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Well here it is 1:00 in the a.m. Dayton time and I'm retiring to my billet.

What a day. It started out with all WW's arriving safely to Dayton. (Bard has a luggage issue at the moment but so far that has been the only hiccup).

Wringer, Happy, Dub, Sandman, Gangster and myself toured the National Air Force museum. What a place. We spent well over two hours there and got through about 25% of what was available. What a pleasant afternoon and what a place. Fantastic WWI and WWII aircraft. We have another tour going over on Sunday. You could spend an entire weekend just going through the museum.

After the tour we went out for a quick lunch and hooked up with Sensei and Pepe. We shot the breeze for another couple of hours and were joined by Natops and Pierre.

The dinner was fantastic. Bard, Chunk, Blindfaith and Mrs. Blindfaith joined us. We had a tremendous time telling stories and thoroughly enjoying each others company. I really didn't know how this "get together" would turn out and it has far exceeded my wildest expectations. We had an unbeleiveable amount of fun. It is my honor to announce that the WW's have begun an annual award in honor of WWKat. The recipient will embody the spirit of the WW's as Kat did so well. The winner of the first annual award was a very deserving WWSandman. The plaque that Chunk put together looked terrific and Sandy was very suprised and honored to recieve the award. Great job Sandy, it is very much deserved my friend.

We left dinner at around 10:45 and some of us went on to another night spot that rhymes with "Looters". We now have a new nickname for WWGangster. He will now be known as WWKen_doll. (you'll have to ask him about this as we're on a strict don't ask don't tell policy here in Dayton)

Got back to the room around midnight and will get some shuteye so that I'm not to wiped out for tomorrow.

More later.

S!

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Congrats Sandman! You richly deserve that. Still bummed I could not make it though, I did get to have a big get together at my house last night though (9 kids in a sleepover /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_rolleyes.gif&key=1e8c06ab12fb541f5359109fc2a9aa78454b8063e7aa8862e992af3163d7b4b4"> ).

Thanks for the updates Reaper, I must get the intelligence officer to write up a report on this new WWKen_doll.

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WTG Sandy!

Can't wait for pics to startr showing up. Hope some cameras were very active at Hooters! /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_biggrin.gif&key=64cd7b7a0036899205810ec0a5b90ed7121d5889dd92733089c47c9758b7f4ae">

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We took hundreds (literally) of pictures.

I just arrived back home, most of the gang is still in Dayton and are taking in the museum again tomorrow.

I will fill you in more tomorrow as I'm pretty beat. The sun kicked our butts out there today.

We had breakfast around 8:30 then hustled over to the airport to look at some of the many static aircraft they had on display. The airshow was ok, it lasted a little over 4 hours. Quite a bit of "nothing happening" time. They did not coordinate the acts well. My fav was the Tora Tora Tora recreation. Great action, lots of big booms w/ smoke. It was very cool. F-16 was also very very awesome. The only WWII craft that flew (other than the Texan Zero's) was a P-38.

Took a while to get out of there. Gangster and I were the only ones to take off today (although I'm not sure about Blindfaith). The guys were going to have a dinner together tonight.

I'll upload the few pics I took tomorrow to my website.

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Hey guys...Bard, SandMan, Pierre, and I will be heading to the museum shortly and I'll continue to take photos there. I've already got over 120 pics, plus some movies from the air show yesterday. I thought I'd have time to post pics from the hotel room, but it hasn't worked out that way. I'll have to make a HUGE post once I get back home to PC. This laptop is slooooooooow. BTW, I'm having an absolute blast here! As Reaper said earlier, this has far exceeded my expectations!

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Wow! What a GREAT weekend.

Reaper! Sorry I missed your departure last evening. Dub, Pepe, Sensei, and I got back to the hotel and I made a phone call home and had a shower before coming out at 1900. BTW Sensei was next door to me in the hoteland took all the cold water.

After the airshow those of us remaining (10) went out for dinner and started working our way back to the hotel stopping at different restaurants trying to find one that could accomadate us all without having to wait an hour. We couldn't find one so just stopped at "Frank & Ermas" and waited in the shade. I don't know if it took an hour but it didn't seem that long as we all stood around chatting and enjoying each others' company.

I had a great dinner and great conversations. I think everyone enjoyed themselves as we closed the place down and wandered back to the hotel at 2330/1130pm (that's Ohio time Happy /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_wink.gif&key=940dab18e6395dabf49383a0bb376331df53e6f1880bab3f9e4e80745a8cc9ca"> ).

I went back to my room but some of the guys were getting together in Bard's room to watch a movie or two.

