Updated 24 Oct. 2015

Why is there such a strong bond among Crusader drivers (and the ground troops too)? Ernest Hemingway has the answer:

"You love a lot of things if you live around them. But there isn't any woman and there isn't any horse, not any before nor after, that is as lovely as a great airplane. And men who love them are faithful to them even though they leave them for others. Man has one virginity to lose in fighters, and if it is a lovely airplane he loses it to, there is where his heart will forever be."

To ensure we continue the long tradition of annual get-togethers and to renew the bonds which tie those who associated with that magnificent Fighter aircraft, we have formed the F-8 CRUSADER ASSOCIATION INC. This will be a non-profit corporation whose purpose is to provide a real time organization to keep track of and communicate with those in our Crusader family.

A non-profit association provides some advantages which will help in the future as our numbers naturally diminish and will more clearly outline some ongoing and necessary administrative functions. We are not in competition with Tailhook and will continue to support them in every way possible. Further, there should be little or no cost to members.


99 Gators,

Our 28th Last Annual Crusader Ball and reunion is now in the history books and for all who attended, it was certainly one to remember. For four wonderful days in San Diego we renewed old friendships, reconnected with people who shaped our young lives and laughed till it hurt. Many people saw old squadron-mates for the first time in over 40 years. It felt great to be together again and our pride in being F-8 pilots showed.

On Thursday night there were numerous squadron reunion dinners as attendees began to arrive. Later that evening the hospitality suite was hopping as we all enjoyed the top floor Penthouse suite and the stunning views of San Diego at night.

On Friday we took 250 people in chartered buses to MCAS Miramar to our own private flight line chalet to watch the Miramar Air Show performances including our own Blue Angels. We returned to the hotel for a happy hour and reception around the pool for over 320 people.

On Saturday we spread out to enjoy the many activities San Diego has to offer including touring the Midway and playing golf at ADM Baker, and on Saturday night we had 350 Crusader pilots and their guests for the banquet dinner. As we highlighted the accomplishments of the Crusader and the incredible pilots who were present, we also honored the Martin-Baker Company – one of our generous sponsors – by asking all Crusader drivers who had ejected from the Crusader to come forward for a photo. In all, 33 pilots came up for a photo which is being framed and sent to Martin-Baker. The photo is on the website at www.f8crusader.org and we ask that you go have a look at it to help identify a few of the lucky drivers who are standing there because of Martin Baker.

Throughout the weekend, we relaxed in the Penthouse suite and enjoyed the perfect October weather, the beautiful San Diego views and great conversation with lots of old friends. Your reunion committee is grateful to all of you for your strong support of the weekend's activities, the ready room, the raffle and the Crusader items we made available for sale. This strong support makes everything possible. It was a great time and we certainly hope to see you again at the next LACB event in 2017.

Here are a few key debrief items from the weekend:
Photos of the reunion are now up on the website at www.f8crusader.org. If you didn’t make this reunion, you can see many of your old buddies there and resolve now to attend the next one.

If you need more Crusader and LACB-28 items we've got them. We have ball caps (red or Navy blue) and the beautiful etched dinner wine glasses and F-8 Crusader challenge coins for sale. Just contact us at LACBgear@gmail.com and either Mike Waldron or I will make arrangements to get them to you.
If you were a raffle winner and did not get your prize - a very nice bottle of Fighter Pilot Red, let me know and we will figure out a way to get that to you. The winning numbers were announced at the banquet, but six bottles were not claimed. If you still have your winning raffle ticket that will be a big help as I sort through the hundreds of winners I am sure to hear from. If you’re not sure if you won, but still have your raffle ticket, just ask.

It was a special weekend to remember. San Diego couldn't have put on a more beautiful show for us. The hotel was great and is certainly a contender for the next reunion in 2017. Your reunion committee is proud of the effort and the results. It’s very satisfying to put on one of these events and to see so many of your friends have such a good time. If you would like to work on the next reunion, consider this an invitation to join us or even be the guy who runs it all. Jump in here and help.

