Gala to cap weekend anniversary celebration

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Gala to cap weekend anniversary celebrationFormer executive and technical directors at China Lake (from left) Scott O’Neil, Bob Hillyer, Burrell Hays and Sterling Haaland attend a China Lake Retiree Appreciation Day lunch — Photo by Liz Babcock


“We have a historical precedent, set at our 25th and 50th anniversaries, of tremendous celebrations honoring the great work that has been done on the base. The China Lake Museum Foundation will be marking our 75th anniversary in as grand a style as our previous celebrations,” said CLMF President Laura Hickle.

She said a gala dinner on Saturday, Nov. 10, will be the capstone of the three-day celebration marking the latest milestone of the civilian-military partnership that has thrived at China Lake since 1943.

The affair will kick off with socializing at 5 p.m., allowing old friends and new to visit. A no-host bar will offer adult beverages, Ted Lemon of Soundwaves will play music and historic videos will play in the background.

Dinner catered by Casey’s will be served at 6:30 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the program will include an address from former Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division Commander Vice Adm. Mike Moran.

Moran is one of several former civilian and military leaders — along with current leaders — who will participate in the event.

Big Band X-Press will play music through the decades starting at 9 p.m., when guests will be invited out onto the dance floor.

“This is a really great opportunity for people to come together, see people they haven’t seen in a long time, recall some of our proudest achievements, and maybe even learn about the developments people don’t know China Lake played a role in,” said Hickle.

Although her husband worked on base before his retirement, she noted that she is still learning about all the amazing accomplishments that have occurred at China Lake.

“As a former teacher, I’m always fascinated by the physical science behind the weapons developments, as well as the other applications of those advancements,” she said.

“Even if you have had no direct association with the base, I think this is something everyone in the community can be proud of, and certainly will be interested to learn more about.”

Tickets are $60 per person. “Since this is the foundation’s 25th anniversary, and the base’s 75th anniversary, we are also doing some fun discounts,” said Hickle. Anyone younger than 25, or older than 75, will be admitted for $45 per person.

Anyone interested in tickets can call 760-677-2866, or visit the museum at 130 E. Las Flores Ave.

The anniversary celebration also coincides with the annual China Lake Retiree Appreciation day, which typically attracts between 100-125 former employees, who get updates from current leaders at what is going on today.

Eva Bien, who coordinates retiree activities, said that she is expecting as many as 200 at this year’s celebration, since many want to participate in the other events.

“I am hearing from a lot of people who don’t normally attend,” she said. “I would say that about 20 percent of those who attend travel from out of town to be here.”

For more information about anniversary events, see related stories in this edition as well as in future News Reviews.

Story First Published: 2018-10-26