I finished packing and checked out of the hotel around 0830 and had a chance to say goodbye to Dub and SandMan. I think some of the other guys were across the parking lot waiting at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast.
Sorry about the 'Stealth' departure gentlemen but I wanted to get over to Columbus - turn in the rental car and get the checking in stuff done early.
I truly regret not being able to spend the day with you at the Air Force Museum - but family requires I start back. Once back in Toronto this afternoon/evening I'm continuing on to Montreal to pick up my eldest son and bring him back to Toronto on Monday. It will also give me the opportunity to check our old house as it is still unsold.

My thanks to Reaper for doing all the logistics in setting up the weekend for us. Great job, Chuck.

I had a blast and I'm already looking forward to the next time in 2(?) years. Start considering where and when guys ....

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Yeah Wringer I was sorry I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to everyone before I bolted. I'm glad dinner went well Sat. night.

It was truly a great weekend. The way the weekend went , meeting everyone was by far the best part of it. We talked as if we'd known each other for years (which we of course have). I always thought of this squad as a group of my good friends, now with this weekend that has been cemented. I truly enjoyed everyone's company. Happy and his stories, Jay and his always upbeat demeanor, finally meeting Mike and Sandy and Wringer who I have known for so long. Chunk and Bard who were kind enough to schlep me around on Saturday. Pierre & Natops who looked like they were having the time of their lives. Blindfaith and his wife Chris, who sprung for all of our drinks on Friday night. (thanks again Chris and Scott that was very kind of you both) I am so glad they were able to make it. Finally meeting Gangster who was the one WW who I had no idea what he looked like or what to expect. And finally Pepe who traverses WW eras for me. It was so good to meet and talk to all of the guys who attended. I could not have asked nor did I expect as much from this weekend as I experienced.

Thank you all for coming and we will deffinately be doing this again.

P.S. Special thanks to Pierre again for the nametags, after we tipped a few Friday they were very necessary....so we could rememer our own names! /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_wink.gif&key=940dab18e6395dabf49383a0bb376331df53e6f1880bab3f9e4e80745a8cc9ca">

Edited by Guest

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Sounds like everyone had a blast. If it's going again in the future i'll be sure to request some leave and tag along! :shock:

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I had an absolute blast this weekend! I wouldn't call it "meeting" everyone for the first. It was more like a costume party where we knew everyone already but just had to figure out who was behind the "mask". Why we chose the "masks" and bodies we did is beyond me! :shock:

The whole trip was worth it and more. Just seeing Dubya launch 20' out of his chair when the Blue Angels snuck up from behind us was worth its weight in gold! :D

I can't wait for all the pictures everyone took to come together in a WW photo album.

Thanks everyone for a once in a lifetime memory! Reunions will be great but there's something special about that first time. I am honored to have been a part of it.

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This gathering was one of the high lights of my life gentleman. I just want to say thank you to every one that took the time out of their busy lives to share a few days with each other. A special thanks to Reaper for organizing the show. Chuck it went off like a well oiled machine (Thanks for carrying my bag back to the car it was getting mighty heavy) Thanks to Pierre for the great wings and name tags, and the back seat navigation from the hotel to the air show. Natops thanks for hauling my old butt around (Did you ever find all the controls for that rental car? ) Sandman & Sensei thanks for keeping me on your wings when we were away fro the home base I do have a tendency to get lost. Thanks to Blindfaith for the drinks and the new BF decoder ring after I lost mine. Dubya, Sandman, Pepe, and Pierre sure glad there were other smokers there to share, we should all quit.

Thanks to every one for listing to all my stories and not going to sleep. Gangster you were the only one that did not look like I thought you should (youngster) Wringer thanks for the sunscreen to keep my neck from getting any redder then it is. Chunk and Bard thanks for the ride to the airport in style. Yall have restored my faith in the human race. It is so cool that so many people that have never met face to face can come together and it feels like your seeing your long lost family for the first time in 10 years. I just hope one day we can get the whole squadron together in one place. Who would ever think that a game could create such a bond of fellow ship that lasts so many years and is still going strong? I made it back to San Angelo with no glitches, Donna had my supper ready for me when I walked in the door (BLTs yum) She is doing a lot better and said, “Tell the boys thank you for taking care of her old man”. I hope every one had a safe trip home and looking forward to getting back in the virtual sky’s with you all.

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S! All,

What a FABULOUS weekend! It was a real honor and joy to put the faces with the names. (S! Wringer...I would never have picked you out! You are so much better looking in person!! LOL!!) SandMan looked EXACTLY like I envisioned him! CONGRATUATIONS, Sandy, YOU EARNED the KAT award!

I can't tell you all how much fun and how meaninglful this past weekend was for me. It was GREAT!

S! Reaper. You did a fabulous job of arranging everything. BIG THANX! Pierre, the Name Tags and Wings were icing on the cake...WELL DONE! my friend. (Pierre is keeping this secret, but he is an excellent NAVIGATOR!! Where ever we went, we were never lost...WE WERE MAKIN' PROGRESS!! LOL!! WAY TO GO!!)

