Boise - 2018



Bill Ketchum - CO, VP-17 1972-74 

Doug & Nonie McWhorter

Bob & Anna Barclay

Marta Heffner & Kelly Hayden

Ger & Kar Spaulding

Bill & Anna Overend

Jack & Barbara Schrager

Jim Carlson & Bridget Zolman 

Pat & Kate Maley 

Ken Crandall 

Don Purdy

Daryl & Susi Ray 

Guy & Vicki Leary 

Jon Dresel 

Doc Bakken 

Bill & Robin O'Brien 

Mark & Pam Byars 

Larry & Leanne Lane 

John & Irene Pendleton 

Gary & Eva Davidson

Lee & May Trotter

Dennis Murphy

Lou Rabe

Tom & Cathy Goen

Bob Hancock

Bill Buckingham


"Waitin' on the Heeler" an oil-on-canvas by Don Purdy


And, below, some original Purdy Purdetry

At the end of our Saturday night banquet in Boise, Don "Wrangler" Purdy, an A-4 pilot before transitioning to P-3s, surprised the hell out of us with two of his original compositions:  a Cowboy Poem called "Ridin' Patrol" and Ending Remarks entitled "Once". Well, dagnabbit, ever'body loved them dang things so much, we decided to take what came at the tail end of our get-together and move 'em to the front end of our reunion photos, sorta like turnin' a hoss 'round back-asswards. Enjoy! 


Ridin’ Patrol

I was 'bout to bid the Navy adieu
When fate rode up 'n changed my plan
So I hitched up fer a year or two
Ridin' patrol for Uncle Sam

Well I had experience flyin' 'n fightin'
But I ain't never drove a four-horse team
So I chose an outfit called the White Lightnin’s
Figerin' it'd be all partyin' 'n drinkin' poteen

I checked on board in Island style
Sportin' a Kahala shirt 'n flip-flops
But the Ol' Man just stared awhile
‘N said, You got much to learn 'bout VP ops

This here wagon is what you'll ride
The Ol' Man said with a sneer
We hitch up two horses to a side
'N use this here yoke to steer

Well dang if there weren't a committee up front
'N a whole damn posse a sittin' in the rear
Now I've had occasion to go on a hunt
But not with this many folks 'n this much gear

We loaded them wagons with coffee, buoys, 'n fuel
'N went out a huntin' fer Rooskie boats
But when we flew more hours than I'd work a mule
I figered I'd rather be out ropin' goats

After two days in the air I was tired 'n sore
Wonderin' if I'd ever see land agin
Then we shut down some engines 'n flew some more
Reckon it was months before we got in

Lord it was good to get back on the land
Though my kids was grown ‘n gone
I was crooked ‘n bent ‘n could barely stand
When someone said, We launch agin at dawn

Well that’s how it went, flyin’ patrol
Not catchin’ much, yet stayin’ busy
But the autopilot was in control
‘N we had a galley, a bunk, ‘n a privy

‘N so we flew the Pacific skies
 Searchin’ the deep blue sea
While the wives drank Mai Tais
Down on the beach at Waikiki

Yes we did a mess’a patrolin’
But the Lightnin’s could party too
‘N when we got beyond controllin’
They sent us to the land o’ the Habu

Now if one o’ them snakes got ya walkin’
You wasn’t gonna make it far
Cause fer sure ol’ Doc Bakken
Was belly up in some bar

But we busted our butts in Okinawa
‘N down south in ol’ Taipei
Roundin’ up every Honda ‘n Yamaha
'N loadin’ furniture on three flights a day

Later I wrangled with many outfits
But when I look back on all I’d seen
Some of the best days for this ol’ misfit
Were the ones with VP Seventeen

Never was there a finer bunch of guys
‘N all in all it was a whole lotta’ fun
Never saw a prettier group of wives
Nor a better Skipper than Bill Ketchum

Don Purdy

Keep on readin' 'n reflectin', cowdudes and cowdettes...


As our years must surely advance
Officers and men, one and all
Let us gather in remembrance,
Raise a toast and recall

How it used to be… once

Once we were young and bold
And flew the Navy’s planes
Now we’re so damn old
We’ve traded our yokes for canes

Once our minds were steel traps
Honed for flyin’ at sea and ashore
Now we have an occasional lapse
And can’t recall what we came here for

Once we flew the mighty P-3s
Masters of the yoke ‘n throttle
But now we’re just tryn’ to read
The dosage on the dang bottle

Once we danced all night in Singapore
And drank ‘til we dropped in Manila
Now we’re in bed and nappin’ by four
And drink nothin’ stronger ’n sarsaparilla

Once our vision was so sharp
We could land at O’dark-thirty-three
Now we stumble in the dark
When we’re getting up to take a pee

Once we flew without fear
But now we’re so damn old
That we’re just tryin’ to hear
For whom the bell hath tolled

Don Purdy

To see more of "Inky's" handiwork -- with the camera, the paintbrush and the quill -- visit Don's page in the Artsy-Fartsy section of this web site by clicking here:


In honor of our reunion site here's CHERYL WHEELER'S YouTube tribute to Idaho's most famous export:


And in the Beehive spirit......