Air Force Pilot Training Class reunion held at RIR

Over 40 years ago, 59 cadets, members of Air Force Pilot Training Class 70-05, earned their USAF wings at Laughlin AFB, Texas. This spring, 25 of them gathered at Flabob Airport (RIR) in Southern California for a reunion.

The three-day event resulted in a lot of hangar flying and tours of local tourist spots. One of the highlights of the weekend occurred when the Air Force pilots and their wives each went for a flight in a variety of World War II trainers that included a PT-17 Stearman, Navy N3N, PT-19 and a PT-22.

Virtually everyone who attended the reunion of Air Force Class 70-05 got a chance to ride in an open cockpit WWII trainer over the weekend.

Over the past four decades, the graduates of class 70-05 logged over 560,000 flying hours, 22,000 of them in combat in Vietnam. One of the pilots rose to the rank of Major general, six became Colonels, 15 were Lt. Colonels and 24 of them transitioned to the airlines.

During the reunion, they presented a $10,000 scholarship for flight training to one of 14 applicants from the Flabob Airport Preparatory School. Jacob Palmer, a high school junior, received the award from Major General Buck Marr (ret).

“Reunions are often a lot of fun, and this one left everyone feeling energized,” said event organizer Jon Goldenbaum. “It’s amazing how many stories 25 guys can accumulate and make up in a 40-year period. And it’s impressive to see how many used that flight training experience to launch successful aviation careers in and outside of the Air Force.”

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