For Bard, thanx for sharing the info you are developing on the CD...it will undoubtedbly be a smash hit! For brevities sake I won't try to mention everyone, but I truly enjoyed your fellowship (even if you don't like grits!) and the fabulous time we had together at Dayton.

Pepe and BlindFaith, it was just wonderful meeting you guys...now I know why the WW's are so great! Thanks, again BF for the booze...I really enjoyed it!!

God willing, I WILL MAKE THE NEXT REUNION IN TWO YEARS!

Can't close without remembering WWKat. God bless you Kat. This reunion was in your honor.

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I just got in a little while ago and I'm just now starting to go through the photos of this past weekend's events. While I had a great time at both the airshow and the USAF Museum, the best times, by far, were had when all of the WW"s sat down to eat. Whether it was doing the point/counter-point of grits with Natops and Pierre, or watching a VERY thirsty Happy furiously take down some iced tea directly from the pitcher; it was non-stop fun.

I closed my eyes for a second on Friday night and just listened to as the voices that I've grown accustomed to hearing only on TeamSpeak over the past couple of years came to life as real people. Not just "guys that I fly IL-2 with", but people that I am proud to call friends. We all come from different parts of the country, or different countries for that matter, yet this common interest of aviation brought us together in a real family reunion-type atmosphere.

I had thought that we might run out of things to talk about, but in the end, I think we didn't have enough time to say everything we had on our minds. I've visited friends all over the country. Be it folks that I've worked with in the past, or grade school friends that have since mioved away. But those get-togethers pale in comparison to what went on this weekend. My jaw and throat hurt from all the laughing and smiling that was going on. So, many thanks to Reaper, and to everyone that made this weekend an incredible event.

I'm sure from his perch up there, Kat liked what he saw...

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Hey Guys I uploaded a bunch of pictures to the vault. Its in the WWDayton folder. A 12mb rar file if ya want um. Sensei I don't know how to do a link to them. If ya want to do that its ok.

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Well.....I've finally got some time to sit and write about the weekend.

First off, I want to apologize for leaving so quickly on Saturday. As a few of you knew, I was having landscaping done that day and I needed to get back to approve the work and pay the guys. I went for a drink when the Blue Angels went up and the woman told me that it could take me over an hour to get out of there if I waited until the rush. So I jumped on the bus right away.

That being said...........I had a fantastic time. As many have said, it was truly like meeting up with people you've known for a lifetime. Like all of you I had a "perceived image of everyone", and most didnt match for me. But I'll tell you, by the end of dinner that first night, the REAL faces were a perfect fit.

The museum was great........and I got a chance to meet with my old classmate from highschool that is now the research historian there. Its hard for me to believe that is the guy responsible for restoring the Memphis Belle. He'll be a great asset for techinical question if we ever need them.

The best part for me was the conversation. I think that if we skipped the museum and the airshow, we'd still be posting about what a fantastic weekend it was just from the talks we shared. Its the uniqueness of a close friendship that enables you to be open with someone. I saw nothing but true openness from all that attended. Everyone was completely comfortable being themselves around true friends. One example of this was Sandman shedding a tear when he received the first ever "Art Stacy" award. Knowing the meaning of the award, we were all moved by that moment.

I am truly glad that I was able to take part in the first gathering of WW's. I do think that it brought the group closer for those who attended. We might even be getting some of the RB stragglers to join us in the 1940's in the near future (Pepe......we'll have your SA processing at 400kmH in no time 8) ).

A BIG ~S~................from one very proud WingWalker!! :D

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Just a quick note - I got up to Toronto and on to Montreal no problem and picked up my son at his 'Papa's' place and got him home this morning also without a hitch. (Man, it is great to have him home again.)

Happy, I loved your stories - you were the life of the party my friend. Gangster may have a new call but you could use `Iced_Tea' and we would all know who it was. :D That was classic.

Natops, well I guess I'm not offended, I think. :? Where's the Goober Duty Roster just in case? /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_wink.gif&key=940dab18e6395dabf49383a0bb376331df53e6f1880bab3f9e4e80745a8cc9ca"> If the Toronto Base A320 gets any MCO layovers before I change airplanes I will be getting one and looking to meet up with you again - especially now as you will be able to recognize me. 8)

Hearing Sensei tell one of his great tales first hand was worth the trip alone.

The weekend wasn't long enough - I could have listened to you guys for days and days more. The variety and richness of the backgrounds of all of the Wing Walkers is one of our strengths and blessings.

Thanks to all of you for making it a very special event.

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@Happy, I get

File size mismatch.
Transfer failed.

After downloading your pictures from the Vault, but they seem to open ok, so heads up on the error, if anyone else gets it.

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I just have one more thing to say and then I'll let it go.