All the best regards to everyone,

Rich Redditt


For the last two LACB’s we’ve said, “how can it get any better than this?”
Well it can, and it did!
I’m already looking forward to LACB-29 in May of 2017. Negotiations are already underway with the Mission Bay Hyatt to do it again.
Turtle has said what a great time we had in his recap summary. What he didn’t do was pat himself on the back. I can’t say enough about how he and his crew put the last two reunions together. As Turtle put it, he had a “Dream Team”, each a self-starter, taking their piece and running it to a successful conclusion.
By Name: Bob Pearl, Mike Waldron, Skip Leonard, Dave Cowles, Chuck Schroeder, John Holm, Jim Ozbirn and of course, our Event Coordinator, Mary Buonaguidi.
In my mind, they all are in the LACB Planning Hall of Fame.  Thank them if you get a chance. E-mail sure makes it easy.
Dream Teams can’t last forever, the members start suffering from burnout…except Mary. She thrives on her business and as far as I can see, we will be her business as long as we continue having LACB’s.
As these magnificently attended reunions suggest, 180 pilots plus guests for this one, about the same for the last, San Diego appears to be the heart and soul of the Crusader community, especially the “youthful” members. I consider anyone who was one of my FRP’s a youth; you know who you are.
Yes, I am coming to the part you are all waiting for: the solicitation! We need more of you to come out and help the cause of this special event in our lives. Please contact Turtle or myself by telephone or email. Let us know how you can help this noble effort.
And while I’m on a roll, consider joining the Association Board of Directors. We are always looking for a few good men. Call me.

One more thing: Go to the www.f8crusader.org website. Take a look around and see how nice it is, how easy it is to find information, look at the pictures, especially the photos of the LACB-28 reunion. A special thanks to Dave Cowles for providing his time and expertise in putting the website into such a friendly format.

Until the next time, fair winds and following seas, fly the ball and right for line-up,

Joe Phaneuf  (aka Brillo)


REVISED 6-1-2014

PRESIDENT:   Joe Phaneuf,  joe@hpcareer.net
            9622 Basket Ring Rd. , Columbia, Md. 21045
            Cell- 443-803-3439, Home- 410-715-2268, Fax- 720-247-1816
            Board- Sep 2007, Pres- May 2011

VICE-PRES:     John Allen , froose8@cox.net
            1225 Plantation Lakes Circle, Chesapeake, Va. 23320
            Home- 757-479-1168
            Board- May 2011

SECRETARY:  Dennis Duffy, duffydc@sbcglobal.net
            128 Timberline Dr. N
            Colleyville, Tx. 76034    
            Board- Aug 2014, Chaired LACB-24
TREASURER:  Bob Pearl, bobandgaypearl@att.net
            5155-B Renaissance Ave. , San Diego, Ca. 92122
            Cell- 858-337-1318, Home- 858-587-8144
            Board- May 2008, Chaired 3 LACB’s

            Ken Langford (Marine Rep), liveoakken@ainternet.biz
            311 Pebble Beach Drive, Portland, Tx. 78374
            Cell- 361-533-2992, Home- 361-643-8878
            Board- May 2011

            Dave Benson, (Navy Rep), davidbenson61@comcast.net
            61 North Hickory Ave. , Tracy, Ca. 95376
            Cell- 203-209-1433, Home- 209-832-0910
            Board- Sep 2012

            Voting Member:  Vacant

            Dave Morris, dkmorris1@cox.net
            23 Ivy Home Road, Hampton, Va. 23669
            Home- 757-726-0192, Fax- 757-726-0195
            Board- May 2008

            Richard (hotdog) Brown, hotdogf8@verizon.net
            11132 Rich Meadows Dr. Great Falls, Va. 22066
            Cell- 703-915-4318, Home-703-444-3259, Fax- 703-444-4880
            Board- May 2008

 Chuck Klusmann, candek@bellsouth.net
            615 Bayshore Drive, # 807, Pensacola, Fl. 32507
            Cell- 850-723-0804, Home- 850-492-5806
            Pres-May 2008, Board- 2005

 John Holm, solobadger1@gmail.com
            4515 Benhurst Ave. , San Diego, Ca. 92122
            Cell- 619-886-4314, Home- 858-458-0640
            Board- May 2008, V/P- May 2011

