The George Washington Ball

The Sergeant's Mess at RAF Digby hosts a few formal dinners each year: The RAF puts on the Battle of Britain Ball, the Royal Navy hosts Pickle Night (Lord Nelson's body was brought back to Britain aboard HMS Pickle)(no, honestly), the Army puts on the Waterloo Ball, and the Americans stationed at RAF Digby host the George Washington Ball.

The first year we were here, the US Air Force was in charge of organizing the GW Ball. Maybe you remember the stories. This picture of Barb and I in our finest comes from that year. We were very fortunate to have a number of distinguished guests, among them the Command Chief Master Sergeant of the 26th IOG and an old friend of the family, Al Dowling. We all posed together for another picture because it isn't often that we get appear in public in our foppish best. Don'tcha think we clean up nicely?

About half the personnel from the Air Force detachment managed to make it to the ball that first year, and here's our class picture from that night. I could be remembering it wrong, but I'm pretty sure we took this after dinner, when we were all feeling the effects of toasting everybody from the President and the Queen, each of the services, moms and dads, everybody's dog ... it never seemed to end. Not that I heard anybody complaining. From left to right: Stevie Herrin, Mary and Stephen Bockman, Barb and I, Julie and Dave Arnzen, Mike and Renate LeBlanc, Tad and Kate Callin, and Mitch Porter.


These two pictures are from the second year we went to the GW Ball. The US Navy took charge of arranging it that year, so we might look a bit more relaxed in this photo, since we only had to show up, drink the toasts, eat lots of good food, and sit up with friends talking late into the night. We took two photos because the photographer, who might have been feeding us a line to sell a few more photos, told us it was customary at these events to pose in the style you see on the left. We liked the pose on the right, but you decide.

Once again we were very lucky to have our old friends back for the evening - not just Al but the lovely Debby Dowling as well.

The US Air Force's distinguished visitors for the evening included the commander of the 26th IOG, Colonel Haygood, third from left. Our detachment's commander that year was Captain Evan Smith, center. Dave Arnzen is standing between Chief Dowling and Captain Smith, Mike LeBlanc is to the right of the Captain, Mitch Porter is next, and yours truly takes up position on the right flank. I'm stuffed if I can remember who the Captain on the far left is. Sorry 'bout that, sir.

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