Squadron Members, Family & Friends,

"This was one of our best reunions." 

That was repeated by most squadron members at the conclusion of the four day event. As described in a Generation Y (Millennials) favorite term, it was "AWESOME." All plans and events were executed flawlessly and everyone had a great time. Although some people stayed a few days, and some left early, a total of 92 people attended the reunion. For those who didn't attend, you should "kick yourself in the head" for not participating. 


- Blue Angels' rehearsal and tour of the Naval Aviation Museum displays with an excellent squadron docent
- VMO-6 Memorial Service at the Pensacola Veterans Memorial Park and remembrance of Steve Pless at his gravesite in the Barrancas National Cemetery
- Excellent meals at the museum, McGuire's Irish Pub (see photo below), and Friday's dinner
- LtGen Fred McCorkle and his sense of humor.
- The camaraderie we had with all and especially with first time reunion attendees
- Attendance and participation of the five member Brit Bird 18 Team
- Interviews and discussions with Jerry & Rudy Gonzalez and Nancy Lichtman, Executive Editor, Leatherneck Magazine
- Hootch and Reunion Support. As a result of donations in support of the hootch made by participants, and some who didn't attend the reunion, all financial obligations were met. 

A special thanks to the following who made generous donations: BGen John Arick, Tom Constantine, Dick Boston, Richard Ethier, Pete Greene, Virgle McVey, Whitey Meyday, Robert Ritorto, Bobby Thatcher, David C. Tunmire, and KD Waters. Also thanks to Art Friend for making name tags and with his wife Carolyn for checking-in attendees with the assistance of Red Trivette and Rose Levanduski. Thanks to Jerry and Ann Garner for providing excellent support by bringing discounted cost of beverages and their large coolers.

UK BIRD 18: 

The five Brits (Stuart Beeney, Damon Hatcher, Martin Luscombe. Peter Seal, & Andrew Seal) were magnificant at the reunion and they are phenomenal. Their love of military history, VMO-6, and Bird 18 is difficult to understand, at least for me, but they proved their worth by integrating themselves into the squadron and participating with interest in all events and discussions. After spending time with them at the reunion and hosting them in the Washington, DC area for three days, I'm convinced they are the real deal and have my full support. Without a doubt, they are preserving the legacy of the squadron. 

I asked Stuart Beeney, team leader, to summarized their stay at the reunion and afterwards in the Washington, DC area and he provided these comments: 

"What an absolute honour and privilege it's been to spend time with such fantastic people. When I say we've been treated like royalty I absolutely mean it. Far more than anything we deserve. While some of us have already exchanged emails or messages, not all of us have, yet it felt we had all known each other for years, everyone was so friendly and welcoming. The reunion week will be remembered for a very long time including the people and the places we visited. 

After the reunion and on Sunday, 29th October the Bird 18 team visited the National Marine Corps Museum and the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park near Quantico, VA. At the VMO-6 Memorial, we paid our respects to the fallen. We laid a wreath which we brought with us from the UK and it was a traditional red poppy wreath, it seemed a perfect choice for us especially as it's Remembrance Day / Veterans Day soon. We were hosted by Ed who kindly read the following words and a prayer while we laid the wreath.

""They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them
May they all rest in eternal peace.""

If anyone is thinking of visiting the UK please contact us to see what we can do to help. You're welcome to come and see Bird 18 anytime but at a show with other things to see and do would be a better option than a cold hangar. The best two shows are at the start of July and the end of August. 

Thank you for items donated and photos shared. If anyone would like to share their stories, photos or anything else with us please see my email address or feel free to post directly on our Facebook page.  

Thank you again for allowing us to be part of the VMO-6 family and for continuing your legacy."

Photos of the Bird 18 team taken at VMO-6 Memorial are on Bird 18 Facebook at:
Bird 18 Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/133719930642956/?ref=share_group_link 
Website:  www.mag36-uk.org
Stuart's email address: stuart.beeney@btinternet.com 

At Friday's dinner, donations of $3,037 were made by those in attendance in support of the Bird 18 project. Thank you. Donations can be made anytime. 
Financial Donations  

1. If you have a PayPal account, funds can be sent directly to the UK Bird 18 organization. The process will automatically convert US dollars to English pounds and will be directly sent to Damon Hatcher, treasurer of the Bird 18 project. The PayPal donation address is:



2. Send check payable to:

Ed Kufeldt, 
8200 Chancery Ct., 
Alexandria, VA 22308-1513

On the check for/memo line write "UK Bird 18 Donation." Your check will be deposited in a VMO-6 bank account and accumulated donations will be periodically sent to Bird 18 using his PayPal account.

Note: Either Stuart or I will acknowledge your donation via email. If you don't want your email address provided to him, please let me know.


VMO-6 and Marine Corps items are displayed at all Bird 18 public showings. This includes squadron cruise books, and items with VMO-6 markings/logos such as shirts, caps, plaques, cigarette lighters, challenge coins, coffee cups, and nightwear. Marine Corps items include magazines such as the Gazette, Leatherneck, MC Aviation Association, Leatherneck Aviation Museum Newsletters, etc. Please send these items to:

   Stuart Beeney, Knowle Cottage. 
Lower Horsebridge, Hailsham, 
East Sussex, BN27 4DL, UK England.

When selecting items to send, please consider you aren't going to live forever and such things would be enjoyed more by visitors at public displays rather than having been deposited in a landfill by surviving relatives.


As mentioned at the reunion, only four blank bricks are left on the walkway in front of the memorial. On both sides of walkway bricks on the memorial side, non squadron engraved bricks are encroaching. If you are interested in paying $210 for a brick, go to our website at http://vmo6memorial.homestead.com/ and click on the green tab "Brick Order Form" and submit per the instructions. I will log your request and forward it to the Heritage Foundation and provide you information on their brick process and procedures. Recently, an anonymous donor had an engraved brick placed in the memorial walkway in recognition of the Bird 18 team project as shown below.


I am pleased with the outcome/results of the reunion. Without a doubt, Steve Wilson desires the highest praise from everyone for arranging the reunion at the Pensacola Beach Hampton Inn, planning and executing the events, and finding and bringing wine, sodas, and water at cost saving prices. He did all these things as he was recovering from two surgeries that occurred in the last six months. During that time, he spent hundreds of hours planning and ensuring everything came together like clockwork. Also, abundant thanks and praise goes to Julia, his wife for putting up with my many phone calls and for driving and assisting Steve during the past six months when was recuperating from surgeries. BRAVO ZULU to both of them.

Happy Birthday Marines, and have a joyous celebration on November 10th for the Corps' 248th Birthday.

Semper Fidelis,

Ed Kufeldt. -  (703) 250-1514

19 Nov 2023 11:55