            Jerry Unruh, junruh1@cox.net
            1 Pueblo Drive, Pensacola, Fl. 32507
            Cell- 850-377-1771, Home/Fax- 850-492-1770
            Board- May 2008

    Jim Shardy, jshardy1939@att.net
            2500 State Highway 121,  apt 224           
            Cell- 817-455-8855
            Board-  Oct 2009

            Bull Durham, durham@vt.edu
            314 Sunset Blvd., Blacksburg, Va. 24060
            Cell- 540-552-4680
            Board- Jan 2011

            Dave Johnson, f8@cloudnet.com, djohnson@cloudnet.com
            5979 17th SE, St. Cloud, Mn. 56304
            Cell- 320-249-2545, Home- 320-253-5364, Office- 320-255-9778
            Board- Aug 1996
MEDIA REP:    Michaela Conley, Michaela@hpcareer.net
            9622 Basket Ring Rd., Columbia, Md. 21045
            Cell- 410-715-2268
            Board- May 2011

            Bill Wright, wrightw@roadrunner.com
            642 Windmill Ranch Rd., Encinitas, Ca. 92024
            Cell- 760-828-2042, Home- 760-753-2378, Fax- 760-753-2737
            Board- Dec 2001

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Minutes of the Annual Meeting

Of the Board of Directors
Crusader Association

Annual Meeting held at the Marriot Hotel, Coronado, CA. @ 0900 22 May 2014

-         Meeting called to order by President Joe Phaneuf

-         Board Members present:

o   Joe Phaneuf, President
o   John Holm, V/P
o   Jim Shardy, Secretary
o   John Allen, Navy Rep
o   Dave Benson, voting member

-         Minutes read and approved


-         The scholarship program was investigated by John Holm and found not to be a feasible program for our organization. Motion to scrap scholarship program made by Benson/Shardy. Motion approved

-         Financial Report- Bob Pearl gave verbal report stating the finances have not changed significantly and after LACB-27 will remain the same. After the numbers are finalized, Bob will report results for publication to all members.


          LACB-28 VENUE – LACB-27 was an outstanding venue and a motion to again have San Diego host LACB-28 was made by Shardy/Allen. Approximate dates 1-4 Oct 2015 to coincide with Blues Airshow at MCAS Miramar. Motion Approved

          LACB-28 Chairman- Joe Phaneuf will be contacting membership looking for a chairman. Anyone interested, please contact Joe.  Bob Pearl has performed this position 3 times in the most outstanding manner and it is time for someone else to assume the helm. Motion made by Allen/Shardy. Motion Approved.  

BOARD REPLACEMENTS- The following changes have occurred effective 1 Aug 2014:

-         John Allen assumes duties of Vice-President replacing John Holm
-         Dave Benson assumes duties of Navy Representative replacing John Allen
-         Dennis Duffy assumes duties of Secretary replacing Jim Shardy

 Board Replacement needed for:     

          Treasurer- To replace Bob Pearl
          Voting Member- to replace Dave Benson
          Web site manager- to replace Dave Johnson

“Please contact Joe Phaneuf ASAP if interested”

NEW BOARD POSTION- “Media Representative”

          A motion by Shardy/Allen made to establish and name a rep to disseminate  F-8 information via video’s and online war stories, establish official logo, letterhead, etc. Michaela Conley has assumed this responsibility. Motion Approved


-         seek donations to establish a F-8 monument to honor the membership
-         establish a yearly membership fee.


Motion to adjourn @ 1037,  22 May 2014 by Bob Pearl/ John Allen

Submitted By: ___________________________

                             Jim  Shardy, Secretary

Authenicated: ____________________________

                             Joe Phaneuf, President

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Minutes of the Annual Meeting
Of the Board of Directors
The Crusader Association

Minutes of LACB-26 Board meeting
- Annual meeting for LACB-26 was held at the Nugget Hotel , Reno Nevada    @1200 8 Sep 2012

- Meeting called to order by president Joe Phaneuf

- Board Members present were: Joe Phaneuf, John Holm, John Allen, and alternate, Dink Alderdink

- Minutes of the 2011 board meeting were read and accepted

Old Business

- John Holm recommended that seed money be allocated to establish a perpetual scholarship.  Seed money to be followed by donations until enough money is in fund to establish a perpetual scholarship.  Approximately $45,000 is required for that type scholarship.

