began the day by arriving at Peterson AFB where they were pleasantly surprised to receive a welcome by the men and women of the NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Upon arrival, attendees were greated by Gen. Lori Robinson, NORAD and USNORTHCOM Commander and LTG Dan Hokanson, USNORTHCOM Deputy Commander. The two helped to provide the guests with a better understanding of the unique missions of NORAD and USNORTHCOM to defend the homeland. Attendees received a briefing by NORAD, who is responsible for US and Canada military defense by aircraft, missiles, space vehicles, or maritime avenues. After the tour and command briefing, the group attended lunch at The Airplane Restaurant, an aviation themed restaurant with an intact Boeing KC-97 tanker as its centerpiece. Following lunch, reunion attendees made their way to the National WWII Aviation Museum, which specializes in the unique role of aviation throughout World War II.
Friday included an exciting tour as well, this time to the United States Air Force Academy. The Pilot Classes of WWII reunion attendees received a personal, guided tour of the 18,500 stunning AF Academy campus. One of the highlights of the tour was visiting the Cadet Chapel, now considered among the most prominent examples of modern American academic architecture. Lunch was served at the Officer’s Falcon Club and was followed by the viewing of the Cadets’ Formation and Parch in Tarrazo Pavilion.
For those interested in taking in the beautiful sites of Colorado Springs, the reunion association offered a tour to the Garden of the Gods on Saturday morning. The bus tour highlighted the 1,350 acre park with magnificent red stone formations that date back 300 million years. The park is now a registered National Natural Landmark, and features dramatic views of 300 foot sandstone rock formations against a backdrop of snow-capped Pikes Peak and brilliant blue skies. After taking in the sights, the tour attendees enjoyed lunch on their own at the Trading Post before heading back to the hotel for their banquet dinner. For dinner Saturday evening, attendees enjoyed an option of New York Strip Steak with Peppercorn Merlot Demi, Chicken Saltimbocca with Fried Prosciutto and Sage with Glaze, or Colorado Bass and Shrimp with a White Wine Sause and Pearled Couscous.