I can't tell you guys how pleased I am that you enjoyed this as much as I did. I have to say I was a bit apprehensive before the weekend, wondering , as Chunk said, whether we'd have anything to talk about. But as others have stated, we ran out of time. How do you know how something like this will go with a group that you've never actually met? It was new territory for me that's for sure, but I knew I at least wanted us to try it. If it didn't work we'd go back to our monitors and go on as before. But as Curt (Gangster_doll) /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_wink.gif&key=940dab18e6395dabf49383a0bb376331df53e6f1880bab3f9e4e80745a8cc9ca"> said, this will only serve to bring us closer.

I have always been proud to be a part of this group. After this weekend..I've never been prouder. Thanks all, for the great time.

S!

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Man... I had a GREAT time! /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/eusa_dance.gif&key=914c0380e7760b26de0fcf437c3bf7b7f4277d92000bdf6e4f72449d0e56bfd4">

I'm still trying to process everything in order to make some sort of coherant post of highlights. But I find it's pretty dang tough to list everything. So, in no certain order, but trying to more or less follow a time-line...

Friday morning : Arrived at the hotel about 10:45 local time, got my room key (being sure to leave the second with the desk clerk for Dubya to use) and sat looking out the window at the hotel next door. My thoughts were swirling... Disbelief that I was *there*, and actually going to meet my fellow Wing Walkers.

Dub arrives, proudly displaying his car's license plate : WWDUBYA :LOL:

The rest of the early folks gather for a road-trip to the museum. Of course no one knew how to get there, but with all the computer geeks in one room, we figured it out. ;) Lots of walking, many pictures taken, and only make it through two of the six display areas at the Air Force Museum before we have to head back to the hotel and make arrangements for the dinner.

Wringer tries his best to lose Reaper and Gangster in the wild Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic. Being expert at maintaining a good sight picture on the target, Gangster and Reaper both stay tucked in close to Wringer's six... No paint was traded, but it was close!

Handshakes and hugs as Wing Walkers meet for the first time. Emotional and sort of odd... I know these voices, yet have never seen the people other than in pictures. Dubya is giddy and pleasant to be around. A good room mate. Natops is a big man... with lots of Navy military bearing about him. Pierre is quiet and reserved, with tendancies to wander off and smell the roses. Wringer has a grin that won't quit. Reaper is nervous and excited and in-charge, all of which suit him on this evening. Gangster is surprisingly young and handsome, and doesn't look at all like a gangster! Happy is living up to his name in every way imagineable, constant smiles and great stories. Sensei is quietly observing everything ... I somehow feel like I'm going to be in one of his hilarious stories pretty soon. Sensei brings a surprise : Pepe! Pepe and his unmistakeable New York accent, thrilled to meet all of us and claiming he *will* be flying again soon. We'll hold ya to it, Frank! Chunk, a great, smiling bear of a man. My daughter sends hugs to the big man with bigger generosity (she's already been out taking pictured with the camera you brought for her!) Bard... whom I managed to irritate right away (lol)... looking nothing like I had ever pictured. Yet the "Auzzy" (not Aussy) accent proved his identity beyond a shadow of doubt. Young-ish and handsome, Bard is quietly observing the crowd and looking for the next gal to add to his list of conquests. BlindFaith arrives to everyone's delight, a tall slim man with a unique outlook, and no decoder rings! bf has brought his wife along for the ride, she must be wondering what sort of adventure this is going to be. She's a wonderful gal with a pretty smile.

Dinner, drinks, and a surprise presentation. I'm flabbergasted, touched, and damn near crying like a little baby. I choke out a few words, babbling really. I can't begin to express my appreciation... my sadness ... Art, my friend, you are truly loved and missed by the Wing Walkers. I can't begin to convey the pride of being honored with the award bearing your name.

After dinner, we break up into smaller groups... some off to bed after a long day's traveling, some to other establishments for a couple more drinks and more time with good friends. Gangster is unceremoniously awarded a new nick-name by a petit bleached-blonde waitress. Now and forever more, Gangster will be known as Ken-Doll. :lol:

~~~

Gotta take a break... More recollections and rambling views from your's truly later on.

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A quick addition, ... Misfits_Murph and his wife and young'un joined the fun! I wasn't expecting any visitors from outside the squad, so his arrival was a pleasant surprise. /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/thumbsup.gif&key=740950605ea2b767b0522526afb1c81551f03118b6b4457f095c43ae8aab1fd4"> Thanks for joining us Murph! S!

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Sorry about the Ice_Tea incident guys /applications/core/interface/imageproxy/imageproxy.php?img=%7BSMILIES_PATH%7D/icon_wink.gif&key=940dab18e6395dabf49383a0bb376331df53e6f1880bab3f9e4e80745a8cc9ca"> But i was dieing of thirst after all the talking i did :lol:

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