- Board voted to allow John Holm to do the research on obtaining $2,500 from the association fund for the scholarship seed money.  This money would be deposited in escrow and followed with donations until the target of $40,00-$45,000 is reached and the scholarship is established.

Treasury Report   


Sorry that this is so late. Although I did not see a Board Meeting scheduled for LACB this year I wanted to remind you of how our accounts stand. The Crusader Account at "charles SCHWAB", has an account balance of $29,264.56. The only expenditures this year were to Paul Ward our Attorney, Dave Johnson for "Last Charlie" and associated fees, and Corporation fees to the State of Virginia. We are in good shape and all tax filings are current.

The associated account, "F8 Ready Room", has a balance of $19,203.88. The only income this year came from a new donor in the amount of $250.00. It essentially offset expenditures. We need to maintain this account to ensure continued support for the Ready Room which is a popular attraction in Midway. This input from various Docents and personal visits. Midway continues to be a major attraction in San Diego.

I am aware this is not a detailed report and stand at the ready to submit any more information required. Suggest we discuss any new initiatives as a board by Email, since we are not all able to make the LACB. Have a great time and I regret I will miss it!!


Bob Pearl

New Business

- Joe Phaneuf Will search for a replacement website manager and report findings to board members by 15 Nov 2012.

- Joe Phaneuf recruited Dave Benson to replace Jerry Unruh as a board member.  An unofficial vote was taken after the meeting and Dave was accepted.

- San Diego was the board’s unanimous selection for the next LACB to be held in early May 2014.  Joe Phaneuf will seek volunteers for a committee to select actual dates and cause LACB-27 to occur.

Meeting was adjourned at 1307, 8 Sep 2012

Submitted on 15 Oct 2012 by:  Jim Shardy, Secretary
                           John Allen, Attending Secretary

Authenicated by:  Joe Phaneuf, President   

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Minutes of the Annual Meeting
Of the Board of Directors
The Crusader Association

The Annual meeting of the Board of Directors for the LACB-25 was held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Pensacola, Florida on 5 May 2011.

The meeting was called to order at 1000 by President Chuck Klusmann.

Board Officers present were:  Chuck Klusmann (President); Joe Phaneuf (Vice- President); Jim Shardy(Secretary);  Bob Pearl (Treasurer)

Voting Members: John Holm

Non-Voting Members: Richard Brown

Absent Members:  Don Keast, Jerry Unruh, Dave Morris

President Chuck Klusmann opened discussion for replacement members:
    -    recommending Bill Bauer to replace Don Keast as Marine rep.  Richard Brown to coordinate.  

    -    John Allen was welcomed to the Board in place of Wes Clarke as new Navy rep.

    -    Joe Phaneuf was nominated by Bob Pearl to relieve Chuck Klusmann as President-  seconded by Richard Brown-  motion passed-   Joe Phaneuf is now Association President effective 1 June 2011.

    -    Estimated profit from LACB-25 will be $ 10,000
     Distribution as follows:  $2,000 – Museum  at PNS
                           $2,000 – Midway at SAN
                           Remainder-  Crusader Assoc.
Bob Pearl – Finance Report
    -    F-8 Crusader Association Fund --$19,918.47
    -    F-8 Crusader Ready Room Fund - $ 16,704.00
    -    V-P John Holm will be back-up signatory for all funds.
    -    Cal Swanson will be relieved of financial duties.

Discussion-  How to spend monies?
    - plaques for deceased members?
  Present policy of letting members contribute $250 to place deceased members on RR plaque to continue.  No Association money will be allocated.

    - perpetual maintenance fund for Ready Room and aircraft on USS Midway ?

    - What happens when lease on Midway expires ?  (Bob Pearl to investigate)

    - fraud possibilities for Aviation Museum @ PNS ? (Sleuth “Hotdog” Brown to investigate).

