China Lake Retiree Appreciation Day to coincide with Walleye 50th

The China Lake Retired Activities Office has announced that this year’s Retiree Appreciation Day is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 1. The all-volunteer staff of the RAO, led by Eva Bien, is making this early announcement so that out-of-town retirees and alumni will have sufficient time to work that date in with their travel plans.

The event traditionally offers China Lake retirees and alumni an opportunity to learn about current projects of the Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division and to enjoy visiting together.

“Only general information is provided at this time,” said Bien. She added that details will be provided in early October.

This year’s events will be combined with a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Walleye missile. A new exhibit at the China Lake Museum will open with a ribbon- cutting ceremony that afternoon.

Program presentations will be held at McLean Lab from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Although luncheon plans are still being firmed up, tentative plans are that the luncheon will be held at the Grape Leaf Restaurant starting at noon. Other activities that weekend involve the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of Ridgecrest, with events such as the Balsam Street Fair and a car show to be held on Saturday, Nov. 2.

Bien recommends that any retiree who does not have a China Lake pass should obtain a DOD pass ahead of time. “The DOD pass is good for four years, and it will get you in the center as well as any DOD base you care to visit.

“You will need a copy of your last Form 50 and two pieces of identification. The Welcome Center takes people on a drop-in basis from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Generally you do not wait long. Make an appointment online to avoid wait time:

“If you can’t find a copy of your Form 50, write to the National Personnel Records Center, Civilian Personnel Records, 111 Winnebago St., St. Louis, MO 63118 or call 314-801-0800 and request a copy.

“You will need to provide your full name used during your federal employment, Social Security number, date of birth, name of employing agency(s) and approximate dates of employment.” She added that the wait for the pass to arrive is usually two weeks or longer.

RAO is open 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 Mondays through Fridays and closed on flex Fridays and holidays. To learn more call 760-939-0978 or email

Bien stressed that you can still get your copy of the 2012 Retiree/Alumnus Directory from RAO for a donation of only $5. Copies are also available from the Historical Society of the Upper Mojave Desert Gift Shop, 230 W. Ridgecrest Blvd. “We are a volunteer organization and depend on donations for the directory to help fund our operation,” she said.

Story First Published: 2013-09-18