Black Sheep come home to Pappy’s field

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On Saturday afternoon, four U.S. Marine Corps harrier fighter jets and a C-130 transport plane arrived in Coeur d’Alene.

Marine Attack Squadron 214 (VMA-214) is a U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadron consisting of AV-8B Harrier (V/STOL) jets. The Black Sheep squadron is based at Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz.

Accompanying the squadron was commanding officer Lt. Col. Brett McGregor. The harriers are best known for their vertical landing and take-off capabilities and are incredible to see up close. The jets and C-130 flew out on Sunday afternoon after their training mission.

The squadron is best known as the Black Sheep of World War II fame and for one of its commanding officers, Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.

Ten years ago this month Kootenai County Commissioners Rich Piazza and Todd Tondee voted to add Pappy Boyington Field to the name of Coeur d’Alene Airport. (COE). The field naming was to honor Coeur d’Alene native and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient “Pappy” Boyington. It had been a few years of debate before the naming finally took place.

In this past decade, Boyington’s namesake squadron has regular training missions in North Idaho paying homage to Boyington.

I visited with some of the Marine Corps pilots at the airport on Sunday and was told that the cloudy, smoky skies were a plus because in Arizona their flights are primarily in sunny blue skies. One also mentioned that it means a lot to a Marine pilot to fly into Pappy Boyington Field.

So there’s the rest of the story if you saw those fighter jets and transport plane in the skies over Hayden, Coeur d’Alene, Rathdrum and Post Falls this weekend. Semper Fi.

• • •

Here’s to 94-year-old Coeur d’Alene native, John McDonald who made another check off of his bucket list by swimming from Tubbs Hill to Independence Point on Tuesday morning. In 2014 he took a parasail ride over the lake so this made sense. Training by swimming laps for a year and practicing putting on a wetsuit was his preparation, according to his daughter, Jennie McDonald, noting that the wet suit is a real challenge for anyone but it’s no small feat at her dad’s age!

Waiting on the shore was his beautiful bride, Dorothy. I’m looking forward to what Mr. McDonald has planned next!

• • •

In 1978, 15-year-old JD Dickinson was driving from Iowa to Sioux Falls, S.D., with his grandmother, listening to the old AM car radio. He heard Willie Nelson singing "Blue Skies" and was hooked.

His grandmother eventually gave JD a 45 rpm record of the song and the journey began. He saw Willie in concert for the first time at the Anaheim Stadium in 1980. Earlier this month JD attended his 55th Willie Nelson concert in Spokane. He’s been to several meet and greets with the country music legend and even spent a little “quality time” on Willie’s bus. JD owns No. 7 of only 30 exact replicas of Willie’s Martin guitar ever made.

If you’re a Willie Nelson fan, drop by JD’s office at Dickinson Insurance in Post Falls to see an amazing array of memorabilia that’s as much a tribute to a loving grandmother and a treasured road trip memory as it is to the red-headed stranger.

• • •

Tim Kastning wins funny post of the weekend with this one: “I don't know why people like crab so much. So we go to Westport, Wash., for a few days to go fishing and crabbing.

"We had a little boat with us so we could get out in the bay. We caught very few crabs in the bay so we went to the docks where we actually caught more than out in the bay.

"These things stink. The bay stunk. They crawl around on the muddy bottom and eat dead things. I brought them home and boiled them, now my kitchen and house stinks.

"Then you have to fight with them, smash them with a hammer to get very little meat out of them. I think I'm at about $400 a pound as it stands now. I've never ordered crab at a restaurant because I hate fighting with my food! — what little there is of it. Now I need a good recipe for what to do with about a pound of crab meat. Any suggestions?”

So how do you really feel about crab, Tim? :)

• • •

Things to do highlights:

Friday-Sunday, Blake Webb MX Safety Foundation benefit rummage sale at Hwy. 53 and Church Road. Friday, noon to 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 699-6016.

Friday and Sunday, "Tosca" presented by Opera Coeur d’Alene at Schuler Performing Arts Center at North Idaho College. Friday, 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2 p.m. www.operacda.com

Saturday and Sunday the seventh annual Sophie’s Sluggers Homer Dome co-ed softball tournament takes place at Majestic Park in Rathdrum, benefiting childhood cancer kids.

• • •

For 44 years the boys of summer, aka the Birthday Boys, Art Flagan, Warren Bakes and Ed Hatter have celebrated their August birthdays together. The fourth member of their group, Bill Stamps, passed away in 2014 but will be duly toasted by his friends. Here’s to enduring friendships and happy birthdays!

• • •

Happy Birthday today to Susan Selle, Brian Kirk, Jennifer Ross, Cindy Wagner, Andrea Fulks, Kim Brown, Serena Carlson, Sarah McCool, Paul Sullivan and Brandia Young.

The same tomorrow to Amber Malloy, Jenna Morrison, JR Conrow, Kristin Largent, Cynthia Rayner (50!), Terri Seymour, John Gertenbach, Brandee Peacock, Linda Mannschreck, Christina Gardner and Lugene Broadsword.

Sunny 8/18 celebrants are Jim Hail, III, Brandi Meeks, Jaqueline Dickinson, Jake Medlock, Jasmine Preckle (40!), Sarah Andrews, Toni Prince, Marissa Davenport, Corrine Larsen, Keva Wolfe, Andrea Sadler, Julie Pierce and Althea Carpenter.

On Saturday Vicky Jo Carey, Scott Noordam, Amy Elder, Peter Woods and Frank Garcia put on their party hats.

Mary Condie, Nancy Scofield, Elaine Carda, David Buerge, Louise Gillespie, Christina Gardner, Gene Colley and Art Elliott will have super Sunday birthdays.

Starting the week with birthdays on Monday are Crystal Shofner-Moore, Jared Phay, Matthew Behringer, Doris McCaulley, Mike Warren, Ed Hatter and Kelly Chadderdon.

On Tuesday Brett Seright, Leanne Campbell, Mary Gomer, Cathy Smith, David Walrath, Cecilia Peterson and Lilliana Raynor are celebrating.

• • •

Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email mainstreet@cdapress.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.

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