    - Crusader Scholarship Fund administration through the tailhook Association?  (John Holm to investigate)

 Summary of Replacements and Additions:
     - Association President—Joe Phaneuf
    - Association V-P – John Holm
    - Email operations – Bull Durham relieving Walt Quist
    - Emeritus member --  Cal Swanson retiring
    - Emeritus member added--  Chuck Klusmann
    - Navy Rep. --John Allen
    - Marine Rep. – Ken Langford
    - F-8 Crusader Fund Manager -- Karen Black
    - F-8 Web operations assistant --  Michaela Conley
Special notes:
    - Karen Black will assume management of F-8 Crusader Fund on Midway. (Bob Pearl will coordinate).

    - Michaela Conley (Joe Phaneuf’s spouse) to assist Dave Johnson with   F-8 website operations.

LACB-26 will be held in Reno, Nevada,  September 2012, piggy backing Tailhook Convention.

The Association is looking for a LACB-26 Chairman and a few good men to organize event in Reno-2012

Motion to adjourn at 1200 by Bob Pearl; seconded by John Holm, Passed.

Date:  May 15, 2011        By: _____JES__________
                        Jim Shardy, Secretary

Authenticated: ___JP______________
            Joe Phaneuf, President

Minutes of the Annual Meeting
Of the Board of Directors
The Crusader Association

The Annual meeting of the Board of Directors for the 24th Last Annual Crusader Ball (LACB) was held at the Hilton Hotel, DFW Airport, Grapevine, TX on October 9, 2009.

The meeting was called to order at 1600 by President Chuck Klusmann.

Board Officers present were: Chuck Klusmann (President); Robert Pearl (Treasurer); Don Keast (Marine Rep); Jim Shardy (Secretary). Absent- Joe Phaneuf (Vice President).  
Voting members: Don Keast; John Holm; Jerry Unruh.

Non-voting members: Dave Morris, Richard Brown, Cal Swanson, Vic Riley.

The President declared a quorum and opened meeting for business.

President Chuck Klusmann complimented Dennis Duffy for the huge success of 24th LACB while overcoming major difficulties with late attendee commitments and large guarantees for facilities.

Dennis Duffy, 24th LACB Chairman, gave a report of lessons learned.
 - Lack of timely commitment and payment from attendees to allow for planning of events which necessitated having to guarantee hotel space with my credit card. In the future, Dennis recommended an early non-refundable commitment to cover deposits for planning purposes.
- Silent auction not successful; need ideas to generate profits.

Success:  Lockheed/ Martin tour very highly rated by all attendees.

Chuck Klusmann opened discussion for location of next LACB recommending Pensacola in May 2011 coinciding with 100th year Naval Aviation celebration. A major problem of finding hotel space and facilities will be researched ASAP.  

Jerry Unruh briefed members on 100th year Naval Aviation celebration as being a huge event involving ships, aircraft and many exhibits available for us to enjoy.   Consequently, our events should be limited to the Ball, Happy Hour and perhaps individual squadron activities which should make our planning easier. Also, 18 month cycle for LACB events recommended.

Bob Pearl made motion to schedule 25th LACB for May 2011 in Pensacola; 18 month cycle and 26th LACB to be held in San Diego in October 2012; seconded by Chuck Klusmann.  Motion passed unanimously.

USS Midway Ready Room report:  Bob Pearl
-    Completed with a great location on ship for maximum people traffic.
-    The F-8 drivers, through their contributions, allowed this project to succeed without outside help. Other projects failed because of lack of commitment.
-    The donation board will be changed due to difficulty of reading the names.
-    Our financial status is excellent; $61,161 received in contributions, $46,379.07 expenditures, balance of $15,221.93.  
-    However, we still need donations.
-    All donation checks must to made out to “Crusader Association”;  (must be exact words for IRS rules as a non-profit tax-exempt organization)

Crusader Association Finance Report:  Bob Pearl  
-    As of Jan 2009, operating balance of $19,622.65
-    Expenditures, $175
-    Cash on hand, $15,947.65  (Charles Schwab Account)
-    Loan to LACB 24 committee, $3,500
-    Total Assets,  $19,447.65

Pensacola Naval Aviation Museum: Chuck Klusmann
F-8 finances have dwindled to $1000 from $12,000. Account will be investigated for expenditures.  A RF-8 has been located for possible restoration for the museum and donations are needed.

