Saturday, November 16

Let Them Eat Cake

Dirty Flight Suit Party Friday Night

It was a celebratory weekend in Stuart, Florida for the last air show of 2013.  This  was one of the largest gatherings of Flagship crew members in recent times, so it was a wonderful reunion. Lots of good food, fabulous hospitality from Tony and Judy De Santis, a wedding AND birthday party...the fun never stopped.

A Toast to the Newlyweds
The star of the show, the Flagship Detroit herself, arrived in Stuart on Thursday from Covington, GA, piloted by Dave Buffington, Zane Lemon, and John Thatcher.  She was met by Bob Gross, Jim Skelly, and the Stuart crew..Dennis Pugsley, Nigel Jardine and Bill and Michelle Brooks. She was cleaned, spiffed and readied. The following day more crew arrived, just in time for the much anticipated annual "dirty flight suit" party sponsored by the Stuart air show. Tom and  Marti Taff flew in from Dallas, and were hosted by Gary and Donna Noviski.  Steve Jacobson and Peggy Fairchild drove up from Jupiter, and George Dennis flew down from Nashville. The only disappointment was that some of the flagship wives, notably Deanna Lemon, Lynn Buffington, Audrey Thatcher, Evelyn Skelly, and Kay Dennis were not with us due to prior commitments and non-rev constraints.   They were missed.  The party was great, as always, and the fireworks and night air show were spectacular.

Saturday was very bright and sunny, with an enthusiastic crowd all day.  Judy De Santis and Dick Grady entertained with their medley of big band favorites, and again the Flagship earned many new friends.  With so many crew members on hand, everyone had time to enjoy the air show. Saturday evening, Tony and Judy De Santis hosted their annual show party at their gorgeous Palm City home.  This year, a very special highlight was a champagne toast and beautiful surprise cake honoring Scott Main and his bride Gladys, along with a serenade from Judy and Dick; their own rendition of "I Love You Truly". There was hardly a dry eye.

On Sunday, we had Captain Tony, looking very dapper in his uniform, and three stewardesses; Gladys and Peggy wore the "summer brown" uniform and Alyce Grady looked elegant in her blue uniform.  Nationally known air show performer, Julie Clark visited the flagship on Sunday afternoon.  Zane Lemon gave her a tour and she spent about 30 minutes sitting in the right seat.  Since she holds a DC-3 type rating, the hope is that she will join our crew on a couple of legs in the not too distant future.  Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that President Eisenhower also stopped by.
Happy Birthday, Marti!

  With so many hands on deck, "taking down the show" was a breeze, and we were all packed up and ready to go just after 5 p.m.  The final event was a wonderful farewell gathering at Rancho Chico Mexican Restaurant in Stuart, where many toasts were offered and stories told.  And speaking of cake, there was another reason to enjoy one as Marti Taff was celebrating her birthday the next day. 

It was a perfect way to end the air show season. We have one more event with the Polar Express, an organization that treats the children of fallen or wounded soldiers, in Nashville on Dec. 12.  Then the Flagship Detroit will go to winter quarters in Tulsa to be cared for by Jim Gentry and company.

(written by Peggy Fairchild)

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