Scholarship Program: Chuck Klusmann
In order to establish a program, $40,000 dollars is required which is not feasible for the Crusader Association.  Possible alternative is using the Tail Hook organization to facilitate this program.  John Holm is researching this process.

BOD Replacements
-    Jim Shardy replaced Vic Riley as Secretary on 1 Oct 2009.
-    3 Board members will be replaced in Pensacola, May 2011 and 3 Board members will be replaced in San Diego, Oct 2012.
-    Chuck Klusmann and Don Keast volunteered to remain on the board.

John Holm made motion to have Chuck Klusmann and Don Keast remain on the board. Seconded by Bob Pearl.  Motion passed unanimously.

Motion to adjourn at 1700 by Bob Pearl; seconded by Don Keast,  Passed

Date:_________________________                 By:__________________________

                                                                                     Jim Shardy    


                            Chuck Klusmann

Minutes of the Annual Meeting
Of the Members
The Crusader Association

The Annual meeting of the Members of the F-8 Crusader Association for the 24th Last Annual Crusader Ball (LACB) was held at Hilton Hotel, DFW Airport, Grapevine, TX. on October  10, 2009.

The meeting was called to order at 1700 by President Chuck Klusmann.  Board members present were Chuck Klusmann (President),  Vice-President Joe Phaneuf; Secretary Jim Shardy, Treasurer  Bob Pearl, Don Keast, and Jerry Unruh.

President Klusmann complimented Dennis Duffy for an outstanding LACB event.  The Lockheed/Martin tour received excellent compliments from all attendees.  The L/M test pilot giving the tour stated that the Crusader pilots asked the best questions of any group he has lead.

    - USS Midway F-8 Ready Room is complete and financially sound but will continue to need donations.  Your tax-deductible donations must be made payable to the “Crusader Association”.
    - F-8 at Naval Aviation Museum Pensacola  financial balance has dwindled down to $1000 from $12000 and an investigation is in progress.
    - Crusader Association finances are excellent at this time but can always use more of your tax-deductible donations.

Jim Bloomberg representing Veterans Memorial Air Park, Fort Worth, TX., was introduced by President Klusmann and stated that military history is fading.  The Air Park is used to educate and help youngsters appreciate the aviation history of our country.  They have just received delivery of an RF-8 that was severely damaged in hurricane Katrina and need donations (tax-deductible) for its restoration.  This particular aircraft 898 was flown by Chuck Klusmann on his first flight over Laos in 1964 and heavily damaged during that mission.  They only need $12,000 for the restoration. Send your tax-deductible donation to:
Veterans Memorial Air Park   “Crusader”   P. O. Box 161966   Fort Worth, TX. 76161   

BOD Meeting Recap:

- Chuck Klusmann and Don Keast remaining on the board through LACB 25.
- LACB 25 will be in Pensacola, May 2011 in conjunction with the 100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation.
- Facilities to house our event is in progress.
-  Please contact all your F-8 friends to inform them of this great celebration.

100th Anniversary of Naval Aviation – Jerry Unruh

Briefed members of celebration as being a huge event involving ships, aircraft, Blue Angels and many exhibits available for us to enjoy.  Consequently, our events should be limited to the Ball, Happy Hour and perhaps individual squadron activities which should make our planning easier.

Scholarship Program: Chuck Klusmann
       -  In order to establish a program, $40,000 dollars is required which is not feasible for the Crusader Association.  Possible alternative is using the Tail Hook organization to facilitate this program.  John Holm is researching this process.
- Dennis Duffy reminded everyone that the tax-deductible donations must be made payable to the “Crusader Association” (exact title necessary).
Motion to adjourn at 17:27.  Passed.

Date   _______________
By__________________                               Authenticated______________________
       Jim Shardy                                                                      Charles Klusmann
       LACB Secretary                                                                LACB President

It is apparent by your continued interest and attendance at the annual Last Crusader Balls that our experiences and friendships as Crusader pilots are extraordinary in Naval Aviation. I feel it is important we don't lose that spark. -- Snake Morris

Almost all Assoc. work is done by the above mentioned group. Reunion planning is a major undertaking, and requires many volunteers to assist the Chairman. If you are willing to pitch in, click here to contact us!

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